h o r s e s 4 h e a l i n g
Awareness, Trust, Resilience
What is Equine Assisted Psychotherapy?
EAP is an experiential approach to psychotherapy facilitated by a certified psychotherapist trained in equine therapy and learning. Like room based counselling & psychotherapy, it supports a range of client needs.
EAP is an opportunity for clients of all ages to address behavioural, emotional, and cognitive issues, relational struggles, and mental health conditions, with the horses as co-facilitators and teachers in this process.
EAP sessions are for clients exploring personal growth, stress, trauma, PTSD, alcohol and other drug use, depression, anxiety, attachment disorders, and personality disorders/traits. Children aged 12+ with a range of needs, and emotional issues are also suited to this form of therapy. Sessions are tailored to the individual’s needs.
The EPA model aims to build the client’s awareness of how they relate, and see themselves. This awareness is learned through the actual experience between the client, practitioner, and horse in the session.
Sessions are an opportunity to explore acceptance of self, and patterns of relating. Session also offer a space for building a sense of emotional safety and trust. The presence of calm and healthy horses can support clients feeling calm, confident and contribute to developing a sense of emotional awareness and wellbeing.
Horses are authentic, intuitive, emotional individuals, and experiences with different horses can support clients to understand different feelings, and parts of themselves. This can be an engaging way to explore and accept one’s natural strengths. Horses are social beings who live together in a herd with a hierarchy, roles, and responsibilities. Horses can offer the client an honest contact, relationship, and attachment experiences which is an opportunity for the client to explore relationships with families, and other people.
What to expect in a session.
There is no riding in the sessions.
Sessions are a combination of the evocative and reflecting capacities of the horses, the natural connecting and healing presence of the horses, and the skills of the experienced psychotherapists. Together this offers an opportunity for growth through experience and reflection.
Sessions begin by identifying anything which the client wants to focus on or any goals and expectations they bring to the session. The client is then invited to meet the herd. How a session looks will then be guided by what is co-created between the client, the facilitator and the herd. Sessions may include interacting with the horses at liberty, in a round yard, grooming and lead line experiments. The herds’ needs, wants and desires, along with your own, are taken into account at all times.
Safety Requirements: To ensue safety, all clients need to wear closed toe shoes or boots, weather appropriate sun smart clothing than can get dirty (usually with horse hair or dust), a hat to protect from the sun, and a raincoat (if weather indicates). Please bring plenty of water as it can get hot working outside.
It is of the upmost importance that people wear appropriate footwear, so if you show up to a session without it, please do not be upset if your session is conducted away from the horses, and within the safety of the yard.