Welcoming Kaitlan Stephens (CSU Graduate Intern)

Kaitlan Stephens (Fall semester, 2023-Spring Semester, 2024)

I completed my bachelor’s degree in Spanish with a minor in Psychology from Auburn University in 2011.  I then moved to Spain where I worked as an English teacher and completed a master’s degree in Multicultural and Bilingual Education from Universidad de Alcala in 2013.  My interest in learning about other cultures and my professional background led me to pursue opportunities in Spain, Vermont, China, the Netherlands, and ultimately Colorado.  My decision to pursue a career change in clinical mental health counseling after nearly a decade working in education was prompted by both professional and personal experiences related to mental health.  In May of 2024, I will be graduating with a master’s degree in Counseling and Career Development with a specialization in Clinical Mental Health.  I am currently working as a graduate research assistant for a faculty member on their research related to supporting Latina breast cancer survivors and their caregivers.  In my practicum experience working with clients, I have focused on narrative therapy and techniques, and I am excited to expand on that work in my internship incorporating an arts-informed approach under the supervision of Dr. Warson.  Additionally, I have been volunteering at the Temple Grandin Equine Center for over a year supporting various equine-assisted services.  I have always been captivated by the way horses can connect with us and reflect back to us.  I look forward to diving deeper into this work with Dr. Warson.  I am thrilled to complete my internship in a setting that combines so many of my personal and professional interests, and my goal, regardless of modality or technique, is to create a space where my clients feel safe and supported while navigating their own mental health journeys. 

Honoring the Summer Solstice

Healing Pathways is pleased to be hosting a community event: Honoring the Summer Solstice with Tai Chi-Inspired Herd Meditation led by Sifu Kurtis Tilley, LMT. Come join us on the longest day of the year, June 21 at 8:57 am, and meditate through movement in the presence of horses. Donations welcome. Please contact Elizabeth@healingpathwaysllc.com for details.

A Mustang Named Roxanne

Our EMDRIA conference submission for Aug., 2023 was rejected. I’m sharing the pilot data that we plan to submit for publication–we are also including this in an upcoming HHRF grant.


Single Case Study: State Shifting and Resourcing with a Mustang named Roxanne

This single case study considers resourcing self-care and state shifting to a sense of calm with a mustang named Roxanne, using the EquiLateral™ approach to equine-assisted EMDR. Equine-Assisted EMDR (E-A EMDR) integrates Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP). There is a paucity of research on equine-assisted EMDR and this single case study comprises innovative research in this area. The researchers in the single case study, involving an N of 1, trial were trained in 2021 in the EquiLateral™ approach to equine-assisted EMDR. Our aim was to measure pre and post Heart Rate (HR) in relation to 2 resourcing interventions from our EquiLateral™ training. Our volunteer participant was a 56-year-old frontline worker who experienced symptoms of PTSD from a recent traumatic brain injury. An BAAB design (intervention-baseline, baseline-intervention) was used in this single case study: session 1. Equine-Assisted EMDR resourcing session with an equine specialist and mental health professional; session 2. Equine Assisted Psychotherapy with a mental health professional; session 3. Equine Assisted Psychotherapy with a mental health professional; and session 4.  Equine-Assisted EMDR Calm/Safe Place intervention with an equine specialist and mental health professional. What resulted from this single case study was a 10-point reduction in HR (most positive change) with the first intervention re: resourcing self-care. The second intervention noted a 5-point reduction in HR as the Equine-Assisted EMDR Calm/Safe Place, that became a session on state shifting disorientation to a sense of calm for both the mustang and participant. The findings support a method of capacity building through Equine-Assisted EMDR with respect to EMDR Phase 2: Preparation and Stabilization as well as positive resourcing. The limitations of this study consider a focus on feasibility and HR. Future research in Equine-Assisted EMDR is needed to explore the efficacy of this approach with the 8 phases of EMDR treatment.

Jenkins, S. (2021). EquiLateral: The equine assisted-EMDR protocol. (2nd ed.). Dragonfly International Counseling, LLC.

Scientific Version:

We conducted a case-study in a 56-year individual presenting with traumatic symptoms and a history of head trauma using the EquiLateral™ (i.e., EMDR-HU) approach. Sessions were described as 1) EMDR-HU resourcing session with an equine specialist and mental health professional; 2) Standard EAP with a mental health professional; 3) Standard EAP with a mental health professional; 4) EMDR-HU Calm/Safe Place intervention with an equine specialist and mental health professional. Session 1 resulted in a decrease of 10 points in overall HR. Session 2 was associated with a 5-point reduction in HR. A physical response was noted for both EAP and EMDR-HU in this case study, which is the first of its kind to establish EMDR-HU as a comparison to standard EAP.