The EAGALA model is a structure and standard for conducting Equine Assisted Psychotherapy. To summarize this standard:
The Team approach
EAGALA’s standard is that this work is done with a qualified, professional team of mental health professional (MH) and equine specialist professional (ES).
Focus on the ground
EAGALA’s standard is that this work is done on the ground with horses. We do not incorporate any mounted work. This allows us a safer environment for our clients with a wider range of potential activities. In addition, there is less instruction from facilitators with ground work which maximizes the solution-oriented approach of the model. Being on the ground allows the horses to act more naturally and be themselves. They are in a better position to confront and engage with clients. They can run, move away, ignore, kick, eat, or get distracted with their peers. It is the opportunity they have to act like horses that brings the true power to EAGALA sessions.
In EAGALA, we believe that, whether it be their relationship with the horses or their relationship to people, places, things, or concepts in their lives, clients have their own best solutions if just given the opportunity to discover them. Discomfort and challenge occur naturally in life. For many people, it is through these difficulties in their lives that struggles become more apparent. EAGALA model work re-creates these life situations through the work with the horses. In this therapeutic environment, clients have the opportunity to work through these struggles, problem-solve, and practice experientially new ways of living.
Horses are able to read and respond to non verbal messages coming from the human. Because of this, horses begin to act in familiar ways for the client. The horse might become a spouse, a partner, a friend, a dream, a fear, etc. This gives the client a chance to work through these issues in a safe environment.
Code of Ethics
Each member of the EAGALA team (mental health professional, equine specialist, and horse) is expected to maintain professionalism and work toward the overall health and wellness of the clients. The complete code of ethics can be found at http://www.eagala.or