So we’ve got to the approach where my journey began; Animal Assisted Psychotherapy & Personal Growth, AAT.
Back on 2001, I found a course about animal assisted therapy, I did some research on Internet and inmediately knew that was what I wanted to dedicate my like to. So at the same time that I drank every book and document I could find, I registered into that first course, that together with many more that followed, marked the actual beginning of my carreer.
However, I always wanted to focus my work on horses, don’t ask me why. In Spain they were already talking about Hippotherapy and Ecuestrian Therapy, but I didn’t really felt the call. For some reason, I had this clear vision in my head about how to work with these powerful animals. I wanted to do Psychotherapy and Personal & Professional development; I wanted to help develop social skills; how to improve our philosophy of life through processes and activities with the horses. But it wasn’t until 2008 that EAGALA (Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association) came to Spain for the first time to offer their training. I didn’t really know what to expect, but suddenly, all the chaos of ideas in my head about how to approach this work took shape and got organised. I had found home, my soul, it was wonderful.
It has rained a lot since then and today, the way I work and run my sessions is very different from that that I learned in my first contact with EAGALA. It’s been transformed and integrated with meditation in nature, CBT therapy, emotional liberation, etc., that melted with the presence of the horses, it reaches a deeper level. Besides, you’ll become aware of what these amazing beings can do for us.
I mainly work with horses and dogs. During the sessions, they behave as a mirror of the person they’re interacting with. So basically, once we’ve established what you want to achieve out of that session, I design an activity for you to carry out with the animal. It’ll represent a metaphor of your current situation. Therefore, every problem or challenge that comes up during the activity, are going to be the same you find in real life. That way, when the emotions and blocks arise, I guide you to analyse what you’re transmiting and perceiving, and we’ll liberate them together, with the most appropriate techniques in that precise moment. New ideas will come to you naturally and you’ll find solutions to those problems that you couldn’t see before, so you´ll be able to keep growing and evolving.
Now, why animals?
We have the tendency to think on them as less evolved beings. We think that language and complex thought make us superior, but as we experience day in and day out, that is what it also makes our life more difficult and complicated. But as we can see just observing them, everthing is much more simple.
So, if you have hesitations about something, consider the possibility to ask an animal. It could be any animal, from your pet to a bird you meet in the park. Be certain that she’ll respond. You just have to learn how to communicate with them from the acceptance and understanding that we are all different in some aspects, and equal in others. Follow your intuition, and why not, your imagination, it’s much more powerful of what you can imagine!
Anyway, I have thousand of wonderful anecdotes about animals helping humans, that I’d love to tell you, but I’m going to focus on one that had a great impact on me.
At the beginning of 2016, my partner on EquiSense, Victoria Wilkinson and myself, run a project of Creative Arts and Dog Assisted Therapy in the Almería penitentiary, 12 steps to share. On the first day we introduced the four dogs we were going to work with, I proposed an activity to the group that represented what they wanted to achieve. One of the participants, chose one of the dogs to complete the activity but this one had other plan in mind; not to move. The participant interpreted it as rejection and had a strong response. The session continued and at some point, he asked for permission to go to the loo. After the session this person came to us to talk about her feelings and that was it.
Before the program ended, we decided to take the dogs away, so we suggested them to write a good-bye letter. When that person gave me the letter, she told me that day, she went to the toilet almost crying, but another dog went behind her, opened the door and started to lick the tears falling down her cheeks. That day, her perception and interpretation of everything that happened to her changed, so she started to see a way out.
If you want to start or go deeper into your own growth, you can contact me any time. To find out what emotions are blocking your own development, and learn emotional freedom techniques, don’t miss the self-help online courses I’ve created to help you, a guided meditation is included. If you don’t find the ideal course for you, let me know and I’ll design one exclusively for you. For any query, please, don’t hesitate to contact me, I’ll reply as soon as possible.