Date of Conferral
The aim of this phenomenological qualitative study was to capture and understand the essence of the lived experiences of individuals after participating in equine facilitated psychotherapy (EFP). In that the experiences of participants after exposure to EFP have not previously been examined, this study adds to the literature on this innovative therapy. Theoretical viewpoints on animal assisted therapy and solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT) were explored, as well as how the SFBT methodology compares to techniques used in EFP. Using interviews, the study involved capturing participants' experiences by collecting their descriptions of their involvement with EFP, identifying the specific experiences they noted, ascertaining what the participants did with these experiences, and discerning themes or patterns in the interview data. A purposive sample of 10 adults who had participated in EFP participated in interviews, the data from which were analyzed by hand coding. Analysis showed improved quality of life with improvements in overall well-being and in participants' relationships. The findings of this research study may lead to additional research in this area and may promote the establishment of consistent techniques in EFP, proper credentialing of those who use EFP, and applicable regulatory standards. By exploring the lived experiences of individuals who have participated in EFP, providers may be able to delve more deeply into the curative factors that may be at work with this type of therapy.