HOW DO HORSES AND TRAUMA HEALING RELATE?
- Equine Facilitated Learning is a bottom’s up approach to healing trauma. It’s a practice of bringing awareness to the thwarted energy of the initial survival response and re-wiring the neural pathways through somatic practices focused on the reptilian and limbic brain functions.
- Horses are ideal partners in somatic healing because their strengths lie in sensory and emotional responses.
- What we feel through our emotions and the pairing sensations will create a mirroring response in the horses behaviour, bringing heightened awareness to our own somatic process and initiate the necessary changes to assist in healing.
HOW DOES EFL SUPPORT CLIENTS DEALING WITH TRAUMA?
- Reduces anxiety and arousal
- Social mediation / metaphorical learning
- Building Healthy Attachments
- Transitional partners, (horses acting as a bridge to a higher or more socially acceptable level of functioning),
- Social needs - developing empathy for self and others
- Cognitive and Social Cognitive Development - cause and effect of behaviour, self value, personal success
- Somatic / Body awareness / Self Regulation
- Develops emotional and social IQ
- Experiential learning in an outdoor natural environment
EFL AND CHILDREN DEALING WITH TRAUMA
- Kids enjoy coming out to the farm, spending time with horses, the natural outdoor environment, the variety of activities and of course, Hoover, the pig, our farm mascot.
- Our supportive environment inspires and engages children to participate in learning at their own pace, surrounded by caring, skilled facilitators, the variety and interaction with animals, fresh air, farm atmosphere.
- Children become self motivated because of their enjoyment connecting to and building relationships with the animals.
- EFL does not have to be a verbal process, so is ideal for children who have a difficult time or are resistant to engaging cognitively.
- The learning in our environment is transferred to life, developing strong life and leadership skills.
RELATIONSHIP / CONNECTION
- Children are able to observe the facilitators with the horses and other farm animals, modelling healthy relationships with the animals as a way to build trust with the child.
- Relationship building with horses is very straightforward and responses are seen immediately, allowing for learning by experience in the moment.
RELATIONSHIP / HEALTHY ATTACHMENTS
- Horses offer children: comfort, strength, calm, safety, connection, friendship, companionship, honesty, genuine feedback, healthy relationships built on trust and mutual respect, learning social skills, emotional awareness and regulation, clear communication, a sense of belonging, an environment to work through frustrations and challenges with support
- Individual and group programs are available
- Sessions are a combination of active, reflective, always experiential
- Sessions offer a consistent and predictable routine
- EFL is great for kids who do not respond well to talk therapy
- Sessions are generally 60 minutes
Youth Organizations we have partnered with:
- Ministry of Family and Child Development
- Community Options Society
- Artemis Society
- Caregiver’s Network
- Power to Be