Barbara is certified by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl) as a CTRI and Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning (ESMHL). She served on the Board of Directors of the Equine Facilitated Mental Health Association (EFMHA) for six years (1996-2002), presented nationally and regionally on both expressive arts therapies and Equine Assisted Services (EAS) (1997-2018), coauthored contributing chapters on the role of the equine in animal-assisted interactions in the Handbook on animal-assisted therapy: Foundations and guidelines for animal-assisted interventions (Fine, ed., 2015; 2019), contributed articles to both equine facilitated mental health literature (Moreau & McDaniel, 2000) and the EAS trade (Strides, Spring, 2003) and evaluated animals for animal assisted interactions as a licensed Pet Partners Team Evaluator for Delta Society (1997-1999).
Barbara’s masters’ thesis from Lesley University (1996) focused on the integration of the arts and animals with a concentration on EAS. Her doctoral work (2013) from Northcentral University explored the efficacy of including horses in psychotherapy with military personnel experiencing combat trauma. As a High Hopes staff member involved in the education and training of instructors since 1997, Barbara has lectured or co-lectured on psychosocial and behavioral issues describing how mental health changes can be addressed in EAS. As a licensed professional counselor in Connecticut (2007), Barbara has included visual and performing arts, music, journaling, and EAS in the therapeutic process since 1996. She has found that activities such as drawing, writing, movement, music, and photography allow participants to express their experience of EAS in a holistic manner.
Until recently, Barbara owned, housed, and loved her own horses for 20 years.