A deeper look into Equine Facilitated Learning
Equine Assisted Learning is the most recognised phrase to describe what we do at Learning to Listen, it is also referred to Equine Assisted Learning, and Equine Facilitated Coaching. Broadly speaking, whilst the language varies, there are generally fundamental commonalities amongst practitioners out in the market, albeit as in all industries there are also fundamental differences.
During the last 10 years this pioneering approach has developed and grown and is now more widely recognised and accepted as a credible intervention that produces some astonishing outcomes. The therapeutic approach which partners with horses, works on a deeply psychological and emotional level helping to uncover and to understand your deepest truths.
Horses are prey animals that don’t judge you. They have a remarkable ability to mirror your state, they will recognise your true self even more clearly than perhaps you can do for yourself. Horses are also absolute masters in teaching you how to create healthy boundaries for yourself, supporting you in learning the art of being present and completely in the moment.
It is entirely usual that our clients, even those who are initially cautious of the size and power of the horses, find that they somehow know how to truly touch our souls.
What is Equine Facilitated Learning?
EAL or EFL is the practice of partnering with horses as sentient beings to discover how they reflect our inner life. The horses themselves are our co-facilitators to enable people to discover what their body and senses are telling them, we so often ignore the information available to us in our bodies, due to the created tendency to live in our heads so much of the time.
We are so distracted in modern day society, that we have become disconnected from ourselves and others, therefore finding it difficult to stay in the here and now. The work we do offers a gentle, non-judgemental way of becoming self-aware. Working with the horses in this way has transformative results to tackle and heal many common problems including anxiety, depression, mental health challenges, PTSD, addictions, behaviour disorders and so forth.
The horses are great teachers and help us to regulate our emotions at a fundamental core level. It is now an evidence-based methodology, rooted in neuroscience, psychology, and our chosen practice of coaching, it is deeply connected to mind/body awareness and is used as a psychotherapeutic intervention or simply as a way to connect with yourself, nature and horses.
How does EFL help?
The benefits and outcomes of Equine Assisted Learning are many and transformative. People, adults and children alike, can change from anxious to confident, learn to relate and communicate better with themselves and others. People experience a clarity in their lives, have the space to heal wounds in a safe way.
There is a strong emphasis within the way we work at Learning to Listen, in the practical application of the knowledge gained in all areas of life, enabling our clients to take their new awareness and learning back into their everyday lives. The transformation of negative mind-sets to positive ones, helping people heal from traumatic experiences. The creation of healthy boundaries can be learned with the horses as teachers to enable people to communicate and relate better in their personal and professional lives.
How does EFL work?
Horses are prey animals, in the wild they live in herds and their natural instinct is flight, to run from danger. They read us emotionally using their large and highly developed guts and hearts and are able to detect the slightest change in our physiological make up.
They can feel when we are fearful, sad, happy or angry. They don’t rationalise like we do, they just live from moment to moment, reacting to what is “now”, and when the perceived or real danger is over, they are able to go back to a peaceful state.
What makes them such wonderful coaching partners is that they know when we are not being congruent in their emotions. How many times when we are asked how we are doing, we say “I’m fine”, when the reality is often entirely different.
Sometimes we hide our emotions so effectively, that they become embodied and then often stuck, often then presenting as unwanted behaviours or even present as illness. The horses give us honest feedback, which when truly acknowledged can help us to transform from a state of denial to one of congruency, subsequently we then begin to feel safer, happier and more at one with ourselves and the world.
Who is EFL for?
Everyone benefits from these sessions, whether they have a specific problem they would like to overcome or are just curious to know more. We have had particular success with anxiety, depression, PTSD, domestic abuse, life challenges, divorce, bereavement, addictions, leadership programmes in business, relational communication, autism, and wide varied learning difficulties.
To investigate further please contact us, we welcome all walks of life to the farm to initially come and visit us, meet the herd, meet the team and find out if this is something you’d like to find out more about and experience for your own life.