Horseman Bruce Lee (left) of Bora Ridge and psychologist David Godden of Possum Creek are advocates of equine therapy.
Horseman Bruce Lee (left) of Bora Ridge and psychologist David Godden of Possum Creek are advocates of equine therapy. Doug Eaton

Dealing with trauma

PSYCHOLOGIST David Godden is establishing what he believes is an Australian first in the treatment of trauma patients through equine therapy at his Possum Creek property.

Mr Godden, with the assistance of Bora Ridge horseman Bruce Lee, has set up the Australian Treatment Trauma Centre to deal with mental trauma, associated addiction and self-destructive behaviours.

"Our program focuses on the trauma," said Mr Godden, who works in the mental health unit at Lismore Base Hospital and has a background in drug and alcohol rehabilitation.

"Equine therapy is widely used in the United States but we believe that this program is the first in Australia to target a patient's trauma.

"It is focused on each person's individual competency and creativity, and changing the individual's relationship to the pain, building confidence and self-esteem."

Mr Godden said people were likely to return to active addiction if they were not offered the opportunity to work through personal trauma and life struggles.

"Many of our clients come to us after trying unsuccessfully to get off drugs and alcohol after attending rehabilitation," he said.

"This is because most treatment facilities treat the drug and alcohol addiction and tend to overlook the underlying trauma including depression and anxiety."

Mr Godden worked at The Buttery drug, alcohol and gambling counselling service at Binna Burra for four years.

Mr Lee, a support worker at Namatjira Haven, Alstonville, already runs public equine therapy sessions at South Ballina.

The pair hopes to expand the new service at Possum Creek to six horses, offering four-hour sessions including individual therapy for $200, which includes lunch.

Mr Godden can be contacted on 0400 888 444.



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