"Everything you can imagine is real"
AIT relies on energy, intention and empathy to share and mutually resolve trauma memories.
It is possible to work therapeutically with animals in almost the same way you can with humans
Therapy sessions can take place distantly.
But just how does that work?
Do we know?
The bottom line is, there really can be no adequate explanation for how AIT works. Yet it does work, and having experienced significant results from it since 2006, I have come to my own working understanding of how it might work. Bear in mind that this explanation is in layman's terms, and limited to the little we still understand about energy and forces in the universe. No doubt as the hypotheses increase, there will perhaps be better and more accurate explanations in the future.
The most fundamental, core belief underlying AIT is that within the universe there is a consciousness, and that everything within this consciousness is connected.
Next, that by directing our own energy - using empathy and intention - we can connect with an animal and then bring that animal peace and balance, as long as that animal is (at some level) willing and receptive.
So let's go through how this works in AIT. I must stress that my explanation is only as I understand and experience it.
Everything is made up of energy and everything in it is connected
We are all made up of energy vibrating at different speeds. The slower it vibrates, the more solid and easier it is for us to see with our ordinary senses. In other words, the only reason you can see your dog and not his bark is that the energy of your dog's physical body is vibrating at a slow enough speed for you to see it.
Imagine that, as soon as you hear your dog barking, you suddenly get an image in your mind's eye of the postman delivering mail. The only difference between the 'barking' sound waves that are vibrating in your ear drums, and the 'imagined' picture of the postman, is that whatever triggered the picture was made up of energy that travels so fast, you couldn't possibly experience it through your normal senses. It appeared in your mind's eye before you could even consider what your dog was barking at.
In this example, the image almost certainly came from your dog.
Just imagine that. Thought energy travels so fast that it left your dog's mind, travelled to you, your mind interpreted the energy as a picture or association and you saw the postman. All so instantaneously you just thought you heard the bark and you just knew it must be the postman.
How about when you think of someone, the phone rings and you know it's them? Whose thought travelled first?
The fact is, we are all part of, and connected to, this universal energy. There is no getting away from it. And this means that, using the power of intent (a force), we can connect with any other person or animal just by thinking about them.
Intention - the force that turns concepts into reality
Everything that manifests physically or abstractly in this world is the result of intent. Think of your car, your house, your life, your food, your weekend, what job you do - everything you have and do is the result of your, or someone else's, intent. It couldn't be here if this weren't the case. Intent makes thought 'happen'. You might be thinking about a holiday in the sun, but unless you (or someone else) intends to go, it'll never happen.
Ok, so say I'm working with a horse called Barney. I think about Barney. And my intention is to connect with him, and to help him feel better in some way. So already, in my mind I have created an image of 'Barney feeling better', and because I trust absolutely that our energy is already connected, I know it would be impossible for this energy not to reach Barney, whether he chooses to accept it or not.
In this way, using thought and intent, I can connect with Barney. If he chooses to ignore me, he can. Or he might decide to send me a thought or feeling back. In this case, he gets my thought about 'Barney feeling better' and decides this might be a good thing.
Say Barney is fed up because he's all alone and hasn't been fed yet. Ever bumped into an old friend who's feeling down and depressed? After telling you their entire catalogue of woes, they go away feeling better, and you're left feeling terrible! Well like the old friend, Barney here is already sending out energy that reflects his negative feelings into the universe, and a sensitive person would be able to feel it, just standing near him.
So here I am talking to Barney distantly, trusting in this ability I (we all) have to to communicate with him through our connected universal energies, telling him that not only do I want to talk, but that I want to make him feel better. What does Barney think? Great! Thank you, but you can't, because I'm feeling terrible, I'm starving, I'm alone, this is dreadful, nobody loves me, everybody hates me, the sky's falling down and I just don't know what to do about it....
And at this beautiful moment, although I'm also experiencing the same negative feelings he's sharing with me, I also feel relief because I know I will be able to help him.
When the emotions are shared, therapy can follow
After making this connection with Barney and establishing that he's happy for me to try to help him, it's just a case of doing therapy. In practice this is obviously not as simple than I'm making it sound! For a start, he's feeling so bad because he has an underlying lack of self-esteem. He rejects other horses around him and gets hostile and frustrated with his human. And he can't be put inside because ever since a minor incident with a stable door he's been phobic of being enclosed. So what I want to know is, where is this all coming from?
Most therapy sessions I do with animals involve analytical work - focusing on the significant feelings being experienced now, and then going back to the first or most significant causal event of a problem and dealing with that. It's not always straightforward. Once a horse laughed at me when I asked him to go back to the most significant event, saying, "You want just ONE?!!" But usually horses know exactly where to look, even when it involves a series of events or experiences over several lifetimes.
So going back to Barney, once we've used these feelings as a bridge back to the causal event(s), my next step is to help him understand, process and resolve what happened, along with the limiting thoughts, feelings and beliefs he picked up from it. These may include, "I'm not worthy... It's not safe... I'm alone... I'm frightened," or any number of other beliefs and their associated thoughts and feelings that have been affecting him since.
And in fact, these feelings may have only been triggered by a later event or situation. This is what often happens. In Barney's case it could have been the minor incident with the stable door, or something further back. This event wasn't the first major trauma, but it was the one that triggered the same emotional response because it repeated some aspect of the original trauma, which may or may not be initially remembered.
'Absolute empathy' makes healing inevitable
When I am doing trauma work or anything that involves working very closely with an animal's emotions, my intention is to connect so strongly with the animal that we reach a state of what I call absolute empathy*.
While in this state of absolute empathy, I cannot experience any change in my energy without the animal experiencing it as well, and vice versa.
Therefore it follows that if, while we're both in a state of absolute empathy, I witness the trauma event and experience for myself an animal's emotional response, then by doing AIT on myself and changing my own emotional response to that event, then his response has to change as well. There's just nothing else it can do.
With AIT, distant therapy is not only possible, but inevitable once you reach the source of trauma and work therapeutically within a state of absolute empathy and trust.
AIT is based on certain beliefs about animals as well, and you can find more information about those on the AIT Beliefs and Philosophy page.
*Most of of the time we use the word 'empathy' metaphorically,
believing perhaps that it would be impossible to literally inhabit
another person's consciousness and experience what they're
experiencing. However absolute empathy - that is, empathy
that is literal and tangible - is very real and possible. It happens
in that space that is just pure feeling, where the Self falls away
and, ego-less, fearless and doubtless, we connect with another
being in unconditional love and trust - this is the moment we
experience true Enlightenment, where all things are possible.
For more information, go to
Horse in stable photo (c) Paul-and-Belle-isle-stable, dreamstime.com