The Horse as a guide
Whether you’re suffering from stress, depression or anxiety or simply want help for changing, the horses can make a difference.
The way the horse communicates with us reflects who we are, our communication style and how our message comes out. When we communicate with horses, we are sure to get an honest answer. Because the horse – unlike us – has not developed a neocortex, it does not have ulterior motives, hidden agendas or calculated reactions. Instead, with the horse the communication is with an autonomic nervous system that responds instinctively and without judging or glorifying. The horse is here and now and it responds to what it meets in the present moment. When we can recognize the horse’s communication as feedback for us and our interaction, the potential for our personal development is always present.
The horse reflects the current state of our nervous system constantly and if it is disharmonious, the horse will do anything to find back to more harmony. It will use different instinctive tools such as orientation, movement, escape, struggle, dissociation and freezing to balance the nervous system of the being the horse encounters.
Hence, the meeting with the horse gives us immediate feedback
– of our current state
– if we are clarified of our direction and in what pace it should go, and a clarification in relation to our own personal space. Do we know our space? Do we honor our space? Are we able to say yes and thank you from a loving place in ourselves? We are given the opportunity to be seen and received as those we are and whom we are without reservation.
SE therapy and the horses
I am in training for SE Therapist, which stands for Somatic Experiencing – a kind of Trauma Therapy developed by American psychologist, Peter Levine. The reason is that I have discovered that my horses are the most outstanding trauma therapists!
I quickly discovered that if I allowed my horses to do their part of the work in a therapy session, they suggested many bodily movements which I asked my clients to mirror. For instance, if the horse shook its head or lowered it, I asked my clients to do the same. After several amazing and epoch-making sessions, I had to know what the horses did to my clients!
As mentioned above, it appears that the horses can read our nervous system to such an extent that they react – either with their own body or with our bodies – to regain balance. The horses go to and from the sessions and they often show through their body language what the client needs at that moment.
Most clients are surprised and very touched by how much the horses are capable of and how they can open up in the most sensitive way and process blockages and imbalances in our nervous system.
For example, I receive many clients dealing with stress. They often meet up with their heads filled with thoughts and very tired bodies. The presence of the horses, the calmness and the way the horses offer them selves, helps give the clients an experience of calmness.
The education of SE therapist
Somatic Experiencing (bodily experiences) is a gentle form of therapy to work with the aftermath of shock and trauma, including PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder). Several different physical and mental symptoms may (often unknown) have their root in the nervous system becoming imbalanced after a shocking event.
Somatic Experiencing was developed by Peter Levine (Ph.D. in Medical Biophysics and Psychology) and is based on the way wild animals cope with traumatic events. The therapy profile is based on the body feelings and emotions in the present moment and emphasis is placed on building and developing resources and resilience.
I am also a member of the Riding Therapist Association.
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