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Hästunderstött socialt arbete - ett samtalsrum med potentiella möjligheter för ungdomar med självskadebeteenden och deras personal
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work. (Barn och ungdomsforskning)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1134-1535
2017 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The thesis examines, through qualitative methods, the role of the horse in equine-assisted social work (EASW) as well as what facilitates or constrains the role of the horse. Specifically, should interaction be understood in the same manner regardless of which individuals that participate? The thesis is based on empirical data collected throughinterviews with eight staff members and nine female self-harming clients, aged 15–21 years, in a residential treatment facility. In addition, video recordings of the human-horse interaction of three staff members and four clients were analyzed, resulting in the additional issues addressed in a second interview. Critical dialogues between patterns and fragmentations in the narratives and video-recordings, as well as a dialogue with participants, while they were viewing videos of their own EASW sessions, led to the conclusion that adding a horse could qualitatively change therapeutic relationships. 

The results are presented in four articles that provide an image of the complexity of EASW. The summary chapters focus on a synthesized analysis, based on Goffman’sdramaturgical perspective and Hochschild’s emotional rules in which the concepts were applied: backstage, frontstage, impression management, stigma, emotional management, deep acting and surface acting. The analysis demonstrated that defense mechanisms are reduced when the horse is perceived as non-judgmental and therefore less intimidating. Furthermore, the analysis suggests that it is crucial that the horse is regarded as a subject, a transitional object, which can silence the inner critic and create a ‘moment of silence’ that contradicts stigmas and enablesadolescents to regulate their emotions. This leads to possibilities to be more authentic and the relationship between staff and adolescents to be perceived as more authentic. 

In summary, the work presented in this thesis contributes to increased knowledge about the role of the horse in opposing impression management and surface acting, depending on the high demands on staff to reach outcomes regarding communication, self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-image. The different triads consist of different liaisons, giving rise to unique combinations and the potential to avoid emotional dissonance. The quality of the relationships seems to depend on staff and clients’ attachment orientations. 

Keywords: Authentic, Emotional work, Equine-assisted social work, Impression management, Moment of silence, Self-harming adolescents, Stigmatization

 

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Växjö: Linnaeus University Press, 2017. , 127 p.
Series
Linnaeus University Dissertations, 283/2017
Keyword [en]
Authentic, Emotional work, Equine-assisted social work, Impression management, Moment of silence, Self-harming adolescents, Stigmatization
National Category
Social Work
Research subject
Social Sciences, Social Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-63873ISBN: 978-91-88357-70-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-63873DiVA: diva2:1096370
Public defence
2017-05-31, V159, Stagneliusgatan 14, Kalmar, 10:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-05-19 Created: 2017-05-17 Last updated: 2017-08-16Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Equine Assisted Social Work as a mean for authentic relations between clients and staff
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Equine Assisted Social Work as a mean for authentic relations between clients and staff
2014 (English)In: Human-Animal Interaction Bulletin, ISSN 2333-522X, Vol. 2, no 1, 19-38 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this study was to explore, by qualitative methods, the meaning of equine-assisted social work (EASW) both to young women with self-harm problems and their staff in residential treatment. Data were collected by in-depth interviews with eight staff members and nine clients. Human-horse interaction was observed subsequently in three of the staff and four of the clients. Based on the narratives of the staff members and the clients, who agreed, the horse’s ability to read human emotions made the staff and clients aware of their own emotions. In order not to alienate the horse or make the situation dangerous, which intensified their sense of being in the present, both the clients and staff had to regulate their emotions. As a result the resistance for change decreased, made the participants more likely to regulate their emotions and change behavior rather than avoid the situation or the information. The horse seemed to set the framework for the interaction between the staff and young women. The fact that even the staff could fail in the interaction with the horse, affected the interaction between staff and clients making it more informal and dynamic. A relationship based on empathy, trust, respect and negotiation, where clients shared private matters, resulted in the perception of a more authentic relationship. Further research is needed to see which conditions are favourable for achieving an authentic relationship and which conditions possibly fail. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Human Animal Interaction section 13 of division 17 of the APA, 2014
Keyword
equine-assisted social work, mirror of emotions, be in the presence, emotional awareness and regulation, authentic relationship
National Category
Social Work
Research subject
Social Sciences, Social Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-33985 (URN)
Available from: 2014-04-24 Created: 2014-04-24 Last updated: 2017-08-16Bibliographically approved
2. Mentalizing and Emotional Labor Facilitate Equine-Assisted Social Work with Self-harming Adolescents
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Mentalizing and Emotional Labor Facilitate Equine-Assisted Social Work with Self-harming Adolescents
2015 (English)In: Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, ISSN 0738-0151, E-ISSN 1573-2797, Vol. 32, no 4, 329-339 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article explores equine-assisted social work (EASW). Horses’ capacities to mirror human emotions create possibilities for authentic relationships between clients and staff. This study examines what eases or counteracts the horse’s capacity to facilitate relationships perceived by humans to be authentic. Video recordings of the human-horse interactions of three staff members and four female self-harming clients aged 15–21 years in a residential treatment facility were analyzed. The findings show that if the staff gave instructions and advice similar to traditional equestrian sports in combination with viewing the horse as an object, EASW is not facilitated. EASW seems to be facilitated when the horse is perceived as a subject by both staff and clients, provided that the staff gave meaning to the horse’s behavior. The staff needed to highlight empathy for the horse when the horse is not able to fulfill its task without adding depth to the client’s performance, to avoid raising defense mechanisms. The essence of EASW were perceived as eased by staff members when they focus on the client’s emotions and help the client understand that the horse is acting in response to the client’s and the staff’s behavior through mentalizing and enacting emotional labor in regarding the horse as a subject. The results indicate the need for higher demands on staff members in order to facilitate EASW. Depending on whether the staff and the clients focus on performance or on emotions, different positive or negative outcomes on communication, self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-image will be likely to emerge.

National Category
Social Work
Research subject
Social Sciences, Social Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-39581 (URN)10.1007/s10560-015-0376-6 (DOI)
Available from: 2015-01-30 Created: 2015-01-30 Last updated: 2017-08-16Bibliographically approved
3. Equine-assisted Social Work Counteracts Self- stigmatisation in Self-harming Adolescents and Facilitates a Moment of Silence
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Equine-assisted Social Work Counteracts Self- stigmatisation in Self-harming Adolescents and Facilitates a Moment of Silence
2017 (English)In: Journal of Social Work Practice, ISSN 0265-0533, E-ISSN 1465-3885Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this study was to determine whether equine-assisted social work (EASW) could affect self-stigmatisation and thereby counteract false identities in self-harming adolescents. Data were collected via interviews with nine female self-harming clients aged 15–21 years and eight staff members. Interviews and video-recorded human–horse interactions with three staff members and four clients were analysed. The interviews were followed by further dialogue with participants while they viewed videos of their own EASW sessions. The analysis indicated that the horse had a calming effect on the clients; enabled them to free themselves of their preoccupations; provided real-time, non-verbal and non-judgmental feedback on their emotions; and increased feelings of trust, patience and empathy. The presence of a horse provided a ‘moment of silence’ for the clients, silencing their inner critic, and made them feel more authentic and better able to regulate their emotions. However, staff could counteract this ‘safe’ healing by being too focused on goals, making interpretations and lecturing and encouraging clients, thus making clients feel judged anyhow. EASW seemed to give clients the opportunity to break free from self-stigmatisation, which seemed to lower the barrier to change.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2017
Keyword
adolescents, authentic, equine-assisted social work, moment of silence, self-injury, self-stigmatisation
National Category
Social Work
Research subject
Social Sciences, Social Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-60213 (URN)10.1080/02650533.2016.1274883 (DOI)
Available from: 2017-01-25 Created: 2017-01-25 Last updated: 2017-08-16
4. Triads in Equine-Assisted Social Work Enhance Therapeutic Relationships with Self-Harming Adolescents
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Triads in Equine-Assisted Social Work Enhance Therapeutic Relationships with Self-Harming Adolescents
2016 (English)In: Clinical social work journal, ISSN 0091-1674, E-ISSN 1573-3343Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Despite an increasing number of studies, thereis still a lack of knowledge about the unique featuresthat underlie the process in equine assisted social work(EASW). This study aimed to reveal, through qualitativemethods, the dyads within the triad that become strongerduring the process of EASW, as well as the effect of theparticipation of the horse on the relationship betweenthe counselor and client. Data were collected through indepthinterviews with nine female self-harming clientsaged 15–21 years and eight staff members. The interviews,together with video-recorded human–horse interactionswith three staff members and four clients were analyzed,resulting in additional issues answered by these three staffmembers and four clients in a second interview. Criticaldialogues between patterns and fragmentations in the narrativesand video-recordings, as well as a dialogue with theparticipants while they were viewing videos of their ownEASW sessions, led to the conclusion that adding a horsequalitatively changes therapeutic relationships in EASW.The different triads consist of different liaisons betweenactors in the triad, giving rise to unique combinations. Thequality of the relationships depends on both the staff andthe clients’ attachment orientations. Further research isneeded to investigate how the degree of emotional connectionto the horse affects the impact that horses have on triadsin EASW.

Keyword
Adolescents · Attachment orientations · Equine-assisted social work, Self-injury, Therapeutic relationship, Triads
National Category
Social Work
Research subject
Social Sciences, Social Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-58246 (URN)10.1007/s10615-016-0613-2 (DOI)
Available from: 2016-11-22 Created: 2016-11-22 Last updated: 2017-08-16

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