Equine Assisted Therapy

Equine-assisted therapy uses the inherent nature of horses to amplify and assist traditional psychotherapy techniques, improving self-awareness, self-efficacy and emotion regulation,while decreasing depression and anxiety.

Horses are highly attuned to their environment in order to ensure their safety, which is what makes them intuitive and emotionally sensitive to the slightest gesture, body posture or tension, tone of voice, or glance that we humans may unknowingly communicate. Their responses to our non-verbal behaviors and feelings have the potential to teach us how we unknowingly impact those around us.

The issue of boundaries also arises when dealing with the horse’s size and power. Horses have clear boundaries, which they assert freely with each other and with us. Learning to attune to a horse’s subtle and sometimes not so subtle boundary cues has the potential to further increase awareness of one’s own physical and emotional boundaries. The ability to clearly and congruently communicate with a horse can be quite empowering and can cultivate a sense of self-efficacy that extends into other areas of one’s life.

PHD doctoral candidate Nicole Aukerman leads all of the equine therapy sessions at High Horse Malibu. Nicole has been an avid equestrian for over two decades. Early on in her career she worked as a trail guide where she repeatedly saw the therapeutic benefits being with horses had on people. She noticed their confidence and sense of self would blossom during the three-
hour trail guides she led them on. She adopted her own horse in her early 2000’s and experienced first-hand the dual healing and transformative relationship that could develop between human and equines. This inspired her to go back to school for psychology to try and understand what was causing these shifts towards greater well-being that she had both witnessed and experienced.

Nicole received her MA in Clinical psychology and is completing her formal internship of her doctorate program from Antioch University in Santa Barbara. Nicole also holds a certificate in Eco Psychology and is passionate about Eco Therapy i.e., utilizing nature and animals to facilitate healing and awaken our authentic selves.

For booking and inquiries, please call 505-930-0658 or email nicoleauckerman@gmail.com