Relationship Logic is the foundation of TF-EAP. It consists primarily of groundwork during which each client builds a relationship with a horse that is truly based on a partnership – not coercion, appeasement, or submission. In Relationship Logic, clients choose a horse with whom to build a relationship. Every principle that applies to building a relationship with a horse must transfer to healthy human relationships. The horse is not a metaphor for other relationships – it is a real relationship in which patterns play out. Because the client and the horse are engaged in building a real (as opposed to metaphorical) relationship, real relationship patterns surface and are transformed during TF-EAP sessions.
An individual’s reaction to life experiences determines how they create their relationships. Trauma sets in motion ways of coping and interacting in relationships that frequently become a pattern. Even after trauma has been processed cognitively, relationship patterns such as coping mechanisms are often still in place. These coping mechanisms, while once necessary for survival, become detrimental in situations where survival is no longer the overriding concern. Clients naturally repeat their acquired relationship patterns when building a relationship with a horse. Horses respond honestly to our behaviors and internal states. This makes it easier for clients to recognize the problems they create in building a relationship with their horse. They are then able to identify how they create those same problems in relationship with themselves and others, taking appropriate responsibility for the relationships in their lives. Relationship Logic facilitates a process whereby clients are able to address and move through past or present damaging life circumstances, understand how those circumstances affect their current interactions, and make the personal changes necessary for healthy, fulfilling relationships in the present and future.