What happens in an Integrative Equine Therapy (IET) session?
Most of the 90 min session includes the client, therapist and horse. Each session is formatted with the IET protocol; grounding, connecting with the horse and underlying issues, and then building connection with the conscious part of the brain. Even though the protocol is always the same, each session is unique to each individual. Most clients experience relief quickly; in the first or second session.
Is Integrative Equine Therapy Difficult?
Integrative Equine Therapy and working with horses is not scary. When a horse makes a genuine connection you can't escape it. It's a genuine connection, and in our world there are so many connections that are not genuine. So, the work that we do here with horses is very real and very deep.
How long is an Integrative Equine Therapy (IET) session at Beachwood?
IET sessions are 90 minutes long.
How to shift perspective and heal.
How do horses help? People ask me that all the time. The horses do an amazing job at being the model. They show me what's going on inside of a person so when someone comes here for help the idea of talking can oftentimes be overwhelming or difficult, and we're able to literally read the horse and guide you and lead you through what's going on for you, inside your body, to a place where you're able to bring awareness and intention, to reshape and reframe your life experience. We call that shifting perspective.
How long has this therapy been used and what is the scientific background to support it?
It took a number of years for Lynne Bryan Phipps, an equestrian and ordained minister to develop Integrative Equine Therapy (IET). Her goal was to make the healing power of horses available to people who don’t have access to horses.
She opened Beachwood just south of Newport, RI in 2016. In 2017, a Brown University professor took interest, and began collecting independent 3rd party data that continues to show that IET helps with stress, anxiety and trauma more quickly and cost-effectively than conventional therapy. People experience significant improvement in an average of 7 IET sessions, which means that IET takes about 10-12 weeks, and is 1/3 of the cost of traditional therapy.
Why horses can help?
People ask me all the time why horses, can't dogs just do this work?
And the answer is no. Horses are a prey animal which means that they live in the fight-or-flight part of their brain when they're not at rest. They're very large as you can see and they don't need us. They can get almost everything they need in their connection with their herd and by just grazing. They need to have food and water but they don't need us for anything. They seek connection and they mirror what's around them because their safety depends on it.
So if a horse notices that somebody's not safe, I can read it on them. If a horse notices that somebody needs something, I can read it on them. They're very transparent about what is going on in their environment. They mirror the best of what they see because they're dependent on you feeding them and on you taking care of them.
They will always show you the best that's in you. Horses will show you exactly what's going on.
How does Integrative Equine Therapy (IET) treat trauma, ptsd, anxiety, grief or other forms of pain?
Clients work with specially bred horses and trained IET therapists in a natural environment, creating a safe space for shifting automatic responses and creating new neural pathways to new coping strategies. Read The Healing Power of Horses for more information.
How did Beachwood get its start?
I started to look back at what each of my horses had done and what they had accomplished in me. Then I realized, oh my gosh, there's something really magical happening here, and I think I realized I had to figure out how to make it available to people who didn't have access to horses.
The first person happened because a friend whose daughter was struggling significantly needed help. She was in high school and she had anxiety to the point that she was bedridden and couldn't go to school. So she said "Do you think you could help?" I said, "Well we can try."
What happened was that she came and she started doing the work and we started developing this process. Within three or four sessions she was almost regularly back at school and took a little more time, probably three or four months total, and she had really overcome her anxiety significantly so that was sort of the breakthrough.
How long does it take to get results?
Most people feel relief from symptoms in the first session.
How do horses heal?
So you can look at him right now. See how he pulls me into him. First of all I have to ground the
person and get them connected with themselves which quite frankly is a difficult thing. We live in a world right now where we are taught to live in our heads, to think all of our language is about thinking and solving problems, and doing things in our heads, and we really teach people at a very young age to disconnect from their hearts.
So the first thing that we have to do is connect our head in our heart, and then the next thing we do is we connect with the horse. Then the horse literally mirrors our behavior, what's going on inside of us.
So when we're anxious, I can read it in the horse. When I ask you to think about a situation, the horse can tell me what you're experiencing because the horse mirrors you.
So it's a pretty amazing thing for people. I think our clients oftentimes say they had no idea that it could be (I don't like using the word easy) but it's very gentle, kind, easy work.
Is the horse and the therapist matched to me and my needs?
Yes, our warmblood horses have been specially bred for their intelligence and responsiveness and our therapists are trained to help you to discover which horse is best suited to you.
Why do we respond the way we do when we are triggered?
Do you have to ride or touch the horse? What if I’m afraid of horses?
At Beachwood, clients do not ride or care for the horses. Many people are surprised by how enjoyable and rewarding it is to touch and be close to the horses. Those who are scared of horses when they arrive, are usually surprised by how good they feel when they leave.
Why horse people are crazy about horses
People are crazy about horses because they are safe. People who often times have trouble with other people or feel like they're not understood find horses to be amazingly present animals.
If I’m coming from far away, is there a place to stay?
For each of our locations, we can provide a list of excellent accommodations at various price points to choose from. All of them provide wonderful service to our Beachwood Clients.
Where is stress stored in your body?
Where do you store stress in your body?
The reason we're asking this question is because the Allied Center for Mental Health states that three out of four Americans are stressed to the point of developing a chronic illness and only one out of three gets help before that illness is manifest.
So what does that mean to most of us? What makes a lot of sense that if we were able to pay attention when those parts of our bodies start to respond then we might be able to catch stress and stress-related illness before we're sick.
Some people store stress in their stomachs; folks who get irritable bowel syndrome or just even a bellyache when you're doing something that is troubling or thinking troublesome thoughts.
Some people get headaches. They're oftentimes a sign of stress. Heart palpitations or just your heart racing or even a feeling like there's energy stuck in your chest can be a sign of stress or anxiety.
And sometimes we have trouble sleeping that's another sign that we're trying to do too much or that something's out of whack that we're not paying attention to.
Are there accommodations if I want to do multiple day sessions?
There are accommodations nearby ranging from economical inns to boutique hotels and we are happy to provide suggestions. For instance, near our Rhode Island location, There is a cozy bed and breakfast that caters to our clients, providing a home like environment when you’ve come a distance to work with us.