Connection Focused Therapy ©
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In partnership with the Polyvagal Equine Institute,
Horses Healing Trauma offers experiential training in Europe that values a therapeutic approach inspired by Somatic Experiencing©, Polyvagal Theory and working with horses (Eponaquest™ approach).

The CFT (Connection Focused Therapy©) training allows health professionals, therapists, psychologists, coaches and equi-coaches to experience with horses the functioning of the autonomic nervous system and the principles of the Polyvagal Theory.

Next sessions (experience-based training):

Discover the CFT training:

» Tuesday 7 March 2023 (Cudos, France, in French)
» Saturday 18 March 2023 (Cudos, France, in French)

CFT Level 1: The Essentials

» 15 to 17 June 2023, Netherlands / Belgium / Germany
» 2 to 4 June 2023, Cudos (France, in French)
» 15 to 17 September 2023, Cudos (France, in French)

CFT Level 2: CFT Masterclass

» 7 to 10 September 2023, Essen (Belgium, in English)
» 20 to 24 September 2023, Cudos (France, in French)

CFT Level 3: Follow on, best practices and supervision

» 2023, 3 to 4 months, live/presential and video-conf in English and French

Out from the partnership of Linda, Rebecca, Anne, Joss and Cécile

If you are a trauma specialist: you’re going to have more tools to help people heal.

If you are counsellor, coach orequicoach: you’re going to be more sensitive to trauma people and find ways how to better react with them (and know who to refer them).

To support your patients & clients in healing their trauma, learn to perceive the state of your autonomic nervous system so that it becomes a powerful tool for co-regulation.

The professional Connection Focused Therapy© training emphasizes the importance of understanding the impact we all have on each other. It challenges the beliefs and assumptions we each have made about our ability to feel safe, secure, and resilient in a constantly changing world.

In polyvagal terms, co-regulation is an important goal. Co-regulation is, in its simplest terms, the impact that our nervous systems have on our own functioning and on each other. Connection Focused Therapy© training helps us to apply this consciously in therapy, coaching and equicoaching.

Anne, Joss and Cecile have developed a 3 modules training that include the Masterclass Connection Focused Therapy©, that has been developed by bestselling author Linda Kohanov and Dr. Rebecca Bailey, PhD, two leading innovators in the fields of equine-facilitated therapy and experiential learning.

This whole training is designed for therapists, caregivers, and equine professionals working closely with therapists. It covers the first techniques to understand the impact of a traumatic memory event on us and to identify and/or helping individuals and families living with complex case scenarios.

There are many traumatic experiences that have an impact on our nervous system such as traumatic shocks (accidents, natural disasters, assaults, bereavements, conflicting divorces, dismissals, …), developmental or relational traumas during our growth (mistreatment, abuse, neglect, lack of security, … ) as well as many other traumatic experiences such as chronic stress, medical procedures, poverty, discrimination, …

In addition, epigenetics shows us that trauma can be transmitted genetically over at least 3 generations.

woman and horse connecting


  • Distinguish the limits of the counselling interventions when in presence of traumatized persons (for non-trauma specialist therapists)
  • Increase and enhance understanding of the role of the autonomic nervous system
  • Explore and experience the role of equine assisted interventions in trauma
  • Create a safe and secure space for your patient
  • Learn how to overcome the compassion fatigue
  • Increase your emotional resilience and that of your patients
  • Discover basics of working with the horses
  • Explore the impact of the Somatic Experiencing© basics


Experience-based teaching combining:

  • Work on the body that doesn’t involve touch
  • Exercises with horses
  • Theoretical and practical background
  • Group work
  • Case-study and on-line sessions


  • For health and care professionals (medical and paramedical)
  • For therapists, psychologists…
  • For coaching professionals:  coaches, equi-coaches, equi-therapists, equine mediation
  • For all professionals:
    • Seeking to understand how the EponaquestTM approach and Polyvagal Theory can work together to create an adapted and revitalizing accompaniment (especially when it comes to supporting those suffering from post-traumatic stress)
    • Wishing to partner with and/or refer their patients or clients to Horses Healing Trauma professionals in Europe.

This therapeutic approach will support your skills to help:

  • People who have experienced trauma or are living in a state of chronic stress
  • Their loved ones (family, colleagues, friends…)
  • Support and care professionals (yourself…)

Horse experience is not a prerequisite: the sessions involve ground exercices with horses, no horse riding.


3 modules (third one optional)

  • CFT Essentials: 3 days
  • CFT Masterclass: 4 days
  • CFT in-depth: over 3 to 4 months, total equivalent to 3 day


Discover the CFT training:

Thuesday 7th, March 2023 (Cudos, France, in French)
Saturday 18th, March 2023 (Cudos, France, in French)

The dates for CFT® Europe training are:

In the Netherlands / Belgium / Germany

  • Module 1 – Essentials
    • June 15-17, 2023
  • Module 2 – Masterclass
    • September 7-10, 2023

In France

  • Module 1 – Essentials
    • June 2-4, 2023
    • September 15-17, 2023
  • Module 2 – Masterclass
    • September 20-24, 2023
  • Module 3 (optional)
    • Between October 2023 and January 2024 (in-person and remotely)
close-up of a brown horse's face with eye
close-up of a horse sniffing a person's hand


Pedagogical organization:

CFT Essentials: daily sessions consist of interactive theoretical instruction by Anne Mathieu, Cécile Gilbert-Kawano, and Josselien Janssens, alternating with demonstrations and exercises with the horses.

CFT Masterclass: Linda Kohanov and Rebecca Bailey with Anne Mathieu, Cécile Gilbert-Kawano, and Josselien Janssen, alternating with demonstrations and exercises with horses.

CFT Deepening and Supervision: interactive sessions based on participants’ experiences, led by Anne Mathieu, Cécile Gilbert-Kawano – part distance learning, part face-to-face (with interactions with horses).

Specific fee for this module (optional): 500 €HT

The theory covers:

  • Overview of how horses help people cope more effectively with a variety of challenges
  • Discussions of relevant research
  • Somatic Experiencing© basics
  • Backgrounds of the connection focused therapy approach including basic skills and models
  • Understanding and preventing caregivers’ compassion fatigue, while nurturing personal and professional relationships
  • Increase your emotional resilience and that of your patients


The practice sessions with horses will cover:

  • Demonstrations of equine-facilitated interventions in small groups, ensuring several opportunities for each participant to directly experience the exercises with horses (Eponaquest© basics on how to work with horses, trauma informed equine exercises)
  • Basic skills for effective co-regulation in therapeutic relationships
  • Basic skills for dealing with compassion fatigue.



Linda Kohanov, bestselling author of five books, including The Tao of Equus (2001) and The Power of the Herd (2013), has worked with many mental health professionals over the years to provide equine-facilitated interventions for people in crisis. Since 2003, Linda has also trained over 300 professionals worldwide in the techniques she and her colleagues have developed since Eponaquest was founded in 1997 as a collective of counselors, educators and horse trainers. Her apprenticeship is now taught both in the USA as well as in Europe.

Linda Kohanov with her horse
Rebecca Bailey with her horse


Rebecca Bailey, PhD, is a leading family psychologist and personal therapist. The founder of Transitioning Families, Dr. Bailey has worked with law enforcement and the FBI to raise awareness and sensitivity to the issues that victims of rape, kidnapping and other crimes face in surviving these extreme experiences, reuniting with their families and healing. She has worked with hundreds of individuals and families in crisis.

Note: Dr. Rebecca Bailey will be presenting the 2022 workshop in Europe in person.

With expert co-facilitators:

Cecile Gilbert Kawano with her horse


Cécile accompanies people through co-development, emotional and relational intelligence, and somatic approach. She is an Advanced Eponaquest Instructor and a Somatic Experiencing© and SOMA Embodiment© practitioner. She likes to help people to “take back the reins of their life” (with or without horses) to facilitate their transformations and healing.

Cécile offers the Eponaquest Apprenticeship in France to people who wish to become Eponaquest Instructor. She co-facilitated the first European Healing the Herd – Connection Focused Therapy Workshop in Essen with Linda Kohanov in 2021.

Anne Mathieu with her horse


Creator of the “Riding the Tiger©” curriculum, Anne has been accompanying women and children who are victims of violence and all people who have suffered trauma or are in a situation of emotional fragility since 2014 by combining her behavioral expertise with horses and humans.

Anne offers individual sessions, group workshops, trainings and seminars for individuals, institutions and companies with an experiential approach with or without horses.

She founded VITAO 12 years ago and lives with her horses in the heart of a 15-hectare hardwood forest in Aubiac (33) in the South of Gironde.

She is a Somatic Experiencing© practitioner, an Emotion’Aid© trainer, an Eponaquest© instructor, a certified Connection Focused Therapy© facilitator horse professional and a Feng-Shui practitioner.

Josselien Janssens with her horse


Josselien works with teams of companies and organisations as trainer-coach in leadership development, teambuilding and personal growth through experiential learning with horses. 20 yearsa ago, she was diagnosed with severe ptsd and has since then overcome it with the help of horses. This experience helps her coach others facing the same challenge.

Josselien is a former journalist/communication professional, Advanced Eponaquest Instructor, Medicine Horse Way Master Instructor. She offers the Eponaquest curriculum in the Netherlands and Belgium for professionals who wish to become equine facilitated coaches, trainers and therapists. She co-facilitated the first European Healing the Herd – Connection Focused Therapy Workshop in Essen with Linda Kohanov in 2021.


A small herd of horses will be our partners in the practice sessions in the workshop.


Connection Focused Therapy training in Belgium (in English only): 3 495 € TTC
• CFT Essentials (3 days) : 1 495 € TTC
• CFT Masterclass (4 days) : 2 000 € TTC
• CFT Approfondissement (over 3 to 4 months online, total equivalent to 3 days) : Optional – 600 € TTC

Lunch, coffee/tea, snacks and course materials are included.

Horse lying in sand on a sunny day
Carlo, one of the coaching horses we often work with

More information

For more information, please get in touch by email on [email protected], or fill in the form below.

Web conference

To learn everything about this training in 2023, join our free web-conference on Wednesday, December 21 at 7PM

Click the button below to register.

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