Sandi Wilcox offers to clients an additional therapeutic opportunity called Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy. Sandi is a certified EAP Mental Health provider through an organization called Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA). Find more information on this therapeutic technique at the EAGALA website. Children, adults, individuals, couples, and families can benefit from activities in the arena with horses, miniature horses, donkeys, and mules. These activities are all on the ground and not on horseback.
Since equines are herd animals, they have powerful and sensitive relational instincts. They tune in to the body language, voice, and the effect of the humans around them and to other members of the herd. They mirror back to us our emotions, helping clients to become more present-centered and self-aware. The process is so immediate that clients are then able to experiment with new strategies right in the moment.
The work in the arena is metaphorical. That means that everyone and everything can be interpreted symbolically to reflect the client’s life. For example: a horse’s resistance to being led through an obstacle can mirror the client’s reluctance to complete a task in his or her own life. A change in strategy working with the animals may reflect a change in direction in the client’s own life. Horses running in a circle may evoke the question, “Who runs around in circles in your life?”
Clients are given opportunity after each task to process with Sandi along with Equine Specialist, Becky Strassner. Further processing continues in later sessions in office visits. Often the images and insights from the arena continue to show up in dreams and conversations months after the experience.