In the summer of 2012 I was on a family vacation doing what most people do when they are on holidays - sitting around! My boyfriend's little sister was next to me and closed the last page of her book with a loud exhale. "Well, that was intense." She left the book on the couch. Never really losing myself in books, I thought I might be occupied for 15 minutes before tiring of the slow plot line and continuing to stare at the gecko in the corner of the room. I was wrong.
The story of Jaycee Lee Dugard being kidnapped at the age of 11 and held captive for 18 years was gripping, well written, and, she was right... intense! I found myself reading throughout the night, and the next day, and the next night. It was around 4am when I reached page 249, the chapter named "Therapeutic Healing with a Twist". I was a third year Psychology student at the time, and was admittedly feeling like I'd chosen the wrong career path. The thought of sitting in a small windowless office talking to people about how they felt made my teeth grind. Nevertheless, my interest was sparked.
The 'Twist' was that the therapist involved horses in the sessions. As a horse lover - and when I say horse lover I really mean that I was the crazy horse obsessed girl in school who tried to saddle up the dog and click her tongue at people when they were moving too slow - I took a moment to gather my thoughts. Psychologists don't have to sit in an office all day? They can work outside? And spend all day with horses? It sounded too good to be true. I rushed through the final few chapters and as soon as I heard my family waking up, I announced that I would dedicate my life to helping people heal with horses.
My four year journey since then has been full of worldly adventures and opportunities, of successes and failures, tears of joy and tears of frustration, moments when I have felt like giving up, and moments of looking into a clients eyes and seeing a change in their lives that couldn't have happened without the horses.
I just finished reading Jaycee Lee Dugard's second book, Freedom - a gift from a very special person who remembered this story - and I am more proud than ever to be a part of this growing community.
Thank you Dr. Rebecca Bailey, PhD - Transitioning Families for the work you do.
Thank you Jaycee Lee Dugard for sharing your story.
From the dark there came light.
Founder / Psychologist
Samantha Tassini, Psychologist and Founder of HEAL Psychology shares her experience as a therapist and in helping people heal with horses.