© 2017-2019 by Molly Jahncke for Equine Reflections, Inc.

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Natural Lifemanship: TF-EAP

Natural Lifemanship: Healing Through the Power of the Relationship


We can’t will our way, or talk our way, out of trauma.

Trauma lives not only in our conscious mind but deeper in our nervous system, in parts of the brain responsible for basic survival – which work in similar ways to the horse’s brain. Natural Lifemanship’s Trauma-Focused Equine Assisted Psychotherapy™ (TF-EAP) model is based on brain structure and function, and it combines neurobiology with key relationship principles.


A sound principle is a sound principle, no matter where it is applied.

Humans and horses are born with an innate desire to connect. TF-EAP uses the power of emotional connection to heal and integrate the brain of both human and horse. The principles you learn, and the connections you build in your brain, in your relationship with the horse can then be transferred to all life's relationships.

Natural Lifemanship teaches a profoundly empowering skill: How to develop a strong relationship that’s good for both parties.


A connected relationship is one in which both parties choose to do what’s right for the relationship, and those choices are made freely and willingly.


In TF-EAP, the relationship with the horse is not a metaphor or proxy for a human relationship; rather, it’s a real relationship.


It seeks a dynamic of mutual respect and trust, with self-regulation and good decision-making on both sides, essential for true connection … and healing.


Natural Lifemanship is a type of therapeutic intervention that is intended to create actual physiological changes in neuro-functioning that empower clients to build integrated, healthy relationships with self and others. It utilizes Relationship Logic™ (ground work with horses, sometimes in a roundpen) and Rhythmic Riding™ (work on horseback), incorporating principles of equine psychology and an awareness of human brain development, to repair and enhance all of life’s relationships. It is driven by the belief that a sound principle is a sound principle regardless of where it is applied, and that all mental health issues result in dysfunction of intrapersonal and/or interpersonal relationships.

As such, the relationship is the center of everything in Natural Lifemanship: both the means and the end of Trauma-Focused Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (TF-EAP)™, and both the driver of transformation and the reward at the end of the process. Clients address and move through past or present damaging life circumstances, understand how those circumstances affect their current interactions, and make the personal changes necessary for healthy, fulfilling relationships in the present and future.

If there is a single outcome to which Natural Lifemanship aspires, it is to empower young people and adults alike to live by this principle: While we cannot control our external circumstances or the actions of others, we can develop the ability to manage how we respond internally and externally to adversity.

Although Natural Lifemanship arises from a framework of healing trauma, it can help everyone. We all benefit from enhanced self-awareness, self-regulation and relationship-building skills.

Contact us to learn more about Natural Lifemanship Trauma-Focused Equine Assisted Therapy.

What Is Considered "Trauma"?

We intentionally use a fairly broad and inclusive definition of trauma:

  • Extreme stress that overwhelms a person's ability to cope.

  • The subjective experience of a threat to life, bodily harm, or sanity.

  • An adverse circumstance or ongoing set of circumstances that negatively affect a person in the present.

  • Feeling extreme physical or psychological helplessness coupled with the overwhelming power of emotional trauma.

Within the scope of this definition, almost everyone experiences trauma at some level in life. And just about everyone can benefit from Natural Lifemanship TF-EAP.

For the purposes of our TF-EAP programming, we approach trauma as: Any situation in which survival is the overriding concern, and therefore the brain must make changes to accommodate that need for survival.

Natural Lifemanship TF-EAP is conducted at Equine Reflections' Carousel Farms location in Folsom, La., by Julie Ellsworth, LCSW, LLC. Julie is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who received her Master’s degree from Eastern Washington University in 2001 and also has a private practice in Pontchatoula, La. Her therapeutic expertise has focused on trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, self-harm, child abuse and neglect, sexual orientation, grief, and life issues. She works with children starting at age 5, adults and families. Julie provides a holistic and eclectic approach that is trauma focused, and she has special training in TF-EAP through Natural Lifemanship, as well as eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) specializations.