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

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 struggled to maintain the high stress of life as a big city lawyer, so spent her weekend working (recharging) as a Park Ranger at Manly Dam.

After motherhood, and searching for 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) working with many great Australian artists including Busby Marou, Tia Gostelow, Amy Shark, Glenn Richards (Augie March) & more. Again, Jane became frustrated by the overwhelming need for mental health issues to be addressed and supported within the industry - and her own mental health issues suppressed and bubbling underneath the surface.


Constantly drawn towards her deep connection with nature and animals, Jane moved her family from the city to a property overlooking the mountains in the stunning Tallebudgera Valley - where she began her own personal journey of self discovery and healing.

The therapeutic power of nature, art and animals inspired her to explore her vocation as a therapist. Jane began her deep dive into mental health completing her studies as a Counsellor specialised in Equine Assisted Therapy.  The Therapy Pod was founded in 2019, and her professional development deepened with further studies in trauma informed sandplay and symbol work, followed by Somatic Attachment Focused Expressive Therapies.

Jane is a neurodivergent therapist (counsellor / psychotherapist ) with lived experience in C-PTSD, major depressive disorder, ADHD, autism (PDA profile), dyslexia, dyscalculia, addiction, separation and chronic pain (fibromyalgia & osteoarthritis).  She is a mother to three remarkable neurodivergent children (a tween and teens) and caretaker of 7 horses, 8 llamas, 3 goats, 2 dogs, 3 cats, 2 guinea pigs, a blue tongue lizard, a couple of chooks and a pink cockatoo.

For decades, in various capacities, Jane has worked with vulnerable clients. Her special interests lie in trauma and neurodiversity.

Jane describes her therapeutic process as:

  • relational (with the self, therapist and the animals), creating safety and building rapport in the therapeutic relationship;

  • overlayed with the lens of attachment theory, helping people create security in their attachments;

  • emotion focused and client-centered, working with clients to connect with their emotions and to feel safe to express them (often using creative arts or expressive therapy);

  • somatic / body based approach, focusing on nervous system regulation and creating felt sense of safety in the body.

 

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.

 
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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.

 
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Mohjoe

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Pedro

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Taco

Big day at #thetherapypod today for the

Megsie

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Diana

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Casper

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Zuri

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Occy

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Hermine Pickles

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Splodge

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Wayne

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Joey

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Captain Jack

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Genevieve & Isaac

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Dave

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Cthulhu

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Simpson

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Patch