I was in LA for a few days and had the opportunity to hang out with a real live horse whisperer. A friend of mine owns an albino horse, which means that the pure white of the horse also extends to her eyes. Albino horses have some vision disability. As a result they can become quite fearful and skittish when they sense something they can't see. And that is why my friend hired a horse whisperer. To help this horse confront her fears and work through them.
Sounds like therapy to me. I watched this guy in action when the horse became fearful of something none of us could see or find an explanation for. The horse would become agitated, and refuse to move forward or backward. The "whisperer" calmly acknowledged the horses fear, but urged with control and calm for her to move forward. His efforts weren't instantaneous, but in time, without anger or frustration from the whisperer, the horse trusted him, and moved on. This process will need to be practiced and repeated by my friend, until her horse believes that with fear can come safety and comfort.
Isn't this a life skill we should try to teach our kids? Teens in particular are faced with so many new challenges and fears; Who am I? Who will I become? Where will I fit in? What will interest me? What is my future? What is my present? As parents we want them to take risks, the safe kind, try new things, meet new people, go on adventures, and get out of their comfort zone. If we give in to their fears, and leave them be, we don't give them our belief that though change is scary, working through it can bring eventual safety, comfort and growth, just like with that beautiful albino horse. Get that horse out of the barn and there is a world to run in and explore.
I worked with a couple once whose daughter's needs were to get out of her community where she felt like a square peg in a round hole. She had passions and interests that could not be supported in the town she lived, but could be if she could get on a train and go into the nearby city. The parents were homebodies, and never much left their community. It was time to get the "horse out of the pasture." In order for the daughter to feel that the bigger world was a safe and accepting place, the parents had to do it first, and show her the way. And because these parents loved their daughter, and "got" that she needed to experience life in a different way, they all became adventurers together, researching opportunities, figuring out transportation, and opening the door to adventure. They were all fearful, but with coaching, and persistence, these parents were able to help their daughter find a new way to feed herself. Once the pasture door was open, and she trusted those who urged her out, she flew out the barn door!