Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) is an experiential process where horses are an integral part of the treatment team. I use the Natural Lifemanship model for this work. With Natural Lifemanship, you improve your relationship with yourself and others by creating connection with a horse. I also draw on my experience as a certified EAGALA-model practitioner.
Some of the benefits that may arise through your relationship with the horse include self-awareness, confidence, increased interpersonal effectiveness, learning to trust, and setting limits, among other possibilities. Natural Lifemanship is both trauma-informed and solution-focused. It is effective for a myriad of issues including anxiety, depression, trauma, grief and loss, attention deficit / hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), addictions, adjusting to change, eating disorders, attachment issues, abuse situations, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), self-esteem, and more.
Many people think of therapeutic riding when they hear the phrase "Equine Assisted Psychotherapy". However, we will do all our work on the ground. You don't have to know anything about horses or riding in order to participate. You'll choose a horse during your first session to work with for the duration of our time together. Future sessions will be spent interacting with this horse using principles of connection and detachment. I'll be there to help you process whatever emotions come up.
You may notice similarities between what happens with the horses and what is going on in your life. You may experience intense emotions. You may have a sudden "knowing", where concepts that have eluded you suddenly become clear. We don't really know what will happen. And that's the beauty of it - we work with whatever comes up in the moment. And we trust the process.
How Horses Can Help
As prey animals, horses have evolved over the millennia to sense and respond to what is happening around them. They have an uncanny ability to read and reflect what is happening inside humans (who were historically predators), even when we are not aware of it ourselves. Horses tap into the unconscious mind. They are wary of any incongruence, which is where your feelings are not aligned with your actions. For example, saying you're fine when really you're dying inside is incongruent. You can't fool horses - they will call you out. They always seem to know what needs to happen in the session. Although they cannot talk, they communicate with their body language in ways that are often profound.
Horses are selective about their interactions with humans. People who want a horse to follow their lead must first establish trust. They must achieve congruence in their feelings and actions. This can be difficult for someone who is only familiar with dysfunction, hurt, and mistrust. The skills learned in connecting with horses can be transferred to other relationships in the client's life.
To Get Started...
Contact me via this web site, or give me a call to schedule a free initial 20-minute phone consultation. We'll discuss your needs, how EAP might benefit you, and answer whatever questions you have.
I look forward to talking with you!