Equine-Facilitated Psychotherapy: What is it? And is it meant for everybody?
Equine-facilitated psychotherapy is, basically, psychotherapy “facilitated” by – helped by, improved by, enhanced by – the use of horses and “Mother Nature.” There are actually several ways to use horses to facilitate “healing,” but Dr. Daley’s way is simply to conduct psychotherapy while riding horses in the forests/hills/mountains. In actuality, the psychotherapy component of Equine-Facilitated Psychotherapy is not much different from what happens during psychotherapy in the office. Similar topics are discussed, the “doctor-patient relationship” is the same, the goals of therapy are the same, the process is the same (we talk, we explore, we wait, we debate, we cry, we wish, etc.), but we do it on a peaceful ride in the woods astride horses (who might, VERY RARELY, at any moment, erupt in a dramatic explosion of horse-upset-ness), warmed by the sun, entranced by the snow, “hypnotized” by the quiet, soothed by the rain, re-calibrated by the vista, and probably, instructed by the horses and the simplified ways they exist.
If you prefer, we can just walk in the woods and lead the horses.
You should be aware that horseback riding can be both very peaceful and relaxing, AND potentially quite dangerous, and, before you can benefit from equine-facilitated psychotherapy, you have to desire the peace and be willing to risk the danger.
Equine-facilitated psychotherapy is a very minor aspect of this practice. If you are interested, talk it over with Dr. Daley.
It is important to recognizes that horses are easily frightened. And when they are frightened, they are VERY big frightened animals. They can hurt you. Dr. Daley would never risk hurting you on purpose, of course, but the number of events that can surface unexpectedly are mind-numbing. Equine-facilitated psychotherapy is not for everybody, and we recommend using caution when considering this type of therapy.
Please also recognize that facing fears can be therapeutic, and again, Dr. Daley will never put you in harm’s way on purpose.