Horses as Therapy with Lilwen Selina Joynson – Part 2

‘Powerful feelings overwhelmed me as I put on his halter and pulled it over his ears. “I love you so much,” I said. We walked together very lazily… I had an internal conversation with Caradog all the way home… I said, “I hope you’re okay walking…” As I chatted away, it came to mind that it was so obvious, the connection to nature and animals, that we humans would in the past, especially in the West, have tuned our energetic fields connecting to nature…’

(Extract from Making A Difference by Lilwen Selina Joynson)

Lilwen’s way of helping is to ask her clients to mix with a small herd of freely roaming horses. They don’t have to ride and they don’t have to handle the animals much at all. The horses provide a non-judgmental environment where they can watch how the animals behave with each other, and that gives clues as to their own reactions.

Just like people, horses can express sadness, aggression, indifference and affectionate concern. But, Lilwen says, they aren’t self-conscious, and they express themselves immediately, so it is there right away for people to see. If a ‘dumb’ 500kg animal can be so expressive, it can be reassuring to a human being fearful of showing his or her own ‘weakness’. It can release tensions and help to let go of aggression because there is no fear of being despised or shunned. A horse may turn away or act as though it hasn’t noticed you, but it’s not because of your intrinsic lack of worth.

As well as telling her own story and, in particular, describing unique relationships with her own horses, Lilwen gives us some background to the kind of therapy and coaching she practises. She cites an organisation called Eagala (short for Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association). Eagala is an international non-profit body founded by an American psychotherapist called Lynn Thomas in 1999.  Its professional standards are very strict. Quoting from QA Education, a ‘headteachers’ magazine for the UK’, practising with Eagala ‘requires co-facilitation by a qualified mental health professional, horse specialist and horse(s)’.

Lilwen’s book is part confessional, part self-help manual, part self-promotion. She is a forthright advocate for her beliefs, and her sincerity is clear, but if horses are simply not your thing, nowhere does she overstate her case. Her chapter headings set the tone: ‘A Committed Decision’, ‘Leading the Field’, ‘Scared and Vulnerable’ and ‘Spirit of the Herd’. The book concludes with sections called ‘Passion Takes Me Through’ and ‘Life Purpose’. In one chapter she lists some of her failures: failure to connect, failure to be humble enough, making false assumptions about people and horses.

Image by Ralf Siebeck from Pixabay

In her introduction, Lilwen declares that ‘we can agree that happiness and peace, sprinkled with a dash of contentment, are what we all mainly seek in our lives. My role as a “facilitator of change”, witnessing a metaphoric push or shove, serves as a prerequisite to the adjustment of mindset on the path to resolution.’ She adds: ‘I find horses adept at this; they instantly insist on change through subtle movements, empowering changes or shifts in consciousness.’

Slightly earlier she writes: ‘Modern scientists are changing the ways we fundamentally see things. They are examining how the environment or “field” changes affect the body… When thousands of people’s brain scans reveal the moments when the brain releases the old pattern and transmutes it to the new, people experience instant healing…’ Elsewhere she condemns conventional medicine for making people too reliant on drugs. She quotes from James Davies’s book Cracked to say that psychiatric drugs are being prescribed without taking account of the damage they can do because they are so profitable to the businesses that produce them:

‘The large pharmaceuticals have hijacked our professionals; they have managed to get their products into our doctors’ surgeries and convinced highly intellectual minds… that they can help us, and then they produce another medication to counteract the first medication’s side effects… They take their human hearts further away from the patient… and [do] not assist them with listening and time to hear their cry for help, their real upset at what is underneath the pain or struggle… Let’s wake up to the brainwashed minds of intellectuals… We have been trained to withhold communication.’

Being connected, reducing stress, gaining self-knowledge, letting go of bad, old patterns of behaviour, having less dependence on conventional medication: these are surely good reasons for advocating horse-assisted therapies like hers.

Lilwen Joynson’s book, Making A Difference, is available from her website, https://makingadifferencebook.co.uk,  in digital or as a paperback from Amazon.

Please consider buying from independent booksellers such as uk.bookshop.org or Seaways in Fishguard.

Caroline Juler

Caroline Juler is a writer and film maker who lives in the north of Pembrokeshire. There are a number of articles by and about Caroline here in Pembrokeshire.Online. To find Caroline’s books:

Searching for Sarmizegetusa

The online version from https://amsterdampublishers.com/books/searching-for-sarmizegetusa/

Print versions from https://www.abebooks.com/9781899530113/Searching-Sarmizegetusa-Starborn-Paperbacks-Caroline-1899530118/plp

Other books include Blue Guide Romania, National Geographic Traveler Romania, Les Orientalistes de l’Ecole Italienne.

To contact Caroline: carolinejuler@gmail.com

To see Caroline’s videos: visit Caroline Juler on YouTube and Vimeo.

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