Registered Social Worker
Practicing Adult Counselling and Equine Facilitated Wellness
As a registered social worker, Laurie Cavan of River Edge Wellness with Horses in Wawa, ON offers professional adult counselling sessions that will include the option for Equine Facilitated Wellness (EFW). As a practitioner of EFW, she can help individuals reconnect to their own capacity for healing through engagement with horses. Laurie will provide both top-down and bottom-up approaches of counselling to assist the client’s healing process, and she will participate collaboratively with the horses of the EFW program. The top-down approach engages the intellectualizing of the individual’s issues whereas the bottom-up approach incorporates a present-moment focus that engages with the body. The client will always set the pace, and their safety is of prime consideration. The EFW experience can be both active and reflective as well as experiential.
About Laurie, Registered Social Worker
“My scope of practice permits me to work in the areas of anxiety, depression, addictions, loss/grief, workplace stress, domestic violence, sexual abuse and trauma (simple PTSD). At this time, I do not work with anyone under the age of 16 years.
I am a registered social worker with the Ontario Association of Social Workers (OASWSWW), and I have a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Victoria in British Columbia. The foundation of my social work degree is based on the feminist perspective and the Indigenous worldview. I also have a 2-year university certificate in counselling for women. My educational background involves many other areas of training in mental health, addictions and trauma. I have received training in mindfulness practice and incorporate this into my counselling sessions. I am also a trained clinician in EMDR. I will consider memories held in non-verbal states as information for most session work. My approach is holistic, relational, client centred and strength based. Currently, due to the influence of Equine Facilitated Wellness, I have integrated the “bottom-up” approach to my counselling practice. What this means is that I will be introducing a 3-brain model that assists in increasing dual awareness to notice body sensations as messages and information.”
“Together with the client, I will encourage exploration of these messages, as well as provide psycho-education with the “top-down” approach of cognitive-based therapies, often connected to core belief systems. As a social worker, I am also concerned with the systemic influences of hegemonic and dominant discourses that reinforce oppressive social messages. I often integrate the principles of Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, specifically the concept of ‘memory mapping’ as a non-verbal language felt in the body. Based on the principles of adaptive reprocessing of felt memories, the EFW process encourages shifts and integration that may otherwise stay stuck. The horses participate in the EFW process as equal partners and I maintain an ethical standard with regard to their volunteering to do this work. The bottom-up approach and present moment focus of sensing into the body are integrated into the EFW session. However, the horse is free to interact with the client and may change the course of the session at any time. This is part of the process of the EFW experience and how the horse is recognized as a sentient being. No horse will ever be sacrificed for the client‘s needs or the session obligation.”
Laurie’s Equine Experience
She has lived with eight horses in her care at different times for over 30 consecutive years. She has always been drawn to horses since her childhood and has spent many hours watching them and waiting to grow up so that she could find them for herself. She has accumulated many of her early years trail riding. As an adult, she pursued areas of equine health and psychology as well as understanding the herd relationship. For example:
She is very comfortable with horses and has abilities with regard to caretaking and maintaining the horse’s health. She has regular and consistent connections to the vet, and all vaccinations, deworming, and farrier work are up-to-date. She has specific financial reserves to cover veterinarian expenses.
She has a history of non-competitive riding experience, which started at age 6. She trail rides occasionally and often spend most of her time with liberty work/games and hanging out with her horses.
She would include another EFW EP worker if she were to have a group of more than two people or more than two horses. She can confidently keep individuals safe and teach basic horsemanship necessary for an EFW session. When she has the time, she will pursue the EFW- EP designation to be dually certified.
Laurie’s Influences – Featured Video
Native Science and Western Science: Possibilities for a Powerful Collaboration
Inquire About Counselling Services
Laurie offers traditional counselling as well as Equine Facilitated Wellness programs. For more information, please feel free to give her a call or send her an email. Contact her today to get started!