Unique therapy helps veterans with PTSD


BENTONVILLE, Ark (KNWA/KFTA) – Corral Coaching and Counseling is a unique way to seek mental health assistance. He provides traditional counseling as well as equine assisted psychotherapy.

Kim Copps, owner of Corral Coaching and Counseling, is a Certified Clinical Social Worker. She worked at the VA Medical System and, after five years of working with PTSD patients, opened her private practice.

“During my time at the VA, I am so grateful for the training that has sent me all over the country. Still, sitting in a small office, for some people with PTSD, is a lot. We’re starting to see that there are a lot of different ways to deal with trauma,” Copps said.

She still has a contract with the VA and also helps veterans who are part of the non-profit Sheep Dog Impact Assistance.

Working with veterans to overcome PTSD and anxiety disorders is a big part of the work Copps does regularly. Equine therapy works by establishing bonds between clients and horses.

According to Copps, horses can sense the emotions of humans. If an individual is feeling anxious or stressed, horses can sense that emotion and react. By working with horses, people are able to take control of their triggers and use what they learn in their personal lives.

“We start with mindfulness. It helps people learn to calm their bodies. If I can calm my body here, I can call my body if I have road rage. If driving is an issue for you, during holidays like the 4th of July, we can talk and anticipate some of these trauma triggers,” Copps said.

Michael Nimmo is a veteran and volunteer with Sheep Dog Impact Assistance. He joined the army in 2003 and was deployed to Iraq. Upon his return, he struggled to readjust after seeing an abundance of fights.

“I struggled a lot. Drugs, alcohol, it was my life. It was quite a mess, to the point that my family and friends didn’t want anything to do with me anymore,” Nimmo said.

Nimmo turned to the VA and was able to get help. Another thing that helped him a lot was equine therapy.

“There is something to be said for walking around with a 4000 pound animal. It doesn’t answer me. When I feel stress, it smells of my stress. When I’m nervous, he feels nervous. When I’m calm, he’s calm,” Nimmo said.

From there, Nimmo got involved with Sheep Dog Impact Assistance and became an employee and eventually got a job at Tyson Foods in Springdale. He reflects on how far he has come since trying to find help.

“It allowed me to succeed in life. It allowed me to grow in my life. It’s allowed me to take life to the next level and really realize my full potential, and for that I’m eternally grateful,” Nimmo said.

Part of equine therapy is finding peace of mind and a way forward after experiencing trauma or other mental health issues. Copps said that for some veterans, the relationship established with their horse could be their first healthy relationship since experiencing a traumatic event.

As a veteran, Nimmo said finding purpose after returning from deployment can be key. Even then, sometimes more help from the professionals is needed.

“The unfortunate thing is that veterans tend to think they can just suck. They wait for a chaotic moment to happen in their lives and everything to explode. Then it’s a meltdown,” Nimmo said.

Copps stressed that it’s never too late for anyone to seek therapy.

“Veterans who suffered trauma in their lives many, many years ago can still seek treatment and make changes. The brain is changing. Mental health is an open and changing way for people to get help for themselves and the people who care for them. Horses are an additional way to experience that,” Copps said.

Copps doesn’t just serve veterans. His business caters to both individuals and families. Her specialties include stress and anxiety management, addiction recovery, veterans rehabilitation, PTSD and relationship management. More information about Corral Coaching and Counseling can be found here.


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