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Somatic Equine Therapy

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What is Somatic Experiencing?

Somatic Experiencing is a body oriented approach to treating trauma that focuses on processing traumatic memory, calming the nervous system and releasing traumatic shock from the body.


Peter Levine developed the approach by observing how animals behave in the wild. He noticed that after being faced with a threat, animals are capable of returning to a regulated healthy state relatively quickly. Humans on the other hand tend to remain stuck in hyper-vigilance after experiencing trauma far more than animals do.  Peter concluded that this happens because moving out of a trauma response often involves coming back into contact with painful sensations.

For more primitive animals, this is a process they cant resist. But as humans with higher order thinking, we’re capable of over riding and avoiding those uncomfortable experiences.  The goal of Somatic Experiencing therefore, is to help a client reconnect with their inherent ability to tolerate distressing emotions. 

Somatic Equine Therapy

Drawing upon principles from polyvagal theory and Somatic Experiencing our equine therapy horses support and deepen awareness to clients specifically around bodily expression, sensation and activation of the social engagement system.   They can also bring awareness and support to the natural oscillation that occurs within mammals nervous systems of fight / flight / freeze and safety, connection and attunement. (Sympathetic and parasympathetic arousal).

​Drawing upon resources such as being present to sensory awareness, sensation, orienting, following impulses, attunement, connection and movement are all behaviours they naturally incorporate in order to maintain equilibrium within their nervous system.  Horses are Somatic and naturally and intuitively function from their intuition and bodily sense. They have a heightened awareness of body posture, tone of voice, our facial tone, and our autonomic state. They can pick up on this and often reflect this back to us bringing awareness to how we are presenting and what we are projecting out to others in a non judgemental way.  

With this increased level of awareness supported by interactions with the horses we can start to become more responsive to our autonomic nervous system and less reactive to the signals it is sending us.  The horses offer us feedback and support in a very clear but non judgemental way. 

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Confidence Counselling
for Equestrians

Have you lost your confidence around horses?

Horses and horse riding bring many people around the world joy and happiness. 

 

However what if there has been an incident with a horse whether it be a fall, bite or kick and being around or riding the animals you love now fill you with anxiety, panic and fear.

 

I myself have been in that place and it’s a tough place to be when the thought of connecting with these beautiful sentient beings now feels us with panic and dread. 

 

Traumatic experiences and events unfortunately are all too common in the horse world.  Most of the time we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and life goes on as normal however there are also many cases that life after a traumatic event with a horse or our own horse shifts our ability to feel safe around them moving forward or our world no longer feels safe.

If you can relate to this you might have trauma or PTSD which means your autonomic nervous system has been overwhelmed and is now stuck in overwhelming autonomic states.  With the right support however your nervous system can be re-set, so please get in touch.

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