Monthly Archives: October 2015

Equine Assisted Therapy: Workshop on 17 October 2015

A professional wohorserkshop which brought in a breath of fresh air!  Pam Billinge gave fascinating and moving insights into the practices and principles of equine assisted therapy in the beautiful rural setting of Suddene Park Farm in Wiltshire.

Pam started by helping us to be “present” in the room by taking us through a short meditation exercise, which helped many of us to feel calm and centred.  She then explained how she had originally qualified as a body psychotherapist, and subsequently developed “embodied horse-led therapy” once she realised that her own unacknowledged emotions were having an unwelcome impact on her horse’s behaviour.

Here was a key point of our learning:  If we do not acknowledge our own emotions, the horse will act as an instant amplifier, often even across distances.  This can be explained as right-brain to right-brain communication, which bypasses logical thought or judgement.  As a trained observer the equine therapist will have access to more information about the client’s emotions (possibly unconscious) whilst interacting with the horse, than in the conventional setting of the therapy room.  The use of words is often not even necessary.

“When we step into the world of the horse, during equine assisted learning, and build relationship with them, we step into this non-verbal realm in which the horse responds to our emotional, energetic cues. Often these emotions are not in our conscious awareness, so habituated have we become to feeling them.  Thus very quickly the horse brings our full awareness, in the instant, to our emotional experience in all its authenticity. With every emotion comes a physical feeling – a felt sense in our body. And the more aware we become of our somatic experience, the better we can learn to master our emotions. And the easier it becomes to be present.”  Pam Billinge

This was a highly experiential morning, whereby we observed horses in their interactions with a few people from our workshop.   We also learned of the main principles of equine assisted therapy including energetic resonance; everything means something; non-verbal information; bio-dynamic cycles (whereby we experience intense peaks of emotion before returning to a state of balance); the importance of being authentic and to try to harness “neutral energy”; universal holding; trusting the horse.

equine workshopPam scored an impressive 4.93 out of 5 as a seminar leader – our best score yet!  We were also delighted with the score for overall assessment of the event which was 4.79 out of 5!

Participant written comments:

  • “really interesting and absorbing”
  • “thoroughly enjoyable”
  • “well organised, good venue and speaker”
  • “I felt very safe and secure with the speaker’s experience and responsible leadership of the group and what took place”
  • beautiful ambience”
  • “thought it was excellent”

Pam Billinge runs 3-day training programmes in “embodied equine-assisted therapy”.  Contact Pam:

By:  Wendy Bramham
20 October 2015

Working with Depression, led by Gill Bannister – 26th September 2015

On a clear, sunny autumnal Saturday last week, I was treated to a full day’s seminar on depression… the conflict of light and dark didn’t pass by un-noticed and in fact resulted in a feeling of optimism and lightness – a surprise considering the darkness and negativity of the topic.    Gill Bannister delivered her seminar with feeling and containment – two very important aspects of a therapist’s role when working with clients with depression.

Gill’s 30 years experience as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist working with depression in clients was delivered in a style in keeping with her classic training, enabling us to have time and space to think, to sit with ourselves and our difficult thoughts and feelings, allowing a process to occur.   Gill believes that depression is a result of a client experiencing loss.   The depressed client suffers from a lack of self esteem, often projecting a super-ego which is rejecting, despising and attacking.

The experiential element of the seminar was invaluable, thinking and sharing thoughts, Gill challenged us to confront our own assumptions, experiences and prejudices around depression.  A word which is now loaded with a vast array of interpretation and stigma.    We were guided through the day with exercises and discussion which enabled us to experience the core essence of working with depression in the therapeutic room – trying to get in touch with our client’s inner world.  By experiencing a 30 minute solo role play, I felt more connected and understanding of my client’s depression than I had done before and will be processing and using these insights future sessions with this particular client.

An enlightenment of depression…. most valuable.

See our future seminars at our website (seminars tab)

by: Jo Turner

29 September 2015

This seminar was assessed by attendees as 4.69 out of 5 for the overall quality of the event. The speaker was rated 4.75. Thank you to all who attended this and previous seminars, we appreciate your participation and your feedback.