What is FEEL?

Since creating my new partnership with horses, I’ve had a number of people ask me what Facilitated Equine Experiential Learning or FEEL is all about.  Is it the same as horse therapy?

While both practices use horses as teachers and coaches, they are different. A recent paper developed by Horse Spirit Connections provides a great comparison between FEEL and Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy.

“FEEL is a leading-edge modality for developing human potential. In experiential interactions with horses, people gain self-knowledge and acquire skills leading to positive life changes.” (FEEL Alumni Website).   FEEL is defined by:

  • Experiential learning or learning by doing
  • Educational approach
  • Facilitated human development and growth
  • May include:
    • Flexible learning plans and goals
    • Experience of equine/human interaction
    • Environment of learning and self-discovery
    • Personal exploration of feelings and behaviours
    • Life skills
    • Promote human growth and learning
    • Mirroring of life cycle processes
    • Teamwork and cohesion, leadership, coaching, communication skills, relationship development, awareness, emotional intelligence and mindfulness

Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy or EFP is defined by:

  • Experiential therapy
  • Therapeutic approach
  • Facilitated by licensed therapists, social workers, etc.
  • Facilitates human development and growth
  • Addresses a variety of mental health and human development needs including behavioural issues, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, substance abuse, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, relationship problems and communication needs.

It may include:

  • Treatment plans and therapeutic goals
  • Emotional awareness and growth
  • Opportunities for: metaphorical learning; mindfulness; narrative; changes in thoughts and behaviours
  • Relational focus
  • Community based support services
  • Power of choice
  • Vocational or career counselling
  • Means of treatment for psychological or pathological disorders
  • Insight for communication or problem solving
  • Behaviour modification and personal growth
  • Reflective processing
  • Integrating SOMATIC EXPERIENCING, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, sensorimotor, psychoanalytic, psychotherapeutic person-centred and experiential gestalt approaches
  • Addictions and recovery treatment
  • Health and wellness, and life skills focus

If you are looking for someone who provides Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy or EFP, I can put you in touch with a qualified professional.

I have completed the FEEL certificate program based on the Eponaquest approach and offered by Horse Spirit Connections.  Whether you’re interested horses or human development—or both—the Eponaquest Approach allows you to experience what it means to truly thrive in life, offering you tools that open other worlds of creativity, insight, and empowerment, expanding your vision, helping you reconnect to nature, to the herd and to the community.

At The Mane Intent, we use facilitated equine experiential learning (FEEL) to help teams and individuals uncover the possibility within each of us. In experiential interactions with horses, you gain self-knowledge and acquire skills that can lead to positive life changes at work, at home and at play. We offer a variety of both individual and group facilitated workshops to help you discover ways to nurture and strengthen interpersonal connections, find connection and meaning in a busy life, unearth your talents, gifts and creativity, and live fully with intent and an open heart.

For more information on programs and workshops offered by The Mane Intent, contact us at jgarland@nexciom.net.


The Mane Intent

July 31, 2014

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