This paper aims to analyze the central features within equine-assisted intervention (EAI) and the primary concepts of Goffman's theories of social identity and Hochschild's theories of emotional work. Analyzing a dialog with participants viewing the video recordings of their own EAI sessions, led to the conclusion that relating to the horse as a subject counteracts impression management interpreted as a shift from surface acting frontstage where emotions have exchange value, to deep acting backstage where emotions have utility value. The boundaries between backstage, where the participants show their actual social identity and frontstage where they display a virtual social identity are fluid. The results indicate that the staff members are regarded more like fellow humans acting backstage, resulting in less distance to the clients. Further research is needed to investigate the process in EAI when the emotional work seems to be changed, whether backstage or frontstage, which could change the purpose as well as the effects of EAI.
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