Congratulations HEAL Grads 2017

We are thrilled to announce our first graduating cohort from Norway! Together they created a strong learning community, working hands-on with the herd at Bilitt Gård in Hobøl, Norway. This talented group of professionals spent 5 months together with two onsite teaching weeks as well as studying and sharing assignments by distance learning, while building their skills and practice through individual mentoring with HEAL teaching staff. We wish you all great success in your clinical and educational work with clients, and look forward to your continued involvement in the community of HEAL Facilitators and the beginning of “HEAL Norway”!

Torhild Melgård
Clinical Psychologist,
Certified HEAL Graduate 2017, Løken, Norway

I live with my family on our own horse-farm, with a very nice herd of 6 horses.  Løken is about an hour to drive with car, from Oslo.

I studied psychology at the University of Oslo, and graduated in 1997. Since 2008 I have had my own full-time practice as a clinical psychologist. I have several years of experience from psychiatric hospitals, and with outpatients. My special interests over the years has been trauma treatment and relational-oriented therapeutic work. I have education in body oriented psychotherapy; Sensory-Motor psychotherapy with Pat Ogden and Janina Fisher. I also have education and training from other body oriented courses. I am under education at The Norwegian Character Analytic Institute.

My vision is to integrate HEAL/EFP with my work as a character-analyst. Horses also have a character. My experience is that horses can be seen as magnifiers of human character, and give great balance between support and challenge, in the heavy work of seeing our selves the way we really are. Horses mirror and magnify what we really feel inside ourselves, and the expression we have, when we relate to other beings.

I want to use the HEAL model both in work with my patients, and in work with supervision and training for psychologists and other health professionals under education to become body- and relational oriented therapists.

It has been a great pleasure to join other professionals in the HEAL training program.

Phone: +47 415 07 649
Box 38, 1961 Løken, Norway

Christine Østensen
Clinical Psychologist, HEAL Certified Graduate 2017, Holmestrand, Vestfold, Norway

I live in Holmestrand, Vestfold, not far from our capital Oslo. I love to ride and be around horses and they have always been an important part of my life. In 2007 I graduated as a clinical psychologist from The Norwegian University of Technology and Science in Trondheim. I have worked in a variety of settings with adults and adolescents with psychiatric and drug -use problem. I became a specialist in the field of treating adults with psychological problems in 2013.

The idea of using horses in therapy has evolved over time.  I truly believe that we have a lot to learn from horses, and that working together with them in a therapeutic setting can be a source of emotional healing, personal growth and psychological well – being. I currently work at a local hospital with patients with illicit drug – use problems. I have recently started a private practice where I offer equine facilitated therapy.

I am very grateful for being accepted into the training program. It has truly change my personal life and the way I work professionally. I want to give a warm thank you to my very skillful, warm and professional trainers Kristin and Jeanette, and also to my mentor Leigh. You are great!

Phone: +47 924 28 713

Øygun Stjärne Nodeland
Psychotherapist, Certified HEAL Graduate 2017, Fredrikstad, Norway

Øygun grew up on a farm in Norway with Icelandic horses and has been riding and spending time with horses from early childhood. Today she works in her own company where she works with child psychotherapy and providing parent supervision. She is an educated a pedagogue for children with special needs and Gestalt psychotherapist. She has also done postgraduate education in attachment, interaction and trauma studies and has a certificate from the Gestalt Centre in London in Gestalt Play Therapy. She works with interaction between parents and children and works with families in Equine therapy. She mostly works with children together with horses combined with play psychotherapy and uses a lot of HEAL methods in work with trauma, attachment, unmet needs and emotions.

“The HEAL model gave me a new understanding of the «Window of Tolerance». I experienced how useful Siegels arousal scale was in this work.”


Irene Damstuen
Educator, Certified HEAL Graduate 2017, Vågå, Norway

I have been around horses my whole life, and somehow I have always managed to bring horses into my job, except when I was working at a fabric store! I have a background in education, working as a Kindergarden teacher and as a specialized pedagogue. With additional training in Mental Health education and as an Environmental Therapist, I worked for 11 years at a child and adolescent psychiatric clinic. I have participated at EPONA workshops, and am a certified EGALA practitioner. Now I have a herd of four horses and I am gradually building up my own business. It seems that all my education, jobs and other models that I have attended have all led me to where I am now.

The HEAL training is the most valuable and powerful training I have been a part of. The healing through the connection between human and horse in the model is so smooth yet so amazingly powerful and I am grateful to be a part of it! I look forward to continuing to use the model in my work with children and adults.


Nancy Winton
Educator, Certified HEAL Graduate 2017, London, England

Nancy’s aim in working with clients is to assist them in becoming their best selves. Her own journey towards becoming her best self has been facilitated through her personal development and healing work with horses, which led to her training in EFL, as well as her training and personal practice of Reiki and ChakradanceTM. She offers programs and services in England and Canada. She currently lives in England with her partner, 4 cats and a dog.

Nancy’s horse experiences started as a young girl, when her father would take her and her sister to watch horses from a local riding school and mounted police unit out in their paddocks. As a teenager, she attended summer camp where she first learned to ride, then returned to riding as an adult. Nancy started on her path to becoming a practitioner in the field of horse-human interaction when she volunteered with a therapeutic riding centre in Canada. She eventually became a PATH Therapeutic Riding Instructor. In addition to her love of horses, Nancy is a passionate and dedicated educator, with a masters in Childhood Education as well as advanced studies in special needs, including autism and behavioural science. She has had the opportunity to facilitate learning for diverse groups of individuals across various environments in Canada, South Korea, and the United Kingdom. Her wish for all her students is for them to take with them an “I can do it!” attitude.

“I had researched many training programs in the field of human-horse interaction and had narrowed down my list to a few key ones run by individuals I would consider pioneers in the field and have researched and written about their work. I am extremely happy to have gone through the HEAL training. The on-site training delivered in Norway by Kristin and Jeanette was presented in a professional, fun and supportive fashion. In addition to the theory and lectures, there was plenty of time for hands-on work with the horses and time to reflect on my practice as an EFL facilitator. The supportive feedback during the on-site training and mentoring with Leigh in-between assisted me in my growth and development as a practitioner in this field. I would highly recommend the HEAL training.”


Belinda Kvalvik
Clinical Psychologist, Certified HEAL Graduate 2017, Porsgrunn, Norway

My interest for horses started as an adult together with my two girls. As a psychologist I soon found my attention taking notice of the horses’ fabulous way of relating to each other and to humans, and to the peacefulness I experienced together with them.

I have had my own full time private practice for almost two years now. Before that I have worked in a psychiatric hospital with inpatients and outpatient. Most of the time I have been working with children and their families. I have met children, adolescents and families with many different kinds of problems and disabilities. I try to help people to understand more about themselves and others through relationships in their life and history. I work with therapy in my office most of the time, but want to offer more equine facilitated therapy. I find it especially useful in the work with adolescents who have been in treatment for many years without getting better.

The HEAL model training program helped me integrate my knowledge in a new way. It was really a “learning by doing” process, and I had a lot of personal growth in the period of the training program. I am very grateful for this.


Britt Marthinussen
Educator, Certified HEAL Graduate 2017, Hartad, Norway


Congratulations HEAL Grads 2016

Deborah Stamm
LPC, HEAL 2016, Anchorage, AK

Deborah moved to Anchorage, Alaska from sunny Southern California in 2000 to live with people who have a fierce sense of independence, with a passion to address the challenges that are unique to Alaskans. “Good Side Out” was founded by Deborah in 2005 to address some of those challenges.( Deborah has a broad experience and 35 years in human services and mental health. In addition to a variety of therapeutic approaches, her practice includes canines and horses when appropriate. “I have always been a believer that the best therapists are our pets and animal friends. No one can heal a heart like our pets.” Deborah is experienced with adult trauma survivors, mood and thought disorders. She is specially trained in cognitive-behavioral therapy, positive psychology, interpersonal and spiritual development, dialectical behavioral therapy, traditional psychotherapy, as well as substance abuse, addictions and recovery, and equine facilitated psychotherapy. “It was Leigh’s HEAL model that drew me into the powerful and seemingly magical world of equine therapy. The training has improved my practice, the relationship with my horses, and my quality of life 10-fold.”


Kimbrough Charbonneau Vitulli
MA, LMFT, MHP, HEAL 2016, Monroe, WA

Kimbrough graduated Magna Cum Laude from Appalachian State University with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. Post-graduation, she spent several years learning from a variety of jobs that granted opportunities to travel, both domestic and international. In 2014, she completed her Master in Psychology degree from Antioch University Seattle, and has worked with families and youth in outpatient and intensive settings. She has additional training in DBT, Motivational Interviewing, and the Wraparound modality. Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy and Learning is her real passion, and she is excited to see the field growing! Kimbrough enjoys working at Raven Rock Ranch which provides programming to at-risk youth using the HEAL model. A lifelong horse owner, she currently has a small herd in Monroe, WA at Fox Grin Farm.


Eve Kolakowski
MA, HEAL 2016, Redmond, WA

Eve is a Nationally Board Certified Teacher as an Exceptional Needs Specialist with over 16 years teaching experience. After a life changing event-many years in the making- Eve returned to her childhood passion- horses– to supplement her recovery. She took lessons and the feelings on barn day let the spark of horses’ healing ignite. Through a series of “God” moments- Eve stumbled onto HEAL. She followed that thread and discovered Raven Rock Ranch, a program for at-risk youth that follows the HEAL model of EFPL where she is now a seasoned volunteer in her free time. Her time at Raven Rock eventually led to her participation in the Facilitator Training Program, held there at the ranch. Eve has opened up Evolve Equine Education, LLC, in Woodinville , Washington. ( As part of the twelve steps, Eve will carry the message of recovery and practice these in all of her affairs. She will be sharing her work primarily with addicts and codependents. Her tag line, “insight from your hooves up” and the name Evolve- were all about her recovery and work in this field. “Change happens at the very basic level- and we are ever evolving. Never stop evolving into the person we were meant to be.”


Julie Kiewatt
MA, LCPC, NCC, HEAL 2016, Kalispell, MT

Julie has known since she was a child about the power of the horse and thrived on connection with them. She decided she wanted to incorporate them into her counseling practice which incorporates numerous alternative healing techniques. Julie is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor in the State of Montana, owns a Waldorf inspired child care center, and is the owner and therapist at Firefly Horse Company, a full service horse boarding and equine assisted therapy facility in Kalispell, MT. Julie’s desire is to help people live more peacefully and On Purpose. The horses have happily joined in the quest!