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Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy (EFP)
Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy (EFP) is treatment modality for therapy. Science has shown that horses can be beneficial through the treatment process. Sometimes it is easier to connect with a horse rather than another human. Horses, dogs, chimps, and humans have similar nervous systems. Horses are able to think through and change their responses when their nervous system is activated. This allows them to "lend" people their nervous system to assist in emotional regulation.
Definition: EFP is experiential psychotherapy that includes equine(s). It may include, but is not limited to, a number of mutually respectful equine activities such as handling, grooming, riding, driving, and vaulting. EFP is facilitated with a licensed, credentialed mental health professional working with an appropriately credentialed equine professional. EFP may be facilitated by a mental health professional who is also dually credentialed as an equine professional. (definition by EFMHA, Equine Facilitated Mental Health Association).
I am trained in a somatic based equine therapy. In plain terms, this equates to building body awareness through the nervous systems responses to heal and overcome from past experiences. Horses provide support through this process through lending their own nervous systems which allows the client connection and visuals to their own responses.
It is important to understand that EFP's focus is on mental and emotional health, not on learning a riding skill. Most exercises are conducted on the ground, though EFP may be used to enhance riding skills or assist a client in recovering from a horse related accident.
Who Benefits from EFP?
Anyone can benefit from EFP. EFP has especially been found to be beneficial for those with PTSD, trauma, anxiety, relational struggles, and stress. Research has shown that symptoms significantly decrease with some added benefits of increased confidence, assertiveness, resourcefulness, and self-control.
EFP sessions are currently available on Wednesdays at 12 pm weekly and 3 pm bi-weekly. These take place at the Second Chance Ranch in Spokane, Washington. Find out more about the Second Chance Ranch here.
Foundational approaches of EFP may be conducted over telehealth.
Schedule your appointment Today at 509.386.2888
Meet My Horses
Red is a 22 year old quarter horse. Red is an experienced roping horse and actively competes with one of his riders in Washington State High School Rodeo. He is most comfortable in an arena, but loves visiting with the cows in the field. Red is very aware of his environment and often picks up on emotions and tensions around him.
During a rodeo he was acting very fidgety before his event. When discussed with his rider, his rider was anxious for the upcoming event. With quick use of therapeutic interventions both rider and horse were able to calm their nervous system before their event and enhanced their performance.
Rooster is 2 years old. He is an appendix quarter horse. His favorite thing is to be mischievous just like a toddler. Like a toddler, he is still learning manners and the meaning of personal space. Though Rooster is completely blind on his left side and has extremely limited and impaired vision on this right side. Rooster has learned accommodations to help with this limitation such as snorting and blowing when in new places to learn where obstacles are. Trust is imperative with this guy as he has to rely on his humans or pasture buddies to keep him safe.
Evaluation of an equine-assisted therapy program for veterans who identify as ‘wounded, injured or ill’ and their partners (2018) by M. Romaniuk, J. Evans, & C. Kidd. Read the article here
Efficacy of equine-assisted psychotherapy in veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (2019) by L.E. Burton, F. Qeadan, M. Burge. Read the article here
Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy for adolescents experiencing depression and/or anxiety: A therapist’s perspective (2015) by K. Wilson, M. Buultjens, M. Monfries, & L. Karimi. Read article here.