Graduate Diploma in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy

PACFA Accredited - Specialist Accredited Training – AQF Level 8

Beginning in 2021

This is a post graduate level equivalent training (AQF Level 8) and is designed specifically for professionals interested in incorporating horses into their psychotherapy, counselling, psychology, social work and/or mental health practice.  The EPI model is different to other EAP models as it is a trauma-informed psychotherapy model, with its own theory and practice methodology.

The course offers a balance of theoretical and experiential learning, using lectures, discussion, experiential and group processes, case presentations, supervision, reflection and personal and professional development practices.

EAP Training Pathways:

Our Equine Assisted Psychotherapy training is unique

The Equine Psychotherapy Institute is internationally renowned, dedicated to professionalism, integrity, ethics, trauma-informed practice, horse welfare, and innovative services.

The Equine Psychotherapy Institute is unrivalled in the standards, ethics and innovation of our Practitioner Training, and the Continuing Professional Education delivered in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Equine Assisted Learning programs.

This is a post graduate level equivalent training (AQF Level 8) and is designed specifically for professionals interested in incorporating horses into their psychotherapy, counselling, psychology, social work and/or mental health practice.  The EPI model is different to other EAP models as it is a trauma-informed psychotherapy model, with its own theory and practice methodology.

The course offers a balance of theoretical and experiential learning, using lectures, discussion, experiential and group processes, case presentations, supervision, reflection and personal and professional development practices.

The Equine Psychotherapy Institute committee, is responsible for the administration of the course and ensuring that its content and design meet its intended aims. 

Entry Requirements & Admission Criteria

You are eligible to apply for our EAP Training if you are a qualified allied health care professional and have current registration as a Counsellor (eg. With ACA), Psychotherapist (eg. With PACFA), Psychologist (member of AHPRA), Social Worker (member of AASW), Mental Health Occupational Therapist or Credentialed Mental Health Nurse (with demonstrated, current registration with relevant professional governing body).

Candidates for this PACFA Accredited Specialist Training must meet admission requirements outlined in the Standards for VET Accredited Courses course application requirements and 2018 PACFA Training Standards. These state that students entering an accredited course of study need to demonstrate self-awareness, a relational capacity, ethical behaviour and an ability to reflect on and learn from experience and feedback.

Prospective applicants can visit our Training Calendar to locate a suitable in Person EAP Foundation Training for them.

Prospective applicants then email EPI direct to request an Application Form ( If the applicant is unsure whether they meet the prerequisites for course entry, please contact the email address above or call the Institute on 0437 882 600.

After applications have been received and reviewed, the Head of Training will meet with each applicant in order to discuss their application for the training. This will usually be in the form of an interview by phone or zoom.  Once the application and interview processes are complete the Training Committee will make its final decision. The Training Committee exercises discretion regarding admission. As places available on the course are limited, the accepted applicant’s place is only secured once they make their first instalment payment of fees.

The Equine Psychotherapy Institute is guided during the selection process by the principle of non-discrimination on the grounds of class, gender, religious beliefs or cultural background. We do not wish to prevent a student with a physical disability undertaking the training as long as the disability does not directly interfere with their capacity to meet the requirements of the training programme or our capacity to respond to the student’s needs.

We do require that students have an adequate command of English.  It is not essential, that students have previous experience in psychotherapy.

How is the training delivered?

The Training is delivered over 4 Intensives of 5 Days duration (20 days total).

  • Intensive 1 – Equine Assisted Psychotherapy Theory & Practice 1
  • Intensive 2 – Equine Assisted Psychotherapy Theory & Practice 2
  • Intensive 3 – Equine Assisted Psychotherapy Theory & Practice 3
  • Intensive 4 – Trauma-informed Equine Assisted Psychotherapy
  • Online Equine Studies Course

Intensives are 5 days in duration and run from 9am – 5.00pm on specified weeks through the year. Each Intensive will be taught by experienced psychotherapists and mental health practitioners from different fields, training in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (ie mental health social work, psychology, psychotherapy and counselling). This is hoped to give the students a broad and diverse experience, with consistency of theory and practice. Each Intensive will have a particular theoretical and practical focus and will be supported by required readings.

20 Days Equine Assisted Psychotherapy Training (4 Intensives) cover the following Subject Areas, as further described in the EPI Subject Guideline –

  • Experiential and Relational Psychotherapy Theory and Practice
  • Overview of EPI Model Equine Assisted Psychotherapy
  • Horses in the EPI Model – Horses Contribution to Client Change, Equine Studies, Horsemanship, Horse Safety and Welfare
  • Therapeutic Experiments – Creative Processes with Clients and Horses
  • Neuroscience and Trauma-informed Equine Assisted Psychotherapy practice
  • Ethics, Ethical Practice and Business Planning
equine therapy

What is the difference between the

Certificate in EAP & 

Graduate Diploma in EAP?

Our Certificate in EAP is a 15 day in person training program, followed by certification requirements. 

Our Graduate Diploma in EAP is a 20 day in person training program, followed by certification requirements and additional clinical practice and supervision. 

The Graduate Diploma in EAP is a Specialist Training accredited by PACFA (AQF level 8).

See our Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

equine psychothearpy


  • Apply theory and practice of the EPI EAP Model
  • Understand and apply the EPI EAP Model’s relational, experiential and experimental approach
  • Understand ethical issues and professional standards of practice, including safe practice with horses and clients
  • Develop basic competencies in – preparation and planning, establishing an I-Thou therapeutic relationship, assessment, utilising a Trauma-informed approach, developing client awareness and supporting healthy contact, designing, co-creating and grading appropriate equine experiments, and working with integration and closure.
  • Understand the EPI Model’s Theory and Change – understanding and articulating how therapeutic change happens.
  • Further Develop assessment, Phenomenological processing and Closure skills.
  • Understand and apply therapist-self-awareness and self as practitioner in the EAP process
  • Identify practitioner limitations, underdevelopment areas and be committed to personal and professional growth, via supervision, personal therapy, and ongoing, continuing professional development.
  • Understand equine behaviour and equine training principles, appreciate the relational dynamics that horses bring to the therapeutic / learning process.
  • Demonstrate safe horse handling
  • Learn about I-Thou relating with horses, consent and ethical considerations, and understand how the relationship between practitioners and their horses impact client safety and efficacy of EAP.
  • Develop core competencies in horse handling based on an I-Thou approach with horses.

What are the Certification Requirements?

  • Submission of 4 integration Papers following each Intensive
  • Satisfactory completion of foundation training exam
  • Satisfactory completion of the Online Equine Studies Course (includes exam & self-reflection)
  • Satisfactory completion of Practical EAP Facilitation Demonstration
  • Attendance in 5 Clinical EAP Supervision Sessions
  • Submission of Individual Horsemanship Plan
  • Submission of Horsemanship/ Horse Handling Video
  • Satisfactory Completion of 15 hours Work Experience (Client Contact/ EAP Practice Sessions)
  • Satisfactory Completion of 3 Mentoring Sessions (integrating - business; theory & practice; and, equine studies & horsemanship) 
  • Signed contract agreeing to adhere to EPI code of ethics
  • Students completing the Certificate in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy receive a certificate of completion.

    Students completing the Graduate Diploma of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy are referred to as ‘certified’ and are immediately eligible to become ongoing members of The Equine Psychotherapy Institute Community of Practitioners. EPI Members enjoy free listing on the EPI website, access to ongoing CPD, Supervision, Advanced training, Conferences and Events. Students are awarded a certificate of Certification in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy.

2021 Training Fees

Intensive 1: 5 days training $1800 plus gst

Intensive 2: 5 days training $1800 plus gst

Intensive 3: 5 days training $1800 plus gst

Intensive 4: 5 days training $1800 plus gst

Online Equine Studies Program to be completed within 12 months (this is available pro bono to all students undertaking the Graduate Diploma in EAP)

Optional pre-payment for Training (intensive 1,2,3, 4) $6900 plus gst

Phone Supervision Sessions – 5 Sessions - $150 per session (invoiced and paid separately after each Supervision)

Phone/Zoom Mentoring Sessions – 3 Sessions - $150 per session (invoiced and paid separately after each Mentoring session)

The Equine Psychotherapy Institute is entitled to charge fees for services provided to participants undertaking training and assessment that leads to a nationally recognised outcome. These charges are generally for items such as course materials, text books, participant services and training and assessment services.

Fees are payable when a participant has received a confirmation of acceptance of enrolment. The initial deposit fee in non-refundable. Fees paid are non-refundable. Students can contact the Institute regarding any unforeseeable accidents or emergencies that require the student withdraws from training. The Institute may discontinue training, if fees are unpaid or not paid in accordance with the agreed fee schedule and timing.

Supervision & Client Contact

A minimum of 15 hours of face-to-face (client contact) psychotherapy practice in the specialist modality of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy, must be completed during training. Details of the client work must be included in a professional log which the student maintains and presents at appropriate times during the course as evidence of competence to practice in the specialist modality. (Client confidentiality must be maintained in the log).

Students will undertake this clinical work and supervision at own cost, within 12 months, including have a supervision contract with EPI supervisor and submit log books. The EPI supervisor is required to report the supervisee’s clinical competence with a log of date, signature, and skills and competence achieved (or reflection areas) in supervision session. Students are encouraged to choose a Clinical Supervisor who is not their Trainer. Supervisors will provide online or phone supervision.

A sample logbook will be provided to prospective students.


Evaluation of student progress is ongoing and includes the completion of course work and participation in the intensives and learning subject areas. Trainers give constructive and timely feedback to students for continued development, engagement and to keep them on track. Students are also invited to evaluate the course in an ongoing way and given an evaluation / feedback form to provide written feedback at the end of each intensive.

The Equine Psychotherapy Institute Training Committee may instruct the student as to their readiness to progress to the next stage of the training, or in very rare situations deemed not suitable for the training. In a situation where the students’ work is not of a sufficient standard, students will have an opportunity to re-submit, and will be offered further support and mentoring, and from there will be assessed on a case by case basis.

A formal certificate will be issued to trainees at the successful completion of training.

Full list of Policies & Procedures

 these policies are available when prospective students email and apply to the Institute, as a part of the Participant Handbook

  • Document control
  • Access and Equity
  • Training and Assessment
  • Staff, selection and appointment
  • Grievances and Appeals
  • Fees, charges and refunds
  • Continuous Improvement
  • Advanced standing policy

Join one of our life changing programs today


EPI Membership and Continuing Professional Education (CPE)  

Students who complete the Graduate Diploma of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy including assessment, supervision and work experience requirements, are awarded Certification and Membership with the Institute.  Members are awarded initial Membership with the Institute for 1 year post Certification.  Membership benefits you in many ways including – free advertising in our institute website (with high traffic), access to quality education (CPD) and training opportunities, access to an online EPI Network Group and Community of Practitioners across Australia, New Zealand and Internationally, and, the unique benefit of being an integral part of one of the most comprehensive, coherent and well developed Equine Assisted Psychotherapy Models available nationally and internationally. Members can retain ongoing membership benefits via completing a further 10 hours CPD per annum by participating in and documenting the following CPD activities in their log book -

  • EPI EAP Supervision
  • Advanced EPI EAP Intensives 
  • EPI Networking Meetings 
  • Bi-annual EPI Conferences 
  • EPI Volunteer Assistant in Intensives
  • Peer Supervision and Support
  • Reading select EAT/ EAL Research and Readings
  • Psychotherapy / Counselling Phenomenologically-based trainings

The Institute views Continuing Professional Education and Development in the EPI Model as vital for practitioner development, growth, accountability, maturation, emotional safety of clients, commitment to practice ethics around excellence, practitioner support, and commitment to the model’s unique theory and practice. 

It is expected that Practitioners will continue to develop their Equine Studies and Horsemanship Skills for the life of their EAP practice. This expectation is reflected in the EPI Values and Code of Ethics.

EPI Training Locations

The EPI Graduate Diploma in EAP Training is currently available in Victoria, NSW and WA.

Victoria EPI Headquarters is located in the Victoria location at 459 Telegraph Rd, Mt Prospect.

NSW Northern NSW EPI campus is located at 1202 Gradys Creek Road, Loadstone.

WA Western Australian Campus is located at 82 Kimberly St, Bullsbrook.

All Trainers/teachers reside at EPI Campus Locations and these sites are to be considered strictly private property outside of Training hours.


Head of Learning is Meg Kirby. All Equine Psychotherapy Institute Trainers/teachers are experienced practitioners in their own fields. Each psychotherapist trainer has an extensive background in clinical therapeutic practice and is committed to continual personal and professional development. The trainer/teacher biographies are outlined in the participant handbook for prospective students and on our Faculty Page.

Meet Our Faculty
Frequently Asked Question