Here at the Center for Relationship Healing (CRH) we are pleased to announce the introduction of Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy (EFP) in partnership with High Hopes of Old Lyme. The CRH is committed to incorporating alternative and non-traditional approaches to therapy to assist clients in working with anxiety, depression, grief and trauma and a host of other issues. EFP is a proven and powerful therapeutic method.
EFP is a form of psychotherapy that utilizes horses. It is an interactive approach to therapy that utilizes both a licensed mental health professional and a credentialed equine specialist to address the therapy goals that the therapist and client have established.
The equine is a critical partner in the therapy work because horses (as domesticated prey animals) are extremely sensitive to changes in human beings (as predatory animals). Horses acute sensitivity makes them especially perceptive to people’s subtle emotional states. After all, human emotional states are manifest physiologically, hence it only makes sense that horses are able to sense and smell (using their vomeronasal organ) human emotional states and changes in those states. In a way, horses serve as a large biofeedback machine, providing vital information to both the client and therapist about client moods and changes in their moods. For example, if a client arrives feeling anxious, the horse will respond in one way, and if the client is able to reduce her or his anxiety, the horse’s behavior also will change. In this way a wealth of information is provided to both the client and therapist and with the guidance of the therapist, the client has opportunities to develop critical life skills and resources.