Building relationships with EFP
July 1, 2017 - Research is now providing evidence as to how animals – especially horses – help facilitate healthier, happier humans. Mental health professionals have developed a modality called Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy (EFP). The horse’s prey nature and intense sensitivity to subtle changes in their environment make them perfect partners for mental health professionals to empower their clients in a range of life and coping skills.
The Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International explains it well. The concept that horses are an effective tool for healing is based on the idea that horses (as domesticated prey animals) are extremely sensitive to changes in the human being (as a predatory creature). Due to their sensitivity, horses react and respond to people differently based upon the person’s emotional state. Since we know that emotional states in human beings also impact our physiology, it only makes sense that horses can smell or sense these changes. The horse acts as a large biofeedback machine, providing the client and the therapist with information regarding the client’s moods and changes within those moods.