Who we are and what we do.About the Xanthus Equine Gestalt Center
What we do at the xanthus center
Learn about what we do at the Xanthus Center and how it changes lives for those who have experienced trauma.
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Learn about the founder of the Xanthus Center, her background, her qualifications, and her mission in this work.
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Learn About the research behind the EGCMethod
The EGCMethod is scientically proven and the Xanthus Equine Gestalt Center was the proving ground for the study.
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What we do at the Xanthus Center
Xanthus Center, LLC employs the Equine Gestalt Coaching (EGC) method to assist those dealing with trauma induced emotional challenges. Specifically, the foundation of our program is the working relationship that develops between the survivor and the equine coach. Working with trauma survivors and their families, I use Gestalt theory and practice to facilitate the equine guided integration of their emotional conflicts and cognitive dissonance.
Our program is designed to deal with emotional and psychological trauma that may or may not result from physical trauma. Traumatizing events can fragment one’s emotions even if physical damage is not present.
Research into the effect trauma has on neurological pathways reveals that trauma actually changes the structure and function of the brain, at the point where the frontal cortex, the emotional brain and the reptilian brain converge. A significant finding is that structural and functional neurological irregularities occur with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
I focus on the mind-body connection knowing that in order to bring about somatic change we need to make changes to the brain. These changes are, not only to our feelings and cognition, but also to the neurological pathways themselves. Somatic sensations and direct sensory experiences with the equine coach are referenced throughout the process.
The experiential nature of the EGC Method involves the horse as an active partner with the Equine Gestalt Coach in the survivor’s exploratory process. The integrative approach of the equine’s interaction combined with positive coaching, somatic awareness, guidance and Gestalt methodology assists the survivor in examining their life with a focus on designing a positive future. With the help of my equine partner, the survivor participates in ground based activities concurrent with Gestalt experiments designed to help connect with emotions, process feelings, behaviors and patterns; the outcome for the survivor being clarity and closure. When appropriate, I incorporate additional somatic coaching techniques like Emotional Freedom Technique which are neurological in focus.
The ultimate goal is to give voice back, to those who were silenced by traumatic events, in the form of increased self-confidence, a renewed sense of self-worth, improved quality of life and congruency by way of emotional integration. And, by creating a moment in which the survivor can experience my equine partner as the sentient being they are, Equus regains its voice and speaks for the betterment of all.
Xanthus Center, LLC is committed to being trauma informed and trauma competent. I dedicate the sum total of my coaching efforts and energies towards the healing of trauma survivors. Continuous discontent with the status quo and a constant seeking of new and improved information and awareness, this lazar focus allows me to become the very best trauma specialist I can be!
Meet Jaclyn Manzione
My love of horses began in childhood when I met my first horse and learned to ride at summer camp. Although it would be a long time before horses came back into my life, I always knew they would. It wasn’t until I came to Colorado and began volunteering at a local therapeutic riding center that the love affair blossomed. From the beginnings of serving as a side walker to graduating to a horse handler, I had the opportunity to assist in various types of equine therapy including hippotherapy, equine assisted learning, equine assisted speech and language therapy and equine assisted psychotherapy.
It was during my involvement with the equine assisted psychotherapy sessions that the healing power of the horse impacted me at the spiritual level. I connected with the sentient nature of the horse and was moved to make healing with horses my life’s work. It was at that point in my quest for a way to manifest my vision of healing with horses that I enrolled in the internationally known Equine Gestalt Coaching Method founded by Melissa Pierce. I am now a graduate and certified practitioner of the Equine Gestalt Coaching Method.
My background includes a Master’s Degree in exercise and clinical physiology. I have over 20 years’ experience as a clinical physiologist in the field of cardiac nuclear medicine and cardiac rehabilitation. I continue to donate my expertise in clinical physiology to a local equine therapeutic riding center. I served as an exercise and fitness consultant to firefighters and first responders in Kodiak, Alaska, provided case management services to cardiac rehabilitation facilities, and assisted with research relating to cardiac nuclear medicine. I was an instructor at the University of Alaska, Kodiak campus teaching health and wellness classes.
I understand the mind-body connection. I have experience working with athletes utilizing this connection to facilitate healing and to improve performance. I hold the designation of Reiki Master in the lineage of Doctor Mikao Usui, founder of the healing energy work known as Reiki. I use my Reiki skills to treat both human and equine beings in need. In addition to the Equine Gestalt Coaching Method, my healing modalities include Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), Yoga, breath work and deep relaxation.
I am highly motivated and committed to helping trauma victims heal through my powerful relationship with my equine partners. My goal is to facilitate equine guided emotional integration for trauma survivors; integration that brings traumatic experiences to clarity, closure and peace.
What is the EGCMethod?
The Equine Gestalt coaching Method® was developed by Melisa Pearce, a core founder since 1989, of the horse-human healing movement. The experiential nature of the method involves the horse as an active partner with the coach in the client’s exploratory process. The integrative approach of the equine’s interaction combined with positive coaching, somatic awareness guidance and Gestalt methodology, assists the client in examining their life and choices made with a focus on designing a positive future. NO HORSE EXPERIENCE NECESSARY!
The Numbers Don’t Lie
We conducted a research study that examined the relationship between the EGC Method and the feelings/emotions of our clients. Specifically, clients’ feeling more hopeful about their future and feeling better about themselves. Data was collected at the conclusion of each EGCM session using a Likert Item questionnaire that represents each client’s responses to four questions. The sampling method used for the research study was a simple random sampling. The demographics of the population studied included adolescents and young adults between the ages of 12 to 24, who are homeless with a significant history of trauma, mental illness and substance abuse.
Felt more hopeful about the future after an EGC Session.
Would participate in this coaching program again.
An additional study was conducted in 2018 that fully supported the findings of the original study results shown above. You can learn about that study’s results, as well as additional on-going studies on the EGCMethod, on the Research page of this website.
Where Does Our Name “Xanthus Center” Come From?
In Greek mythology, Xanthus and Balius were the horses of Achilles in the Trojan War. When Patroclus, Achilles’ charioteer, was slain, Xanthus and Balius wept for their loss.
Xanthus was given the power to speak by the Goddess Hera in order to tell Achilles who had killed Patroclus. Achilles had lost both a close friend whom he loved and a brother in arms. Out of love and concern for his partner, Xanthus prophesied Achilles’ death; a declaration Xanthus made that would have dire consequences. Because Xanthus had said this to Achilles, the Erinyes removed his voice.
Xanthus lost his voice in order to protect his friend and partner Achilles. I was moved by this mystical beings’ sacrifice. Xanthus demonstrates the boundless love a horse, a sentient being, can feel for a human being.
To me, the loss of voice is the culmination of a traumatic experience; much the same as the outcome of this story for Xanthus.
Achilles’ suffered the traumatic loss of Patroclus and later lost his own life.
Xanthus experienced a traumatic loss of voice in the midst of the loss of his partner Achilles. My calling is to restore voice to trauma victims, and to my equine partners, through the transformational experience of the Equine Gestalt Coaching Method.
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