Equine Assisted Therapy
So about a month ago I had was wondering what I wanted to do once I got out of high school since I am a senior this year and it came to me that my dream job would be working at a camp or farm that was based on EAT.
The more I research, the more excited I become. I've found colleges that have majors and minors for animal and human relations and I've decided that I want to major in psychology (I've always been interesting in majoring in this since I was a freshman.)
The main reasons I'm posting this is if anyone is in this field or knows how realistic this is as a job. There is alot of information of the internet and it seems like there is many different camps for abused or at risk youth.
After I finished my undergraduate degree I took a year out of academics, and worked as a horse handler for an Equine Assisted Psychotherapy program and also as a head camp counselor for the summer horse camp run by said EAP program. Some of the kids at the camp were just your standard horse crazy kids, but others had been sent on recommendations from Social Services. So it was of a slightly more therapeutic bent than your average horse camp, as my two bosses were PhD psychologists.
There are *some* universities which offer a bit of training in EAP. I know Naropa University in Boulder, CO includes, as part of its psych degree, courses in equine/wilderness therapy. I'm sure there are others around. Failing that, you may at some point be able to get a job like the one I had, handling the horse during sessions or working at a camp. In the latter, I taught riding and general horsemanship skills as you would at any camp and if a kid freaked out, my boss stepped in to deal with it.
Needless to say, to work in any kind of counseling capacity, you generally need a postgraduate degree. An undergraduate degree in psych doesn't get you very far in the field (I know! I have one!).
Funny you should ask...
This is what I am studying for!! :lol:
I am currently a Junior, and am pursuing a Bachelor's in Social Work. This way, I can work straight out of college. After that, I am going to obtain my Masters in Social Work, with an emphasis in Child and Family Counseling (this takes 10 months, since the BSW and MSW overlap)
After that, I am home free to get my licensing through EAGALA or NAHRA. They are the main accrediting bodies for this type of therapy.
Overall, this will probably take me about 3 more years, give or take. After I get my Masters, I can open my own agency or non-profit organization.
Oh and PS, I was a horse handler for a Hipportherapist for the past 5 years. Getting a job as a handler really is not a problem, but to be a counselor or therapist you need a degree. Psychology undergrads pretty much have to get their masters, whereas a BSW, like me, can work straight out of college as an undergrad. I cannot counsel, but I could work underneath a therapist as an advocate. The main reason I am going to get my Masters is to open my own place and to be a counselor and therapist, instead of working underneath one.
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