Mental health therapy services expand to Sabetha

Connection Therapy brings individual, family and group therapy to rural Kansas.

Dr. Brenda Murrow of Vermillion envisions making mental healthcare accessible to rural communities, because she is aware that rural areas in Kansas have significant shortages of mental healthcare providers.

“I believe that exceptional mental healthcare should be accessible to all Kansans,” Dr. Murrow said.

According to countyhealthrankings.org, “48 percent of Kansans live in areas with a shortage of mental health providers, and two in five Kansans experience mental or emotional health challenges each year. Nemaha County is underserved at 10,230 citizens for every one mental health provider.”

Connection Therapy has offices in Waterville, St. Marys and now Sabetha, all medically underserved areas. In February 2018, they opened Connection Therapy in Waterville, which supports the Marshall County community. This year, offices were opened in Sabetha and St. Marys.

The Connection Therapy team – Dr. Murrow, Deneise Jenkins and Mariana Castaneda – have over 20 years of combined experience, and will be offering multiple services in Sabetha. These services include services for adults and children that are specialized for those who have experienced trauma, substance abuse, grief, depression, anxiety and more.

Jenkins has case management experience and provides office support. Castaneda is a Path International Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor and Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning. Additional team members include Hannah Largen; and therapists, Dr. Kellie Barton, LCP, LCAC; Lacy Hoobler, LMSW; and Cassie Gaddis, LSCSW. Largen manages operations and billing, and also has expertise with horses. 

“Now that our locations are in place, we will continue to expand our offerings, as we find new team members,” Dr. Murrow said.

2022 Expansion

Dr. Murrow specifically chose Sabetha because they plan to offer equine-assisted therapy services in the future, and those will take place in partnership with Harmony Horseman in Hiawatha.

Castaneda, Hoobler and Murrow met at a barn in Topeka where they did Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP). EAP is defined as an interactive process in which a licensed mental health professional works with a credentialed equine professional in partnership with an equine, to address psychotherapy goals set forth by the mental health professional and the client.

“We’ve worked with kids struggling in school to adults suffering from depression, grief, addiction, etc.,” Castaneda said.

In 2022, the team will gradually expand their offerings to include equines.

“In summer 2022, we will do Equine Assisted Activities – no therapy involved – for leadership and team development for businesses and schools. There are benefits for just about anyone,” Castenada said.

Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH), at pathintl.org, explains that, “since we know that emotional states in human beings also impact our physiology, it only makes sense that horses can smell or sense, using their vomeronasal organ, those changes. When the horse is responsive to the human, its behaviors can act as a large biofeedback machine, providing the client and the therapist with information regarding the client’s moods and changes within those moods. This provides a plethora of information and skill building opportunities.”

“The idea of connection informs how we do therapy,” Dr. Murrow said. “We believe great therapy involves a relatedness between us, unique in each relationship.”

Connection Therapy is located at Glacial Hills Business Resource Center in Sabetha and is available by appointment only. Contact them at 785-284-9549. You also can visit their webpage at www.connection-therapy.com, or Facebook @connectiontherapyks, for more information.

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