Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy

Walk on Water is proud to provide Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy services.

What is Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy (EFP)?

Equine-facilitated psychotherapy (EFP) is defined as an interactive process in which a licensed mental health professional working with or as an appropriately credentialed equine professional partners with suitable equine(s) to address psychotherapy goals set forth by the mental health professional and the client. 

The focus in EFP is not on horsemanship or horseback riding, but rather cultivating a safe place for the client and therapist to engage in activities with a horse or horses, and use the horse(s) to help process feelings, thoughts and reactions.

How Does EFP Work?

Horses are a critically important partner in the work of EFP. Horses are incredibly sensitive to subtle changes in their environment, which makes them perfect partners for teaching a wide range of life and coping skills for individuals with mental health issues. Because of this 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 those 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. If a client arrives anxious the horse will act and respond one way. If the client is able to reduce his or her anxiety, the horse’s behaviors will also change. This provides a plethora of information and skill building opportunities for both the client and the therapist, which can assist in providing a more personalized therapeutic experience.

Who Can Benefit From EFP?

Studies have indicated that EFP can be helpful for in areas like:

  • Improving emotional awareness, empathy, stress tolerance, flexibility, impulse control, and problem-solving skills
  • Facilitating growth in independence, self-regard, social responsibility, interpersonal relationships,
  • Treating issues related to grief or loss, cognitive disabilities, ADD/ADHD, autism, personality disorders, anxiety/depression, mood disorders, PTSD, and emotional/physical trauma

We accept the Gardiner Scholarship, Staywell Insurance, Families Exploring Down Syndrome (FEDS), and VPK SIS funds

Feel free to contact us for more information.