*Adapted from “Medicine and Horsemanship: Transforming the Doctor-Patient Relationship with Equine-Assisted *Adapted from “Medicine and Horsemanship: Transforming the Doctor-Patient Relationship with Equine-Assisted Learning” curriculum developed and delivered by Beverley Kane, MD, at Stanford University, USA, since 2007.
A major challenge for clinical health science students and healthcare providers throughout our careers is to conduct our relationships with patients, colleagues, “superiors”, and employees in a manner that is professional, sensitive, perceptive, confident, and authentic. Especially with regard to patients, our conduct must be characterized by compassion, insight, and respect.
As this is a new program, we are looking for medical or health students or practitioners who would be willing to attend a “Taste Of Medicine Horse” program.
The purpose of the “Medicine Horse” program is to help healthcare students and professionals develop an awareness of the subtleties of self-presentation and communication that is necessary for the provider-patient relationship and other professional interactions.
“Medicine Horse” teaches you to:• Become aware of subtleties of verbal and nonverbal communication• Improve attention, mindfulness, and focusing abilities• Become aware of incongruency of intention vs. behaviour• Identify and respect boundaries in ourselves and others• Recognize the nature of projection and transference• Confront insecurities and develop confidence: leadership and followership• Adjust to the relativity of time, expand the moment• Cope with stress.
OverviewInteractions with horses requires an appreciation of the nonverbal as well as verbal messages that we give to others.It requires patience, gentleness, self-confidence, sensitivity, focus, and awareness. Horses are large, but nevertheless easily frightened, prey animals whose survival has depended on becoming exquisitely attuned to body language, innuendo, and emotional tone, and to the position and movement of objects in their sensory fields. Unlike predatory animals such as cats and dogs, a horse’s strongest instinct is to shy away or flee from unfamiliar objects and noises and from discordant or untrustworthy human behaviour.
By responding to the signals and intents of which we aren’t even aware—much less aware that we’re communicating outward—horses train us to notice at all times the information that we convey.
Horses develop in us the three non-intellectual, non-rational aspects of our intelligence— instinctual, emotional, and sensory—that may have atrophied in our quest for the correct answers on exams, the right diagnosis, or the most relevant journal article. All four forms of intelligence are necessary in the clinical encounter.
As swift, powerful, and sometimes intimidating animals, horses create a natural opportunity, especially for those new to or uncomfortable with clinical decision making, to overcome fear and develop confidence. Because it’s nearly impossible to bluff one’s command of a situation around horses, we learn how to cope with feelings of insecurity, ask for help, and succeed at developing authentic leadership and self-assurance.
Because horses react to the subtlest human signals, they hold up a magnifying mirror to ourselves and our behaviours. In this mirror we see the image and path for our professional development and our personal growth.