Family therapy with BodyTalk and EQuiReflect
Last year I joined further educational programmes in both Canada and Ireland to extend my BodyTalk sessions to animals as well as humans. In my clinic I see dogs and cats, fish and birds, rodents and reptiles, whilst I offer home visits to BodyTalk large animals like horses and donkeys, farm animals and wildlife. Mostly I deal with physical conditions, behavioural issues or lack of understanding between the animal and its humans. Another important lesson for me to bring back home to Spain was how to integrate animals in my BodyTalk sessions, and this is what this article is about.
Last summer Kerstin introduced me to her youngest daughter, Sofia, who had shot down emotionally nine years earlier, when a fire cost the family its home. Sofia was then only three years old. Now she is 12, but still has social difficulties, and her mother is worried about the child’s extreme control issues – a source of many conflicts at home and in school.
However, Kerstin decides that she herself needs a BodyTalk session. She understands that she as a parent is forming her children’s most important surroundings. Eventhough Kerstin feels strong, she admits that her own past is catching up with her much too often, and might make it more difficult to deal with Sofia’s needs. Kerstin grew up with parental addiction and violence.
Through Autumn I see both Kerstin, Sofia and her sister Luisa, who is 15, for BodyTalk sessions, and each of them begin to let go of old belief systems and behavioural patterns. Sofia is now beginning to express her feelings, which is something completely new to her. We make Luisa’s body balance itself with its perception of certain food elements and her allergies disappear. And Kerstin reaches a level of clarity that gives her courage to quit her stressful job and find a new one that suits the family life much better. It pays less, which makes it difficult for Kerstin who is alone with the girls – but she is much happier now, and the BodyTalk sessions makes her understand the inportance of seeing what she can obtain by changing things instead of focusing on the risks.
To change a country you must begin with the regions. To change regions you must begin with the cities. To change the cities you must first address the citizens – and this is also how to work with a family. Kerstin, Luisa and Sofia are a family, and because each one of them is an individual human being with each their age, each their point of view – and on different paths in life, it’s important to work with them individually before I BodyTalk the family as a group.
Family therapy with horses
You don’t need to have a child with a disorder, be sick or have had a tough childhood to benefit from family therapy with horses. Every family knows how difficult it can be to make every day life work with school, job and hobbies, that must be fitted in according to each family member’s needs, feelings and expectations. The key words are trust and communication. Which parents haven’t tried to make their children do as they say? Why don’t the children listen? Are the children being defiant? Or are they simply not communicating on the same frequency? Or is it, what most parents do not realize, lack of trust, confidence and limits. Quite a few of the children that I see in my clinic feel like a motorist in a huge road crossing with no traffic rules. They feel unsafe, insecure and confused, and often they react as motorists in the street with anger and provocations. Everybody acts the best they can – but daily family life often becomes one long fight.
My co-operation with Anita Reid and her lovely horses is the most obvious, no-nonsense and effective work I’ve done in a long time. BodyTalk and EQuiReflect fit so well together – underlined by Kerstin after only a couple of hours’ work with the horses at La Finca in Alhaurín El Grande: “Two hours! That was all it took for us to get to the core of our family difficulties.”
What we can learn from horses is so much more valurable than what we can teach them!
BodyTalk and EQuiReflect makes things happen
“Because they are a prey animal, to survive, horses have highly developed senses and instinct. They react with incredible awareness and sensitivity to feelings, attitudes, behaviour, energy projection, intentions and body language and they mirror or feed back immediately what they feel to the participant with incredible accuracy. An accuracy that is honest, unbiased and non-judgemental. This can make acceptance and absorption of things we need to face and change a lot more approachable”, explains Anita, who uses calm and experienced horses for her work.
“I’m terrified of horses”, says Kerstin when I present her with the idea of EQuiReflect, and to begin with she keeps a safe distance to the horse. But after only a couple of hours Kerstin is hugging the mare Moraia, and leads her confidently through the exercise field.
“EQuiReflect can gently help you overcome your fears of horses, and the animals teach us the importance of authenticity and to remain centred and focused on ourselves and what’s going on around us. Skills that when regularly practiced and brought to the forefront of who we really are and what we truly need to express, can bring positive change and growth in our lives in substantial and significant ways”, says Anita and blindfolds Sofia. We do a very basic exercise of trust and confidence. One that might push Sofia’s buttons because of her control issues. She is now led through the gounds without being able to see – and not allowed to speak. When we have all been through both the role as guide and as blind time has come to evaluate.
I’m impressed and her mother surprised when Sofia shares her experience. She has made use of both psysiological and subtle senses and is clearly expressing how the exercise made her feel. We are witnessing af quantum leap.
Sofia soon brings us down to Earth with normal and healthy child behaviour: “Mom, I’m hungry!”
Get back on the horse
The family can’t get enough of exercising with the horses. “It has been a brilliant experience for all of us”, says Kerstin. “We absolutely love it, and feel so grateful for this opportunity”.
One of the aims of EQuiReflect is to facilitate understanding and mastering the skills of Emotional Intelligence, to guide and support the valuable process of increasing awareness, intent, purpose and conscious actions as these are factors that shape our daily lives, our world and our experience of it. This is being tested during session number two.
On our way to La Finca the family is very quiet in the car. They have been fighting. On arrival Luisa doesn’t want to participate. “Why did I have to come?”, she moans. Anita has already told the family that it is perfectly fine if someone needs time alone to process, and Luisa wanders off towards the stables, while the rest of us begin today’s exercises. What happened here is real life practise of respecting each other’s needs, feel our own needs and react on them. Soon Luisa is ready to join the group again. “Being with Moraia relaxes me, but she also makes me emotional. I feel trust between us”, says Luisa.
“If a task is too difficult and the situation turns into a deadlock, then step back and make a new plan. Create a more simple challenge and make a plan for how to solve it, says Anita, when both mother, daughters and horse suddenly find themselves in a deadlock in the field. The girls have begun to blame each other.
In a matter of minutes Anita has guided the family towards a new way of dealing with the exercise, and they are now working out a foreseeable plan based on clear communication. The family moves smoothly through the exercise field with the horse.
Little by little the exercise is made more difficult but as the family has now understood how to plan and work together they pass with no mistakes.
“It’s necessary for the family to experience how lack of communication and trust turn things into a deadlock. The horse reflects it immediately. It really is surprising for most people how poor their communications skills actually are”, says Anita. “Communication through the heart is difficult to explain. You need to try it, and that’s why most exercises are carried out in silence. A challenge for most people. From the heart pure intention is communicated – and full attention. The message is immediately picked up by the horse – and by the human being, if only we understand how to do it. We work towards understanding and respecting that another person’s feelings can be different from you own – even if the situation is the same”, explains Anita. “And that’s why it was fundamentally important for Luisa to come along today, even though she didn’t want to. She is part of the family, and shouldn’t back out. Equally important: The rest of the family must respect that she didn’t feel 100% well”.
“Silence improves your senses”, realizes Kerstin. I felt the horse, she respected me, and soon I knew I could trust her too. I hadn’t expected that.”
“Lack of trust is a big issue in my life, and I’m afraid that I pass it on to my daughters. Thanks to Anita, Helle and Moraia we have changed that pattern”, concludes Kerstin.
BodyTalk and EQuiReflect work very well together – or individually for family therapy, couple’s therapy – and for teambuilding, as it provides clarity to the cause of problems, and bring about solutions.
Is there a plan for the upbringing of your children, for your relationship or your business – or does it happen randomly?
Whatever you choose it must work for the whole family, both parties or the entire team.
For more information about BodyTalk and how I can help you with mental and physical diseases and imbalances please call me on tel. +34 607 62 91 06 – or learn more about BodyTalk here on this website.
You can contact Anita Reid on +34 600 728 188, mail: firstname.lastname@example.org