Department of Family Therapy Dissertations and Applied Clinical Projects

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Family Therapy


Shelley Green

Committee Member

Anne Rambo

Committee Member

Michael Reiter


The Introduction and Advanced Equine Assisted Family Therapy (EAFT) courses offered at Nova Southeastern University (NSU) provide graduate Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) student therapists the space to learn about collaborating with horses for therapeutic and educational purposes. However, these courses also offer the potential for a unique dimension to self of the therapist development. Through these courses, student therapists are able to learn theory and application of an innovative experiential model for clients, but also utilize the activities to get to know themselves better as emerging therapists.

The purpose of this study was to explore if and how the learning that occurs within the EAFT courses transfers into traditional talk therapy sessions. More specifically, the study explored how students utilized the experiential process of learning within the courses to further their understanding of the self of the therapist. The conversations that unfolded from reviewing MFT student therapists’ video recorded talk therapy sessions at the Brief Therapy Institute’s family therapy clinic served as the data. Interpersonal Process Recall (IPR) was used to inquire about this process, including specifically how it relates to self of the therapist development.