New Office Space Coming Together

In effort to add more services to Macon and Piatt Counties, Healthy strides is working on a redesign to the tack room to add an office space with chairs. We will also add a temporary window cover for privacy and a sound machine to muffle noise.

So what does this mean for Healthy Strides?

It means that upon completion, we will be able to offer standard office sessions alongside EAP. It also means we can make a hybrid EAP model for when the temperature is too cold for standard EAP services.

This is another addition that Healthy Strides is preparing to bring in order to help the population of decatur and the surrounding areas. We will update you as we get closer and have office space opened.

Introducing Equine-Assisted Counseling

Yesterday we detailed the differences between equine-assisted psychotherapy and equine-assisted learning. See this link for that post.


After some consideration, Healthy Strides has added a new tier of services called EAC (equine-assisted counseling).


What is EAC?

EAC is therapeutic in nature but is different from EAP in a few ways. EAC is meant for short term counseling to get you through tough times in life. While EAP is meant to treat mental health conditions, EAC helps you cope with difficult life stressors such as grief, loss, and change that causes excess stress. EAC can be billed to insurance companies with a few exceptions which can be discussed during your no-cost phone consultation. EAC covers the following life stressors. This list is by no means all-inclusive.

  • Grief and loss
  • Pre-marital counseling
  • Life crises
  • Problem resolution
  • Chronic pain/chronic illness
  • Phase of life changes
  • Work and school stress
  • Family caregiver support
  • Pre and post military deployment
  • And more!

Sometimes you need to work through an issue without a specific mental health condition. If that is the case, let Healthy Strides help you work through this tough phase. Call us at 217-383-0065


EAL or EAP: What Do I Do?

EAL! EAP! Team Approach! Oh my!

When you go to a traditional therapy office for counseling or therapy, there is an expectation of what you will see, hear, and do. But at the barn things are a bit different. You may have questions about what service you need to take your next healthy stride. This post will give you a brief look at the differences between EAP and EAL.

What is EAP (Equine-assisted psychotherapy)?

EAP is a process of traditional psychotherapy as you would find in the office except that the office is much larger and involves a team approach of two and four-legged therapists. As in traditional psychotherapy, the goal is to treat mental health conditions and improve functioning on a long-term basis. EAP involves professionally and academically researched and tested methods to assist clients in a variety of life stressors and mental health conditions. The treatment team includes the psychotherapist and the equine expert alongside horses.


What is EAL (Equine-assisted learning)?

EAL uses the open atmosphere of the barn and the outdoors to help clients development communication, strength, and to adopt healthy lifestyles. Unlike the psychotherapeutic model, EAL is not based in treatment methods. Instead, EAL is designed to empower. EAL does not approach direct therapy topics. The empowerment team consists of the equine expert alone, or the equine expert and the psychotherapist in combination alongside horses.


Which is right for me?

So how do you know which is right for you? This helpful checklist can offer some guidance.

EAP may be for you if…

  • You have a mental health condition
  • You have an unhealthy behavior you would like to change
  • You have unspecified feelings you want to understand or clarify


EAL may be for you if…

  • You are looking to increase your inner strength
  • You are looking to improve your communication skills
  • You want to add healthy lifestyle choices
  • You are seeking to unlock your potential
  • You want to increase self-esteem and confidence

If you are still unsure, the easiest way to find out is to call the team at 217-383-0065 and speak to the Clinical Director who will offer an absolutely pressure-free and no-cost phone consultation to help you find the answer you are looking for.

Healthy Strides returns calls or messages within 1 business day

Talk to you soon!

Letter to Healthy Strides

Dan here. I received a letter from a former client that asked to remain anonymous. This individual has a great message that people need to hear! So today I present this inspiration to Healthy Strides.

Dear Reader,

I wanted to tell you that your honesty is a great start even if you have not yet made a second step towards change. Addiction, mental illness, disability, chronic pain, and trauma all take away pieces of our spirit. These problems make it difficult to focus some days and they completely take the wind from our sails other days. Sometimes the treatment can be just as painful. Let’s not fool ourselves and pretend that therapy, be it mental or physical, is an easy and magical process where every day we climb a mountain, reach the peak, and have nonstop “ah-ha” moments. Therapy is difficult because at the core of the process you are working through something painful and you will almost invariably feel more pain before relief. Even pain of the mind follows the pattern of surgery in which you have damage that we open up to fix a muscle or bone only to find out it hurts even more after the operation. Fortunately after the first shock you can get better.

But no matter the malady there must be honesty. It sounds shocking to say this out loud, but being honest with others is rather easy. You can answers our yeses and no’s effortlessly if you give yourself the opportunity and allowance. The real challenge is being honest with ourselves. The paradox is that the harder the problem, the more difficult it is to be honest and yet the harder the problem, the more you need that honesty. The classic Alcoholics Anonymous line starts in step one when we admit that there is a power over us and that it has made our lives unmanageable. It’s the simplest statement in the world and yet it is profoundly difficult to say it.

Because to say it to out loud is to admitg that something is wrong. And yet there is so much more power than the admittance. To say it to yourself is to relieve your mind of denial and face the reality of your pain. Once you are truly honest with yourself, the healing can begin, but not before more pain. When we admit we are addicts we face the difficult decision of whether or not to enact change. When we admit we are more emotionally hurt that we originally believed, we have to face the pain and uncover things we previously left covered. When we admit to being a chronic pain patient, we face the daunting task of physical relief that can take years and still have little effect.

However, none of this letter is meant to turn you away from the healing professions. In fact, as grim as it seems this letter aims to be empowering. Here is why…

When you are honest with yourself and can truly say that a change is needed, you have taken a powerful and courageous step. You must applaud yourself for doing what many are not ready to do. You decided to face fear and challenge yourself to get better. No matter how many people I talk to, I always applaud them for taking an exceptionally difficult step to recovery. Today I applaud you. I applaud you for being honest in the face of intensity. I applaud you for the focus and guts it takes to admit that something is wrong. It does not mean you are weak. Nor does it mean you are damaged goods. It simply means you are a human who is hurting and deserves infinite empathy, compassion, and caring.

And if you have not yet made it to full honesty do not fret or think that this letter means you are lesser than those who have. It simply means you are a human who is so wrapped up that you are not yet ready to face the monumental task. You are still deserving of infinite empathy, compassion, and caring.

So if you have made it to the point where you are sick and tired of being sick and tired, please be honest and when you do, give the professionals a call and allow us take some of that load of your aching back.

With much regard and love,



Here Comes the Wine, Here Come the Whinnies!

We are about 13 hours away from date night and it’s all coming together. The weather is going to be lovely at 70 degrees without a drop of rain inside. As it cools down the fire pit will be prepared and S’mores will be head. 

Our food options have been set up

  • Main option 1: Italian pasta with cream sauce
  • Main option 2: Cheese ravioli with traditional red sauce
  • Drink options: Bottled water, soda, and iced-tea
  • Adult beverage options: Moscato, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sparkling White Wine

So without further adieu, let’s get ready for a lovely evening 

Argenta Oreana and Healthy Strides Share an Amazing Morning!

Kim and Dan can finally relax for five minutes and take a load off. The teacher in-service event took place today as Healthy Strides welcomed the Argenta-Oreana Elementary School teachers for an inservice covering anxiety, anger, escalation, self-care, and self-awareness. The show went off without a hitch and we received beautiful replies and accolades from the staff.

An old mentor once told me Dan that he works with a client for one hour per week which leaves 167 hours for his message to dissipate. Likewise, Healthy Strides gets a scant one hour to work with a child and we understand that the other 167 hours can be difficult. I’m proud to say that the teachers of Argenta-Oreana School District are rocks that add minutes and hours of stability. Their work and dedication shrink that 167 hours dramatically. They should be duly appreciated and admired for their duties. Healthy Strides is pleased to have been able to offer this in-service and a dash of self-care despite the heat! We look forward to future work with the district.




Thank you for being part of the 167 hours!