I've been thinking a lot about goats lately. Maybe it's this Portland goat-obsessed hipster culture, maybe its my ranch girl upbringing, or maybe it's because I know how therapeutic animals can be in my own process. Regardless, I've decided to integrate Nigerian Dwarf Goats into my counseling practice. I've always wanted to start a "therapy farm" and I am realizing I don't need an actual farm to provide therapeutic services with goats.
Ever since I was a kid in Montana I've wanted a farm with all kinds of animals and a huge garden. After I became a school counselor I thought about how amazing it would be to provide a space for kids to come and learn about sustainability, self-reliance, and a connection to nature as part of their growth into caring, compassionate, eco-conscious adults. As a school counselor I was primarily interested in prevention and spent a lot of time discovering new ways to help kids learn how to be awesome citizens in an ever-changing world with an increasing amount of technology. Part of that, I believe, is helping kids to connect with nature, and with others. The more I think about it the clearer it becomes: everyone can benefit from an increased connection with nature and with others.
As a therapist who now works with adolescents AND adults I want to help my clients feel more connected in healthy ways. That's a goal for nearly everyone who walks through my door. By integrating goats into the process I hope to help people learn more about themselves, the ways in which they're interacting with others, and meaningful ways to increase and improve connections with family, friends, community, animals, and with the earth.
As I begin this journey into Goat Therapy I will continue to keep you posted on my progress. The plan is to bring home a brother/sister pair sometime in January or February of 2018. I will be offering Goat Therapy sessions at my home studio in the West Hills of Portland starting in the spring of 2018. Keep checking back and I'll keep you updated on the progress!