Natural Lifemanship and Trauma-Focused Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (TF-EAP) are two modalities that are gaining popularity in the field of mental health. These practices utilize the unique relationship between horses and humans to help individuals heal from trauma and improve their emotional well-being. In this blog post, we will explore what Natural Lifemanship and Trauma-Focused Equine Assisted Psychotherapy are, how they work, and their benefits.
What is Natural Lifemanship?
Natural Lifemanship is a therapeutic model that was developed by Tim Jobe and Bettina Shultz-Jobe in 2009. This modality is based on the principles of Natural Horsemanship, which is a method of horse training that emphasizes building a trusting and respectful relationship between the horse and the human. Natural Lifemanship extends this approach to the therapeutic relationship between the therapist and the client.
The goal of Natural Lifemanship is to help individuals develop secure attachment styles, build healthy relationships, and regulate their emotions. This is achieved by using the horse as a co-therapist and incorporating experiential learning activities. The therapist and client work together to build a relationship with the horse and engage in activities that help the client develop self-awareness, emotional regulation, and social skills.
What is Trauma-Focused Equine Assisted Psychotherapy?
Trauma-Focused Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (TF-EAP) is a modality that uses horses as co-therapists to help individuals who have experienced trauma. This approach is based on the principles of trauma-informed care and attachment theory. TF-EAP involves working with the horse to help the client develop a sense of safety, trust, and connection.
During a TF-EAP session, the client works with the horse to engage in experiential learning activities. These activities are designed to help the client process their trauma, develop coping skills, and build resilience. TF-EAP also incorporates elements of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and other evidence-based therapies to help clients address their symptoms of trauma.
How do Natural Lifemanship and TF-EAP work?
Both Natural Lifemanship and TF-EAP utilize the relationship between the horse and human to facilitate healing. Horses are incredibly sensitive animals that can read human emotions and respond to them in a way that is often non-judgmental and authentic. This makes them ideal co-therapists for individuals who have experienced trauma.
The therapist and client work together to build a relationship with the horse, which helps the client develop trust, empathy, and social skills. As the client engages in activities with the horse, they develop a sense of connection and regulation. The therapist uses these experiences to help the client process their emotions and develop new coping skills.
What are the benefits of Natural Lifemanship and TF-EAP?
Natural Lifemanship and TF-EAP have been shown to be effective in helping individuals who have experienced trauma. The benefits of these modalities include:
- Improved emotional regulation: The activities involved in Natural Lifemanship and TF-EAP help individuals develop emotional regulation skills. This can help them manage symptoms of trauma, anxiety, and depression.
- Development of secure attachment styles: Natural Lifemanship and TF-EAP help individuals develop secure attachment styles, which can improve their relationships with others.
- Increased self-awareness: The experiential nature of these modalities helps individuals develop self-awareness and gain insight into their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
- Development of coping skills: The therapist uses the experiences with the horse to help the client develop new coping skills and strategies for managing their emotions.
In conclusion, Natural Lifemanship and Trauma-Focused Equine Assisted Psychotherapy are two highly effective modalities for supporting individuals in their journey of healing from trauma and fostering a secure and trusting connection with themselves and others.