Counselling & Psychotherapy

So what is Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP)?

Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) incorporates horses experientially for emotional growth and learning. It is a collaborative effort between the client/s, horse and practitioner. At Gippsland Equine we practice the Equine Psychotherapy Institute Model, which is a unique and comprehensive psychotherapy model with it’s own theory, principles, and practice methodology in line with best practice therapy. It is an Australian model that is relational, ethical, mindful, trauma-informed, effective, deeply respectful of clients and horses, and is founded on psychological and psychotherapeutic theory and practice. The model draws from gestalt therapy, mindfulness-based therapy, Buddhist psychotherapy, and somatic experiencing (somatic trauma practice).


The focus of EAP, as in room-based psychotherapy, is to support and explore change. EAP is an approach to mental health and wellness that supports clients of all ages with horses as assistants, co-facilitators and teachers in this process.

EAP has been found to be an effective treatment for children, adolescents, and adults including:

• Depression and anxiety
• Difficult behaviours
• Children and adolescents ‘at risk’ with maladaptive behaviours
• Disruptive behaviours
• Adolescents with depression, anxiety and low esteem.

Some studies indicating significant improvements for adults include:

• Anxiety
• Unresolved grief
• Depression, anxiety and social disorders
• Eating disorders
• Couples therapy
• Post Trauma Stress Disorder

Practitioners must have a Mental Health Qualification and be EAP certified to deliver this.

Equine Assisted Learning

Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) follows the same fundamentals as Equine Assisted Psychotherapy but doesn’t deepen into the family of origin or history of the issue, but rather focusses on the hear and now. What happens in the EAL sessions may look similar to what happens in EAP, however the goals are learning goals, rather than psychotherapy, counselling or mental health goals. Sessions may appear more structured and oriented around skills building.
EPI Model Practitioners know the boundaries between EAP and EAL and offer safe, professional sessions for clients. EAL processes can be extremely valuable for all clients interested in developing awareness and life skills, and offering innovative pathways for self and professional development.

EAL sessions do not (and should not) deepen into emotional psychotherapy processes such as exploring, expressing and integrating core beliefs, deep emotions, early family of origin relationships and ruptures, and trauma. EAL Practitioners are not registered Psychotherapists or mental health practitioners and are not trained or registered to be working at that deeper level.

Where appropriate EAL Practitioners can work in partnership with Mental Health Practitioners.

No. While the horses may also get something out of the process the focus of this therapy is on the human.

No. While horses facilitate the learning they are invited to participate in the process and are generally not expected to do any more than they are willing to offer at that time.

No. There is, for the most part, no horse riding or mounted work involved. Any work with the horses done in sessions is done with you on the ground, interacting with the horse/s in a way that feels safe and right for you.

We do offer Equine Experiences other than riding that you may enjoy – click here

As with any other form of therapy the best way to test it is to try it. You may find it works for you or you may not, either way that is OK.

That is a great start that you are aware of your fear of horses. This gives us a great starting point for the work we could explore. While you are not expected to do anything you don’t want to do, sometimes stretching beyond your comfort zone is part of the process.

Of course. Learning together as a family or ‘herd’ can certainly help build your awareness and growth, as a family.

This work can be done with very young children through to the elderly, the focus of the work varies depending on the suitability for different age groups. So for example very young children may have a more structured format, older clients experiences may be able to be more projective in nature.

Each session is unique and will be planned around your therapeutic goals. The first session is a little longer to cater for discussion about that and formulate a plan moving forward. Sessions generally take place in the paddock or Arena.

You will be treated with unconditional positive regards and all sessions are confidential. Safety of both Client and Horse is covered and you will be supported physically and emotionally throughout the session. While I am there to support you to explore change and growth, you are in control of how much you share.

Be sure to dress for the weather – seasonal clothes – warm jacket/sun hat. A pair of enclosed toe shoes or boots is required when working with the horses. Any snacks you may require and a drink bottle. 

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© 2022 Gippsland Equine

South Gippsland, Victoria



Send Us a Message

© 2022 Gippsland Equine

South Gippsland, Victoria