The mental health field is not unlike a lot of professions today — there is always more to know, so an expert's efforts are best spent learning and growing in specializations about which they're passionate. For me, Equine Assisted Psychotherapy is a combination of two of MY great loves — horses and helping people.
The goal of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy, or EAP, is to provide an experience through structured and natural interaction with horses that not only helps clients learn about themselves and life, but enhances relationship skills and promotes healing from trauma.
It works because, unlike in traditional talk therapy where a client is the main focus, horses take center stage in an EAP session. This is a profound change and a necessary dynamic for some clients in their psychotherapeutic process. Able to get out of the office, get outside, and interact with or strategically observe something outside of themselves — a big, beautiful horse —clients find that EAP sessions are catalytic in moving them into the next stage of their personal, inner work.
SO, WHY HORSES?
There are lot of reasons why EAP is a great therapy intervention (of which I’ll gladly sit and chat with you about), but here are four that really matter:
- Horses think survival first. As prey animals, horses are keenly aware of their surroundings and always intuitive in their observations. As a result, they easily notice our emotions and our energy levels. They read us and respond accordingly. With a horse, a client learns quickly how who they are impacts the world around them.
- Horses are made for relationships. Like us, horses are social — always on the lookout for love, belonging and safety. Clients have a really unique opportunity to provide those things to the horses in EAP sessions … and to get instant feedback and reward for their efforts.
- Horses are mindful. Horses respond to what is present — what is going on NOW. As a result, clients are able to to stay in the moment, working on new skills, without fighting against assumptions or pressures regarding their past failures or future hopes and dreams.
- Horses are honest. You can’t manipulate or convince a horse of anything other than the truth. As a result, they’re kind of like a mirror — reflecting back what’s really going on, who a client really is and what can be worked on.
Plus, like I mentioned before, horses are big and beautiful and they’re kept outside — so every interaction is an opportunity to commune with the grandeur of nature and to slow down and breath in something peaceful. It's hard to beat that, right?
If you have questions, are interested in learning more about EAP, or want to schedule a session, give the office a call (407-960-3938)!
(Source: This blog first appeared on weisscounsel.com)