Training Requirements

The EQUUSOMA® Training Program is geared towards three groups of professionals:

  1. Equine-assisted psychotherapy and learning practitioners regardless of approach (whether as the mental health professional, the experiential learning professional, the equine professional, or as someone with cross-training and qualifications in two or more of these categories)
  2. Somatic Experiencing® students and practitioners (or those currently training in a related approach1)
  3. Health, helping, healing, learning and coaching professionals with a clearly defined scope of practice who do not have a background in either 1. or 2.

Training cohorts will aim to have different combinations of students from the three categories, allowing a rich opportunity for individuals from each background to learn from one another.

Attending the training with the person you co-facilitate equine-assisted programs with (or plan to co-facilitate with) is encouraged to integrate the material. A 10% discount is offered to pairs of co-facilitators who register for the training in the same calendar year.

Fundamentals Training Pre-Requisites

  • Submit a registration package, which are located on each individual event on the Events page (in Letter format) or on the Documents page (in Letter and A4 format)
  • Begin one or some of following readings prior to the training (not required but highly recommended)
    • Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma (Peter Levine)
    • In An Unspoken Voice (Peter Levine)
    • Nurturing Resilience (Kathy Kain and Stephen Terrell)
    • Language Signs and Calming Signals in Horses (Rachaël Draaisma)
    • Horses in Company (Lucy Rees)

The Fundamentals Training is a foundational introduction to the material. The focus is on learning the core theory, principles, and frameworks that define this work and experiencing horse-human interactions as an individual being facilitated by the trainer and the training assistants. This is to allow training participants an opportunity to experience the body-based interventions personally and to work on their own inner awareness, regulation, containment, and attunement first. Some opportunities will also be provided for pairs and group practices.

Practical Intensive 1 Pre-Requisites

Completion of the Fundamentals training is required prior to attending the first Practical Intensive.

2020 Program: Training participants are highly encouraged to have started their personal sessions prior to attending the first Practical Intensive in order to get as much out of it as possible.

2021+ Programs: Training participants will be required to have completed a certain number of sessions prior to attending their first Practical Intensive.

The Practical Intensives focus more specifically on allowing training participants to practice facilitating or co-facilitating interactions between equines and people, and gaining more in-depth experience in applying skills and principles learned during the Fundamentals Training and during readings, personal sessions, and consultations (see below). Specific themes will also be explored in greater depth, as well as particular contexts and specialty topics. These will depend on the needs of each group.

Practical Intensive 2 Pre-Requisites

Completion of the Fundamentals training and an initial Practical Intensive are required prior to attending a second Practical Intensive.

Participants attending their second Practical Intensive will have particular assignments to complete and present to the cohort. Depending on the participant, this may involve the presentation of a case study or a group workshop plan for guidance or refinement for use in their practice.

In any Practical Intensive may be a different combination of participants who are attending for the first or second time.

EQUUSOMA® Practitioner Designation

The following requirements are necessary to complete the training program and attain the designation of EQUUSOMA® Practitioner (ESP):

Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy/Learning Practitioners and Equine Professionals:

  • Have completed Fundamentals and 2 Practical Intensives.
  • Have completed at least 5 personal sessions of Somatic Experiencing® (in person or remote by video/phone) as a client. These sessions can be completed with or without the involvement of horses, and must be documented on the provided log sheet.
    • Traditional Somatic Experiencing® sessions: Can be completed in person, by phone or by video call with any Somatic Experiencing® Trauma Institute-approved providers worldwide. Visit the list of approved providers at https://traumahealing.org/session-providers/
    • Somatic Experiencing® sessions involving equines: Must be completed with EQUUSOMA®-approved providers. Download the list of approved providers for more details (if you know of someone who meets the criteria but is not listed, they must be pre-approved prior to completing your sessions with them).
    • Alternative: Attending a 2-day Somatic Experiencing®-focused EAPL workshop will be considered an equivalent for 5 hours of personal sessions.
  • A written assignment outlining your observations and reflections about your personal sessions and how this shapes your understanding of yourself, clients, equines, and your work. If the sessions do not involve equines, describe how you see yourself applying this learning to horses, clients and horse-human interactions.
  • 10 hours of consultation with an approved EQUUSOMA® consultation provider (you may discuss your cases or review concepts and material). Up to 3 hours can be done in group consultation format.
  • Case presentation or group workshop plan

Somatic Experiencing® Students and Practitioners:

  • Have completed Fundamentals and 2 Practical Intensives.
  • Have experienced at least 5 personal sessions of equine-assisted psychotherapy or learning as a client. These sessions can be completed from the perspective of any EAPL approach, and must be documented on the provided log sheet.
    • EAPL sessions: Can be completed from the perspective of one approach, or a combination of approaches, with one or different providers. These do not necessarily have to involve Somatic Experiencing®.
    • Somatic Experiencing® sessions involving equines: Must be completed with an EQUUSOMA®-approved provider. Download the list of approved providers for more details (if you know of someone who meets the criteria but is not listed, they must be pre-approved prior to completing your sessions with them).
    • Alternative: Attending a 2-day EAPL workshop will be considered an equivalent for 5 hours of personal sessions.
  • A written assignment outlining your observations and reflections about your personal sessions and how this shapes your understanding of yourself, clients, equines, and your work. If the sessions did not involve Somatic Experiencing®, describe how you see yourself applying what you learned to horses, clients, and horse-human interactions and compare and contrast the approach you experienced to EQUUSOMA®.
  • 10 hours of consultation with an approved EQUUSOMA® consultation provider (you may discuss your cases or review concepts and material). Up to 3 hours can be done in group consultation format.
  • Case presentation or group workshop plan

Other Health, Helping, Healing, Learning, and Coaching Professionals:

  • Have completed Fundamentals and 2 Practical Intensives.
  • Have completed at least 5 personal sessions of Somatic Experiencing® (in person or remote by video/phone) as a client. These sessions can be completed with or without the involvement of horses, and must be documented on the provided log sheet. Please see the details listed above for locating approved session providers. The sessions may occur with or without the involvement of equines.
  • Have experienced at least 5 personal sessions of equine-assisted psychotherapy or learning as a client (attendance at a 2-day group workshop will be considered as an alternative). These sessions or the workshop can be completed from the perspective of any EAPL approach (whether or not it is based in Somatic Experiencing®) and must be documented on the provided log sheet.
  • A written assignment outlining your observations and reflections about your personal sessions and how this shapes your understanding of yourself, clients, equines, and horse-human interactions.
  • 10 hours of consultation with an approved EQUUSOMA® consultation provider (you may discuss your cases or review concepts and material). Up to 3 hours can be done in group consultation format.
  • Case presentation or group workshop plan

Exceptions

  • Training participants who are concurrently registered and actively training in Somatic Experiencing® may count personal sessions and consultations done for Somatic Experiencing® towards the EQUUSOMA® required hours, provided that they align with the participant’s category requirements above. Consultation hours for completed for Somatic Experiencing® will only count towards EQUUSOMA® certificate hours if they focus on equines or horse-human interactions.
  • Please note: The reverse is not necessarily true. Individuals that have been approved as providers of sessions and consultations for EQUUSOMA® certificate hours may not necessarily also be approved by the Somatic Experiencing® Trauma Institute for its certificate requirements.  Please check with your selected providers to make sure.
  • The trainer reserves the right to add any additional requirements deemed necessary for students who may benefit from completing additional steps before conferring the ESP designation. The trainer also reserves the right to deny or delay completion of the certificate to individuals who require further support and development.  Completing all the steps is not an automatic guarantee that the certificate of completion and designation will be acquired.