Equine Assisted Psychotherapy

Equine Assisted Psychotherapy



Equine Assisted Psychotherapy Services

Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) is combining horses, a licensed therapist and an equine specialist in mental health and learning to work with clients to address various individual psychotherapy treatment goals. This unique therapy provides opportunities for clients to learn about themselves and others by participating in activities with the horses, and then processing (or discussing) feelings, behaviors and patterns.  Clients may participate in activities such as:

*Spending quiet time with your horse grooming in order to explore self-care, physical needs, and emotional needs

 *Leading a horse on a pasture walk to explore mindfulness and being more in tune with your surroundings

 *Connecting with a horse at liberty to develop trust and explore the elements of developing a healthy relationship

EAP brings clients outdoors and offers an opportunity to use all senses while learning and processing through emotional challenges, which offers a much different experience than traditional talk therapy.


Equine-assisted psychotherapy provides the opportunity to work on goals such as:

  • Assertiveness
  • Confidence
  • Developing and maintaining relationships
  • Emotional awareness
  • Empathy
  • Impulse control
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Social skills
  • Trust in others
  • Trust in self

Who Can It Help?

Equine assisted psychotherapy can help all ages.  Sessions can be for individuals, groups, or families.  EAP can help with behavioral issues, Attention Deficit Disorder, anger management, conflict resolution, relationship problems, depressionanxietystresssubstance abuseeating disorders, at-risk youth, victims of abuse, those in bereavement, those lacking self-esteem, veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and people with other mental health challenges.

Why Horses?

Horses are keen observers and are sensitive to movement and emotion. They often mirror a client's behavior or emotions, conveying understanding and connection that allows the client to feel safe.

Horses ask people to be aware of their surroundings at all times.  This prompts for clients to maintain a sense of self-awareness, using the horse's behavior and interactions for feedback so the client may better process what is happening in the moment. Self-awareness is important in to the identification of patterns of behavior, and it allows clients the opportunity to think in a new way.

Equines use mostly non-vocal communication and are in-tune with human behavior. This may help clients to understand better and learn how non-verbal communication might be influencing others in their lives. In all, horses provide us with a way to see our internal landscape and modes of operation exposed. They offer us the opportunity to experience humility, compassion, and challenge - all critical elements to support self-growth and self-awareness.

Our Staff

Dr. Amanda N. Trent is excited to be part of the Dream Catchers team after recently moving back to Williamsburg. Originally from Michigan, Dr. Trent moved to Virginia Beach in 2005 to complete her graduate school training at Regent University where she received both her Master’s and Doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology. Since being licensed as a Clinical Psychologist, she has worked in private practice with children, teens, and adults, providing individual therapy, psychological testing, neurofeedback, and group therapy in various places around the state. She was the Clinical Director of the Sexual Assault Resource Agency, a community-based mental health agency and a rape crisis center.  One of her specialties is using principles of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) in her work with clients. Dr. Trent has also been trained in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, EMDR Level 1 and 2, and Sexual Identity Therapy Level 1 by M. Yarhouse.  She has received trauma training through Green Cross Academy of Traumatology and is a Compassion Fatigue Educator and Therapist. Dr. Trent is passionate about providing excellent clinical care to anyone who desires to build a life worth living, especially those with a trauma history.  

Dr. Trent will be assisted by one of our Equine Specialists in Mental Health and Learning during the guided equine activities.

How to Register

  • We are currently offering individual therapy sessions on Monday and Thursday afternoons from 2 pm to 5:45 pm.
  • Complete the equine therapy application and return it to Beth Yurkovac, Operations Manager.  CLICK HERE here for the application.
  • A staff member will contact you upon receipt of your application to schedule your appointments based on Dr. Trent’s availability.


  • Initial assessments are $200.00 and weekly individual therapy sessions are $100.00 per hour.
  • Insurance may reimburse for mental health therapy.  It is always good practice to contact your insurance company to verify your benefit coverage before beginning services.  Services are billed as individual therapy sessions.  Dream Catchers does not bill insurance companies or accept third party payment.  Clients are required to pay for services and submit requests for reimbursement to their own insurance carrier. We will provide invoices to facilitate your follow up with your insurance company. 
  • Scholarships based on financial need may be available upon further application.

You may email or call Beth Yurkovac, Operations Manager (byurkovac@dreamcatchers.org) (757-794-3262) for more information.