Certification, Ethics and Membership
The Equine Psychotherapy Institute is the first and most comprehensive training pathway for students interested in studying and working in the field of Equine Psychotherapy and Learning in Australia, facilitated by Australians . We offer both certification and membership that is clear for prospective students and the general public/ community interested in professional, safe, and ethical services.
The Equine Psychotherapy Institute Mission
To train, support and promote practitioner excellence, including ongoing reflective practice and professional development/education opportunities. Our training supports a high level of competence in understanding and working with human growth, development and change, and, understanding horses and the horse-human relationship.
The Equine Psychotherapy Institute Practice Standards and Values
Our ethics and professionalism rests on the Value that for practitioners to offer safe, ethical and effective change processes in this field of practice, each practitioner must be well trained in all facets of the work. Each Practitioner must be competent in 3 areas – understanding and facilitating therapeutic/experiential change processes, understanding horses and being with horses safely, and, understanding the unique dynamics and process of EAP/EAL (EFL/EFP, EGE). This is a specialist practice and requires specialist training.
Further, we agree with the standards and concerns expressed by author Leif Hallberg in “Walking the Way of the Horse”. Our training attends to, and exceeds, the recommendations set forth in the cross training required for best practice in this field– understanding : basic counselling, counselling ethics, psychopathology for professional boundaries, experiential education, facilitation processes, equine psychology and herd behaviour, equine safety, ecopsychology, continuing personal growth and personal therapy, and, attending to practicalities including insurance, program design, and property safety and management.
We wish to educate the Australian and International community about the specialist practice of equine assisted psychotherapy and learning, and what standards of training and experience should be expected of practitioners in a professional field.
In the US, the Certification Board for Equine Interaction Professionals was set up due to professional and public concerns about competency, training and practice standards in the fields of Equine Psychotherapy and Learning. They set the following standards:
- Each Practitioner requires Registration/License to practice as a Mental Health practitioner, or Qualification in Education, Teaching or Coaching
- 1 year full time experience (1000 hrs internship) in an Equine Psychotherapy or Learning, Education or Coaching Program, and, 3 years previous experience in the field (eg If registered as a Counsellor or Coach, 3 years experience as a Counsellor or Coach).
- Minimum 60 hours training in an Equine Psychotherapy, Learning or Education Training Program.
In our Australian context, there are currently no opportunities for Internship experience in this field or University programs available. The Equine Psychotherapy Institute has thus designed a unique and comprehensive program, comparable to that of a Diploma standard, including extended hours in Training and Supervision, to ensure understanding of the dynamics and processes of this work and therefore safe, ethical practice and professionalism. Our facilitators are able to design and facilitate such training due to their wealth of experience in Training Counsellors and Psychotherapists, Supervising Psychologists and Mental Health Social Workers, practicing as Psychotherapists, Group Facilitators, as ongoing students of the Horse and Horsemanship processes, and, having attended and completed well over 600 training hours in diverse training models in Equine Psychotherapy, Learning and Coaching with diverse US training programs – Including Gestalt Equine Institute of the Rockies, Kathy Pike (certified Epona Instructor) Equine Learning and Coaching, Eagala Part 1,2, extended training (tools for the trail) and Advanced Training, Workshop/meet with Barbara Rector and Trish Broesma), and Epona Workshop with Senior Epona Instructor Shelley Rosenberg and EFP co-facilitator Nancy Coyne. EPI Practitioner Training sets a very high Internationally competitive standard for students and certification.
The Equine Psychotherapy Institute require and offer the following Pathways for Certification and Membership –
- Foundation Training Program of 126 hours including training, supervision and assessment components for students registered as Psychotherapists/Mental Health Practitioners certify as “Equine Psychotherapy Practitioner, Foundation Level”.
- Foundation training Program of 126 hours including training, supervision and assessment components for students without therapy registration to certify as “Equine Learning Practitioner, Foundation Level”.
- Advanced training program of 222 hours including specialist training, supervision and assessment components for students registered as Psychotherapists/Mental Health Practitioners certify as “Equine Psychotherapy Practitioner, Advanced Level”.
- Advanced training program of 222 hours including specialist training, supervision and assessment components for students without therapy registration to certify as “Equine Learning Practitioner, Advanced Level”.
1 Year Membership with The Equine Psychotherapy Institute is given to students once they are awarded certification and agree to abide by our Code of Ethics and Standards for Practice. Membership is updated every 2 years there-on-in with Practitioners submitting Membership Renewal forms including notification of 20 hours Continuing Professional Development/Education in the field of practice (includes EAP/EAL Supervision, Group Learning Activities offered with EPI, attending Specialist/ Advanced Intensives). This brings us in line with other professional memberships/registration bodies that require specific training standards, and Continuing Professional Education for ongoing membership/registration, (eg for Counsellors, Coaches, Psychotherapists, Education and Mental Health Practitioners’ ongoing registration).
The Equine Psychotherapy Institute reserves the right to offer certification and membership only to those students who satisfactorily complete all components of each level of training, including assessment, supervision, personal growth and professional development requirements. We further reserve the right to assess suitability for ongoing participation in the training program.