Understanding the Difference Between Equine Assisted Coaching, equine assisted Learning, and equine assisted Psychotherapy
Equine assisted modalities are a critical part of any mental growth and wellness initiative. Learn how they are different and when to use them.
In 2004 I was part of a snooty Dutch consultancy team sent to a horse farm for equine assisted learning. The goal was to grow team building and leadership skills. At the farm we discovered unproductive habits and got in touch with feelings. We removed roadblocks standing in the way of performance, and healed old wounds. Some people even cried, which is unheard of in corporate training. The outcomes were like psychotherapy. Yet the training was equine assisted learning, not psychotherapy. After all, consultants would be hesitant to go to work mandated group psychotherapy. So what gives?
What is Equine Assisted Psychotherapy(EAP)?
Have you ever been near a horse feeling as though all the worries of the world fell away? When entering the space around a horse, many humans encounter a rare sensation of wonder and calm. When humans are hurting, they find that they can think clearer when near a horse. EAP draws upon horses to calm minds. The practice allows people to interact with the horses through experiential play. The outcome reduces symptoms of PTSD, eating disorders, anxiety, depression and more. You meet your therapist and their horses once a week for private sessions or in group form.
What is Equine Assisted Coaching (EAC)?
When life gets tough, you deserve support. A car needs maintenance so that the axle doesn't break. A human nervoussystem needs attention so that the mind doesn't break. Equine Assisted Coaching is maintenance for your mind. You deserve a thriving, enjoyable life, and interacting with horses helps you get that. You meet your coach and their horses once a week for individual sessions.
What is Equine Assisted Learning? (EAL)
Near horses, it is easy to think and grow. EAL is a collection of horse assisted skill building practices ranging from teambuilding, leadership development, mindfulness, to tutoring and yoga. You meet your trainer and their horses once a week in a group format, or come to their farm for a week long retreat.
So what is the difference?
EAP, EAC and EAL seek to increase human mental wellness through similar techniques. They all work outdoors with unbridled horses. They all use experiential play and ask participants to reflect on the experience.
The difference between EAP, EAC and EAL lies primarily in the scope of the facilitator.
- An Equine Assisted Psychotherapist is a licensed mental health provider. They must carry licensing to diagnose and treat severe mental health challenges.
- An Equine Assisted Coach is not a licensed mental health provider. Their scope excludes people with severe mental health challenges, unless a coach seeks more licensing, or their client is also under treatment by a licensed mental health provider. Assisted Coaching is not yet a licensed field.
- Equine Assisted Learning differs from EAC and EAL because it focuses primarily on life skill building. It is neither psychotherapy nor coaching. It also differs from traditional riding instruction because it seeks to develop skills that do not necessarily relate to riding and horsemanship.
How to know which style you should choose?
If you are currently dealing with severe mental challenges that prevent you from working, studying or going through every day life, you are best served by Equine Assisted Psychotherapy.
Are you currently doing ok, but feel like there should be more to life? Do you want to understand your own emotional genius better? Do you want to find better relationships and more fulfillment in life? Then you will feel right at home with an Equine Assisted Coach.
Does your organization need to optimize teamwork and leadership? Does your group need to improve communication skills? Does your people deserve a fun day away from the office to play with unbridled horses? Give your people the gift of Equine Assisted Learning.
If you are running low on mental energy or agency, it is smart to focus on mental well being. This can help you build resilience that may save you when life brings set backs in the future.
Searching and finding the right practitioner or facility isn't difficult. For Equine Assisted Psychotherapist, visit www.eagala.com. For Equine Assisted Coaches and Equine Assisted Learning, visit www.equineflow.com.
By doing this, you can find skilled partners to enjoy the benefits of horses, and grow a strong, resilient and confident mind.
Want to become an Equine Assisted Coach? Visit https://www.equineflow.com/horsecoach.html
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