Carmel Magazine

Carmel Magazine HO15

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Magnelli, a clinical psy- c hotherapist formerly at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, a nd in practice for 40 years, has spent the last 13 of them dividing time b etween his office in Carmel and out in the sunshine with the horses through his Horsepower Program. "Being with the hors- es is like breathing in oxygen," he says. Magnelli's wife Nancy, a psychiatric nurse, and daughter, Vanessa Howard, also work with the therapy program, and the Magnellis wrote a manual on the program that has been published in 49 countries. Cer tified through EAGALA, or Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association, Magnelli assists ever yone from parents to couples to chil- dren and teens with issues ranging from post-traumatic stress disorder to anxiety. " We cover the whole spectrum of psychothera- py," he says. "Many times w e rapidly address the emotional struggles. We have statistical data that s hows significant change as a function of five two-hour sessions. Stress… distress and somatic concerns all improving in 10 hours." Exploring therapeutic issues alongside the hors- es is, Magnelli says, a per- fect fit. Horses are particularly sensitive to emotions: the largest part of their brain is the limbic system, the emotional center of the body. To survive from predators, horses developed a keen awareness of dan- ger and Magnelli explains, emotional congruence. For example, a person plastering a smile on their face but with malicious intent will send a horse into high alert. When it's time for someone to come face to face with their 108 C A R M E L M A G A Z I N E • H O L I D A Y 2 0 1 5 Nancy Magnelli (above right), a psychiatric nurse, helps run the Horsepower program with husband Dr. Rob Magnelli and daughter Vanessa Howard. Dr. Rob Magnelli, a clinical psychotherapist in practice for 40 years and a lifelong horse enthusiast, runs Horsepower, a psychotherapy program that assists all ages with identifying and releasing negative emotions. Participants interact with but do not ride the horses.

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