Thursday, May 16, 2019

First Responders, Trauma, and Fighting Your Way Back Out

Some things are too important for subtle hints and polite suggestions. This is one of those things. Trauma has always been with us but it is only in the recent past that we have begun to remotely understand the impact that trauma has on human health and happiness.

We are entering our seventh year of providing weekly session for those who are in the inpatient PTSD program at our local Veterans Hospital. We use horses to help participants understand the impact that severe trauma can have on one's reaction to a variety of stimuli.

In short, humans and other large mammal predators share many common body language cues and, more importantly. share a strong drive for autonomy. Severely traumatized people and  prey animals who live in herds often share many common body language cues and, more importantly, share a strong need for security.

While a focal point of the sessions is communication and understanding the extreme need for security a secondary point is nearly as important-- using the horse to learn to regain the ability to trust.

Let me be blunt. For over twenty years I have been prosecuting sexual assault, molestation cases, and crimes against children. I have taken on much of the trauma that the victims relive throughout the process. My parents were among the earliest members of our local volunteer rescue squad.  I understand what first responders often find when they respond to a call. We have a very small office and I work very closely with law enforcement.  I know the toll that some of these cases take on them.

We offer free hands on sessions for first responders who are working their way through the trauma that their jobs bring upon them. Don't worry if you are afraid of large animals--in fact that will make the session even better. Don't worry if you don't know how to ride--there is no riding involved.

Most of all, don't get in your head that this must be some kind of touchy-feely kind of thing where we all get together and learn to cry while holding each other's hand. NO--that is not how this works.

Look at the picture above this post. That is me and my bull. Do I look touchy or feely to you?

We are located in Smithfield Virginia. We are delighted to set up a session for first responders. I have participated in many of these sessions. They matter. They matter so much that we don't charge a penny for them.

To schedule a session send me an email at

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