Highlands Gate Wellness
The Equine Facilitated Wellness-Canada (EFW-CAN, "ef-wa-can"). An enthusiastic group came together in 2005 and became a National Non- Profit Association in 2011. As a founding member of EFW-CAN, I joined a group of like minded therapists and equestrians working in the field of Equine Facilitated Wellness, who were concerned about principles, ethics and values regarding the safety of the clients and the equines and the professional standards in which the work was being done.
EFW-CAN is a grass roots organization whose members felt there was a need to create a comprehensive training and certification process, Code of Ethics and guidelines for the different levels of a scope of practice for the practitioners who are working in the field of Equine Facilitated Wellness. Our goal is to create a high standard of safety and professionalism to help to insure clients are receiving a high quality therapeutic intervention from qualified practitioners. The association speaks on behalf of the silent co-therapist, the equine, and states:
"The equine is a sentient being, partner and co-facilitator in the equine facilitated relationship and process. The term “equine” is meant to include horses, donkeys and mules, as all of these animals have gifts to offer in the field of equine facilitated wellness. Equines have their own perceptions and emotions, and can also attune themselves to the presence and feelings of others. Through their remarkable sensitivity, perceptiveness, and intuition equines are able to offer valuable feedback and information to clients. It is crucial that they are able to express themselves spontaneously and freely through their actions and reactions when working with clients.
In order to support their equine partners in this field, it is incumbent upon human facilitators to be aware of the impact that this work may have on equines, and safeguard their physical, mental and emotional well-being at all times. They must ensure that their equine partners are treated respectfully and ethically, both within and outside of client sessions. Human partners need to understand that their equine partners are completely dependent upon their stewardship, and do their utmost to meet their psychological and physical needs (EFW-CAN, 2013).
I believe in this philosophy very strongly. The care that is taken when working with equines is one of the foundations of the values that are prescribed by the Equine Facilitated Wellness-Canada. Learning how to honor and nurture a relationship with an animal who relies on humans for its well being, reflects back to the relationships that we as humans are seeking for ourselves and each other. In EFW clients have the opportunity to experience a relationship that is built on mutual respect, safety, congruence and clear communication by regulating emotions and recognizing their emotional needs to achieve secure attachment. I am very proud to be Tri Certified with EFW-CAN as an Equine, Learning and Mental Health Professional. For more information visit http://www.equinefacilitatedwellness.org