Who’s in your bubble?

equine-horse-therapy-melbourneIt’s a sad reality that quite a few of our clients, adults and children alike do not feel psychologically safe and in some instances don’t feel physically safe. For most of us physical and psychological safety is a given in our daily lives and relationships. Renowned trauma expert, Bessel Van der Kolk wrote, ‘Being able to feel safe with other people is probably the single most important aspect of mental health; safe connections are fundamental to meaningful and satisfying lives. …….’   Social support is not the same as merely being in the presence of others. The critical issue is reciprocity: being truly heard and seen by the people around us, feeling that we are held in someone else’s mind and heart. For our physiology to calm down, heal, and grow,  we need a visceral feeling of safety.’

Working with horses provides clients with an insight into these basic needs.  The primary job for a horse each and every day,  is to survive the day. They are flight animals,  highly attuned to risk and threat. As such they live in contact with each other, in the present moment.

When we invite clients to observe the herd, they can quickly identify how the horses operate together. They form a bubble in which a few relationships play out in front of our eyes.  Jenny, the herd matriarch, always maintains a watching eye over the others.  We use these herd observations to ask clients to consider who’s in their bubble?  Who do they feel safe with and can rely on? This question can be a struggle for some. People will often identify one of the horses as being in their bubble. 

The horses offer everyone acceptance and a lack of judgement, which are essential elements of building healthy relationships.  As Van der Kolk said ‘ No doctor can write a prescription for friendship and love’, but working with the horses can give our clients hope that these are things that are within their grasp.

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