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:
• 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.