"This morning was an eye opening event for me. Working with Allison for just that small amount of time was powerful... it has stuck with me all day. Not only did I feel for myself but was feeling for the others in the group, watching people's reactions to the horses, seeing how the horses reacted to people's energy was a once in a lifetime experience... I appreciate the work you are doing. From the bottom of my heart thank you for this experience."
— Workshop participant, Leesburg, VA
Equine Gestalt Coaching Method®
The Equine Gestalt Coaching Method® was developed by Melisa Pearce, a core founder since 1989, of the horse-human healing movement. The method is experiential in nature and involves the horse as an active partner with the coach in the client’s exploratory process. The horse’s interaction is integrated with positive coaching, somatic awareness guidance, and Gestalt methodology to help the client examine his/her life and choices with a focus on designing a positive future.
What does that mean??
Working in this method, the horse and coach help clients look at their lives, their patterns of response and reaction, and their hopes for themselves and their loved ones. We see clients as creative and resourceful, carrying the greatest wisdom about what is right for them, though sometimes that wisdom is not accessible. Horse and coach facilitate a process of discovery that allows clients to find their own best answers to life’s questions and resolve their unfinished emotional business. In the process, clients develop a deep awareness of and compassion for themselves and others, a release of long held body tension, resolution, and peace.
Horses are amazing in many ways. Their contrasts, especially, capture the attention: They may stand completely still for a child under their feet and then step on an experienced adult when she is not paying attention. They are among the most powerful, athletic creatures on the planet, yet they walk the earth as prey animals. They have submitted to domination by humans in many cases, essentially consenting to domestication when they have the physical strength and skill to overpower us. Many people feel better, quieter, when they have spent time in their presence. Why?
Humans have incredible brains – with capabilities that stand out among all the species on the planet. With our brains, we build, design, plan, strategize, analyze, create, and change our environment to better suit our needs. We also over-analyze, worry, obsess, foment, stress, criticize, and judge. We spend a great deal of time with our attention on what happened in the past and what may happen in the future.
Horses do the opposite. They exist in the present moment most of the time. Horses are far more sentient than humans. (Sentient meaning: able to perceive or feel things.) They have an innate body sense of what is happening around them. They easily read the emotional landscape of their fellow creatures. This is a survival skill for horses in the wild and, interestingly, horses that have lived only in the care of humans maintain this skill after generations of domestication. Their senses are finely tuned and highly receptive.
They are aware of and take in much more of the “vibes” around them than we are able to, sensing every danger in the world and every negative emotion present in the people around them, yet they spend much more time in a state of peace and equilibrium with the world around them than we do.
How do they do that?
This is a therapeutic gift they have to offer us: a model for being in peace in a world that may present many different disturbances on any given day. How they do that and exactly what they contribute to the EGCM coaching process is somewhat magical and can only be truly understood once experienced.