Since 2005, Dr. Judy Evalyn Cunningham has excelled as the owner and founder of Lucky’s Farm Animal Rescue, an animal rescue facility. Cultivating expertise in psychology and counseling, Dr. Cunningham and her rescued horses offer equine psychotherapy to clients across the state of Illinois. Equine psychotherapy is a form of therapeutical practice that leverages a horse’s natural ability to read body language to help individuals struggling with mental health conditions and other life stressors.
Dr. Cunningham is a certified practitioner of the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association and a qualified positive psychology coach. During her sessions, she and her horses work collaboratively with clients to aid in stress relief and mindfulness practices. Earlier in her career, she served in academia as an elementary school teacher and counselor for the Rockford Public School District in Rockford, Illinois. Thereafter, she served as a counselor for at-risk students, a therapist for the Janet Wattles Center, and a therapist in private practice in Broadstep, Illinois, where she worked with patients with autism. During her tenure in education, Dr. Cunningham was renowned for creating innovative programs that allowed at-risk students to cultivate success in non-traditional manners.
Outside of her primary career endeavors, Dr. Cunningham is a public speaker via the National Alliance on Mental Illness and has authored three books. Having penned the book, “Colors of a Junior High Intervention Program,” she also contributed to the Illinois Counselor Magazine. As a testament to her success, she received the Colors of Leadership Alumni State Award in 1981.
Dr. Cunningham received a Bachelor of Arts in education in 1969, a Master of Science in education in 1972 and a Doctor of Education in 1997, all from Northern Illinois University. She also maintains membership with the National Counselors Association, the Illinois Counselors Association, Alpha Chi Omega, Pi Lambda Theta and Kappa Delta Pi. Looking toward the future, she intends to witness the continued success of equine psychotherapy.