Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy & Learning   


Equine Facilitated Learning

Equine Facilitated Learning (EFL) is educational in scope and practice, serving the client as a student, and encourages participants to explore and evaluate feelings and behaviours in an educational and therapeutic context. EFL is directed by an Equine Specialist and the horse/s, and aims to develop knowledge, character and life skills to address challenges through an experiential approach. It does not involve psychotherapy or a therapist, however, may still have a therapeutic impact on the participant/s. 

Horses provide an unconditional, non-judgemental and honest platform for participants to learn from as horses do not see or care about status, gender, race, size, orientation or belief systems. They accept people for exactly who they are, based on one's body language, congruence, assertiveness and clarity in communication. Horses reflect their assessment on us in their behaviours and reactions towards us and this creates an opportunity for us to understand, learn and put into practice how we can grow and develop.

Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy

Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy (EFP) is clinical in scope and practice as opposed to EFL. EFP is ideal for people with psycho-social issues and mental health needs that result in any significant variation in cognition, mood, judgement, insight, anxiety level, perception, social skills communication, behaviour and/or learning. The process is directed by an Equine Specialist, the horse/s and a relevant licensed mental health professional, such as a Counselling, Clinical or Educational Psychologist. 

The limbic part of our brain is what is affected in cases such as Trauma. That is the part that controls our survival functioning (heart rate, Adrenalin, etc) and relationships. The best, and at most times only, way to access the limbic part of the brain is through experiential learning. Interestingly, horses' brains are almost exclusively limbic. Being a prey animal, horses must be in a relationship with those they live with (other horses in their herd and/or even people in their lives) for their survival. Horses are in constant search of relationships and therefore lend themselves perfectly to this approach in healing, as when horse and human are together, they are able to regulate each others' behaviours, as well as their own. These abilities learnt in sessions are then transferred over to relationships and other functioning in participants' daily lives.