Chris Moran, LSCSW, Clinical Director
Chris is the founder of Hope and Healing Academy and President of Advanced Behavioral Health Care, Chartered. Chris has 23 years of experience providing mental health services for children and adults. He specializes in working with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Anxiety Disorders, Autistic Spectrum Disorders, and other behavioral disorders. Chris provides psychotherapy to HAHA clients and is the Clinical Director.
Brenda Murrow, PhD, Licensed Psychologist
Dr. Murrow has expertise in supporting adults, children, and families with symptoms that affect their ability to thrive at home, work, or school. When she's not at HAHA, she works in rural, northeast Kansas at a her own private practice.
Brenda is a graduate of the Clinical Psychology doctoral program at Pacifica Graduate Institute near Santa Barbara, CA. Her dissertation was a research study that explored the relationships between a therapy dog and child survivors of domestic violence, physical, and sexual abuse. Her clinical training experiences span an array of environments, and include a focus on children’s treatment with play therapy and psychoanalytic interventions for emotional disturbances. Dr. Murrow’s professional experience also includes equine-assisted therapy and animal-assisted work with therapy dogs.
Kathi Hachmeister, MSW, LSCSW
Kathi has been providing psychotherapy services to all ages for the past 32 years. Kathi has experience working with individuals, couples & families. She specializes in trauma, depression & anxiety disorders. Kathi enjoys combining her love of horses & enjoyment of working with people by providing equine therapy services at HAHA. Kathi’s horse, Spirit, also works in the HAHA program helping others to heal.
Leslie McCullough, Phd, LCSW, TRI, ESMHL
For over 35 years Leslie has conducted psychotherapy with at-risk youth and trauma survivors. In 1988 Leslie began her journey as one of the first equine facilitated psychotherapy (EFP) practitioners in the country, with one of the first highly successful EFP programs in Texas. Serving on the national board, Leslie was one of the co-creators of the Equine Specialist (ESMHL) workshop, which she currently teaches throughout the US. Leslie is now an Assistant Professor in Social Work at Washburn University in Topeka, KS. She has worked with the HAHA program since Fall 2013. In 2014 Leslie brought her national research project to HAHA to study the effect of EFP on reducing trauma symptoms in children who have experienced abuse. She is happy to report significant findings as well as plans for future research. To everyone’s delight, coming with their “mom” to Kansas are Leslie’s long time therapy partners, Belgian draft, Caesar, and Clydesdale-cross, Charlie Brown.
Lisa Bruner, Equine Program Director
Lisa started taking horseback riding lessons at 9 years old and has been involved with horses ever since. Horses have played an instrumental part of molding Lisa into who she is—as a youth, she found confidence and empowerment with them, and as an adult, she sees working with them as almost a spiritual experience that promotes holistic health, encourages a positive outlook, and creates healthier relationships. Before coming to Moran Family Stables in 2012, she worked as the barn manager at the Topeka Round Up Club and at Mike McCormick’s hunter/jumper show barn in Flower Mound, TX. For 10 years she also owned and operated Bent Wood Farm, training and caring for the horses and collaborating with riding instructors.
Now with Hope and Healing Academy, Lisa is gaining instructor certification in equine-facilitated psychotherapy and supporting staff and volunteers in the role of Equine Program Director. In this role, she trains volunteers and supports riding instructors, as well as exercises the horses and oversees their physical and mental well being. Lisa follows a non-forceful and natural horsemanship method, creating a solid horse training program based on trust, rapport, and clear lines of communication. She finds equine therapy very rewarding, using her knowledge and insights with horses to help people be happier and healthier.
Mariah Moran, Lead Riding Instructor
Mariah Sidesinger is our Lead Riding Instructor at HAHA. She has been riding horses since she was 10 years old and has loved horses all her life. She is currently a college student at Washburn University working towards her master's degree in social work. As a riding instructor, Mariah combines two of her passions: working with horses and working with people. Mariah is also one of the equine trainers and helps the horses maintain their mental and physical health and well being. If you have any questions about the program or the horses, you can always come to her for any questions; she would be happy to answer them.
Additional Riding Instructors
Marley Boldra, Mariana Castenada, Shannon Forst, Sandra Hazlett, Kristen Johnson, and Sharon Johnson all serve as riding instructors. Additional pictures and bios coming soon!
We could not operate without the help of our dedicated volunteers. Our volunteers help out with grounds keeping, horse handling and exercising, fundraising, and so much more. If you are interested in volunteering, please visit Our Volunteers.
Joy Bancroft, HAHA Coordinator
Joy is a member of the Board of the Directors, the coordinator of volunteer paperwork and curriculum, the webmaster, and pretty much anything else she can think of. She's been volunteering at HAHA since September 2015 and dedicates much of her free time and energy to the program because she believes in the healing power of horses and the hope that HAHA offers to clients. She's pictured here with Ollie, one of her favorite therapy horses.