Why Horses & Equine Assisted Psychotherapy?
A horse’s reaction, response and dependency on non-verbal communication offer insight to our own emotions and behaviors. Horses don’t judge; they make it safe to share what we often internalize. Because they are hard wired for connection, (much like we are) they are constantly offering feedback about relationships. Their size and power, combined with innate awareness, lend them to being effective agents of change.
Counseling is not a ‘one size fits all’. Goals of the therapy session are client centered and action oriented. Activities are designed and created to address specific goals and themes. Facilitators will often collaborate with an Equine Specialist to capture all the dynamic elements of the session including the horse’s role, participant’s process and provide alternative perspectives.
Exercises are un-mounted so we can focus on improving communication, identifying core beliefs and reoccurring patterns. Practicing new skills in the moment allows participants to learn about themselves by focusing on what happened, how it happened and the meaning assigned to the experience. The focus on non-verbal communication and observable behavior originated in Gestalt Therapy- a present moment, focusing on all parts of the self approach. The plethora of applicable metaphors and attention to present moment or “here-and-now” provide many opportunities for this mode of therapy to teach clients how to better achieve their needs instead of doing a “good job” or getting it “right”.
People either love or fear horses; two strong emotions that reflect what most of life’s issues revolve around. Learning to navigate the fear, developing an understanding, and creating a shared experience lays the foundation for experiences beyond the barn.
While you might forget a conversation you had with your counsellor a few weeks, it’s unlikely you’ll forget how you felt when you stood in a field with your counselor and a horse.
“The difference between horsemanship and therapy is that horsemanship is “be like me, and EAP is be yourself.” – Greg Kersten
Brianna’s History with Horses
I took my first pony ride at 6 and since then have never spent more than a few months away from horses. I have ridden on the hunter/jumper circuit competitively, but what has kept me invested has been the personal growth, wellbeing and enjoyment.
1538 N. 75th Street, Boulder, CO 80303
Call 303-910-0250 for more information about Equine Assisted Psychotherapy sessions and programs!