Equine Facilitated Human Development & Equine Facilitated PsychoTraumatology The IFEEL Method of EFHD & EFPT is an evidence-based bio-psycho-social model of therapeutic intervention and psychotherapy which harnesses the innate capacity of horses to inform us, through bio-feedback (behaviours) as a response to, how we 'show up' in our personal interactions, relationships and emotional world. Connecting with horses through a 'relational' lens we can observe and feel gently, but deeply, into our personal emotional, psychological and physiological senses in a safe and contained way to help bring about transformation. See below for more details
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 territories. 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, 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 wellbeing maintenance (homeostasis). Their curiosity to seek connection with humans too helps us reflect, focus on and draw out our own inner process to find solutions to the intra and inter personal difficulties we may face at times, particularly as a result of traumatic experiences.
No previous experience of horses is required and all interactions with horses are ground based. No riding is undertaken. Time with the horses can happen through protected contact (across a boundary or fence-line) - as you may discover, proximity is not the same as connection and this is something we explore as a key theme.
Equine Facilitated Human Development (EFHD) for personal development and wellbeing I offer personalised 1:1 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.
Equine Facilitated Psycho-Traumatology (EFPT) for Trauma, PTSD and C-PTSD I am qualified in EFPT which means I, (and other professionals I work with) have an understanding of how trauma and attachment disruption can affect behaviour and therefore the life outcomes for clients. I also understand how it can affect the parents, children, carers, family, friends and professionals involved in their lives. EFPT is uniquely able to offer support and engagement in a non-confrontational, client-led way, with key outcomes being observed over time as, for example: a development in distress tolerance, emotional regulation, resilience, reduction and management of anxiety, depression and stress related behaviours and symptoms, better communication, healthy boundaries, problem solving, decision making and emotional fitness. The development and fine-tuning of these skills offer enhanced adaptive resources to those who are experiencing mental, emotional and physiological difficulties.
I offer Equine Facilitated Psycho-Traumatology sessions as part of an integrated trauma treatment plan and can work in partnership with other professionals where needed.
Based on the tri-phasic model of trauma treatment I support effective, long term recovery and well-being maintenance through focusing on: Phase 1) Stabilisation of symptoms: We begin with education regarding the neurobiology and physiology of stress, Trauma, PTSD, C-PTSD including learning techniques to encourage and embed emotional, psychological and physiological safety, co/self-regulation and autonomy through relational-based interactions with horses in a natural setting. This phase is about feeling better, right here, right now.
Phase 2) Processing what happened: I work with a number of different evidence-based protocols and those where an evidence base is building. Together we find the best way forward on an individual, 1:1 basis. This is a personal journey and is always client-led. Some of the protocols I use include:
IFEEL Cognitive Processing & Restructuring (CPR) a CPT/TF-CBT model
Image Reduction (for flashbacks and intrusive thoughts)
Brainspotting - Where we look affects how we feel. BSP makes use of this natural phenomenon through its use of relevant eye positions. This helps the BSP therapist to locate, focus, process and release a wide range of emotionally and bodily-based conditions. It is understood that BSP taps into and harnesses the body’s natural self-scanning, self-healing ability.
Phase 3) Post Traumatic Growth and maintenance: Exploring an integrated self, finding our gifts, talents and skills for a healthy, thriving life. Once we have successfully processed our trauma and integrated our learning we now set out on our new lives. Tender shoots of possibility are held carefully and safely as we reintegrate our new self with the world, learning from interactions with the horses, what new empowered and authentic relationships can look and feel like.
Where necessary we return to Phase 1 and Phase 2 from time to time to keep our transformation safe and as we meet new 'information' at our growth edge. _________________________________________________
Healing from Trauma/PTSD/C-PTSD is not linear. There is not a one-size-fits-all treatment and a lot of the work relies on re-establishing, then harnessing, your own innate ability to heal within the context of a 'felt' sense of safety. I take time to explore with you how, when and at what pace to proceed.
You may be drawn to working with me if you enjoy and feel nurtured by being in outdoor, natural environments but also appreciate professional (clinically recognised) practice, for the safe processing of your experiences. I work collaboratively with services, referrers and other professionals to ensure duty of care and safeguarding. I am a member of the National Council of Psychotherapists, am enhanced DBS checked and fully qualified to Level 6 Diploma (Degree equivalent) in Equine Facilitated Psycho-Traumatology. I have undertaken training in Brainspotting (Phase 1).