BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR INSTRUCTORS
The MEDICINE HORSE WAY approach to Equine Facilitated Learning (EFL) is an interactive, innovative learning format that actively engages horses in the work of advanced human development.We teach personal empowerment, authentic community building, mindfulness, connection with nature and all beings of the earth, connection with intuition/inner guidance, the role of spirituality in life path, and emotional/social intelligenceskills. Our intention is to assist and support clients in learning a new way of being, one that emphasizes authenticity, collaboration and experimentation, to “Be the Change We Want to See in the World”.
Guiding principles and standards of practice
PRINCIPLE 1. COMPETENCY
We shall represent ourselves only within the parameters of our experience, competence and professional training and act accordingly.
We acknowledge the boundaries and limitations of our knowledge and experience. We practice EFL only within these self-identified boundaries and limitations based on our level of education, training, and experience.
We refer clients to appropriate professionals when we are unable to address or meet their needs and/or when an unresolved conflict has arisen in our work with them.
We pursue personal and professional development through further education, training, supervision, and practice, including continuing education as provided by MEDICINE HORSEWAY. At all times we maintain a level of introspection and an awareness of our own process so as to create a deeper connection to our authentic selves that willtranslate into effective teaching.
PRINCIPLE 2. SAFETY
We shall create a safe setting for clients and horses and in some cases ask clients to sign a written safety agreement. We ensure that all EFL activities are designed and conducted in a manner that respects and provides for the safety, dignity and welfare of horses and clients.
Through our interview and/or application process, we make a concerted effort to determine that individuals applying to attend an EFL group has the ability to SAFELY participate in and benefit from the group experience and activities with horses.
In choosing instructional activities we make every effort to ensure that the inherent level of emotional and physical challenge will be appropriate to the emotional agility, skill level, and well-being of the horses and clients involved.
PRINCIPLE 3. HORSES AS PARTNERS
We honor and respect our horses as our partners and co-facilitators in this work.
We regard the welfare of the horses entrusted to our care as paramount to the work of EFL. The horses’ choice to engage in this work or with a particular client is honored, trusted, and supported at all times, as is their health and care.
PRINCIPLE 4. WELFARE OF THE CLIENTS
We are guided by our desire to co-create a new way of being and acting in the worldwith clients and horses and do our best to Be the Change.
We respect the emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual autonomy of our clients. We listen to their sharing and provide a safe container for their personal processes to unfold. We respect the rights of individuals to privacy, confidentiality and self-determination in making decisions. We support them in considering the consequences of their choices, and empower them to chart a course for their lives by helping them differentiate between false/conditioned self-beliefs and the activation of the authentic self.
We conduct ourselves responsibly with clients and are sensitive to the real and perceived difference in power between ourselves and our clients.We understand that in practicing EFL we are facilitating a process that elicits strong emotions and has the potential for activating projection, transference and counter-transference, which need to be recognized, managed, and honored with skill and integrity. Sexual intimacy with current clients is prohibited.We do not invite, respond to, or allow any sexual contact with ourclients or workshop participants.
PRINCIPLE 5. PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT
We are honest, fair and forthcoming in our professional relationships. We work to clarify our roles and obligations, accept responsibility for our behavior and decisions and adapt our methods to the needs of clients andhorses. We maintain an awareness of the effect that our own belief systems, values, needs and limitations may have on our EFL work.
We are aware of our influential position with respect to clients and actively avoid exploiting their trust, vulnerability, skills or inclination for dependency. It is essential that clear and appropriate boundaries be established to prevent misunderstandings or relationship confusion that could adversely affect the client and/or the EFL work with them.
We are sensitive to and respectful of the fact that clients and horses have varying degrees of comfort with physical contact. Except when safety is a factor, clients and horses have the right to limit or refuse physical contact and to set appropriate boundaries with Instructors, other clients and other horses.
We understand that as Instructors it is not advisable to have family members or close friends as clients in our workshops when non-family members or friends are participating.
Because of our ability to influence the lives of others and affect the field of EFL, we exercise special care when offering our professional recommendations and opinions.
We ensure that all our staff, volunteers and/or assistants involved in EFL programs or trainings are adequately trained to perform their tasks competently, and that they are aware of and knowledgeable about MEDICINE HORSE WAY principals and the Authentic Community guidelines.
PRINCIPLE 9. BUSINESS PRACTICES
We shall maintain clear and honest business practices with clients, employees, other Instructors and the public, including making clear agreements regarding appointments, workshop times and fees for clients, clear employment policies and practices regarding hours, responsibilities, benefits and compensation, and explicit and accurate information regarding program ownership and marketing practices.
When a workshop is created and advertised we will fully commit to it from start to finish, avoiding cancellations as much as possible. Our marketing strategy is to “under promise and over deliver”.
We make accurate statements to clients regarding our qualifications, training, services, products and fees, and we charge appropriate fees, which are disclosed prior to commencement of services.