Operationally, those in the helping profession work in teams and are a tactical “herd” in order to function effectively. Operationally, teams have precise cohesion which comes from thorough education and training. Stress management, both prevention and stress recovery, needs to be addressed in the same manner. This requires a mindset shift and a commitment to practical resilience training, as stress prevention is actually a skillset that can be learned and mastered. But most importantly, those in healing professions need to practice asking for help and utilizing support. In the same manner a department practices working as a team and supporting each other during a call, the resilient helper must learn how to build a network of support, appropriate mentorship, and a community of people to maintain his/her health.
This program begins with a 2-day training immersion during which we introduce a 10-20 person group to one of the most powerful teachers of resilience we know: the horse. As prey animals, horses possess exquisitely attuned emotional systems and they are able to pick up on the ever-changing nuances of all mammals internal workings in order to assess for safety. The cohesion of the herd relies on ever-present feedback with one another. They have been practicing trust building, interdependence, and honest feedback about herd needs for centuries. They are also skilled teachers of energy conservation and they show us how to find appropriate places for rest and shared leadership to prevent fatigue.
Working both individually and as a group, participants will engage in a variety of horse-assisted exercises. With the help of the horses, people are able to quickly and accurately connect deeply with their Natural Leadership instincts which resides in the body and include our innate gifts of awareness, self-preservation, empathy, and responsiveness to our environment. The group will practice taking interpersonal risks by exchanging of personal stories, psychological safety between participants, and create a common language for connection. We will teach, facilitate, coach, and connect the dots for participants as they interact with the horses, do a variety of human to human exercises, and learn new ways of approaching stress and self-care.
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