EQUUSOMA® is grateful for the many hands (and hooves!) of support from humans and herds around the world who share our vision for horse-human relationships. Read on below for more details about our two-legged lead team members. For more information about the EQUUSOMA® approved training assistants, personal session and consultation providers, click here.
Sarah is a Registered Psychotherapist, Canadian Certified Counsellor and Somatic Experiencing® Practitioner with a trauma-focused master’s degree in Counselling Psychology from the University of Victoria. Fluent in French and English, her foundation within Somatic Experiencing® and the field of applied polyvagal theory and mammalian psychophysiology includes:
- Somatic Experiencing® 3-year training program with Berns Galloway, MEd, CCC, SEP and Kathy Kain, PhD, SEP
- Approved training assistant and personal session provider for student certificate hours (at all levels)
- Touching Trauma: Touch Skills Training for Trauma Therapists with Kathy Kain, PhD, SEP (90 hours)
- Somatic Resilience and Regulation: Early Developmental Trauma Training with Kathy Kain, PhD, SEP and Steve Terrell, PsyD, SEP (focusing on touch, somatics, developmental neuroscience, and polyvagal theory in the repair of attachment ruptures and trauma, 72 hours)
- Master Class on Body Reading and Developmental Trauma with Peter Levine, PhD, including presenting a demo client to Dr. Levine (24.5 hours)
- Healing Shame webinars with Bret Lyon, PhD, SEP and Sheila Rubin, LCSW
- Introduction to NeuroAffective Touch with Aline LaPierre, PsyD (1 day)
- Safe and Sound Protocol Training with Stephen Porges, PhD
Additional trauma treatment trainings and seminars she has attended include but are not limited to EMDR, Brainspotting, parts work (structural dissociation theory, Internal Family Systems), Body Memory Recall, Bioenergetics, and Sensory-Motor Arousal Regulation Treatment, among others. She has studied directly with or attended conference presentations from other well-known experts in the trauma field, such as Dr. Janina Fisher, Dr. Gabor Maté, Kathy Martin, Dolores Mosquera, Babette Rothschild, Dr. Allan Schore, Dr. Daniel Siegel, and Dr. David Berceli.
Human-Animal Bond and Equine Studies
Sarah completed her training in Integrative Equine-Facilitated Wellness with Deborah Marshall, MA, RCC in Nanaimo, BC. The IEFW model is body-oriented and focused on trauma and mindfulness, incorporating elements from the work of Dr. Peter Levine, Dr. Robert Scaer, Dr. Daniel Siegel, Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, and Babette Rothschild; ecopsychology in the tradition of Jon Young, Richard Louv, and Michael Cohen; and aspects of the Eponaquest® Approach, relational horsemanship, and liberty work.
She has also completed the online Fundamentals of Natural Lifemanship training with Bettina Shultz-Jobe, LPC and Tim Jobe, on Trauma-Focused Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy. This model is grounded in the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics of Dr. Bruce Perry, as well as in attachment theory applied to both horse and human relationships.
Additional related education, clinics, and conferences attended include:
- EMDR for Animals with Fabienne Lannes Gillibert (Marseille, France)
- Resolving Fear Issues in Horses with Robin Foster, PhD and Lauren Fraser (IAABC)
- Pair Bond Training with Marina Wright (The Wright Approach)
- The Dance of Relationship – Resnick’s Waterhole Rituals with Sharolyn Wandzura (Ears Forward Coaching)
- Humane Education Conference (Green Chimneys Children’s Center, New York)
- Equine-Assisted Mental Health Stream with Sue McIntosh, MA, CCC (Power of the Horse Conference, CanTRA, BC)
- Clinics with Buck Brannaman and Todd Owens
Sarah’s background also includes volunteering with the St. John Ambulance Therapy Dogs, volunteering for national committees involved in the development of standards and ethics for the fields of animal-assisted therapy and equine-facilitated wellness in Canada, coordinating The Natural Connection (a comprehensive online directory for animal- and nature-based interventions, programs, trainings and resources, no longer active), conducting her master’s thesis practice pattern research about the state of the field in Canada, and incorporating her dogs in therapy sessions.
Sarah has presented at a variety of animal/equine-related conferences, including:
- International Society for Equitation Science (ISES, Guelph, ON, 2019)
- International Association of Human-Animal Interaction Organizations (IAHAIO/Green Chimneys, New York, 2019)
- International Symposium for Equine Welfare and Wellness (Germany, 2017; Pennsylvania, 2019)
- Natural Lifemanship Conference (Brenham, Texas, 2017 and 2019)
- Animals and Us: Research, Policy and Practice (Windsor, ON, 2018)
- International Society for Anthrozoology Conference (Toronto, ON, 2008)
A former volunteer for The Donkey Sanctuary of Canada, she is an avid student of horsemanship from a variety of approaches and perspectives, drawing mainly from learning theory, behaviourism, ethology, equitation science research, natural horsemanship, clicker training, and liberty interactions. She is also inspired by the works of Lucy Rees, Rachaël Draaisma, Elsa Sinclair, Marc Bekoff, and others. She and her partner Ryan have two horses, a Paint Percheron cross named Brando and a Paint Quarter Horse cross named Ruby.
EQUUSOMA® Faculty In Training
Mel Keen, MCouns, AssocMAPS, SEP
Mel is a Registered Psychologist, Equine Psychotherapy Practitioner, and Somatic Experiencing® Practitioner in private practice in Kalamunda/Perth, Western Australia. She offers equine-assisted counselling and therapy from a private facility in Wattle Grove with her herd of 5 horses, a pony, and a cat. Mongoose, magpies, and other wild creatures often come visit.
Mel is currently the lead assistant for the EQUUSOMA® training cohorts in Australia. For more information about Mel, visit Horse Horizons.
Ines is a Somatic Psychotherapist, Advanced Eponaquest® Instructor, and Somatic Experiencing® Practitioner in the medieval village of Moussac, France. She offers personal sessions, private intensives, and workshops from her farm, The Place of Grace.
This serene facility along the Gardon River is home to 16 horses of various ages and breeds, 3 cats, and 3 dogs. Ines is fluent in German, English and French.
Her work is also inspired by the developmental trauma and inner child work of Walid Daw, Core Energetics (Switzerland), quantum mechanics, and the work of Thomas Hübl, Brené Brown, Eckhart Tolle, Dr. Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, and Caroline Myss. She has trained in body-oriented psychotherapy with horses (Monika Mehlem, Germany) and co-authored “Marcher dans les pas du cheval – Sagesse animale et découverte de soi” with Anna Evans (2018). She is the former co-director of the EquiMotion Institute for Equine-Facilitated Therapy in Luxembourg.
In her earlier life with horses, she experienced various training methods in dressage, show jumping and natural horsemanship. Her work with horses today is influenced by people like Elsa Sinclair who apply freedom-based training. Respecting the horses’ freedom in their space is of utmost importance in her approach.
Ines is currently the lead assistant for the EQUUSOMA® training cohorts in France. More information about Ines can be found on her German website.
Susanne Hays, MS, LMFT, SEP
Fluent in German and English, Susanne is a Licensed Marriage, Family, and Child Therapist and Somatic Experiencing® Practitioner. She has a private practice on a small Ranch in Black Forest, Colorado with her three horses, two cats, and two dogs. Her office is in a welcoming barn with indoor rooms and easy access to nature. She is trained in various modalities like Art, Sandtray, Play, Family, Yoga, Mindfulness, and Equine-Assisted Therapy. She practices through the Somatic Experiencing and attachment lens, tracking and addressing the nervous system and providing for physiological and psychological change. She offers new experiences to develop capacity in the body, so trauma can be processed and discharged.
Susanne also offers personal sessions to SE students at all levels and individual consultations to beginning SE students. She is also approved to provide Equusoma sessions and consultations. She has experience providing supervision to LPC and LMFT candidates for licensure in CO.
Susanne has assisted for SE faculty members Alicen Halquist, Dr. Joshua Sylvae, Dr. Raja Selvam, Lael Keen, and Dr. Abi Blakeslee. She has also completed DARE training (Dynamic Attachment Repatterning Experience); master classes with Dr. Peter Levine on complex health syndromes, sexual trauma, near death experiences and anaesthesia trauma, and depression and healthy aggression; as well as the Safe and Sound Protocol training with Dr. Stephen Porges.
She is a therapeutic riding instructor through PATH International (but no longer offers therapeutic riding), and Equine-Facilitated Mental Health Equine Specialist (also through PATH), and incorporates SE and attachment into natural horsemanship.