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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.

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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?

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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, trauma, mood disorders, behavior challenges or major life changes including divorce, grief, or loss.  

Note:  Those that are currently enrolled in therapeutic riding or are thinking of enrolling may not be suited to participate in this therapy.

If you are interested in EFP for yourself or a loved one, please contact EFP@horseandbuddy.org to be placed on our waiting list.

Is EFP covered by insurance?

EFP is considered in-network with MedCost, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Oxford, Cigna, Oscar Health, Aetna, and United Health Care  insurance plans.

 

There is an additional farm fee that is not billable to insurance and would not be eligible for reimbursement. 

Therapist Bio

Ashley Abert partners with Horse and Buddy and their trained Equine Specialists to provide Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy for adolescents and adults, age 12 and older.  Ashley is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor in North Carolina and a Licensed Professional Counselor in South Carolina.  She has training in Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy for trauma and approaches therapy from an Internal Family Systems (IFS) perspective.  In her free time, Ashley loves dreaming up the next big project for her home in the country, looking to rescue another animal she doesn’t actually need, or riding four wheelers with her adventurous five year old. She enjoys exploring with her husband, traveling to new small towns and big countries! You can click here to learn more about Ashley and her practice.


If you are interested in Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy or would like more information please contact EFP@horseandbuddy.org.

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