The Pod Community

“We don't heal in isolation, but in community.”
― S. Kelley Harrell, Gift of the Dreamtime - Reader's Companion

Equine Mental Health Practitioners work both individually and collaboratively (with either horses, llamas or other humans) at The Therapy Pod offering a variety of services.  Each individual brings different skills and energy with interests lying in different areas.

"I know there is strength in the differences between us. I know there is comfort, where we overlap."

- Ani DiFranco 


This page provides information about both the human and animal members of The Pod Community.

 
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Jane Ashton

Equine Assisted Therapy Gold Goast | Founded The Therapy Pod in 2019

Jane started her career studying a double degree in Law and Environmental Science. It was in her capacity as a solicitor running the Pro Bono Scheme for the Law Society of NSW that Jane felt frustrated at her inability to assist clients with their mental health issues and watched vulnerable clients fall through the cracks in the system.   During this period of her life, Jane dealt with the high stress of life as a big city lawyer, by working (recharging) on her weekends as a Park Ranger at Manly Dam.

After motherhood, and looking for a change Jane made the move from law to the music industry and co-founded Footstomp Music (alongside her husband - a veteran in the music industry). Again, Jane became frustrated by the overwhelming need for mental health issues to be addressed and supported within the industry.

Jane moved her family from the city to a home overlooking the mountains in the stunning Tallebudgera Valley and began her own journey of self discovery and healing. The therapeutic power of nature, art and animals inspired her to explore her vocation as a therapist.

Jane finally followed her true passion and in 2017\2018 studied with Jane Faulkner at Equine Assisted Therapy Australia  to complete a diploma of counselling specialised in Equine Assisted Therapy.

Passionate about ensuring the industry is ethical, safe and well respected within the medical/mental health community, Jane became part of the small group of founding members that established the Equine Facilitated Mental Health Association of Australia in 2018.


In 2019 Jane launched Equine Assisted Therapy Gold Coast and the 'The Therapy Pod', a small cabin nestled among the trees on her Tallebudgera Valley property on the Gold Coast hinterland. She has a herd of 4 therapy horses and 12 llamas.


Jane has worked for many years with vulnerable clients. Her practice is trauma informed, somatic and experiential, integrating a variety of counselling skills and techniques from a range of modalities including gestalt, art therapy, mindfulness and counselling.

 

Neisha Cass

Neisha Cass Counselling + Equine Assisted Therapy

Neisha is a qualified counsellor whose practice is somatic, experiential and trauma informed drawing upon theories and techniques from gestalt, counselling, mindfulness and her experience working with vulnerable clients.


Neisha’s passion for helping others stems from her own experience dealing with trauma, fatigue and burnout.  As a mother of twin boys juggling a corporate career she understands how full life can be.


Struggling to get results with traditional talk therapy she looked deeper into what was possible and discovered body based Counselling and Equine Assisted Therapy. This type of somatic healing looks into what is causing pain or distress in your life, helping you to get clearer about who you are and what you need.


After falling in love with this way of making emotional changes she left her corporate career to study Counselling and Equine Assisted Therapy. This has allowed her to offer the same powerful support to others so they can achieve outcomes they didn’t think were possible, both in a room based counselling environment and outside with the horses supporting the client in the session.


Neisha provides a warm and safe space for her clients to share their stories and build self-confidence, create awareness and acceptance, rediscover their strengths, and work toward positive change across all aspects of their life.

 

Tracey Johnson

My psychotherapy career began at Lifeline as a volunteer telephone counsellor in 2003.  I enjoyed counselling so much I trained as a facilitator and later a supervisor. At the time Lifeline offered counsellors many short courses in therapeutic modalities such as NLP, Art therapy, Focusing and EFT Tapping. I did every course I could and also studied my Diploma in Community Welfare Work/Counselling.

In addition to traditional study, I completed courses in Reiki (Reiki Master) and Meditation.

In 2008 I suddenly started having anxiety and panic attacks. I couldn’t eat. I could barely swallow and I lost a great deal of weight. I was overwhelmed by everything. This experience forced me to stop and focus on getting myself well. I had spent so long learning how to help others. This was the time to put all my learning into practice, to help myself. I journaled, I did art therapy, Reiki and had therapy. I was diagnosed with PTSD - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

It took a good 2 years before I could start eating again. I found, through those years, a great deal of support came from my family, friends and animals - my dogs and my horses especially. I spent many hours just sitting with them, and receiving their unconditional love.

This experience has taught me the importance of self care, boundaries and giving ourselves time and space. Discovering and developing resources, support  and a holistic approach with a somatic (body based) focus is worked for me. 

I went on to complete a Bachelor of Counselling and Masters in Gestalt Therapy. I have also trained in Family Constellation Therapy and Sandplay Therapy. 

I have begun my offical  Equine Assisted Therapy training.

 

Taco (Tarquin)

Highland Pony | Gelding | 17 years

Taco is a solid grounded presence that can beautifully hold space with clients. Very calm horse to work with, he adores a good brush down and engaging with people. Taco is the leader of our therapy herd.

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Megsie

Mini Pony | Mare | 21 years

This spunky little pocket rocket holds her own with the big horses in the herd.  An independent little character ready for adventure. Megsie is the oldest of the herd and has been with us the longest.

Mohjoe

Clydesdale  x  | Gelding | 14 years old

Mohjoe, the sensitive gentleman of the herd, is quiet, kind, responsive and soft.  He places great value on the connection with the others in the herd, yet maintains a strong sense of self.

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Pedro

Unknown | Gelding | 7 years old

Pedro, the baby of the herd, is an intelligent, curious, playful and beautiful natured pony.  He is completely blind in one eye, due to an accident in a fence as a foal. Pedro's breed is remains a mystery as his mother was a rescue pony, and gave birth after she was taken into care.

 

More pod community members (llamas & humans)  still to be uploaded to this page.
Thank you for your patience.