Equid-Nexus: An Equine Engaged Parts Work Psychotherapy Model

Learn the Model:
Building Relational Consciousness Through Intersubjectivity -
One Part at a Time

The next level for intensive trauma treatment; partnering with horses for healing attachment wounds

What is Equid-Nexus?

The IFS model encourages curiosity about the client’s cognitions and beliefs, emotions and somatic experiences, while dual attention is paid both to the past and the present. Adopting curiosity sets the condition to yield an openness from the heart and mind and melts away the impulses to analyze or interpret the client’s process. This condition allows for the transformative benefits to spontaneously occur for the humans and horses as they engage with each other. Engagement between the human and horse is the goal. The term “engagement” means that there is an understanding or agreement to be intentionally with another.

The horses here at my ranch, Whispering White Horse Stables, do not just partner with me in facilitating equine-assisted psychotherapy; they are the transformative element on which everything builds. Their consent to engage with the client starts the process of relational connection and consciousness. The Oxford dictionary includes “nexus” to mean “a connection or series of connections linking to or more things” and “the central and most important point or place”. “Equid” implies any mammal related to the horse family, such as zebras or donkeys.

Equid-Nexus therefore, in the context of EAP, means important connections within a family; internally and externally. The Equid-Nexus model maintains that connection with others is more authentic and secure when driven from the Self. This felt sense of Self links clients to their bodies and allows them to feel connection through somatic experiences. Relationships fostered through Self-Energy eliminate the need for re-enactments as clients feel a sense of freedom to think, believe and act differently.

Through their engagement with the horse they have the opportunity to gain immediate feedback when connection is made through a part versus from Self. There is a level of discernment here that is important to name. Interacting from a part does not automatically mean that there is a problem. We need all of our parts and they can come in handy in interactions. However, learning where reactions are coming from and becoming aware of unhealthy patterns is the golden ticket here. The process of increasing awareness and having enough space inside to make a choice of how to react is key.

Automatic reactions from a part are ripe therapeutic opportunities to get curious as to where this reaction comes from. Because connection instead of perfection is always the goal, we focus on “do-overs” and repairing attachment ruptures with clients and their horses. It also provides for more focused interventions.

Moments Captured from On-Site Trainings