Efficacy of EFL Supported by Latest Brain Research

February 7, 2010 by  

Efficacy of EFL

Supported by Latest Brain Research


I can’t tell you how often I have witnessed a client coming out of a quiet session with a horse and heard them say, “It was magic! I felt like myself for the first time My heart just opened and these tears came flowing out—but they felt free, open —you know not jammed up in my throat”. I could go on and on about what people felt in the presence of the horse and what other people witnessed, but I think you get the point. Guess what, it is not magic but is a process scientists now can actually name which happens only in relationship. What the client and others felt, saw, and experienced is the limbic connection of two beings. Relationship does affect the revision of these pathways in the brain through the processes of limbic resonance, limbic regulation and limbic revision or restructuring.  . 


 The book, A General Theory of Love is an excellent source for much of the research on this subject. Some of the information contained in this book about how a therapist’s relationship with a client is the determining factor in long term healing; this can be applied to how and why equine facilitated learning works. 


Look at some of the direct quotes from this book about the limbic connection and see if you agree.“The first part of emotional healing is being limbically known [limbic resonance]—–having someone with a keen ear catch your melodic essence…a precise seer’s light can still split the night, illuminate treasures long lost, and dissolve many fearsome figures into shadows and dust.  Limbic regulation happens through relationship.But people do not learn emotional modulation as they do geometry or the names of state capitals. These concepts are stored in the neocortical brain. People and animals absorb the skill from living in the presence of an adept external modulator [the horses with congruent and authentic facilitators], and they learn it implicitly.”[1]


I can’t begin to tell you how passionate I have become about some of the newest brain and body research and information coming from very reliable and dedicated scientists and clinicians. Most of my professional life, I have practiced as a clinician whether I am conducting a session as a psychotherapist, coach, mentor or teacher. The many “miracles” I have been a part of fills me with awe and hope for the ability of people to learn new things, change and have better lives. The work that I do with the horses has transferred to everything I do and teach since these brilliant beings are so good at helping people come back to their true selves. Leigh Shambo     has coined the term we use consistently now called the “homerun”.  A core value at HEAL is this “homerun”—the ability to immediately anchor increased connectivity human to human. This is actually what is often missed when someone has an experience with the horses and we believe that the limbic revision happens when the facilitator helps the client to fully embrace and integrate this new way of being into the human world, the “homerun”.    


The book, The Brain That Changes Itself[2] has some of the best information on the neuroplasticity of the brain. Neuroplasticity of the brain is the term used to describe the capacity of our brain for creation of new neural connections and for growing new neurons in response to experience. In the process of experiential learning with the horses, the experience itself which is vey new for most people, i.e., being with a horse without doing anything can actually assist the client in forming and developing new neural connections. I often give a simple explanation like this: The horses help the humans to see, feel, and believe in the possibility that the old super highway way of being and responding to a familiar person, stimulus, thought or action can be replaced by a new path—much like the road less traveled.  Most of us can visualize this and if we believe in change we can be open to this new neural connection and perhaps the old super highway—which helped people to survive but is keeping them from thriving will eventually become grass and dirt and the new path will become a newer, quicker highway to an expanded vision of life. 


In Daniel Siegel’s latest book, Mindsight, he eloquently and factually supports the efficacy of experience in relationship to help people grow and change. He believes that most people come into the world with the brain potential to develop mindsight, but the neural circuits that underlie it need experiences to develop properly[3]. He describes mindsight as our seventh sense and tells a story of a ninety-two year old man who was able to overcome a painful childhood to emerge as what he calls a mindsight maven. Siegel believes, as do I, that it is never to late to stimulate of growth of neural fibers that enable mindsight to flourish. How exciting is that!


The horses and good facilitators both with listening hearts can really help people be open to the possibilities of change and with limbic revision guide them towards the probability of a new life. One of the consistent ways of doing this is what I call holding the sacred space of possibility.This is a space, nestled between two heart beats, where two beings breathing together co-create the possibility for lasting and sustainable change.





















[1] “General Theory of Love” Lewis, Amini and Lannon

[2] “The Brain that Changes Itself” Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontier of Brain Science by Norman Doidge, M.D.

[3] “Mindsight” The New Science of Personal Transformation by Daniel J. Siegel, M.D.


November 30, 2009 by  


East Sussex, United Kingdom

Exploring the Scientific, Psychological and Spiritual Dimensions of Equine Facilitated Learning and Psychotherapy


Monday May 30 – Friday, June 2, 2011 

COST: £895


Led By Kathleen Barry Ingram MA co-creator of The Epona Approach ™


This workshop is for people interested in the subtle energetic connections between all of life.  We exist interdependently in relationship with all in the invisible web of the quantum field.  Horses, as consummate teachers, can show us how to re-discover, connect and develop our “knowing” selves.  The Zone of Intuitive “Knowing” comes directly from the ‘brain in the gut’ and the ‘brain in the heart’, and informs and integrates this “knowing” with our neocortex, thus allowing for conscious choices in the present moment.  This workshop includes experiential exercises with the horses that engage our innate abilities to use these organs of perception.  We can choose to enter the Zone of Intuitive “Knowing” through direction from these powerful centers of intelligence in concert with the intelligence centered in the brain.  When fully grounded we are able to extend our self-awareness into all aspects of daily life and live authentically each moment with tangible success.


Suitable for business and life coaches, counselors, psychotherapists, healing therapists (any discipline), teachers, business managers, trainers and consultants, all horse professionals or anyone interested in human growth and development. This is a non riding workshop. (This workshop can be used as a qualifying workshop for approved EAP/FEAL Qualification Training)


CONTACT: Suntui www.authentichorsehuman.org

COST: £895

Great Cansiron Farm House, Cansiron Lane, Hartfield, East Sussex, TN7 4LD

Tel:   +44 1342 850330

Skype: suntui1

E-mail: suntui@me.com