Centre for Learning, Growth and Possibility
We are an RTO (registered training organisation), specialising in counselling and equine assisted mental health.
Equine Assisted Therapy Australia provides Nationally accredited training in equine assisted therapy and counselling. We also provide different forms of therapy including equine assisted therapy, art therapy, nature-based therapy and more.
We are a team of individuals passionate, constantly learning and growing to provide the best services that we can to our clients. We are lucky to work in a beautiful natural environment and offer this to our clients and students.
We also offer training and our therapy services in other locations around Australia. The team have travelled to different places around Australia to provide equine assisted therapy to locations where services are limited.
Equine Assisted Therapy Australia was founded in 2015 by Jane Faulkner, to meet the growing need for Equine Assisted Psychotherapy/ Counselling and training in Australia.
Jane has a Masters in Gestalt Psychotherapy, a Bachelor of Nursing, a Certificate in Initiatic Art Therapy, a Certificate in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy, she is a Certified Riding Instructor and Trail Guide and she is also a Certified Iyengar Teacher. She has over 20 years experience in working with people of different ages, from different backgrounds with different issues.
She has presented at the Animal Therapies Limited conference in 2019, Gestalt Australia and New Zealand conference in 2014 and the Equine Psychotherapy Institute conference in 2014. She has featured on 612ABC radio, on a podcast for ‘We all wear it differently’ , Warwick Schillers, Journey on Podcast and on the Getaway TV program. She has also featured on the Mental Health by TalkLink podcast and in Inscope – the official journal of the Qld Nurses and Midwives Union, as well as on the Roll With the Punches Podcast with Tiffanee Cook.
EAMH is an effective form of therapy that involves a mental health professional with equine experience working alongside a horse or a herd of horses to help people work through mental health issues and life struggles.
The client will enter the paddock with the therapist and together with the therapist the horses will assist the client to gain clarity, insight and awareness into their issues. The horses will do this by responding to the client in a way that is unique to every client. For example a client may walk into the paddock and the horses may walk away from the client or they may walk right up into the clients personal space. This then informs the progression of the therapy and what to work on together.
The horses will provide direct feedback about how they are impacted by the client. This is very useful for the client as it provides valuable feedback about how the client impacts others in relationship. For example a horse may be happily resting and standing by the client and then just walk away- as the therapist I will ask the client what happened- the client may then recognise that they started to question or doubt themselves in some way.
The horses also provide opportunities for connection and relationship, this is especially important when the client has been very damaged or traumatised in relationships in the past. The horses can help the client to re-build their sense of trust in another being and in themselves; they help heal attachment issues. They provide a non-judgemental space for the client to be real and to share their innermost thoughts, fear’s, dream’s and regret’s.
People suffering with PTSD or whom have suffered from trauma; the horses provide a safe, non-judgmental, grounded place for trauma survivors. Being around the horses encourages the client to be in touch with their body and their felt experience- this can be very challenging, however, most people want to develop a connection with the horse and realise that if they are not taking deep breaths and feeling into their own bodies the horse will not feel safe around them.
By simply being near the horse, client’s generally calm down and become more aware of themselves in a grounded way- a way that involves being connected to their own body. Horses also live in a state of hyper vigilance similar to that of the trauma survivor, they are constantly aware of what is around them and they are flight animals- trauma survivors and PTSD sufferers can relate to that reality and therefore the horse.
People with anxiety and depression; horses require us to be calm and connected to our own inner experience, this necessity requires clients to take deep breaths and to be in the present, this is very useful for clients with anxiety and depression.
In order to stay present clients are encouraged to ‘name it to tame it’. To name the feeling in order to tame the feeling- they often gain a lot of awareness into what is really happening for them. They also learn to just be with what is, rather than running from it or trying to bury it all of the time. The horses provide that steady calm presence that allows people to feel safe to let their feelings out.
People on the autistic spectrum; Horses are very honest communicators and they provide clear feedback with their body language. This is very useful information for people on the spectrum; they learn to look for the horse’s cues, and to communicate with the horse. For example if the horse pins it’s ears back the client can see that the horse is not happy- it is clear body language.
The client then has the opportunity to try out something else with the horse. Horses require clear, fair and trustworthy connection; this encourages the client to stay focused, to provide direction for the horse and to stay connected both to their own experience and to the horse.
Communication with a horse also occurs through our body this provides the client with a physical experience of communication. Caring for the horse, grooming and touching the horse can help in developing feelings for the horse and providing an emotional bond to the horse. This bond can help develop social skills and communication skills in life.
People suffering with eating disorders; the horses provide a non-judgemental place for them to be themselves. Connecting with the horses also requires the client to be in their body and out of their head. This is challenging, yet rewarding for many clients. The client also has opportunities to build relationship with the horses and with themselves.