In Equine-Facilitated programs, we engage in a process of developing a relationship with the horse, and explore how that process highlights and mirrors your inner process, while helping us identify and change patterns of relating to others. As highly perceptive, attuned prey and herd animals, horses are excellent at perceiving human emotional and physiological states, and often serve a “mirror” for humans to gain insight into our relationship with ourselves and others. They are highly relational beings, and engaging within a herd can teach us a great deal about connection, boundaries, communication, trust, and more.
What is Equine-Facilitated Psychotherapy?
Equine-facilitated Psychotherapy (EFP) is a specific type of animal-assisted therapy. Animal-assisted therapy incorporates animals into experiential psychotherapy with specific activities that are designed to help achieve therapeutic goals. In EFP, participants engage with horses to achieve personal and relational growth goals, in part through developing skills in mindfulness, body-awareness, self-reflection, authentic relating, and congruence (inner experiences matches outer expression). Topics that can be addressed through Equine-Assisted Services include but are not limited to:
- Depression & Anxiety
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Focus and Learning
- Non-Verbal & Verbal Communication Skills
- Connection & Trust
- Veteran’s Reintegration
- Relationship Enrichment
- Social Skills & Teamwork
What is Equine-Assisted Growth & Healing Arts (EAGHA)?
EAGHA are designed to facilitate personal, relational, and spiritual growth but is not focused on specific psychotherapeutic goals.
What is Equine-Facilitated Organizational Consulting (EFOC)?
EFOC integrates horses into customized programs design to help organizations foster teamwork, enhance leadership skills, and create a more synergetic workplace.
How do horses help with personal, relational, and spiritual growth?One example:
One of the many ways horses can help us grow is that horses can assist us is in highlighting when our inner experience and outer expression do not match. For example, if a person is feeling fear but acting confident, the horse will be more likely to respond to the fear. In contrast, if a person feels fear, acknowledges that fear, and works through the fear to engage with the horse, the horse will respond to the person in a different way.
If a person experienced trauma and has anxiety or is“flighty”, seeing and understanding a horse acting “flighty” can provide the person with a deeper understanding of themselves. The client can become more attuned to their own experience, feel anxiety or panic coming on earlier, and change the cycle of anxiety and fear. As a result, the relationship between horse and human can grow deeper, a symbol of how this process can also occur in relationship to other people.