What to Expect For Your First Appointment

Updated: Feb 19

Top 10 things you may want to know before coming to Unbridled Changes

When preparing for your first counseling appointment you may be feeling a variety of emotions. You may be excited about the possibility of change, you may be nervous about whether you will like your therapist, or you may be feeling discouraged about the current situation you are in. Rest assured you are not alone.

Reaching out for counseling is a brave first step in a journey of healing and we applaud you in that step.

Healing does not happen overnight, so as you step into this new experience, we invite you to give yourself grace. We are here to support you. A broken arm or a sprained ankle does not heal overnight, and your mind, emotions, and soul will not either. We are here to journey alongside you.

If you have scheduled an appointment with us, you may already know that our facility is unique from other counseling practices in that, we do not use our office. Most of our sessions take place outside because horses don’t fit well in an office. 😉

We incorporate horses, who we affectionately refer to as other team members into most sessions. Our team is Eagala certified meaning we have been educated, trained, and hold current certifications in this specific model of therapy. We will be happy to answer any questions you have when you arrive, but here are 10 things to expect when you commit to therapy at Unbridled Changes.

1. All interactions with the horses will take place with our feet on the ground, we will not be riding horses. This allows the horses to be a willing participant in the therapy process and not have to be "working."

2. Your therapy team is made up of your therapist (the people person), an equine specialist (the horse person), and the horses (with a side of some dogs or cats). You will meet all of us when you come for your first visit!

3. Close toed shoes are highly reccomended. We are on a farm. There are some things that just wouldn't feel good between your toes.

4. Every session looks different, sometimes we will be in a field with multiple horses, sometimes we will be in the arena with one. Sometimes we may even go on a hike or down to the creek. However, all sessions typically last 50 minutes and involve horses!

5. Our equine friends are uniquely different from therapy dogs in two ways: 1) their sheer size, 2) they are prey animals. When a horse is spooked, it will run, whereas dogs may often fight. Horses are always on alert for danger in their surroundings, including the people near them. So, when you show up to the farm the horse may interact with you differently depending on how you are feeling that day and how it pertains to their sense of safety.

6. We most likely will not tell you the names of the horses, because if you have a particular grudge against a person, and your favorite horse happens to have the same name, that would be quite unfortunate and may even ruin your therapeutic process for the day. Instead, we allow clients to come up with names or symbols for what, or who, the horses represent to them.

7. We are not just nice people with horses (although we are nice). We each have extensive education, training, and experience in mental health and, also happen to love horses. This type of counseling can be used to address any issues you may see a counselor for in an office.

8. What if it rains you ask? Bring a coat. In extreme conditions, like the snowstorm of Feb 2021, we will cancel sessions, otherwise we are here for you rain or shine! Bundle up in the winter and bring bottled water in the summer.

9. While we love our property and think it is beautiful too, we ask that family members who are not participating in counseling remain in their cars, or in our parking area near the picnic table. This means, please do not walk around, or try to get the horses to come to the fence to see you. Since we already covered that horses do not fit in offices, we have confidential counseling conversations out in the open air. You would not want someone meandering around the office looking at pretty pictures on the wall while you were trying to have a conversation with your therapist. That would be weird. So, we ask the same courtesy for each of our clients who are in sessions. We treat each field, hike, and interaction as if it were in a confidential setting and ask that your family members do the same.

10. Come willing to learn about yourself, and willing to be vulnerable. We are on your team and look forward to meeting you, laughing with you, crying with you, and ultimately partnering with you on your healing journey!

All the best,

Unbridled Changes Staff, Horses, and Dogs.

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