Equine Energy Therapy at
Beachwood Center for Wellbeing
by Wendy Fachon
A center with a new approach to treating stress is here in Rhode Island, Beachwood Center for Wellbeing, specializing in interactive equine therapy to treat a wide range of stress-related conditions from anxiety and depression to cancer and autoimmune disorders. What sets Beachwood apart from other centers across the country is its focus on harnessing the intuitive and energy healing abilities of its horses. Subtle energetic interaction with horses is proving to be an especially effective method for helping individuals with behavioral health issues, including those that have suffered a loss, trauma, abuse, or are experiencing some other stress-related illness.
The center was established by its Executive Director, Rev. Lynne Bryan Phipps, MDiv, who has 20 years of experience as an ordained minister and a competitive equestrian. She works closely with Assistant Director, Craig Conover, MS, LMHC, a psychotherapist with certification and15 years of experience as a school and rehabilitation counselor.
The therapists at Beachwood are certified by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.), a nonprofit formed in 1969 to promote equine-assisted activities and therapies for individuals with special needs. Equine therapy’s success was first observed with populations that were physically, emotionally or mentally challenged. Traditional equine assisted-activities involve care-related interactions, such as the grooming, feeding, haltering and leading.
Beachwood therapists do additional certification on top of PATH certification to be able to facilitate the energy work. This newer form of therapy can benefit anyone suffering from physical, emotional or mental stress, and no prior experience with horses is required. As the outcomes were noteworthy, Patti Risica of Brown University’s department of Public Health took an interest and developed research protocols to collect data so that we could understand better what was happening. Now, clients take a self-assessment when they start, again half way through their sessions to measure improvement, and then again approximately three weeks after their time with the horses to record the lasting effects.
Referrals have been primarily by word of mouth, as well as from physicians, nurse practitioners and behavioral health professionals. The early results of this pioneering energy work have been significant. Phipps explains, “If you’ve had a traumatic experience, therapy with horses may offer powerful results in less time than conventional approaches.” The number of sessions required to achieve results will depend on the individual and the imbalance exhibited.
How is equine energy facilitated?
Generally, the client is led by the therapist out into the field to meet and interact with one of the horses. The horse will approach its subject and begin to read the subject’s energy and emotions. The client may touch the horse, while the therapist guides him or her through visualization to connect heart to heart and mind to mind with the horse. After this, the therapist will guide the client in grounding, breathing, relaxing and releasing negative energy, while the horse assists by connecting and carrying away the burden. In this way, the horses help to relieve underlying issues that are placing stress on the body and support the individual in the healing process.
Each of Beachwood’s five equine partners has a unique story and a unique personality. They were all bred for dressage, a sport that requires a deep connection between horse and human. The horses are keenly aware of their higher purpose. They are able and willing to serve people that want to move beyond grief and through trauma, and heal from illness.
Beachwood is located in South County. To learn more about interactive equine therapy, call Beachwood at 401 788-9110 or email Lynne at [email protected]