equine assisted psychotherapy

Cornerstone is the only counselling and psychotherapy practice in Norfolk County to offer equine assisted psychotherapy. Registered Psychotherapist Brady Hutchinson partners with equine professional Diane Darby to offer professional mental health services that include horses.

  • Operating year-round at a privacy facility just minutes from Waterford
  • $165 (including HST) for a 50-minute session
  • Covered by many private insurance plans (verify coverage for counselling or psychotherapy with a Registered Psychotherapist)
  • Tax deductible as a medical expense
  • Free for clients funded by Veterans Affair Canada (VAC), Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), Victim Quick Response Program (VQRP), and First Nations and Inuit clients funded through Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB), Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG), and Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support (IRS RHSP) programs.

Cornerstone's equine program is based on The Natural Lifemanship Institute's trauma-focused and relationship-based approach to equine assisted psychotherapy. Natural Lifemanship believes a good principle is a good principle, regardless of where it is applied. This means that everything we do with the horses is 100 percent transferrable to our relationships with people. Natural Lifemanship teaches that regardless of task or activity, connection is always the goal. This keeps our work focused on healing relational traumas and building secure attachment. In the Natural Lifemanship method, if it's not good for both, it's eventually not good for either and healing at the expense of another is not true healing. This keeps us all accountable for the welfare of our horses, both in and out of session, while also teaching our clients to ask for what they need, because connection is predicated on a request.  This approach is trauma-informed, meaning it is based on modern neuroscience and promotes better self-regulation through bottom-up regulation. The rhythmic, patterned, and repetitive movement of the horse is often used to help clients better regulate themselves or process traumas, which is one of the reasons Natural Lifemanship believes in the therapeutic benefits of mounted work as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. All mounted work is optional and may not be suitable for all clients.

Cornerstone's equine assisted psychotherapy is always provided by a three-part team consisting of mental health professional, equine professional, and one or more horses. Brady Hutchinson is a Registered Psychotherapist trained in two models of equine assisted psychotherapy: Natural Lifemanship and EAGALA. Diane Darby is an equine professional with over 40 years' experience as a rider, competitor, coach and owner of Mahogany Bay Stables.

Brady Hutchinson, RP & Bryn
Brady Hutchinson, RP & Bryn
Diane Darby, Equine Professional & Austin
Diane Darby, Equine Professional & Austin

Next steps...

If you're interested in participating in equine assisted psychotherapy, please schedule your first appointment in-office with Brady Hutchinson. If you would prefer to skip the office and complete your intake at the barn, please contact us to make an appointment.