Equine psychotherapy: horses become the metaphor for clients relationships


Dr. Corine Samwel decided five years ago to take her clinical psychology practice out to the pasture. She now specializes in equine psychotherapy and is certified with the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association. She is one of the only equine therapists in Tallahassee.

Samwel has two horses on her 5 ½-acre property — a white spotted half-Paso Fino, half-Appaloosa horse and a bay Quarter Horse.

The 60-year-old Dutch woman said her practice, Red Hills Equine Therapy, is considered experiential. During a session, she takes her clients to a pasture with two horses and then asks them to interact with the animals at a pace comfortable for them.

The EAGALA model Red Hills Equine Therapy follows includes a team of horses, a mental health specialist (Samwel) and equine specialist Peggy Jordan.

“I don’t use the names of the horses or the gender of the horses. Horses become the metaphor for the relationships in (my clients’) lives. I just call them the brown and the white horse,” she said.