Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy (EFT) is an experiential therapy, using a hands-on approach incorporating horses into the therapeutic process, allowing people to engage in activities such as grooming, feeding, and leading a horse while being supervised by a mental health professional. Animals engage us on an empathic, compassionate, emotional level, and heighten our awareness of how we relate to those around us. Horses live in the present moment and bring themselves into relationship authentically. Horses are highly attuned to human emotions and challenge us to stay congruent with our feelings when relating with them. In return, they offer us non-judgmental and honest feedback, and teach us to be more aware of the connections between our mind, body, and emotions through our breath and body sensations.
Horses can help us heal emotionally and build confidence, trust, bonding, and non verbal communication. If you look into the eye of a horse you will see life, love and determination.
** I have recently begun training to become certified in this method of therapy. I have been around horses for years and understand why they have become one of the most popular animals to use in animal therapy. Horses give immediate feedback to the handler or rider's actions and have the ability to mirror the feelings of the handler or rider. The riders or handlers emotions and issues are felt through direct experience and nonverbal communication. Horses being large and intimidating force the handler to learn trust, in addition to help with setting boundaries, overcoming fears, and communication and interpersonal skills.