Psychotherapy provided by a fellow equestrian focused on rider related concerns and a working through of issues impacting the horse/rider relationship is a specialty I am cultivating.
All equestrians come to a place in their riding & training where a block is experienced. An unfortunate event - a fall, an injury, the need to retire a horse, the death of a horse, issues involving competition are just some examples. These profound experiences sometimes test the bond between horse & rider. Self-confidence and joy are often impacted - frustratingly replaced by fear, anxiety & self-doubt. These traumatic events then trigger other, older wounds forming a layer of emotion and reactivity that can be quite challenging to work through.
Horse ownership and riding is an emotional and physical pursuit. In order to provide care, learn, improve & maintain safety - we need to be focused and present. An equestrian lifestyle calls us to provide for the constant well being of our horses, to make decisions that are often stressful, confusing & expensive. They are not only pets - they are our PARTNERS.
In difficult situations knowing what to do requires the input of our veterinarians, our trainers, our friends & stablemates but most of all our HEARTS.
Rider Focused Psychotherapy offers a safe, private, thoughtful space to explore any & all issues you might be struggling with as a horsewoman or horseman.
EFP is an existential action-oriented, experientially based psychotherapeutic method. "Here & Now" experiences with the horse & therapist are the foundation for therapeutic exploration. One of the goals of this of this approach is to increase awareness in relation to the self & others. The horse offers a singular relational experience because of its extraordinary sentient abilities. Horses offer immediate "In the Moment Feedback" as they exist in the present.
By caring for and connecting with horses, people experience a wide range of equine therapy benefits.
Research shows that EFP is effective for treating depression, anxiety, PTSD, ADHD & other challenges. Outcomes include increased confidence, self-esteem, assertiveness, emotional regulation, greater ease with setting boundaries, as well as resourcefulness.
EFP also effects change at the physiological level. Studies show that animal-assisted therapy reduces cortisol, a stress hormone associated with inflammation, impaired cognition & blood sugar imbalance. In addition, spending time with horses and other animals lowers blood pressure, facilitates the release of oxytocin, a natural chemical that promotes feelings of positivity and connection.
EFP is offered to Individuals
Children, Teens & Adults
Humans and horses are social creatures. This social nature is reflected in the formation of social units. Humans create "families" while horses reside in "herds."
For both people and equines, the family or herd is integral to both their physical and emotional health.
When couples or families engage with horses in a therapeutic manner issues of dependency, power, conflict & communication can be addressed.
Couples and families typically seek psychological help when relationships are painful & when communication has broken down.
The non-verbal nature of the horse lends itself to analysis and processing as well as an opportunity for participants to become better observers of themselves, their partners, and their family members.
Poor communication and unclear boundaries with horses immediately reveal what is NOT working, Unlike people, horses do not hide their reactions. It is impossible to influence a horse without clarity & honesty. In EFP with couples and families, participants must work together in order to engage the horse in the task or activity assigned by the therapist. These activities mirror experiences in interpersonal, romantic & familial relationships. EFP can assist with knowing how to effectively relate to others through enhanced intimacy while decreasing conflict and isolation.