Frequently Asked Questions?​​



Making the choice to seek assistance or support for yourself or your child can be challenging for a range of different reasons. I have attempted to answer some of the questions I get asked by people when they enquire about what service I provide and what they can expect from their experiences here at Hunter Valley Children’s Therapies.


I hope to support people to be able to navigate the process and I am happy to answer any questions you may have.


Please feel free to phone or email me any time and I’ll be very happy to help.


What do I need to bring?



We generally work outside and I advise that safe, fully enclosed footwear is worn.


I suggest participants dress for the weather – hat and sun cream, a raincoat if it’s a bit wet and a warm jacket if it’s cold.


I have some hats, shoes/boots and raincoats on hand if you don’t have these or happen to forget to bring them.


Please let me know if you have any concerns about allergies to animals, sand, grass, bees, foods etc.


Are parents/carers involved ?



Most definitely. There will be opportunity for parents/carers to be involved in sessions where suitable and to learn about the progress being made so they may best support their child or young person. 

I will also provide the parent/carer with written feedback and advice after each session to assist with the growth and learning at home, school and out in the community.  

Why Horses?



Horses can offer

  • Non-judgemental response to people and an acceptance that is different to what humans can offer each other

  • An emotional and sensory environment for clients to explore strong feelings

  • Affection and connection in a safe environment. This emotional safety and trust engages the participant's brain-body responses and can begin new neural pathways, felt sense and body memories for safety in relationship

  • Heightened awareness which provides an opportunity to move from ‘auto-pilot’ to a state of ‘awareness’ which is fertile ground for change

  • Horses are prey animals. The way they live, survive and thrive with awareness and authentic contact provides a model of capacities that humans can adapt for health and wellness


Do I need previous horse experience?



No previous horse experience is necessary. Each participant is provided with advice and guidance about safety around horses and I will always be present to offer support during all aspects of the session.


Sessions may involve a 'Mounted' experience with a horse however this is always done in a controlled manner and with a Therapeutic purpose.

I don't offer horse riding lessons. 


Session duration and costs?



Sessions are 1 hour in length. 


The cost is $237.50 per session and a Tax Invoice will be provided.

I am a Registered provider with the National Disability Insurance Scheme and clients with funding support through the NDIS in the category of CB Daily Living may be able to access funding support for Individual Assessment and Therapy and Group programs. The rates for these services are set out in the NDIA's Pricing Guide.

I am also a Registered Provider with Medicare and some clients may be eligible for a rebate through medicare if they have a  referral from their General Practitioner (GP), Psychiatrist or Pediatrician via a Mental Health Care Plan. The current rebate for Mental Health Social Workers is $75.95 for a 60 minute session. 

Please note that I do require 24-hours notice of any cancellation, or there may be a cancellation fee. 


Hunter Valley Children's Therapies Equine Assisted Learning

A little bit about
The Equine Psychotherapy Institute (EPI) of Australia
and the EPI model of
Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) and Equine Assisted Learning (EAL).

The founders and creators of the EPI are Meg Kirby and Noel Haarburger. Meg (BA(Psychology), MASW, DipGT) is a Mental Health Social Worker and Gestalt Therapist and Noel (B.B.SC, B’Ed (counselling), Adv Dip Gestalt Therapy, Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (SEP). MAPS. ClinGANZ) is a Psychologist, Gestalt Therapist, and Trainer at Gestalt Therapy Australia.  They have been working in the field of mental health for a collective 40 years and they have experience in psychotherapy, mental health, psychology, counselling, consultation, organisational development, psychotherapy training, Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Equine Assisted Learning Training, trauma and personal development fields. Together they have created the EPI model of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Equine Assisted Learning.


There are a number of models of Equine Assisted Therapy and Learning across Australia and the world. They all vary in the way they approach the participant's growth and learning, how session are structured and the role the horse/s take in the process.  The EPI model is founded on solid psychology, psychotherapy, facilitation and conscious horsemanship and theory. There is no other model of EAP and EAL like the EPI model in Australia and perhaps internationally.  


The 7 Principles of The Equine Psychotherapy Institute (EPI) Model are:


  1. Relationship – the model is based on the belief and research indicator that it is the ‘relationship that heals.’ Equine experiments are therefore offered in a relational manner and practice is focused on the horse-client-practitioner relationship that provides the opportunity and catalyst for change.

  2. Holistic Practice. The model for practice works across all areas of human experience somatic/body, feeling/affect, cognitive, behavioural and relational experience

  3. Ethics. Practitioners working within this model are guided, directed and committed to ethical practices, which is based on  values and ethics from the AASW, APS, Eco-psychology and Animal Welfare Ethics

  4. Theory of change. The theory of change is a culmination of theory and practice from a psychological and psychotherapeutic basis. It is explicitly taught to practitioners and underpins the sessions for effective outcomes, including the theory and practice in working relationally, in a ‘relationship container’, with development of awareness, acceptance and experimentation as the main ingredients for change.

  5. ‘The Way of The Horse’ in EAP/EAL sessions is an interesting and engaging way of teaching psychotherapy principles on health – breathing, grounding, living in awareness, in self-regulation, utilising feelings as information and meeting in authentic relationship or contact. Horses participate in sessions in a unique way which is governed by I-thou horsemanship, which is an approach created by Institute founder, Meg Kirby

  6. Specialist Trained practitioners. All EAP and EAL practitioners are trained in 3 specialist fields – change processes in psychotherapy and experiential learning, equine studies and horsemanship and the unique horse-human dynamics in EAP and EFL. Foundation training includes 124 hours of training and supervision and additional assessment process. EPI advance training includes 220 hours of training.

  7. Personal and professional growth. EPI practitioners are committed to their personal and professional growth as the foundation for ethical and professional practice. Practitioners begin deep personal work in the training and commit to ongoing personal work to keep their work safe and effective for their clients and to ensure congruence of the work.




Further Information about the EPI Australia can be found at


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