by Jaclyn S. Manzione, MS, NLC, EGCM®, ESMHL
G Thomas Manzione, PhD, LPC, ACC, ESMHL

TBAH Science Team

Introduction: The Equine Gestalt Coaching Method® (EGCM®) was developed by Melisa Pearce in 1989. The experiential nature of the method involves the horse as an active partner with the coach in the client’s exploratory journey. The integrative approach of the equine-coach partnership and Gestalt methodology assists the client in their healing process. The EGCM® is based upon the trifold partnership between the equine, the coach and the client. This research project was designed to replicate the results of the original study (Manzione, 2017) by examining the efficacy of the EGCM® on multiple, diverse populations.

Significance: This study demonstrated the statistical probability that there is a relationship between the EGCM® and the participants’ self-reported behavioral changes that occurred post sessions. The results of this scientific study validated the efficacy of the EGCM® specific to the identified areas of focus.  

Purpose: This twelve-month study, completed in 2018, examined the relationship between the EGCM® and the change in the emotional feelings of hopefulness, self-esteem and self-worth of each participating client, the client’s perception of the quality of services received and the client’s continuing interest in participating in the EGCM®.

Setting and Participants: Data was collected at the conclusion of each EGCM® session by six EGCM® certified coaching practitioners, who serve differing populations, using a Likert Item survey that represents each client’s scaled responses to four questions. All surveys collected were included in the data analysis. The demographics of the populations studied include addiction and recovery clients, youth in crisis, attorneys and members of the legal profession, pre-teens, teens and family members, dentists and small business owners.

Capstone Description/Process: The four Likert Item questions on the survey were: 1. “I am feeling more hopeful about my future now at the conclusion of today’s equine gestalt coaching session then I did at its beginning.” 2. “I am feeling better about myself now at the conclusion of today’s equine gestalt coaching session then I did at its beginning.” 3. “I received high-quality service from the equine gestalt coach.” And, 4. “I would definitely participate in this coaching program again.” Client participation was voluntary and responses were made anonymously.

A frequency analysis of the data identified the statistical Mode (most repeated response) for each Likert Item question on the survey. Data from each individual population surveyed were analyzed separately then combined and subjected to a summary analysis. The number of surveys analyzed was 271 (N=271).

Capstone Results/Impact: We chose the use of descriptive statistics, to represent the results of this study, with a focus on the measure of central tendency identified as the Mode. In this study, the Mode is the scaled response most frequently occurring to each survey question. The findings show that the Mode for all four questions on the survey was the response “Strongly Agree.” This SA scaled response, as the Mode for each of the four survey questions, remained consistent across all populations surveyed. We concluded that the findings of this study are indicative of how the clients viewed their EGCM® experience. Also, that the results of this study replicated the outcomes of the original study thus further demonstrating the efficacy of the EGCM®.  

Capstone Evaluation: The capstone project was evaluated in comparison to the current industry standard for science-based research. The Likert Item Survey instrument was vetted and is known for its validity, reliability, consistency and accuracy. Descriptive statistics represent the empirical outcomes of this study and are central to research.

Future Directions: This research project was followed by a similar study commissioned by Melisa Pearce and facilitated by us, from 2019 thru 2020, that went on to validate the EGCM® as being trauma informed.    

Acknowledgments: We would like to acknowledge the very helpful feedback, and continuous support, we received from Melisa Pearce, founder of the EGCM® who commissioned this study. And, we thankfully acknowledge the following EGCM® Certified practitioners who contributed the data for this study: Allison Goldfarb, Andrea Hall, Jaclyn S. Manzione, Kathy O’Connor, Bethany Piziks Gareiss and Anna Tietz.  


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