All Kinds of News for November 09, 2016
Each month, Gateway Academy focuses the spotlight on one member of the faculty or staff team, to highlight the work they do, their personality, and the energy they bring to campus each day.
Adrienne Noakes has been the science teacher at Gateway Academy since 2013. Her degree emphasis was in Chemistry, Microbiology, & Zoology and she is licensed to teach secondary science as a Utah Level II Certified Teacher. Adrienne believes that the "study of science encourages natural curiosity which then aids in further motivating students to become proactively involved in their education." She has taught in both middle school and high school settings including residential and day treatment programs since 2002. She has taught Biology, Chemistry, Earth Systems, Physics, Algebra and Geometry. Adrienne especially enjoys incorporating creative projects into her curriculum and witnessing the "aha" moment when a student recognizes that he/she actually likes science.
* What is most rewarding about working at Gateway?
Adrienne: being able to see the progress of our students, both academically and therapeutically, while they are here at Gateway.
* What is your favorite book and why?
Adrienne: "Les Miserables" I read this book when I was a teen and was impressed by the actions of the Bishop and the life-long effect those actions had on Jean Valjean.
* What is your favorite brain rule and how to you integrate it in the classroom?
Adrienne: Brain Rule #1 - every brain is wired differently. I incorporate a variety of ways to learn a concept in my classes. For example, we have class instruction/discussions, hands-on activities and labs to reinforce concepts, games to review concepts, podcasts and interactive science notebooks.
* When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Adrienne: When I was young, I wanted to be a dancer. Oh to be young again; I now have to settle for just dancing on weekends, ha ha!
* What is your favorite thing about living in Utah?
Adrienne: I enjoy the slower pace of life in Utah.
Gateway Academy (UT) is dedicated to the healthy development and healing of adolescent boys and their families. We provide a safe and nurturing environment through five integrated programs: Therapy, Academics, Community, Outdoor Education and Fitness. With integrity and respect, we help students feel empowered and valued, build healthy relationships, make thoughtful decisions, develop life skills, become life-long learners, and achieve their personal best.
Vive Family Support Program is thrilled to announce that we have been accepted into the Association for Community Integration Programs (A4CIP) member. This innovative organization’s mission is “to promote community integration programs as a central and proven alternative to residential and hospital-level care.” The Association for Community Integration Programs educates families and mental health professionals about the benefits of this evidence-based treatment model, as a beneficial and impactful alternative or addition to treatment outside the community.
Vive is the only therapeutic program of its kind to have established teams across the country made up of clinicians who live and work in the same communities as the families they support. We have teams in New York, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Chicago, Denver, Atlanta, and Washington, DC.
"We look forward to a long and valuable relationship with A4CIP," said Willow Rubin, MA LPC, MFT, Executive Directer of Vive Family Support Program, "to bring this vital, real time model of therapeutic support to families in need." Read more about A4CIP here.
Vive Family Support Program works with families in their home and their community to create strong, lasting relationships. Vive support teams are available "in the moment" when family issues or crises arise and communication breaks down. Vive supports the entire family system, working side-by-side in an experiential and community-based approach. Vive is located in Boston, NY + tri-state, Washington D.C. metro, Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, + Denver/Boulder.
BlueFire Wilderness Therapy, a leading wilderness therapy program for teens ages 11-17, engages students in exciting academic programming through a weekly topical discussion called the Ignition Hour. The Ignition Hour is intended to ignite within teens the self-belief that they can successfully participate in an academic setting. It provides a unique format which engages students on an intellectual level. Many of BlueFire’s clients have previously struggled in a traditional classroom setting. Ignition Hour encourages clients to participate in a multilayered analysis of a specific topic.
“During Ignition Hour, each teen offers their own perspective on an issue,” comments Charles Hancock, LCPC, therapist at BlueFire. “It’s not about who is right or wrong about an issue. Ignition Hour allows teens to look at different aspects of an issue which may be entirely new to them. Everyone is working together to analyze a particular issue in a well-rounded, multi-faceted way.” Most of the time, students are responsible for choosing the topics for Ignition Hour. Topics explored have included: war, social media, zoos, air pollution, land conservation, gun control, prison, the foster care system, taxes, overuse of technology, and the population boom.
“Ignition Hour has seen unbelievable results in boosting the self esteem and confidence of students to contribute in intellectual and academic settings,” continues Hancock. “Many of our students hated academics before coming to BlueFire. By getting them engaged in higher level thinking through Ignition Hour, we are able to change the way they think about their academic and intellectual abilities.”
After each Ignition Hour, students write a summary of what topics were discussed during the Ignition Hour. By putting the ideas of every member of the discussion on paper, students are able to revisit the ideas they voiced within the discussion and continue the academic stimulation of Ignition Hour.
BlueFire Wilderness is a wilderness therapy program based outside of Boise, Idaho that offers teens ages 11-17 a comprehensive adventure experience. BlueFire Wilderness combines clinical expertise, academic assessments and a family systems approach to help teens struggling with emotional, behavioral and social challenges.
This month, Jessica Walker LCSW, primary therapist at the ViewPoint Center and Britten Lamb LCSW, Clinical Director of the ViewPoint Center, completed their Dialectical Behavioral training (DBT). They will be certified to carry out DBT skills training for qualified patients. Dialectical Behavioral Training (DBT) is a effective treatment for people who have difficulty controlling their emotions and behaviors. DBT aims to replace problem behaviors with skillful behaviors.
As an evidence-based form of psychotherapy, DBT helps individuals experience a range of emotions without necessarily acting on those emotions, navigate releationships within their environment (family/School/perrs), and create a life worth living.
The overall goals of DBT skills training include decreasing certain behaviors like:
- Reduced focus and confusion about self skills: Not always aware of what you are feeling, why you get upset, or what your goals are, and/or have troulbe staying focused.
- Emotional dysregulation: Fast, intense mood changes with little control and/or steady negative emotional state; mood-dependent behaviors.
- Impulsivity: Acting without thinkg it all through; escaping or avoiding emotional experiences DBT aims to increase
The overall goals of DBT skills training aim to increase these positive behaviors:
- Core Mindfulness: Developing an awareness of thoughts, behaviors, feeling, and behavioral urges.
- Emotion Regulation Skills: Understanding one's emotions, reducing emotional vulnerability, and decreasing emotion suffing.
- Distress Tolerance Skills: Learning to accept and tolerate distress.
- Interpersonal Effectiveness: Skills that help individuals approach conversations in a more thoughtful and deliberate manner.
- Walking the middle path skills: Seeing a situation or solving a problem from more than one angle by balancing acceptance and change.
The ViewPoint Center is a specialty licensed mental health hospital for teens ages 12-18, is located just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. With the program lasting 6-7 weeks, ViewPoint Center provides superior assessment, diagnosis, treatment and stabilization. Many teens who come to ViewPoint struggle with mental and behavioral issues such as suicidal ideation, anxiety disorder, and eating diorders, in a safe, personalized environment.
Elevations RTC, a residential treatment center for teens ages 13-18, is excited to implement Music Education Therapy within their clinical programming.
Elevations RTC works closely with Genote, a research-based music streaming platform which utilizes clinically tested music to help individuals struggling with numerous behavioral and emotional issues.
Genote has an extensive library of instrumental music ranging from classical to contemporary artists. The entire library is recorded, mastered and engineered exclusively for Genote. Their unique methodology dissects music into elements. Each element is combined with a specific psychophysiological response and triggers certain emotional and physiological responses within individuals. “The three elements we utilize are music analysis, scientific evaluation, and biometrics,” says Dr. Massimiliano Frani, CEO of Genote. “We use these elements to customize each intervention to a specific health and well-being objective. Our music therapy interventions provide world-class music performances, unmatched scientific research, simple to use technology, and non-invasive implementation.” Elevations RTC has implemented Genote’s interventions into the therapeutic plan for a small cohort of students. The students utilizing Genote interventions struggle with sleeplessness, aggressive behaviors and/or inattentiveness.
“Students work with their therapists to determine the best time for them to listen to the Genote library,” comments Chad Stark, MAEd, ACMHC, Primary Therapist at Elevations. “Students who obtain the privilege of carrying a laptop may listen to music when they feel it is appropriate for them. Students are also given Bluetooth speakers with headphones which they can listen to the music with.”
Representatives from Genote come to campus on a regular basis to assist students and receive direct feedback from the participants.
“The representatives from Genote are very helpful and offer guidance to students regarding the ways in which they are listening to the music,” says Stark. “So far, students are responding well to these music interventions. We’ve seen a clear emotional and physiological response from students after they have listened to Genote’s library.”
The introduction of Genote music interventions within Elevations RTC is still brand new. More concrete objective outcomes are still to be determined.
For more information about Elevations RTC, visit http://www.elevationsrtc.com/.
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, behavioral problems, and substance abuse. Elevations RTC is located in Utah and provides specialized, clinically intensive programs for troubled teens. For more information, please call 1-866-952-7930.
Evoke Therapy Programs is hosting several upcoming Parent Support Groups. These groups provide parents with an opportunity to connect with others in their area who are going or have gone through similar struggles. Alumni families provide new parents with support, while new families can share their story in a safe place. Parents receive hope while building a network of support. There is also education on topics such as listening, connection, healthy detachment, improving relationships and more.
November New York Parent Support Group
Wednesday, November 16th
6:30 - 8:30 pm (Eastern Time)
365 Fifth Avenue
New York, New York
December Atlanta Parent Support Group
Thursday, December 1st
7:00 - 9:00 pm (Eastern Time)
Atlanta Marriott Marquis
265 Peachtree Center Ave
December Toronto Parent Support Group
Monday, December 12th
7:00 - 9:00 pm (Eastern Time)
Renaissance Toronto Downtown Hotel
One Blue Jays Way
Toronto Ontario M5V 1J4
December New York Parent Support Group
Wednesday, Dec 14th
6:30 - 8:30 pm (Eastern Time)
365 Fifth Avenue
New York, New York
Please contact Stephanie Lewis at email@example.com or 970-619-8664 to RSVP.
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.
Evoke Therapy Programs has hired Kristen Hayes as their new Marketing & Outreach Director! Kristen is an established public relations and communications professional with 20 years of experience in the field. She is a Southern California native and graduated cum laude from UCLA with a degree in Communications. Kristen is an active member of the Women’s Association for Addiction Treatment (WAAT) and the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP), and currently serves as the Public Relations Committee Chair for NATSAP.
Click here to read more about Kristen.
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.
Because there are so many different therapeutic programs available today, parents may find it hard to choose the best placement for their troubled teen. Some of the options are therapeutic boarding schools, residential treatment centers, and wilderness therapy programs, and working ranch programs. The purpose of this article is to explain how the positive environment on a working ranch can be so effective in helping troubled teens turn their lives around.
When adolescents are failing in their home environment, it is sometimes essential for them to go to an isolated therapeutic environment to get their lives back together. One of the reasons a working ranch environment is beneficial is because a ranch has no technology. While new technology comes out every day to make things easier for us, the flip side is that it also makes us lazier. Think of all the tasks we can do on the Internet without leaving our comfortable computer chair. We don't have to get dressed, move from our chair, leave the house, drive anywhere or talk to anyone face to face. We hardly have to communicate or even think for ourselves. The computer, cell phone, TV or video game make it easy for us to sit down, tune out and have very little interaction with anyone in our families.
In the working ranch environment, technology is very limited. This means teens have to be responsible and think for themselves. They have to deal with boredom and the lack of stimulation which technology provides every hour of every day. In one study performed in a psychiatric unit, Binnema (2004) found that boredom results from not finding meaning in our environment. To avoid boredom, we need to find meaning and think for ourselves.
Over the last hundred years, very little has changed about life on a working ranch. A working ranch is a natural outdoor environment. A working ranch is rustic and reminiscent of the way our ancestors lived. Crops in the field, cattle and horses in the pasture - such a setting creates a quiet and serene environment. The work on a ranch is not just about having fun or building character; it is a necessary part of keeping the ranch running from day to day. Hay needs to be harvested and stored during the summer so animals can feed during the winter. Farm animals require daily care and the ranch needs constant tending. Examples of other essential work include: farm equipment maintenance, fence building and repair, moving cattle from summer mountain pastures to winter desert pastures, chopping wood, and growing garden crops. Adolescents learn about themselves as they learn to contribute to something bigger than themselves.
A Maori Elder stated, "Those who build the house are built by it. Only when I participate in the fullness around me can I learn from the fullness around me." After clearing a field from new fresh bales of hay, an adolescent can't help but receive satisfaction from a job well done. Roger S. Ulrich, a research psychologist, studied how being in nature affects recovery. He found that when we are in nature, we recover sooner, take less pain medication and have a better outlook on life (Jack, 2006). His research supports the fact that out in nature and out on the ranch, adolescents can be positively influenced by their surroundings.
Many adolescents refuse to go to treatment on their own, forcing their parents to find the program necessary to save their children's lives. The working ranch environment is particularly helpful for those who are resistant to treatment. Doing chores and work projects side by side with adult staff members is how these resistant teens gain so much therapeutic benefit. Relationships are formed in a natural way as staff members and teens work together. Using experiential therapy in natural settings, the staff and therapists help the teens in a non-threatening way.
The working ranch program is an amazing tool for changing lives and helping families. Turn-About Ranch is a leader in the application of a real working cattle ranch that provides intensive therapy, substance abuse treatment, and academics for a well-rounded opportunity for change. Turn-About Ranch: Real Ranch. Real Values. Real Change.
Turn-About Ranch is a wilderness therapy and residential treatment program located in the heart of Southern Utah’s canyon country. Students experience life on a real working ranch while undergoing treatment to improve their life back home. Surrounded by multiple national parks and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Turn-About Ranch is the ideal location for youth of today to have the space they need to find healing and purpose.
Gabor Matte, MD, author of "In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction" headed into the field with co-founders Drew Hornbeck and Steve Sawyer to visit a girls group on expedition. According to Mr. Hornbeck, "It was a privilege to collaborate with Dr. Maté and have him engage with our students".
Dr. Maté is the co-founder of Compassion for Addiction, a new non-profit that focuses on addiction. He has received the Hubert Evans Prize for Literary Non-Fiction, an Honorary (Law) Degree from the University of Northern British Columbia, an Outstanding Alumnus Award from Simon Fraser University, and the 2012 Martin Luther King Humanitarian Award from Mothers Against Teen Violence. He is an adjunct professor in the Faculty of Criminology, Simon Fraser University and an acclaimed speaker and bestselling author.
Steve Sawyer commented, "Dr. Mate's core message is very aligned with ours: that the source of addiction is not to be found in genes, but in the early childhood environment and that the question should not be why the addiction, but instead why the pain and loss".
"I recently had the inspiring experience of visiting the New Vision Wilderness youth camp near Bend, Oregon, meeting with staff and their young clients. The latter were all young women with troubled histories. I was most impressed by how openly, insightfully, and courageously, after only a few weeks in the wilderness program, these young people shared about themselves and what they had learned. I have hardly ever seen trauma-informed theory, compassionate intention and expert practice melded together so humanely and effectively as in the New Vision Wilderness program. I can’t recommend NVW too highly."
It is with great enthusiasm that Outback Therapeutic Expeditions announces the addition of Tracy Hopkins, MSW as Director of Business Development. Tracy has over 15 years of experience working with adolescents, young adults and their families within the field of private pay behavioral health and non-profit educational organizations and we are thrilled to have her join our team.
Tracy is a dedicated and service-driven professional who is devoted to helping individuals and organizations thrive. Much of her growth and success are directly attributed to the development of a comprehensive vision gained through working in diverse work environments. Her career began as an assistant dorm parent at a boarding school for children with learning differences as well as an outdoor educator and wilderness therapy instructor. She quickly catapulted into administrative and leadership roles spanning from Program Manager, Operations Director, Admissions Director and Outreach Director within residential treatments centers and wilderness therapy programs. Her capacity in forging relationships is unparalleled and stems from her insatiable quest for authentic connections.
When asked to comment on her thoughts about this recent transition, Tracy stated, “Over the past couple of years, I have been able to reflect on my previous experiences and the insights gained throughout my graduate studies in social work. It was through this process that I found within me, a strong and renewed sense of direction, pointing me towards a clear path of empowerment of others, becoming an agent of change, and creating space for individuals to fully acknowledge the power of their own fortitude. As I began to truly discover who Outback Therapeutic Expeditions is and the purpose and drive of the program, an overwhelming sense of connection and resonance compelled me to join this incredibly talented team at Outback.”
Tracy is looking forward to jumping into her new role with Outback Therapeutic Expeditions and we are extremely proud to have her on board. Please join us in welcoming Tracy to our team at Outback Therapeutic Expeditions. She can be reached directly through her email or cell: firstname.lastname@example.org or 828.337.3692.
Outback Therapeutic Expeditionsoffers comprehensive assessments and treatment for teens through wilderness therapy. Outback offers help for troubled teens ages 13-17. Outback helps teens with various problems, such as depression, anxiety, engaging in dangerous behaviors, electronic and gaming addiction and more. Outback’s treatment options place strong emphasis on healthy relationships, increased self-efficacy, and a healthy amount of autonomy through skill building.
In recent months, New Roads representatives have received multiple requests to present or provide training. Particularly, conference planners and programs requested education regarding DBT. However, one planner asked the CEO, Eric Schmidt, to conduct training on building a strong company culture. The programs receiving instruction ranged from wilderness therapy programs, to substance use, disorder treatment centers, to primary psychiatric facilities.
Mr. Schmidt spent the fall traveling the country, offering seminars in multiple venues. He, in some cases, provided introduction to Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). In other cases, such as the National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor Conference, organizers provided a full day for instruction. In these latter cases, he ensured attendees left with several practical DBT skills, such as Validation Strategy, Chain Analysis, Distress Tolerance Skills, etc. At each venue, he received multiple invitations to conduct further training. The positive reaction to DBT pleases him. He reports a happiness and satisfaction in helping clinicians and counselors become excited about learning more about an evidence-based approach.
The president of the National Council on Addictive Disorders searched for an expert on company culture to speak at his annual conference. He heard from several sources that New Roads worked diligently to create a strong company culture and would likely provide excellent education in this area. Mr. Schmidt, honored, accepted the invitation. The lesson, which he co-taught with an executive who also graduated from the program, was well received.
During each presentation, Mr. Schmidt co-presented with a variety of staff members, one of whom was Dr. Kevin McCauley, the renowned filmmaker who produced Pleasure Unwoven and Memo to Self. (Both films received countless awards and are tirelessly used in Drug and Alcohol Treatment centers.) Dr. McCauley brought his signature emphasis upon neurochemistry and brain functioning to the instruction, allowing audiences and trainees to understand organic and chemical impacts of disorders like Borderline Personality Disorder. New Roads executives hold pride in the ongoing recognition of their expertise in DBT and their groundbreaking applications of the therapy.
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: 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.
Every female therapist at Trails takes a unique approach to working with female students. All students at Trails Carolina are placed in groups based on gender and age group. Trails Carolina helps girls who are just hitting puberty, as well as those who are further along developmentally. Because of this, developmentally appropriate programming is in place for both groups.
Studies have shown that girls benefit the most from sustained self confidence and interpersonal successes. Programming for girls at Trails is rooted in helping female students experience empowerment and self esteem through building strong relationships with others. There is also a strong emphasis on teaching students about self identity and overcoming negative ideas about body image.
Derry O’Kane, MS, LPC, NCC, primary therapist for the middle school girls group at Trails Carolina, explains why wilderness therapy is so powerful for younger girls: “Wilderness therapy helps girls celebrate exactly who they are, not who they think they should be,” says O’Kane. “Influenced by what they see in the media and in social networking, girls in this age group may try to act and dress much older than their age and can even feel ashamed of their age or perceived status in society. In my work, I strive to create experiences that allow space for girls to be the playful, daring and spirited people they really are. I celebrate authentic expressions of their personalities and help girls come out of hiding.”
Primary Therapist Ashley Brown, MSW, LCSW, LCAS, works with girls ages 14-17. According to Brown, this older group of girls benefits from programming designed to build relationships and express themselves in developmentally appropriate ways.
“The research tells us that females build empowerment and self esteem based on the strength of their relationships with others, especially their peers,” comments Brown. “Because of this, I use a relational model. I emphasize the importance of students forming close bonds with their peers through initiatives such as honor circles, hiking order, mentorship, and processing groups.”
Shalene Pierce, MSW, LCSW, Primary Therapist for girls ages 14-17, has worked with female students in a wilderness therapy setting for the past 16 years. “Wilderness is extremely beneficial for girls because it takes away all distractions from their lives. Wilderness therapy is designed to create success and help girls develop their own identity and voice,” says Pierce. “Trails Carolina has always been the premier wilderness therapy program to send girls. From our inception, our female population census has always been higher than our male population, which is rare. Our very first group of students were girls and we’ve consistently built a program that is oriented towards the female adolescent experience since our inception.”
Since it opened nearly a decade ago, Trails Carolina has continued to help young women and their families experience lasting success with the help of dedicated female therapists.
For more information about Trails Carolina, please call 800-975-7303 or visit http://trailscarolina.com/.
Trails Carolina is a wilderness therapy program based just outside of Asheville, North Carolina that offers a multi-dimensional wilderness therapy model to troubled adolescents, ages 10-17. Trails capitalizes upon the profound effects of a student’s wilderness experience, and then combines that experience with strong clinical assessments and therapy. For additional information about Trails Carolina, please visit http://trailscarolina.com/ or call 800-975-7303.
College Excel, the nation's leading residential college support program, is pleased to announce the following:
- Currently enrolling for the winter term 2017, which begins on Monday, January 9, 2017
- New support group this fall "Wilderness Therapy to College"
- A new student seminar added about managing and ideally preventing "Digital Overload"
In mid-October, a group of students and staff from Greenbrier Academy for Girls traveled to a barrio in Nicaragua with hopes of bettering the lives of those living in the small community. Upon arrival, students were eagerly greeted by smiling children with outstretched arms. Amidst the laughter and cheerful shouts from delighted children, a sense of enthusiasm began to grow among the girls. Full of ambition, the Greenbrier Academy students set out to make their time in Nicaragua purposeful.
Working alongside the Chosen Children Ministries, the Greenbrier Academy team helped to provide food, distribute supplies, and construct a house. Throughout the days, Greenbrier Academy students and staff couldn’t help but notice the authentic appreciation that was apparent on each local’s face. “The children didn’t ask for anything but our energy,” a therapist recalled. The blissful aura filled students with hope and fostered self-reflection. “These kids had so little, but they were some of the happiest people I’ve ever met,” smiled a Greenbrier Academy student. “Coming back home, it makes me think about all the meaningless things that we fight over or worry about. Cell phones, social media, expensive clothes - that stuff just doesn’t matter when you really think about it.”
There was no shortage of touching moments during the week-long visit. While there were countless instances of joy, the team was frequently reminded of the enormous need in this community. One staff member, Michelle, remembers a heartbreaking scene that took place while volunteers handed out food bags to children who had sponsors. “I noticed a few mothers came up to see if their child’s name was on the list,” she said. After a few moments of agonizingly scanning the paper, she watched the disappointed mothers as they sadly walked away. “I wished we could have stayed longer because I left feeling like we could have done so much more for them.” The despairing moment stuck with Michelle and she is looking forward to returning to the barrio again to pick up where she left off.
The Greenbrier Academy team considers themselves blessed to have met the people of the Nicaraguan village. Through times of happiness and sorrow, the girls supported their fellow humans and discovered a sense of gratitude that many had never before felt. Upon returning home, students were challenged to harbor those emotions in their hearts and to live each day with the same compassion for others. A student remarks thoughtfully, “If it was possible there, it is possible here.”
Carrie Weatherhead, LCSW, has dedicated her entire professional career to providing opportunities for at-risk adolescents and young adults. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Clark University in Worcester, MA and went on to complete a Master’s in Social Work from Boston University. Carrie has more than 20 years experience working with young people and their families in public schools and in community settings. Her work focused on youth empowerment theory, self-efficacy training, and project-based learning. She also has extensive experience in community organizing, and nonprofit management, program development and implementation.
Now Carrie will be taking on the role of Marketing and Admissions Director for Pure Life by Aspiro. She is passionate about the adventure therapy model and looks forward to sharing Pure Life’s unique approach to young adult therapy with those in need.
“Carrie is a great addition to our team. She will be able to provide an extra layer of support to our families and referring professionals because she is a licensed therapist," says Andrew Taylor, Pure Life Executive Director. A devoted Bostonian, Carrie enjoys spending her time outside hiking and biking throughout New England with her husband and two sons. She has learned first-hand about the transformative nature of an active lifestyle. Carrie fervently believes that young people learn best when they are challenged and stretched outside their comfort zone.
Alpine Academy has announced the appointment of Dr. Amy Wilson as their new Medical Director. She will assume her new responsibilities on November 1, 2016 and will succeed Dr. Howard Weeks. Dr. Weeks will continue on with Alpine Academy, mentoring Dr. Wilson and maintaining a caseload, while expanding his role at the University of Utah Neuropsychiatric Institute (UNI).
Dr. Wilson has been a part of the Alpine Academy medical team since 2014. She received her Medical Degree from the University of Utah before completing her psychiatric residency at the University of Washington. Dr. Wilson is Board Certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, and she is an active member of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Her professional interests include cross-cultural psychiatry, mindfulness-based psychotherapy, and gender dysphoria.
“We are absolutely thrilled that Dr. Wilson will be our Medical Director,” said Alpine Academy Director, Michele Boguslofski. “It’s a testament to Amy’s dedication and professional abilities that Dr. [Howard] Weeks hand-picked her to be his successor.”
Dr. Wilson also works on the inpatient unit at the University of Utah Neuropsychiatric Institute (UNI), as part of the child psychiatry hospitalist team. For over ten years, Alpine Academy has maintained a close relationship with UNI. Along with Dr. Wilson and her predecessor, Dr. Weeks, a team of doctors from UNI work as the primary psychiatrists for students at Alpine Academy. This allows Alpine Academy to provide the highest quality psychiatric care while maintaining consistency in the treatment process.
Alpine Academy is happy to welcome Dr. Wilson into her new role, and we are thrilled to be able to continue working with Dr. Weeks and his team at UNI.
Alpine Academy is a licensed Residential Treatment Center for girls ages 12-18 located in Utah. Students struggle with emotional disturbances that are severe enough to prevent them from going to school successfully. Alpine is a fully accredited school with dual-endorsed teachers at the front of every classroom. Therapy is built into the school day. It is a nationally certified Teaching Family Model treatment program. The students live in homes with married couples, Family Teachers.
Pacific Quest’s Horticultural Therapy Director Travis Slagle M.A. recently accepted the national award in Therapeutic Garden Design from the American Horticultural Therapy Association (AHTA). The nomination process included an outpouring of inspiring testimonials from families, alumni, educational consultants, and mental health professionals from across the country. Travis commented, “The greatest part of this award is knowing that our gardens are saving lives, re-invigorating families, and changing the face of wilderness therapy. Receiving this award is a humbling reminder that hard work pays off, and why healing gardens belong at the center of our communities as a reminder of our own resilience and of life’s endless possibilities.”
Pacific Quest’s commitment to stewardship and their neurosequential approach to garden design and program structure makes them well deserving of this recognition. Here is one of the many testimonials that the AHTA committee received during the award nomination:
“Our daughter was lost, struggling, and unhappy. She reconnected to nature and her healthy self through Pacific Quest’s horticultural therapy program. Simple and hard work in nature helped her strip away unhealthy behaviors and unproductive patterns, and empowered her to understand how good process leads to good outcomes. In the garden, she learned how to work with others, delay gratification, tend weeds (psychological and natural), embrace discomfort, and envision a positive future. She developed resilience and sense of self by getting a little dirty and doing a little hard work. Every day, PQ’s guides and therapists helped her see how her work was helping her heal. We will be forever grateful to PQ and that patch of dirt for helping our daughter get past a dark period in her life.”
Upon his return from the AHTA conference and award ceremony, Travis shared, “Looking back to when PQ first began, we spent most our days hauling rocks and burning piles of dead grass to clear the jungle to make space for a visionary garden that would one day become the epicenter of our values as an organization. As we cleared the land, one by one we planted fruit trees and built garden beds that have become a beacon of hope and inspiration for so many people. I feel honored to be a part of it!”
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. www.pacificquest.org
Onward Transitions members know that Portland, Maine is a culinary wonder. Amazing restaurants, grocers, producers and growers populate the coast. To kick off the weekend, members and staff dine out every Friday night at a restaurant they research and select. This has become a wonderful tradition and everyone looks forward to getting together in the Old Port district to break artisanal bread, slurp traditional ramen and experience freshly caught seafood.
Fortunately, OT members and staff don’t have to go out to find locally sourced, inspirationally prepared healthy food. Onward Transitions’ Wellness Systems Coordinator, Dawn Kendall, M.A. delivers on the OT commitment to members and to the community of local grocers, growers, fishers, bakers, makers and markets—using local resources to meet strategic goals pointed towards better overall health and wellness. Dawn’s undergraduate and graduate work in psychology and theology bring spirit and soul, which combines brilliantly with her work experience in the food industry and her current studies in dietetics.
Dawn brings creativity and global fusion exploration to menu planning and meal preparation. Each member completes an extensive survey identifying food values, traditions, patterns, preferences, challenges, and goals. Dawn works with each member to expand their palates (and their minds in the process), nudging all towards more informed and nutritious decisions. Members go on excursions with Dawn seeking specialty items and really learning how to shop for their independent lives in the process.
Dawn creates the menu, preps and cooks breakfast and dinner Monday through Friday, and prepares a large casserole or soup dish to serve on Saturday. She helps members design individual wellness plans, mentors them in the kitchen as they serve as her sous chef, and in the process learn important lessons about cleanliness, food prep and storage.
"Thanks to Dawn, table is set, the dinner candle is lit, and the community is engaged," said Darrell Fraize, M.Ed., LCPC, LADC, Clinical Director at Onward Transitions. The philosophy and approach at OT revolves around the value of conversation. Fraize went on to say, "And nowhere is this more true than in what takes place at the dining room table of the Pine House."
Onward Transitions is a comprehensive, non-residential independent living service that supports young adults, ages 18-27 living independently in the neighborhood of their choice in Portland, Maine. Our members choose and live in their own apartment from day one. They do not ever live with us. Members' challenges include anxiety, depression, executive functioning and meeting the requirements of launching towards independence.
EDGE Learning & Wellness recently launched a new digital portfolio to enable students to track and share their skill acquisition throughout their time in the program. The approach -- having students own the process and the information -- is a hallmark of EDGE's philosophy that a true transition program empowers each person to lead their own life and claim responsibility for all aspects of it. Additionally, the portfolio is a tool that students can use to communicate their progress to their parents and others who are invested in their success.
According to a current EDGE student, "The portfolio helps me keep track of all of the things I should be doing while I'm here. It seems like a lot at first, but I like checking things off as I do them and it's going to feel good once everything is done. I like that I have evidence of everything that I'm working on."
Students are equipped with the program's clear expectations and the support of their therapeutic Life Coaches and Learning Coordinator to work through the skill acquisition process. Beginning with a multi-domain life and learning skill assessment, the goal-focused, task-driven approach results in students developing mastery over a number of important daily living skills:
- Finance: budgeting, spending, saving
- Health management: medication management, appointment setting
- Problem-solving: assertiveness, self-advocacy, identification and use of resources
- Engagement: schedule management, contribution through volunteering or work
- Organization: effective management of time and space
- Relationships: communication with parents, professors, staff, and peers
- Academic: Writing, reading, and study skills
In keeping with EDGE's personalized approach, built into the portfolio are reflective writing assignments and personal challenges tailored to each student's goals. Students have graduated from EDGE with valuable life skills and now will have a running record of accomplishment to bolster their confidence and ability to succeed post-program.
As described by Brittany Williams, EDGE's Learning Coordinator, "The portfolio encourages students to take ownership for their own learning by setting attainable goals and helping students reach them. It's inspiring to watch the transformation that occurs as the responsibility of completing tasks shifts from staff to student!"
EDGE Learning and Wellness Collegiate Community is an accredited transitional living program located in Chicago, IL. EDGE offers therapeutically supported residential and non-residential options for post-treatment young adults. The participants, ages 18 -24, are striving to excel academically, while creating a life of balance, joy and wellness.
Summit opened its doors in August of 1996 and it is now entering its 21st year of operation. Dr. Will White, co-Founder of Summit Achievement, has been with there since the start and will say it has been the greatest learning experience of his life. He has been asked to reflect on the lessons he's learned over the 20 years of operation of the program. They are as follows:
- Treat everyone in an open, honest and transparent manner.
- Focus on hiring quality staff and take care of them. Good people make good decisions. Hire people smarter than you and get out of their way.
- Keep small and don’t get caught up in the cycles of the field. It is easy to lose perspective when things are going well. Any organization can go from mission to mayhem in a blink of an eye.
- When tragedy happens, take care of all in the community. Focus first and foremost on those who have been directly impacted by a tragedy. Have a vigorous review process of any incident.
- Don’t believe everything you think. Have people from outside of your organization regularly give you feedback. Listen to the feedback and make changes.
- Have an "open door" policy with everyone, from competitors to critics. Embrace them all.
- Focus on quality of programming and look at outcome data to reshape what you do. Don’t let marketing trump the data.
- Don’t make promises you cannot keep.
- Apologize when you make mistakes and learn from them, even if you realize that you made a mistake years later.
- Honor the past while planning for the future.
"Please keep in mind I learned these lessons by making lots of mistakes," said Dr. Will White, co-founder of Summit Achievement.
Summit Achievement is, and always has been, guided by positive reinforcement and the power of choice. Our outcome-focused program employs effective therapeutic and educational principals. Through the process of engaging therapy, classroom academics and exciting wilderness expeditions, students experience the therapeutic benefits of outdoor adventure-based activities while learning to manage the demands of a more traditional environment. As an intentionally small, owner-operated program, we serve adolescent boys and girls, ages 13-20, from around the world.
Oxbow Academy is a program that is constantly working towards improvement and how we can better meet the needs of our families. Recognizing a need to have an in-house accessible tool to properly measure the progress of our students, (aside from the Youth Outcome Questionnaire [YOQ], which is from the perspective of the student), for the past couple years Executive Director, Shawn Brooks, and our Research Director, Maria Waters, have worked side by side with Professor Jared Shultz from the Utah State University to design a residential tool that can track data on each client at the treatment center.
The tool is called the RESBA, Residential Emotional Social, and Behavioral Assessment and allows staff, therapist, and teachers to input data on each client's daily functioning emotionally, socially and behaviorally. This data is helpful to assist the treatment team informed on progress and directed treatment and also allows the parents data into their child’s progress. To read more about our efforts to advance our program through research please review our website. Oxbow Academy was recently awarded a Research Designated Program (RDP) by the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP), read the blog post.
Oxbow Academy is a licensed residential treatment center that specializes in treating teenage boys ages 12-18 with sexual issues and co-occurring disorders. It has been operating in Wales, Utah since 2006.
It is with great pleasure that PRN for Families welcomes the newest member of our clinical team, Kelsey Morell, LMSW.
Kelsey comes to PRN following the completion of her master's degree from Columbia University School of Social Work. Kelsey's prior clinical experiences include working with at-risk youth and families in the New York City Public School system, with psychiatric patients and their families at Bellevue Hospital of New York City, and with incarcerated youth within the juvenile justice system. Kelsey earned her B.A in Sociology with a minor in Education from Colorado College in 2012, where she also played lacrosse. She continues to make outdoor activity and exercise a priority in her life, and is a certified teacher and practitioner of yoga. Kelsey also enjoys traveling to immerse herself in other cultures.
"It is exciting to support the development of bright, talented, young professionals in our industry, " said Charles Elias, PRN's Executive Director. "Kelsey's enthusiasm, energy, sharp inquisitiveness and strong desire to learn and grow as a clinician allow her to bring a unique perspective to our work with young people."
Kelsey has recently relocated back to Colorado, and is working closely with Charles to support the case management process, as well as the mentor teams, for clients located near our Lakewood office. Those of you who attended the YATA conference may have already had the opportunity to meet Kelsey, and if you've met her, you already know what an amazing, warm, and talented woman she is. If you plan to be in or around Denver anytime soon, please let us know--Kelsey would love to meet you! She can be reached at: email@example.com.
Please join us in welcoming her to our PRN for Families team!
PRN for Families is a home-based support program that serves families who have children or young adults who are struggling, or for whom an out-of-home placement may be necessary. Since 2003, PRN for Families has offered intensive at-home intervention, crisis support, transition and reunification services that empower and support families so that they may live together successfully and safely
The fall sports season wrapped up last week for both the boys flag football team and girls volleyball team. Each were very competitive this year and each played well into the play offs. Coached by Rachel Mitten, the executive assistant, the girl’s team maximized their potential when their entire team was on the court. “This was by far the most talented volleyball team we’ve ever had” said Ian Petersen, Athletic Director at Heritage. “Typically we have one or two girls that have real experience on a volleyball team. This year we had four or five who knew what they were doing which made it difficult to find competition.”
Heritage participates in the Utah School Sports Association (USSA) league comprised mostly of charter schools all over northern Utah. Unfortunately the playoff schedule didn’t work out in their favor as two of the star players had home visits scheduled during the play offs. The girls ended in fourth place in the 16-team league after losing narrowly to Freedom Academy, a charter school located in Provo, Utah.
The boy’s flag football team participates in the Provo Men’s league and also went deep into the playoffs. Eight players are allowed on the field at any time and Heritage typically fields five students and three staff. Each year the team surprises the opposition who are made of adult teams. The team attributes their success to regular practice and organization. Highlights of the season included big plays on both sides of the ball by the students who think it is a lot of fun to play and compete with adults. They like to talk about those plays the following day at school. Contributing to the atmosphere is support from other homes and staff who come to support the team at their games.
Both teams will enjoy a team party in November before they turn their attention to basketball season in December.
Heritage is a non-profit residential treatment center located in Provo, Utah. Founded in 1984, Heritage specializes in the treatment of mood disorders and students diagnosed on the autism spectrum. Founder Jerry Spanos pioneered the relationship model Heritage uses with students. Our direct-care residential staff, who average 10 years of experience at Heritage, develop relationships of trust with students, guiding them to healthy, productive lifestyles. Our teachers, all special education certified, help students catch up on school credits and prepare for their continued education.
On October 13, Skyland Trail in Atlanta, GA, celebrated the grand opening of the Rollins Campus (https://www.skylandtrail.org/Our-Programs/Continuum-of-Care/Residential-Services/Rollins-Campus) for young adults ages 18 to 25. Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter joined nearly 300 guests for a ribbon-cutting program followed by tours of the 3.5 acre campus. The new campus offers specialized residential psychiatric treatment for emerging and college-age adults struggling with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses. Nationwide, it is one of only a handful of programs offering age-specific residential services and individualized mental health treatment. Click here to see a tour of the faciltiy.
Specially designed to meet the mental health needs and socialization styles of young adults, the 35,000 sq ft Young Adult Treatment Center includes a residential wing and a clinical wing. The residential wing includes 32 private bedrooms with private bathrooms, a nursing station and pharmacy on each of two floors, a workout and activity room with an outdoor patio and a family room and client lounge with floor-to-ceiling windows. The clinical wing includes group therapy rooms and offices and a dining room that opens to an outdoor dining patio. A central courtyard includes green spaces, unique water features, a boardwalk, a bocce ball court, a firepit and patio area.
On average, Skyland Trail clients of all ages (18 to 65 and older) engage in the Skyland Trail continuum of care, including residential and day treatment services, for about four months. Individualized, holistic care is provided bypsychiatrists and therapists as well as experts in music therapy, art therapy, horticultural therapy, interfaith spiritual counseling, vocational counseling, nutrition and active living, and recreational therapy.
Second Nature wilderness therapy is pleased to welcome Kristin Adams as the newest member of its clinical team. Kristin began her career as a Social Worker for inner-city youth and the juvenile justice system. This awoke within her a passion for helping adolescents repair family relationships, find direction, and build resilience.
Kristin’s professional experience coupled with her insatiable desire for adventure and play, made her an exceptional Field Staff at Second Nature. While working in the field at Second Nature, Kristin decided to return to school and pursue her Master’s in Social Work from the University of Utah. After graduation, Kristin began working with both male and female students in a nationally recognized residential treatment center. This experience has led to a deeper understanding of the role that wilderness therapy plays in helping young people disrupt negative patterns and preparing them for the next step in the treatment process.
Second Nature is a wilderness therapy program located in Duchesne, Utah began in 1998. Second Nature works with adolescent male and female 13 - 17 years old in single gender groups, using the wilderness as an intervention and clinically guided by licensed Masters and Ph.D level to assess and diagnose a client's specific needs.
Second Nature, founded in 1998, remains the most clinically advanced Wilderness Therapy program in the country, bringing empirically informed therapeutic techniques and therapists into the stunning landscape of Northern Utah. Second Nature maintains a nomadic wilderness model. This model uniquely intertwines individual therapy sessions, group therapy and the daily milieu of life that cannot be duplicated in traditional therapeutic settings.
Already considered the gold standard in wilderness therapy, Second Nature continues to push for evolution and advancement in the industry. The Family Dynamic Assessment, unique to Second Nature, is one such advancement. This assessment provides a quantitative analysis of family dynamics that helps create a clearer picture of the family system. While at Second Nature, this assessment provides clarity of the strengths and weaknesses within the family system and helps to uncover broader patterns and tendencies for examination and focus beyond the wilderness.
Using the Family Dynamic Assessment, coupled with evidence-based approaches such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), and Family Systems Theory, clinicians are able to reach beyond the student and bring understanding and awareness to the entire family.
About Second Nature
Second Nature is a wilderness therapy program located in Duchesne, Utah begun in 1998. Second Nature works with adolescent male and female 13 - 17 years old in single gender groups, using the wilderness as an intervention and clinically guided by licensed Masters and Ph.D level to assess and diagnose a client's specific needs.
Techie For Life (TFL) opens its doors. It is a co-ed vocational school for young adult students with Autism Spectrum (ASD), Learning Differences (LD) or other Neuro Atypical issues. The vocational school also has a track for students who want to attend a university for a traditional degree. It is located in close proximity to Dixie State University (DSU) in St. George, UT. TFL prepares every student for life long success by providing computer technology training with internship and job placement, teaching pertinent life skills, and meeting their social and emotional needs.
TLF has partnered with Eric Pederson, Dean of Technology and Science at DSU, to create a curriculum that teaches students common computer languages necessary for them to obtain jobs in the industry. These languages include (among others) Python, HTML, Java Script, Java, CSS and Swift. Oracle has vetted these courses and approved them as relevant for the coding industry. TFL students have opportunities to use their skills to create programs used in real life job scenarios. Students are highly supported through their guaranteed internships and can continue as students to attain jobs within software companies.
Along with our vocational classes, TFL has multiple classes each week to teach students pertinent interpersonal and life skills. These include money management, cooking and meal planning, communication, and many other vital skills. TFL provides students an opportunity to shift beyond their comfort zone and to try new things. Students participate in outdoor recreation, attend events within the community and at Dixie State University, and travel to events such as Lego conventions or Comic Con. To read more about what is happening see an article from the local paper.
Although TFL is licensed as a vocational school, they realize that their clients may be in need of a therapeutic environment. Their Executive Director, Jason Grygla, is an experienced licensed therapist and father of a 24-year old on the spectrum. The program director, Kristen McCoy, is a social worker and case manager. Each client, if desired, is provided with a weekly therapy session within a private practice located in the same building as TFL. In addition, students have assigned mentors available 24 hours a day to provide individualized support and care.
Read more about TFL in this recent article.
Techie For Life (TFL) is a coed vocational school located in St. George, UT. It is designed for socially and emotionally immature young adults (18-32 YO) to gain life and career skills and achieve their goals. Clients who enroll may have high functioning autism or other learning disabilities that has preventing them from achieving their goals. TFL provides college experience, specific mentoring, vocational training in computer programing and coding, life skills, and interpersonal communication skills. Each client receives an internships and job placement assistance to fulfill their goals.
Elements Wilderness Program is proud to announce the launch of a new young adult program, Elements Traverse, admitting clients as of November 8, 2016. Aligned with our core values of maintaining intentionally small and specialized treatment, Traverse is a program designed from the ground up to serve the needs of young adult males. Elements Traverse will be providing intervention, treatment and assessment for clients in central Utah for an average length of stay of 9 weeks in The Manti-La Sal National Forest and the San Rafael Swell.
As with our adolescent program, adult clients will benefit from some of the core principles that set Elements apart:
- a hard cap on our group numbers and therapist caseload (max 9:1) to ensure truly individualized treatment and attention
- adventure that is built into the framework of the program and largely happening in our own field of operation, ensuring continuity of treatment, where the experience is the focus, not the transitions
- use of the Seven Challenges treatment modality to help our young adults take an honest evaluation of their relationship with substances and other maladaptive coping mechanisms
- development of true coping skills using Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) to help our clients understand how to make the changes they want in their life
- nearly limitless opportunities to work on the family system through our field visits and Family Focus run by family clinicians
For admissions questions please call John Karren at (801) 505-8481, or Andrew Powell (801)-361-7782.
Since 2008, Elements Wilderness Program has provided a specialized therapeutic intervention for adolescent boys aged 13-17. Elements prides itself in its ability to strike the best possible balance between evidence-based therapy and hands-on and fun experiential activity. We believe that the wilderness provides the best environment for our students and their families to drop their defenses and find a healthy path forward.