Maja always loved animals and dreamed of having horses in her life, but it wasn’t until her daughter became obsessed with horses from an early age that made it all happen. Attending pony clubs, school holidays programs and watching hours of riding lessons for years ultimately meant that she needed to find her daughter her very own horse. This search led to finding Dusty, an off-the-track 16.2h thoroughbred, an unlikely first horse for an 11-year-old girl learning to ride.
Watching the love affair develop for her daughter, and the entire family with Dusty was so inspiring that it led Maja to begin researching the horse human relationship and marvel at the wonders of this deeply healing and personal growth promoting process. Of course, this led to finding another horse called Charlie, also an off-the-track thoroughbred, to be a “friend” for Dusty and become Maja’s own horse, which she inevitably shares with her daughter, and son who also rides.
Maja loves spending time with her horses, trail riding and practicing groundwork and relationship building exercises. Introducing people to horses and watching their relationships develop for mutual benefit combines Maja’s love of horses and supporting people to heal and develop into the best version of their unique selves.
Professional experience and practice
Maja is a registered Psychologist trained in clinical psychology and family therapy. She is bilingual and has worked with people from diverse cultural backgrounds. Maja has experience working with children, adolescents, adults and families with a broad range of issues including anxiety, depression, stress management, OCD, ADHD, Autism and trauma. Her experience in family therapy is specifically in working with recently separated families and the impact of this on children and the associated parenting adjustment issues. Maja has also worked with victims of crime and facilitated primary school workshops targeting bullying behaviour awareness and promoting general emotional wellbeing.
Maja’s objective is to support children, adults, and their families from a strengths based, solution-focused orientation to achieve both emotional and physical safety, security and well-being as defined by individuals’ own goals. Her approach is person-centered and non-judgemental. She is empathetic and has a flexible and friendly communication style. Maja’s interests include a wholistic approach towards mental illness incorporating animal assisted and art therapies into traditional approaches. Maja believes that all people are capable of positive change when provided with the appropriate support, encouraging environment and willingness to try on new ways of thinking and behaving.
Using evidenced based therapies such as CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy), Interpersonal Therapy, DBT (Dialectical Behaviour Therapy), Family Therapy, Mindfulness skills training, Trauma Focussed Therapy, and Motivational Interviewing, are some of the skills that Maja utilises in therapy. However, the horse as a “facilitator” of the therapy imposes a relational honesty with self and the horse as they have an uncanny way of mirroring our emotions. Spending time with horses promotes groundedness and a way of being in the present moment which provides a space to expand awareness and promote wellbeing. Maja is keen to contribute to expanding the research in equine facilitated therapies and help unravel some of the mystery of how horses can help people to heal.