rainy day horsePsychodynamic Equine Assisted Trauma Therapy (PEATT)

All of our EAI services are based on Ilka Parent’s PEATT -model (Ilka’s webpage). PEATT is an integrative treatment model developed by Ilka Parent, originally to American soldiers and veterans. Both, a mental health professional (MH) and an equine professional (EP) are working together as a team with the horses during treatment.

When experiencing trauma, overwhelming memories try to surface and traumatized individual try to keep them from surfacing while often, nonetheless, revisiting the traumatic event. That is considered to be an inner-psyche conflict.

The psychodynamic model aims to replace dysfunctional strategies with functional ones, improving emotional regulation, communication skills, bonding ability, control of one's experience and capabilities, and strengthening self/object representations and ego functions.

Horses require people to stay in the present moment awareness, in the “here and now”, and provide constant feedback. In therapy, that enables clients to observe and process their traumatic experience from a distance while staying in the “here and now”. That allows new experiences to be created and replace old dysfunctional ones.

Unlike in more traditional forms of therapy, in PEATT most interaction is between a client and a horse instead of a client and a therapist. Feelings and thoughts are projected to the horse, and the treatment team (MH & EP) observe the experience and design suitable follow-up activities.

In PEATT, horses are as equal team members as the human counterparts. Objectification and instrumentalization of equines in therapy are avoided. Horses have a choice to participate in the sessions, and restrictive tack is not used (halters, lead ropes, etc.). Thus, we enable the horses to have agency during the treatment sessions as well.