Equine Assisted Therapy (EAT) refers to a broad range of treatment modalities where mental health professionals work alongside horses to support and improve social, emotional and physiological health.

EAT is experiential, meaning that learning occurs through doing: hands on activities, observing, touching, smelling and hearing. This allows us to activate all of our body senses rather than relying on or over-using our ‘thinking’. This provides wonderful alternative to traditional talk therapies and often compliments room based treatment.

Heads & Tails is suitable for people of all ages and is effective in the support and treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD), Anxiety, Phobias, Developmental Disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), Trauma and Eating Disorders.

What is Heads & Tails Clinical Psychology?

Heads & Tails is an approach to clinical psychology that draws from the evidence-based research and incorporates mindfulness and cognitive restructuring, distress tolerance, and acceptance and commitment strategies along with the experiential and behavioural process of working with and responding to horses. In this way ‘Heads & Tails’ utilises strategies from many modalities of clinical psychology such as play therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), and Gestalt psychotherapy.

Heads & Tails Clinical Psychology is dedicated to advancing the standards of excellence in experiential clinical psychology and supporting children, young people and families towards social, behavioural and emotional change.

We know that every child is unique and we tailor our services to match the needs of the child, taking them from where they are to where they need to be through experiential therapeutic sessions that build relationships and inspire them to be all that they can be.

The Heads & Tails Approach

Heads & Tails is a cross theoretical approach to clinical psychology and a form of play therapy. Other well known play-based therapies include music therapy and art therapy.

Heads & Tails is:

  • Mindful (Awareness based)

  • Relational (Relationship/attachment based)

  • Trauma-informed(Neuroscience based)

  • Developmentally sensitive(understands the trajectory of ‘development’ in relationship)

  • Working with horses as teachers of awareness, embodiment and relationship supports the learning about relationships, mindfulness, aliveness in a new, holistic, engaging and safe way.

While other models may use somewhat different therapeutic teams, the ‘Heads & Tails’ specific pairing brings the strengths and scientific rigor of Clinical Psychology, Neuroscience and Psychiatry. Heads & Tails is a new and exciting development that engages clients with horses within a clinical, therapeutic framework.

The Heads & Tails model of psychological intervention is based on several programs successfully offering equine therapy across the UK, USA and Canada (Anthony & Cramer, 2007) and incorporates principles from the Australian Equine Assisted Psychotherapy Institute’s (EPI) Model of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (Kirby, 2016), Polyvagal Theory (Porges & Dana, 2018) and The Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics (Perry & Dobson, 2013).