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Trauma Focused Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (TF-EAP)

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What is Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy?

The relationship between horses and humans stretches back through the millenia. Its enduring strength is based on horses' unique ability to feel and resonate with the emotions of the people they interact with. Emotional intelligence is the horse's superpower!

While there are many wonderful equine-assisted therapy approaches, we use The Natural Lifemanship (NL) model in our sessions. NL, developed by Bettina Shultz-Jobe and Tim Jobe, views the safe-enough relationship as the vehicle for change. Beyond a therapeutic model, Natural Lifemanship is a way of showing up in the world, based in compassion, respect, presence, clear communication, and healthy boundaries. The core principles of the Natural Lifemanship model transfer interchangeably from horses to humans and vice versa, even though the relationship-building techniques might look a bit different!

 

Equine assisted psychotherapy is an experiential and immersive therapeutic approach that creates a safe space in real time to cultivate the necessary skills and practices for healthy connection and healing.

Clients describe equine assisted psychotherapy as beautiful, transformative, and deeply moving.

What does a typical session look like?

Sessions take place at Foreluck Farm in Atlantic Highlands, NJ and will include an Equine Specialist and myself. Clients will have the opportunity to connect with one of the horses from our herd, who will then become an invaluable member of our team. Sessions can take place out in the pasture, in a round pen, or in the barn, depending on weather. Individual sessions last 60 minutes and groups have the opportunity to do half-day, day-long, or a multi-day session series. During our time together, we will design activities at the farm that allow us to explore boundaries, relationship dynamics, attachment, and connection. Activities could include being in shared space with the horses, observation, leading, grooming, caretaking, riding and other creative ways to engage with our equine partner in order to learn more about ourselves as individuals and in relationship with others.

Do I need to have experience with horses?

Not at all! All levels are welcome and encouraged to participate. Many people trying out TF-EAP have never been around horses before and no prior experience is necessary.

Which days can I schedule on?

Currently I am seeing clients on weekday mornings. Please reach out for specific days and times.

Is it safe?

All of the therapists and equine specialists work to ensure that you are paired with a horse that is an appropriate match for you. The job of the equine specialist in our sessions is to ensure the horse feels safe, calm and connected throughout the session to help maintain physical safety for the participants. As with any nature-based therapy, there is the chance of engaging with creatures such as mosquitos, ticks, bees, wasps and snakes. Hazards may include stumbling on uneven surfaces, stings, sunburn, a twisted ankle, etc. During our initial meeting, before ever engaging with the herd, we will go over ways that you can take responsibility for your own safety while at the farm.

Do I need to wear special clothing?

When we are working with the animals, we ask that you wear closed toed shoes, and if possible, no dangling jewelry. If we plan to do mounted work with the horses, we will ask that you wear long pants and a slightly heeled shoes.

Who have you trained with?

I am a Level 2 trained Natural Lifemanship equine-assisted therapist, and am currently pursuing full certification as an NL-Practitioner (NL-P). This means that I have completed all certification coursework through the Natural Lifemanship institute, and am now accumulating the requisite supervision hours for my practitioner designation. For more information please check out the Natural Lifemanship website.

Why is TF-EAP more expensive than office therapy?

Meeting together at the farm is a team approach, including myself, our equine specialist, and one of our resident horses. The added cost pays for the animals to be kept healthy and compensates them for their time with us, as well as compensates our Equine Specialist who helps to keep the horses safe and well during our sessions.

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