Month: June 2021

Month: June 2021

One of the things I enjoy most about my job is that I get to meet so many interesting people. I am in the privileged position of enabling them to confide in me about what’s going on in their lives and their riding, how these things are affecting them and giving them an opportunity to be totally honest with themselves about their goals, their doubts and their fears.

A first session with a new client is all about getting to know each other, allowing the client to open up and to tell their “story”. Through a multitude of questions I will aim to gain and understanding of what’s going on and how that is affecting the client and their whole life, with particular reference to their riding. Some clients have many questions they wish to ask me and others have fewer but this initial session gives them an opportunity to ask me anything they wish.

The aim of this is that we establish what is known as a “rapport”. This means that we build a connection based on trust and mutual respect within a safe and professional relationship. Sometimes this connection happens almost instantly – after all we already have a lot in common in our mutual interest in horses and equestrian sport. Other times the relationship takes a little longer to establish and as the therapist I have to use all of my skills to allow the client to begin to feel comfortable and to trust me.

Usually, I find that the people who consult me already have some idea of who I am and what to expect because they have followed my work on social media and/or heard about my work by word of mouth. This, of course, makes it easier to build the rapport we need to be able to work together towards a successful outcome for the client.

I am fortunate that my background in working as a nurse and midwife in the NHS gave me masses of experience in taking a history and helping people to feel comfortable and to trust me.

Whilst the relationship I have with my clients is completely professional, it is also friendly and I will share some aspects of my own “story” as and where this is appropriate. I believe that it’s useful and important for me to use some examples from my own life, and riding, to explain an idea or to show empathy towards the client’s situation.

Of course, confidentiality is of the utmost importance. The horse world is pretty small and, especially in these days of social media, we will frequently have mutual friends and acquaintances. It is vital that the client feels safe to disclose anything they wish and to be confident that it will go no further. I have a rule of thumb which is that if I bump into a client publicly, and they approach me openly, then I will be more than happy to chat to them. However, I won’t approach them directly as I would never want to put them in a situation of having to explain how they know me if the don’t wish to.

Inevitably some clients go on to become friends, or friendly acquaintances, and this is lovely. It means that I get to hear how things are going for them after we have finished working together directly and I get to see photos on social media of their horses and the exciting adventures they have together.

I think the best way to sum up my approach to the client-therapist relationship is that it is one of FRIENDLY PROFESSIONALISM and it certainly brings me great joy.

Rapport is developed whether we meet in person……


Month: June 2021

One of the techniques which I use a lot in my work with clients, and which I teach clients to use for themselves, is visualisation. And one of the many uses of this skill is confidence boosting which has the result of boosting a client’s resilience. Does this sound good?

In hypnosis, or in general conversation, I will ask a client to re-live a super positive past experience, one where they have exhibited mental strength and problem solving abilities, and to really immerse themselves, using all of their senses, in that strong memory. Then, drawing all of that strength and self belief from the past experience into themselves, I ask them to imagine a future situation (which they might perhaps find challenging) and to note how much easier it is to mentally rehearse that future experience with all of their powerful positivity. With practice, this is a hugely useful tool for riders and can be applied to any area of life such as other sports, work or any activity.

I was recently listening to the BBC Sounds podcast All in the Mind and one of the things it was looking at was a research project from the University of Zurich looking at this very thing. The project shows that “Reflecting on Your Own Capabilities Boosts Resilience and looks at how developing a belief that that we have some power and control over a situation helps us to grow in what they term “Self Efficacy”.

So if we learn to recall times when we have shown this skill of self efficacy we learn to be able to tackle new challenging situations more effectively because we truly understand that we can do this. “A self-efficacious person is convinced that they can draw on their own powers to overcome difficult and challenging situations. It doesn’t matter whether this is actually the case, as Kleim explains: “Without believing in your own capabilities, you wouldn’t take on any challenges in the first place.” Self-efficacious people have stronger problem-solving abilities and a higher level of persistence. They also show changes in brain activation in regions linked to emotional regulation.”

How about giving this a go for yourself?

Find somewhere quiet where you won’t be disturbed for a short while (phone off!)

Allow your mind to take you back to a super positive past experience (it doesn’t have to be a riding memory but that would be extra helpful ). It’s important that this memory is one where you have solved problems and overcome challenges in a positive way, rather than just any old happy memory. Allow that memory to grow and strengthen – where were you? Who were you with? What were you wearing? What was the weather like? What can you hear? Perhaps even what can you smell? What personal strengths did you draw on?

Allow the pleasure of that positive past experience, and the self belief associated with it, to grow and develop and draw it into your very being.

Then look forward to your new situation and see how you can handle it so much more easily because you’re using all of that power and self belief from the past. Perhaps start by imagining a mildly challenging situation and then once you’re familiar with the technique you can use it any time you need it.

The University of Zurich study showed that “Our study shows that recalling self-efficacious autobiographical events can be used as a tool both in everyday life and in clinical settings to boost personal resilience,” 

If you’d like some help and support to learn how to use this and apply it to your own life and riding, so that you too can become more resilient, then just drop me a DM.

Recalling a time when you have used personal strengths to overcome challenges is very powerful.