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Title: Experiences of an equine facilitated psychotherapeutic intervention : an IPA study
Author: Stracey, Catherine
ISNI:       0000 0004 9359 4580
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2020
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The Department of Health, (DoH, 2018) Long Term Plan called for a wider range of evidence based programmes designed to protect and promote children and young people’s (CYP) emotional well-being and mental health. Research exploring Animal Facilitated Learning and Therapeutic interventions reported improvements in the emotional wellbeing of CYP. This study explored the experiences of two young people (YP) attending an Equine Facilitated Psychotherapeutic (EFP) intervention, the professionals who facilitated it, school staff where the YP were students and the YP’s parents. Research questions considered how the participants experienced and made sense of the EFP intervention. The ‘voice’ of the YP was privileged and an in-depth exploration of their experiences is presented. Two YP (aged 14-15) attending a Pupil Referral Unit (PRU), two Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA) trained professionals, a member of the PRU staff and two parents participated. Qualitative methodology was employed with a ‘Mosaic’ approach to gather data from the two YP. Semi-structured interviews were conducted for the adult participants. Attachment and affect regulation theories were considered as a psychological framework to underpin and situate the findings. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was employed, constructing idiographic accounts, as well as tri-angulating data both within and across groups providing a multi-perspectival account. Three super-ordinate themes were identified across the groups: developing relationships, self-efficacy and environment. The findings suggested that attachment and affect regulation theoretical perspectives are an appropriate framework to guide and inform EFP practice. The findings reported that two YP with complex social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs, who did not respond to traditional counselling or mentoring approaches, engaged with the intervention, and demonstrated improved social communication and interaction skills. The parents and school staff member reported improvements in their own emotional wellbeing. Implications for EPs include the exploration of EFP interventions to support CYP with SEMH needs.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available