Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy (EFP) is an emerging treatment whereby the individual or group interacts with horses to facilitate the prevention or resolution of emotional, cognitive, and behavioral difficulties with themselves and others. This type of counseling provides a safe and secure environment that nurtures inner healing and encourages optimal growth and development. Did you know that horses are much more effective at confronting behaviors and attitudes than people? This is partly due to their honesty and partly due to their ability to observe and respond to nonverbal communication. (Trotter, 2012)
EFP at NCTRC is a team effort. A Licensed Mental Health Professional, a PATH-certified Equine Specialist, a horse (or horses), and the client (or family/group) comprise the team. Various activities, observations, tasks, reflections, and present moment experiences are processed during the session, which is usually conducted in the arena. These sessions are typically done from the ground without mounting the horse, and no horse experience is needed.
A variety of issues can be addressed through EFP. These include behavioral issues, ADD/ADHD, substance abuse, eating disorders, abuse issues, depression, anxiety, relationship problems, trauma, and communication issues. Clients, couples, and families can benefit from EFP including children (ages 5 and up), adolescents, adults, and older adults. Horses are wise and intuitive animals and seem to have a special ability to console and know us on a meaningful level.