The Power of Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy
Horses are in general are large powerful animals who have worked together with their human partners for years. Horses can be intimidating by their sheer size and strength yet building a relationship with one based on mutual trust and respect can be a powerful healing tool. Here at Cielo house we are working with our equine partners to help teach lessons in trust, communication skills, relationships, and awareness.
Why horses? Horses are prey animals whom out of survival instincts, in order to avoid predators, have heightened senses to their surroundings. They can see, hear, and feel their environment much more acutely than humans. By observing horse’s behaviors and subtle gestures, we can learn to be more conscious of what is going on around us as well as internally within us. Horses may detect something about us that we ourselves have tuned out. They can act as a mirror, reflecting parts of ourselves back to us. By building a relationship with this powerful animal and becoming in tune to their cues and needs, our clients tend to feel a sense of raise self-esteem and broadened inner awareness.
In our Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy program we guide clients through simple exercises with horses with the intention of bringing awareness to where they are mentally, emotionally, and psychologically. Being out in the open air, teaching about horses’ instincts and behaviors, and teaching basic safety for horse-human interaction, can provide an experience that carries over into other aspects of their lives. Our clients can reflect on how they perceive themselves, how they earn and give trust, how to communicate non-verbally, and perhaps most importantly, how survival instincts demand for self-care and self- nurturing.
Written by Sarah Rubin, MFT