East Sussex groups join forces to provide equine therapy and other wellbeing services: “It can be a profound and moving experience to be accepted by the herd”

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Two Sussex therapy groups have teamed up to provide wellbeing services for children, young people and adults.

Equine Therapy Sussex is working with Owena’s Farm Therapies to provide a courses at Baulcombes Barn in Lewes.

These include: equine-facilitated psychotherapy, art therapy, spring lambing, sheep shearing, and weaving and felting.

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Equine-faciliated psychotherapy is becoming a popular alternative to talking therapy for people with anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, bereavement, trauma, stress and other issues. Visit www.owenasfarmtherapies.co.uk.

Debbie Broadhurst and Ben in the fields at Baulcombes Barn FarmDebbie Broadhurst and Ben in the fields at Baulcombes Barn Farm
Debbie Broadhurst and Ben in the fields at Baulcombes Barn Farm

Debbie Broadhurst, the founder of Equine Therapy Sussex, said: “I passionately believe in equine therapy.”

She said: “Having experienced it myself I know it can be transformational. Just like humans, horses are sentient creatures, but they are non-verbal, non-judgemental and very much live in the moment. It can be a profound and moving experience to be accepted by the herd.”

Debbie is an experienced BACP accredited therapist with a post-graduate Diploma in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy from the University of Brighton. She qualified as an EFP practitioner in 2020.

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Owena Lewis with youngster FrankiOwena Lewis with youngster Franki
Owena Lewis with youngster Franki

Debbie said: “Horses have unique therapeutic benefits because they are highly attuned to their environment. This means they are highly sensitive to our presence, voice, body language and behaviours. Working with horses therapeutically allows clients to explore the interactions in a deeper and more meaningful way. It can really help people to crystallise how they feel about themselves and the patterns and expectations they bring to relationships as a result of difficult past experiences.”

Owena Lewis, an experienced farmer and former infant teacher, has an MA in Art Psychotherapy from Goldsmiths, University of London. She worked as an Art Therapist in the NHS and set up Owena’s Farm Therapies in 2010 to combine Outdoor Therapy and Art Therapy.

Owena said: “My vision was always to help people improve their mental health by developing new skills and greater self-confidence while reconnecting to nature and animals on our small farm. Over the years people have been drawn to connecting with the horses. There is now so much evidence that many forms of ecotherapy and green social prescribing can play an important role in improving mental and physical health.”

She said: “I work mostly with children that are experiencing difficulties with their emotions and relationships because of past trauma, or have a diagnosis such as, ADHD.”

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