Equine Facilitated Learning and Psychotherapy (EFL/P)

Brenda Newell and BeauHorses are social bond oriented mammals that are able to connect with human beings in a deeply relational manner. If we as human beings choose to understand this and relate to horses on an individual level which honors their own spirit, their own being and our shared relationship, then immense healing can occur in this mutual relationship. I believe horses have one of the most accessible spirits of almost any creature. They have one advantage over humans in that they do not have an ego to get in the way of their relationships. I also believe that this spiritual connection is what makes this intervention so powerful. However the heart of the work, of the experience, is to honor the horses and the humans and what each brings to the relationship that is being created and experienced.

My training and practice in EFL/P has been strongly influenced by three incredible women.

Kay Newell who, although we shared the same last name we were not related, brought me into her family and her heart as her daughter when I was a child and she nurtured my love of horses. She provided the opportunity for me to fall in love with her horse, Thunder, and to experience the powerful relationship between a horse and young girl.

Dr. Hannah Mueller and Drea Bowen have each, in their own gifted way, provided the opportunity for me to return to the world of horses and being a horsewoman. Each of these women are leaders in the field of creating healing for horses and humans. I have been blessed to experience life changing lessons in relationship to each of these women and their herd of horses. For more information on these three women, please visit their websites available on my Helpful Links page.

Through my work with EFL/P I embrace the principles and training that I have been honored to learn to create a relationship between the client and the horse that is mutual and is respectful of one another. Through this relationship the horses are able to create an emotional connection that facilitates life changing experiences of increased awareness, development of new knowledge and skills and immense healing. EFL/P is effective in treating numerous issues, including but not limited to: behavioral issues, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), eating disorders, depression, anxiety, relationship issues, communication and boundary difficulties, challenges addressing gender identity and sexual orientation, life transitions and more.

Through my clinical practice I will assess with you if Equine Facilitated Learning and Psychotherapy is the most effective treatment for you, given your goals and counseling needs. EFL/P is provided for individuals, couples and families and is assessed on an individual basis, in conjunction with the overall treatment plan.

Equine-facilitated learning/psychotherapy can help:

  • Providing insight for observation and growth. Your reactions to the horse’s behaviors will help you to understand how you interact with people and help you gain self-awareness.
  • Offering instant insight. Because horses offer “instant and accurate feedback,” they often shed light on your thoughts and feelings before you are even aware of them.
  • Fostering a healthy relationship. Horses offer a pure, nonjudgmental relationship for all that they connect with. Because of this, horses allow you to connect to a living being without the risk of rejection or criticism, helping you make the transition into healthy relationships in a non-threatening manner.
    Brenda Newell and Beau
  • Building trust. Guided by the practitioner, horses offer an emotionally safe environment. While you might be resistant to opening up to a therapist and expressing your feelings, horses will listen on an emotional level and can serve as a crucial first step in helping you break through these barriers and become more comfortable.

Retreats and group EFL experiences can be developed for all age groups and populations. EFL is highly effective with facilitating team building for organizations seeking to increase communication and collaboration amongst your team.

If you are ready to schedule an appointment or would like more information, contact me by phone at (425) 280-6508 or email me at rainbowcounseling@gmail.com and we can discuss how I might be able to help you.

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