Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy (EFP) is the practice of using horses as a means of facilitating emotional growth and healing for an individual or group. The practitioner acts as a guide and witness to the experience between their clients and horses, and helps each individual integrate what they have learned.
The horse-human relationship often brings up issues that are relevant to the client’s personal relationships, and/or with their sense of themselves.
When you make a real connection with a 1000 pound animal, it is a profound experience. Horses can reach a place in your heart that other therapeutic modalities may not. True connection is a state of being with no expectations or attachments. In this state we are free to remember who we are.
Horses are prey animals in the predator-prey relationship. They view us humans as a predator. We have to earn their trust. They teach us about navigating fear and vulnerability in a way that builds trust.
Horses are emotional beings. They are guided by their limbic system, the emotional brain shared by all mammals. They pick up on whatever you are feeling and will give you honest and direct feedback about this. If you are not congruentbetween your feelings and your actions, they will let you know! In equine therapy you learn to be more attuned to the energy of your emotions and what your body is saying to others.
Horses are herd animals. They want to belong. They teach us about social structure and about healthy boundaries.
Horses love to play. When you gain their trust and respect, they become willing partners in working together towards a goal. Through the tools of Natural Horsemanship you build a language of communication with a horse that allows you to get them to do what you are asking with ease. This language is what I use with my horses, and it is what you will learn in your equine therapy sessions.