Equine Psychotherapy is a therapeutic modality which incorporates the clients' interactions with horses as a therapeutic tool for facilitating greater self understanding. New, healthy communication patterns are fostered through spending time with the horses, and through the metaphors that arise as clients relate to them. In equine-assisted psychotherapy, an equine specialist and a psychotherapist team up with the horses to provide a therapeutic experience for individuals, families, or groups.
Those who are familiar with horses recognize and understand the ability of horses to influence people in incredibly powerful ways. They are highly perceptive animals and relating with them has a natural potential to affect people in a positive way.
Horses are social animals, with defined roles within their herds. They have distinct personalities, attitudes and moods. An interactive approach that works with one horse won’t necessarily work with another. They may at times be experienced as stubborn and defiant, and at others, as fun-loving and affectionate. For some, the horses' large physical stature may elicit concerns or fears, and relating to them can bring an opportunity for developing greater confidence, and for responding to challenging situations in new ways.
Horses provide powerful and compassionate reflections for participants. When we are feeling grounded and present in our bodies, this body language will be reflected back to us; and when we are not, this too will be mirrored. As we begin to change the way we relate to ourselves and to the horses, they will respond differently, providing valuable feedback for our patterns of relating in the world.