My interest in psychotherapy and my long-standing love of horses, gradually led me to combine the two in a very organic and natural way. I prefer my work to evolve organically and with a natural flow because I believe it to be a authentic, holistic and 'meant to be'.
I was working one day in my farmhouse with a disabled client, who had been sexually abused as a child. We were working in a traditional one-to-one psychotherapy session and we were looking out of the window at the horses grazing in the field. My client looked thoughtful and said "look at the horses living peacefully with one another, why can't people be like that?" From then on my client and I often watched the herd and how they interacted with each other, respecting each other, giving each other space and looking out for each other.
Horses are genuine, they live in the moment and their prey oriented fight or flight responses to the environment mean they read each other's and human body language instantly. They think, feel and behave in the here and now, something we can learn valuable lessons from.
Sometimes, without realising it, we can play out childhood belief systems, which are no longer helpful to us. We project past experiences onto present day situations and people. Also, we live in a world of advanced technology where 'I' devices, social media and the internet take up much of our time. Of course, there are benefits to this, but it can also cause you to lose touch with yourself, others and nature. Working with horses from my farm in the Staffordshire Moorlands can help you reconnect with yourself and nature, literally at grass root level.
My work as therapist with horses involves ground work only, either in the fields, the farmyard or the indoor arena. The therapy is experiential, where the client is involved in various exercises with the horse(s) and therapist enabling a 'freeing up of emotions' and highlighting thought, feeling and bahavioural patterns which are destructive, outdated and rigid.
Having worked with survivors of domestic and sexual abuse for several years, I have found that sometimes because of my clients' traumatic experiences with an abuser, they find it easier to trust a horse than a person. A horse is non-judgemental, they accept you as you are, and being big, powerful and kind animals they provide a powerful metaphor for a living, breathing, safe, warm and accepting presence for a client to connect/be with.
All activities on the farm are IOSH risk assessed.