Using intersubjectivity to explore processes of change in equine-facilitated psychotherapy for clients with histories of trauma
Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis
This thesis explored how Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy (EFP) shapes processes of change for clients with histories of trauma from the perspective of intersubjectivity. Study One involved a thematic analysis of responses to an online semi-structured questionnaire about an EFP experience. This study was completed anonymously by EFP clients, practitioners and trainees, and found that relationality and non-judgemental interactions contributed to processes of change. Study Two was an ethnography of Equine Facilitated Learning (EFL) and EFP training completed by the researcher. Study Two was analysed using a thematic analysis of the researcher’s field notes and reflective diaries and found that intersubjectivity between horse and person facilitates reflection on shame. Study Two raised questions about how to achieve connectedness with the other when working with clients with trauma. This thesis aimed to enhance understanding of how intersubjectivity can be used to understand processes of change with primarily experiential non-verbal interventions. Given the prevalence of offenders with histories of trauma deemed non-responsive to treatment, this research aimed to improve understanding of how context and relationality contributes to processes of change for clients who may struggle with traditional talking based therapies.