Postgraduate Equivalent Training in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy

postgraduate equivalent training in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy

PACFA Accredited - Specialist Accredited Training – Equivalent AQF Level 8

Beginning in 2021

This is a postgraduate level equivalent training (Equivalent 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:

what is pacfa?

The Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia is a leading national peak body and professional association for counsellors and psychotherapists in Australia. Their mission is to represent the profession to communities and government, and to develop the evidence-base for counselling and psychotherapy.

PACFA promotes the development and practice of counselling and psychotherapy and respects and supports the diversity of approaches within the field. PACFA provides a united forum for practitioners and for counselling and psychotherapy associations, to foster professional identity, support training and research, and ensure public accountability.

PACFA provides self-regulation functions for the counselling and psychotherapy profession. Practicing members of PACFA  and of PACFA Member Associations are listed on PACFA’s National Register.  PACFA Registrants have demonstrated an approved level of training, experience and competence and comply with PACFA’s ethical standards. The Register is accessible via the PACFA website to members of the public looking for a counsellor or psychotherapist and to other professionals wishing to make referrals.

Find more on the PACFA Website.

pacfa training standards

PACFA sets standards for training and education in the counselling and psychotherapy field.

The PACFA Training Standards provide guidance to training institutes and students on the standards of counselling and psychotherapy education that are recommended by PACFA for safe, competent and ethical practice in counselling and psychotherapy. The PACFA Training Standards also set PACFA’s minimum requirements for recognition by PACFA through PACFA membership and registration in the practising membership categories.

The PACFA Training Standards came into effect on 8 October 2020.

The Traning Standards require education and training in counselling, psychotherapy or Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Healing Practices must be undertaken in a qualification approved by the Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency (TEQSA) or the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) at either the undergraduate or postgraduate levels (AQF level 7 to 9). The minimum volume of learning requirements listed below apply to any program, whether undergraduate or postgraduate.

Accreditation of counselling and psychotherapy education programs

PACFA has established a course accreditation program to support high standards in counselling and psychotherapy education and to help students choose quality training courses for their counselling or psychotherapy training.

accredited specialist courses

PACFA assesses and accredits specialist courses in counselling or psychotherapy (such as equine assisted psychotherapy).  The accreditation process involves rigorous, independent assessment of specialist training/courses and leads to the designation of ‘PACFA Accredited Specialist Course’. PACFA training standards require Specialist Training/Courses to be, at a minimum, equivalent to a Graduate Certificate in terms of level and depth of training, as defined by the Australian Qualification Framework. (For details see

The Equine Psychotherapy Institute Postgraduate (Equivalent) Training in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy is a ‘PACFA Accredited Specialist Course’


Our Postgraduate Equivalent Training in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy is a postgraduate 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.

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 program 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 – 5pm on specified weeks throughout the year. Each Intensive will be taught by experienced psychotherapists and mental health practitioners from different fields, training in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (i.e. 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

What are the Certification Requirements?

  • Submission of 4 integration Papers following each Intensive
  • Satisfactory completion of open book Theory Exam (must be completed within 3 months of training completion)
  • Satisfactory completion of the Online Equine Studies Course (includes exam & self-reflection)
  • Satisfactory completion of Equine Studies and Horse-person-ship Assessment, consisting of Exam, Horse-person-ship Plan and I-Thou Horse-person-ship Video
  • Satisfactory completion of Practical EAP Facilitation Demonstration
  • Submission of filmed Practical EAP Facilitation Demonstration within three months of completing your training.
  • Attend 8 EAP Clinical Supervision/ Study Pod Sessions
  • Satisfactory Completion of 15 hours Clinical Work Experience (EAP Sessions)
  • Satisfactory Completion of 2 Mentoring Sessions (integrating - business; theory & practice; and, equine studies & horsemanship) 
  • Signed contract agreeing to adhere to EPI code of ethics
  • Includes Required Reading and active participation during training
  • Completion of at least 3 personal EAP/ congruent psychotherapy sessions

2023 Training Fees

Investment: $5,400 plus GST ($5,940 inc GST) + $1,800 plus GST ($1,980 inc GST) 

Virtual Equine Studies Program to be completed within 3 months of Foundation Training completion (this is available pro bono to all students undertaking the Postgraduate Specialist Training in EAP)

8 x Study Pods - Clinical Supervision - $80 per session plus GST

2 x Phone/Zoom Mentoring Sessions – 2  Sessions - Sessions are $150 per session (invoiced and paid at time of session)

Plus cost of personal Equine Assisted Psychotherapy / congruent psychotherapy sessions

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 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.

equine therapy

Further questions

You may have further questions about this program.

To clarify: our Foundation Training in EAP is a 15 day in person training program, followed by certification requirements. 

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

For anyone considering applying, please ensure you have read all of the Frequently Asked Questions related to the Postgraduate Specialist Training in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy below.

Frequently Asked Questions about our Postgraduate Specialist Training in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) 

Is your Postgraduate Specialist Training in EAP a Government-endorsed qualification, delivered by an RTO?

Here is some essential background information regarding PACFA and our Postgraduate Specialist Training in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy as a PACFA Accredited Specialist Training Course:

PACFA is completely independent of TEQSA and ASQA. PACFA is a not-for-profit, peak membership and registration body that has its own accreditation system that is independent of the government.

TEQSA is the Australian government’s quality assurance and regulatory body for tertiary / higher education.

ASQA is the Australian government’s regulatory body for vocational education and training delivered by RTOs (Registered Training Organisations).

TEQSA registers tertiary education providers and provides government accreditation for courses.

PACFA is a membership and registration body that has its own accreditation schemes, and is not a registered training organisation.

For further context, the counselling and psychotherapy field is not regulated by the government unlike other health professions such as psychology, social work, occupational therapy and nursing to name a few. It is a self-regulated profession and PACFA is the peak body that provides the self-regulatory function for the profession. As the profession is not government regulated, there isn’t a minimum set of training standards required by the government which needs to be completed before someone can use the title ‘counsellor’ or ‘psychotherapist’ and can legally practice. Counsellors and psychotherapists are not required by law to be registered, registration is voluntary.

Counsellors and psychotherapists’ qualifications can range from certificate and diploma level through to post graduate and doctorate qualifications. PACFA has set very stringent training standards for our registration. So anyone who wishes to register with PACFA must complete an AQF 7 -9 qualification such as a Bachelor, Graduate Diploma and Masters qualification through a tertiary provider which has government accreditation from TEQSA or ASQA. Additionally they must also meet our Training Standards. Those who complete a PACFA accredited course are automatically eligible to register with PACFA.

Those that complete a Specialist Training (like our Postgraduate Specialist Training in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy) are not automatically eligible to register with PACFA because Specialist Training schemes are a ‘specialisation’, and registrants are required to first have training in counselling and psychotherapy that meets PACFA's Training Standards. Anyone completing a Specialist Training may still register with PACFA if they can show that they have another qualification that meets their Training Standards or whose overall experience and training is equivalent to PACFA's Training Standards.

In summary, our Postgraduate Specialist Training in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy is a Specialist Training, that is accredited by PACFA (assessed as Level 8 AQF) and is aimed as further professional training for registered psychotherapists, counsellors, psychologists, social workers, mental health nurses and mental health occupational therapists. It is not a government qualification regulated by ASQA or TESQA, it is accredited and regulated by PACFA, as the peak body for counselling and psychotherapy.

The Equine Psychotherapy Institute is not an RTO and is a private provider of specialist training, aimed at post graduate level.

Does your Postgraduate Specialist Training in EAP make me eligible to apply for a Masters Degree?

This training alone does not make students eligible for Masters level study. Please enquire directly with your future institution for eligibility criteria specific to your situation.

Does the Postgraduate Specialist Training in EAP make me eligible for PACFA registration?

This training does not lead to registration with PACFA. PACFA have assessed this as a Specialist Training at a Postgraduate level.

Why complete the Postgraduate Specialist Training in EAP?

For those wanting a thorough training that can be listed on your CV as Postgraduate Specialist Training in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and want to know they have completed the most comprehensive and highest level available training in Equine Assisted Practice, then the Postgraduate Specialist Training in EAP may be for you.

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.

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

This training program is recognised Professional Development for members of The Australian Counselling Association.


EPI Membership and Continuing Professional Education (CPE)  

Students who complete the Postgraduate Specialist Training in 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 Postgraduate Specialist Training 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

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