Teenagers with Behaviors or At-Risk Teens


Why is my teen having so many problems at school and home?


It is common for teens to start rebelling between the ages of 13 and 19. They start staying out later than they should and are more likely to listen to their friends than their parents. Some parents say they feel like their teen is not even the same child they have been raising the past several years. Parents struggle with the balance of controlling their child so they do not get hurt, but also letting their child learn from their mistakes. Some teens begin experimenting with drugs, sex, and may even commit serious crimes at this stage. Teenagers are at a transitional stage of development existing between childhood and adulthood. This is a very confusing time for your child and they do not fully understand how to be the obedient loving child you wish they were and the independent adult they want to be.


How does HAT help my teen become a better person?


HAT uses the relationship between horses and your child to form a new way of regulating emotions and behaviors for your teen. HAT providers place your child in various activities and therapeutic scenarios with their horse partner to help your child learn new empathetic patterns and understanding relationships. Because the relationship with the horse is new, different, and sometimes scary, your teen is engaged and excited to participate. Riding horses is seemingly dangerous and appeals to the teen’s desire for adventure and excitement. By the time your teen realizes what they are doing is relatively safe and the excitement wears off, they are already invested in the relationship with the horse and have begun to realize the positive changes in their personal relationships and life as a whole. Horses give very honest feedback to your teen, so if your teen is showing aggressive body language and verbal tones, the horse will react with fear and recoil. If your teen is shy and meek, the horse will react with leadership and encourage your teen to be more willing and open. The job of the horse is to help your child learn the give and take of a productive healthy relationship , how to be empathetic to another being’s feelings, be honest and open, experience vulnerability, overcome anxiety and instill self-confidence with humility without arrogance.


I really want to try Horse Assisted Therapy (HAT), but is it safe?


Paradise Ranch has an extensive training program for HAT providers and horses. Paradise Ranch horses are selected based on their personality, attitude, and desire to work with children. Our horse handlers and providers spend years studying horse behavior and natural training techniques. Our providers understand how to read the horse’s behaviors and know what the horse is saying to the people around the horse. Also, providers take cues from your teen’s body language and verbal tones to help your teen understand what the horse is “hearing” from tone and body position of your teen. The horses are trained to never kick, bite, or show any aggression towards humans. This makes our program one of the safest and most effective horse programs.


How long does the HAT process take?


Every child is different in their needs, experiences, and life challenges. HAT providers take this into consideration when developing the treatment plan for your teen and assess progress every 90 days. Some teens benefit from weekly sessions while teens that have been in the program for several months see continued success through bi-weekly or once a month sessions. Generally, sessions start frequently and are more intense and as your teen improves in behavior and attitude, the intensity and frequency slows down. We encourage you to take the program one day at a time and before you know it, your teen will be a fresh, happy and productive version of their former self.


Does Paradise Ranch take insurance?


Paradise Ranch does currently take fee for service (FFS) Medicaid for medically necessary treatment. This includes psychosocial rehabilitation (PSR) and family therapy. The process for this treatment is a little different from HAT and requires annual assessments and a mental health diagnosis. Talk to your in-take provider if you think this is an option for your family. Additional programs may be available through the court system or parole. Talk to your judge or parole/probation officer if you think HAT may be an option for you.


How do I start HAT sessions?


Call 702-515-7117 to schedule your evaluation appointment. During this appointment you will fill out all the necessary paperwork and meet your in-take provider. Your provider will give you a full tour of the facility, introduce you to all the horses, and answer any questions you have about the HAT program. Treatment is a team effort, so your teen is welcome at the appointment and is invited to provide feedback during the appointment. This appointment is when we establish general goals and objectives for your child. Make sure to wear closed toed shoes and pants. No sandals, flip-flops, crocs, etc. 

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