Guest Author - Marisa Seale
The purpose of the article is to list the benefits as well as the disadvantages of using horses in conjunction with conventional therapy methods and to do a brief comparison between the two.
The article links in with last week’s article on “The Power of Healing with Horses”, only this time in conjunction with conventional therapies like psychologists, play therapists, counsellors, support groups, psychiatrists amongst others.
The benefits of using the two together are that information shared between the facilitator and conventional therapist may greatly assist in the recovery process of an abuse victim.
The facilitator can pick up on the in-congruencies as indicated by the horse’s behaviour towards the client during the interaction, which can then be used to confirm or deny the findings of the therapist thus far , enabling the therapist to explore the next avenue and method in treating the client.
Another benefit is that clients are more relaxed amongst the horses especially if it comes across as a fun activity and not another couch session! They let their guards down easier and in many cases make a breakthrough on an issue which has kept them stuck and unable to take the next step to recover from their ordeal.
As interaction with horses is passive and not forced; this may teach the client how to handle problematic situations in their lives without having to go on medications or being aggressive or hurtful towards themselves, but also others. Interaction with horses may speed up the healing journey with the gems it reveals to the therapist.
The therapist can inform the facilitator of problems encountered during sessions and the facilitator can focus on this in the next session.
One of the biggest disadvantages is client confidentiality which can prohibit the facilitator and therapist to share information if the client insists on it; thus rendering no use for the client on their healing journey.
There is also a disadvantage to the client when the facilitator and therapist do not believe the one can help the other and so work independently instead of functioning as a team for the client best interests.
Fear of the horse can hinder the client from using interaction with horses as a complimentary healing tool.
A brief comparison shows that:
Interacting with horses is non verbal while conventional therapy involves speech;
The facilitator observes the horse as well as the client’s reactions to the horse to draw conclusions in a particular incident or situation while the psychologist comes to a conclusion greatly based on the verbal input and background of a client;
Interaction with horse can be only between the horse and client with the facilitator observing from a safe distance while direct communication by both parties is needed for conventional therapy.
These are merely a few benefits, disadvantages and comparisons listed to enable you to make a decision on what is best for you and your unique situation.