Australian Community and Health Professionals Perceptions of Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy

P. Stapleton*, K. T. Grimmett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Mental health conditions are increasingly prevalent in the Australian population, and despite the large evidence-based support for contemporary treatments, there are barriers which inhibit their efficacy. Thus, there is a perceived need for therapists to consider other therapeutic options which have potential to enhance treatment outcomes. There is increasing acceptance for complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) among general practitioners and clients/general community. Specifically, more than 70% of Australians utilize CAM. Equine-assisted psychotherapy (EAP) is an underutilized, culturally sensitive, complementary therapy, which has the potential to mitigate barriers of conventional therapy. The present study aimed to determine the level of knowledge about and general acceptance of EAP as a treatment for general psychopathology symptomology within community members and health professionals. The current sample included 144 community members and 55 health professionals, all with Australian citizenship. Data analysis comprised the independent t-test and two hierarchical multiple regressions. Results indicated that community members are significantly more accepting of EAP as a treatment compared to health professionals. Of the predictors tested, higher social support and openness within community members were significant predictors of accepting perceptions, and rural location was the only significant predictor for health professional's accepting perceptions of EAP. This is one of the first studies to investigate perceptions of EAP outside the EAP field and through comparison between community members and health professionals. The current study identifies the need for future research to further investigate perceptions of EAP among Australian health professionals.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2217761
Number of pages16
JournalEvidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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