Equine Facilitated Therapy for Children and Adolescents: A Qualitative Pilot Study
© 2017 Taylor & Francis Despite recent growth in the use of equine facilitated therapy (EFT), and its potential to be an effective alternative to traditional therapeutic interventions, the literature has not yet provided a convincing explanatory account of the practices implemented within EFT. In this study, the author investigates consistency of clinical practices within the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA) model of EFT. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with mental health professionals and equine specialists (N = 10) from six Australian EFT clinics. Thematic analysis of data revealed: an absence of an underpinning theoretical model; variations between clinical practices; lack of parental involvement in therapy for children/adolescents; and inadequate research into perceived mechanisms of change driving EFT. This article concludes with a set of recommendations directed at EFT practitioners in order to increase the rigor of practice and maximize the potential of this intervention.