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News from:
The Center at Heron Hill

Northwest Premier Center for
Nature Based Therapy Services

Every Journey Begins With a Single Step       Winter 2015 
                                   special provider issue  
In this issue
Dear Colleagues,

Fall and Winter has been a busy time at The Center at Heron Hill!

The Center at Heron Hill continues to grow and prosper as the regions' cutting edge Ecotherapy program.  With the help of Lewis and Clark College, our dedicated staff, and Indian Health Service, we were able to serve 140 native youth from the Chemawa Indian High School in Salem Oregon.  The students were served in classrooms at the school and in nature-based therapy groups at the ranch.  It was a substantial effort by all with success that led to federal contract enabling us to continue to serve the students and expand our original program.  

In addition, we have been privileged to serve as a practicum site for the Lewis and Clark College graduate program in Eco-therapy.  Eco-therapy is a nationally recognized graduate certificate program offered at Lewis and Clark College, and we are proud to support those graduate students dedicated to this worthwhile and powerful work!

Last spring, after a huge effort, HB 2737 was reintroduced and passed in both Houses. As a result Alliance (and other clinics throughout Oregon) was reinstated as State Certified Mental Health Facility by the State of Oregon, Division of of Addictions and Mental Health Services. This allows our committed staff to serve a broad range of clients and establishes Alliance as a leader in service quality.

Furthermore, over the past few years, we have hosted several woman from CODA providing them with experiential programs including eco-therapy services at the ranch.  The participants were inspired by the experience and were impacted by the skill of our equine team and competent and capable staff.



Joyce Korschgen, LPC, EAGALA
Director, Alliance Counseling Center &
The Center at Heron Hill Equine & Nature Based Therapy & Education Program
Voices From the Land
     Insights from Nature:
Planting and the natural flow

Our eco-therapy program includes a focus on gardening and horticulture. For many of our clients earth and growing has become a distant experience. The freedom to explore inner growth through horticulture invites a cascade of meaning to the lives and people of all ages.

One of the goals of our program is to encourage clients to look for meaning in the activities we host. When the day is about gardening many useful metaphors emerge. In one group, the students were asked to plant a row of flowers. The process was involved since the ground had not been tilled and was more clay than soil. Armed with an assortment of tools they were given a task and were given some, but not all instruction. Ideas like "what makes things grow?" or "how deep?" were not simply answered but were expanded into opportunities to understand themselves and their place in the human garden. 

While others were digging holes, one student selected a small garden fork and started to prepare a spot for his plant. After watching the student use much effort to to move the soil, they were asked to reflect on the task.  The young man began to talk about how "hard and heavy" the ground was and how "getting it deep enough" took so much time. In an office setting we might ask about other things in his life that are hard and heavy so eco-therapy is similar in this way so the student was invited to explore this question as well as the question of what else does he have to "dig deep" to understand. With native American youth the answers often lead to more questions about the heavy burdens of heritage.

Today's voice from the land was all about Growing

Submitted and edited by Leah Shuyler, MA, EAGALA, LPCi

Voices From the Herd 

Insights from our equine team

Our equine assisted therapy program provides our clients a glimpse into themselves, others and their environment that can only come by connecting with a 1000 lb animal! These powerful creatures can activate a part of us that is all too silent. Words are not always the best way to speak. Horse talk with their senses.

The use of metaphor is critical to the success of EAP. Metaphors emerging from client's experience in Equine Assisted sessions can provide useful "desk top shortcuts" to effective therapeutic interventions in a number of ways. For example, horses can be "named" in a variety of ways": "Large and In Charge". "Sadness", "Spunky", "Popular", "Solitary", etc. Such names can spark deep, meaningful discussions about how the client experiences those emotional or psychological states. Similarly, metaphors arising out of horse related activities can provide communication short cuts for families or couples. For example, a horse who appears to curiously investigate something a client is doing may provide an experience of "not being alone" for the client. On the other hand, a horse who is described as "disruptive" to a client activity can trigger memories  of disruptive" times, events, or behavior patterns in self or others.

Today's voice from the land was all about Metaphors.

Submitted & Edited by Margaret Kelleher, PsyD, EAGALA Advanced

Equine/ECO Program

Demo Hosting Guest list

The Center at Heron Hill is pleased to encourage anyone interested in our Equine/Eco Programs to call and arrange a demonstration. We welcome new visitors. If you or anyone you know may be interested in attending feel free to ask them to contact us for directions. We do not have space limitations so anyone is welcome. 

Program NEWS


We are all excited about our new relationship with FAMILY CARE. We were particularly excited about it because it allows us to offer our nature-based services to at risk youth and children and families who would otherwise be uninsured and hence unable to receive much needed services.


Alliance is now fully contracted with Indian Health Service to provide on-site therapeutic services at Chemawa Indian School. This innovative approach forms therapy groups within the school day to provide intensive care while keeping students in school. Alliance licensed staff and interns are at Chemawa all day 5 days a week.


Alliance has the great pleasure of welcoming Lindsay Hatch, LPC and Cynthia Holshoe, LCSW to our staff. Lindsay and Cynthia joined us last spring and have been working tirelessly to further develop our curriculum at the Chemawa High School.

Workshops and Pro Bono Groups

We are eager to introduce our services to new providers and have scheduled many CEU eligible offerings you choose from by clicking here:         
                   Workshops at Heron Hill

In addition, if your organization of colleagues would like to schedule a demonstration, it's possible we can offer CEU's for you for a small fee.

We host a number of pro bono groups at The Center including CODA, Inc., a local residential drug and alcohol treatment facility and PEA'R, an organization supporting at-risk and homeless youth in Portland. If your organization would like to be included please contact us. 

Many of our ongoing treatment groups are looking for new members and we are always interested in forming new groups. If you have a referral for one of these groups you may be able to include a free session as part of a package of sessions.


ECO/Equine-therapy Demos Held
at Heron Hill Arabians.
Alliance Counseling offers Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) not only to our own clients but we promote EAP and ECO-psychotherapy as an adjunct to your client's individual or group therapy. Our 4, 6 or 8 session course is designed to stimulate ongoing treatment and can be arranged weekly, semi-monthly or even less frequently depending on the client's availability and tolerance for an approach with such profound impact. You can learn more about this work online at:
Services At Heron Hill or
DEMO in March

We realize that many professionals are not familiar with EAP and ECO-Psychotherapy so we offer demonstrations free of charge. The next demo is being held on Saturday, March 7th at noon. Our demos are invitation only so if you would like to attend please email us for a link to the calendar. However, we are happy to arrange an unscheduled demo for your group. We love large groups. And, no worries about the weather. As you can see from the included photo, we can work inside or out.

See our site for flyer, maps and directions or visit: 
Quick Links...

Contact Information:

There are many ways to get in touch with us. The best way is to email us at:,,

you can ask for information to be mailed to you through the website, you can call our 24 hr answering service at 1 888 202 8493 where they will connect you with us right away or you can leave a message at our main Alliance office:

Phone: 503 221 4531

We are always thrilled to hear from people who want to be included in mailings other than our newsletter. We do occasionally send out special offers or host guests either at the ranch or another location. If you want to hear about it hit the link below.

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