The Guided by Horses team is led by psychologist Amii Larsen who works with her herd of six special horses.
MMentHlthSc, BPsych(Hons), DipClinHyp
I am a psychologist with formal training in psychology, equine assisted psychotherapy, cognitive behavioural therapy and clinical hypnotherapy. I am a member of The Equine Psychotherapy Institute and the South Australian Society of Hypnosis. For eight years I have worked within a world-leading gambling therapy service, helping people overcome gambling addiction, anxiety disorders, depression and other conditions.
My journey with horses started at four years of age, having riding lessons until I was lucky enough to get my own pony. When I was seven, Morgan came into my life, and he was the best teacher I ever had in so many ways! Horses have been a source of great joy, peace and stability for me for most of my life. It is my hope to give others a chance to experience the great healing power of horses that I have known and for a long time I dreamed of bringing together my two greatest passions – horses and psychology. It is important to me to follow a model that has strong roots in psychological theory. In February 2015 I trained at the Equine Psychotherapy Institute and found a way of working with horses and people that felt like coming home.
Six beautiful horses complete the Guided by Horses team. Rommy, Neil, Marley and Toby are our ‘big’ horses, and Derek and Reggie are our ponies. Just like the people who come to work with them, all of our horses have a story. As you get to know each member of the herd, you will discover their unique personalities and get a sense of their past. Some have had very good lives, while others have known trauma before finding their way to us. People often find themselves feeling drawn to a horse, sometimes because of a ‘shared’ experience, or because the horse offers just what they need at the time.
To give you an example of why horses are perfect for this work, in 2016 our herd lost their leader, my dear old fellow, Lochie. They stood by him until he could be buried and for several days after. Horses grieve, just like people. To see them go through this confirmed why they are so wonderful at supporting people on their journeys to wellness. Horses are sensitive, intelligent and honest. They give feedback, express emotions, set boundaries and value their own well-being, and in doing so they teach us to do the same.