Sarah is cross-trained in “people interventions”, “equine-assisted interventions” and “working with horses”, the 3 core areas of competency recommended by most reputable certification programs in this field to be able to skillfully provide interventions of this kind.
The EquuSpirit: Healing with Horses program is grounded in trauma-specific therapy involving Somatic Experiencing for “bottom up” emotion regulation and trauma resolution for both clients and helping professionals. The training required to practice Somatic Experiencing is 3 years in length at minimum (not counting post-advanced continuing education training), and requires significant time and investing in one’s own personal therapy using this modality. In addition, Sarah’s training in equine-facilitated wellness in particular was also trauma-specific incorporating somatic therapy and mindfulness. There are other equine-facilitated interventions and programs that focus on PTSD out there, but to our knowledge the Generation Farms model is the only one in Canada that incorporates neuroscience in how to work with the body and nervous system to heal with horses to foster neural integration. Visit this Generation Farms website page to learn more about their philosophy of working with trauma and the description of their training program.
Though trauma-specific, the Healing with Horses program will be of interest to individuals facing other types of pain and life transitions as well. We work with stress, anxiety, fear, phobias, panic, anger (repressed or explosive), relationship or family difficulties, codependency and boundaries, chronic pain and fatigue, interpersonal effectiveness, grief and loss, emotion regulation, restoring authenticity and embodied selfhood, self-esteem and self-confidence, and building the skills and capacity to more flexibly cope with life’s challenges. Many of our clients struggle with addictions, eating disorders or self-harm as ways of managing life as well as emotional or physical pain. We integrate a number of modalities and orientations in our work, from body-oriented psychotherapy (Somatic Experiencing), mindfulness, self-compassion, Gestalt therapy, psychodynamic therapy, DBT skills, CBT, to experiential learning and life skills coaching. Aside from the Generation Farms model of equine-facilitated wellness training, we also draw from EAGALA, the Adventures in Awareness and EponaQuest models of equine-facilitated experiential learning. As a result, our program is able to flexibly adapt to your unique needs and provides a broader range of equine-based exercises, activities and experiences than programs that focus more specifically on one model.
- Equine Philosophy
Sarah works with horses from a natural horsemanship perspective that emphasizes mutual respect and the importance of building authentic relationships with these animals at liberty and on lead through emotional congruence, self-regulation, self-awareness, body language, and non-verbal communication. EquuSpirit is inspired by the work of the old master horsemen and horsewomen such as Tom and Bill Dorrance, Ray Hunt, Buck Brannaman, and Carolyn Resnick, as well as some of their younger counterparts.