Equine Therapy is an experiential approach for personal and professional development. Relating to horses in their natural environment can bring us profound insight & connection. Sessions offer the opportunity for people to explore areas of their lives that they want to change or resolve.
Equine Assisted Psychotherapy uses activities on the ground with horses to express and explore emotional issues. Horses tap into the unconscious and can be powerful metaphors for life. In a session the horses may become part of the participant’s story.
How does this work? For example if a person is afraid, horses may respond by moving close to them. As the person reaches out to touch the horses this helps them to soothe and transform their fear.
An adolescent that believes no one can help him, refuses to go into the arena and turns his back on the horses. A horse comes up and pulls the corner of his hoodie. He decides to turn round and stroke the horse.
The focus of attention is on experience rather than talking. The arena or pasture is a place where the clients’ story can be explored through the interaction with horses. The horses behaviour and responses can provide a mirror for relationships in the client’s outside life. These parallels often coming from the clients experience rather than from observations by the team i.e. ‘the horse is like my partner, always walking away when I have something important to discuss.’
We believe that people have the best solutions for themselves. The team’s job is to provide an environment that enables the client to find these solutions through relationship and interactions with horses. This may involve gaining valuable insight into how a persons behaviour affects their relationships with others for example:-
A young person that has been bullied at school finds that the horse she wants to stroke keeps walking away from her. She tells us that the ‘horse doesn’t like her and is the same as the people in her life’. As she says this the horse walks up to her and stands by her side, providing a different experience in the moment.
Equine Assisted Psychotherapy can be done as a stand-alone therapy or in conjunction with other talking therapies. If you have been recommended by your therapist we can collaborate with them to ensure the sessions meet your needs. Sometimes one or two equine therapy sessions can be enough to help you move forward in your therapy.
ChangeWays use the EAGALA (Equine Assisted Growth & Learning Association) model of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy. This is an internationally recognised approach recognised in 50 countries worldwide and used by over 4500 practitioners.