Our Difference

Our Difference - Equine Psychotherapy Institute - Victoria, AU

The Equine Psychotherapy Institute (EPI) Model is unique and unlike other models of equine assisted psychotherapy and equine facilitated learning offered in Australia.

The key areas of distinction in EPI Model practice include –

  • how the horses participate in the session and teach ‘the way of the horse’
  • how the practitioners are trained, facilitate and process the session
  • how client’s are supported into change processes
  • how the unique ‘client-horse-practitioner’ relationship facilitates growth and healing with an i-thou relationship
  • how safety and ethics are upheld by facilitators skills and competencies in horsemanship, therapeutic process and ‘relationship’ skills
  • how practitioners own awareness and personal development is seen as fundamental to effective work with clients.

First Australian Training Program in EAP/L

Our Training Program is comprehensive, world class and the first of it’s kind in Australia. We are immensely proud of our unique and indepth training program, where student’s learn about themselves in relationship with horses, before they learn to offer this work with clients and horses.

Psychotherapy

Meg and Noel completed training as Psychotherapists, as Gestalt Therapists, over 15 years ago, and have been working as a psychotherapists in both non-government organisations and private practice servicing a wide range of personal growth and clinical based clients since that time. Both Meg and Noel are passionately comitted to ongoing/continuing professional education as psychotherapists.

Psychology or Social Work University Degrees do not train students to be Psychotherapists. It is a specialist field of expertise and study. It takes independent study in Psychotherapy – a training course of between 2- 6 years to become certified in ones chosen Psychotherapy field depending on the psychotherapy training, (for example Family Therapy, Gestalt Therapy, Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, Somatic Psychotherapy etc).

We offer Equine Assisted Psychotherapy sessions and training programs, facilitated by Psychotherapists.

Mental Health

Meg has been qualified and practicing in Mental Health for 17 years as a Mental Health Social Worker in both Child and Adolescent Mental Health (including Inpatient Adolescent Units and Outpatient Child, Adolescent and Family Teams) andCommunity Adult Mental Health (with adults experiencing a diagnosis, often dual diagnosis, homelessness, and other ‘complex needs’). Since working in Private Practice as a Psychotherapist and Mental Health Social Worker, Meg has practiced therapeutically with people with diagnoses ranging from Depression, Anxiety, Psychosis, Bipolar Disorder, Attachment Disorder, Personality Disorders and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Noel Haarburger is an experienced Psychologist, with years of experience in mental health, youth justice mental health, and specialist training and interest in Trauma, Complex Trauma and PTSD.

The experience in public and private Mental Health/ Psychiatry assessment and treatment, including child and adult mental health, supports us in offering equine based Mental Health programs.

Facilities

Our Facilities include an undercover/indoor space for discussions, indoor space for equine therapy sessions and group sessions, Olympic size ménage, Round yard, and various yards and paddocks. Thus we can manage a diversity of human and horse needs, and unpredictable weather conditions well.

Relationship to Horses

Meg and Noel have owned horses for over 15 years, and currently care for her Herd of 11 including geldings, mares, ridden horses and young horses. Meg’s passion has been exploring diverse Horsemanship from Natural Horsemanship, to Classical Dressage, to what may be referred to as “Expansive Horsemanship” with mentors such as Klaus Hempfling, Carolyn Resnick, Mark Rashid and Imke Spilker . These authors and horse people promote a deep authentic relationship with one’s horses akin to what Gestalt Therapy refers to as an I –Thou Relationship. The relationship is based on the human’s capacity for awareness, presence and what Meg has recently coined “I-Thou Horsemanship”. This depth of understanding of horses, horsemanship, and exploration of the horse-human relationship supports an incredible opportunity for clients in the EAP/EAL sessions. Clients can rest assured they will not be offered interpretations based on out of date horse psychology and horsemanship, or fads. The focus is on theclient’s experience, and exploring the client-horse connection, not interpretations about what the horse is ‘saying’. This frees the sessions up to awaken new depths of Contact, Awareness, and Growth.

We believe these key differences keeps our horses and clients physically and emotionally safe, and, our clients, team and horses well supported, ’stretched’ and nourished. This difference supports the ground for truly inspiring horse-human connections, awareness, and therapeutic growth to occur.