Our Whole Heart Team

Our Whole Heart Team are highly experienced, certified and licensed mental health and equine professionals .  

Amy Schilder, Director

Amy is NW Hearts United EFS’s Director.  She has 25 years in art and equine experiential educational programming in Houston, TX and the Upper Puget Sound region.  Amy brings a combination of experience in nonprofit management and in providing equine-facilitated methods for growth, learning and therapy.  Amy is certified by the Professional Association for Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) as an Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning (ESMHL), the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA) and by the Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA).  

Beth Avolio

Beth is a Ph.D. Psychologist and Advanced Practitioner of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) and a passionate believer in the efficacy of EFMHL to enhance personal insight and promote behavioral change with more than a decade experience and leadership in the field.  She is a licensed Psychologist in Washington, Nebraska and New York States, is a founding member of the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Assoc. (EAGALA) Advanced Certification where she holds an Advanced Certification as well as being a mentor in the program, is a Professional Assoc. for Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) Certified Instructor and was previously certified through CBEIP (Certification Board for Equine Interaction Professionals). 

Samantha Heath

Sam holds an BS in Psychology from the University of Washington.   She is a certified Equine Specialist through the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Assoc. (EAGALA).  In 2008, she graduated from the HEAL (Human Equine Alliance for Learning) Equine Facilitated Learning/Psychotherapy program.  Sam has also coordinated an Equine Intensive Workshop with Wyatt Webb (Psychotherapist and author of “It’s Not About the Horse”) and gone through the Horse Boy training method.  She has professionally involved in the field of EFMHL and Natural Horsemanship since 2004. 

Brenda Cole

Brenda is a licensed mental health counselor. She received both her Bachelors of Science (BS) degree in Natural Horsemanship with a focus area in Psychology, and Bachelors of Arts (BA) in Literature and Writing from  University of Montana Western. she graduated from Prescott College in 2017 with a  Masters of Science (MS) in Counseling with a post-masters certificate in Equine Assisted Mental Health. She is a registered behavioral technician in Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapies and also hold certifications in Love & Logic parenting models & CPI Nonviolent Crisis Intervention.

Beth Pruitt

Beth is an equine specialist and mental health counselor.  Beth is a current Special Education teacher with a MA in Mental Health Counseling and a background in youth and family services.  She has worked in many different roles supporting youth since high school, and started working in equine facilitated programs while getting her BA in Education from Washington State University. She has also had the privilege of having horses her entire life, spending most of her free time outside or in the barn.  She completed her EAGALA certification February of 2019 to add to her Mental Health and Education background. 

Selena Sena-Hopkins

LMHCA, Therapist.  Selena Sena-Hopkins graduated with her master’s degree in existential psychology from Seattle University in the Spring of 2017. She has been a therapist at Jumping Mouse Children’s Center since 2016. She found that she both delighted in and revered the variety of ways children would utilize the expressive freedom of play therapy.  Selena also has a background in visual art and philosophy, and a long history connecting her to horses. She has volunteered with programs that connect adults and children with horses, such as the Wounded Warriors Project. She also volunteered at the King County Crisis Clinic as a phone worker for two years.

L. Jill Gerber

Jill is an Equine Specialist & Psychotherapist.  She holds an MA in Applied Behavioral Sciences from Bastyr University, a Bachelor of Arts in Developmental Psychology from University of Washington with a minor in Speech Communications and a Chemical Dependency Professional License from Bellevue College.   She is a certified Equine Specialist through the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Assoc. (EAGALA).  She has professionally been in practice since 2007 with offices in Kirkland and Woodinville.  She has worked in both the public and private sector including public schools, metal health agencies and private practice current. 

The Horses...

Our herd members are truly the heart of everything. By working closely with facility partners and their amazing herds, we are able to offer a variety of programs that perfectly harmonize with our clients' needs and goals.  Each member of our equine team embrace their role as lead facilitators and we feel humbled to be able to partner with each and every one of them.

We invite you to meet a few here...

© 2017 NW Hearts United.

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