What is Equine Assisted Psychotherapy?
The Wild Hope Equine Center for Healing will be utilizing the principles of Natural Lifemanship (NL). The following information is from the NL website, used with permission.
NL founded Trauma-Focused Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (TF-EAP™), which is based on the neuroscience of human and horse brain development, the impact of trauma, and the role of relationships in recovery and healing.
"...the entire therapeutic process centers around how the client builds the relationship with their horse and the inner changes that must occur in the process of creating the desired connection. As we describe below, those changes must be genuine or they will not achieve the desired results. Conversely, when the client’s inner changes reliably and immediately bring about the desired change in horse behavior, the effect is naturally and physiologically rewarding,
How Do Horses Help Us Heal?
which results in positive behavioral reinforcement for the client. Importantly, behaviors are not just what we do on the outside, they are what occurs on the inside as well. In TF-EAP work, the client's ability to create a rewarding, satisfying, safe and predictable relationship with their horse is brought about by their growing ability to self-regulate internally and to challenge their dysfunctional beliefs surrounding relationships."
It is through this process that “horse whispering”
is transformed into “life whispering.”
"This process is intended to create actual physiological changes in neuro-functioning that affect the client’s behavior in ALL relationships. For this reason, we don’t teach the client to control their horse (just as we wouldn’t encourage the client to try and control other human beings). We allow the client to build a relationship based on their existing schema and patterns of behavior and, as they come to discover these don’t produce the kind of relationship they want, we guide them in thinking through and applying sound relationship principles that apply equally well in the round pen as in other arenas of their lives. Ultimately, this work results in the client being able to control his or herself and relating with others in a way that allows them to do the same.
A horse will respond to people in much the same way people respond to one another. A horse responds to what a person is doing in the present, rather than what they did in the past or what they may do in the future. A typical human’s response is tied to the past, present, and future which is not conducive to honest, immediate feedback. Once people understand the things in the relationship for which they are responsible, they can make changes in themselves to improve the relationship with the horse, and then apply those same changes to more complex human interactions." Source: Natural Lifemanship