Monica Hendrix, LMFT
I am deeply committed to serving my fellow healthcare workers/healers, first responders and women in leadership.
Credentials & Education
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (#45976), registered with the State of California Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS)
Licensed Equine Gestalt Facilitator™
Certified Equine Gestaltist® and practitioner of the Equine Gestalt Coaching Method®
Registered with the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT)
Masters of Counseling Psychology, Saint Mary’s College of California, 2005
Bachelors of Psychology with Child/Adolescent Specialty, Saint Mary’s College of California, 2002
Associate Member, California Alliance of Child and Family Services
“Eternal optimist, recovering perfectionist, and true believer in human potential.”
Trained and certified in the Equine Facilitation and Equine Gestalt Coaching Method® developed by Melisa Pearce, my mission is to facilitate healing opportunities that empower individuals to explore the root of personal barriers, let go, and allow the fire that burns deep inside to emerge. It is through this synergy of mind, body and heart that we experience our truest self and the freedom to live healthier lives in authenticity, deep connection, and joy.
I hold a Master’s degree in Counseling for Marriage and Family Therapy, and a Bachelors’ in Child/Adolescent Psychology from Saint Mary’s College of California. As Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, I have worked with youth, young adults and families in the mental health field for over 20 years, serving in direct service, clinical, program development and executive management roles.
In addition to Spark Equine, I am also the principal owner and CEO of Gadda-Hendrix Consulting, LLC, a behavioral health and social services consulting company that supports behavioral health, child welfare, probation, and educational organizations, leaders, service providers, and healthcare/helping professionals across California.
In 2022, after more than 2 decades working within these systems of care, I founded Finding Freedom and Fire Foundation in the hopes of overcoming systemic barriers and furthering individual and community health outcomes throughout the world.
How Spark Got Started
A few years ago, I found myself on a personal journey to live on-purpose. It wasn’t planned, but life had other ideas for me. I didn’t even realize all the roles I was playing — fire-wife, mom, business owner, therapist — had me completely burned out. I was giving so much outside of myself, disconnected from my relationships, not fully present, grinding and achieving and succeeding and keeping it all “together”, until I found myself headed to the ER in the middle of the night, my 2 kiddos in tow experiencing their first ambulance ride, because I was having all the classic signs of a female heart attack. Luckily, it wasn’t, but wow did it cause some self-reflection.
How did I get to that point? Why have I always just chased and grinded? What did I really want to be doing with my time? What is my purpose? Where did my spark go?
I forced myself to do some work unpacking all these questions, which ultimately led me to exploring the roots of my perfectionism, drive to succeed and avoidance of failure at all costs, and most importantly aversion to vulnerability and being present in my body and emotions.
Alcoholism, addiction, serious mental health challenges, suicide – these are the themes that surrounded me from my earliest memories. Throughout my childhood and young adult life, knowing I was “loved” was never the issue. Knowing I was seen, that I was a priority, that it was ok for me to have needs and that those needs would be taken care of – that was the problem. Our minds and bodies are extraordinary and will keep us alive and going at all costs. Self-reliance, fierce independence, muting my emotions, taking care of others, achieving, excelling, never failing or asking for help, being perfect and easy to parent – these became my fine-tuned survival strategies. What’s crazy is that they are the same strategies that drove me (like so many others) to be highly successful in many ways. Top of my class, awarded athlete, college scholarships, accelerated career, beautiful home and family. I know it’s also what led me towards becoming a healer and being drawn to a first-responder partner.
So, what’s the problem?
“What we are not aware of controls us. It keeps us in a pattern of reactivity, rather than being responsive and balanced to the world around us.”
~ Monica Hendrix
“When achievement is equated to self-worth, you can never drop the ball. You never feel free to just let go.“
When achievement is equated to self-worth, you can never drop the ball. You never feel free to just let go. My brain had spent years carefully crafting strategies to help manage my early experiences, but those strategies were no longer working for me. For the first (obvious to me) time in my life, they were getting in my way of my health, my relationships, my creativity, and my inner spark for life, and I couldn’t “think” my way out of it. From the outside no one would ever know that there was anything wrong, because perfectionism “works” (until it doesn’t). I needed to challenge the belief that had formed over the years that I had to have it all together, all the time. That to feel, to voice my needs, to rely on others, to be vulnerable, is weakness. Failure.
The truth is feeling the need to be busy all the time was a trauma response and a fear-based distraction from what I’d be forced to acknowledge and feel if I slowed down. To trust, to drop my guard and let others in, to be seen fully, to openly struggle with anything, and to risk that any needs I did express might not be met, was terrifying, and so I stayed busy and in control at all times. But my body knew, it’s always known, and it was holding the stress of this knowing for far too long. When I reflect back, it was trying to tell me for a long time, in subtle and not so subtle ways, it just took me a long time to learn how to listen.
And that is how I found the Equine Gestalt Coaching Method®. In my years of clinical work with trauma, I always felt like there was a missing piece to the puzzle on how to truly help others on their journey towards healing. Cognitive understanding isn’t enough. We also need to help our bodies let go of the stressful experiences and memories they have been carrying for us. When these experiences and feelings are given a safe opportunity to be acknowledged and released, rather than quieted, shoved down and stored — we become free.
What you need to know
Frequently Asked Questions
Is this therapy?
No. Equine Gestalt Coaching is different than traditional psychotherapy in many ways. The model is non-diagnositc, co-active, and focuses on an individual’s unique strengths and capacity. The process understands that the answers we seek are within each of us and we all possess the ability to heal and thrive. Equine and human coaches partner in the healing process with safety, curiosity and compassion.
What if I am interested but don't see what I'm looking for?
We are committed to supporting you on your journey of exploration and discovery and are excited to create tailored services based on individual requests. Schedule a complimentary call to start building out your vision!
What do I need to wear?
Please wear some casual “play” clothes you won’t mind getting dirty. Depending on the time of year, weather can change quickly, so having layers on-hand is suggested. Closed-toed shoes are required, and boots are best.
What should I bring?
We provide all the necessary equipment. All you need is your curious mind, open heart, and permission to let go! You may want to bring a journal to record your experiences.
What if I'm afraid of horses?
No horse experience is required. Our horses have been carefully selected to ensure the safety of our visitors. All initial sessions, workshops & events include a live safety demo. If you are nervous around horses, this method can provide you with an amazing and empowering experience. If you are still apprehensive, sessions without horse partnership are available and effective.
What exactly IS the Equine Gestalt Coaching Method®?
The Equine Gestalt Coaching Method® was developed by Melisa Pearce, a core founder since 1989, of the horse-human healing movement. EGCM® is a type of coaching that helps people bring to their awareness emotional blockages and unfinished business that may be holding them back in their lives. The personal work is “in the moment”, deeply tied to somatics (body responses) and experiential in nature.