Linda Kohanov and leading family psychologist Dr. Rebecca Bailey have created this multi-faceted model to assist families and individuals through major life traumas and transitions. Based on current scientific research of how our nervous system responds to stress and danger, as well as to safety and connection, it is designed to be used in collaboration with psychotherapy and uses interaction and connection with horses to create a safe place for healing from trauma.
It can also be used to teach first responders, mental health professionals and care givers innovative skills to deal with individuals in traumatic situations.
“Being able to feel safe with other people is probably the single most important aspect of mental health; safe connections are fundamental to meaningful and satisfying lives.”
Bessel van der Kolk, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma
The core principles of CFT are safety, connection and acceptance. No healing can begin until you feel safe. A safe environment is facilitated by, first, choosing the right horse for the work. A kind and gentle horse who loves to be groomed is the ideal partner for a client who may not have the day to day experience of feeling safe in their environment. Time is spent grooming the horse, a relaxing way to get to know the horse and to connect with the horse.
Through subsequent sessions, exercises are chosen that allow you to expand your awareness of the power of the breath, awareness of emotions, and the effect of shifts in body position and release of tension on your relationship to the horse. As you begin to be more conscious of, and understand, your current state of being, you are encouraged to have compassion and acceptance for yourself and where you are at. It is from this place of self-acceptance and self-compassion that healing begins.
"I learned as a child not to trust in my body
I've carried that burden through my life
But there's a day when we all have to be pried loose."
Bruce Cockburn, Last Night of the World