IAHAIO 2021 Conference

  • Day one: Saturday 25 September

Symposium: Animal-Assisted Psychotherapy – It’s all about the Relationships: Four Perspectives, Meg Kirby, Jo Frasca, Katarina Lundgren and Nancy Parish-Plass

This symposium brings together four experts from around the world in the field of animal-assisted psychotherapy, all steeped in theory, training and practice in the field. Whereas they all recognize the critical role for the therapy process of the numerous relationships occurring in the AAP setting, they each place their unique emphasis on those relationships. In this symposium, attendees will be exposed to these emphases and then invited to participate, together with the presenters, in an ensuing dialogue.
Based in Relational Gestalt Psychotherapy and Somatic-based Trauma Therapy, Meg Kirby will present her approach to Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy in which clients experience and explore relationships with horses and therapist as a “live experiment” in which clients experience safe, mutually beneficial and aware relationships, leading to positive therapy outcomes. Meg presents a model in which the role of the horse and animal, as well as the relationships developed in the EAP/ AAP setting, serves as a change-agent that advances the psychotherapy process.
Jo Frasca will discuss how animals in the psychotherapy environment can play the role as a ‘bridge’ from the unconscious to the conscious, from the dissociated to the experienced, from the intrapsychic to the interpersonal, to form a new version of relational psychoanalytic practice, leading to the symbolizing of relational capacity, therapeutic breakthrough and intrapsychic change.
Coming from an intersubjective approach towards Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy, Katarina Felicia Lundgren will discuss how interaffectivity (leading to a feeling of being understood), interattentionality (sharing attention and preparing to act together, and interintentionality (leading to the ability to take another’s perspective and negotiate) between client, horse, horse practitioner and therapist in their relationships with each other (with emphasis on relationships with the horse) enhance the therapy process.
Nancy Parish-Plass will present an approach to psychotherapy in which the presence of a variety of animals, each with their own unique personality, creates a laboratory of relationships which enhances the relational aspects of psychodynamic psychotherapy for children and provides unique opportunities for working through emotional issues, reaching insight, change, and practicing new behavior and cognitions. She will also touch upon the implications of neurobiological aspects of the human-animal bond for the AAP process.

Meg Kirby

Meg Kirby (BA, MASW, Dip Gestalt Therapy) is a psychotherapist, mental health social worker, principal trainer. She is founder of The Equine Psychotherapy Institute (EPI), the EPI model of EAP and EAL, Animal Assisted Psychotherapy and Learning (AAP/ AAL)
She is author of:
– An Introduction to Equine Assisted Psychotherapy: Principles, Theory, and Practice of the Equine Psychotherapy Institute Model
– Equine Therapy Exposed: Real life case studies of equine assisted psychotherapy and equine assisted learning with everyday people and horses

Jo Frasca

Jo Frasca (BSocSc CTA) is a psychotherapist in private practice in Sydney, Australia, working with adults, adolescents and couples. She is co-editor of Animals as the Third in Relational Psychotherapy and author of Delving Deeper: Understanding diverse approaches while exploring psychotherapy.

Katarina Felicia Lundgren

Katarina Lundgren (MA (Cognitive Science) student, BA, BA, EP, TSM Instructor) is a researcher, author, facilitator and educator in equine-assisted interventions and equine welfare in Sweden. She is also CEO and Board Chairperson of the MiMer Centre – Equine-Human Education and Research Centre.

Nancy Parish-Plass

Nancy Parish-Plass (BA, MA (SW), Cert. AAP, Cert. Advanced Psychotherapy Studies) is a
AAP psychotherapist and social worker in various welfare institutions (retired) with a specialty in developmental trauma. She is founding and current chairperson of the IAAAP – Israeli Association of Animal-Assisted Psychotherapy, a member of Editorial Board – HABRI Central, has a private AAP practice with children, is a researcher and author of journal articles and chapters and editor of Animal-Assisted Psychotherapy: Theory, Issues, and Practice.