Honouring your story.
Equine Facilitated Counselling
Traditional Clinical Counselling
Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC)
Masters in Counselling Psychology (University of British Columbia)
*Licensed Mental Health Counselor Associate
I grew up riding horses and in a musical family. Getting on a horse the first time was easy for me, any fear quickly turning to pure joy. Getting on stage was another story.
The first time I thought about getting on a stage, even thought about it, I felt overwhelming fear to the point that I talked myself out of it for several years. Eventually, the desire became bigger than the fear and I took the very first tiny steps that led me toward performing on a stage, under bright lights with lots of people watching, and loving the experience.
I think the counselling experience can be similar. People often come in with a struggle, not sure what to expect. My intention is for counselling to be positive and supportive, conducive to healing.
“Stage Fright” could represent any struggle – depression, anxiety, driving, social situations, trauma, bullying, that test you are dreading, getting on a horse, literal stage fright, or coming to counselling.
“Everything in between” represents the work, the process of getting to the "Bright Lights". It could also mean that you don’t feel the need to get all the way to “Bright Lights” right away. Maybe you are happy with some steps in the right direction.
It’s also about trust. The person who is guiding you in counselling has to be trustworthy. Trust isn’t automatic, and providing a safe environment where clients feel emotionally and physically safe is of utmost priority for all of us at Shamrock.
“Bright lights” represents the goal, or being closer to it. Maybe it’s walking out on stage, taking the first steps on a horse, feeling depression loosen its grip, letting go of the crushing feeling you felt when you were bullied, or being proud of who you are. It’s also about incorporating our personal resources - in a very literal sense, stage fright can be transformed into something that helps bring fire to your performance under the bright lights.
I feel strongly about what I do because I have been there; with horses, with performing, in life, I have experienced stage fright and bright lights, heartache and bliss. I believe that from struggle comes strength, awareness, problem solving, and thought provoking questions. Why was it that I could fearlessly jump on a horse but had so much trouble performing? How could I use one to help me with the other? What inner and outer resources do people have that they might not even know are there?
In many ways, horses and my experiences with them shaped the person I am. Having a beautiful, strong-yet-vulnerable creature that depended on me made me think differently about the choices I made growing up. Watching them has taught me a lot about the subtleties of interaction. Having them as a soft place to land when things get tough has certainly helped me a lot.
Now, horses and I get to help people together.