by Jaclyn S. Manzione, MS, NLC, EGCM®, ESMHL
Xanthus Equine Gestalt Center, LLC
Introduction: This is the original research study where I, and Dr. G Thomas Manzione, LPC examined the relationship between the Equine Gestalt Coaching Method® (EGCM®) and the behavioral changes experienced by those who participated in my coaching sessions. This study was the first of its kind in both the Gestalt and EGCM® genres.
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 research project was designed to examine the ability of the EGCM® to effectuate change in the feelings of the participants who were dealing with significant mental health, situational and life circumstance issues. And, to empirically validate the EGCM® which was created by Melisa Pearce.
Setting and Participants: The coaching sessions occurred at SkyFyre Ranch located in Boulder County, Colorado. The demographics of the population studied included adolescents and young adults between the ages of 12 to 24, who were homeless with a significant history of trauma, mental illness and substance abuse. The sample size for the project was seventy-two participants.
Capstone Description/Process: I was the sole provider of the coaching sessions. Data was collected at the conclusion of each EGCM® session using a Likert Item Survey that represents the participants’ responses to four survey questions. Each participant voluntarily completed the survey in a private setting and their responses remained anonymous.
Capstone Results/Impact: A frequency analysis of the sample data identified the statistical Mode (most repeated response) for each Likert Item question on the survey. When asked: “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.” And, “I am feeling better about myself now at the conclusion of today’s equine gestalt coaching session then I did at its beginning.” The mode for each of these two questions was “Strongly Agree.” All remaining responses fell into the “Agree” category. When asked: “I received high-quality service from the equine gestalt coach.” And, “I would definitely participate in this coaching program again.” The mode for each of these two questions was “Strongly Agree.” All remaining responses for these two questions fell into the “Agree” category.
A Chi Square Test for Independence was applied to these two categorical variables: the EGCM® used in the coaching session with the participant and the change in the participant’s feelings about their future and themselves at the conclusion of each session. Data was represented by the participant’s response to first two survey questions. The null hypothesis stated that these two variables were independent: “The EGCM® and the changes in the feelings of the participants at the conclusion of the sessions are independent (Manzione, J. 2017).” Since the analysis resulted in a P-value (0.0302) less than the significance level (0.05), the null hypothesis was rejected in favor of the alternative hypothesis. We concluded that there is a statical probability that a relationship exists between the EGCM® used and the change in the participant’s feelings in these two categories post coaching sessions.
Peer review of the research methodology for the validity and reliability of this study occurred in the form of a presentation to research scientists, many of which are attached to major universities, and subsequent dialogue with a question-and-answer period. The venue for the review was the 2018 PATH International Conference. The feedback from those in attendance was favorable, affirming the study to be scientifically sound.
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 endemic to research. The Chi-square Test for Independence is among the most common nonparametric tests and is recognized as having validity and reliability.
Future Directions: This research project was followed by a similar study, commissioned by Melisa Pearce, and conducted by us in 2018 titled Quantifying the Outcomes of the EGC Method® on Multiple, Diverse Populations. The results of that study replicated the outcomes of this original study thus further demonstrating the efficacy of the Method. Subsequent research from 2019 thru 2020 went on to validate the EGCM® as being trauma informed.
Acknowledgments: Much gratitude and love to Melisa Pearce for serving as a role model and mentor; Peggy MacArthur for guidance and support; My equine partners Apollo, Phoenix, Artemis and Fyre; my loving husband Thomas for his steadfast belief in me.
Manzione, J. (2017). Quantifying the Outcomes of the Equine Gestalt Coaching Method 2017. Boulder, CO: https://www.xanthuscenter.com
Miller, F.P., Vandome, A.F., McBrewster, J. (2010). Likert Scale. VDM Publishing
Pearce, M. (2019). What the Heck is Gestalt? Elizabeth, CO: Touched by Horse, Inc
Roy, A. (2020). A Comprehensive Guide for Design, Collection, Analysis and Presentation of Likert and other Rating Scale Data. Independently Published