Horses are an exciting new addition to the work we do at SEDA. Our mission for this work is to bring about permanent life change for people through experiential contact with horses. Helping people to experience emotional, spiritual and physical growth and to maximize an individual’s motivations and willingness to be part of and contribute to something bigger than themselves. Equine facilitated therapy provides a platform to facilitate these changes.
Equine Facilitated Therapy -EFP
What is so special about Equine Facilitated Therapy
Much like traditional counselling the space provided here is one which is intended to be a therapeutic, safe space; and one which the participants experience unconditional, non-judgemental acceptance. The horses are an integral part of the therapeutic process and the participant’s experience, through this authentic interaction between the horses, the counsellor and the client. Through this connection the client is able to explore their internal world in a way which reflects back to themselves deep seated emotions. Equine assisted therapy can help with many issues and is considered to be especially helpful for those who want to change elements of their behaviour.
Humans have been using animals for therapeutic purposes for thousands of years. Because instinctively a Horses survival depends upon its ability to rely upon its senses, accurate interpretation of its environment and any potential threat is crucial. An example of this can be seen when wild Zebra gathered around a water hole will drink alongside a pride of lions, as long as that lion is not looking for his evening meal, the Zebra will drink quite comfortably. How do they determine this decision? The determining factor is body language; body language is a hugely influential communication tool. A horse’s ability to accurately read body language, human emotion and their inherent honesty is perhaps why we turn to them more and more in times of distress. Horses are becoming particularly well known for their ability to foster change.
Horses have been used in the therapeutic way for hundreds of years, helping people to develop emotional awareness and refine motor skills in very powerful, yet often subtle ways. The unique bond between the human and the horse has in more recent years been channelled into psychological therapies.
Equine therapy, or hippotherapy (from the Greek word 'hippos' which means horse), brings people and horses together, accompanied by a human therapist in a safe environment, using activities designed to promote emotional growth and learning. This unique therapy has been successfully employed in countries such as USA and Australia for many years and is now becoming more widely recognised within the UK. The success stories for encouraging permanent life changes are increasing. This work is not about ridding and no prior experience around horses is necessary. Initially there may be very little physical contact with the horses; observation and reflection can be powerful enough to promote change in attitudes and thinking in the initial stages of the work.
Who can benefit from this work?
Anyone, who is experiencing any level of difficulty or distress, either from the present or from past life experiences and where the level of difficulty or distress is effecting their lives today in some way.
We support people to overcome many issues, such as:-
Trauma - PTSD
Aiding recovery from illness
Stress and Anxiety
All the horses at SEDA come from very different backgrounds; each of them has their own unique story, life experiences, past pains, sufferings, and healing to bring into ‘the arena’. When we are open to work with the horses and we are willing to get into this ‘arena’ with the horses, we can be moved spiritually, experience significant emotional and physical healing. Our ‘self’ and ‘other’ awareness is woken up, and the learning and development available to each of us though working with these magnificent creature teachers is unique and precious.