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EQUINE
ASSISTED
PSYCOTHERAPY

‘The patients that attended equine assisted therapy said it was one of the most profound experiences they have ever had. It really improved their confidence and courage levels.’

 Akthar Hussain, Chief Executive – Nightingale Hospital and Start2Stop

ABOUT OPERATION CENTAUR

Founded in 2005 by Prof Dr Andreas Liefooghe psychologist, psychotherapist and coach, Operation Centaur is the foremost centre of equine assisted psychotherapy in Europe.

 

Our team is exclusively made up of clinical psychologists and psychotherapists. We have many years of experience of treating clients and patients with a full range of mental health issues, including addiction, ADHD, ASD, anxiety, body dysmorphia, depression, eating disorders, trauma, amongst others. We work with people from all walks of life, including young people, adults and families.

 

Operation Centaur has a proprietary evidence-based model of equine assisted psychotherapy.

‘Operation Centaur’s approach offers practical information that equine therapists can actually use.’

 Temple Grandin, Author of Animals in Translation

HOW HORSES HEAL HUMANS

For over 20 years, our ground-breaking equine work has helped thousands of people. When struggling with trauma, addiction, anxiety, depression, an eating disorder or any kind of profound emotional difficulty, finding a way through can feel overwhelming. Not everyone is able to articulate their feelings productively. It can be helpful to step back, and take a different perspective.

 

Horses make excellent therapists. They do not try to fix us or make us feel better. Instead, they respond to us instinctively and without judgement, create a safe space where we can uncover feelings that are hard to name, or that we did not know we felt.

 

Equine assisted therapy is the practice of spending regular and constructive work with horses, in order to observe these responses. Guided by their psychotherapist, clients can gain a deeper and more reflective understanding of themselves, their situation, and their relationship to others.

 

Whilst these revelations may have eventually come through simple self-reflection or other kind of therapy, the role of the horse is to speed things up. It is what comes naturally to them. They take us where we want to go, faster.

 

‘The genius of equine assisted therapy is that the horse invites talk, but does not require it to communicate.’

Alain de Botton, Philosopher and Founder of The School of Life

WHAT TO EXPECT

Equine assisted psychotherapy takes place on the ground, either in our tranquil paddocks in Richmond Park, or at one of our intensive five-day retreats. Usually, no riding is involved, and no prior experience is required.

 

Through a series of sessions, you will be guided through the process of connection with your horse. At times you will be set simple tasks to complete together.

 

Throughout, you will be encouraged to acknowledge the feelings that arise within you, perhaps affection and joy at times, frustration or fear at others.

 

As you monitor your feelings, you will be helped to also monitor the horse’s responses, and from this interplay you will unearth truths about yourself and how to move forwards.

 

OUTCOMES

Participants in equine assisted psychotherapy can expect to expedite their progress through whatever challenges they are facing.

 

When progress with other therapeutic method has plateaued, or where a person is feeling stuck and the path forward is unclear, working with horses may create the breakthrough that’s required for further advancements.

 

The shift in perspective from our own experience, to the experience that the horse has of us, opens up a world of unexplored opportunities for self-development.

 

‘I’d had some therapy and found it to be a long, drawn-out process. I needed a stark reboot – a kind of caring and nurturing short, sharp, shock treatment.’

Alison James, Client, May 2023

 

‘The therapy is helping me trust myself more.’

Kate Chapple, Client, January 2023

 

‘I know that grief doesn’t disappear overnight, but I feel better able to shoulder the burden.’

Jane Knight, Client, February 2023

Andreas is highly competent, thoughtful and perceptive to the needs of clients. He is clearly very knowledgeable about the science behind and application of equine assisted therapy, but equally impressive is his ability to make it accessible to people with little or no experience of working with horses

Dr Chi-Chi Obuaya, Consultant Psychiatrist

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