February 14, 2010 by  


Really listening from a deep heart space (the Yin) is paramount when I am mentoring or coaching an individual since only real and lasting change happens in relationship. As a relationship coach I hope to offer people the possibilities to take action (the Yang) in their lives for positive and sustainable change.

In the early 90’s I was in one of the many processes in my life of reinventing myself when I started a private psychotherapy practice in Tucson after being in the corporate world at Sierra Tucson. Bernadine Johnson (now retired and very married!) and I began a series of workshops we titled, Become Your Own Role Model. We were women who had grown up in the 50’s and 60’s ourselves with very traditional female role models and found ourselves self-supporting and single without much of a role model for how to be and how to do this. The initial offering morphed into future workshops around this theme with horses as co-facilitators. The horses and most definitely the mares ended up being very good role models for this important message: Know and believe in yourself.

What is it that keeps people stuck in old ways of being, believing, and behaving; even when they think they know that other possibilities are out there and they feel they should make a change? In a conversation with David Young last fall I had the opportunity to delve deeper into the distinction between fear and vulnerability when he said, “I am a man and I don’t think so much about vulnerability, I think about risk.”

Actual fear is an outside factor where our physical, emotional, psychological or spiritual safety is being threatened versus inside fear or the feeling of vulnerability. However, because of our wonderful limbic system (our body’s survival mechanism) both fears feel the same in our bodies. The positive side of vulnerability is the novelty of meeting some part of yourself that is new or that you are rediscovering and the unlimited opportunities which are available with this new way of seeing and being in the world. Do you remember hearing, Feel the fear and do it anyway[1]? This is a very good motivating statement and with the horses help I have been able to coach people on the differences between these two types of fear.

I recently worked with a client and a herd of 3 horses (a gelding and 2 mares) where this concept came to life for her and for the other group members. One of the horses, the gelding, began engaging with her even before she entered the arena. We were discussing what she called “the power of fear” and after scanning her body for information and finding where this fear was lodged I asked her to turn around and look at the 3 horses in the arena. The gelding had come up to the gate from a considerable distance in the back of the arena. With 3 horses loose in the arena we had the opportunity to see which horse would step forward to engage with her and perhaps give her answers to her questions in this present moment experience. She went in safely and began to use her sensing body to determine proximity and the feelings which arose with each step towards or away from the horse. Prior to going in I had given her a short description of the differences between fear, vulnerability and the action of risk and coached her on the distinctions. The client and the horse engaged in this dance of relationship for some time and I asked her to walk away to see what would happen. Previously she had stated that her biggest fear in relationship was the fear of abandonment, and that in the past she compromised her values and her beliefs to not be left and experience the emotions which might follow. She and the horse had established a limbic connection through the a concept called emotional resonance (where you feel and resonate with another being emotionally); therefore there was a possibility that this might feel just like it had in the past when she took the chance of walking away or considering a different path in a relationship with a loved one. One of the biggest benefits from experiential learning with the horses is the immediate heart felt sense of connection they can give us (one we often want to keep forever). By taking the action of walking away she felt in her body how it might be to risk this imagined abandonment once the connection had been made. He never left her side and this woman, not an experienced horse person, began to realize what the dance of relationship with another whole being could feel like. She felt the yin and yang of it, never lost her sense of self, and came out of the arena radiant and fully alive. After she came out of the experience and shared what she had felt prior to going in and what she hoped to receive from the horse, the group members gave her their perceptions of what they saw and felt watching her with the horse. They validated for her not only what she felt and experienced, but as conscious observers gave her information which was new and might prove valuable the next time she stepped into relationship with another human. My sincere wish for her is that she remembers this experience in her whole body and can reclaim her sense of self in every relationship.

The other participants wanted to learn more about this risk or yang action and I gave them a little of what I am currently teaching about this. If we only experience vulnerability without action, we may feel weak and even experience “learned helplessness”[2]. The key is to become conscious and take action or risk, a yang movement, only after we have accessed the feeling, or yin place, we are presently experiencing. If we take the risk unconsciously without an assessment of the possible consequences of this action, the likelihood of success is limited and the probability of failure, injury or even death is greater. Some people may be more apt to take the risk unconsciously while others may be immobilized and remain stuck in the same behaviors and patterns. So we must: first notice the sensation or feeling and identify the emotion; second engage in self-regulating our arousal systems so that we can be present and cognitively aware; and third become curious and take conscious thoughtful action (the risk part).

As a mentor/coach I really love assisting individuals in finding this lost part of self and to re-igniting the original blue print of their souls. Together we can explore the yin of it and with support I can help you move into the yang of it. So whether you want the opportunity to engage with the horses or wish consultation and support with me in person or by telephone, consider giving yourself this gift for the New Year.

[1] “Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway” by Susan Jeffers

[2] “Learned Helplessness” a concept attributed to the work of Hans Seligman

April 14-15, 2012: Connecting with the Heart – Yours and the Horse’s, Dusseldorf, Germany

January 22, 2012 by  

Grace in Presence and Flow in Movement.

This 2 day workshop is an advanced workshop for those already familiar with the Epona Approach™ which is not a method of training or working the horse.  Kathleen Ingram, as the co-creator of the Epona Approach™ with Linda Kohanov (author of the “Tao of Equus”), along with Eva and her magnificent herd will encourage the participants to follow their hearts in a respectful relationship. This workshop will help participants to maintain connection with respect and afford opportunities to take this into movement with the horse.   Each individual’s intuitive gifts and the horses true essence is honored and encouraged.

Daniel Siegel, author of “Mindsight“, uses the description of this honoring of self with others and calls this “feeling felt”.  In order for this to take place both the horse and the person must feel and experience the soul and essence of each other.  As facilitators, we hope to help others to be open to their unique gifts and challenges.  We will assist them in this integration for following the original “blueprint of their souls”.  To do this the person must be present to what is happening and look for collaboration in stillness and movement, essentially what Kathleen has called the “Yin and Yang of It

Cost:  395€ with snacks and Vegetarian lunches.

This workshop will be held in English – German translation possible if required.

Please contact Eva Balzer, Stockweg 143, 45481 Muelheim an der Ruhr, Germany


Mobile phone: +49 (0)172-2320836

About Kathleen

November 18, 2008 by  

Kathleen Barry Ingram

About Kathleen Barry Ingram, M.A.

Kathleen is a Tucson-based life coach, consultant, lecturer and educator specializing in assisting individuals in personal/professional growth and Equine-Facilitated Experiential Learning. Kathleen is dedicated to helping individuals and groups move beyond limiting patterns of thought and behavior, assisting them in the discovery of possibilities to resolve conflict, develop competency, and find peace.

Kathleen brings over 30 years of experience in the counseling field, non-profit services, and marketing and communications in the health care industry to her work as a coach and consultant to individuals, families and businesses. She is past executive director of San Juan United Way, corporate director of marketing and intake at Sierra Tucson Treatment Center,  and has been a board member of several non-profit health care agencies. She did her internship for her masters in counseling with Lesley College  at Four Corners Mental Health Clinic in New Mexico where she worked with a wide range of cultures and specialized in nonverbal communication with the Native population. The diversity and variety of populations Kathleen has mentored and facilitated gives her the experience and knowledge to work with people and groups both personally and professionally.

She had a private practice in Albuquerque in the early 1980’s before moving to Tucson to work at Sierra Tucson, a leader in addiction treatment programs. She began her private counseling practice in 1992 in Tucson where she specialized in addiction counseling with an emphasis on eating disorders; grief and loss recovery; conflict resolution; and family interventions for addictive behaviors. She also completed 50 hours of post-graduate study in 1995 with the Pathfinder Foundation and Paul Rosenberg, MD and is certified in the psychodynamic fundamentals of effective short term psychotherapy.

Kathleen was introduced to Equine Facilitated Learning when Barbara Rector, Adventures in Awareness,  brought horses to work with the adolescents at Sierra Tucson in the early 1990’s. Barbara hired Kathleen as a consultant to work with her colleagues, equine and human, in her program with Anne Alden, past president of the Equine Facilitated Mental Health Association. Through her association with Barbara and Anne, Kathleen met Linda Kohanov. Kathleen and Linda began working together by creating workshops and individual intensives in 1998 where they incorporated their talents and expertise to develop an innovative and creative healing modality employing the horses as equal partners. In 2003, the first Epona Equestrian Services apprenticeship class graduated. Kathleen and Linda co-created, developed, and taught the apprenticeship program together until 2007 when the ninth class graduated and another group of talented and experienced individuals began their own equine facilitated learning practices. You can find out more about all of the qualified instructors at  where the instructors are listed in their geographic areas worldwide.

Kathleen continues to teach and train others in equine facilitated learning in the United States and Internationally.  The Equine Facilitated Learning training programs she currently teaches in are: in the UK;  in Toronto, Canada;  and in New York state.  The horses, as equal partners, assist the facilitator by modeling congruent messages and behavior, co-creative and consensual leadership, appropriate boundaries, experiencing emotional messages as information, and teaching and educating their human students to live consciously in the present moment. The horses have been among her greatest teachers, and even when she is not working with them directly, she carries them in her heart. These amazing beings constantly guide and teach her and she feels blessed to count them as her friends and companions.

Her logo, a swan and eagle, symbolizes the yin/yang relationship and the internal balance needed for individuals to develop and maintain their inner feminine and masculine qualities to create the whole. Each of us possesses the grace, creativity, and vulnerability of the swan along with the strength, courage, and determination of the eagle. This integration of the yin/yang is needed for us to be fully alive and contributing to this paradigm shift by building what Eckart Tolle describes in his book The New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose.

Among her well-received workshops across the country, she has been a featured presenter at Tucson’s highly regarded Miraval resort ; Paradigm Shifters Radio Show with Veronica Entwistle  and the Equine Facilitated Mental Health Association’s preconference workshop at the 2003 North American Riding for the Handicapped Association [NARHA] conference . She served as an academic advisor for Prescott College assisting students working towards their Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology.

Kathleen has followed what Robert Johnson calls the slender threads. In his book, Balancing Heaven and Earth, he describes this intuitive direction as:

…being in a particular place at just the right time, meeting someone who steers you in an unforeseen direction, the unexpected appearance of work or money or inspiration just when they are most needed. These are the mysterious forces that guide us and shape who we are. They are the patterns that give meaning to our experiences……We all have free will, and therefore we can try to force situations in life. Perhaps the struggle is what keeps us bound to this earth. But I have gradually learned to accept that the slender threads possess greater intelligence and wisdom than our scrambling egos can ever attain. In good times and in bad, one slender thread after another has seen me through and, together, they have shaped what I know and who I am…. (Prologue: “Slender Threads- Robert Johnson, January 6, 1997 Encinitas, California)

Kathleen would like to assist and guide you in discovering and following your own slender threads to meet your destiny.