Equine Assisted Psychotherapy : Essential Skills Tickets

Holly Lodge, Richmond Park, TW10 5HS.

The genius of equine-assisted therapy is that the horse invites talk, but does not require it to communicate". So states Alain de Botton, philosopher and founder of the School of Life, in a review of Prof Andreas Liefooghe's latest book on equine-assisted psychotherapy and coaching.

In a world of chaos where everyone seems to highjack the narrative, the non-verbal has never been more important. We can all benefit from learning to communicate without words.

Andreas, founder of Operation Centaur, will facilitate this three-day intensive course. The Operation Centaur model provides an evidence-based framework, and is therefore the first of its kind in the field. The course addresses all essential components of working with horses in helping relationships.

The programme is for both professional helpers and for those who want to understand how horses can play a pivotal role in our psychological well-being. Based on experiential action learning, participants will spend considerable hands-on time with the horses.

The course facilitates deep personal learning, as well as a professional skills framework for helping relationships. An Operation Centaur Certificate will be provided.

Ticket type Cost (face value)? Quantity
3 DAY COURSE £1,054.70 (£995.00)

* Handling and delivery fees may apply to your order  

More information about Equine Assisted Psychotherapy : Essential Skills tickets

The Operation Centaur model of equine-assisted psychotherapy and coaching is an evidence-based model, resulting from nearly two decades of research. The course looks at each step of this model:

SAFETY is the first stage. How do we keep ourselves psychologically and emotionally safe, and how can horses help us in this? How do we learn to be accountable, to ask for help, to connect with the outside world?

CONNECTION and how we relate to others is at the core of the human condition. The roles we play in this as individuals becomes even clearer when the other is not a person, but a horse. Why do people choose certain horses and not others? How long do they spend with the horses? Why do we want to find out the anthropomorphic details of the horse, such as their name? Why does age or sex matter?

RE-CONNECTION, the return to a relationship once it has been established and after a period of absence, is another key element in human functioning - and working with a herd of horses makes us see things radically different. To reconnect, either as an individual or as a group, can be a very different experience. Have things remained the same? What has been lost? What has been gained? The connect-reconnect dynamic is making the strange familiar - and then, conversely, making the familiar strange again. It offers a real opportunity to work through attachment issues, and through loss.

MOVEMENT is something crucial horses can teach us. Getting stuck is something many therapists and coaches struggle with. What moves, and what impedes movement? Where do we get stuck? This part of the model is of particular importance to communications, and to appreciating difference. How can we avoid making assumptions that others understand us? How do we learn to take perspective? What is our theory of the other's mind? Difference clearly becomes an issue. How do we let someone who is not-us know what we want from them?

Finally, DIRECTION is how horses can help us get sense of purpose. It offers a focus for our desires. What do I want? We may now have created movement, but do we have any agency to control it, to direct it? How do we impose our wishes on the other? Do we force or negotiate? How quickly do we give up? Where do we want to go in the first place?

Throughout the course we return to these stages and experience how the horses, when placed at the centre, can be the catalyst for deep learning. Each day, theory sessions are interspersed with experiential learning and processing groups. By the end of the course, students will have a clear understanding of: 

- The role of the horse in helping relationships
- The Operation Centaur Model of delivering change through working with horses
- The theoretical bases on which we can draw to explain, shift and explore a full range of emotional and behavioural challenges
- The practical skills required to work with horses in helping relationships
- A more profound understanding of ourselves as helping professionals in the context of EAP

Temple Grandin, author of Animals in Translation, states that our approach offers "practical information that equine therapists can actually use".

Az Hakeem, psychiatrist and psychotherapist, told us "I have seen first-hand the power of Operation Centaur's approach on the patients in my care".

Alain de Botton, philosopher, celebrates how we use horses when the standard 'talking cure' doesn't work: "connecting with horses provides a royal road into the unconscious".

Key Information

Operation Centaur

Holly Lodge 

Richmond Park

TW10 5HS

Attendees to wear waterproof layers and sturdy footwear as the course takes place outdoors.  

Attendees to provide their own packed lunch on each day. 

Tickets are non refundable.