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Palliative, trauma and grief counselling with animals for children with serious illnesses or disabilities

Kind im Rollstuhl

Lichtblickhof is a place of life especially for families whose child is affected by an incurable and life-shortening illness. Despite the difficult fate, it is possible to create moments of joy and lightness, to relax, to experience rays of light, to feel confidence and cohesion and to gather strength for challenges that still have to be mastered. For a lifetime. The multi-professional team provides individual and needs-based support. It is supported by specially trained animals that allow plenty of space for encounters and non-verbal communication, sensitively perceive and respond to children's basic needs and help to give as much space as possible to the "here and now". Being able to get involved and a dignified cooperation, reliability and responsibility towards the families, as well as the experience of self-efficacy and security are the top priority for us.

Rehabilitation and hospice support for children and adolescents at two locations

Our locations are on the one hand on the premises of the Vienna Otto Wagner Hospital, and on the other hand near St. Pölten. On the Baumgartner Höhe, in the middle of the big city, a unique therapy center was built, which is also internationally valued. Outpatient support and crisis support for families and children take place here. It would be a great wish to be able to help families, especially in acute times, at the location in Vienna by creating / renting a nearby living space for counseling even more intensively and adapted to individual needs. Inpatient care takes place at our second location, the Lichtblickhof near St. Pölten in Lower Austria. Here it is already possible to accommodate families around the clock for a long time.

Beliefs and guidelines

Accompanying children / adolescents with incurable and life-shortening diseases with specially trained animals.

A life long.

The individual and needs-based support from a multi-professional team helps farm and nature as places of life and encounter, being together in the here and now, relaxation, rehabilitation and experiencing meaningfulness despite experiencing particular difficult challenges. Our team supports our children, adolescents and families to experience dignity, self-efficacy and security. By being there reliably, giving support, relieving pressure and finding resources with chronic illnesses, traumatization or disabilities, the team helps to get back into life.

e.motion Lichtblickhof – What we do

    • Inpatient care within the framework of therapeutic impulse weeks and family days
    • Outpatient counselling within the context of crisis intensive support and regular therapeutic units
    • Mobile care and support for families and children
    • Scientific research, lectures and congresses
    • Information and educational work






Angels for some time - acute care in times of crisis

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From many years of experience, we know that the care of our children and adolescents in acute times of crisis has to go beyond horse therapy.

Crises turn life upside down. Violence, illness or death do not depend on agreed therapy sessions. Grief, despair and fainting are present around the clock.

Therefore, at such stages of life, it is urgently necessary to spend more time with children and young people concerned, to provide basic needs and to restore some structure to their lives. In these times, our Lichtblickhof becomes even more important than usual as an refuge and a safe neutral ground for our young clients.

The project "Angel on time" is very close to our hearts! A crisis rarely comes on its own - the whole life is suddenly turned upside down and you don't know how to help yourself - that's why we started the project "Angels on Time". Because angels are HERE and help where you don't see no alternative. WE want to help families in acute crises by being THERE for them! We ask you to support us in this, because a big problem for families in crisis is usually the funding!


"Angel for some time" - Apartments

The following project is still a dream of the future! But with your donation we can make it real!
Currently, two apartments are being built in the Otto Wagner Hospital as part of the "Angel on Time" offer, which should be available to seriously ill children and their parents in times of crisis. Relief, rehabilitation and palliative care should be made possible around the clock. In addition to financial support for the project, donations in kind and voluntary work are also gratefully accepted.

Help once:

Become an apartment sponsor:

  • Monthly rent for two apartments each 2400€
  • A specialist in health and nursing (full-time): 2500€/ month
  • Equotherapy: 950€/ month
  • Therapy with other animals: 400€/ month


 Spendenbuttonhellblau englisch

THANK YOU for helping us to support families! 







Equotherapy is a special form of therapy in which the horse's special abilities support the therapist in helping children and adolescents on their way through crises or in dealing with traumatic experiences.

Equotherapy can take place both in individual units and in pony-power-groups.

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In these sessions, we accompany children and adolescents experiencing crises or working on a traumatic experience. Even problems without an obvious cause have their reason- therefore we start searching carefully and respectfully a way to a satisfied and healthy life.

The therapeutic setting for children and adolescents include:

  • Equotherapy
  • Therapeutic support according to an individual therapeutic concept
  • A process report
  • Conversation about anamnesis and therapy concept
  • Conversation about the course or the conclusion of therapy
  • Networking with a psychosocial team (if required)
  • Crisis intervention (if required)

You can find details to Equotherapy, the indication and phases of therapy below the menu item methods.

The sessions are kept in blocks of therapy. The cost are payed once for a block and the amount depends on the number of sessions.


 Therapeutic inividual units

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At the beginning of the therapy there is an introductory meeting to get to know each other. Then, your child comes one to two times for an hour (depending on age and your desire, alone or with you), in which we try together with the horse to get an idea of his / her strengths and weaknesses. The detailed anamnesis or therapy concept conversation with the parents (legal guardians) takes place only after this impartial encounter. In this conversation, we discuss together what the focus of the therapy and goals of treatment could be.

Children get a lot of energy and many new impulses from us and the horses. Without words, our horses challenge the humans they work with to form a relationship - therefore, to communicate. This offer is a new, "non-linguistic" one that stimulates all the senses and often opens doors for development steps. During therapy, however, there will also be times when discomfort can be in the foreground. Confronting this and dealing with problems are important steps on the common path to a better quality of life. We also ask you as parents to support your child.

In a progress or final conversation, experiences are exchanged and, if necessary, new goals are defined. In our experience, long-term changes take time. Please try to convey to your child that they will get this time.

The hours are held in therapy blocks. The costs are paid once as an amount and depend on the number of units.

In addition to the medium horse, there is an interdisciplinary variety of methods from the original profession and the additional qualifications of the trainers, pedagogues and psychotherapists. This creates access to individual life situations from a variety of perspectives.



The special feature of these therapy groups is the small number of four children at maximum, accompanied by a therapist. In this setting social interaction, mutual support, competing playfully against each other, spurring on each other and laughing together alternates with unique experiences and individual support. Especially for children with negative group experiences, there is a chance to experience new impetus, feel confirmed about oneself and manage challenges successfully in a safe and secured setting.

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For us, it is important -in accordance with the development of children from the small system of a family to social systems outside the family (kindergarten, school, friends,…)- to add, after the intense experience of the therapeutic single setting, a new experience of oneself in a social system. This setting offers the opportunity to transfer the positive experiences in therapy to daily life persistently.

The horses and their handling, the nonverbal communication and the relationship to human and animal are the centre of these groups. We experience nature in the here and now and face new challenges with courage and heart.

It is important for us to realize a setting where children with different needs can gather experiences together. We consider every child as unique and try to fulfil its special needs. We give serious thoughts to which children we take care of together in one group. We kindly ask all parents, to accept group colleagues -they have a hard history, too. The common respect for different –also “difficult”- humans helps the children to integrate their own weaknesses better. 

The sessions of the integrative therapeutic group are kept in blocks of therapy. The cost are payed once for a block and the amount depends on the number of sessions. If sessions are not attended, they cannot be refunded.






The integrative show group

We do not want to be sloppy with the term therapy. For us, therapy is a process with a start, a path and a goal that is thought out methodically well. It is very important to us, that people with special needs do not automatically have to experience “therapy” in every leisure activity. But there is a gray area - especially in the "development-related" work with children and adolescents - which offers help and stimulation on the one hand, and promotes individuality and self-determination on the other hand. In this area, we see the show group, which differs from the other therapy groups in terms of duration and goal. In the following it is presented as an example:

We look after around 300 children and young people per year. The show group is one of many groups at our place. It is a group in which children and young people with disabilities form a friendly network with people who have had an illness or a traumatic experience. We, as therapists, are helpers to mutual understanding and organize the framework of the joint actions.

The special thing about our show group is that its actions not only promote the personal skills and needs of the participants, but also address the public.

The show group draws people's attention to the concerns of people with disabilities and is intended to show the possibilities through the help of animals. At the same time, the group is a great pleasure for the participants and the promotion of their skills for a satisfied life.

According to our guiding principle "Almost a Play!", we master dance, theater play and animal acrobatics almost playfully. We want to show with our shows that performance is always relative to the possibilities. What is not a problem for the dogs, the horses cannot and what about the sheep? It is the same with the rest of the show group: everyone has their own specialty and shows exceptional performance.

Fun is our yardstick for success.

What is normal? What is disability?

We want to show that there are always ways "not to put your head in the sand".


Showgroup 1999

Die kleine Raupe Nimmersatt

Eine kleine Raupe zieht umher und sucht nach ihren Besonderheiten. Sie findet sich sehr hässlich und weiß nicht, warum ausgerechnet sie so leben muss… doch dann… entdeckt sie neue Fähigkeiten und eines Tages kann auch sie sich als Schmetterling in die Lüfte heben. Jetzt warten zwar neue Probleme auf sie, aber sie hat sich entwickelt…

Ausgeführt mit Kostümen, bunten Tüchern und zwei Ponies.







Therapeutic impetusweeks

Besides the regular sessions, there are therapeutic “camps” during holidays in which the daily life is shared. For many children and adolescents this is a valuable opportunity to collect social experiences outside the family but in a sheltered place. Being an outsider, having a disability, taking medicaments et cetera make it difficult to join the joyful being together at school trips. Spending time together in the therapeutic impetusweek is helping to be fit for everyday life and make new friends.

Children with special needs often have a low self-esteem. Experiencing the own deficits and marginal position in “normal” social groups have left its mark on them. The purpose of the impetusweek is to create security and trust. For that, we want to provide new impetus and start together to assimilate old things and get a new gaze for each other. Horses offer the opportunity to strike up a relationship on a nonverbal level, they want to be cared for and give straight and direct feedback. Especially, when a relationship to another human is sometimes difficult through fear, worries and pain, the horse can help to find a new access to each other and to oneself.

Atrekkingdventure- based learning with animals- Trekking

Under the slogan “Carry and to be carried” a particular adventure was started: Together with horses and caregivers we hike with backpack, gasoline stove, sleeping bag,... through the nature. Our horses help carrying the luggage und also carry the participants some parts of the path. Learning through experiences in movement and doing is, especially for children and adolescents with a challenging past, an important offering. Trekking with horses offers many opportunities to test playfully skills for a satisfied life. All activities are managed together: Cooking, planning the next route und going on. Every participant is needed with his special skills und contributes something positive for the group. The horses also offer the opportunity to strike up a relationship on a nonverbal level. They want to be cared for and give straight and direct feedback. Horses can help to find a new entrance when the relationship to humans is disturbed.






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Internship at e.motion Lichtblickhof

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As a first important information to all people who are interested in making therapy with animals their profession: It is a beautiful profession, but a very exhausting one. Working hours and conditions depend on our four-legged friends, who have to be cared for daily and in all weathers. The funding of the therapy is always uncertain and scarce. The species-appropriate attitude of the horses for all the more expensive and time-consuming. The economic situation of e.motion is very tense. All employees have another job in parallel that secures their basic income. Nevertheless, the work here is the most beautiful "secondary task" in the world: We do not live BY the work, but FOR it!

We see an internship as an insight into our daily work. Since Equotherapy does not only include units with clients, we provide an overview of all necessary procedures and activities throughout the company. The aim of our work are satisfied clients and horses working together in a protected space.
Please take all further information about the internship of our internship description. If you are interested, please send us an internship request and a curriculum vitae or fill in our contact form.

As part of the informational evening, we introduce you to the two- and four-legged team and can also discuss detailed questions - here you can see our upcoming appointments.

An information evening takes place approximately every 2 months. Please register in advance at or fill in the form online!