Gateway Family Services of Illinois provides Trauma-Focused Equine Assisted Psychotherapy to improve relationships and address challenging behaviors.  Gateway utilizes Natural Lifemanship, a Trauma-Focused Equine Assisted Psychotherapy model, based on the neuroscience of human and horse brain development, the impact of trauma, and the role of relationships in recovery and healing.  Sessions incorporate science-based principles for building healthy, connected relationships aimed to help individuals and families.  This comprehensive approach addresses the impact of trauma that has taken place throughout one’s development to help individuals and families achieve success in all arenas of their lives.     

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Gateway Family Services incorporates mounted work in sessions to assist individuals and families with improving self-regulation skills and increasing intimacy between horse and human, as well as providing an opportunity to process trauma.  According to Natural Lifemanship, “Studies show the functionality of the brain in people who have experienced trauma (such as abuse, neglect, combat, or natural disasters) is often compromised due to disorganization of connections in the brain. This often results in individuals struggling with emotional regulation and impulse control and the ability to appropriately handle even minimal stress.” Natural Lifemanship utilizes the rhythmic, patterned, repetitive movement inherent in riding a horse to create, increase and reorganize connections in the brain, thereby increasing the brain’s ability for the management of emotions and impulse control. The horse is able to provide the rhythm required to effectively heal the impact of trauma on the brain until the client is able to independently provide that rhythm.