Making sense of change in an equine assisted intervention

PhD Thesis

Watson, S. 2019. Making sense of change in an equine assisted intervention. PhD Thesis Canterbury Christ Church University Salomons Centre for Applied Psychology
AuthorsWatson, S.
TypePhD Thesis
Qualification nameDClinPsychol

Background: Change processes in alternatives to talking therapy, such as equine assisted interventions (EAI) have not been widely researched. This study aimed to explore how parents make sense of change in an EAI (The HorseCourse, THC) and what meaning that held for them.

Method: Eight interviews conducted with parents of children who had completed THC were subjected to Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis.

Results: Four superordinate themes were developed to reflect how parents made sense of change; change as a journey, seeing is believing, a chance to shine and making connections.

Conclusion: Parents experiencing change as a journey resonates with other participant experiences of change. Additionally, seeing is believing suggests that the physical movements and witnessing these played a role in facilitating change for parents. A chance to shine connects with research that highlighted feelings of mastery and positive self-construct after EAI. And finally, making connections resonates with previous EAI and wider psychotherapy change process research which highlight the importance of therapeutic relationships. In addition, parents felt that they themselves were part of facilitating change in THC through shared experiences and helping children reconnect with the experience. Practice implications include giving children audiences to witness change processes and opportunities to shine through mastering new skills. Given that parents made sense of change as a journey, future research could explore children’s experiences of change over time.

KeywordsEquine-assisted intervention; horse; young people; parental experience; change
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Publication process dates
Deposited05 Nov 2019
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