Deepen Your Learning, Advance Your Skills, Grow and Explore — Together
Join Leif Hallberg’s Master(ing) Class – A not-to-be missed opportunity to study, learn, and grow with one of the leading experts in the equine-assisted mental health (EAMH) and equine-assisted learning (EAL) industry.
The concept of a Master Class is about dedication to raising the bar, investing in your own personal and professional growth, and doing it together – in community. You don’t need to be an expert, or bring years of experience. Rather, Master Class participants are committed to the process of learning – and seek to share a challenging, rewarding, and safe personal and professional growth experience with other like-minded and passionate individuals.
The Master Class is an intensive nine-month+ course of study that is delivered through a mix of distance learning, in-person intensive workshops, and group support and supervision. The course integrates sound clinical or educational skills with self-awareness training, mindfulness practices, and equine knowledge — all the while deepening our connections to self, others, and the natural world.
Aligned with the American Counseling Association’s Animal-Assisted Therapy in Counseling Competencies, this course provides a foundation for the training, education, and supervision needed to offer this emerging speciality area of practice.
The learning objectives and assignments required throughout this course provide students with a framework to continually assess and reassess their level of mastery in the various areas of competency outlined by the American Counseling Association’s Animal-Assisted Therapy in Counseling document. But, it is important to remember that this is a life-long process that will continue well beyond the scope of this (or any) course.
What is especially unique about this course is that it does not teach a specific model or manualized series of activities. Instead, Leif works directly with each student to develop their own distinctive offering – one that fits their personalities, professional orientations, and client populations.
Upon successful completion of this course, students receive a Letter of Attainment which details the areas of skill development addressed in this course and/or a Certification of Completion.
This course is considered one step in a process of mastery. Additional training and supervision is available to those who have completed this course.
This class combines four key core components which are delivered over approximately a 9-month period using a combination of learning platforms including a virtual classroom, monthly video calls, and in-person intensives*.
This Master Class is a practice in self-directed learning that is guided and supported by five required learning modules created around content from these areas:
- Theoretical foundations of EAMH/EAL including understanding the differences between EAMH and EAL and their applications.
- Self as provider – Exploring personal and professional competencies.
- Clinical intentionality and treatment planning to include EAMH/EAL, or lesson planning to include horses in education, coaching, or personal/professional development.
- Session planning and activity design as it relates to treatment or learning plan goals and various populations or conditions.
- Use of different techniques to promote self-awareness, interoception and proprioception, self-regulation, and social/relationship skills.
- Equine ethology and equitation science principles as applied to EAMH/EAL.
- Equine care, welfare, and safety practices for human-equine interactions.
- Horse as a therapeutic presence – understanding the ethics of appropriating animals for human wellbeing.
- Business acumen – developing a business model, writing a business plan, crafting a sustainable and realistic budget, creating services, attracting clients, and RUNNING A BUSINESS.
- Referral and collaboration strategies.
- Practice ethics, standards, safety.
Each learning module includes an overview of the content, learning objectives, reading materials, and written and hands-on assignments. Students will be asked to complete assignments based upon the schedule and deadlines, turning work into Leif for review before posting for peer review and feedback. Some assignments involve small group work, while others are completed individually.
Facebook Group & Peer Support/Feedback
Throughout the Master Class you will be asked to engage in productive, constructive, and supportive group dialog using the Master Class Facebook page. Learning together in community is one of the most important facets of this Master Class group. The Master Class Facebook group is where Leif will post the learning modules as well as other topics for discussion. The expectation is that all Master Class participants will contribute to group discussions at least once per week throughout Master Class, and will respond to both other group members posts as well as Leif’s assignments or posts. Participants will also use this Facebook group to ask questions and report progress related to learning assignments and hands-on activities.
Monthly Group Supervision Calls
The Master Class group gathers once per month (sometimes more often dependent upon content and student availability) via video call for live content delivery, support, and discussion. During these calls, you will have the chance to build deep relationships, ask tons of questions, present assignments, discuss challenges, and generally engage in “learning together in community”.
There are two required in-person intensives during the Master Class. These experiences allow students to come together to learn and share, and advance their skills and knowledge. Students are expected to present material they are working on, facilitate sessions for their fellow students, and engage in their own self-growth work. Master Class students are instrumental in figuring out the logistics of these in-person intensives, ensuring the location and timing supports the group’s learning journey.
*Given COVID-related travel restrictions and limitations to travel, the requirements for in-person intensives has been waived until further notice.
The following are not included in the Master Class tuition, but are strongly recommended, and in some cases, may be required for successful completion of this course of study.
Individual Consultation or Supervision
It is highly recommended that individuals consider individual consultation or clinical supervision during the Master Class. In some cases this may be a requirement.
Personal Therapy or Self-Growth Work
During the Master Class, it is strongly recommended that students participant in at least three individual EAMH or EAL sessions as clients, and engage in ongoing personal growth work (TBD on an individual basis).
Master Class students may be asked to complete additional coursework related to horse skills, equine ethology, or equitation science based upon experience and prior knowledge. Additional hours of hands-on equine experience may also be required.
Who Should Attend?
This group is open to all, regardless of model or approach, and supports the variety of training programs available by enhancing provider competency and offering participants a broad and inclusive view of the industry.
However, there are a few important questions to ponder when considering applying for the Master Class:
- Are you a self-directed learner? If not, are you willing/interested in developing this skill?
- Do you have experience with distance learning? If not, are you willing/interested in developing this skill?
- How comfortable are you with group process?
- Are you willing to do your own personal growth work?
- Can you commit time and energy towards the course assignments, group interactions, and self-growth work?
The most important feature of a Master Class participant is commitment – to your own learning and growth, to the group process, and to the betterment of this industry as a whole. Contributions from all group members form the rich tapestry that makes this an exceptional and life-changing journey — therefore 100% participation is required.
Typically, Master Class students should expect to spend between 2-5 hours per week on assignments, group discussions, and outside of class learning.