What is EFPL?

Horse Dancing at a HEAL Equine-Facilitated Learning Workshop

Client Testimony: We started out slowly, moving back and forth with each other, and I sent him out trotting, then cantering around me. As he bucked in playful joy, my whole soul came alive. He joined back up with me and we flowed through the length of the arena, our strides matching in harmony. I ran beside him and my heart sang with a feeling of connection and belonging. Tears of acceptance and freedom welled up from my inner being as I watched Gallant embody the joy that I felt inside. I was so amazed at this deep connection that opened up to me when I allowed myself to be free, and I was astonished to discover that the result of being authentic was deep connection, not rejection.

Horse Spirit Connections Interview with Kathleen Barry Ingram, MA

What is EFPL?
Equine-Facilitated Psychotherapy and Learning Information Sheet

How are EFP and EFL Different?

  • Equine-Facilitated Psychotherapy (EFP) must be provided by an appropriately trained (Masters or PhD level) and state-licensed mental health provider.   Licensed mental health therapists may be Social Workers, Psychologists, Counselors, Marriage and Family Therapists. Licensed therapists are mental health care providers, trained in the assessment and treatment of mental disorders as described in the DSM-IV; and obligated to maintain current competence in the mental health field.  Therapists from these diverse categories may employ EFP within their practice in ways that fit the client and serve client goals. The clients may be children, adults or families.  Psychotherapy implies an ongoing relationship of some duration, allowing the client and therapist to form a “therapeutic alliance” guided by a treatment philosophy and individualized goals for treatment.
  • The term Equine-Facilitated Learning (EFL) can include programs for youth, personal or corporate coaching, or workshops with a transpersonal or spiritual emphasis.  Many EFL practitioners may be highly qualified in their field such as teaching, personal and corporate coaching, or horse training, behavior and communication.  Therapists who offer EFP may also offer EFL. Consumers consider the background and training of EFL providers to find the right match for their learning goals.  Typically the goals for EFL are future oriented and motivational. EFL is often delivered in a class or workshop setting. EFL can contribute significantly to psychological resilience and personal or professional empowerment.