Therapist gives up office for horse ranch in an attempt to help more kids

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POSTED: Sunday, May 20, 2012 - 2:00pm

UPDATED: Sunday, May 20, 2012 - 2:04pm

Bettina Shultz-Jobe ditched her office several years ago.

You can now find the licensed therapist on a ranch sporting a pair of cowboy boots.

She wanted to try her hand at helping children who have survived trauma in a different way.

"Often in therapy what we do as counselors is we create this wonderful peaceful, serene environment, blue walls, nice music playing, aromatherapy to prevent any meltdown at all," she says.

She and her husband work for Spirit Reins, a nonprofit organization that helps kids through involvement with horses.

Each child gets to choose a horse they want to work with.

"When they're out there with that horse, that's a real relationship they're trying to deal with. And the same problems are going to come up that come up in all the relationships, and we get to help them figure out how to deal with those problems while they're in them," says Tim Jobe.

"Our kids are learning frustration tolerance and stress tolerance," adds Bettina. "'How do I control when I get really mad or angry or sad? What do I do so I manage those feelings instead of those feelings managing me.'"

The children bring a range of emotional, behavioral and learning issues that can lead to problems at home and school.

The majority of kids that come to Spirit Reins have spent time in the foster care system.

The therapy is in high demand.

Spirit Reins serves about 200 children and their families per year at its Liberty Hill, Texas location, and there is a waiting list to get in.

Studies have shown children left untreated have a higher risk of entering the juvenile justice system, and can face a lifetime of academic failure and poverty.

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