Equine Assisted Psychotherapy - SafeHaven Trauma Centre

Equine Assisted Psychotherapy

At SafeHaven we use the EAGALA method, as it is a well structured and extensively researched approach.

Sessions are facilitated by a mental health professional with an equine specialist, who hold the space for you and the horses to interact.

Life stories begin unfolding symbolically in a safe and supportive setting. As the horses play out scenarios, clients gain insights and begin to see and feel shifts in themselves as well, supporting you to discover your own best solutions.

Equine assisted psychotherapy forma a key part of our Equine Intensive Treatment Retreat.



Sessions happen on the ground

Sessions involve no horseback riding. This is so the horses are able to be themselves and not have to act a certain way, just like you will do. This is a space to explore, be yourself, and build relationships on equal footing.


Why horses?

Horses are large and powerful, creating a natural opportunity to overcome fear and develop confidence. Working alongside a horse, in spite of fears, creates confidence and provides wonderful insight when dealing with other intimidating and challenging situations in life.

Horses are also social animals, with defined roles within their herds. They would rather be with their peers. They have distinct personalities, attitudes and moods; an approach that works with one horse won’t necessarily work with another. At times, they seem stubborn and defiant. They like to have fun. In other words, horses are a lot like us socially – when we work on our relationships with them, we gain insights into how to improve our relationships with others.

Horses also respond in the present moment, they are profoundly gifted reflectors of what is happening for us, because their very survival depends on reading us correctly.

In responding to us they begin to act in ways that feel familiar to us, drawing out our complex relationships or dynamics that exist in our lives. Our response projects on to the situation the spouse, partner, colleague, children, dreams, fears, addictions, etc. and we begin to act out these very dynamics in the session. This gives us a chance to work through those relationships and issues in a safe and nonjudgmental environment.




SafeHaven Trauma Centre is part of The EAGALA Network of more than 4,500 Mental Health Professionals and Equine Specialists in 50 countries. EAGALA professionals are trained and credentialed to offer The EAGALA Model exclusively to their clients. Horses are uniquely sensitive to the feelings of those around them and respond in ways which reflect aspects of ourselves and our relationships. The EAGALA Model is an innovative, ethical set of best practices that builds on the human/horse connection to help people learn more about themselves and to use that learning to change their lives.

SafeHaven Trauma Centre