Why Equine-Assisted Therapy?
Horses are healing animals who can bring about change in a person with little effort. Horses reflect back to us what we are projecting to the world through our behaviors.
The sessions consist of completing non-riding tasks with the horses as a skilled masters level therapist guides them through the healing process.
Why Animal-Assisted Therapy?
Animals can create an environment of safety where some clients don’t feel safe. Sephira and Breeze, the therapy dogs are gentile companions who offer extra support in therapy sessions.
Some clients lay with the dogs during the entire session as this makes it easier for them to talk more openly. Some help train the dogs to do new tasks which helps to build confidence. Sephira can be a bit anxious at times and it helps if the clients see how she comforts herself so they can better learn to self-soothe.
Horses are prey animals so they have to be able to read people’s (predator) feelings in order to stay alive. In the wild horses read predator’s feelings so they can tell if a nearby predator is hungry or not otherwise, they would not be able to survive.
Horses are sensitive creatures so they reflect back what social signals we send as humans. This helps the client to know what messages they are sending to others and provides the client with some insight to help reduce their distress.
For example, if a zebra needed to replenish itself at a watering hole in Africa it would need to know if the nearby predators are hungry or not. Once the predators are full the zebra is able to go to the watering hole with little danger.
Horses are congruent animals and if a human is incongruent or faking an emotion (acting happy when they are sad) the horse will not let the human come near them. This incongruence sends off an uncertainty which could put the horse at risk so they withdraw.
Jacqueline Lauko (Johnson), NCC, MC, LPC is the founder of this practice.
Jacqueline is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a National Certified Counselor who uses her own individual model of equine assisted psychotherapy called The Icarus Model™. She currently conducts research with colleagues to show the effectiveness of equine-assisted psychotherapy to improve her practice model. She specializes in sensory processing, ADHD, Autism and Anxiety in children and young adults. She practices neurodiverse affirmative therapy.
Jacqui developed a passion for working with children at a young age. She worked with Autistic children in the North Carolina school system where she helped to design a program for them so they could be integrated with general ed classes. Her dream was to incorporate children with animals as a way to heal from mental illness and life stressors. She is a passionate individual who will go above and beyond for her clients.
Jacqui has been counseling children and young adults since 2011 in Arizona, and has been working with horses since 1999. She started out riding for pleasure and then turned it into a career through offering riding lessons and horse training. Jacqui has been a member of several animal rescues since 2004 and has been studying animal behavior since she was in high school. Jacqui was initially trained in EAGALA (Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association) and has attended some Eponaquest workshops. Recently trained in the Equid Nexus model which pairs horses with Internal Family Systems.
She is a board approved licensed clinical supervisor who runs an East Valley Mental Health group for professionals. She was also the head social worker at the largest freestanding inpatient psychiatric facility. She is an empath which helps her to understand her clients a bit faster and really help them progress in a way that fits them best. She has a passion for treating people who have physical limitations due to medical conditions as she herself has EDS (Ehler Danlos Syndrome) which has impacted her ability to train and ride horses as often as she would like. She has overcome much of her limited mobility by utilizing positive psychology, daily yoga and homeopathic remedies. She is a fighter and refused to let this diagnosis ruin her passion to be active both riding horses, swimming and hiking. This has pushed her to be an even stronger therapist and advocate for her clients who have been given undesirable labels.
This state-of-the-art facility is located in a private setting which includes 8-9 ft high block fencing all around to ensure as much confidentiality as possible when working outside with the animals. There is also a coded gate to ensure the property is secure and there are no unauthorized visitors. Jacqui personally designed the barn and arena to fit the needs of the horses and clients so they can be comfortable in all weather conditions. There is an air-conditioned office and clean bathroom on site.
She sees healing as a holistic process which is why she consults with a team of naturopathic doctors, psychiatrists and personal trainers who are available for consults. She is trained in CMHIMP which integrates natural remedies and nutrition in treatment to achieve the desired results. Treating the entire body and ensuring everything is in balance is imperative to healing psychologically. Bemer (PEMF) therapy is also used in sessions for no additional cost. This therapy is used all over the world to promote stress relief, anxiety reduction, cellular detox and improved sleep. Some techniques Jacqui uses are clinical hypnosis, play therapy, eco therapy, art therapy and mindfulness.
Here at Skye Therapy we have a parenting program consisting of meeting with the child/teen alone for 3 sessions with the 4th session being with the parents alone. This model of therapy has the fastest outcome because we partner with your parenting style to improve your child’s behaviors and reduce symptoms. We also suggest proven parenting books that are easy to follow and provide real life examples. Jacqui ensures the family is involved in every step and stays in close contact via email in between sessions.
Licensure: I am licensed by the Board of Behavioral Health in the state of Arizona LPC-15857. Please feel free to verify my license through Arizona State Board of Behavioral Health Examimers
Interview: CanvasRebel – Meet Jacqui Lauko
Interview: Voyage Phoenix Internview
Interview: Bold Journey
As a young girl, horses helped me build confidence and determine what I wanted to do with my life. My horses have pushed me to overcome traumas and interpersonal struggles in my own life. I would like to share their healing power with others.
– Jacqueline Lauko, NCC, MC, LPC
Skye Stables for Jacqui’s services
Elliot Rd & Linsday Rd
PO Box 1456
Gilbert, AZ 85299-1456
Wed: Erin/Sarah 3:00-7:00
Fri: 3:00-6:15 (groups only)
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