Equine Facilitated Learning
What is Equine Facilitated Learning & Therapy (EFL/EFT)?
EFL/EFT is where horses help people with a wide range of debilitating emotional and mental health problems to experience themselves differently. It involves working with horses from the ground and engaging in activities such as bonding, grooming, leading, and completing obstacle courses.
What is particularly powerful about EFL/EFT is the participant doesn't need to 'talk' through or find the 'right' words for their circumstance. As a counsellor, I find this particularly beneficial for clients who find it challenging to express themselves verbally or when conventional talking based therapies haven't worked for them. Research also shows that children can only articulate their feelings 7 % of the time, therefore EFL/EFT will give young people another option when seeking support.
How does it work?
Horses are acutely aware of their surroundings and the ‘energy’ given off by a person and other herd members. Horses reflect and mirror, in the moment, how others experience you. Horses will only willingly interact with those whose thoughts, behaviours and actions are all aligned with what they are truly feeling.
As up to 93% of communication is delivered non-verbally, horses will read our body language and energy and respond directly to this. They will respond in a way that highlights both positive and negative behaviours and actions you are probably unaware of. It is from being made aware of this we then have the power and ability to make the necessary changes to invite more positive outcomes. Horses can also positively influence our mood and behaviour by creating a calm and peaceful atmosphere, away from the daily pressures and stresses we might be experiencing.
What is the difference between Equine Facilitated Learning and Equine Facilitated Therapy?
Equine Facilitated Learning is more to do with learning and developing skills such as becoming more assertive, developing leadership skills and setting boundaries.
Equine Facilitated Therapy requires a trained mental health professional such as a counsellor or psychotherapist. It involves exploring issues and emotions in greater depth. This might include things like unresolved issues that you are unable to move on from or how you have made sense of a traumatic experience.
Who would benefit from EFL/EFT?
Autism Spectrum Disorder
How children will benefit
Improved family relationships
Improved social behaviour
Improved interaction at school
Greater understanding of actions and behaviours
Behavioural and emotional
Skills EFL promotes
Confidence & assertiveness
Developing leadership skills
Regulation of emotions