EQUINE-AS­SISTED PSY­CHOTHER­APY

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Body and Soul - - HEALTH -

If dogs are man’s best friend, horses are our best teacher. In equine-as­sisted psy­chother­apy, clients work with a men­tal health pro­fes­sional to build self­aware­ness and im­prove re­la­tion­ships through in­ter­ac­tion with horses.

The role horses play in client change is com­plex, ac­cord­ing to Meg Kirby, founder of the Equine Psy­chother­apy In­sti­tute.

“They’re a big, beau­ti­ful model of liv­ing in the present mo­ment,” she says, adding that they also have a uniquely calm­ing pres­ence and a height­ened sen­si­tiv­ity that can help peo­ple iden­tify and ex­press their feel­ings.

“If a per­son ap­proaches a horse with a par­tic­u­lar feel­ing or way of re­lat­ing that feels un­ap­peal­ing or un­com­fort­able, the horse will re­spond,” she says. “That gives the client and prac­ti­tioner im­me­di­ate feed­back.” Re­pressed grief or anger, for ex­am­ple, is quickly re­vealed.

Be­cause of the di­verse ex­er­cises that horses can par­tic­i­pate in – a ses­sion can in­volve any­thing from ob­ser­va­tion to mounted ex­pe­ri­ences – this kind of ther­apy is use­ful for a wide va­ri­ety of peo­ple.

“It’s re­ally great for clients who’ve had a trauma with hu­mans,” Kirby says, but adds that she’s worked with chil­dren, veter­ans, peo­ple with ad­dic­tions and even cor­po­rate groups.

$240 for an hour-long ses­sion.

Find a prac­ti­tioner at equinepsy­chother­apy.net.au

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