Equine-Assisted Counseling Services Phoenix
Many people have experienced painful feelings/emotions due to trauma, addiction, abuse, and other mental health issues. What typically happens is a person may avoid emotions and feelings entirely, by avoiding relationships, using anger instead, or self-medicating with drugs or other maladaptive behaviors. Equine therapy is a powerful opportunity to learn to feel again. Instead of denying, avoiding, blaming others for what they feel, clients learn to experience core feelings in a safe, non-judgmental environment. Feelings are not fact – they are tools we need to use to guide us in our world.
Because horses are prey animals, they are highly attuned to energies and emotions around them in order to avoid predators, and thusly they react accordingly (fight or flee). Horses will respond to humans the same way. If a client is angry or aggressive, the horse may become stubborn and/or avoidant. If a client is anxious, the horse may act skittish. Clients must be honest about their feelings in order for the horse to respond in a more desirable fashion. Experiencing a horse’s response creates and promotes self-awareness, and can help clients see themselves in an honest light.
As mentioned earlier, painful past experiences result in unhealthy responses, including underdeveloped, skewed relationship patterns. Clients may have difficulty relating to people, but open up easier to a horse. Through the human/horse experience, people will quickly realize conscious and unconscious patterns with others. Horses are amazing communicators, and clients must talk about what they see and feel. Through the therapist’s guidance and the horse’s responses, clients begin to recognize inaccurate perceptions of self and others, and how they may be projecting their own issues onto others.
Equine-assisted work honors the natural behavior of horses and herds. Horses are skilled at keeping themselves safe and adept at survival; their natural behaviors are optimal for mental and physical health. In many respects, humans have lost the instinct to keep themselves safe and healthy. We entrust horses to show us the way back to health. Work and observation in the horse world lend itself to extremely powerful metaphors into our own patterns, strengths, and the nonverbal messages we send out. Equine Assisted Psychotherapy implements the power of equine-assisted principles and exercises to introduce therapy clients to themselves in a modality that has been found to be more efficient and less threatening than traditional talk therapy.
ABOUT THE HORSE’S WAY
The Horse’s Way is an Equine Experiential journey where individual clients, families, couples, and corporate teams are partnered with a horse and facilitator, life coach or counselor on the ground. The beauty of horses is that they provide us with instant feedback. Because of this, the facilitator can help guide our individuals or groups to make decisions, set and reach goals, or identify opportunities to grow. Our clients will experience organically instant feedback from a horse, connect the dots or see parallels for immediate or later reflection and choose to relate it or make it make sense in their own life.
Contact us today to learn more!