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Ethical Basis for Best Practice in Equine Facilitated Interactions

These principles form an ethical basis for best practice in Equine Facilitated Interactions require both a personal commitment and acceptance of responsibility to act ethically and to encourage ethical behaviour by Practitioners in all situations.

These ethical principles are intended to guide and inspire those facilitating Equine Facilitated Interactions towards achieving the highest ideals of the profession. Whilst not obligations all Practitioners must approach their practice with direct reference to each of these Ethical Principles.

Responsibility and Accountability

Practitioners need to be motivated, concerned and directed towards good ethical practice. They are required to take responsibility to maintain these standards and Practitioners should always accept responsibility and accountability for their professional behaviour and actions. Practitioners maintain ethical compliance in their own practice towards their service users. When ethical conflicts occur, Practitioners will attempt to resolve these conflicts in a responsible manner. Practitioners are also aware of, and remain accountable for, their professional responsibilities towards clients, service users, society and to the communities in which they work, this includes the need to maintain a Duty of Candour.

Benefit

Practitioners work to provide benefit to those with whom they engage, acting in their best interests and always working within their limits of competence, training, experience and supervision. This principle involves an obligation to use regular and on-going supervision to enhance the quality of service provision and to commit to enhancing practice by continuing professional development. An obligation of the Practitioner is to act in the best interests of service users or clients since they are generally non-autonomous and dependent on professional care providers, guardians or significant others.

Do no harm

Practitioners are committed to not harming those with whom they work. Practitioners are aware that their professional judgements and actions may affect the lives of others and so are committed to guard against personal, financial, social, organisational, emotional, sexual or political factors that may lead to a misuse of their influence or exploitation of those with whom they work. This may also involve not providing services when it is considered unfit to do so.

In recognition of the outdoor and interactive nature of working with horses Practitioners will strive to maintain the physical safety of all service users and clients under their responsibility.

Practitioners have a responsibility to challenge the incompetence or malpractice of others and to contribute in investigations or adjudications concerning the professional practice and/or actions of others.

Trust and Integrity

Practitioners establish relationships of trust with those with whom they work and shall act with honesty and integrity, honouring the trust placed in them. Practitioners are obliged to maintain confidentiality and limit disclosures of confidential information to a that which is appropriate to their workplace and legal requirements.

Fairness

Practitioners recognise that fairness and justice is an entitlement for all persons. Practitioners ensure that all persons have fair and equal access to, and benefit from, the contributions of Equine Facilitated Interactions, and to experience an equal quality in the services being offered. Practitioners exercise judgement and care to ensure that their potential biases, levels of competence and limitations of their training and experience do not directly or indirectly lead to unjust practices.

Respect

6.1 For people’s rights and dignity

Practitioners respect the dignity and worth of all people and the rights to privacy, confidentiality, and autonomy. Practitioners respect the autonomy of those with whom they work, ensuring accuracy of advertising and delineation of service information. Practitioners seek freely the informed consent of their service users and clients, or where appropriate those who those legally responsible for them. Practitioners engage in clear and explicit contracts, safety agreements, confidentiality requirements and inform those involved of any foreseeable conflicts of interest. Practitioners will have in place, and adhere to in practice, up to date policies and procedures which align to this principle.

6.2 For people’s needs and relationships

Practitioners respect the needs of individuals, including emotional, psychological, social, financial, educational, health and familial needs. Practitioners who respect people’s needs and relationships are aware that clients may be dependent upon significant others and that autonomous decision making may not be possible. Practitioners respect the client’s relationships and ensure that, where possible, those in significant relationships to the client are included in the decision-making processes.

6.3 For equality, diversity and inclusion

Practitioners are expected at all times to recognise and respect the conditions of the Equality Act (2010) and act in line with the Register’s Equality Diversity and Inclusion statement.  

6.4 For horses’ rights, welfare, needs and relationships

Practitioners must respect the hoses that support this work, acknowledging their welfare is an essential recognition of their contribution to the process. This relates to both the horses’ day to day welfare and needs, as well as treating them with respect, due care and attention during sessions with service users or clients. The Athena Herd Foundation Framework for the Ethical Treatment of Horses defines these standards.

Self-respect and Development

Practitioners should also similarly apply all of these principles to themselves. This involves a respect for their own knowledge, needs and development. This includes accessing opportunities for personal learning and continued professional development, as well as a commitment to regular supervision. As well as ensuring that they are appropriately protected by insurance.

 

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