horse in sunMalcolm Gladwell was the first to uncover the real truth about why patients sue their doctors. Opposite of what one may think, it has nothing to do with whether of not the doctor actually did something wrong.

Instead, it has everything to do with whether or not the patient felt as thought the doctor did something wrong. And something wrong, according to the patient is not listening, not validating, and not expressing empathy for their concerns. 

What Gladwell was getting at was that when people feel heard, and cared for, the details become almost insignificant. Yet for many people, doctors included, how would they know if their patients were really feeling cared for? After all, had these doctors not felt cared for by their parents, and thus also not learned how to, and how not to express care, how could they know with any certainty what they were offering to their patients? Because, the truth is, patients just don’t tell you that stuff.

But horses do. To a horse, every person emits a frequency, and like radio station frequencies, some are more palatable than others. In fact, the entire field of neurofeedback is based on the principle that people emit measurable frequencies. And, unless you have access to a neurofeedback device, there is really no way to know what energy, or frequency, you emit.

However, take away the ability to speak, and add some serious environmental threat, and suddenly, frequency becomes extremely important. So horses learn to read each other’s wavelengths immediately and accurately. And this includes humans.

A horse that becomes increasingly fidgety in the presence of a particular person might be just telling that person that he/she is putting out some pretty frightening energy.

On the other hand, a horse that becomes very curious and fixated on a particular person might be saying that this person’s energy needs some attention.

But perhaps the most prominent reason for a medical professional to consider trying equine therapy is for all the reasons he/she debases it.

The obvious question becomes, “Are you also this judgmental when it comes to challenging patients?” Because while a doctor may not think he/she is reacting off of some internal biases, his/her patients will feel it.

The best treatment for internal and unconscious biases it to first become aware of them. And for this, we can look to the horse.

Horse photo available from Shutterstock.



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From Psych Central's website:
PsychCentral (January 25, 2012)

From Psych Central's website:
PsychCentral (January 25, 2012)

Mental Health Social (January 26, 2012)

    Last reviewed: 26 Jan 2012

APA Reference
Dorotik-Nana, C. (2012). Equine Therapy in the Medical World?. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 2, 2015, from


Check out Claire Dorotik's book,
On the Back of a Horse

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