Here Comes 2018!

Hopefully Dan’s New Year’s resolution wasn’t to be on time with updates! So ten days late, here we are with 2018.

We had a great 2017 which you can see at this link.

Here is what 2018 has in store for Healthy Strides and Macon and Piatt Counties

  • The team plans on doubling offered service hours by April. We have more clients coming in as we speak
  • Dan will be starting his job at Argenta-Oreana High School in January teaching college level psychology to high school seniors. This helps keep Dan in the mix alongside Kim who has served the school districts for years
  • Kim and Dan plan on hitting three new school districts before 2018 ends. These districts will include Moroa-Forsyth, Cerro Gordo, and Decatur
  • The team will reopen talks with the Region of Education once the weather warms to work on potentially free services backed by secondary grants
  • We will host another in-service for AO School District this year.
  • Wine and Whinnies is returning! The team aims for a return in May. Dates will be announced well in advance. Keep an eye out. Our trial run was extremely fun.
  • During the spring and summer of 2018, Healthy Strides will run a needs and potential report. If it passes muster, we will be insulating the entire barn and adding pull heaters. Doing so will assure we rarely miss a session for cold temperatures
  • In May the team will be setting up a meeting with local social workers to describe all we offer and what we do
  • Plus many more little things to help

We are quite glad to have this little company as our own. We are blessed with a great county and good school districts to back us every step of the way. See you soon for more updates.

2017 in Review

As promised we are writing briefly today to talk about what 2017 brought to Healthy Strides. It’s really easy to see why this year was so important as it was the year of the company’s inception and official opening. Let’s take a look back and see what happened in 2017!

January – First and second meetings with Kim Dan about the mission of Healthy Strides.

February – Name is chosen as Healthy Strides. We wanted to make our name modern, fresh, and to the point. We built this practice to help empower our  clients and enable them to make forward progress. An upcoming article will explain the name in more detail. Keep your eyes open!

April – Kim and Dan attend the OK Corral training in Nashville and become certified in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Equine Assisted Learning in the Camouflage training. The mission was defined as helping veterans and deployed families.

April – Logo is finalized and website is taken live.

May – Healthy Stride’s mission expands into treatment of ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorder.

May – Healthy Strides opens officially for clients on a private pay basis. Insurance credentialing begins.

June – Our professional open house was a smash hit. Representatives from Macon and Piatt county come to see what we are made of.

June – Donnette Beckett puts us on the front page of the Decatur Herald and Review. Our website hits saw a 6-fold increase from this article alone. (Link)

July – Healthy Strides launches their Autism Spectrum Disorder alternative treatment model. The mission changes!

July – Healthy Strides takes its first paying paying client.

August – Healthy Strides performs a massive update our their clinical tools to ensure focus on the client is top priority. Client portal, easy billing, and secure messaging are added.

August – Our first major breakthrough occurs when the Argenta Oreana School District invites the team to meet with the principals and social workers to discuss the needs of the district and the county.

August – Healthy Strides is accepted by Magellan and Magellan Employee Assistance Program

September – The team hit the road (a short road) to the Argenta Business Expo

September – Argenta Oreana High School teachers join the team on a blazing hot day to learn about responses to escalation of trauma, anxiety, and anger. reports were received that it was a smash hit.

September – Dan heads to the University of Illinois in Champaign Urbana to present Healthy Strides to students of Social Work and Entrepreneurship. One student interviews the staff and gives a poster presentation of the results. (Link)

September – Healthy Strides opens to a packed house for the first ever Wine and Whinnies Date Night. Horses, friends, romance, games, dinner, and smores. An amazing night!

October – Another major breakthrough! Dan secures a preliminary acceptance for 2019 for Healthy Strides to take on one intern from UIUC School of Social Work.

October – Healthy Strides announces it will accept Tricare Prime, Reserve, and Select starting January 1, 2018.

November – Healthy Strides is accepted by Blue Cross as a preferred provider.

November – Healthy Strides introduces the all-new Equine assisted Counseling program for short term counseling needs. (Link)

November – Blue Cross finalizes intentions and plans to take over Medicaid programming from Central Illinois.

December – Planning for the team’s first book is underway!

December – Dan accepts a part time position teaching college level psychology in Argenta Oreana High School


It seems like so much for one little year! Be on the lookout for the next post about what 2018 holds for Central Illinois!

Happy Holidays

Kim and Dan dropping by to offer you all a happy holiday! Stay tuned for New Year’s Eve for a blog post recapping 2017, the birth of Healthy Strides, and all we have accomplished.

Then, on January 2, The next post will give you a preview of everything 2018 has to offer. We are quite excited for that post as we have a lot to share.

See you soon!

A Healthy Strides Book?

That’s right! Dan and Kim have gotten clearance from OK Corral Series and Greg Keirsten and we have the green light. Dan and Kim will be working on coauthoring a book on the work of Healthy Strides in the new year. The book will include case studies as seen by the EAP (Dan) and the EAL (Kim) as well as basics of EAP and EAL. There will be enormous credit given to Greg as he taught us to use these magical and efficient methods to help our clients.

More to come as we figure out the structure.

Call Out to Military Spouses

Good afternoon from Healthy Strides.

We are looking for a spouse of a military member who has been deployed to take part in helping spread the word about a brand new service coming to Healthy Strides.

We are looking for 2-3 spouses who want to share their story so we can discuss the personal side of deployment alongside the statistics. If you are, or know someone who is a military spouse who has had a member deployed, and you want to take part in an interview, please email

Our requirements are simple and listed below.

  • Must be a spouse of an active, reserve, or guard service member
  • The service member has been deployed at least once, for a period of three months or more in the past three years
  • The service member must be from the five main uniformed branches of the United States. This includes United States Marine Corps, United States Army, United States Navy, United States Air Force, and United Coast Guard (at this time, we are not taking applicants for the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps)
  • Service member can be enlisted, warrant officer, or officer
  • All MOS, AFSCs, rates and ranks can apply
  • The service member does not have to be in front line or combat duty, however it is preferable if they served in a forward deployment
  • The spouse must be willing to work with Dan in a phone call or video conference via Skype, Discord, or Google Hangouts

Upon applying, Dan will look over the brief application and may ask follow up questions. If you are selected, Dan will contact you via email or phone to setup a time for the call or video conference.

The spouse HAS THE CHOICE to determine if their name will be used or if they will remain anonymous. Healthy Strides will honor either decision. The choice to remain anonymous will not effect your application nor Dan’s final decision.

Thank you for taking your time to help us spread the word!

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,