Equine-Assisted Counseling for Healthier Relationships

The Horse’s Way offers a variety of treatment options that include experiential equine assisted approaches as well as traditional in-office therapy.

COUNSELING

Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) – also known as equine assisted learning, or equine therapy is a therapeutic approach where the horse is a member of the treatment team. Horses are animals of prey and therefore are highly sensitive to their surroundings. Their awareness of emotions and actions of clients provide immediate awareness, insight, and application of change that may not happen in traditional therapy settings. Talk therapy is highly beneficial, but only if the client chooses to apply the insight into action. Equine therapy allows that within the session. Patterns of behavior that impact the client’s life will arise in the session, so the opportunity for growth is immediate. Opportunities for healing, growth, and goals include:

  • Acceptance                       
  • Communication
  • Courage
  • Empathy
  • Forgiveness
  • Joy
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Respect
  • Self-Confidence
  • Self-Control

Equine Assisted Psychotherapy, a counseling service in Phoenix, AZ, is used to treat a range of issues including anger management, marriage/family issues, grief, stress, anxiety, depression, trauma (PTSD). 

It is natural, then that the horse/human interaction will cause adaptive or maladaptive dynamics and responses to arise. What is gained in equine-assisted counseling is a healthier awareness of self, coping skills, communication tools/responses, applying boundaries, and creating or rebuilding trust.

Equine-Assisted Therapy for Your Well-Being

We’re not the first to discover the health benefits of equine activities. Documents have detailed the health benefits of horseback riding as early as the time of the Ancient Greeks. By the mid-1900s, therapists started establishing equine-assisted therapy as a way to help people heal.

Today, countless individuals can attest to the power of equine-assisted counseling services in Phoenix. It’s not exclusive to a specific demographic group; equine therapy can help men and women of all ages who experience a variety of issues. Some programs can target physical problems like tics, balance, posture, and coordination, while others improve emotional well-being.

Our equine-assisted counseling solutions work because of a horse’s instinct to feel a human’s needs. Horses mirror our emotions and respond without hidden motives or expectations. Such a genuine connection allows people to be more self-aware and helps them heal.

Feelings Are Essential Tools

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.

Communication Tools 

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.

Boundaries

Without words, horses clearly communicate when they feel someone has overstepped their boundaries, whether horse or human. It is evident in the herd mentality and dynamic, and humans learn very quickly by the horse’s response. Trying to control or dominate a horse does not work, just as being detached or passive makes it difficult for a horse to comply with a request. Working with a horse exposes a client’s maladaptive thought and behavior pattern, which is more than likely happening in their human relationships.

Trust 

Horses live in the moment. They are not concerned about a client’s past or future. They do not manipulate or lie. They do not judge or blame, hence their presence alone nurtures peace and trust – and immense healing.

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.

Equine-Assisted Learning (EAL) is a field of practice based on the successes of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy.  We have learned that everyone can benefit from equine-assisted work – not just therapy clients.  EAL uses equine-assisted principles and exercises in a variety of “arenas” from corporate retreats, to church groups, personal coaching, parenting and family dynamics and more.

Traditional In-Office PsychotherapyIn-office sessions with the Licensed Therapist are available for individuals, couples, and families. Treatment approaches will vary depending on the treatment assessment and goals. Equine assisted sessions will be discussed prior and further, and more in-depth talk therapy is applied. It is also an option if the weather does not permit EAP, or treatment team or client availability needs to be modified.

Our equine-assisted counseling services in AZ help you clear your mind for crucial decisions, set and reach life goals, and identify opportunities for growth. Our horses — Bam Bam, Rubble, Genesis, Aria, Lady Gray, and Rufio — help you build better self-help skills and healthier relationships. The Horse’s Way provides an environment where you can discover your purpose and unique gifts. Contact our team today for inquiries.

CURRENT FEES FOR COUNSELING SERVICES

FOR INDIVIDUALS

FOR COUPLES

FOR FAMILIES/GROUPS (3+ PEOPLE)

WHAT DO YOUR FEES PAY FOR?

In addition to your session time with the licensed therapist, out of session work includes session preparation, record keeping, case management, team collaboration, correspondence with clients, and other administrative & day-to-day professional duties. Service fees are applied to providing for these services to ensure that you are receiving the best professional and ethical services in accordance with best practice standards. When facilitating Equine Assisted Treatments along with the Equine Specialist, Amanda Moore, the cost increases. You now have two highly trained and experienced practitioners, a herd of horses to feed and care for, safe and appropriate facilities, resources and props, additional insurances and procedural costs, on top of the clinician fees.

INTAKE FORM

Please download our intake form, fill it out completely and bring it to your first appointment.