Equine Facilitated Learning
This experiential programme offers women and children at TLC the space to breathe, to be and if they feel, talk. Equine Facilitated Learning through gentle exercise help women to regain self-confidence, to re-establish trust and develop healthy boundaries. Sessions are designed to help those who have survived domestic abuse and discover empowerment through personal growth and emotional wellbeing.
Run by LEAP trained Practitioner, Michele Lawrence, it is an alternative therapy for those resistant to counselling as it reaches out to them through nature.
Healing Through Horses provides a safe place for women and children joining us for an initial six-week programme. Sessions are not centred on learning about horses but focussing on forming a bond between the individual and horse, enabling our ladies and children to learn more about themselves and the world around them.
The horses live outdoors- roaming naturally as they would in the wild. As herd animals, they need initiative to survive, therefore horses are great teachers, instinctively picking up energies and often mirroring how a person is feeling.
Healing Through Horses supports vulnerable women and children through purposeful and therapeutic work alongside horses. The programme provides reflective exercises designed to offer an opportunity for achievement, positivity and empowerment. Our varying therapeutic inputs at TLC have had positive outcomes for women who are recovering from domestic abuse and rebuilding their lives.
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Michele's story.. Having always had a love for horses, it was during a difficult time in Michele’s life, that she began to understand the powerful healing nature of horses. Spending time with them, she realized that horses had so much to teach us and quickly observed how energies and behavior affected the herd and the people around her. She learnt first hand, how incredibly in-tune horses were with vulnerabilities, which in turn helped her to face and eventually overcome her own.
With a passion and strong desire to help others going through similar experiences, Michele left a busy corporate life and trained with LEAP, qualifying as an EFL (equine facilitated learning) Practitioner, in 2018.
Working with a small herd of rescue and retired horses, Michele works one-to-one and in small groups with adults and children, supporting personal development and emotional wellbeing, through purposeful and therapeutic EFL work.
Michele has experience working with young children and adults suffering with mental health issues, depression, anxiety, stress, addiction, ADHD, PTSD and autism.
She previously worked with a charity called Jamie’s Farm, providing EFL to vulnerable and excluded children and it was here that her interest in supporting children and young adults grew. In addition to private clients, Michele also works with TLC – a charity supporting women and children fleeing domestic abuse. Clients feed back that working with Healing through Horses is a welcome alternative to room-based therapies, where clients connect with nature, horses and talk only if they choose.
The many positive outcomes of this work have been recognized and we are delighted to have received funding to continue with our programs during this critical time. Healing through Horses is now able to reach more young people and adults, helping them to regain confidence, build trust, set clear boundaries and build positive relationships again!
Zaina's story.. Hi, my name is Zaina, and I have been a volunteer at TLC for over three years although it feels like forever! TLC and the ladies we support have become a major part of my life. I am about to embark on a new role, within a new programme soon to be launched, and I am so excited.
The new venture is equine therapy in conjunction with Healing Through Horses. One to one time with nature's therapists: animals. Animals are pivotal in my life; I have 2 dogs and a cat, and have had a love of horses since childhood. I am also a survivor of childhood trauma, domestic abuse, post natal depression and PTSD. Depression has been an ongoing battle throughout my life. Animals have this amazing gift of listening, you can tell them your deepest secrets and they won't tell a soul! It was little known about my passion for horses until after a chance conversation with Michele, another TLC volunteer, I discoverered she had three horses and runs equine therapy courses. Even better, the amazing team at TLC invited me to join a meeting as they were planning to roll this out to our ladies, and asked me to be the liaison between Healing Through Horses and TLC. I didn't need to be asked twice!
I met with Michele to experience first hand what this would entail so that I would have a greater understanding for when the TLC programme began. I was super excited. We initially spent time on breathing exercises, to reach a level of calm between you and the horse, so that they feel comfortable and welcome you. I talked to them and walked with one around the field. Wow! I felt so empowered, here was little me, an inch from 5ft 1 leading this 16HH horse, confiding and sharing, demanding my personal space and that his behaviour mirrored mine. I felt safe and secure with Sollie. The serenity I felt after only one session was incredible and impossible to fully describe. PTSD rears its ugly head at night which fractures natural sleep, but that night I slept peacefully and soundly for the first time in years.
TLC is truly a magical place for me. Despite how 'broken' you feel, they are like a second family who help you pick up the pieces and begin to put them back together. Journeying alongside you. I feel special to have been asked to be the bridge between our ladies and Healing Through Horses. I have grown in confidence and changed so much since I became a TLC member, and I hope to pass on my positivity to the other wonderful ladies too.