Finding Their Voice: Developing Emotional, Cognitive, and Behavioral Congruence in Female Abuse Survivors through Equine Facilitated Therapy

Linda Porter-Wenzlaff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations


The use of equine therapy for abused women requires hard work and the confluence of significant resources. First, there must be a therapist with the knowledge and skill necessary to use the gifts horses offer us and who is comfortable and experienced working through the aftermath of abuse. It also requires well-trained and socialized horses able to stay connected in the company of clients as they process their abuse and find their voice in a natural environment conducive to the work. Finally, it takes clients willing to pursue nontraditional options for treatment. Facing ones past abuse and its lingering effects is always a difficult journey. Having the courage to take that journey in the company of horses is particularly challenging for women without voice. When it all comes together, the results are synergistic and profound and the relationships gained are often long maintained. It is not uncommon for the women who have done this work to desire continued connection with the horses that took the journey with them. The congruence in the ongoing relationship seems to keep them centered. More than once, I have heard their voices ring out loud and clear across the pasture calling Waggoner, Ready, or Mystic, and the hoofbeats of a nearing horse in response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)529-534
Number of pages6
JournalExplore: The Journal of Science and Healing
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2007


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Analysis
  • Chiropractics
  • Complementary and alternative medicine

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