Welcome to Harnessing Wellness.
Harnessing Wellness psychology is a supportive psychological counselling service located in the beautiful Yarra Ranges. We offer face to face counselling, tele-health counselling options, and adjunct equine assisted therapy.
The psychologists and counselors working at Harnessing Wellness are registered with the Australia Health Practitioner Regulation Agency and other professional associations.
At Harnessing Wellness, we believe in offering solution-focused, practical evidence-based psychological interventions to support mental health and wellness. Our practitioners have experience working in rural and semi rural communities. Client confidentiality, privacy and emotional well-being are paramount at Harnessing Wellness.
For those interested in our Harnessing Wellness equine assisted therapy program, we are involved in collecting data for researching equine assisted therapy, which as an adjunct animal assisted therapy in its infancy in Australia. Currently there is little evidence-based research to support the efficacy of equine assisted therapy as its own therapy, so ongoing research by psychologists is important to validate working with horses in therapy. Anecdotal evidence, with psychological validated assessment tools, suggests equine assisted therapy can support some people.
Harnessing Wellness staff involved in using the scientist practitioner model in researching and offering equine assisted therapy, have refined horsemanship skills and have studied animal assisted interventions.
The horses and ponies that are included in Harnessing Wellness’s equine assisted therapy are well known to the facilitators and selected based on temperament. They have ongoing training, daily equine-human interaction and participate in learning activities. These equines like others will revert to their natural instincts to keep themselves safe and there are risks involved when working with horses.
COVID-19 and attending Harnessing Wellness Psychology
Harnessing Wellness is open and continuing to provide services to the community throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
We are providing in-person services in accordance with Victorian Government and professional bodies guidelines. We also have telephone and online telehealth services available. For the safety of our clients, families, team members, and the community, we have a COVID-19 safe plan in place which is reviewed following Victorian Government and professional body advice.
We are offering equine assisted psychology when it fits into the restriction and COVID-19 safe guidelines, some people have chosen to do the therapy online. Offering equine assisted therapy can be difficult due to adhering to social distancing regulations therefore we revise this regularly. Please contact us to discuss if we are able to offer equine assisted therapy at this time. Thank you for your understanding and consideration.
Equine Assisted Therapy - The Research
In 2010, Naomi was contracted to write and deliver an experiential, trauma-informed equine assisted therapy alternative to room based counselling for those affected by bushfires in Victoria. The before and after group psychological assessments were an increase in well-being and coping for the majority of participants in the eight week program. However, there is a need for continued research using the scientist practitioner model. Validated psychological assessment tools, with client permission, to assist in gathering this data is the way forward. Harnessing Wellness continues to explore equine assisted therapy as a potential adjunct therapy for psychological wellness for some people.
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As the staff at Harnessing Wellness are registered psychologists and trained in horsemanship, equine assisted psychology sessions are theoretically underpinned by psychological theory and evidence based interventions; Wellness theory; trauma sensitive practices and holistic horsemanship to support safe mental health and well-being.
Sessions are generally at liberty with the horses. This approach is a way of being, not a training method, and is about the presence, free choice, flow and communication between the horses and the participant. Equine-human interactions with our therapy horses and ponies offer lessons in mindfulness, self–respect, clear communication, connection, self-regulation and healthy boundary setting can be explored.
Harnessing Wellness EAP programs offer a practical psychological counselling option for individuals to participate in therapy emotionally, socially, physically and spiritually.
Psychology & Counselling
What thoughts and behaviours are no longer serving you well? Psychological counselling can provide an emotional safe place to explore challenges to improving mental health.
Psychological counselling via Telehealth
We offer Telehealth options for people who would prefer to access their psychologist and engage in counselling online.
Equine Assisted Therapy
Equine Assisted Therapy is an adjunct therapy for those who enjoy counselling outdoors in nature with horses.
Welcome to the Harnessing Wellness website! I’m Naomi, Clinical Director and registered Psychologist of Harnessing Wellness. I believe our work as psychologists is a privilege. Rapport with clients is the basis of the therapeutic process and without it harnessing wellness may be difficult.
I am a city-born psychologist, however have worked in semi rural and rural communities for almost a decade. The work settings I have gained experience in include disaster recovery, education, organisational psychology, and private practice. The variety of work has given me experience working with people suffering mental health symptoms from life events, grief and loss, domestic violence, bullying, workplace burnout and vicarious trauma. I love offering counselling to semi rural and rural community members.
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I believe in offering practical psychological evidence based interventions so people can apply these strategies in their daily life. Continuing education is of significant importance and I have advanced studies in Child and Family Development (certified by CCFD); Perinatal and Postnatal counselling; Disaster Recovery; Neuro-Linguistic Programming(NLP), Sensori- Motor Psychotherapy and I am currently training in Somatic Experiencing. Key interests of mine are psychological wellness, resilience, post trauma recovery and growth, attachment and research.
I am registered Psychologist with the Psychology Board of Australia; a member of the General Division of Psychological Practise; Australian Association of Psychologists Inc.; Crisis Intervention and Management Australasia (CIMA); and the International Association of Workplace Bullying and Harassment. The Co-founder and Director of the Equine Assisted Psychologists Association (EAPA), an organisation supporting registered psychologists offering Equine Assisted Psychology.
By Naomi Rossthorn
Happy the Very Sad Pony
Illustrated by Kev Howlett
Happy the Sad Pony delicately explores an honest approach for children to begin to learn and understand what depression is. The story follows Happy the Pony on a journey through his sadness, understanding his symptoms, discovering what he can do to help himself feel better and leaning from his herd buddies, Trigger, Bailey and Bob who are by his side.
By Naomi Rossthorn
Trigger the anxious horse
Illustrated by Kev Howlett
Trigger is a big strong horse that worries a lot. He worries about tigers eating him and the wind in the trees. Luckily, Trigger has Happy to talk to. Trigger learns that it’s normal to feel like he does and there are ways to help himself feel better.
Room based Psychological Counselling
Psychologists are trained in areas of human development, behavior and mental processes such as thinking, feeling and memory. Practical psychological counselling begins with talking about what is bothering you, and then exploring strategies to support you in these current challenges.
(Currently being offered as telehealth)
Harnessing Wellness offers telehealth options for our clients as we understand that sometimes you may not be able to attend an appointment in person. Telehealth services only require you to have a reliable internet connection and we can work remotely through your computer or mobile device.
Equine Assisted Therapy
The Equine Assisted Therapy program offered at Harnessing Wellness is developed and theoretically underpinned by positive psychology, wellness theory, trauma sensitive practices, mindfulness and holistic horsemanship. It is a skills-based program to support clients learn mindfulness, emotional regulation and coping strategies.
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Harnessing Wellness Psychology, Naomi Rossthorn and associates acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as Australia’s First People and the Traditional Custodians of the lands across Australia. We pay respect to Elders past, present and emerging.