SMWC Launches a New Minor in Equine Therapy, by Claire Dorotik

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC) is pretty innovative. But then again, so is equine therapy. Perhaps this is why SMWC just launched a new minor in equine therapy.

According to Janet Clark, Ph.D., vice president of academic affairs, the human equine-facilitated minor, which was developed by the department of social sciences and the department of equine studies, allows students to be well prepared for a meaningful career in equine work.

“This unique minor is a natural extension of SMWC’s strengths,” Clark said. “Capitalizing on our nationally renowned equine program and excellent social sciences program creates a powerful combination for delivering another program of distinction. Our students care deeply about service to others and this new minor gives them another outlet to make a difference.”

The minor includes emphasis in one of three areas, mental health, education or organizational leadership, and allows students to apply the equine therapy principles and practices to their own particular field. The minor will complement any number of majors offered at SMWC, including, education, equine studies, human resource management, and psychology.

“We are excited about teaching in new ways. This minor emphasizes leadership and applied skills, transcending disciplinary boundaries,” said Christine Wilkey, associate professor of human services. “This program will develop skills that our graduates can take with them anywhere they go.”

The minor utilizes on the ground techniques and is designed to be helpful with at risk youth, addictions, trauma, PTSD, and eating disorders.

Additionally, “students will master problem solving, leadership, and communication skills, and will deepen their understanding of individuals and groups,” said Wilkey.

Of course those of us in the equine field are very excited to see SMWC recognizing the value of equine work via this new program. However, most likely none will be as excited as the patients that can benefit from a little horse time.

Claire Dorotik LMFT

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