Promoting connectivity between the rider and Apple inside the arena.

If you're one of the many people who have tried talk therapy and felt like something was missing and struggled to find meaningful results - you're not alone.

In fact, that's the main reason Dr. Cheryl Meola founded Mane Source Counseling.

During her Ph.D. studies, she had read all of the research into Equine-Assisted Services and its incredible outcomes. Where talk therapy alone was failing clients, they saw results from EAS! Cheryl knew it was the perfect blend of her two life-long passions: horsemanship and helping humanity. Unfortunately, there weren’t any local opportunities for this unique blend of activities.

Therefore after obtaining her Ph.D. from ECU, she forged her own opportunity for herself and her clients. Partnering up with Malaika Albrecht and Freckles Farm, she met with Mane Source Counseling’s first client and worked with Bonita and Apple. It was the perfect client, perfect horse partnership, even perfect weather! Immediately after the first session, Cheryl knew she was onto something.

And she was not wrong, as word began to spread about Mane Source Counseling’s phenomenal service and stellar results. Soon Cheryl had an overwhelming amount referrals and realized she needed to expand. Since its humble beginnings, three more therapists have joined, each bringing their own brilliance to the team and specializing in different therapeutic areas.

The two-legged team isn’t the only one that grew! Mane Source Counseling has many different animal co-therapists now, including four horses, two mini-horses, a mini-donkey, chickens, rabbits, and more! Click below to meet the herd.

Common Life Challenges our Participants face

  • ADHD
  • Anxiety Issues
  • Autism
  • Behavioral Issues
  • Depression
  • Divorce, Marriage, and Other
  • Life Transitions
  • Family Conflict
  • Grief or Loss
  • Impulsivity
  • Parenting Struggles
  • Personal Skills Development
  • Professional Skills Enhancement
  • Self-esteem and Self-awareness Development
Working on both trust and musicianship with Louie.

What Can Equine-Assisted Services Do For You?

More importantly, how can working with our herd help your overall well-being? Equine-assisted services (EAS) has taken off in popularity within recent years, being touted as “the gateway for healthy relationships”. With good reason too as it shows incredible benefits such as increased confidence, impulse control, self-esteem, social skills, and self-acceptance. Read below for more EAS benefits.

Enjoying a sleepy, sunny morning with Bonita.

Who can benefit from EAS?

Short answer: everyone! You don’t need to have a diagnosed disorder to learn about yourself and develop new skills through EAS. In fact, if you’re simply looking for personal growth in any aspect of your life, equine-assisted services can help.

If you’re looking to…

  • Grasp a deeper understanding of self
  • Identify your goals and values
  • Obtain the right skills for enhancing relationships
  • Learn resources and skills to deal with the issues that brought you to seek help
  • Manage problem areas in your personal life (ex: anger, stress, depression, focus)
  • Create new patterns of behavior for yourself
  • Change your problem-solving perspective
  • Boost your self-esteem and confidence
  • Help yourself live a value-filled life

Meet Our Team

Dr. Cheryl Meola
Cheryl is the founder of Mane Source Counseling and a founder of Horses and HEALTH Inc. Her love of horses began at a very early age. Due to this, her professional career started in the horse industry. As a teenager she worked as a horse trainer and riding instructor/coach. After her education in the field of counseling, she integrated her experience with horses into helping people. Through EAS, she helped her clients meet their personal and professional goals through relational work with horses. She identifies the natural therapeutic aspects of the horse-human relationship. Using this relationship helps each person experience a shift in their mindset and reach their individual goals.
Becca Norman
Becca Norman is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor and a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Associate. She graduated from East Carolina University with a Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling and a certificate in Military and Civilian Trauma Studies. Becca uses a primarily strengths-based and person-centered approach but tailors each session to the specific needs of each client. She sometimes incorporates unique modalities such as animal-assisted therapy (animals as co-therapists) and art therapy techniques into her sessions as requested.
Malaika King Albrecht
Malaika is the owner of Freckles Farm and an incorporator of Horses and HEATH Inc. Malaika is a PATH International Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor. In addition, she is an Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning.
Sarah Baker
Sarah strives for three constants in her treatment delivery: openness, acceptance, and transparency. She has worked with children, adolescents, and adults in a variety of settings. Sarah focuses on addressing mental health or substance use concerns.
Alana Pipkin, Intern
Many of us go through periods in life where things feel heavy and look dark. Often, we can’t see a way out, but there is always a way. We are capable of much more than we believe especially when we feel down. Mental health symptoms can alter our perception and understanding of ourselves, others, and the world. 
Beth Swiatek
Beth (she/they) has been working in the health field since 2011 and the mental health field since 2017. Her focus is stress, trauma, and identity exploration and development. Additionally, she is a part of the Gender Affirming Letter Access Project (GALAP) and Outcare, as she enjoys working with LGBTQIA+ folks. She believes that most folks need “to be seen, heard, and understood”.

Lauren Bethune Scroggs
Lauren has a PhD in Rehabilitation Counseling and Administration with cognates in Applied Psychophysiology and biofeedback. She further holds an MS in Substance Abuse and Clinical Counseling. Lauren also has multiple certificates in Military and Trauma Counseling and Rehabilitation Counseling.
Melissa Rojas
Melissa is a bilingual Latinx licensed clinical mental health counselor associate and licensed clinical addictions specialist associate. She's also worked with individuals who suffer from a variety of mental health and substance use disorders including depression, anxiety, trauma, and grief.
Luis E. Zuniga Jr.
Luis graduated from ECU with an MS in Clinical Counseling. He has served tours overseas and is a leader in the US Army. He is passionate about providing services to active-duty members, their families, and Veterans suffering from addiction, depression, PTSD, and other challenges.
Chelsea Turner
Chelsea holds an MS in Rehabilitation and Career Counseling from ECU. She holds certificates in Military and Trauma Counseling and Vocational Evaluation. In her practice, she utilizes a person-centered approach to create an encouraging environment and develop an important relationship with all her clients.
Karen Jenkins
Karen's journey as a mental health professional began in 2007 working in a community agency as a case manager and group leader. She returned to graduate school in pursuit of dual masters degrees from East Carolina University. She has been practicing as a licensed clinician for the last decade and her style is especially suited for those who need a safe place to develop insight, connect with the present, integrate the past, and make meaningful change.

Our Animals