By Collin Breaux | Twitter: @collin_breaux
A therapy session at Walk Intuit in San Juan Capistrano might involve leading a horse around an outdoor area while discussing grief, rejection, and trauma.
Walk Intuit is a nonprofit focused on mental health and wellness, and it plans to expand into additional office space on June 1 that will be next to its current office space on Paseo Espada. The nonprofit’s equine therapy is held at another location in San Juan, and it also has a location in Yorba Linda.
“We had a pilot session that we did. It was about 10 weeks long, and we had clients that ranged in age from 12 to 16,” said Cassandra Seidler, a staff social worker with Walk Intuit, about their work with young people. “I wanted to do something different, because I’ve been working with teenagers for a really long time, and I’ve noticed they don’t like mental health care. They feel judged, left out, unheard. What we do is I created a space for activities for them where they can feel seen and heard, and we just do things they want to do.”
Those activities can include learning about street art, photographic collages, and the importance of volunteering. Walk Intuit is preparing to open a full-time safe space for kids to learn coping mechanisms, and it is asking for the public’s help in making the space low-cost or even free—through donations or other measures.
“We received 100% positive feedback from the teens and their parents (from the trial program), and every participant has asked to return when the program begins again,” Seidler said.
Walk Intuit also offers other clinic services, including art therapy, sound therapy, guided meditation, breathing exercises, community groups, and retreats. Along with helping kids, they also help adults—including people in or coming out of substance abuse recovery programs.
“We are seeing an alarming rate of teens in our community making what can become deadly decisions, due to a lack of spaces to meet and mingle with peers where there are no drugs or alcohol involved,” Seidler said. “Approximately 75% of our current client caseloads are via word-of-mouth, and the rest hear about us from community spaces or other referral sources.”
Visit walkintuit.com for more information.
Collin Breaux covers San Juan Capistrano and other South Orange County news as the City Editor for The Capistrano Dispatch. Before moving to California, he covered Hurricane Michael, politics and education in Panama City, Florida. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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