Connection Focused Therapy® Trainings in 2022

Connection Focused Therapy® is the Polyvagal informed multi-disciplinary approach created by Dr. Rebecca Bailey and Linda Kohanov to help people become empowered as individuals while also learning to support, collaborate with, and draw strength from their loved ones, peers, and communities. In this effort, Rebecca and Linda have drawn upon the “wisdom and power of the herd,” a phrase they use to describe therapeutic techniques and life skills inspired by how horses take care of individual and group needs simultaneously.

“Horses are herbivores, but they’re not quivering, gutless victims,” Linda reveals, drawing upon four years of research for her book The Power of the Herd. “Horses model nonpredatory power in action, working together to stand up to predators and protect vulnerable family members. Then, after the danger has passed, they all go back to grazing, back to enjoying life to its fullest. There’s no question that humans in crisis can learn a lot from the courage, agility, and peaceful engagement with life that horses embody.

“With the right support, people too can heal from traumatic experiences. Few therapists have experienced this more profoundly than Dr. Rebecca Bailey, who has spent over 20 years helping survivors and their families recover from the most extreme experiences you can possibly imagine.”

In working together, Linda and Rebecca immediately found common ground—and not just in understanding how amazing horses are in assisting this process. These two seasoned collaborators also agree that deep healing happens only through nourishing relationships, through families and other caring social groups in which people are valued for who they are as individuals, while also knowing that their loved ones are capable of supporting them during the hard times, celebrating the good times, and fostering an underlying sense of peaceful connection, rejuvenation, and exploration in daily life. Connection Focused Therapy® not only helps individuals process trauma, it gives families the skills they need to handle crisis, uplift each other, and thrive long term.

“Survivors need to define themselves by who they are, not what they went through,” Rebecca emphasizes. “The scars of serious trauma can hold people back or become something they build upon and incorporate into new strengths. But people don’t get better in a vacuum. This is definitely what brought Linda and I together: An understanding of the interdependent nature of life and, consequently, healing. From this perspective, it becomes clear that families, communities, and other social systems can promote growth and transformation—or reinforce fear, hate, resentment, and depression. Families are a lot like herds. They’re impacted by each other, by the environment, and by the events that touch their lives. In order to help people move beyond challenging circumstances and thrive, you have to consider all the systems and their interplay. Giving people the support, and the skills, to reconnect to each other is crucial.”

In the coming months, you’ll have three opportunities to join these two prominent innovators in the fields of equine-facilitated therapy and experiential learning as they come together to share their Connection Focused Therapy® program designed for therapists, caretakers, and horse professionals working closely with therapists, who would like to learn advanced techniques for helping individuals and families with complex case scenarios. This includes post-traumatic stress from abuse, war, criminal acts, or accidents, high or low conflict divorce, as well as dealing with difficult change situations.

For the first time, the program will be available in France with French translation:

June 21-26, 2022


August 18-22, 2022


November 17-21, 2022


The daily sessions involve interactive theory, alternated with demonstrations and horse exercises focused on:

  • Overview of origins and key theories/therapeutic modalities employed and relevant research
  • Increasing and enhancing the understanding of the role of the autonomic nervous system
  • Learning basic skills for effective co-regulation in therapeutic relationships
  • Exploring and experiencing the role of equine-assisted interventions in trauma
  • Creating a safe space for clients
  • Increasing emotional resilience
  • Understanding and preventing compassion fatigue, while nurturing personal and professional relationships

Rebecca Bailey, PhD, is a leading family psychologist and personal therapist. The founder of Transitioning Families, Dr. Bailey has worked with law enforcement and the FBI to raise awareness and sensitivity to the issues that victims of rape, abduction, and other crimes face in surviving these extreme experiences, reuniting with their families, and healing over time. While she has worked with hundreds of individuals and families in crisis, she is best known as the therapist who helped Jaycee Dugard reunite with her family after she was rescued from a highly-publicized 18-year abduction in California.

Linda Kohanov, author of five books, including The Tao of Equus (2001), and The Power of the Herd (2013), has worked with numerous mental health professionals over the years to offer equine-facilitated interventions to people in crisis, including rape and childhood sexual abuse survivors, veterans and their spouses, and families dealing with divorce, remarriage, troubled teens, suicide attempts, and other challenges. Since 2003, Linda has also trained over 300 professionals worldwide in the techniques she and her colleagues have developed since Eponaquest was originally founded in 1997 as a collective of counselors, educators, and horse trainers.

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