Equine Assisted Therapy & Narrative Therapy
Servicing areaKyneton & surrounding area, inc. Kilmore, Melbourne, Bendigo
WHO CAN BE HELPED?
Adults & children of all ages with:
- Anxiety, Trauma (PTSD), low self-confidence, poor emotional regulation
- Developmental & Neurological Issues: FASD, ASD, ADHD
- Depression, Stress, Grief
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
- Concentration & Attentiveness
- Relationship building
- Assertiveness, leadership skills & team work
- Self confidence
- Emotional and behavioural control
- Recovery from trauma
A REVIEW FROM A HAPPY PARENT:
“Black Horse Therapies has been fantastic for our 4-year- old son. Not only have aspects of his behaviour changed but it has given him something to look forward to. The horses are so calm and beautiful as are the surroundings. And Elizabeth is wonderful-observing her interactions with our son has also helped me in my relationship with him.
I recommend Black Horse Therapies unreservedly."
Coran (Coran is happy to speak to people in person about their experience)
ANOTHER REVIEW FROM A 14-YEAR-OLD PARTICIPANT:
"Going to Black Horse therapies has been an interesting experience for me. Working with the horses is fun and calming. I have very much enjoyed seeing them and have also learnt a lot. I think animals can be easier to connect with than people. Through this experience I have both gained confidence and also learnt about people, not just the animals."
SAFETY/AFRAID OF HORSES?
For some people the thought of interacting with a horse is frightening. Be assured that you are in control of the amount of contact you have with the horse during your session and that Elizabeth will be present in the yard with you. All of the work with the horses is conducted on the ground (no riding involved). Your physical and emotional safety are always our prime concern, which is why sessions are conducted in a yard.
Also, we have little Pip to help you! (See her profile below)
WHAT HAPPENS IN A SESSION AT BLACK HORSE THERAPIES?
Our Equine Assisted Therapy sessions are different to normal therapy sessions, which usually rely on sitting in an office talking. They suit people who struggle with this type of setting. We conduct our person-centred sessions in the following way:
They involve the participant, the therapist (Elizabeth), a horse, and usually a support person (may be a family member, carer or friend).
The partcipant spends time interacting with the horse in the yard, through activities such as grooming and leading.
This is usually followed by a time of reflection, however there is no pressure on the participant to talk about their experiences in the yard. Their reflection may take place privately outside of the session. Those who find it hard to put their feelings into words (men often say this of themselves) find this approach suits them.
Experiences in the horse yard allow participants to explore new possibilities for the way they see themselves (self-identity) and can be applied to other relationships and areas of their lives.
NEUROLOGY & DEVELOPMENT
The combination of Equine Assisted Therapy and a Narrative approach works well with individuals who have cognitive impairment and who struggle with a strongly verbal style of communication.
This approach has been found to be beneficial to young people with diagnoses of Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder and ADHD, as well as others who are not comfortable with a conventional counselling setting. The learning is experiential and relationship-based.
Participants learn emotional awareness and regulation, as well as assertion and leadership without aggression. Concentration and focus may be improved.
It is known that early childhood trauma and neglect inhibit the development of the brain. Neuroplasticity is described as “the capacity for creating new neural connections and growing new neurons in response to experience”. This gives us hope that the experiences in the horse yard may help to create new neural pathways.
ANXIETY, DEPRESSION, GRIEF
Equine Assisted Therapy can help people of all ages with anxiety, depression and stress as well as improving general wellbeing. The horses give us the experience of total acceptance and help us find a place of calm inside ourselves.
The relationship and connection formed with the horse can be reassuring and comforting for a person experiencing grief and sadness. They may feel free to show their emotions in a way they might not with people.
Over and over again people say to us "Being with horses makes me feel calm".
TRAUMA, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, PTSD
A Narrative approach emphasises actions taken that reflect a person’s exercise of “personal agency” (being effective in our lives). Experiences in the horseyard assist them in developing preferred stories about their life and their identity which differ from their past experience and perception of themselves. This approach is used to help people recovering from trauma.
Participants often discover they have strengths and abilities of which they were previously unaware and this helps to build self-esteem and confidence.
The horses, being large (with the exception of Pip) and powerful yet gentle, can help to rebuild trust.
Practising leadership with the horse helps with assertiveness.
Even young children can benefit from Equine Assisted Therapy. It can help with concentration and focus, empathy, confidence and assertion without aggression. The horses are partcularly gentle with little ones.
People with troubled relationships can experience healing through practicing team work together with the horse.
FUN & PLAY:
We believe that experiencing joy and contentment are an important part of therapeutic growth for people of all ages, so we include fun and play in our programme.
ACUPUNCTURE & CHINESE MEDICINE:
Elizabeth has practised Acupuncture & Chinese medicine for 30 years, the last 17 in Broadford, Victoria.
She has treated many people suffering with anxiety, depression and stress. All have reported that they felt calmer and had an increased sense of well-being after the treatment.
Acupuncture is effective for both children and adults.
Elizabeth is excited to be able to offer a combination of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Chinese medicine- two powerful and wonderful forms of healing.
Elizabeth's interest in Equine Assisted Therapy began 6 years ago when Millie came to her and it became a dream, a passion and a goal. This led her to complete a Graduate Diploma in Counselling & Psychotherapy with the Cairnmillar Institute in Melbourne, as well as Narrative Therapy training at the Dulwich Centre in Adelaide. She has also trained in Autism Spectrum Disorder at Cairnmillar. Her way of practising is person-centred.
Her approach with horses is a natural horsemanship one. She trained with Dave Mellor of David Mellor Horsemanship in Eppalock and her placement for her Graduate Diploma took place at Horses for Hope in Shepparton, which combines natural horsemanship with a narrative approach.
Elizabeth has a background in Chinese medicine and offers acupuncture as one of the therapies provided by Black Horse Therapies.
MEET THE HORSES:
Powerful yet sensitive, horses give us immediate feedback about our inner feelings, and at the same time accept us totally.
Sammy is an 18 year old Clydesdale/thoroughbred cross gelding with a trail riding background. He shows patience and tolerance in his interactions with people and is a gentle giant whose powerful build disguises his sensitive and sometimes timid nature.
Ally is a 12 year old thoroughbred mare who was bred for racing but never raced. She was abandoned and neglected, then rescued and rehabilitated. She wasn’t able to be ridden due to a problem with her back.
She is the newest member of the therapy herd and is a very gentle soul. She is having body work done on her back as part of therapy sessions.
Sunny is a 20 year old quarter horse/Apaloosa cross mare who has spent her life as a riding horse. She has a gentle and quiet nature.
Pip is a 2 year old Palouse miniature filly, the smallest member of our Black Horse Therapies herd. Although she came to us untrained she is showing intelligence and a willingness to learn. Her breeder recommended her to us because of her friendly and affectionate nature. Her courage and determination are not limited by her size. She will work with small children and bigger people who are afraid of full-sized horses, at least to begin with.
Miliie has been the inspiration for Black Horse Therapies since she came to Elizabeth as a 9-month old filly. She is a Friesian/Percheron cross, both breeds used to carry knights in armour into battle. This means that she has the qualities you’d desire from such a war-horse- strength, courage, agility, loyalty, intelligence and sensitivity.
John is the farmer who takes care of fencing and pasture (and treats) for the horses.
BOOKINGS, REBATES & FUNDING
Bookings may be made with or without a referral.
We are an NDIS registered provider.
Private Health Insurance rebates are available for Acupuncture & Psychotherapy (limited cover)
We are located near Kyneton, 35 mins from Kilmore,
65 mins from Melbourne airport, 60 mins from Bendigo.
The Black Horse:
In dreams and myths from around the world, the black horse champions knowledge rejected by the mainstream: instinct, emotion, intuition, sensory and extrasensory awareness, and the human-animal partnership associated with tribal cultures. (Linda Kohanov)
A big thank you to Digital Journey for the beautiful photos
- Bremner, J. Traumatic Stress: effects on the brain (2006)
- Linda Kohanov: A Tribute to Tabula Rasa: Eponaquest Worldwide (website)
- Michael White: Re-authoring Lives: Interviews & Essays (1995)
- Siegel, D., & Bryson, T.P. The whole brain child. (2011).
- Uniting Horses for Hope Programme Evaluation Report 2015
- Australian Counselling Association (ACA)
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