Equine Facilitated Human Development
EFHD is now recognised as a defined psychological field of science. It is an evidence based Bio-Psycho-Social model of therapeutic intervention which utilises the innate capacities of horses to reflect and inform those in their environment, offering bio-feedback and insights as to how we 'show up' in our personal interactions, relationships and private emotional world.
Horses have evolved for over 50 million years. They have relied on their sophisticated embodied instincts to sense threat and subtle changes in their environment, within each other and the larger animal kingdom to protect themselves and their herds across a myriad of varied terrains. In terms of evolution horses have been extremely successful. Interestingly, they have a quicker flight response than that of a mouse, yet they are able to live peacefully, stabilising quickly after life threatening moments, resiliently returning to graze in quiet, cooperative community. They are hard wired to survive and thrive through strong life long relationships (attachment) to their herd. Observing how our herd lives offers us a window into their world of non-verbal, intuitive reasoning, processing and innate relational success. Their ability to seek connection with humans too helps us reflect, focus on and draw out our own inner process to find solutions to the relational difficulties we may face at times.
I am passionate about the care of vulnerable young people and uniquely offer one-to-one sessions primarily with parent/carers and professionals to enable them to support the young people in their lives. Working systemically in this way supports sustainability in the behaviour changes that are sought, with the emphasis on increasing the resilience, emotional regulation skill base and psycho-educational understanding of the primary carer(s) before the young person is engaged in the process (if suitable). It is also a time for self-care and support to enable healthy, attuned relationships to flourish and be experienced (and therefore modeled) by the primary carer(s). I offer a Trauma-Informed service and understand the specific and nuanced issues related to parenting and caring for children and young people with trauma and/or from disadvantaged backgrounds.
EFHD is uniquely able to offer support and engagement in a non-confrontational, client-led way, with (peer-reviewed researched*) key outcomes being observed over time as: a development in resilience, stabilisation and regulation of anxiety and stress related behaviours, better communication, problem solving, decision making and emotional fitness. The development and fine-tuning of these skills offer enhanced adaptive resources to the primary carer(s) of 'at risk' young people and those who are experiencing hardship. No previous experience of horses is required and all the exercises are ground-work based. No riding is undertaken.
I offer personalised one-on-one sessions with any adults interested in wellbeing, self-development, empowerment, transition and growth. Clients may be struggling with issues around anxiety, stress, maintaining healthy relationships, confidence and direction and/or may be experiencing difficulties surrounding a specific issue, such as a bereavement, divorce, parenting, significant change in life circumstances.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and trauma
Equine Centre For Change is a 'Trauma Informed' and Attachment Aware organisation which means I, (and the practitioners I work with) have an understanding of how trauma can affect behaviour and therefore the life outcomes of vulnerable clients. I also understand how it can affect the parents, children, carers, family and professionals involved in the lives of these clients.
I can offer EFHD sessions as part of an integrated Trauma Treatment programme in partnership with other professionals.
Based on the tri-phasic model of trauma treatment I support long term recovery and well-being maintenance through focusing on:
Phase 1) Stabilisation and regulation of anxiety and the physiology of stress, resilience building, grounding techniques.
Phase 3) Post Traumatic Growth: exploring an integrated self, finding our gifts, talents and skills for a successful life.
I advise that clients with a trauma background ensure they have access to additional clinical support and/or are already under the care of (or can refer to) a therapist before beginning work with me to ensure that 'Phase 2: processing traumagenic material' is undertaken by a specialist Trauma Therapist.
I can recommend therapists and refer you to those who work in a specialised, Trauma Focused way (for children, young people and adults). I work collaboratively with services, referrers and other professionals to ensure duty of care and safeguarding policies are rigorously upheld.
* Please contact us for links to the evidence based and peer-reviewed research into this field. Mainly drawn from programmes delivered in the US, the Equine Centre For Change intends to document, evaluate and research all of our programmes to contribute to this body of work and is collaborating with the Dare To Live Trust and their research programmes www.daretolive.org.uk