When talking isn't working
The ReStart is a referral only program that helps individuals develop self regulation strategies while developing eight key life skills. With the help of our specially trained horses
Is usually delivered in 5 consecutive days, for approximately 2 hours per day with 1:1 facilitator support. We teach, rehearse and repeat key resilience skills in an intensive and challenging but fun way with feedback in the moment from specially trained horses. There is no classroom content or talk-based therapy/counselling.
Tasks are guided by the facilitator and the horses are selected and trained to provide clear and easily observable physical feedback to participants, many of whom may not have interacted with horses prior to taking part in the programme. The methodological focus is on social/emotional shifts being made 'in the moment', in response to difficulties encountered. Participants are handlers learning to work in partnership with the horses on the ground. The course employs an approach using a series of specific tasks as tools to develop positive habits. Specifically the skills addressed are:
Engagement (confidence as a learner) - enthusiastically taking on new challenges whilst also taking care of own confidence
Responsibility - for own thought, emotions and actions
Calmness - having the habit of calmness and knowing how to create it in difficult situations
Assertiveness - able to be calmly assertive, without getting aggressive or upset
Realistic Analysis & Planning - stopping to think before acting, making a realistic assessment of situations and planning accordingly
Focus and Perseverance - working towards goals despite setbacks
Relating to Others/Empathy - seeing the needs of others, offering care and support, feeling closely connected
Communication & Language - two way, respectful, assertive communications, having language to talk about thoughts and emotions
One the final day, each participant has a robust reflective session with their facilitator - looking at their progress in each of the areas of the Skills Star (see next page below). The participant also plans and executes a 10min skills demo that is videoed and a copy made for themselves.
The star shows the main areas we work on - at the centre people are 'stuck' in behaviours which are unhelpful. As they progress, they move outwards towards the points of the star. We assess progress by observation. Each 'point' has associated horsemanship exercises/strategies we use to work on the desired outcome. The star is marked up as part of the referral process, later as the basis for discussion of outcomes together with the participant and finally as part of the feedback to referrers.
By marking their level on each point and joining them you can create a 'before' and 'after' shape to show progress.
The most important use of the star is a way of discussing and reflecting on the course in the exit interview. We talk through each point, thinking about where the participant was at the beginning compared to the end. We reflect on specific moments that evidence the progress. The 'after' shape is always larger, but each participant makes progress at a different rate. The one shown is fairly typical.
Interested in making a referral?
The comfort zone chart asks participants to map and reflect on their time during the course spent feeling comfortable (white), feeling confused/frustrated (the grey fog of learning) and the (golden) moments of learning. We also check whether there were any (red) terror moments. Participants can then reflect with us on the learning process.
The slider bars are to compare the participant's mental and emotional state within a task firstly when it was not working versus when it did work. They usually realise that being calm and focused makes all the difference!
Inspired by the Parelli Horsenality model and used by Dr Hemingway in a field study and now used as our primary case note tool and the basis of our Non-verbals Toolbox Training.
Interested in making a referral?