LEAP was set up in 2006, originally as a charity, with a key programme being a project with Children in Need.
In the UK in 2004, Stepps Treatment Centre in Gloucestershire introduced Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy to the UK as an integral part of their Addiction Recovery Programme. Samantha Quinlan and Mike Delaney pioneered this, and such was the success of the EAGALA based model, they went on to form LEAP in 2006, in order to develop their model further and with a wider range of clients.
In 2007, Ella Jones joined LEAP, having graduated from the HEAL model of EFP/L in the USA and together with Sam and Mike developed the Code Breakers Programme (now known as the Care Programme), and also created a variety of programmes for young people involving Native American rituals and symbolic language for working with childhood trauma.
With funding from Children in Need in 2009-10, the LEAP team worked with over 50 young people who had been sexually traumatised and gained invaluable insights into how EFP/L can change behaviour and belief systems in young people.
In 2009 LEAP became a private company owned by Ella and Mike, in order to expand their offering beyond the charitable sector and include the training of EFP/L practitioners. This was prompted by a desire to offer EFP/L to more people around the country and so the LEAP EFL Practitioner Training Programme was developed, with the support and endorsement of the BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy). LEAP has since set the benchmark year-upon-year for EFP/L training in the UK.
In 2014, Sarah Watson and Jo-Anne Karlsson joined the LEAP team, graduates from HorseJoy and EAGALA respectively. Sarah started as an EFL Practitioner in 2009, working with young people and children in care before training with LEAP and she now continues to work in private practice with various client groups struggling with addiction, trauma and mental health issues to name a few. Jo-Anne is a Psychologist and Family Therapist and has run a number of young people’s programmes from her site in Berkshire, where she maintains a busy private practice working with individuals, couples, families, Thames Valley Police and Trauma units.
Since 2006, the clinical team at LEAP have worked intensively with over 2,500 clients and have subsequently built a huge experiential and skill base in clinically using their model. This is very rare as many organisations simply teach a model but have no practical experience of how to operate or develop it for differing client needs.
Our aim has always been to create a network of professional and qualified practitioners who offer best practise in EFP/L. We have a membership scheme that offers peace of mind to referring agencies and potential clients as they can consult our ‘Find a Therapist’ page, safe in the knowledge that each practitioner continues to develop their skills through continued professional development, regular supervision and carries appropriate insurance.
With over 140 LEAP practitioners currently working in the UK and a growing team of International Practitioners, there is a substantial network of colleagues and support available to LEAP practitioners, and possibilities for collaboration.