Animal Assisted Psychotherapy TRAINING


Training and Certification in Animal Assisted Psychotherapy & Animal Assisted Learning

animal therapy logo

Welcome to Animal Assisted Psychotherapy Training
(AAP Training)

Animal therapy certification courses

A Proud Initiative of The Equine Psychotherapy Institute from the qualified and experienced training team who developed the first uniquely Australian Model of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy, Training and Certification pathway over 10 years ago, now proudly delivering a sophisticated psychotherapy model of AAP and AAL to improve the standards of training and practice in Animal Assisted Interventions across Australia.

Demand is increasing for ethical and professional animal assisted psychotherapy (AAP) and animal assisted learning (AAL) practitioners. The word is spreading about the power of  animal therapy, and people are looking for skillful animal assisted psychotherapists.

Animal therapy certification is an innovative way to support social-emotional learning, facilitate personal development, deliver coaching and complementary therapies.


Are you ready to provide skillful, ethical and professional AAP and AAL services to your clients?

Who is this Practitioner Training Designed for?

animal assisted therapy training


Are you passionate about Animals and how they support learning, growth, change and healing?

Are you a Psychologist looking to include animal therapy into your psychological services?

Are you a Social Worker looking to support more difficult to reach clients effectively?

Are you a Counsellor or Psychotherapist passionate about change for clients, and deeply connected to animals?

Are you a Teacher, Educator, Coach, Youth worker, Animal Specialist/trainer or Complementary therapist looking to offer innovative services with the power of the human-animal bond?

This animal assisted Training and Certification Program is designed especially for you

What We Teach

Animal assisted therapy courses

Animal Assisted Psychotherapy students

learn to be experiential psychotherapists and practice psychotherapy…with animals. This requires very specialist understanding of psychotherapy theory, knowledge, skill and methodology. We teach you our AAP Training model of psychotherapy, including unique theory of change, psychotherapy theory, principles and methodology to support you to offer effective psychotherapy with children and adults.

Animal Assisted Learning students

learn about the power of relationally-based experiential learning to foster engagement, growth and learning…with animals. This requires very specialist knowledge, skill and application. We teach you our AAP Training model of experiential learning, and the principles, theory and practice skills you need to offer animal assisted education, animal assisted activities, animal assisted learning (including personal development, and social emotional learning).

AAP Training features Horses, Cats, Dogs and Rabbits

Giving you diversity in your training experience to learn and apply animal therapy (AAP & AAL) with different species, in indoor and outdoor settings, and, to explore environmental enrichment for different animals.


What you Learn and How it is Delivered

You learn the what and the how in our 15-day Animal Assisted Training and Certification program, delivered via four, five-day Intensives.

Animal Assisted Psychotherapy and Animal Assisted Learning is inherently experiential and complex, and unfortunately cannot be trained on the internet!

Our rigorous on-site education, training, and continuing professional development programs will support you to develop your practice in a way that serves you, your animals and your clients very well!

Scope of Practice

We address the scope of practice issues in AAP and AAL, and how this sits within the international context of IAHAIO, the International Association for Human-Animal Interaction Organisations white paper discussion and definitions of animal assisted interventions.

Specialise with Your Species of Choice

Students can specialise their animal therapy practice in training discussions and projects with a variety of other animals including goats, cows, sheep, pigs, guinea pigs, mice, rats or chickens.


Why Animal Assisted Psychotherapy Training?

You are in excellent hands!

The founder Meg Kirby, trained Psychotherapist and registered Mental Health Social Worker of over 20 years, pioneered the first uniquely Australian model of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (Animal Assisted Psychotherapy with Horses) and Equine Assisted Learning (Animal Assisted Learning with Horses) in 2011, which has become internationally renowned and revered.

Students travel from far abroad – Russia, Poland, England, Denmark, Holland, United States, Canada, New Zealand, and of course, all states of Australia to train and certify with the Equine Psychotherapy Institute. The Institute is renowned for training in-depth psychotherapy processes, that are deeply relational, trauma-informed, ethical and uncompromising in its stance on animal welfare.

Our Animal Assisted Psychotherapy Training and Certification benefits from previous learning and experience in delivering training to hundreds and hundreds of students from across the globe. Our AAP Training course curriculum is very broad and comprehensive, and, in-depth. You will be introduced to psychotherapy principles, theory and practice across humanistic, psychodynamic and play therapy approaches, and, you will be experiencing and practicing all the micro-skills and key learning areas unique to AAP Training. This is not a knowledge-based program. This is not a training-animals based program. You will learn new theory and knowledge and you will learn about animal behaviour and ethical animal training, only as it relates very specifically to psychotherapy and experiential learning.

Our AAP Training model is relational, trauma-informed, awareness-based, inherently creative and expressive, and based on neuroscience. It applies equally well with children and adults, and, across clinical groups and the general population. Most significantly, our AAP Training model of animal assisted therapy (AAP & AAL) can be applied to include many diverse animals.

Students will be exposed to, and will be learning with horses, dogs, cats and rabbits. Students will also have the opportunity to specialise their animal therapy practice with goats, cows, sheep, rats, mice, guinea-pigs, pigs, just to name a few!

Our Faculty live, breathe, love and learn with animals, and are passionate about how animals, and being in relationship with animals, can support us to learn about ourselves, life and the natural world. Being in relationship with animals can support health, well-being, growth and healing in unique and wonderful ways.

Join our community, and step into your dream practice – combining your love of animals and desire to help people heal, grow, develop and change.

Overview Training and Certification

Animal Assisted Psychotherapy / Animal Assisted Learning Practitioner Training & Certification

15 days (120 hours) On-site
3 – 5 Day Intensives

TRAINING Dates – currently postponed / under review
  • September 7-11
  • October 5-9
  • Nov 2-6

Venue 459 Telegraph Rd, Mt Prospect (Daylesford area), Victoria, Australia

Training Fees $1500 AU plus gst per 5 Day Intensive (Upfront payment – $4200 plus gst)

Certification Requirements Post training, you will be supported to submit – an integration paper after each Intensive, Open book exam at completion of intensives, animal-based project and short video, and, attend five online supervision sessions over duration of training (within 12 month period).

Overview of Core Curriculum Learning Areas

AAP Training Core Curriculum Areas

  • Introduction to AAP and AAL
  • Animals and the Human-Animal Bond
  • Psychotherapy
  • AAP Introduction and AAPI Theory
  • AAP/ AAL Environment and Setting
  • AAP / AAL Practice and Interventions
  • Trauma, Neuroscience and AAP/ AAL
  • Ethics
  • Business
  • Program Evaluation

Core Curriculum Learning Areas / Description

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