Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy: from a Neuropsychoanalytic Perspective, How Can the Horse-human Bond Assist the Repair of Early Relational Trauma That Has Lead to Insecure Attachment? A Hermeneutic Literature Review

Bentley, Andrea
Solomon, Paul
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Master of Psychotherapy
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Auckland University of Technology

Through a hermeneutic phenomenological review of the literature, I present a discussion of the role that the horse-human bond in Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy (EFP) plays in repairing relational trauma that has occurred through insecure attachment, which makes it difficult for the client to engage in the psychotherapy relationship (Wilson, Buultjens, Monfries, & Karimi, 2017; Karol, 2007). I am especially interested in how the establishment of the horse-human bond supports the client to engage in the therapeutic alliance, with a view to eventually entering into traditional psychodynamic psychotherapy. My discussion, presented from a neuropsychoanalytic perspective, includes an explanation of the review process, a thorough exploration of the theory and application of EFP, and a succinct discussion of the positive and negative findings. My research into this subject has shown that EFP can heal and resolve deficits in clients who have suffered early relational trauma, facilitate the development of social and emotional capacity in the right brain, and resolve the underdeveloped sense of self that results from early relational trauma by restoring emotional and social processing. Moreover, the efficacy of EFP is significant, with the potential to shorten the time required to establish a solid relationship between the client and therapist.

Equine-facilitated psychotherapy , Neuropsychoanalytic , Attachment theory , Neuroscience , Self psychology , Psychotherapy , Early relational trauma , Insecure attachment
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