ROCHESTER, Minn. - It turns out if you have anxiety, you're not alone. In fact, a recent survey revealed that anxiety in America has risen with most people worrying about finances and health. According to the American Psychiatric Association 39-percent of people said they feel more anxious now than a year ago.
While many therapists offices offer talk therapy there is a place in Rochester that incorporates animals.
Finding a psychotherapist that Brianne Olson clicked with was a process, she met with five different counselors before connecting to Kit Muellner, at Hope Ranch.
"I remember that first session, I felt like I connected with her right away. I told her a lot of things that I hadn't told any other previous therapists," said client Brianne Olson.
Kit Muellner owns Hope Ranch, which offers Equine assisted learning activities and psychotherapy.
"Often we will get people referred to us after they have not been successful in more traditional approaches," explained Muellner.
When you arrive at Hope Ranch you're greeted at the door by a wagging tail. A dog, multiple cats, and five horses assist in the animal therapy. Having animals at the facility helped Olson feel more comfortable.
"Her old therapy dog Honey, I was super connected to. I would spend a lot of my sessions on the floor either brushing her, massaging her back or just petting her, especially if a particular session was really rough," explained Olson.
Animal assisted therapy has grown in popularity in the past few years.
"There still is unfortunately quite a lot of stigma about mental health diagnosis and the animals don't judge, none of them do and so people feel completely accepted," said Muellner.
Hope Ranch also offers Equine Assisted Learning, in which participants learn about themselves by taking part in an activity with the horses and then discussing their feelings, behaviors and patterns.
"Their ability to tune in to what's going on and the people that we are working with is what makes them such powerful partners in therapy," said Muellner.
When Olson began therapy around 10-years ago at Hope Ranch, she participated in some scenarios with a horse.
"A lot of the issues that were a lot bigger at the time, using the horses to work through those helped immensely," said Olson.
Olson said her main struggle has always been depression.
"My biggest issue that I came here to work on was my depression. I've had depression most of my life and there were times where it was quite literally debilitating. I couldn't get out of bed, I wasn't showering," said Olson.
Mental illnesses are quite common. Nearly 1 in 5 adults lives with a mental illness, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. As of 2016, nearly 45-million people are living with a mental imbalance.
Olson tells KIMT she has seen a lot of success with therapy.
"I never used to tell anybody anything was bothering me. I used to say I'm fine, I'm ok. Now I'm much more assertive and able to handle confrontation with a lot more confidence... Feeling a lot more confidence just in general," said Olson.
Hope Ranch also specializes in Equine assisted personal growth workshops and corporate team building.