EQUUS AND THE PSYCHE-
EQUINE FACILITATED PSYCHOTHERAPY-
PRESENTED BY SALLY BRODER, PSY.D.
Workshop available upon request-3 hours CE
“There’s something about the outside of a horse that’s good for the inside of a man” Winston Churchill
In the past 30 years or so, there has been a movement and refinement of the idea that horses can help to heal humans from psychological wounds. Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy is the practice of enlisting the help of a suitable horse in the psychotherapeutic process with an individual client/patient or group. It is a therapeutic process which is informed primarily by the body language of both the horse and the client, attended to at all times by the therapist. Rather than coming from a human-centric place, in this modality we strive to practice the etiquette and psychology of the herd.
The process of being with horses, huge animals that can be quite imposing, in a psychotherapeutic way, is healing and can be transformative. Currently, there is a huge paradigm shift in thinking in the field of psychology towards an emphasis on affective neuroscience and affect regulation by Schore, Siegal, Bromberg, Porges, and many others.
In an equine session, the tactile experience of touching the horse, moving with the horse and being close in
proximity with the horse has a regulating effect. Persons who struggle with trauma symptoms such as hyper-vigilance, for example, can benefit from the affect regulation that occurs while being with the horse.
Clients take a journey within themselves with equine partners as their guide. Intuitively present, horses relate back instantaneously, similar to a bio-feedback machine, what they need from their human counterparts. Clients learn how to be truly present in the moment, take cues from their horse partner and adjust non-verbally. Through a variety of exercises participants are able to practice new behaviors for dealing with real life situations. Today’s presentation will be an overview of how this mode of psychotherapy works with a client or group.
Learning objectives. At the end of the training the participant will be able to:
Describe the mode of action that makes Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy (EFP) an effective intervention for many clients as well as some basic techniques to facilitate sessions with individuals and groups.
Demonstrate how working towards a relationship of trust and respect with a horse can improve a person’s relationship with themselves and with others.
Describe the specific areas of concern or issues that can be addressed using this modality.
Describe the basics of horse/human interaction, the concepts of predator vs prey behavior, the body language of each species, and how this is interpreted and misinterpreted by each as well as how this applies to work in the moment.
Describe what it means to be a good leader to your horse and how this is important for clients to learn.