The Power of Acceptance -Part 2

equine-therapy-horsesPsychologist Russ Harris defines acceptance as- ‘the ability to be open to our inner experiences.’ Acceptance does not mean putting up with things or giving in. Acceptance is about building our inner resources to deal with all the things that happen to us in our lives. We aim to help our clients to develop the power of acceptance so that they can live life in a way that is consistent with how they would like it to be.

Horses are the masters of acceptance and calm. They work all day to keep themselves regulated and in control. Horses are excellent guides to help clients open up  to their inner experiences. They create a safe, non-judgmental space for clients to explore all their feelings and emotions.

We are in the beautiful Macedon Ranges. With panoramic views over Mount Macedon, the very setting provokes a feeling of calm. We see clients physically decompress as they get out of the car and look over the views. All you can hear is the sound of birdlife and the horses breathing. This promotes a state of wellbeing and emotional grounding. We always start with a short mindfulness session, using breathing and sensory exercises. By the time people meet the horses, they are ready to open up to their inner experiences.

The horses live continually in contact with the present. They live in the moment and do not look back in anger of forward in fear.  Like us, they experience challenging emotions. However, when faced with them, they sense the emotion, express it and then let it go-  ‘getting back to grazing’ as quickly as possible. They don’t dwell on it or worry about it happening again. They learn to live with these situations and build them into the inner experience.  They do not allow these negative emotions to define them.  Through interaction with the horses, clients also learn to sense the emotion, express it and let it go. We often hear clients say they need to learn to  ‘be more horse’, and many clients use a picture or a memory of the horse as a primary grounding resource.

As clients focus on all their inner experiences, they open up and make room for all their feelings and emotions. Russ Harris defines this process as ‘accommodation’.  Over time clients can learn to sense the emotion, express it but then  ‘get back to grazing’,  not allowing unwanted feelings and emotions to dominate and define them.

If you want to find out more about equine therapy please call Annie on 0411 549562 or e mail her on