EFP is defined by PATH intl as an interactive process in which a licensed mental health professional working with or as an appropriately credentialed equine professional partners with suitable equine(s) to address psychotherapy goals set forth by the mental health professional and the client.
In EFP we are retraining and stabilizing clients' energy fields so that they can be present in their bodies and ground to process the emotions and traumas that have been suppressed. The bonds formed with the horses are central to this process, as developing that relationship, with the vulnerability and trust inherent in it, is the container and the vehicle to transforming deeply imbedded patterns of disconnection and disregulation.
Through the course of sessions, new pathways in the brain are formed and reinforced regarding healthy connection; the unfolding is a beautiful process, as clients become more regulated and connected within themselves in their hearts and body, to the earth below their feet, and to those around them in a healthy and mindful manner. From EFP, clients take with them the self-regulation techniques and relational skills they are able to continue to apply to all of the relationships in their lives.
The equine is a natural partner to help us be grounded and present, teach us about ourselves and society, develop skills, and practice better ways to navigate life because:
How does EFP help?
Body Being outdoors and spending time with horses, whether it’s grooming or just petting and talking to them, has an extremely calming and grounding effect on people. The simple act of matching our own breathing to that of a horse can bring the heart rate back down, lower anxiety levels, and bring us out of our heads and back into our bodies.
Mind Engaging with horses encourages people to get in touch with emotions that they may typically avoid dealing with, because horses simply won’t have it any other way. Horses feel safest around authenticity and congruence - that is, when “our insides match our outsides.” In order to stay safe and make horses feel safe, there is no way around being honest with ourselves and others about what we’re feeling inside.
Soul And best of all, horses are emotionally safe. They are free of judgment and criticism, and they are accepting of any emotion you may be feeling in their presence, as long as you allow yourself to feel it. There is healing in feeling!