Equine Assisted Mental Health Course (12 Months)

Welcome to the Equine Assisted Mental Health Course, a collaborative effort between the Polyvagal Equine Institute and Equine Assisted Therapy Australia. This immersive and transformative course integrates theoretical knowledge with hands-on applications in the field of equine-assisted mental health and has been crafted to provide a comprehensive learning experience.

About the Program

This immersive program adopts a holistic approach to equine-assisted therapy, seamlessly blending theoretical knowledge with hands-on, trauma-informed, practical, and experiential learning.

Key Features:

Hands-On Learning: With class sizes ensuring an optimal learning environment, participants engage in practical exercises, equine handling skills, and real-time applications of therapeutic concepts.

Trauma-Informed Approach: The course incorporates a trauma-informed framework, equipping participants with essential skills to navigate sensitive client issues and create a secure therapeutic space for both clients and equine partners.

Polyvagal Theory Integration: Delving into Polyvagal principles during the course provides valuable insights into the physiological and psychological dynamics of therapeutic encounters. This exploration grants participants a nuanced understanding of the role played by the autonomic nervous system in interactions between humans and horses.

Professional Development: Beyond theoretical knowledge, the program places a strong emphasis on the practical application of concepts, enhancing personal and professional presence. The goal is to equip participants with the skills needed to navigate the complexities of equine-assisted therapy.

What You Will Learn:
Upon completion, participants will possess a comprehensive set of skills and knowledge to draw upon as equine assisted mental health practitioners.

Client Interaction: Learn to address personal and psychological issues by safely and meaningfully incorporating horses into therapeutic sessions. Understand how to support the client's healing process while respecting and honoring the horses involved.

Supervision and Safety: Develop skills in supervising and supporting clients handling horses, ensuring safety and integrity for clients, horses, and practitioners. This includes maintaining a secure environment for all involved parties.

Personal Development: The course is designed for both professional growth and personal development. Participants will gain insights into their own strengths and areas for improvement, fostering self-awareness and self-reflection.

Theory and Practice: Delve into both the theory and practice of equine-assisted mental health, with a specific focus on applying existing knowledge and skills therapeutically with horses.

Graduates of this course will emerge with confidence, competence, and a profound understanding of the symbiotic relationship between humans and horses in therapeutic settings.

Course Length
The course is completed in 12 months with 4 x 5-day, face to face workshops as well as self-directed study of approximately 10 hours per week.

The 5-day workshops will occur from Wednesday to Sunday. All workshop days must be attended throughout the course.

Entry Criteria / Pre-Requisites
  • Students must possess a qualification in either psychotherapy, counseling, psychology, social work, life coaching or teaching.
  • Students with previous mental health issues are advised to seek advice from their mental health professional as to whether the course is suitable for them.
Students Requirements
Students will be required to:

  • Self-regulate and manage their own activation throughout the course
  • Work on their self-awareness
  • Take responsibility for their own healing and mental health journey
  • Maturely accept feedback
  • Be open to new learning
  • Be professional, punctual with assessments, payments and being on time
  • Safely engage in group dynamics and be a team player
  • Communicate transparently and honestly
  • Have capacity for the rupture and repair that occurs in relationship
  • Have an overall capacity to manage difficult material
Successful graduates receive a Polyvagal Equine Institute Practitioner Certificate and an Equine Assisted Mental Health Practitioner Certificate from Equine Assisted Therapy Australia.
Module 1: Foundations of EAMH practice
1.1 Understand and apply the foundations of equine assisted mental health
1.2 Equine Handling skills
1.3 Animal Assisted Services

Module 2: Theoretical perspectives in EAMH practice
2.1 Apply counseling and psych theories and techniques to EAMH practice
2.2 Understand and apply the latest neuroscience, somatic and trauma informed theories,
models, and approaches to therapy applicable to equine assisted mental health.

Module 3: Develop safe, legal, and ethical practices in EAMH
3.1 Supporting people at risk or in crisis
3.2 Support others to handle horses safely
3.3 Develop safe, legal, and ethical practices in EAMH

Module 4: Work with EAMH to provide support to diverse populations
4.1 Support diversity and cultural safety in EAMH practice
4.2 Provide trauma informed care to those with mental health issues in EAMH practice.
4.3 Support neurodiverse populations.
4.4 Incorporate art and nature-based play and work with kids and teens in EAMH sessions

Module 5: Business skills and practices
5.1 Design and develop treatment plans and programs for the delivery of EAMH
5.2 Develop and apply sound business knowledge, skills, and practices in the delivery of equine assisted mental health

Assessment is ongoing throughout the course and includes practical activities and trials, written question and answers, case studies, and written assignments.
The total course fee is $12,000. Payment can be made in one lump payment or via a payment plan.

Payment Plan: $1,000 paid upon enrollment and then 11 installments of $1,000 per month.

The course fees include:

  • Tuition for course content
  • Online learning portal access