EFP at EFP: Improving mental health for all through talking and activity
I have ridden and been around horses most of my life and have always been aware of their incredible healing ability. This led me to explore using horses in my practice and I set out to train in EFP.
EFP helps people in today’s world manage anxiety, depression and other mental health issues. It also helps empower and enable people in other areas of life. We go back to nature and ask the horses to help the humans; we are heard by the herd™.
Traditional therapies do not suit everyone, and it is crucial to offer alternative therapies such as EFP and walk and talk in order to provide something for everyone.
I wanted to be able to offer an additional therapy that would be appropriate for those who did not wish to be in a room, for those who find it hard to sit opposite a therapist for 50 minutes and for those who struggle to name or even talk about how they feel. Of course, anyone can benefit from EFP; it is not only for people with these criteria!
I am now delighted to be able to provide Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy. A therapy that is experiential and life changing. Words clients have used to describe this therapy are “Mind-blowing, Magical and Enlightening” – to name a few!
A UK qualified Equine Facilitated Psychotherapist. Trained with LEAP, an organisational Member of the Professional Body for Accredited Counsellors, Coaches, Psychotherapists and Hypnotherapists. LEAP also follow BACP Ethical Guidelines.
I offer an integrated approach to EFP. My training is in the LEAP Model, which is influenced by the HEAL, EAGALA and EPONA organisations.
I work with both adults and young people, and between 8 and 10 sessions are recommended. The work includes active and reflective exercises and is adapted and developed according to each client’s needs.
What is Equine facilitated psychotherapy?
Equine facilitated psychotherapy is for anyone who has a mental health issue or anyone who needs help with the areas mentioned above. People with depression, anxiety and stress greatly benefit from EFP. It is also particularly helpful with disabilities, with an autistic spectrum disorder and for those suffering with PTSD.
In EFP activities are structured allowing clients to take the initiative and work towards meeting their specific treatment goals identified in the assessment.
In an experiential setting the participants learn about themselves and their relationships with others by working with the horses. They engage in designed activities that enable purposeful interactions leading to participants exploring issues that may be limiting their lives.
EFP is for anyone, not just those with experience of horses as all the work is carried out from the ground and led by a fully qualified and experienced Psychotherapist further qualified in Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy
How Does it Work?
Horses can help people open up and speak by connecting emotionally. They connect through energy too which we can feel in our bodies, physically. Horses can connect with people in a way no other human can, and this bond can heal in so many different ways. They can reflect our emotional state which can help us realise what might be holding us back, then help guide us to move forward. Through the relationship with the horses, we become stronger and resilient, our communication skills improve, and we feel empowered to confront our fears or whatever is causing a problem for us.
Our self-awareness grows, we learn about ourselves and this enables change. When people learn something new, understanding it mentally and experiencing it in the body ensure greater retainment of the new learning. Working with horses is experiential, it is in the here and now and is interactive, meaning the work is immediate and experienced in both mind and body. Through this the client increases awareness about themselves and others and enables thoughts, feelings and behaviours to be processed.
Why use EFP?
Anxiety depression and stress all affect our physical and mental health. Other problems and issues in daily life can also impact on our physical and mental health so we need to find new ways of decreasing the effects of these. There is a strong connection between negative environments and illness. Studies have shown that being around horses and connecting to them heart to heart changes the way your brain behaves.
Being around horses can help quieten the mind and nerves, reduce stress hormones and adrenalin, fight depression, increase blood cells that fight cancer and reduce chronic illness, improve moods and the ability to sleep by increasing serotonin, reduces blood pressure, lower heart rate, boost energy and improves well- being.
In today’s society our lives are very hectic, and we over stimulate parts of our brain which deal with logical information and decision making. Being around horses is like resetting your brain and allowing downtime for the healing of your mind and body. Research studies have shown that being around horses has a positive effect on us. It creates serotonin and literally makes us happier and healthier. Just spending quality time with horses will bring a positive change to your life.
My Equine Colleagues:
Soda – (Tumblin Dice) is a grey Irish sports Horse. She is 17 and has a kind and calming personality. She found us! We went to see a different horse, but he wasn’t suitable, we tried another and again wasn’t suitable. The lady told us of a mare that usually stays out in the field and doesn’t want to come in, had come to the gate today as she wanted to come in. The lady said we could try her, although she hadn’t been ridden for some time. We did and both myself and my daughter connected instantly with her. She has settled well into the family and is the motherly figure of the Herd.
Philip – (Sraghmore Nimbus) is a grey Connemara. He is 14 and is playful, sometimes a bit cheeky, but ultimately a lovely pony. He is the herd leader; He looks out for Soda and Ty. In terms of EFP, Philip guides the other horses as to who should work with which clients and between them, they know who is needed where. It is quite incredible!
Ty (Tyrian) – (A song of ice and fire) is a skewbald Shetland. Ty is only 3, is very sweet and is settling into the herd well. He is special as he has the most amazing half blue eyes. He is a stunning little fella. Like all Shetlands, he has a cheeky side, but he also has a kind and gentle side. He has taken to EFP well and can reflect client states very accurately.
Saffy – (Royal Saphire) is a Bay Welsh Cob. She is 12 and is the most kind and sensitive Pony I have met. She will do anything for you and is a firm favourite with the EFP Clients. The emotional attachments she and clients make is very special. When we are in the fields working, she picks up very easily how Clients are feeling. She is very good friends with Soda and they like to hang out together. She really loves her food and treats, particularly polos.
“My son had a good experience of Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy with Elaine and her beautiful horses. The sessions really helped him cope at a difficult time and feel better about himself. He valued the peace and tranquillity of the setting too and being outside in nature.”
“We feel very fortunate to have found Elaine (and Saffy!).
Elaine has a very warm and soft manner and my son has felt comfortable and relaxed since the first session.
When asking my 9 year old son what he thinks about Elaine, he says “I really like Elaine. I can trust her. She makes me feel happy and explains things so I can understand”
I also have to say that I get as much out of the sessions as my son does and have been able to make positive changes to my parenting approach.
Thanks Elaine! ”
“My 15 year old son had a course of Equine CBT with Elaine, which together with anti-depressants has helped him to recover from depression with self-harming and suicide attempts.
We chose equine therapy having seen our son close down and become monosyllabic in a traditional, face to face counselling setting. From the first assessment session he felt so much more comfortable sitting outside with Elaine, with horses and cats pottering about in a countryside setting, it helped him to open up. He had a 6 week course during which he said he related to Elaine and ‘vibed’ with her in a way he hadn’t with any of the many other mental health professionals he’d spoken to. Elaine subsequently helped our younger son with Equine CBT, to develop coping methods to manage anxiety due to gender dysphoria. He uses these methods regularly and is much calmer, which has improved day to day life for the whole family.”
“Elaine is so kind and patient with my daughter. She makes my daughter really think about why she feels the way she does and helps her to question and understand. Working with Elaine has already eased some of my daughters OCD thoughts and behaviours. Amazing!”
What I Can Offer
Before engaging in any therapeutic service, our policy requires all clients to have an assessment which forms session 1. This allows us to gain information on a client’s issues, concerns, therapeutic goals and jointly develop a treatment plan with each client.
I am available to work alongside the following:
- Local councils
Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy
- 60 Minutes Daytime
Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy
- 60 Minutes Saturday morning
Fees from 1st January 2023
Please note rates will vary when paying via EAP or insurance companies due to the increased financial & administrative requirements; rates are agreed with each company and will vary. Please call us if you wish to discuss further.
I am happy to discuss specific requests i.e. family work, corporate work.
Prices will vary for seasonal hours i.e. evenings in the summer.
Contact Elaine Freeman