Youth & Adolescents

Equine Facilitated Therapy is especially effective for youth of all ages.  Especially beneficial for youth that are resistant  to treatment because it's not an office-based intervention, experiential, and self-directed.  "It doesn't feel like therapy!"


EFMHL does not require youth to talk about their thoughts and feelings. It allows them to try out new behaviors and get feedback from an unbiased, nonjudgemental, connected relationship with a horse.


At NW Hearts United, we work with children and teenagers who are struggling to thrive by supporting youth and their families in dealing with a variety of childhood behavioral problems, mental health issues, and learning difficulties.  For Family Support visit our Re-UNITED Programs page. 


Visit our Services page for more information or Contact us to set up your first session.


No horse experience necessary.


Issues Addressed:

  • Impulsivity

  • Poor decision making

  • Difficulty handling frustration

  • Argumentative behavior

  • Difficulty accepting responsibility


Adjudicated & Justice Involved Youth

When behavioral problems experienced by youth are serious enough that a child becomes involved in the legal system, help is needed.  NW Hearts United has worked closely for many years with Snohomish County Behavioral Health Department and Denny Juvenile Justice Center to provide counseling services for youth and their families. Sliding scale and scholarship opportunities are available for qualifying youth.  

Who benefits from these services?   Justice Involved and ARY petition youth. Includes youth involved in diversion or probation and those that have been unable to meet requirements creating repeated violations, recidivism and/or detention admissions.


Where?  All of NW Hearts United's location in the Upper Puget Sound region, WA. Snohomish, Skagit, Whatcom Counties. 


How?   Talk to probation officer, counselor, therapist, parents,

and Denny Juvenile Justice counselor, Laura Mote 425-388-7831 for more information.

What?  Learning and Therapy in new and different ways:

  • Learning self-regulation strategies.

  • Developing positive ways of expressing needs.

  • Learning to deal successfully with stressful situations.

  • Trauma recovery.

  • Exploring healthy inter-relational skills.

  • Increasing compassion.

  • Preventing substance use and other unhealthy coping skills.

  • Providing a sense of purpose and hope.

  • 12 weekly One hour individual and small group weekly sessions.

Visit our Services page for more information or Contact us to set up your first session.


No horse experience necessary.

The Results of the DJJC Program in the past two years:

Overall detention rates of participating youth have decreased substantially or have been eliminated altogether.


Youth that have attended more than two sessions have seen reduced parole violations and although they have occasionally continued to run, we are seeing them return for help more quickly than in the past- prior to receiving EFMHL support.


One mom reported that usually her daughter was gone for an average of 2 weeks on a regular basis and had to be arrested to return but since being a part of the program, she has run one time and it was only overnight with her returning on her own.


Another youth self-reported that he stayed clean longer than he has before so he could continue to come to the horse program.


Assessments administered to participants showed:

  • A a significant decrease in anxiety, depression,

  • Increases in feelings of self-worth, ability to focus, hope for the future,

  • Verbalizing needs,

  • Setting healthy boundaries,

  • Family engagement and

  • Goal setting


Overall, through processing in session with youth, they continue to report:

  • Awareness about shifts in their perspective of stress management,

  • The need to regulate their energy, empathy, staying grounded,

  • Recognizing the signs of anxiety and anxiety management techniques, and

  • Other personal insights that are then discussed metaphorically as tools to apply to other parts of their lives.


Families have overall reported that they see a significant amount of re-engagement and cooperation from the youth in the home environment, an overall hopefulness and joy in them, increased self-care, and an overall enthusiasm for things vs. the shutdown, isolated child they were dealing with prior to service.