1st Edition

How Change Happens in Equine-Assisted Interventions A Theory of Horses, Humans, and Psychotherapy

    208 Pages 40 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    208 Pages 40 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    How Change Happens in Equine-Assisted Interventions gives clinicians and researchers an intervention theory on the mechanisms of change during psychotherapy and other interventions that incorporate horses. Chapters introduce the concept of intervention theory, present a theory of the problem (what the client comes with), theories explaining the intervention (what is done during a session), and theories of change (what happens in the mind of a client), with each theory’s function described. Using an autoethnographic approach, the authors describe, deconstruct, and analyze personal experiences as clients during an equine-assisted intervention. Then the authors present and apply a unique intervention theory by linking it to the thoughts and experiences of clients in and after a session. Practitioners will come away from this book with a unique perspective on the field and with an increased understanding of what their clients are thinking both in and out of session. Researchers will have an explanatory theory from which to draw testable hypotheses when studying interventions incorporating horses.

    Section 1: Why Theory for Equine-Assisted Intervention?  1. Why Theory?  2. What is Equine-Assisted Intervention?  3. The Horse  Section 2: Equine-Assisted Story Transformation (EAST)  4. Introduction to EAST  5. Theory of the Problem  6. Theory of the Intervention  7. Theory of Change  8. Integrating the Theories: EAST  Section 3: Application  9. Seeking the Client’s Perspective  10. It’s A Problem: Autoethnography 1  11. Finding Strong: Autoethnography 2  12. Analysis and Interpretation  13. Bringing it All Together


    Noreen W. Esposito, EdD, PMHNP, FAANP, is an Associate Professor Emerita at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a Nurse Psychotherapist, and the Founder of Knowing Horse.

    Angela K. Fournier, PhD, LP, is a Professor in the Department of Psychology at Bemidji State University, a licensed Psychologist, and the Director of the Humanimal Interaction Laboratory.



    "Esposito and Fournier do a beautiful job of elucidating the lived experiences of equine-assisted therapists and educators while masterfully pulling from disparate theories. Their intervention theory is a groundbreaking step toward increasing understanding of horse/human interaction made accessible to researchers and practitioners alike." Deborah Eaker-Rich, PhD, clinical full professor (retired), School of Education, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

    "EAST is the brilliant and creative syncretism of mind-body science, humanistic psychology, and leading-edge learning theories that provides the first formal framework for understanding the transformative, numinous quality of the horse-human encounter in equine-assisted therapies." Beverley Kane, MD, assistant professor of medicine, Stanford University and founder of Equine-imity Somatic Horsemanship

    "This book provides important thought processes to consider and evaluate when incorporating horses into psychotherapy and other interventions. I highly recommend this book and appreciate the authors adding an important analysis and contribution in the world of equine-assisted services." Lynn Thomas, LCSW, founder/CEO of Arenas for Change (ARCH), board president of Horses for Mental Health, and founder/former CEO of Eagala