I met with a young person for an assessment session of equine assisted therapy (EAT). The remit for this person was to experience new strategies to address angry outbursts, destructive behaviour and to offer a safe quiet space to process life events. This person presents with “I can’t be bothered, don’t want to get up in the mornings all I want to do is sleep” attitude and persona.
This young person has experienced foster placement breakdowns, been parted from a sibling and is now in a residential establishment.
Following the initial setting of ground rules we agreed to go and meet the horses. The young person made observations around colour, gender, size and strength of the horses. The client chose to approach a large brown horse who was laying down asleep resting its nose on the grass. The client liked the strength the horse portrayed, having big muscles and looking powerful as it was big. We discussed ways to approach the horse and I gave the client possibilities and options. Client chose to approach the horse slowly and quietly, because the horse looked chilled out. The client steadily approached the horse silently taking small purposeful steps. The horse gently lifted it’s head then rested it down again. The client stood close by the side of the horse with a tilting head from side to side in a slow methodical pace as if observing every breath of the horse as it inhaled and exhaled. The horse watched the client as if the picture was mirrored between them. The client stood silently by the resting horse for ages until the client chose to move and return to me walking briskly away from the horse smiling and kind of shaking his head in disbelief. The stillness was breathtakingly peaceful, an experience that was alien to this young person. The client said “that was amazing” and laughed as if to say “how did that happen?” Where had the anger and rage gone?
This 11 year old (who presents as a much younger) is described as “not understanding his emotions or how to express emotions” oh really? This was just session 1.