How I Work: Spirituality, Nature-Based and Equine Based Grief Counseling

Photo of equine based grief counseling: a person is gently holding their hand to the temple of a bridled horse whose eyes are closed.

Employing a spiritual as well as nature and equine based approach to grief work is, in my experience, a critical piece missing from most offerings of grief counseling.

While I do offer traditional phone/Zoom and in-person sessions, it is especially powerful to be supported through a connection to the beauty and cycles of nature, one’s own sense of spirituality (including, if so desired, the use of ritual authentic to you), and the special benefits of equine interaction. Whether we meet by phone, Zoom, in nature, or at the ranch, easy access and clear and simple directions will be provided.

At the core, this work is about cultivating connection:

To your unique and individual sense of spirituality:

…which can be found in a host of arenas and usually exists outside the corporate religious structures. Often in grief we can lose touch with our spirituality, or may even be unaware of its existence, and therefore, ignore an important sustaining source for our soul. Let us help restore a relationship to the nefesh, the soul, in ways that will aid you in your grief.

Spirituality is different for everyone.

To the natural world:

…being nurtured by some of the world’s most beautiful locations right here in the Bay Area. Nature’s sanctuary can ground and soothe us in ways nothing else can. Through nature we can feel, sense, and observe the rhythms of life, death, and renewal that are so present in its very fabric, but often not felt or experienced in our cityscapes.

Whether a glimpse of sun through the trees, an expansive vista, or simply sitting at a park bench, we can gain a calming sense of something greater than ourselves, which can also help bridge a sense of isolation.

With equine supported grief counseling:

The large life presence that horses bring to our clients, the tender guidance offered through Equine Assisted Pastoral Counseling (EAPC), and the relationship which can be formed with such an amazing animal can all be a potent transformative aid during grief. Our Hi(neigh)ni Program offers a powerful grief resource which already exists in the field of psychotherapy. For the first time, through Hi(neigh)ni, we are now offering it in the area of pastoral care, so that you may also experience this phenomenal gift. Many of us have witnessed the amazing tenderness of a horse when someone in grief is just holding the neck of the horse and weeping, while the horse uniquely holds itself as a still, silent, emotional presence, sometimes eventually letting out an exhale as if having carried the pain in companionship with the mourner. EAPC recognizes that often in grief our sense of awe, and even spirituality, can also be lost, along with other important qualities. EAPC can serve to restore and open up again some of the pieces of ourselves that are lost, missing, or shut down during grief.