STAT Awarded $100,000 Grant from PCCD, Will Work Closely with PITT PERU TAC

State grant boosts substance-abuse therapy using horses at Ligonier Therapeutic Center in Cook Township, Westmoreland County, PA


https://triblive.com/local/westmoreland/state-grant-boosts-substance-abuse-therapy-using-horses-at-cook-center/


February 2020

Local Non-Profit Wins $100,000 Grant from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency to Implement a New Program Using Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy to Help Treat Substance Use Disorder


The Horse Human Connection is Unique and Beneficial

Ligonier, PA -- Every day, we lose 10 Pennsylvanians to substance use Local Non-Profit Wins $100,000 Grant from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency to Implement a New Program Using Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy to Help Treat Substance Use Disorder


Ligonier, PA -- Every day, we lose 10 Pennsylvanians to substance use disorder. This disease affects each and every Pennsylvanian and threatens entire communities in our commonwealth. Let’s be honest, we all know someone, a friend, a family member, a neighbor, who suffers from Substance Use Disorder. And when there are 10 deaths per day in Pennsylvania alone, there is an obvious problem.


Catherine Markosky, STAT’s Founder and Program Manager of the PCCD grant, spoke about how “horses play a very important role in addiction treatment. Horses have a heightened sensitivity to changes in a human’s emotional and mental state. Our treatment team studies horse movements and behavioral reactions during a session to help us understand what each client needs in order to achieve personal goals, recovery, and healing.” Cat is an Equine Specialist certified in the EAGALA Treatment Model. (eagala.org)


Addiction does not discriminate, says Dr. Gina L. Marchando DMFT, LMFT, CHt, and Director of Dreamlife Recovery in Donegal, PA. "Substance Use Disorders and other addictive behaviors expand across all races, cultures, genders and socio economic classes. Traditional substance use treatment, or ‘treatment as usual’ has relied exclusively on talk therapy to encourage clients to move toward sobriety. This goes against scientific-based evidence; as we know that not everyone learns the same way. Integrating alternative modalities of psychotherapy, such as equine-assisted psychotherapy, we have allowed our clients to engage in a scientifically backed intervention. EAP increases significant concepts such as spiritual connectedness, boundaries, social skills, perspective, trust, communication, developing self-concept, enhances self-confidence, builds self-efficacy, and acceptance; it increases impulse control, too, all skills that actually contribute to developing a sustainable and meaningful recovery.”


STAT’s Treatment Team explained how a horse can reflect a person’s state of being, whether they are distressed, depressed, calm, afraid, anxious… the horse-human interaction exposes emotions naturally and instinctually. And how a horse’s behavior thus helps the client gain self-awareness and establishes trust, and because most patients perceive horses as non-judgmental, a client feels invited to interact, their guard is down, and it allows for transparency. “Honesty is an essential component for recovery,” says Amanda Orvosh, Licensed Professional Counselor and an EAGALA certified practitioner at STAT. “All too often, we see that people have the knowledge and the skills to obtain and maintain sobriety, yet struggle with the first basic step of truly admitting that they have a problem. Horses are 100% honest, authentic and nonjudgmental - 100% of the time. They do not have a hidden agenda, nor do they try and manipulate or coerce others to get what they want. They offer real time feedback to our clients (and the treatment team) that helps clients have “ah-ha” moments related to barriers to their recovery. These shifts in awareness help clients practice honesty and authenticity in the moment (in the arena), which they can later practice (outside the arena) in other areas of their life. It is amazing and life-changing.”


All six of STAT’s professionals (6 all together, equine specialists and mental health providers) are certified in the EAGALA Model. STAT’s Team went on to explain that equine-assisted psychotherapy never includes riding. People instantly go to the thought of riding when they hear the word horse or horse therapy - this is not a riding program, this is psychotherapy.


The $100,000 grant will be used to support individuals with SUD who are either uninsured or who are court ordered through Pennsylvania Special Courts; such as Drug Court and Veteran Court. Catherine explained how outcome data will be collected, analyzed and reported with the help of the University of Pittsburgh PERU TAC (peru.pitt.edu), also a PCCD grant recipient. “...we are very excited to learn more about equine-assisted psychotherapy and its impact when treating substance use disorder,” says Marco Pugliese, MS, one of the PITT PERU Technical Assistance Center’s team members.


“There is a stigma about ‘addicts’. Many people believe that addiction is a moral problem and that people with substance use disorders are choosing to be addicted. There are numerous reasons why someone is using. More often than not, they want to quit. Mental health, past trauma, injuries that were treated with painkillers... in my opinion, SUD is a chronic health condition,” stated Cat. “Here, at STAT, we offer a weekly dose of horses in a non-judgmental environment.”


For more information please go to the STAT website www.statinc.org or call STAT at 724-593-4742.

disorder. This disease affects each and every Pennsylvanian and threatens entire communities in our commonwealth. Let’s be honest, we all know someone, a friend, a family member, a neighbor, who suffers from Substance Use Disorder. And when there are 10 deaths per day in Pennsylvania alone, there is an obvious problem.


Catherine Markosky, STAT’s Founder and Program Manager of the PCCD grant, spoke about how “horses play a very important role in addiction treatment. Horses have a heightened sensitivity to changes in a human’s emotional and mental state. Our treatment team studies horse movements and behavioral reactions during a session to help us understand what each client needs in order to achieve personal goals, recovery, and healing.” Cat is an Equine Specialist certified in the EAGALA Treatment Model. (eagala.org)


Addiction does not discriminate, says Dr. Gina L. Marchando DMFT, LMFT, CHt, and Director of Dreamlife Recovery in Donegal, PA. "Substance Use Disorders and other addictive behaviors expand across all races, cultures, genders and socio economic classes. Traditional substance use treatment, or ‘treatment as usual’ has relied exclusively on talk therapy to encourage clients to move toward sobriety. This goes against scientific-based evidence; as we know that not everyone learns the same way. Integrating alternative modalities of psychotherapy, such as equine-assisted psychotherapy, we have allowed our clients to engage in a scientifically backed intervention. EAP increases significant concepts such as spiritual connectedness, boundaries, social skills, perspective, trust, communication, developing self-concept, enhances self-confidence, builds self-efficacy, and acceptance; it increases impulse control, too, all skills that actually contribute to developing a sustainable and meaningful recovery.”


STAT’s Treatment Team explained how a horse can reflect a person’s state of being, whether they are distressed, depressed, calm, afraid, anxious… the horse-human interaction exposes emotions naturally and instinctually. And how a horse’s behavior thus helps the client gain self-awareness and establishes trust, and because most patients perceive horses as non-judgmental, a client feels invited to interact, their guard is down, and it allows for transparency. “Honesty is an essential component for recovery,” says Amanda Orvosh, Licensed Professional Counselor and an EAGALA certified practitioner at STAT. “All too often, we see that people have the knowledge and the skills to obtain and maintain sobriety, yet struggle with the first basic step of truly admitting that they have a problem. Horses are 100% honest, authentic and nonjudgmental - 100% of the time. They do not have a hidden agenda, nor do they try and manipulate or coerce others to get what they want. They offer real time feedback to our clients (and the treatment team) that helps clients have “ah-ha” moments related to barriers to their recovery. These shifts in awareness help clients practice honesty and authenticity in the moment (in the arena), which they can later practice (outside the arena) in other areas of their life. It is amazing and life-changing.”


All six of STAT’s professionals (6 all together, equine specialists and mental health providers) are certified in the EAGALA Model. STAT’s Team went on to explain that equine-assisted psychotherapy never includes riding. People instantly go to the thought of riding when they hear the word horse or horse therapy - this is not a riding program, this is psychotherapy.


The $100,000 grant will be used to support individuals with SUD who are either uninsured or who are court ordered through Pennsylvania Special Courts; such as Drug Court and Veteran Court. Catherine explained how outcome data will be collected, analyzed and reported with the help of the University of Pittsburgh PERU TAC (peru.pitt.edu), also a PCCD grant recipient. “...we are very excited to learn more about equine-assisted psychotherapy and its impact when treating substance use disorder,” says Marco Pugliese, MS, one of the PITT PERU Technical Assistance Center’s team members.


“There is a stigma about ‘addicts’. Many people believe that addiction is a moral problem and that people with substance use disorders are choosing to be addicted. There are numerous reasons why someone is using. More often than not, they want to quit. Mental health, past trauma, injuries that were treated with painkillers... in my opinion, SUD is a chronic health condition,” stated Cat. “Here, at STAT, we offer a weekly dose of horses in a non-judgmental environment.”


For more information please go to the STAT website www.statinc.org or call STAT at 724-593-4742.


"You don't need to talk. My horse knows me and doesn't judge me."

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