Every session is facilitated as a team of a licensed mental health clinician, an equine specialist, and a horse(s). A mental health clinician is there to tend to the needs of the client's mental health treatment goals. An equine specialist is there to monitor the behavior and changes in the horses. The horses are free to move and react as they
The Eagala Model is used at Forest Meadow Ranch. Eagala was one of the first to develop a concrete model with professional standards that incorporates horses into mental health treatment. Lynn Thomas, LCSW, co-founded Eagala in 1999, and with an incredible team, has continued to evolve and develop the Eagala Model.
For more information, visit www.eagala.org
Forest Meadow Ranch is nestled on 17 acres in rural Berrien Springs, MI. All sessions will take place out of doors among three acres of pasture. It’s a private setting as it is surrounded by forest with wide trails meandering through the property and forest. This peaceful setting boasts numerous Michigan woodland plants and animals.
I am a life-long horse enthusiast pursuing therapeutic work with horses as my new career path. I recently retired from a 28 year career teaching at St. Joseph Public Schools. I earned my certification by the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA) in September of 2018. I've always been passionate about horses, as I began riding at the age of six. I have trained and shown horses throughout my life.
Spending time with horses and witnessing first hand their intelligent and intuitive nature is inspiring. Horses are by nature non-judgemental and genuine in their interactions, thus making them perfect facilitators of therapy and learning sessions. Horses can teach people a great deal if we are open to listen to them. I am thrilled to combine my love of horses with my desire to continue helping people. Working as a vital part of the EAGALA team, I feel honored to be a part of each client’s journey towards healing and growth.
Photo credit to Emma Danielle Photo
Lynn is an outpatient therapist who graduated with a Master’s of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Hodges University in Ft. Myers Florida. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in psychology from Midway University in Midway, Kentucky. Since becoming a counselor she has worked extensively with trauma in children and adolescents, grief, crisis intervention and counseling for adults, children and adolescents, family and couples counseling, reunification and foster situations, intense diagnosis, substance abuse, depression and anxiety in outpatient and inpatient settings, as well as, school and home environments. Some of the therapies that Lynn has experience with include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, positive psychology, DBT, equine therapy, Motivational interviewing, trauma therapy, and group therapy. She believes in meeting the client where they are and providing a positive, enriching counseling experience that promotes healing and growth in a safe, nonjudgmental and uplifting environment. “I believe that to build a positive life we need a positive foundation, to believe in the possibilities and value ourselves”.
When she is not working Lynn loves to spend time with her kids, her granddaughter and their many animals. After spending numerous years in Florida, Lynn returned home to Michigan to be closer to her family and the beauty of Michigan and the Lakes. “To me my family is my peace, my purpose, and to be able to be home and be close to my family and use my passion to help others-I am very thankful.”