Equine Assisted Psychotherapy
What is Equine Assisted Psychotherapy?
Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP), also known as Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy (EFP) is a therapeutic modality where a participant or group of participants work beside an equine partner and are guided by a Psychotherapist and Equine trained Facilitator. Through the process clients explore aspects of life, self and create change for the better. The horses and practitioners create a complete circle of trust, support and authentic acceptance to set the groundwork for the participant to thrive and grow. EAP uses experiential learning methods to allow people to achieve emotional, physical, mental and spiritual realizations or breakthroughs by working with a horses natural intuitive mirroring skills.In a world, so frantic, so disconnected, full of people stuck and despairing not even realizing they need not feel this way; EAP is a revelation in the darkness. EAP has been shown to help with anxiety treatment, OCD, PTSD, CPTSD, complex trauma, emotional dis-regulation, depression, addiction as well as building relationship skills, communication skills and boundaries.
Horses have the natural ability to sense our internal landscapes; what we are feeling, thinking, and even what we are trying to hide from ourselves. They help to guide us to find understanding, create compassionate movement and find our most beneficial choices all while being silently supportive in total acceptance of who we are and what we are going through. They urge us to be in the moment and show us the true potential of what that moment holds; no stress, peace, fulfillment, joy, ecstatic creativity. They show us tools to help us take these lessons and utilize them in the rest of our lives building courage and an empowered self as well as clearer and healthier foundations for our goals and dreams. Each experience, each session beside a horse is different and yet each time it feels like coming home.
What can I expect?
After introductions are shared the journey begins. Surrounded by nature and the powerful immensity of the horses, participants create their first connections through direct contact with a horse that calls to them. Whether in the round pen, arena, barn, field or forest the experience is one of growth, hope, inspiration, depth and empowerment. This connection and learning continues throughout the day.
How does it happen?
When you are with a horse it requires presence, you must be present, in the moment, in the body. Being in an open structured space that encourages movement, freedom of thought and freedom of emotion creates a holistic experience where vast amounts of information is felt and moved and shared. The horse connects deeply to the participant picking up intuitively their true internal state, the horse mirrors it back allowing the facilitators to see the participants reality even if the participant is disconnected from it.
The horse also encourages connection to centre as they exist only in their centre, they provide an example for our own experience of self. Horses give us clear feedback as we process our limiting beliefs, emotional tides and physical sensations validating our experiences and our truths as we find them. This work is done on the ground only, the horses are not ridden.
Why is it of value?
This work is of value because it actually provides us with a way to connect to our dreams in a tangible internal way. We actually empower ourselves, we actually gain freedom, we actually gain peace of mind. This work helps us to deeply transform our unhealthy beliefs, choices, feelings and allows us to thrive, succeed, to be limitless. It helps us find a direction that we love, that fulfills us. It helps us to create healthy relationships, healthy communication, to fulfill our needs and own our rights. It helps us to see ourselves truly and to own our dreams and gifts by seeing ourselves through the eyes and hearts of horses.
I have no prior horse experience, is that ok?
No prior horse experience is necessary to find the full benefit of this work. I have heard from many participants that after their experiences they felt like they found a piece of life that was missing, that they will never look at horses the same way.
I have some riding experience, will that benefit me?
We do not actually ride the horses so riding experience will not be a benefit in that way. It may allow you to feel more at ease around the horses from the beginning however. The exercises that take place are on the ground accompanied by the facilitators. There are some on back exercises that work with vulnerability where the horse is motionless but they are rarely used and must fit the situation, horse and participant.