Heads & Tails Equine Assisted Clinical Psychology is a specialised program offered by Kids and Co Clinical Psychology that supports room based work and provides an effective alternative for those who struggle with traditional room-based therapies.
The Referral Process
Heads & Tails works collaboratively with mental health professionals, GP's, FACS case workers, parents and carers. All children and adolescents are assessed by a Kids and Co Clinical Psychologist to determine the suitability of this modality and provide a clear treatment plan.
A horse can change the way you see the world
How does Heads and Tails work?
Heads & Tails Equine Assisted Clinical Psychology works alongside horses as co-facilitators to assist children, adolescents and families in understanding feelings, relationships and behaviours. It is a solution-orientated approach, believing that the client knows what answers are best for them (EAGALA, 2009). It is a team approach, where the Clinician and the Equine Specialist work together with the client in all sessions. Mounted sessions are not required as all Heads & Tails activities are ground based. Our clients work with miniature horses, which are less intimidating for work with children and adolescents.
Horses have many characteristics which lend them to being effective agents of change, including honesty, awareness, and use of nonverbal communication. The role of the horse in Equine Assisted Therapy is for the horse to behave naturally and spontaneously, as they do in a herd situation. The horse’s natural state of being invites our clients to engage in a safe and authentic connection, a space where change is possible.
Our work focuses on allowing our clients, through their connection and communication with the horses, to experiment, problem-solve and be creative. Through this process we build awareness, understanding of self, understanding of self in relationship, and a capacity to generate flexible and healthy responses to life’s situations and challenges. Through this process clients find their own solutions that apply to their everyday needs and experiences.
What happens in a session?
During a session, the clinical team will observe the responses of both the horse in connection with the client, and the client in connection with the horse during activities. The clinical team will carefully select which horses will partake in the session to support the therapeutic goals identified by the Clinical Director and/or the young persons room based clinician.
Each session is tailored to a client’s individual needs and takes into account the treatment goals and presenting issues. Activities involving the client, horses and props represent explorations of real life situations, these providing an opportunity for the client to experience emotions and behaviours and increase self-awareness & understanding. Instruction from the treatment team helps guide the client in creating activities that will encourage metaphors for experiences in their own life, creating opportunities for positive growth and development.