At EquineFlow we have been offering horse guided human development for over a decade. We prefer this term over the other terminology that describes our field, such as equine assisted learning, and equine assisted practices. The current way Equine Assisted Psychotherapy is differentiated from Equine Assisted Learning, and coaching from psychotherapy is confusing and conflicting.
We would like to advocate for a new mental well-being model to meet the needs of modern societies. A growing gap has emerged between people with mental challenges and health care professionals. There are several barriers keeping people from getting the support they need, such as accessibility, availability, funding, and stigmatisation. To promote accessibility to services, we propose a model that is able to go along with the evolution of the mental health field, moving away from the current mental disease / disorder model, toward something more respectful and inclusive of the wide variety of human mental experiences.
Our suggestion would be to focus on the level of mental fragmentation / discomfort / ability to self-regulate the nervous system that the client is experiencing. The level can be used as a guideline about scope and what requirements a practitioner must meet in terms of training / licensing.
It could look like this:
- A client experiencing more mental fragmentation with less mental comfort and less ability to self-regulate nervous system --> Psychiatry / Psychotherapy (Equine Assisted Psychotherapy).
- A client experiencing less mental fragmentation with more mental comfort and more ability to self-regulate nervous system -- > Coaching / learning (Equine Assisted Coaching or Equine Assisted Learning)
At EquineFlow we have used a form of this separation successfully for over a decade. We inform our client upfront about our scope. When in doubt, we refer out. It makes sense for our clients, who range from private individuals, to corporate executives. It also makes sense for the therapists we refer our clients out to if their level of fragmentation surpasses our scope.
Also: Peer Support Providers
We think it is time our field includes a space for equine assisted peer supporters. In The EquineFlow Approach we are already doing this somewhat. Our field and our clients, and the mental wellness world at large, could benefit tremendously from getting peer support providers more involved, respected and included in our work. The benefits of peer support are well documented, both for clients of peer supporters as well as for peer supporters themselves.