EAST - A Complex Theory of How Change Happens in EAP made Understandable by Noreen Esposito and Angela Fournier

EAST - A Complex Theory of How Change Happens in EAP made Understandable by Noreen Esposito and Angela Fournier

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EAST, a complex theory of how change happensin EAP, made understandable.

Presenter Name: Noreen Esposito MSN, EdD
Licensure Credentials: Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)
Secondary Presenter: Angela Fournier PhD
Licensure Credentials: Licensed Psychologist

The purpose of this presentation is to 1. introduce equine-assisted story transformation (EAST), a theory we are using to explain what happens for humans and horses during equine-assisted learning or psychotherapy incorporating horses; 2. Explain the components of EAST and demonstrate how they work in dynamic interaction; 3. Provide the participants with tools (the SUPC and component tables) that can be useful in clinical and research settings and finally we will share a fun way to conceptualize EAST. EAST, an integrative, explanatory intervention theory is based on clinical observations, interviews, and the literature and is constructed from the science and theory of different disciplines. It has its origins in the Eagala model. In EAST, humans and horses are understood as sentient beings, both species are social mammals with a drive to survive, be safe, and connect. EAST is organized, for the human, by physiological (polyvagal), sensory, symbolic, and cognitive domains of experience and emphasizes the influence of body-state on human thought, experience, story, and meaning. The horse’s physiological, sensory, and cognitive domains of experience are also considered. EAST explains the dynamic processes that can happen within and across these two species including the integration of mind-body experiences and reciprocity of nervous systems between social mammals. EAST minimizes the objectification of horses while acknowledging that the horse can serve as a concrete, embodied, physical experience and a symbolic one, leading to a deep understanding of an abstract thing. EAST also lends credibility to the human perception of connectedness and reciprocity during some, but not all equine encounters. The presentation will introduce EAST and discuss ways to test the theory through empirical research.

Objective 1: Participants will discuss and the core components of EAST, an explanatory theory of changein equine-assisted interventions
Objective 2: Participants will describe the human domains of experience activated when in interaction with the horse, environment and facilitators
Objective 3: Participants will describe a simple evaluation tool that can be used in both clinical and research EAL-EAP setting