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Ancient Wisdom for Modern Families: An Innovative, Nature-Based Approach to Understanding and Transforming Patterns of Behavior and Communication in Families

July 28, 2017 @ 9:30 am - 5:00 pm



  • When: Friday, July 28, 2017
  • Time: 9:30 am to 5 pm
  • Cost: $175, includes lunch, materials, and a copy of the Ancient Wisdom workbook
  • Where — Tabula Rasa Ranch • Sebastopol, California
  • Local Contact — Julie Bridge (707) 861-9570 • juliebridge@mearasgroup.com
  • For More Information Contact — info@eponaquest.com or 520-455-5908


This one-day training is for therapists, social workers, judges, attorneys, law enforcement, equine-facilitated therapy practitioners, and other professionals who work with families in transition and crisis, including divorce, domestic violence and other complex cases. The workshop is also open to parents who are dealing with family challenges.

Led by author/psychologist Rebecca Bailey, Ph.D. and author/equine-facilitated learning pioneer Linda Kohanov, Ancient Wisdom for Modern Families introduces an engaging and effective model for helping parents, their spouses, and their children learn how to recognize, reframe and alter unproductive behavior, belief, and communication patterns that inhibit families from leading loving, mutually supportive lives.

As a trauma, abduction, and family reunification specialist, Dr. Bailey helps people recover from abuse, criminal acts, divorce. While she has worked with hundreds of individuals and families in crisis, she is best known as the counselor who helped Jaycee Dugard reunite with her family after Jaycee was rescued in 2009 from a highly publicized 18-year abduction. (All proceeds for the sale of The Ancient Wisdom for Modern Families workbook go to the JAYC Foundation, which Jaycee founded to assist families in crisis.).

“Over the years, I’ve learned that empowered families are crucial to protecting their loved ones to begin with, for helping survivors of extreme experiences heal, and for leading the kind of cultural change that prevents violence,” Dr. Bailey says. “The Ancient Wisdom trainings and interventions provide a unique and often even fun way for people to learn more constructive ways of handling everyday challenges as well as the more difficult situations that families must sometimes deal with.”

The Ancient Wisdom model is based on five styles of power/social influence active in groups of humans and animals that can either work at odds with each other, or enhance the well-being of the entire “herd” or “tribe.”

“Most people prefer to use one or two roles, and ignore or even abdicate the others,” Linda Kohanov observes. “The tendency to overspecialize, however, gives rise to unproductive behaviors. But as my colleagues and I discovered in studies of power dynamics throughout history and across multiple cultures and species, there is another way.”

“Over thousands of years, tribes that cared for large, unrestrained animals developed a multi-faceted, socially intelligent form of leadership combining these five roles,” she explains. “In understanding the differences between the Dominant, Leader, Nurturer/Companion, Sentinel, and Predator roles, herders were able to capture the unique power of each. In the process, they created a fluid vocabulary of interventions that allowed interspecies communities to move across vast landscapes. These people had to deal with predators and changing climates, protecting and nurturing the herd while keeping these massive, gregarious, sometimes aggressive animals together — without the benefit of fences and with very little reliance on restraints.”

Linda summarized the research leading to the creation of this model in her 2013 book The Power of the Herd. “These richly nuanced skills were lost when humanity moved toward a sedentary, city-based lifestyle,” she says. “Even so, when applied to modern situations, these ancient principles can help us harness the talents and creativity of individuals, families, and entire communities.”

With this goal in mind, Linda created the term “master herder” to describe a strong, compassionate, well-balanced leader who also acts as a caretaker and guardian. Such a person has to master five roles of power and social influence, using them fluidly, interchangeably, as needed. The model was so well received internationally that it necessitated the writing of The Five Roles of a Master Herder book, published in 2016.

Over the last four years, Linda has also worked with Dr. Bailey to adapt it specifically to the needs of families in conflict and transition. This led to the creation of the Ancient Wisdom for Modern Families workbook in 2017.

In this one-day workshop, participants will learn how the model and accompanying workbook can help parents and children learn how to employ these roles effectively. Linda and Rebecca will also demonstrate how families can become more proficient in the productive behaviors of each role through experiential learning activities with horses.

“Many of the productive as well as the unproductive behaviors listed in this workbook are also seen in groups of social animals, which is why experiential learning activities with horses are so effective in helping families understand the behaviors and learn the related skills,” Dr. Bailey says. “Realizing that certain behaviors are universal, not personal, gives people a constructive view of conflicts that occur when family members employ natural behaviors in unconscious and unbalanced ways. Individuals, groups and families can learn from a perspective that is non-blaming and solution focused.”

“The Ancient Wisdom model helps people realize that many unproductive behaviors are in fact instinctual, and therefore not intentionally malevolent,” Linda adds.  “This perspective alone can help people to avoid shaming and blaming each other. In studying this model under the direction of a trained counselor or educator, people can also learn how to hold family members accountable for hurtful actions while encouraging them to adopt the more productive behaviors inherent in each role. The goal is to help each individual parent become a compassionate, empowered ‘master herder,’ one capable of employing the strengths of all five roles fluidly, as needed. These skills also help parents teach their children how to contain and channel their power for the good of the family and larger social system.”


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July 28, 2017
9:30 am - 5:00 pm
Event Category:


Sebastopol, California (San Francisco Bay Area)
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