Become an IET Therapist
A surprising number of people (and former clients) have asked if they can become a Beachwood trained equine therapist. You can, with the right skill set, and there are a number of ways to do it.
In response to these inquiries, Lynne wrote a letter that we thought to include in our website:
I was recently asked to explain what is involved in becoming a Certified Equine Therapist in the Phipps Protocol. Since you had expressed an interest this training I thought I would send you the same overview.
I feel we are on the cutting edge of new ways to deal with stress, trauma, loss and PTSD. Some of the most impressive new research has show that using horses in therapy is both faster and more effective than talk therapy alone. It is very exciting. You may want to be part of it.
Our training program has three parts: participate as a client; study and discussion; shadow and supported training.
Participate as a Client
It takes seven 1 ½ hour sessions for a typical client to gain the complete benefit of the therapy although we often see some make a dramatic breakthrough near the third session. Usually we meet once a week but a few opt to do an Intensive, seven sessions in seven days. We all have trauma in our past; now you can see how a therapist and a horse can change conditioned reactions and behaviors building new neural pathways.
Remember, unlike other programs you may have heard about, clients do not ride or do barn chores. We view these approaches as palliative therapy, not curative. Nor do we use rescue horses; ours are warm-blood dressage horses specially selected for the sensitivity, intelligence, and strength of character that is required. You will later see why this is so important.
Study and Discussion
The program incorporates a wide range of reading and discussions, about horsemanship and what the horse brings to the process, and the underlying approaches that the Phipps Protocol is based on.
Sometimes we travel to other farms to meet particular horse trainers. One in particular is very exciting as she is well known for taking troubled horses - sent from all over the country - that no one else has been able to “fix,” and then turning them around to become happy, reliable and ridable. It’s a deeper view of horses and how to work with them.
Just as an aside, if you haven’t seen the recent series on PBS Nature: Equus “Story of the Horse,” you can see it online. Parts of it relate to the underpinnings of our work.
Our students are also required to become a certified PATH INTL ESMHL (equine specialist in mental health and learning). It’s a different approach but we consider it one of the prerequisite requirements in our field.
Shadow and Supported Training
You now will shadow the Beachwood Therapists working with real clients interspersed with sessions where you become the ET and one of our ETs plays the role of the client; this can be quite fun in addition to valuable feedback. When you are ready, you will work with real clients with a Beachwood ET shadowing you. We are very careful about this matching. At this stage some clients have issues too difficult for ETs with less experience.
When you achieve your Beachwood Certification many options are open to you. Some want to stay work with the Beachwood team. We think it is a warm and nurturing environment well suited for continued growth. One person has returned to her home state where she plans to be an ET part time to pay for her dressage training and support her horse (now a tax deduction). Where ever you go you remain part of the Beachwood network, sharing knowledge and experiences as well as marketing techniques.
I thought I would include this quote that came from an equine therapist’s progress review six months after completion of her training:
I think three important things have happened. The best is that clients make breakthroughs where they can rise to a new level, a level that they can keep. You never know when it is going to happen but when it does, it’s an extremely rewarding experience for me.
… I have been riding for a long time but that is not exactly the same as being able to read horses. I’m much more skillful at this now. I can now build a much deeper rapport with a horse, this is emotionally rewarding too and I think it also has improved my riding.
… It may sound a little strange, but I am generally more self confident, not just about myself but my outlook on where I fit in the world. … I love doing this!”