Mountain Valley is engaged in a new program through the Upper Valley Stewardship Center.  The UVSC is expanding their Equestrian Services Program and enhancing their approach to a more intentionally therapeutic model.  Karuna Rockwell has been hired to develop the program in this new direction. Karuna has an extensive background in Equine Experience Therapy and is an innovator in this field of therapy, which is also known as Equine Assisted Psychotherapy.  Karuna has a masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, and is a Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor through PATH Intl.  She aims to facilitate relationships with the Mountain Valley residents and horses that assist the students in their therapeutic goals.  She will be working closely with the therapists.  Each therapist will have a weekly session to bring his or her residents for an Equine Experience Therapy session.  Horses, as prey who live in herds, are very sensitive to the emotional states of those around them, so they can act as mirrors for the emotional process of the humans with whom they interact. The role of the Equine Assisted Therapist is to highlight these instances of mirroring in the moment to aid in self awareness. Working with the horses also offers many opportunities to create metaphors for other issues in a person’s life.  Overall, horses are nonjudgemental, relational creatures with a strong grounding presence who physically are large and majestic. Building relationships with these animals can be a very empowering experience.