TS-EAM is designed to take participants, step by step, through how to create a solid and individualized base for mindfulness & meditation practices. It has experiential learning, trauma sensitive mindfulness (TSM) and creative mindfulness and meditations as its building blocks and incorporates what we know about the benefits of bringing in elements of nature and animals (in this case horses) into relaxing, grounding, resource creating, supportive, reflective, and therapeutic processes.
We offer a 10-step TS-EAM program* where each step builds on and incorporate knowledge from the previous steps.
- Mindful Gauges
- Inner Awareness
- Mindful Attunement/Attachment
The horse(s) is participating in TS-EAM on its own terms. They are not there as anything else, but themselves (Each one of them, an individual horse). They represent themselves and are free to express themselves. Since horses give instant feedback and respond only to what is going on in the current situation and moment (even if they would be triggered by something from their own past), they are valuable team members in any setting where we practice being more present with ourselves in the “now”. We either work with lose horses in their pasture, paddock or stable or with horses in halters, taking walks. All work is un-mounted. The welfare and wellbeing of the horses is paramount to the outcome of TS-EAM for you as a participant, as well as of course, to their own welfare and wellbeing.
TS-EAM is in its essence a teamwork. Everybody present is part of the team. That includes the participants as well as the horses. On the human facilitation team there is always at least one trauma sensitive trained mindfulness facilitator and at least one equine professional.
TS-EAM is experiential in its nature. Instead of mainly talking about and teaching mindfulness and mediation, and guiding participants in mindfulness and mediation practices, the invitation to the participants is to by being with – and doing – finding their own tailormade version of practicing mindfulness and mediation. As facilitators of this – we bring in our knowledge, skillsets, tools, and own experiences with all the ingredients, to support the participants in finding what they need, so they can start to build their own toolbox. Experiential learning is part of the integration aspect of this way of doing mindfulness and meditations. It is also part of each participant owning their own journey, process, knowledge, and learning.
Nature and outdoor based interventions
In general, all people in the western culture spend too much time indoors. Most have a job, study, or live in settings that does not contain or incorporate many elements of nature, on a daily, or even weekly, basis. To be in nature and outdoors is for many an active choice that needs to be done. Few activities in most western people’s lives needs to take place outdoors in nature. Westerns can, if they want to, in principle live out most of their lives indoors and away from natural environments. This goes against everything we know about what is good for people’s health and wellbeing. They layers being outdoors and in nature adds to any activity is rich and diverse. In TS-EAM participants are invited to explore and incorporate the human need to be outdoors and in nature, in a way that works for them and the situation the life situation they find themselves in for the moment.
They are also invited to connect the outdoors and nature to the goal of being and doing in a more mindful and meditative way. The outdoors and nature lend itself beautifully to strengthen practices of being present with oneself and whatever is going on in one’s life, but also offers plenty of opportunities to relaxation and rest.
What is true for westerners on being outdoors and in nature, is also true for movement. In general people move less and less. Many work, study without moving much and relax by being still. We are a very sedentary culture. Yet we are all aware of the benefit of moving more. TS-EAM invites participants to explore how they can incorporate more movement into their lives, and what kind of movement that works for them. The journey to start to move more is an invitation of its own to become more body aware and more embodied. In TS-EAM there is always the invitation to gauge whether someone needs more of the being – or more of the doing. This applies to movement as well, when we move more, we also need to figure out what rest and relaxation is and how it benefits us.
Movement is also intrinsically connected to cognition and psychological mechanisms. By moving/doing we learn in ways not accessible to us by thinking and talking (in the usual sense).
So for our human cognition and psychology and our cognitive and psychological capacities, we know that moving more is connected to a more agile mind. For or human emotions, we know that moving more helps with emotional regulation and wellbeing. For our human bodies, it is evident how moving helps us feel and do better physically.
One Health – Welfare and Ethics
Our fundamental conviction in Live the Change is that one being’s health cannot be improved on another one’s expense. Therefore, we have adopted the One Health Paradigm (https://www.onehealthcommission.org/) . From a welfare perspective the welfare for the humans and the horses, or other beings, involved in our programs, is of utmost importance. Each individual deserves both species specific welfare, as well as individually adapted welfare. Even if this reason is quite enough to always hold high welfare standards, we also firmly believe that the welfare or all involved will impact the outcome of your intervention or activity, no matter what the goal of it is.
TS-EAM draws from the benefit of many different interventions and practices as well as from an equal value driven welfare concept. Each of these components are powerful and important on their own – all of them with the potential to leading to better understanding of self and others, better emotional, cognitive, social, and physical health, better self-regulation skills, better connection with self and others, better coping strategies, better reliance on self and increased ability to accept one’s life, make choices and decisions and voice needs and desires, ask for help, and give help oneself. Together, they create a wonderful opportunity for sustainable growth and learning.
* Our TS-EAM program and its steps are based on and expanded from David Treleaven's TSM (Trauma Sensitive Mindfulness) program.