In this episode we explore the personal and professional journey of Hesther Selbeck, a Dutch Systemic Psychotherapist and developer of Contextual Equine Therapy. Hesther takes us on a ride through the development, theory and practice that underpins her model.
Contextual Equine Therapy is a form of systemic therapy in which horses are used as co-therapists. The interaction with the horses provides a (deep) experiential form of therapy in which clients come into contact with their emotions and are mirrored in their behavior.
During the treatment, two psychotherapeutic methods are united: equine therapy (Eagala Model) and systemic therapy. The Eagala Model sees the horse as a sensitive co-therapist, the team facilitates. Equine therapy focuses on the emotional experience and giving meaning to the behavior of the animals in response to client(s).
Hesther Selbeck has developed this treatment based on her background and expertise as a systems therapist in Child and Youth Mental Health Care. There she encountered a challenge in changing patterns between family members and generating hope and perspective. She questioned the context of the clinic on the psychiatric behavior of young people. While traveling on horseback through Mongolia, she discovered a process of interaction between her and the horse. There was an interaction going on. These insights and experiences became the basis for the approach.