Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy (EFP)
Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy (EFP) is a unique, experiential therapy that utilizes horses in the therapy process.
Unlike traditional talk therapy, participants learn about their whole self by participating in physical activities involving horses and processing the thoughts, beliefs, behaviors, and patterns that arise during the experience.
If you’ve never been near a horse before, no worries. No horse experience is necessary or expected.
How does EFP work?
Horses are a beautiful, non-judgemental partner in therapy. As prey animals, horses naturally live in the moment, specially attuned to the environment, non-verbal cues, and the energies of those around them.
They can provide honest, immediate feedback based on your interactions allowing for “therapeutic moments” and breakthroughs--- potentially more impactful than talking through your challenges in a therapist’s office.
The feedback the horses provide helps clients gain real-world insight into their own thoughts, beliefs, actions, and patterns with which they may be struggling and provides an opportunity to adapt and create new life skills and coping strategies.
What does a typical session look like?
In each session, the EFP team, consisting of a Mental Health Professional (MHP) and a PATH Intl certified Equine Specialist, will create safely structured, horse-based activities.
All equine activities are done on the ground, not on horseback, with focus on the safety of all clients and a respectful partnership with the horse(s).
These activities are designed to elicit behaviors, feelings, or learning that allow clients to gain practical insight to change their lives for the better.
For example, how can observing a herd of horses interact in the field shed light on your own interactions with others? What can you learn about facing your anxieties as you learn to pick up and clean out a horse’s hoof?
The MHP provides therapy to the client and the Equine Specialist demonstrates safe, respectful horsemanship and helps to translate the horse’s communication.
Who can EFP help?
Horse & Buddy provides a serene, safe, and confidential setting where one can work through a wide variety of mental health challenges and illnesses including, but not limited to, depression, PTSD, anxiety, psychosis, trauma, mood disorders, behavior challenges or major life changes including divorce, grief, or loss.
We are currently looking for an insured Mental Health Professional licenced by the state of North Carolina to provide Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy in partnership with our Equine Specialists and our herd. If you are a Mental Health Professional interested in learning more, please contact EFP@horseandbuddy.org.
If you are interested in EFP for yourself or a loved one, please contact EFP@horseandbuddy.org to be placed on our waiting list.