• Māra Grēve Rīga Straniņš University (LV)



gestalt coaching with horses, life skills, stress, horses, resilience


Life skills play an important role in developing adaptive behaviours that are necessary to improve one’s quality of life. An individual with a broad range of life skills is more resilient than one with fewer skills. They can better withstand the challenges of constant change, successfully coping with stress and creating a fulfilling life. The aim of this research is to theoretically substantiate the possible benefits of equine-partnered gestalt coaching in life skills learning. Both Gestalt coaching and horses – specifically in context of different methods incorporated in equine assisted activities – are mentioned as they relate to the improvement of various aspects of quality of life based in life skills learning.


Download data is not yet available.


Anestis, M. D., Anestis, J. C., Zawilinski, L. L., Hopkins, T. A., Lilienfeld, S. O. (2014). Equine-Related Treatments for Mental Disorders Lack Empirical Support: A Systematic Review of Empirical Investigations. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 70(12), 1115-1132.

DOI: 10.1002/jclp.22113

Arrazola, A. & Merkies, K. (2020). Effect of Human Attachment Style on Horse Behaviour and Physiology during Equine-Assisted Activities – A Pilot Study. Animals, 10(7), 1156, 1-13. doi:10.3390/ani10071156

Bahramabadi, F. G., Manee, F. M., Issazadegan, A. (2015). The effect of life skills training on psychological well-being and satisfaction among female adolescents. Journal of Research & Health, 5(3), 347-357.

Botvin, G. J. & Griffin, K. W. (2004). Life Skills Training: Empirical Findings and Future Directions. The Journal of Primary Prevention, 25(2), 211-232.

Burgon, H., Gammage, D., Hebden, J. (2018). Hoofbeats and heartbeats: equine-assisted therapy and learning with young people with psychosocial issues – theory and practice. Journal of Social Work Practice, 32(1), 3-16. DOI:10.1080/02650533.2017.1300878

Coffin, J. (2019). The Nguudu Barndimanmanha Project - Improving Social and Emotional Wellbeing in Aboriginal Youth Through Equine Assisted Learning. Frontiers in Public Health, 7, 278, 1-11. DOI:10.3389/fpubh.2019.00278

Earles, J. L., Vernon, L. L., Yetz, J. P. (2015). Equine-Assisted Therapy for Anxiety and Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 28(2), 149-152.


Fried, R. R. & Irwin, J. D. (2016). Calmly coping: A Motivational Interviewing Via Co-Active Life Coaching (MI-VIA-CALC) pilot intervention for university students with perceived levels of high stress. International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring, 14(1), 16-33.

Gillie, M. (2009). Commentary III: Applying Gestalt Theory to Coaching. Gestalt Review, 13(3), 254-260.

Grover, S. & Furnham, A. (2016). Coaching as a Developmental Intervention in Organisations: A Systematic Review of Its Effectiveness and the Mechanisms Underlying It. PLoS ONE 11(7): e0159137, 1-41. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0159137

Hajizadehanari, K., Fard, S. M. H. S. H., Hajizadehanari, H., Yaghoubzadeh, A., Farhadian, A., Askari, M. (2013). The Effectiveness of Life Skills Education with Religious Approach to Safety, Mental Health and Self-Esteem in Elementary School Students. The European Journal of Social & Behavioural Sciences, 5(2), 928-937.

Hayes, D. M. & Eddy, J. M. (1985). Stress management education: A life skillsapproach for health promotion professionals. Wellness Perspectives, 2(4), 9-11.

Ho, N. F., Zhou, J., Fung, D. S. S., Kua, P. H. J. (2017). Equine-assisted learning in youths at-risk forschool or social failure. Cogent Education, 4(1), 1334430, 1-19.

DOI: 10.1080/2331186X.2017.1334430

Hodge, K., Danish, S., & Martin, J. (2013). Developing a Conceptual Framework for Life Skills Interventions. The Counseling Psychologist, 41(8), 1125-1152.

DOI: 10.1177/0011000012462073

Jarolmen, J. (2018). An Innovative Approach for Learning Self-Awareness and Nonverbal Communication. Horses for Healers. Reflections: Narratives of Professional Helping, 24(3), 28-37.

Jarosz, J. (2016). What is life coaching? An integrative review of the evidence-based literature. International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring, 14(1), 34-56. Retrieved from

Jarosz, J. (2017). An integrative literature review on the impact of life coaching on courage, fear and anxiety. International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring, 15(2), 86-110.

Kelly, S. (2014). Horses for Courses: Exploring the Limits of Leadership Development Through Equine-Assisted Learning. Journal of Management Education, 38(2), 216-233. DOI: 10.1177/1052562913489027

Khooshab, E., Jahanbin, I., Ghadakpour, S., Keshavarzi, S. (2016). Managing Parenting Stress through Life Skills Training: A Supportive Intervention for Mothers with Visually Impaired Children. IJCBNM, 4(3), 265-273.

Klontz, B. T., Bivens, A., Leinart, D., Klontz, T. (2007). The Effectiveness of Equine-Assisted Experiential Therapy: Results of an Open Clinical Trial. Society and Animals, 15(3), 257-267.

Kovács, G., van Dijke, A., Enders-Slegers, M-J. (2020). Psychodynamic Based Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy in Adults with Intertwined Personality Problems and Traumatization: A Systematic Review. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, 17(16), 5661, 1-18. DOI: 10.3390/ijerph17165661

Lee, K., Dabelko-Schoeny, H., Jedlicka, H., Burns, T. (2020). Older Adults’ Perceived Benefits of Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy: Implications for Social Work. Research on Social Work Practice, 30(4), 399-407. DOI: 10.1177/1049731519890399

Marigold, D. C., Holmes, J. G., Ross, M. (2010). Fostering relationship resilience: An intervention for low self-esteem individuals. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 46(4), 624-630. DOI: 10.1016/j.jesp.2010.02.011

Montpetit, M. A., Bergeman, C. S., Deboeck, P. R., Tiberio, S. S., & Boker, S. M. (2010). Resilience-as-Process: Negative Affect, Stress, and Coupled Dynamical Systems. Psychology and Aging, 25(3), 631-640. DOI: 10.1037/a0019268

Montpetit, M. A. & Tiberio, S. S. (2016). Probing Resilience: Daily Environmental Mastery, Self-Esteem, and Stress Appraisal. The International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 83(4), 311-332. DOI: 10.1177/0091415016655162

Murphy, L., Wilson, J., Greenberg, S. (2017). Equine-Assisted Experiential Learning in Occupational Therapy Education. Journal of Experiential Education, 40(4), 366-376. DOI: 10.1177/1053825917712732

Naste, T. M., Price, M., Karol, J., Martin, L., Murphy, K., Miguel, J., Spinazzola, J. (2018). Equine Facilitated Therapy for Complex Trauma (EFT-CT). Journ Child Adol Trauma, 11(3), 289–303. DOI: 10.1007/s40653-017-0187-3

Notgrass, C. G. & Pettinelli, J.D. (2015). Equine Assisted Psychotherapy: The Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association’s Model Overview of Equine-Based Modalities. Journal of Experiential Education, 38(2), 162-174. DOI: 10.1177/1053825914528472

Pendry, P., Smith A. N., Roeter, S. M. (2014). Randomized Trial Examines Effects of Equine Facilitated Learning on Adolescents' Basal Cortisol Levels. Human-Animal Interaction Bulletin, 2(1), 80-95.

Porter-Wenzlaff, L. (2007). Finding their voice: developing emotional, cognitive, and behavioral congruence in female abuse survivors through equine facilitated therapy. Explore, 3(5), 529-534. DOI: 10.1016/j.explore.2007.07.016

Prajapati, R., Sharma, B., Sharma, D. (2017). Significance of Life Skills Education. Contemporary Issues in Education Research, 10(1), 1-6. DOI:10.19030/cier.v10i1.9875

Sahu, K. & Gupta, D. (2013). Life skills and mental health. Indian Journal of Health and Wellbeing, 4(1), 76-79.

Schultz P. N., Remick-Barlow G., A., Robbins, L. (2007). Equine-assisted psychotherapy: a mental health promotion/intervention modality for children who have experienced intra-family violence. Health and Social Care in the Community, 15(3), 265-271.

Siminovitch, D. E. & Van Eron, A. M. (2006). The Pragmatics of Magic. The Work of Gestalt Coaching. OD Practitioner, 36(1), 50-55.

Simon, S. N. (2009). Applying Gestalt Theory to Coaching. Gestalt Review, 13(3), 230-240.

Smith, A. V., Proops, L., Grounds, K., Wathanand, J., McComb, K. (2016). Functionally relevant responses to human facial expressions of emotion in the domestic horse (Equus caballus). Biology Letters, 12, 20150907, 1-4.

Stevenson, H. (2005). Gestalt Coaching. OD Practitioner, 37(4), 42-47.

Vidrine, M., Owen-Smith, P., Faulkner, P. (2002). Equine-facilitated group psychotherapy: Applications for therapeutic vaulting. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 23(6), 587-603.

DOI: 10.1080/01612840290052730.

Walk, M. A., (2009). Commentary II: Applying Gestalt Theory to Coaching. Gestalt Review, 13(3), 247-253.

Walsh, K. M. & Blakeney, B. A. (2013). Nurse Presence Enhanced Through Equus. Journal of Holistic Nursing, 31(2), 121-128. DOI: 10.1177/0898010112474721

White‐Lewis, S. (2019). Equine‐assisted therapies using horses as healers: A concept analysis. Nursing Open, 7(1), 58-67. DOI: 10.1002/nop2.377

Wilson, K., Buultjens, M., Monfries, M., Karimi, K. (2017). Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy for adolescents experiencing depression and/or anxiety: A therapist's perspective. Clin Child Psychol Psychiatry, 22(1), 16-33. DOI: 10.1177/1359104515572379

WHO. (1999). Partners in life skills education - conclusions from a united nations interagency meeting. Retrieved from

Žic, A., Nikolić, B., Igrić, L. (1996). The Influence of Integrative Gestalt Therapy on Acquisition of Daily Life Skills and Habits. 10th World Congress of International Association for the Scientific Study of Intelectual Disability, 1-12.




How to Cite