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  • 1.
    Carlsson, Catharina
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    A Narrative Review of Qualitative and Quantitative Research in Equine-assisted Social Work or Therapy – Addressing Gaps and Contradictory Results2016In: Animalia An Anthrozoology Journal, no February 14Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article reviews the published literature narrative about equine-assisted or equine-facilitated social work or therapy, a growing area of interventions. The purpose is to shed light on gaps and contradictory results in previous studies between 2000-2014. The goal is to assist practitioners and researchers, identifying and providing perspectives on complicated issues when results of interventions are pointing in different directions. In total, 55 published articles and 15 dissertations were analyzed thematically. Excluded are studies focused on therapeutic riding for the physically disabled or hippotherapy benefiting from equine movement, as well as studies focused on individuals’ riding goals or horsemanship skills. The implications for further research address gaps in the literature on the process in equine assisted or facilitated work. The process need to be described from professional affiliation, the purpose of the intervention, theoretical perspective, the intended role of the horse, ethical approach both concerning the client and the horse, plan to prevent risks as well as describe risks in relation to possible outcomes both for the client and the horse and finally a description about how the intervention are evaluated. Standardization of terminology and language used to communicate interventions, methods, and theories is recommended. The analysis suggests a need to use a variety of research methods in interdisciplinary research groups. This allows different paradigms of participatory, as well as constructivism or post-positivism, to capture the complexity of social work or therapy facilitated or assisted by horses. This article does not critically review each specific investigation, but focuses on how the process has been presented in previous research.

  • 2.
    Carlsson, Catharina
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Equine-assisted Social Work Counteracts Self- stigmatisation in Self-harming Adolescents and Facilitates a Moment of Silence2018In: Journal of Social Work Practice, ISSN 0265-0533, E-ISSN 1465-3885, Vol. 32, no 1, p. 17-30Article in journal (Refereed)
    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.

  • 3.
    Carlsson, Catharina
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Equine-assisted Social Work or Therapy – Addressing Gaps and Contradictory Results2016Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In reviewing published literature to shed lights on gaps and contradictory results in previous studies between 2000-2014 the goal was to assist practitioners and researches identifying and providing perspectives on complicated issues when results of interventions are pointing in different directions. In total, 55 published articles and 15 dissertations were analyzed thematically. Excluded are studies focused on therapeutic riding for the physically disabled or hippo-therapy benefiting from equine movement, as well as studies focused on individual´s riding goals or horsemanship skills. Empirical research show that adding a horse could qualitatively change the therapeutic relationship providing a moment of silence, meaning silencing the client´s inner critic making them more authentic and able to regulate their emotions. The staff on the other hand could counteract this “safe” healing by being focused on goals, making interpretations and reprimand or encouraging the clients making clients feel judged anyhow. There is a need for the process to be described regarding the professionals affiliation and approach, the theoretical perspective, the purpose of the intervention, the intended role of the horse, ethical approach both concerning the client and the horse, plan to prevent risks as well as describe risk in relation to possible outcomes for the client and the horse. There is a need for understanding horses as sentient beings with needs of their own, not just tools for humans to use. Just giving access to a horse to solve a client´s problem is not a solution. Considerations to differences between individual horses as well as individual staff need to be attended. There is a need for critical reflection about researchers and practitioner´s biases that can make them driven by their own relationship with horses. As an example anthropomorphism has provided the opportunity to use animals as alternative sources of social support and the means to benefit emotionally and physically from this. The effects of anthropomorphism seem to be good for the human but less benign for the horses. Here ethical limits need to be discussed far more than in earlier research when it also could be an aspect of contradictory results. There seem to be a need for using a variety of research methods to capture the complexity. Interdisciplinary research groups could be an answer were measures of heart rates, cortisol levels and brain activity is also included. The analysis suggest allowing different paradigms of participatory as well as constructivism or post-positivism to capture the complexity and the contradictory results of social work or therapy assisted by horses. Collaborative project with practitioners and clients to reach the tacit knowledge using reflection as a tool as well as questioning if this should be regarded as a method of its own or a complement to other methods. 

  • 4.
    Carlsson, Catharina
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Hästunderstött socialt arbete - ett samtalsrum med potentiella möjligheter för ungdomar med självskadebeteenden och deras personal2017Doctoral 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

     

     

  • 5.
    Carlsson, Catharina
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    If Equine Assisted Social Work is the Answer, what is the question?2013Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Purpose

    The purpose of this study was by means of qualitative methods to explore the meaning of EASW for young women with self-harm problems in residential treat- ment. Seen from the eyes of the clients and the staff members, what role and meaning is devoted to the hor- se as used in EASW? How does the interaction with the horse contribute to the clients and staff ́s perception of autenticity and the possibilities to be in an authentic relation? 

    Definition

    EASW represents an alternative or a supplement to conventional treatment and social work, and involves a triangular relationship between staff, client and the horse. The activities in EASW can involve care of the horse, training with the horse, riding, carriage driving and vaulting (gymnastics on horseback). The program will always depend on the staff ’s skills and educational background, the horse ́s abilities as well as the client ́s skills and wishes. 

    Method

    Data were initially collected by in-depht interviews with 8 staff members and 9 clients. In-depth interviews that lasted between 40- 60 minutes based on 6 - 7 themes were conducted separatly with the clients and the staff mem- bers Observations of the human-horse interaction were videotaped and conducted three times with each pair of staff and client that worked together in EASW. After the observations indepht interviews were conducted with clients and staffmembers in direct conjunction with one of the observations. 

    Results

    Based on the narratives of the staff members and the clients; it seemed that the horse’s ability to read human emotions made the staff and clients aware of their emotions. In order not to alienate the horse or make the situation dangerous, the clients and staff said that they had to regulate their emotions, which intensified their sense of being in the moment. The participants felt the horse read their intentions, and gave them a direct feedback on their ex- pressed emotions. Furthermore, this feedback was given to them in a way

    that did not raise their defence mechanisms. The horse seemed to function as an emotional mirror for the participants. They detected and recognized their own emotions, and subsequently had to regulate them in order to interact with the horse and others in a positive way. Finally the horse seemed to set the framework for the interaction between the staff-members and the young women, which became more informal and dynamic. Stable-based relations- hips experienced as based on trust, respect and negotiation can accordingly be interpreted as being representing as more authentic relationships compared to relationships outside of the stable. 

    Implications for clinical work

    The clients found it easier to bond with the horse because it was not ha- ving expectations of the clients. The staff members, however, could be expe- rienced as if they had expectations of clients. The client perceives the horse as nojudgemental, honest, reliable, have no prejudices, offer physical contact

    and give direct feedback. The stable provided other opportunities for interac- tion than the therapy room, as other rules apply and staff and clients became more equal and perceived their relations as more ”authentic”. The horse was a door opener for the clients to get rid of anxiety and agression resulting in calmness and relaxation. This open up for communication between staff and client, which in turn could increase new insights. 

  • 6.
    Carlsson, Catharina
    University of Kalmar, School of Human Sciences.
    "Mejan goes hype": förebyggnde och främjande insatser för unga samt ett projekt för att utveckla drogfria mötesplatser2007Report (Other academic)
  • 7.
    Carlsson, Catharina
    Mid Sweden University Sundsvall.
    Mäns våld mot kvinnor: En studie om vad som motiverar män att gå i behandling2007Other (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

     Purpose: The aim of the study is to illuminate what motivates men choosing treatment.

    Questions: What have influenced the men in their choice? How does these men see their responsibility in relation to motivation for choosing treatment? Witch possibilities respectively difficulties do men see in relationship to motivation?

    Method:  Flexible design; The study is based on narrative interviews with abusive men and studies of documents and statistics.

    Conclusion: The central findings of the study was that the man needed to have a wake up call and that he could se his own responsibility. If the man didn’t se his responsibility they said that there was no point in going to treatment. The road to treatment could be different among the men in the study but their partner was mentioned in every story. Empathy for the partner and children could motivate them and the risk of losing their partner. A side of this there was several things that made it easier and that could be information about treatment, support, successful models, a feeling of being needed from other men in the same situation and that there wasn’t to many practical obstacles in the way whether it was geographical or lack of time. The fact that they weren’t judged made it easier to make the step closer to treatment and also to help other men. A combination of internal and external motivation was seen in the stories told by the men them self. A balance between possible profit and possible damages were either couldn’t be excluded was a necessity. Fear was a driving force behind motivation as fear was a driving force behind the violence in first place.

  • 8.
    Carlsson, Catharina
    University of Kalmar, School of Human Sciences.
    Socialtjänstens hantering av mäns våld mot kvinnor: En studie om könsmaktsperspektivets betydelse för socialarbetaren2005Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    Purpose: The aim of the study is to analyse why the socialworker at the socialservices havn’t implemented the perspective of woman as subordinate and men as superior.

    Questions: Is the perspective of woman as subordinate and men as superior significant for the socialworker? Is the organisation, colleagues or de individuals thought structure of importance when it comes to implement the perspective? Does the socialworkers view of the clients as victims have an impact on the fact that the perspective has been given interest? 

    Method: Critical case study. Flexible design; The study is based on interviews with socialworkers and study of documents and statistics

    Conclusion: One of the central findings of the field study was that the implementation of the perspective of woman as subordinate and men as superior was of no use for the socialworkers as they saw it. The findings showed that the definition of a victim was not used or that they were unconscious that the definition of a victim did affect them in their work. The possibilities for the organisation to learn is of  importance for the implementation of the perspective of woman as subordinate and men as superior. Finally the results showed that in some way their work was influenced not only of the definition of the victim but also indirect of the perspective of woman as subordinate and men as superior.

  • 9.
    Carlsson, Catharina
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    The essence of Equine-assisted Social Work (EASW)2015Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The presentation aims to reveal the essence of Equine Assisted Social Work EASW. Based on the narratives of the staff members and the female-self-harming clients aged 15-21 years in a residential treatment, who agreed and video recordings of the human-horse interactions, the horse ability to read human emotions made the staff and clients aware of their sense of being in the present, both the clients and staff had 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, resultet in the perception of a more authentic relationship. the essence of EASW were percieved 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. 

  • 10.
    Carlsson, Catharina
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Triads in Equine-Assisted Social Work Enhance Therapeutic Relationships with Self-Harming Adolescents2017In: Clinical social work journal, ISSN 0091-1674, E-ISSN 1573-3343, Vol. 45, no 4, p. 320-331Article in journal (Refereed)
    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.

  • 11.
    Carlsson, Catharina
    et al.
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Nilsson Ranta, Daniel
    Mittuniversitetet.
    Traeen, Bente
    University of Oslo, Norway.
    Mentalizing and Emotional Labor Facilitate Equine-Assisted Social Work with Self-harming Adolescents2015In: Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, ISSN 0738-0151, E-ISSN 1573-2797, Vol. 32, no 4, p. 329-339Article in journal (Refereed)
    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.

  • 12.
    Carlsson, Catharina
    et al.
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Ranta Nilsson, Daniel
    Mid Sweden University.
    Traeen, Bente
    University of Oslo.
    Equine Assisted Social Work as a mean for authentic relations between clients and staff2014In: Human-Animal Interaction Bulletin, ISSN 2333-522X, Vol. 2, no 1, p. 19-38Article in journal (Refereed)
    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. 

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