Horses and therapy?..... Why?
My experience with horses began in college when I took riding as an elective. Being around horses was both energizing and calming. I was hooked for life! That eventually led me to own my first horse in 2009.
Since then, I obtained certifications in Equine Nutrition from the University of Edinburgh (2013) and in barefoot trimming with the Oregon School of Natural Hoof Care (2015). Horses have been therapeutic to me and are one of my biggest passions. Wanting to share that with others followed naturally.
I am a certified Equine Learning Facilitator with The Herd Institute (2018) and also finishing my Equine Facilitated Therapist certification as an area of further specialization.
Equine-facilitated psychotherapy (EFP) is an experiential form of psychotherapy that involves horses. There is usually no riding involved and all activities are conducted on the ground, so no prior experience is necessary.
Research shows that EFP is a highly effective treatment modality for a variety of mental and emotional issues. Horse-human interactions provide unique opportunities to learn about relationships in novel ways. It is only through mutual respect and trust that an authentic bond can form between the human and equine partner. Horses invite us to be in the present and focus on our own awareness of perception.
We partner WITH the equine; we do not USE the equine companion. Horses are not judgmental, they see us as we are in the present moment. They are not influenced by how much we know, what we look like, our stage in life, or by our popularity. They do not care if we have friends or not. They only respond to who we are in the here and now as we engage with them, and to our intent and behavior as we interact, without preconceived notions.
As these powerful beings surrender to moments of connection, the relational dynamics can be valuable feedback providers to reveal to us new ways of interacting with equines that may transfer to people. New insight is gained, promoting growth in developing relationships.
Some of the benefits that EFP can offer is learning to increase trust, improve communication skills (verbal and nonverbal), navigate uncertainty, tolerate discomfort, develop mindfulness-based strategies, increased self-esteem, better impulse control, problem solving and coping skills. EFP is also an excellent modality to reduce the physiological effects of anxiety and stress, including PTSD. Through Equine Facilitated Learning, sessions can be designed with a specific learning goal, theme or objectives.
Equine Facilitated Learning and Therapy
The world has changed…
For many people, current times have brought on or exacerbated social difficulties.
At this time, I am promoting my EFL/EFP work to teens (13 and up), and all other populations facing isolation, relational difficulties, self harming behaviors, bullying, anxiety, and depression.
TEEN SPECIFIC ISSUES:
· Is your teen struggling socially?
· Does your teen have difficulty connecting with others?
· Are you worried that your teen is spending too much time alone?
· Are you concerned your teen is overusing electronics?
· Does your teen struggle with depression or anxiety?
· Has your teen experienced bullying?
· Is your teenager struggling with self-esteem or harmful behaviors?
* Has your teen experienced trauma?
EQUINE FACILITATED THERAPY CAN HELP…
There is much we can learn from a friend who happens to be a horse. – Aleksandra Layland
Our barn is a calm setting, easily accessible from Jacksonville, Saint Augustine, and surrounding areas.
There is ample parking on property and we are able to accommodate tents, tables and chairs if requested.
The barn building has concrete floors and open porch areas for group work.
Group work is powerful...
Are you involved with an organization or support group and would like to schedule an equine facilitated group experience? Message me and let's brainstorm together!
We can work around a theme or specific goal. We can plan a one time experience or a series of sessions with objectives in mind. The flexibility of this work means it can be applied to virtually all populations.
Some group examples include: