Laurie Baldwin, Ph.D.


A class of ’86 Aggie, Dr. Laurie Baldwin earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the
University of Houston in 1994 and started her private practice in the Bellaire area in 1995. She
works primarily with teens and adults who are having a hard time in some way, either within
themselves or within relationships. She uses her talent of connecting with people, her training
as a cognitive-behavioral psychologist, her gift of gab, and her willingness to be creative when
visualizing how to help her clients get unstuck. Laurie gives her clients a fresh perspective
and provides a nonjudgmental and supportive environment in which to explore and discuss
options and to think about different ways of approaching problem areas. She gives advice,
makes suggestions, imparts information, and tells stories, knowing that through the process of
psychotherapy, her clients will get what they need to make their lives and relationships better.

As a child, Laurie had a horse named Sunny. She always maintained that upon graduation from
Texas A & M, she wanted three things: a washer, a dryer, and a horse. The washer and dryer
came fairly easily. For her 40th birthday, Laurie got herself a red dun horse named Penny, and
that relationship has led her to seek training in the relatively new field of equine assisted learning
and psychotherapy. In partnership with Diedre Kindsfather, a horse trainer and equine specialist,
Laurie developed an equine assisted workshop called “Women Whispering.” Women who attend
this workshop are taught the basics of communicating with horses and then are turned loose in
the round pen or arena for an individual or group activity with a horse or with a herd of horses.
While each woman’s experience is unique, almost everyone walks away with some new insight
or validation provided by the horses.

When most people think about the use of horses in therapy settings, they think about therapeutic
riding, which is like physical therapy on horseback for individuals with head injuries, movement
disorders and developmental disorders. Equine assisted learning and therapy involves
individuals or groups engaging in activities where they are attempting to accomplish a task
which requires interacting with horses. Through these human and horse interactions, people
gain insights into areas such as how they approach new situations and problems, how they go
about communicating and gaining the cooperation of others (or how they don’t as the case may
be), how they use their energy and resources, how well they tolerate frustration or not knowing,
and how effectively they work together as a group. This learning, which can be powerful and
intense, takes place in the safe and supportive environment created by Laurie at her 7 acre
property called Red Dun Ranch, located within Houston’s city limits.

This approach to therapy and personal development is unique because it is not only experiential,
but it is also dynamic. That is, the herd reflects back to participants what their body languages
are communicating. This approach also is powerful because it creates an image, like a video, of
emotions and movements that people recall in the future when confronted with a situation that
reminds them of being with the horses. Our horses often remind our clients of other important
human relationships, and the activities we set up often simulate real life difficulties and demands.
As a result, our workshop participants frequently have ‘a-ha’ moments of clarity based on how
they approach the task at hand and based on how the horses respond, whether it be cooperatively
or not.

Most importantly, this approach is fun and effective. Laurie’s clients ‘get it,’ and walk away
having had a great time playing with horses and with memories of their participation which
continue to give them something to think about for days to come.

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