Since 2016, Harley Grace Farm & Counseling Center in Southern Pines has been helping residents of the Sandhills recover, cope, and process trauma through the use of farm-based alternative therapy.
Owner and founder Rose Yarborough believes that all people are deserving of happiness, healing, and second chances.
At Harley Grace Farm & Counseling Center, beginning therapy doesn’t have to be intimidating. The relaxed atmosphere of farm life is a stark contrast to the sterile doctor’s office many imagine when thinking of psychotherapy. Clients can talk through their emotions while relaxing on a swing, working with their hands, or handling the farm animals.
Rose Yarborough, MA, LCMHCS, CATP, JSOTS, and clinician Moriah Willis, MEd, LCMHCA, NCC, have spent years studying and practicing various psychotherapy techniques to determine what seems most effective.
The farm is currently home to four dogs, three horses, three ducks, two pigs, and a donkey. Visitors to the farm are encouraged to interact with any or all of the animals of their choosing. Each furry or feathered friend teaches mindfulness, boundaries, and coping mechanisms in their own unique way.
“Each animal has their own personality, and kind of their own area of expertise,” explained Rose Yarborough. “They each help give you a different perspective.”
Harley Grace, the horse the farm is named after, has been a therapy horse for over a decade. As with all animals on the farm, Harley Grace was a rescue that Rose took under her wing who is now dedicated to helping others. According to Rose, the horses in particular teach how to properly react to situations and recognize emotions.
Animal-based therapy is not the only form of healing offered at Harley Grace Farm & Counseling Center. Additional forms of alternative therapy include art therapy, play therapy, talk therapy, and any desired combination of the aforementioned. Patients are welcome to walk the premises with one of the clinicians, care for the animals, help with routine farm work, or just relax and enjoy the natural atmosphere.
“It appeals to people who don’t want a clinical setting,” noted Harley Grace clinician Moriah Willis. “It’s a therapeutic setting that lets you connect with nature. It’s a recipe for healing.”
Harley Grace Farm & Counseling Center is open to people from all walks of life. Victims of trauma and abuse, individuals with special needs, children, couples, families, and veterans are only a few of the many who have found help at the farm.
“We’re all about building self confidence and developing coping skills,” explained Rose. “We want to serve as a beacon of hope for those who need it most.”
Each session is tailored to fit the needs of the individual client. Detailed instructions and concrete plans are rarely set. Instead, the client can choose what activities to do or what area of the farm they would like to visit, allowing them to move at their own pace. This way, clients can safely and gently challenge their own comfort zones while moving at their own pace.
“The populations we’re passionate about working with are often underserved,” said Moriah. “We want to give them the best. We know the need is there and we are happy to help.”