Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy
Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy Defined
Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy (EFP) are therapy sessions for personal growth and treatment for those with mental disorders. Sessions are available to adults and adolescents and can be in an individual or group therapy setting.
The Therapy Team consists of a Mental Health Therapist (certified with EAGALA- Equine Assisted Growth And Learning Association), the Equine Specialist (certified with PATH), and at least one horse. Clients interact with the horses in order to promote growth and learning.
Often a session begins with greeting and spending time with the horse. This may include grooming or walking with the horse. The therapist usually gives the client(s) a task to work on. This may include building obstacles or paths to represent things in their lives. It might involve moving a horse to a particular area. Clients are encouraged to observe and think about what the horses do and how they react. The therapist assists clients to draw parallels between their own lives and what happens in session.
EFP is considered an experiential therapy. What this means is that the clients are able to learn, grow, and heal by considering their entire experience in the arena. The therapist assists the clients to process their experiences such that they can transfer their new learning to their day to day life.
Benefits of Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy
Research shows that spending time with animals and being in natural settings is beneficial to our health.
EFP is a holistic approach that creates rich memories that stick with clients for long periods of time.
- Working with large animals is empowering
- EFP is a full body experience
- All five senses are engaged
- Many EFP therapists have noted that clients often progress more quickly with equine sessions than with office based therapy
More information about the research and evidence supporting EFP can be found at www.eagala.org/research.