All Kinds of News for June 08, 2016
Outback Therapeutic Expeditions located in Lehi, Utah is excited to welcome Kendra Van Abbema, MSW, MS to their Clinical Team. With over 1,500 field days under her belt, Kendra brings passion, commitment, and years of experience to the Outback Clinical Team.
After completing her Bachelor of Arts in Behavioral Health at Southwestern College (CA), Kendra’s love of young people led her to teach middle school in Maui, HI. From Hawaii, she branched into the therapeutic world as a Backcountry Field Instructor and Therapeutic Group Home Manager for Alternative Youth Adventures. She later joined Three Rivers Montana, a wilderness therapy program, as a field instructor. Kendra further developed her passion for working with young women in an outdoor setting where they are challenged and empowered in innovative ways and are able to truly find healing from their trauma, anxiety, depression, attachment issues, and other life struggles. Kendra sees the wilderness as a place of healing that can “touch the places of our heart and soul that may seem unreachable.”
Interested in research and knowing she wanted to pursue a career in clinical work, Kendra completed her Master of Social Work and Master of Science in Kinesiology: Outdoor Education at the University of New Hampshire. Kendra interned as a Clinical Social Worker at Winnacunnet High School, and as a therapist at Redcliff Ascent.
Now, as a wilderness therapist at Outback, Kendra works with girls using a variety of treatment modalities such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Solution Focused, and Motivational Interviewing - blending them seamlessly with the wilderness therapy setting. She says, ” The lessons we have in the wilderness provide intentional interventions that connect to our student’s lives at home. It is in the quiet of the wild and challenge of the environment that these girls can find their true power and place in the world.”
When not working with teenagers, you can find Kendra exploring and traveling with family and friends, canoeing and backpacking. She is not afraid of getting her hands dirty with projects that keep her close to the earth and nature.
Outback Therapeutic Expeditions offers help for troubled teens ages 13-17. Outback helps teens with various problems, such as depression, engaging in dangerous behaviors, electronic addiction and more. Outback offers comprehensive assessment and treatment for teens in a multi-disciplinary wilderness therapy program. Outback's treatment options place strong emphasis on healthy relationships, increased self-efficacy, and a healthy amount of autonomy through skill building.
Mountain Valley Treatment Center (MVTC), located in New Hampshire, welcomes Dr. Timothy DiGiacomo as the Clinical Director. He is a licensed clinical psychologist with years of experience providing children, adolescents and adults with individual and family counseling. Dr. DiGiacomo is an expert in the treatment of anxiety and depression and is trained in Trauma Focused CBT and other evidence-based treatments and has a particular interest in family therapy. He will provide clinical and administrative supervision, training and leadership to the clinical team. He will also be engaged in clinical program development to ensure the highest levels of care for residents of MVTC.
"The hiring of Tim DiGiacomo represents yet another improtant milestone in the evolution of Mountain Valley," said Don Vardell, Executive Director. "He is MVTC's first full-time Clinical Director and will be able to provide services that our parents, referral sources and other key stakeholders have come to expect from us."
To read more about Dr. DiGiacomo's, click here.
Originally from Ohio, James spent the last decade traveling the world developing his skills as a wellness coach. He spent the majority of this time in Hong Kong where he worked with everyone from celebrities and models to adolescents who were struggling to make healthy choices. A certified Life Coach through Integrative Nutrition, James moved to Costa Rica because the location allows him to better practice what he preaches. James said, “In Costa Rica, everything can be locally sourced. The deep connection between me and my food can be established both by growing it myself and by supporting my neighbors who also grow food.”
James will be teaching Pure Life and Chirripó Extension students weekly cooking and nutrition classes. His curriculum focuses on giving students the basic building blocks to good nutrition and letting them learn through experiencing the changes nutrition makes in their own body. By teaching how the body works he empowers natural self-healing through the correction of deficiencies, hormonal balancing, and improved assimilation and absorption of food. These dietary changes can help improve physical health, as well as mood and emotional stability. About this new opportunity to work with young adult students, James said: “I’m excited to work with Pure Life because this age group is at a transition point in their life and I want to be a role model in helping to create a new future of well-balanced, motivated adults.”
In addition to his classes, James will be developing menus for Pure Life itineraries, improving the nutritional profile of each meal. With James, Pure Life will increase the quantity of fresh, locally sourced, organic produce and meats at our students’ table every day. “We are excited to have this opportunity to work with an experienced professional like James to expand our nutrition and wellness program in order to incorporate all that Costa Rica has to offer us—in particular, healthy food that is organic and locally grown," said Andrew Taylor, Executive Director of Pure Life.
The ViewPoint Center is thrilled to announce new change to its facilities. What was once the nursing station has been transformed into a common area. This new space provides a nurturing, safe environment for patients to enjoy on a daily basis. "This is an exciting development for all patients and staff. It's so nice to have an open space for everyone to feel at ease and engage in conversation," says Judith Jacques, M. Ed., Executive Director of the ViewPoint Center. "It's very important to us at ViewPoint to provide the most comforable, home-like facilities possible for patients."
The common area is a place for patients to come during their spare time to relax with friends. The psychiatric staff will have an opportunity to evaluate a patient's interactions with their peers in the milieu.
ViewPoint Center is located in Syracuse, UT and offers a diagnostic and assessment setting for clinically complex clients between the ages 12 - 17.5. The process is comprehensive, multi-disciplinary process that involves psychiatry, therapy, medical stabilization, strong milieu, academics and psychological testing to create a comprehensive assessment. Clients receive 30 hours of weekly therapeutic programming including psychiatric care, individual, group, music recreation and family therapy and 24-hour nursing support.
Patricia "Trysh" Huntington, lead clinician for SUWS of the Carolinas' adolescent female group teamed up with Lon Woodbury to deliver a podcast recently. The title is "Helping Female Teens Find Their Voice". Trysh has been helping young women find their authentic selves and voice over a career of working with adolescents, and brings a wealth of experience to her group at SUWS of the Carolinas. Trysh was a former instructor, course director, and program director with the Outward Bound Organization before joining SUWS as a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in 2011. She currently works with young ladies 14-17 years of age. Trysh’s group of girls adhere to a code of ethics called the “ABC’s”. The acronym stands for authenticity, belonging, communication, and sisterhood.
Lon Woodbury, of The Woodbury Report and strugglingteens.com facilitates the interview for the podcast and focuses on the authenticity and communication aspect of group Luna’s sisterhood. Trysh is able to share her experiences, and practice to a wide audience ranging from parents of adolescent females to seasoned professionals working in their own practices. Mr. Wodbury was a gracious host, and shared this quote about the experience, "Authentic Voice has been referred to for years. Trysh Huntington defines it, and talks about how to foster it." We hope you enjoy the podcast!
The podcast is available online at blogtalk radio click here to listen.
SUWS of the Carolinas is a therapeutic wilderness program located in Old Fort, NC. It is an integrated strengths-based program that addresses the biological, psychological and social needs of adolescents with mental health, substance abuse and behavioral challenges.
Chrysalis School, tucked away in the beautiful mountains of Eureka, MT, is excited to announce the expansion of their equine program. Welcoming Alexandra Mufson to the team, Chrysalis is reimagining how equine involvement can encourage the therapeutic process. With a professional background working with troubled horses and their human families, Alex encourages her students to consider the horse’s experience as different from their own by teaching them to better read and understand the horse’s emotional state.
Horsemanship at Chrysalis is an experiential learning process that facilitates deeper insight into concepts such as empathy, confidence, patience, engagement, effort and communication by considering the horse’s point of view. Quality horsemanship involves a rich understanding of the horse’s experience, and considers how relationship and trust can be built between the horse and the human. Using the horse’s experience as the entry point to horsemanship opens doors to self-awareness, vulnerability and empathy that other ways of engaging with horses, both within and outside of the therapeutic context, do not. The horse is not present to serve the person’s needs as a riding animal, a therapeutic prop, or any other form of object, but a sentient being with unique experiences and a valid voice in the relationship.
This paradigm shift, where the horse is no longer seen only relative to his or her usefulness to the human, lends itself well to the relationship-based therapy that Chrysalis offers its students and their families. Students are asked to reflect in writing on each session they spend with a horse, asking themselves questions about how the horse felt about the relationship and what they noticed about their own process. Many students will bring these thoughts with them to therapy in the days following, often leading to profound insights regarding their human family relationships, and empowering them to make their own change.
Chrysalis School is an all girls therapeutic boarding school in northwest Montana for ages 13-18. Our mission is to provide the best quality therapeutic services, education and experiential opportunities to adolescents and their families in the context of a warm and nurturing residential boarding school environment while maintaining a commitment to integrity in all that we do.
After one year in operation, wilderness therapy and residential treatment graduates are finding success at the Point School in Puerto Rico. Point School is a supportive, residential community serving 17 to 24 year old young men with cognitive, attentional, and executive functioning challenges, and those struggling to take the next step into young adulthood. It is a well-supervised residential community focused on students completing their educational goals whether that's high school graduation or taking college courses.
Point School provides a student-centered and individualized environment that is safe and structured. The school has a very solid staff with a certified K-12 principal directing the academics, a licensed Clinical Social Worker directing each student's therapy, and degreed Puerto Rican Mentors who serve as guides to the local culture. Students experience a "semester abroad" experience without leaving the United States.
During the past year, Point School students and staff have provided many hours of ongoing community service and participated in numerous local activities and events. Students received drivers licenses, open water scuba certification, graduated High School and were accepted to college. Point School has 4 openings for students who will benefit from continued family and individual therapy, round the clock support staff, individualized academics, and developing learning to contribute to a community.
PRN for Families is pleased to announce the expansion of our clinical team, with the addition of Jared Tonks, MC, LPC, NCC, NCSC and Kimberly Bryant, MA, LPC, as our newest Family Consultants. PRN's Family Consultants serve families by traveling into client's homes and communities to assess, support, and coordinate wrap-around services, as well as to manage crises and create interventions to ensure families live together safely.
Jared Tonks, MC, LPC, NCC, NCSC, comes to PRN with over a decade of clinical experience working with adolescents, young adults and their families. He earned his Master of Counseling degree in School Counseling from Idaho State University, and is currently completing a Doctor of Education degree in Education Leadership from Idaho State University. Jared's prior experience includes directing alumni and transition services for the Carlbrook School in VA, serving as the clinical director of SUWS Idaho, and providing clinical services in public schools, non-profit youth programs, and in private practice. He is a married father of five children with plenty of day-to-day experience in the trenches of child development and family systems! Jared and his family reside in Virginia.
Kimberly Bryant, MA, LPC comes to PRN with extensive experience providing skilled and effective services to youth and families, and with a passion for home-based and community interventions. Kimberly earned her Masters in Counseling from Naropa University in Boulder, CO and has worked within the Middle and High School environments as well as with County Departments focusing on Family Intervention, Preservation, and Reunification. She has worked with young adults in residential treatment and has maintained a private clinical practice in the Boulder area, where she resides. Kimberly specializes in Interpersonal Neuropsychology, Family Systems, and Parent/Couples Therapy. Integrative interventions as well as trauma informed and sensitive research, practices, and supervision styles also guide her work. Kimberly enjoys time in the great outdoors, yoga and meditation, and spending time with her two young adult children.
"The addition of two, highly skilled and experienced clinicians to PRN's team speaks to the increased interest we are seeing in creating effective, clinically focused, home-based wrap-around support for families," said Charles Elias, PRN's Executive & Clinical Director. "Both Jared and Kimberly are uniquely qualified to deliver the highest quality family preservation and reunification services for which PRN has become known, and we are thrilled to be able to serve a broader range of clients as they join our clinical team."
PRN for Families is a home-based program for families who have children or teenagers who are out of control or at imminent risk of being separated from their family. For over 12 years, PRN has provided assessment and intervention to families throughout the U.S., and transitional and reunification services to safely reunite families following an out-of-home placement. Tracks by PRN also provides customized support services for young adults seeking to live independently. For more information, visit PRN at: www.prnforfamilies.com.
Every year, Living Well Transitions runs four transformational, multi-day trips guided by our Therapeutic Activities and Community Facilitator, Zach Weinzetl. The trips offer clients an opportunity to explore their natural surroundings, engage with their internal work and connect with other clients. When summer comes around our group can be found road-tripping to Montana and the Tetons through Jackson Hole and Yellowstone, to hike, climb, horseback ride, fish, whitewater raft and enjoy the simple pleasures that await them. Following is a story from the field:
"The trip sets off to a sluggish start as traffic slowed the pace before we enter Wyoming and the wide open space and endless skyline. As the drive winds on, the landscape continues to set the tone for the adventures to be had. Shortly after we eat our first dinner, we enter Teton National Forest and get our first glance of the Tetons. Almost on cue, a grizzly bear is on the side of the road foraging. Even though some didn’t know how rare of a sighting this was, all were equally moved by the rawness of the natural beauty beheld by this creature.
After waking up and looking out of the tent at the magnificent Tetons, the group continued on to Yellowstone National Park. Impressed by the abundance of wildlife and geological phenomenon, the group hiked to the viewing area of the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River to gaze at the wonder of the falls tumbling 308 feet to the canyon floor. Continuing through the park the group saw bison, coyote, elk, deer, beaver and many song birds.
This was the beginning of the adventures; the next day was whitewater rafting on the Gallatin River. “One of my intentions for going on the trip was to not feel the stress I feel on an ongoing basis. I had a blast rafting and the adrenaline I felt going down the rapids was the only thing that fully alleviated the stress I experience daily.”
Changing up the itinerary due to the abundance of snow atop the peak we intended to summit, as a group we chose to go rock climbing and spend some more time on the river. After climbing, one client said, “That was amazing, I didn’t think I could do it, it was empowering.” Then we did a lazy river float and Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) down the Madison River. We ate a lot of burgers and good food. The Diamond J Ranch where we are staying is a beautiful base camp for adventure. The next activities will be horseback riding, fishing and soaking in the pools and hot tubs available at the Ranch.
We head back to Boulder on the 8th with another stop in Yellowstone and a night of camping. Our group will return home on the 9th, no doubt more rested, relaxed and hopefully with memories and connections to last a lifetime."
Living Well Transitions offers intensive therapy, groups and life skills counseling to young adults ages 18-32 in a real-world, independent living environment. We help clients struggle less by developing self-acceptance, values clarity and the courage to take action so they can lead purposeful lives in alignment with their core values.
In celebration of the beginning of summer and the increasingly warm Pacific Northwest weather, the summer outdoor programming kicked off last month with a day long rafting trip on the Spokane River. Attending Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) group camping trips have occurred already. Life Designs is lucky to have the greatest recreational areas in the northwest in its backyard. There will be several trips and adventures throughout the summer to support our clients in their ongoing recovery.
To learn more about Life Design's continuing care programming for males, find the team at the regional National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP) conferences. Caitlin Prunty and Jonathan Gross will be attending the Rocky Mountain Regional NATSAP in Sandpoint, ID, June 9th and 10th. Vince Barranco will be heading off to Bend, OR for the Northwest Regional NATSAP on June 16th.
Life Designs is a dynamic and unique program that caters to young adult males with substance abuse issues who need guidance and personal growth before becoming completely autonomous. An 8 client treatment program provides individualized and relational mentorship and programming. Life Designs promotes self-discovery and independence through 12-step work, connection to nature, experiential and holistic therapy and life skills training.
Pacific Quest is pleased and excited to announce the completion of an eighteen month training and certification process with The ChildTrauma Academy. Pacific Quest is now site certified in the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics, or NMT, which is a “developmentally-informed, biologically-respectful approach to working with at-risk children.” NMT is an approach to clinical practice that allows clinicians and programs to use their environment in a neuro-sequential way. This evidence-based practice integrates multiple principles, techniques, and interventions to be applied in a way that promotes brain development and relational health.
Pacific Quest is the first and only outdoor/wilderness program to be site certified in NMT. As such, Pacific Quest utilizes the garden and nature-based setting, mind-body techniques and clinical therapies in a neurodevelopmentally-informed manner that is individualized for each student. Bruce Perry, M.D., PhD, founder of the ChildTrauma Academy, adds, ”We are very excited to have Pacific Quest become an NMT Trained Site because they have a great deal of experience and knowledge to share with our community. Pacific Quest’s focus on wilderness therapy, nutrition, and holistic practices is a natural compliment to some of the therapeutic recommendations that are generated by NMT principles, and so their expertise in implementing and blending these approaches can be highly successful and offer us all valuable insights.”
As part of the Phase I NMT site certification process, clinicians at Pacific Quest participated in case consultations with Dr. Perry and other trainees from across the globe. They learned to use the clinical practice tools with fidelity, and completed over 100 hours of training in core principles of neurodevelopment and traumatology. Their training continues through case-based staffings, fidelity exercises and review of current research and practice updates.
Pacific Quest Clinical Director, Dr. Lorraine Freedle has completed Phase I, Phase II/Train the Trainer and is a certified NMT provider and trainer. She comments, “Pacific Quest is an enriched environment with an abundance of opportunities to effect meaningful change. NMT is a very helpful paradigm for case conceptualization and targeted treatment planning so that we may use the resources we have at the right time and in the right way for our students.”
Pacific Quest is an outdoor therapeutic program for struggling adolescents and young adults that offers a clinical, yet holistic, approach to treatment. Our neurodevelopmental approach, combined with horticultural therapy, integrates evidence-based therapeutic methods, whole-person wellness and organic gardening to sustain a healthy community and motivate change.
WILDERNESS is much more than just a theatre production. WILDERNESS is a multi-media theater production that takes us on a journey with 6 families whose lives have been touched by Wilderness Therapy.
The creators of WILDERNESS, En Garde Arts, plan to take the show to college campuses around the country to stimulate conversation around the problems confronting young people - including addiction and mental health issues. Their goal is to lift the veil of secrecy and shame that so often stands between families grappling with these issues and effective treatment.
WILDERNESS has already presented several developmental workshops and will be opening in New York City in October. Recently, Pace University hosted a workshop where audiences were deeply impressed by the depth and honesty of the piece, and the company’s determination to shed some light on the important work being done by wilderness therapy programs across the country. The show is derived from interviews with families who have been through Wilderness Therapy and it uses documentary text, interview footage, film, music and performance to tell the stories of six young adults and their families.
For more information about WILDERNESS, you can visit their web site (http://engardearts.org), or to make a donation, you can click here (http://engardearts.org/support). You can also read Evoke's recent blog about WILDERNESS and Wilderness Therapy here. (https://evoketherapy.com/the-evoke-team/blog/rick-heizer/wilderness)
Evoke at Entrada is a proud supporter of WILDERNESS and hope you will consider donating to this great cause as well.
Evoke Therapy Programs at Entrada, in Santa Clara, Utah provides innovative mental health treatment solutions for struggling teens, young adults and their families. Their programs foster lasting change utilizing the power of nature and Wilderness Therapy. They also offer Personal Growth Intensive Workshops for individuals and families that are looking to create dynamic changes in their life or to simply find the balance they are seeking.
New Roads Behavioral Health’s family of programs continues to expand in Utah. In an effort to address the burgeoning effect this has on New Roads’ existing facilities, leadership has secured a new 32-bed facility forty blocks south of downtown Salt Lake City. The growth can be attributed in large part to the growing recognition of New Roads’ clinical sophistication. The number one referral source is other programs, which recognize New Roads’ expertise in serving clients who may be more psychiatrically complicated, such as struggling with Borderline Personality Disorder or Schizophrenia.
The new facility, in the Millcreek area, will house the Residential and Transitional Dorm components of the Pathways to Healing (PaTH) program. PaTH serves young adult men suffering from substance use disorders, specializing in treating those with co-occurring mental health conditions. PaTH has gained distinction from its proven transitional program, boasting twenty-four life skills. Like all of the New Roads staff members, the PaTH team is highly trained in clinical approaches like Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Contingency Management, Life Coaching, Motivational Enhancement, etc.
The facility itself is spacious and well appointed, situated on a large plot. The rooms are very large, offering plenty of space for clients. There are multiple group rooms and therapy rooms. A newly hired chef, who comes from another high-end treatment program, enjoys a state-of-art kitchen. Visitors are awed by the Zen garden to one side of the facility. The garden is a shaded and tranquil place with pond and waterfall, offering a perfect spot for clients to practice their newly acquired meditation skills.
New Roads Behavioral Health’s family of treatment programs are based upon a holistic, community-focused treatment approach, with a foundation in research and results. New Roads has residential treatment, transitional living, and outpatient options for their clients. There are three distinct and completely separate programs within the residential and transitional living focus: Pathways to Healing (PATH), Women’s Road to Healing (WoRTH), and New Roads to Healing (NoRTH). PaTH is a dual-diagnosis treatment program for young men between the ages of 18-28 struggling with substance abuse and mental health concerns. WoRTH is a program designed specifically for young women that focuses on both substance abuse and mental health disorders (including borderline personality disorder) with a strong emphasis on Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). NoRTH is designed to assist clients with severe mental health disorders in achieving independence by teaching them how to successfully live a life with their diagnoses.
For more information, visit www.newroadstreatment.org
At The Crossroads (ATC) in St.George, UT has been going through an exciting period of growth over the past few months. Recently ATC has obtained two new properties which will allow us to serve more young adults in both our Women's Program and our Men's Program.
The "400 East" house will cater to young men who struggle to launch into successful and independent adulthood. These can be high anxiety young men who are hesitant about the future and independence and are in need of life skills development, coaching and real life application. The "White House" will be geared toward young women of the same nature. These young adults may not struggle with substance abuse, but are in need of structure and guidance to develop the necessary tools for a successful and independent trajectory.
With the recent growth, ATC will also be hiring another primary therapist. We seek to honor the highly individualized nature of the program by keeping our therapist's caseloads to a small and manageable number. Our client centered approach to transitional treatment remains the top priority.
At The Crossroads is a transitional program for young adults utilizing a highly individualized and client centered approach to treatment. Upon enrollment, each client is assessed to formulate a treatment plan unique to his or her strenths, challenges, needs and goals. Our multi-disciplinary team comprised of highly trained professionals aims to honor each young adult as a distinctive individual. There are no two pathways to success that will be exactly the same and therefore we, as a team with the client, navigate towards individuated success.
For more information, please contact Brittany Horigan at (910) 986-5564 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
CooperRiis now offers more access for families and mental health professionals to obtain services from CooperRiis. The newly designed website (www.cooperriis.org) allows everyone to view the information dynamically. SJ Health Insurance Advocates is the insurance partner, an industry leader that works with insurance companies to assist families receive their maximum health insurance benefits. Through this professional relationship families who are enrolling their young adult in treatment at CooperRiis will gain more information about their insurance plans, along with a greater understanding of their insurance reimbursement for payments made to CooperRiis for its services.
Visit the website for a virtual tour and to develop a greater understanding of how CooperRiis can help young adults with mental health issues.
The CooperRiis Healing Community is a residential mental health facility founded in 2003 by parents of a child who faced mental health issues. It has campuses in Mill Spring and Asheville, N.C. and has a resident-to-staff ratio that’s better than 1:1. They treat wellness, not illness. CooperRiis residents experience a holistic approach that includes daily service work, peer interaction, diet, exercise, self-esteem and empowerment. Data and anecdotes from residents show that CooperRiis helps them and their families get beyond helplessness and blame to a positive place of hope, support and transformation. Approximately 80 percent of residents who complete the program reach the level of independence they desire and are successfully reintegrated into the community, an achievement that has earned CooperRiis national recognition.
Elevations RTC, located in Syracuse, UT, is a top treatment program for troubled teens, that has a strong psychiatric and medical team on campus. Multiple aspects differentiate the psychiatric and medical team at Elevations. First, they are equipped with a fully staffed psychiatric team who is present 5 days a week, with on-call providers available for urgent matters 24/7. Elevations RTC psychiatric providers include a board-certified Child and Adolescent psychiatrist.
The holistic care begins within 24 hours of admission, where each client receives a full psychological assessment. This assessment generally includes an interview with the resident, discussion of history with the parents/guardians, and review of prior records (psychiatric records/psychological testing/school records/letters from therapists/prior program records, etc). At least two times a month, a client is seen by a psychiatric provider. However, if more sessions are needed to achieve client success and growth, it is integrated into the client's treatment plan. A holistic and integrative health approach is important to the team. Medication management has a conservative tone. The staff and medical team are constantly observing clients and behavior to assess daily and weekly behavior changes. “We offer in-house, all-inclusive primary care through Jeff Ryan, PA,” says Dr. Michael Connolly, M.D., Medical Director of Elevations RTC. “This improves communication and access to medical care needs. Our nursing staff is readily available 24/7 for assessment, communication, and medication delivery. Many treatment facilities do not have this level of nursing care, and often medications are distributed by non-medical staff which may increase the risk for errors.”
The team is connected and interested in helping a troubled teen grow into the student and family member they are meant to be. “We are so lucky to have such a highly gifted, caring group of psychiatric and nursing professionals on our staff. Their expertise has helped hundreds of troubled teens heal and look forward to bright futures,” says Judith Jacques, M. Ed, Executive Director of Elevations RTC.
Elevations RTC is a unique residential treatment center that works with both young men and women ages 13 - 18. Elevations offers guidance, support and relief to young men and women struggling with issues like trauma, depression, mood disorders, anxiety, behavioral problems, school issues, and substance use/abuse. Elevations RTC is located in Utah and provides specialized, clinically intensive programming for troubled teens. For more information, please contact Laura Burt or Tamra Foy at 1-866-952-7930.
Crossroads Young Adult Transition program evolved from Crossroads Academy in 2014. The program serves males 18 to 26 primarily recovering from substance use problems. Crossroads philosophy is based on providing an autonomous environment in order to parallel emerging adulthood. Relationships form the foundation of the therapeutic approach, which are forged in the context of outdoor adventures with staff and therapists. Building meaning and purpose through courage in the face of uncertainty, stepping outside of comfort zones, and having passions all lend to healing and growth. As summer approaches, wake-boarding/surfing, hiking, and camping is all the talk around the apartments. The most excitement right now surrounds rock climbing.
The city of Ogden in northern Utah provides a mecca of indoor and outdoor climbing adventures. As the snow melts the hillsides explode with color, which provide a stunning backdrop for the steep rock walls surrounding the city. A new waitlist-controlled randomized group pilot study showed significant decreases in depression after eight weeks of indoor rock climbing (see study here). One cognitive theory of depression is based on self-efficacy, which is also targeted by rock climbing.
Crossroads utilizes small accomplishments with rock climbing to help young men build self-confidence, which can then generalize to other life domains. For example, in rocking climbing terminology, mastering a new route is described as “deconstructing a problem.” Crossroads therapists draw from this metaphor to teach executive functioning skills such as planning, organizing, and implementing. This then lays the ground work for young men to secure employment, higher education, and accomplish daily life tasks. Well known climber Alex Honnold captures this in his book Alone on the Wall, “In a real sense, I performed the hard work of that free solo during the days leading up to it. Once I was on the climb, it was just a matter of executing.”
David Johnson, PhD & Kristi Keding, CMHC
With another Rocky Mountain summer in full swing, Open Sky Wilderness Therapy has added two new groups to its program: an Adolescent Boys Group and a Young Adults Group. With these new groups, Open Sky welcomes experienced wilderness therapists, Dr. Sarah Issenmann and Erin Crowley, LMFT to their Clinical Team.
Open Sky’s Clinical Director, Tony Issenmann, will be leading the new Adolescent Boys Group with his sibling, Dr. Sarah Issenmann. Dr. Sarah is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy specialist. After earning her Master’s degree from the University of Cincinnati, she went on to complete her Doctorate in Ministry and Marriage and Family Therapy at Amridge University.
Regarding working with his sister, Dr. Tony said, “We have always enjoyed professionally collaborating and are thrilled to work together at Open Sky. Every week, adolescent boys and their families now get two Dr. Issenmanns supporting individual and group therapy sessions in the field and on parent calls.”
Professionally, Dr. Sarah has worked with children, youth, and families for over 10 years. She began her career working with children who temporarily resided in an emergency shelter by providing crisis stabilization. For the past 3 years, Dr. Sarah worked in a middle school providing therapy to students and families. During that time, she worked with a diverse population of students presenting problems consisting of ADHD, oppositional defiant disorders, trauma histories, anxiety, depression, and self harm behaviors.
“Wilderness offers a transformative experience,” said Dr. Sarah. “The setting provides the perfect environment to promote growth and change, while providing countless opportunities for students to identify their unique strengths and capabilities. Additionally, I believe in the importance of the family unit working together to make a change and appreciate the ability to go deeper on the whole family system. Open Sky is unique because of the extent of its family focused services.”
Additionally, seasoned wilderness therapist, Erin Crowley, will be leading Open Sky’s new Young Adult Group. Erin started working in wilderness therapy at SUWS in 2003 and subsequently managed a private practice focusing on young adults and family systems. Integrating into Open Sky, Erin will be mentoring with veteran Clinical Therapist, Mariah Loftin.
As a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Erin specializes in treating young adults and their families. She earned her Master's in Counseling from California State University and is a certified school counselor as well as a certified yoga instructor. Erin approaches therapy from a strengths-based, client-centered orientation. With 20 years of experience as a mindfulness practitioner, she integrates mindfulness into all of her therapy. The family systems model informs her work, tailoring her approach to the specific client and their family. Depending on the need of an individual, she employs techniques from cognitive behavioral therapy, play therapy, narrative therapy, ecotherapy, mindfulness-based stress reduction, and somatic therapy. She prioritizes collaboration with families, schools, and community resources, treating the whole client to foster long-term success.
Regarding her new position, Erin said, “I feel so fortunate to be at Open Sky because I value their dedication to the whole family and their commitment to being a leader in the industry. Also, being in the beautiful San Juan Mountains in the summer months is pretty much unbeatable.”
About Open Sky Wilderness Therapy
Since 2006, Open Sky Wilderness Therapy has been providing the premier family-centered wilderness therapy experience through its programs in the mountains of Southwest Colorado and Canyonlands of Southeast Utah. The Open Sky approach transcends traditional wilderness therapy by emphasizing treatment for the whole family not just the adolescent or young adult, and the application of evidence-based clinical modalities with innovative, well-researched holistic healing practices such as yoga, meditation and mindfulness. When a family partners with Open Sky, they embark on a rewarding adventure of self-discovery, and learn a range of strategies that promote lasting success.
Evoke at Cascades is excited to announce the arrival of Jason Sibley as our new Field Director. Jason has 9 years of experience working in the Wilderness Therapy Field and he makes a great addition to the Evoke at Cascades team. He will be overseeing the Field Department, ensuring the quality of the programming as well as instructor development.
To read more about Jason you can click here.
Evoke Therapy Programs at Cascades, in Bend, Oregon provides innovative mental health treatment solutions for struggling teens, young adults and their families. Their programs foster lasting change utilizing the power of nature and Wilderness Therapy. They also offer Personal Growth Intensive Workshops for individuals and families that are looking to create dynamic changes in their life or to simply find the balance they are seeking.