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Professional Standards in Equine Facilitated Interactions

The Athena Herd Foundation Framework of Professional Standards have been defined to ensure that registered practitioners create and maintain appropriate and effective standards in the delivery of the service.

There aim is to ensure that ask service users are free to engage safely and freely, and so to work towards effective progress towards their personal needs, goals and aspirations. Therefore, members of the Accredited Practitioner Register™ are charged with acting in such a way that facilitates feelings of safety and trust for the service user.

Membership of the Register is a serious ethical commitment and this is embodied in our Ethical Principles, in addition individual registered practitioners are shall commit to our Framework of Professional Standards, as follows:

  • act at all times with sound ethics and morals at all times;
  • ensure that all decisions made with regard to the service users support or treatment are made ethically;
  • recognise in practice the foundational motivations of acting to alleviate individual distress and suffering, minimise risk to service users, enhance individual wellbeing and resilience, and facilitate an individual sense of self-worth and value;
  • in delivery recognise the uniqueness of individual human experience and so respecting the personal feelings and emotions of each service user;
  • at all times prioritise and acknowledge the needs of our service users;
  • maintain a physically safe space for service users in their interaction with horses, as well as generally whenever they are onsite;
  • ensure appropriate levels of privacy are maintained for service users throughout the duration of their session(s);
  • maintain appropriate care and attention for the equines being worked with;
  • properly contract sessions or groups of sessions, establishing clear and bounded framework of understanding for the service user about how the sessions will be carried out, how they will be engaged, what will be in scope and what will not;
  • ensure that service users have clear expectations of what activities can be provided and what outcomes might be achievable;
  • make only honest, authentic and justifiable assertions around the benefits of their service; 
  • maintain service user focus throughout sessions and maintain respect for the service user and their feelings and experiences;
  • recognition and appropriate respect for all protected characteristics as defined within Equality Act 2010;
  • work at all times within the bounds and limitations of their professional competencies and publicly offered services;
  • protecting general service user confidentiality and privacy, including their personal details and information;
  • monitor service use progress throughout period of treatment;
  • maintain clear and appropriate record keeping, and keep these notes appropriately private and secure location;
  • monitoring and recording service user experience throughout and acting where necessary to better or improve that experience;
  • sustain a regular practice of professional supervision;
  • maintain appropriate and current personal legal checks and searches;
  • sustain and keep up to date levels of professional practice, including personal learning and development (continued professional development), and self-care and practice;
  • provide a clear and accessible process of recourse should the service user need to raise a complaint or concern;
  • maintain a list of appropriate sign-posting options that can be shared with the service user should it become necessary