Nederlandse Stichting Helpen met Paarden – Equitherapie

The countershape model

The countershape.model in Equitherapy, : The horses role in : satisfying the clients basic needs activating his resources and developing his abilities

Mit dem Pferd die individuellen Bedürfnisse des Klienten befriedigen, seine Ressourcen aktivieren und Fähigkeiten entwickel: das individuellen Passformmodell von Pesso

Thiel U.1

1SHP-E(NL), HippoCampus Institute, Soerendonk, Netherlands

As a form of growth oriented therapy it starts from the assumption that each human carries in himself a deep knowledge of that which he needs for his optimal development and employment of his interaction with others in social context. That goes for the child that comes for remedial work as well as for adolescents in a psychosocial therapeutical context and the client in psychotherapy The horse can assist the therapist in bringing about this knowledge which before was hidden within the unconscious body memory (sense) . Because the horse is a highly sensitive movement- and relation-oriented social animal it responses clearly to wishes and movement- and emotion impulses of the client that have been hidden During remedial vaulting the integration of the different effective factors of therapeutic riding into one, still, current development-process is intended. In psychotherapy we have to reckon with already largely closed, partially disturbed development-processes to which as a consequence the client has reacted with a row of defence - and coping-mechanisms. These mechanisms impede the access in the therapeutic process because for the client it seems very dangerous to give up these approved " strategies of surviving", We therefore must face stronger individual reactions based on; biographical determined reactions resulting from the personal history. In psychosocial and pedagogical practice with adults or remedial work with children we are moving between „elaborating conflicts from the past, the development of abilities and alternative behaviour in the present. In all three approaches the horse can add fundamental facilitation and depth to the equitherapeutic process... The countershape model can be useful allowing the horse to become an autonomous part of the therapeutic triangle relation and be an advantage in giving access to the clients individual basic needs and resources. It also shows us the clients resources which have enabled them to „survive" so far. We should not rely naively and unquestioningly on the catalyst effects of the horse, its common archaic effect when being being carried. Neither should we rely on the common facilitating effects in psycho motor abilities only. Obviously Equitherapy is a holistic concept because it acts on the whole human - body soul and mind. The disadvantage of such models could be that we work unspecific ally so that the individual client and the individual horse in their uniqueness are in danger of being passed over.. In order to use this relational triangle in appropriate doses in a targeted and meaningful way for the client within an integrated process and in order to provide the option of transposing experiences into daily life, we also need a well-structured concept. We need a therapy situation that offers the necessary safety, while inviting the individual client to experiment with themselves, their bodies, their sensations, feelings and conflicting polarities with the horse as individual partner in interaction. We do not only want that clients feel good with the horse, learn more about themselves, and assess and appreciate their own unique self . We also want them to take home the newly gained insights and use them in their "normal” life to improve the quality of life in interaction with themselves and other human beings. We do not want to achieve what many riders with personal suffering try to seek and find through "autotherapy” with their horse: replacing the "human partner” with the "equine partner” In practice the advantage of the Countershape model in Equitherapy lies therein that different professions in Equitherapy such as (pedagogs, remedial teachers, psychotherapists and social workers) have a better foundation for collaboration when concentrating on the elaborated individual basic needs, facilities and abilities of the client when offering their range of possibilities in Equitherapy. and to to transfer them into the therapeutical setting with the horse.