NL for All (NL4All)

What does Natural Lifemanship offer people who do not work with horses?

Natural Lifemanship (NL) delivers an empowering, research-based way to understand human behavior and teaches sound principles for building the kinds of relationships that support genuine, positive behavioral change.

The Natural Lifemanship principles are applicable in any setting and any relationship. Easy to learn and conceptualize, they are sometimes difficult in practice because they require attunement to self and others. Attunement is a skill many have not had the opportunity to develop or even to become aware of. To this end, working with horses during trainings is one of the ways we help individuals acquire greater attunement and immediately see the difference it makes when connecting with a horse. This experience is often powerful and results in people returning to their homes or workplaces eager to practice using the NL principles with attunement in their relationships.*

Natural Lifemanship uses sound principles of human and horse psychology to teach humans how to develop relationships that foster trust, mutual respect, healthy communication, and cooperation.

IMG_0177Natural Lifemanship is based on simple, easily understood principles that aid in developing relationships based on trust, respect, understanding, and love. An underlying belief is that a sound principle is a sound principle regardless of where it is applied. Therefore, when we gain a clear understanding of these principles in one setting, such as while working with a horse, we are able to transfer them to all of our relationships.

In a Natural Lifemanship training, you will learn how the qualities of developmental experiences, especially relational ones, affect the brain’s development and may result in adaptive behavioral and relational patterns that become problematic, or maladaptive, throughout life. By understanding maladaptive behavior in this way, you will also understand how to address challenging behaviors in ways that strengthen rather than damage relationships and that result in physiological changes in the brain, leading to real change.

Principles of Healthy, Attuned and Connected Relationships

Described below are some of the principles of healthy, attuned and connected relationships you will learn at Natural Lifemanship trainings. Trainings may be customized to your particular group or organizational needs, however the principles taught are the same. When you, your family, or your organization embrace and practice these principles, you are essentially harnessing the power of relationships to promote many positive outcomes.

The Principle of Pressure

You will learn how to use the principle of pressure and release to help others feel safe and secure, increase their ability to control themselves, and build an internal reward system. To build a healthy relationship, it is important to make requests of each other. When a request is made in a relationship, this can be thought of as “pressure.” You will learn how to effectively make a request and how to respond to the other’s reaction effectively through the principle of pressure. The language of “pressure” is used because, unlike specific techniques, it is easily transferred to many different situations.

The Reward is the Release of Pressure

All other principles will be built on this one as you learn how to build into your relationships the contingency that “the reward is the release of pressure.” It is through this principle that you will learn when to effectively and appropriately use natural and logical consequences, negative reinforcement, and positive reinforcement. This principle provides a framework that brings together and simplifies many of the behavioral techniques taught in other models.

The Principle of Self-Regulation

Humans, like horses, respond to our body energy or intensity level. You will learn that whether working with a horse or with a human being, if your body energy is out of control, you are less likely to get the desired response. You will learn the relationship between body energy and pressure, the barriers to self-regulation, and how to control yourself so you can appropriately utilize the principles taught. You will learn to live by the principle that “If you don’t appropriately control yourself, someone else will.”

The Principle of Appropriately Moving One’s Feet

You will learn the principle of appropriately moving one’s feet to gain respect, trust, and cooperation from others. Through this knowledge you will gain a clear understanding of the differences between passive, aggressive, and assertive responses, and the effects of each. You will learn how this principle is related to other principles learned in this program.

IMG_0397Whether you are engaging in a relationship with horses or with humans, the principles described above will help you teach others to do the right thing because they believe it is the right thing to do, instead of cooperating because they fear the consequences of not doing so, or because they think it will appease you or result in some kind of external reward. Horses learn to stay connected with humans and to cooperate because they learn that this is what meets their needs. They learn to do what is required to build rather than to damage the relationship. This is the point where “horse whispering” transitions to “life whispering.” The ultimate goal in all of life’s relationships is that we develop and foster this sense of connection that allows us and others to always act in ways that build up rather than tear down our relationships. Participants at our trainings learn by listening, discussing and observing, but ideally, they are given the opportunity to practice the principles learned with a horse. People are likely to interact with their horse the same way they do with others, on many levels. Horses ignore, resist, flee and fight, much like we do. You will learn how to respond to challenging behaviors in the moment with a horse; and because we teach principles and not techniques, you will be able to apply what you learn effectively to your relationships with others. The growth experienced in a simple and sound relationship with a horse is transferred to more complex human interactions.

Please see our events page for details on scheduled trainings and seminars.

Please contact us to schedule an event at your facility. Prices vary depending on the number of participants and the location. It is often possible to combine partial or whole-day didactic trainings in an office building or school with a day or two off-site at a local equine facility if arrangements can be made. It is also sometimes possible to transport a horse and round pen to be set up outside your facility if there ample space. Contact us for more information.

*Including horses in NL4All trainings is ideal, but it is not always an option. In these cases, we are able to illustrate and demonstrate the principles without the help of our equine partners. The presence of horses is not necessary to understand the information that is taught. However, horses simply yet powerfully facilitate an experience that leads to greater personal awareness and the ‘feel’ of the principles as they are enacted.