Doing the Right Thing: CHAPS Academy

SHIOCTON, Wis. (WFRV) - Each year nearly one in five Americans seek treatment for mental health concerns. 

But, traditional therapy is not the answer for everyone.

"Horses are not judgmental and they are going to accept you fully" says Kristin Lowe, Executive Director of CHAPS Academy. 

That immediate comfort level is allowing people to find healing at the academy. 

"We see clients struggling with anxiety, depression, trauma" Lowe explains. "We use creative approaches in order to help them heal". 

CHAPS was started in 2004 as an alternative for kids who were not progressing in traditional office therapy sessions. "What we can accomplish sometimes in one equine session can take a long time in traditional therapy" she says. 

Now, in addition to serving kids as young as four, CHAPS helps adults. They are a fully licensed mental health clinic. 

“Traditional therapy works great for a lot of people and then sometimes not. You want to try the fit the works best for you” Lowe says. 

Seven horses play a role in the process. According to Lowe “They help us trust, build our problem solving skills, communication”. 

While the horse program is the headliner for CHAPS, they use other creative approaches to connect with clients including art therapy, yoga, even sometimes music therapy. 

According to Lowe “We get a lot of our referral from other mental health clinics that do not see success with the clients we see. A lot of our clients just do not do well with traditional therapy”. 

There is no waiting list. Clients can meet with the CHAPS team within days of their first call. 

CHAPS is a non-profit that relies on community support to continue serving the area. “We do bill insurance but with the low reimbursement rates it is just not enough. We see clients who are on Badger Care and so we rely on the community for that support” Lowe says. “Mental health in the Fox Cities and Brown County is really supported and we want to keep that going”. 

To find out more about CHAPS click here: http://www.chapsacademy.org/


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