Equine and Art Therapy for Foster Carers

21 January 2020

We are bringing carers together for equine and art therapy and the results have been truly inspiring.

Image: An intensive foster carer shares a moment with a therapy horse

Caitlin and Kay from our out-of-home-care Team in Queensland, have created a pilot program that is seeing strong results with our Specialist Intensive Foster Carers.

‘Becoming Together’ is a program designed to bring together foster carers once a month for group equine and art therapy allowing them to build upon their emotional resilience and be supported by others who have walked in their shoes.

Over a four hour workshop, the carers discuss their shared experience, learn new coping strategies, explore their feelings through art and interact with the horses at the property. The program is run by two qualified art therapists, an equine therapist and a counsellor. The feedback from the carers involved has been overwhelmingly positive.

Image: Carers working on art project

Janine* noted that while they started off as strangers, the group quickly changed to be so much more.

“Over the months a very special bond has formed between us. We have seen and shared our vulnerabilities, fears, and joy, accompanied at times with laughter and tears. As a single woman foster carer sometimes I feel so alone but I am not alone here.”

Janine, Specialist Foster Carer

Image: Carers interact with horses while they connect and share their stories with the group

Another specialist foster carer Abbey, found the group helped her to become more aware of how she responds to situations. “I am [now] aware of my own triggers and emotional responses to life and my young person. Lately I have noticed I am more aware of the importance of taking a breath and scanning my own awareness before responding.”

Carer David* really appreciated the trust built in the group.

“What we do together is a big risk and everyone respects that”

David, Specialist Foster Carer

“I am learning so much about my emotions and the affect they can have on others. I didn’t think I could be writing poetry and doing art but it shows me things I didn’t know.”

*Names changed for privacy reasons.