All Kinds of News for October 05, 2016
New Roads Behavioral Health has once again committed to send its newest clinicians to Intensive Dialectical Behavioral Health (DBT) training this January at the DBT Institute of Portland. Five years ago, New Roads made the decision to provide comprehensive instruction in a variety of areas (including DBT) for its clinical staff members. Primarily this strategy aimed to increase competence and confidence in the clinicians. Particularly, DBT provided proficiencies and structure for therapists, which (according to a myriad of research studies) are applicable to a variety of populations, including those struggling with Substance Use Disorder. Ultimately, the instruction, with follow-up concentrated education, created an incredibly proficient clinical team, who could effectively treat those who battle with even the most disruptive Dysregulation.
DBT, which was originally designed to treat patients with Borderline Personality Disorder and suicidal ideations, offers services in five areas: Skills Development, Individual Therapy, Telephone Consultation, Ancillary Treatment and Consultation Team. Any agency that provides all five, like New Roads, is considered to meet the ‘Gold Standard’ of DBT. The skills development provides a series of skills to the client in four areas: Mindfulness, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Emotion Regulation, and Distress Tolerance. The combination of these skills, individual therapy, and consultation helps previously hopeless clients build ‘lives worth living.’
In order to achieve this lofty goal, New Roads partnered with The DBT Institute of Portland, whose staff members will conduct the first of the two-week training in January. Linda Dimeff, PhD, helms the Institute. Dr. Dimeff served as one of Dr. Marsha Linehan’s closest trainees and eventual colleagues. During that time, Dimeff authored and co-authored multiple academic papers regarding the various applications of DBT. She rose to notoriety as a national expert in DBT. Since helping form the DBT Institute of Portland, Dimeff has devoted herself to instructing clinicians in the art and science of DBT. The Institute conducts Intensive DBT training annually, along with other DBT preparation opportunities.
Linehan, with whom Dimeff trained, founded DBT more than 40 years ago to address the absence of an effective treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder. She conceptualized DBT as an effective mix of Eastern philosophy and Western psychology. Notably, Linehan later divulged publicly that she, herself, struggled with BPD and found relief by applying the skills of DBT.
New Roads has enjoyed the partnership with the DBT Institute of Portland for almost five years. As mentioned, this strong association continues to flourish, ever enhancing the clinical team at New Roads.
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.
For more information, visit www.newroadstreatment.org
The Transtheoretical Model, better known as the "Stages of Change" began in 1977 by researchers, Carlo C. DiClemente and J. O. Prochaska. ViewPoint Center's Clinical Director Britten Lamb, LCSW, explains the Stages of Change.
- Precontempating Stage: Many individuals in the precontemplation stage come to therapy because they are pressured by other parties such as spouses, emplyers, parents or court. They are resisant to change. In conversation, if the topic of their problem comes up they may quickly change the subject. They place responsibility for their problems on factors such as genetic makeup, addiction, family society, destiny, the police, ect. They feel that their situation is hopeless.
- Contemplation Stage: Contemplators acknowledge that have a problem and and begain to think about solving it. Contemplators struggle to understand their problem, to see its causes, and wonder about possible solutions. Many contemplators have indefinite plans to take action within the next few months.
- Preparation Stage: Most people in the preparation stage are planning to take action and are making the final adjustments before they begin to chenge their behavior. They have not yet resolved their ambivalence and still may need a little convincing.
- Action Stage: This is the stage where people overtly modify their behavior and their surroundings. They will make the move for which they have been perparing. This stage requires the greatest commitment of time and energy. The change in this stage is more visible to others than previous stages.
- Maintenance Stage: Change never ends with action. Without a strong commitment to maintenance, there will surely be relapse, usually to the precontemplation or contemplation stage. The most successful self-changers may go through the stages three or four times before they make it through the entire cycle of change without at least one slip up. Slipping up gives individuals an opportunity to learn more about their struggles.
ViewPoint Center, a 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 comprehensive, mult-disciplinary process that involves psychaitry, therapy, medical stabilization, strong milieu, academic and psychological testing to creat a comprehensive assessment. Clients receive 30 hours of weekly therapeuic programming including psychiatric care, individual, group, music, recreation and family therapy and 24-hour nursing support.
Dragonfly Transitions is excited to welcome back Devon Priem, MSW, LCSW and Kenny Benson. Devon Priem, MSW, LCSW returned to Dragonfly Transitions as a primary therapist, and Kenny Benson has returned to the team as the front office manager. Devon and Kenny started Dragonfly’s annual international service trip to Cambodia six years ago.
Devon previously worked at Dragonfly for 5 years as a therapist. She brings her skills in the areas of trauma, substance abuse, Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), identity, Cognitive Behaviorial Therapy (CBT), and family systems. Her knowledge of Dragonfly philosophy and experience working in wilderness and residential settings is invaluable. She is adept at building rapport while also challenging her students and families to a deep level of therapeutic work.
Kenny has worn many hats over the years including managing our campus coffee shop, A Leap of Taste, the adventures coordinator, and also as a mentor. His previous experience includes working in wilderness therapy and therapeutic boarding schools. Prior to returning to Dragonfly Transitions, they took a year to travel with their 2-year old daughter though Mexico and Central America.
Dragonfly Transitions serves young adults 18 -30 in three locations in Southern Oregon – Klamath Falls, Ashland, and the Homestead (for men, just south of Klamath). Students learn life skills and work to transition into a healthy young adult life with independence, autonomy, integrity and sustainability. Dragonfly provides opportunities for real world experience in a stable, supportive environment where students can flourish.
There is nothing like rafting the rapids of a river for teaching students how to think quickly and work together. Or finding the next handhold on a rock climb for tapping into one’s inner strength and overcoming fear. Outdoors, our students become aware of what they’re capable of. They discover new depths of resilience and confidence and take their potential to new heights.
Academics In A Different Setting
At Gateway Academy, learning to overcome challenges in the outdoors augments our students’ ability to perform better in the classroom. Our outdoor curriculum is intentionally designed to help students master a skill – skiing/snowboarding, rock climbing, canyoneering or river rafting. Each module begins with ground school, which involves planning, learning basic techniques and safety procedures. The boys are exposed to the outdoor activity each weekend giving them the chance to practice, practice and practice. This learning process carries over into their academic experiences, giving them confidence in any subject to tackle challenging content.
Not only do students learn from these outdoor activities, but the academic curriculum is also integrated into weekend experiential field studies. The students learn geology while climbing down limestone, sandstone and volcanic rock. Or bring history alive while examining petroglyphs, fossils and remnants of past civilizations. Engaging students in this way helps motivate them to become life-long learners.
The outdoor program allows students to set their own goals, achieve individual successes, and discover their personal strengths. Gateway Academy does not emphasize competition, winning, or superior sports skill, each boy is given the chance to learn at his own level and focus on his own interests and needs.
Therapy In A Different Setting
Each adventure offers a mix of personal therapeutic opportunities and activities that build connection, communication and cooperation. For example, learning to ask for support from peers – and accept it – is an important and valuable skill. At the same time, each student can see firsthand how his choices and behavior influence the goals of the group, and how his support might be just the thing that helps another student succeed.
Most experiences also hold lessons that can readily be extended to “real life.” Our outdoor program provides a safe place to experience failure and engage in emotions that accompany difficult situations. Climbing, for instance, is a great metaphor: it’s scary. You can come off the wall – but be caught. It involves teamwork, trust, communication and problem-solving. And when you succeed, you have other people cheering for you at the top.
Gateway Academy’s Outdoor Experiential Education program is more than recreation. It is a blend of academics, therapy and intentionally designed outdoor activities. This blend not only helps our students to achieve academic success, but also equips them to embrace challenges more readily and build healthy life skills.
Gateway Academy 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.
Uinta Academy held its semiannual Family Weekend seminar at the end of September. 168 parents and guardians attend in order to spend time with, and learn from, their daughters. The weekend conference focused on how parents and girls can grow from their individual and shared traumas. The groups focused on the different stages of change, and how the parents and girls work through their challenges during their therapeutic journey. The girls were able to spend time with their families out in the community seeing the sights of Northern Utah, and strengthening their family bonds. Familes found the weekend successful as they grew together and healed together.
Uinta Academy, located in Wellsville, UT, is a fully licensed residential treatment center focused on working with young ladies ages 13-21. Uinta Academy is the nation’s leading multi-dimensional residential treatment center for adolescent girls. We specialize with girls who struggle with relationships and attachment who have experienced trauma. Uinta Academy’s clinically intense and sophisticated treatment program is balanced by a warm, nurturing, family-style living environment.
A multitude of recent studies strengthen the case for dogs in therapy and one innovative behavioral health organization has taken the use of canines to a whole other level.
A new groundbreaking study to investigate how dog brains process speech has revealed canines care about both what we say and how we say it. Researchers found that canine brains are far more capable than we thought. For example, dogs process vocabulary, recognizing each word as distinct, and further, that they do so in a way similar to humans. (See research here).
If you are a dog owner, you already know how wonderful a human dog relationship really is. So, it may not come as a big surprise that science is starting to prove that dogs can be incredibly effective in therapy.
In another 2012 article titled, "Canine Comfort: Do Dogs Know When You’re Sad?", Live Science summarized the results of a study conducted by University of London researchers led by psychologist Debbie Custance. The study analyzed the dogs’ capacity to demonstrate empathy. Volunteers were asked to pretend to cry and hum weirdly. Custance found that, “nearly all of the dogs came over to nuzzle or lick the crying person, whether it was the owner or a stranger, while they paid little attention when people were merely humming.” The study indicated that dogs might actually have the ability to sense distress. (http://www.livescience.com/20823-canine-comfort-dogs-understand-emotion.html)
In general, it is well documented that people benefit from interacting with canines. Simply petting a dog can decrease levels of stress hormones, regulate breathing, and lower blood pressure. Research has also shown that petting releases oxytocin and serotonin, hormones associated with bonding, affection and good feelings, in both the dog and the human.
Other research has found that people who start caring for dogs report lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, and also tend to have lower blood pressure. It is no surprise then that dogs would also possibly have a positive effect on mental health. For some people, like adolescents who have experienced overwhelming stress or trauma in their life, seeking mental health services can be difficult. In fact, at least in regards to teens, one study showed that adolescents are highly unlikely to reach out to other humans for help when they sense a mental health issue.
This is where therapy dogs can step in.
Calo Programs has been facilitating ground breaking and proprietary canine therapy for almost a decade. Every client has the opportunity to interact, parent, foster or adopt a Golden Retriever. “These dogs provide unconditional emotional support and companionship” said Chris Perkins, CEO of Calo Lake Ozark. According to Jeanna Osborn, Calo's Canine Therapy Director, “Canines facilitate social interactions and help reluctant therapy students embrace the process. In many cases, the Calo Goldens act as liaisons between therapists and students, ‘co-therapists’ in a very real way.” Alex Stavros, Calo Programs CEO, said: “We invest a lot of resources into our Canine Therapy Program because families tell us all of the time that their Calo Golden saved their child’s life; our Canine Therapy is a treatment game changer.” For years Calo Programs has been spearheading the innovative use of pure bred Golden Retrievers in therapy. This work has been particularly effective with those that have suffered from early life emotional and relational traumas. To learn more about the Calo Canine Therapy program click on the picture.
In the end, given the compelling research and the ground breaking work by treatment providers across the country, it is no surprise canine therapy is growing in its impact and use.
Calo (“kay-low”) Programs is a behavioral and mental health provider specialized in healing the effects of complex developmental trauma. Calo is comprised of Calo Teens, Calo Preteens – both residential programs located in Lake Ozark, MO predominately serving adoptive families, and New Vision Wilderness, Calo Young Adults – transitional living program for young adults - and Embark by Calo, a therapeutic workshop and family intensive program for those reeling from issues of trauma, attachment and adoption.
It is bitter-sweet to see Arwynn Harris-Jensen leaving Outback to continue growing her beautiful family. Outback Therapeutic Expeditions is thrilled to announce the addition of Patrick McAvoy as the new Admissions Director. Patrick’s extensive experience, personality and skill set makes it easy for families in crisis to feel connected with him. Learn more about Patrick in the infographic below!
Outback Therapeutic Expeditions offers 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.
At Elevations RTC, recreational programming provides students with an opportunity to learn new skills. Throughout recreational programming, these hard skills are often a springboard to an improved sense of being.
Jonathan Griffith, Recreation Director, shares his experiences working with students throughout his time at Elevations, highlighting a specific student’s experience during her time at Elevations: “Teaching skiing, coaching triathletes, and teaching wilderness first aid are all incredibly rewarding experiences,” says Griffith. “I am constantly adapting my teaching styles and skill progressions to match the students’ needs. Some students need careful and thoughtful presentation of both information and demonstrations while others need to dive right in and fail a little before being receptive to teaching. Others are resistant to everything until they see and finally trust my intentions."
"Some of the most powerful and rewarding activities are often the same ones that have the most opportunity for failure,” Griffith continues. “Learning to ski is filled with failures that often present themselves so quickly they literally knock the wind out of you. Those failures, when treated respectfully, are powerful moments for learning and powerful moments for change.”
One student, Elizabeth, discusses her feelings about the recreational team at Elevations: “I really admire the recreational team at Elevations.” She continued, “They are all nice and challenge us mentally and physically. This summer, members of the team helped me complete a triathlon, which is something I never thought I could achieve. Completing the triathlon really helped my self-esteem and to overcome self-doubts. Each outing we have is always a good experience. Every time we have a session with the recreational team, I always learn a new skill. I have learned skills like cooking, climbing, paddle boarding, swimming, and even how to play instruments.”
Jonathan Griffith was one of the team members who helped Elizabeth train for her triathlon. He said, “It’s been a particular joy to participate, as a supporting player, in Elizabeth’s growth through progressive challenge and success in recreation outlets.” Griffith continued, “Elizabeth has mentioned the self-doubt she experienced before competing in the triathlon the students did this summer. Hearing her express her subsequent boost in self-esteem upon crossing the finish line was one of many worthy justifications for the incrementally-more-challenging morning training sessions we all did together.” The recreational programming at Elevations RTC is one of many unique and effective aspects of a student’s experience at 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, behavioral problems, and substance abuse. Elevations RTC is located in Utah and provides specialized, clinically intensive programs for troubled teens.
RedCliff Ascent welcomes Ryan Walton as the new Director of Marketing and Admissions. With over 10 years experience in various administrative and therapeutic environments, Ryan will be a great addition to the Redcliff administrative team. His background includes experience across a broad range of medical services, from acute care adolescent psychiatric care to a therapeutic boarding school. Originally from Maryland, Ryan’s love of the outdoors and working with teens has landed him in Utah and ultimately with Redcliff Ascent. Ryan’s hobbies include mountain biking, skiing and coaching lacrosse.
About RedCliff Ascent
RedCliff Ascent, located in Enterprise, UT is a clinically driven, outcomes-based approach to wilderness therapy. It began in 1993 and works with male and females ages 13-17 and young adults 18-26, operating both as single gender groups to assess and stabilize clients.
Calo Young Adults welcomes Charis Miller to the clinical team. Calo Young Adults is a clinically intensive transitional living program for emerging adults experiencing the impact of early childhood trauma.
Ms. Miller compliments an already formidable clinical team that includes Executive Director Kathy Donovan, LCSW, Executive Clinical Director Kenneth Cuave, PsyD, and Primary Therapist Mary Amtower, PsyD, each of whom has over 30 years of experience treating young adults. "I am delighted to join this team of seasoned professionals," said Miller. "I believe in our Core Purpose and believe I can make a difference in the lives of our clients."
Ms. Miller received both her Bachelor Degree in Psychology and Masters Degree in Professional Counseling from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. Prior to Calo, she was employed as the Program Director for Harvest Outreach Center, a therapeutic day treatment program in Gladys, Virginia. Ms. Miller has expertise working with young adults and children in an outpatient setting, as well as in the public school system. Charis' clinical work utilizes a relational, holistic perspective and includes bio/psycho/social/emotional interventions that treat the whole person. "When treating early trauma, I believe the therapeutic alliance is critical to integrating our relational approach and a prerequisite for positive outcome," said Miller.
Kathy Donovan noted that “Charis is valuable to the team because she draws on a broad range of other modalities that can include Motivational Interviewing, Art Therapy and Sand Tray Therapy.” "For those experiencing the effects of early trauma, I try to assist them in processing those events in order to foster resilience, and so they can integrate those experiences with an appropriate and healthy worldview," responded Miller.
In her free time, Ms. Miller enjoys decorating, trying new recipes, painting and refinishing furniture, yoga classes, and taking long drives to search for antiques with her husband Ramsey. She has also traveled internationally for pleasure and teaching purposes. Miller had the opportunity to teach a core counseling techniques class in Camalote, Belize, for which she developed the course curriculum. She hopes to do more travel in the future and to cultivate additional opportunities for teaching and education in counseling abroad.
About Calo Young Adults
Calo Young Adults, a transitional living program for young adults, is a sister program of Calo Programs, a behavioral and mental health provider nationally renowned for its trauma healing. Calo Young Adults is one of a kind in its integration with the community and its best in class clinical treatment and assessment. The program specializes in working with emerging adults stuck in dysfunctional patterns. These young men and women, 18 to 30 years old, have experienced overwhelming early life stress, particularly within the context of adoption.
This summer, Summit Prep students had the opportunity to participate in real time research during their River Ecology class. They delineated the Flathead River Watershed and then proceeded to collect data for the chemical, physical and biological parameters of two of its tributaries, Ashley Creek and Spring Creek. Both streams were relatively healthy except for one factor, Fecal Coliform (FC), which is a bacteria found in warm-blooded animals' wastes. The students then investigated Summit’s septic system to determine the possible cause of the high FC count. Unfortunately, the block ended before they were able to collect enough data to formulate a definitive conclusion.
The good news is that Summit was able to obtain a grant from the Flathead Conservation District to buy computer software and probes to collect water quality data such as dissolved Oxygen, pH, temperature, phosphates, nitrates, flow rate, etc. The technology records Geographical coordinates at the same time as the other data is collected. In addition, a free GIS mapping software program was obtained via GIS 4MT and ArcGIS. So the students will be able to map their data at specific points in the watershed helping to locate point and nonpoint source pollution.
About Summit Preparatory School
Summit Preparatory School is an accredited private, non-profit, co-ed therapeutic boarding school located on 520 acres near Kalispell, MT. Summit integrates professional therapy and college prep academics within a nurturing and dynamic community that energizes and challenges adolescents to succeed and transform their lives. Grounded in the concepts of the Summit Model, the program focuses on promoting the development of healthy psychological and social skills. The campus is close to Glacier International Airport (FCA) and less that an hour from Glacier National Park.
In September, Heritage unveiled a brand new, state-of-the art sensory center for students in the Peers Academy. George Ballew, LCSW, Clinical Director of the Peers Academy worked hand-in-hand with Heritage’s occupational therapist to design the center.
“The Peers Academy includes four components – PEERS social skills training, the Zones of Regulation, executive functioning training and sensory regulation,” Ballew explained. “This addition to the sensory component strengthens the robust Peers Academy and will benefit students from all over the United States who enroll at Heritage.”
An advanced sensory center has been in the planning stages for some time. Heritage, a non-profit 501(c)(3) residential treatment center serving families from around the country, sought out local businesses as partners. Keller Williams and Vivint Smart Home contributed financially and provided input and labor for the design and construction. Heritage students in the Peers Academy, many of whom are on the Austim Spectrum, now have access to an advanced, state-of-the-art therapeutic environment.
“Heritage launched a strategic effort a few years ago to be a nationally recognized leader in treating autism in a residential setting,” said Keven Downs, Executive Director. “We know that children on the autistic spectrum are challenged with sensory issues. This advanced sensory center will enable us to offer comprehensive therapy treatment to help autistic teens regulate their moods through sensory stimulation. Our desire is to help students gain the skills they need to manage their sensory challenges. This training will help them manage their sensory needs in the school setting and to live a more productive life when they return home.”
The sensory center includes items like balance boards and therapy balls; sand trays, kinetic sand and Legos; a lower stimulus area with areas to read or do art; a light room with fiber optic lights and projectors with visual stimulation; and a media room where computers and iPads donated from Vivint allow students to use specialized computer applications.
Heritage is a non-profit residential treatment center 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.
Top quality treatment takes the right kind of people. At Moonridge Academy, we are fortunate to have dynamic and skilled clinicians, but an equally impressive caliber of line staff and mentors for the girls. Moonridge Academy is designed for age specific programming and warm approaches require special skills, including intensive Dialetical Behavior Therapy (DBT) training for all of our employees, as well as ensuring that our staff are patient, collaborative, fun, and willing to work alongside the girls. Staff attend weekly Treatment Team meetings to share ideas, get support and make sure we are using best practices. Staff also participate in monthly all-staff trainings and regular certification trainings.
Most treatment centers deal with extremely high levels of employee turnover because working in such intensive environments with students with significant needs can quickly lead to burnout and a revolving-door workforce. At Moonridge Academy, most of our employees - line staff included - have been with us for many, many years - most for over five years and many for over 8 and 10 years. One of the Shift Supervisors, Laurie, has been with Moonridge since the day it opened nearly thirteen years ago! One staff commented "I couldn't imagine a more important job for myself. I know I'm needed here and there are never enough hugs in the day." Our Moonridge staff consistently report high job satisfaction. Employees love working together, they participate in our activities and overnight camping trips and staff repeatedly state that they not only love the girls of Moonridge, but they feel like they are making a difference in the student's lives. The amazing staff who walk beside them 24 hours a day on the student's journeys is where the credit is due.
Moonridge Academy is a CERTS Program in beautiful Southern Utah with 16 beds, and is specifically designed for younger girls, ages 11-14. Younger girls need a younger environment, without the influence of older girls' more sophisticated or advanced issues. Moonridge takes a young approach to therapy and intervention, even the DBT program is taught and delivered at this specific age range level. Moonridge is intensive residential treatment for girls with issues of trauma, emotional regulation, depression, family conflict, and beginning stages of self-harm or substance experimentation. Traditional schooling is provided and Moonridge uses play and laughter to connect, a warm family environment to protect, and deep therapy to inspire and create change. Moonridge is located in scenic Southern Utah near Cedar City, UT.
Pacific Quest’s model focuses on three dimensions of Sustainable Growth™: lasting and meaningful change for students and their families, fostering the ability to adapt to change throughout life, and understanding the relationship between sustainable self and sustainable community/environment. It is in that spirit that Pacific Quest is pleased to announce the formation of the Pacific Quest (PQ) Foundation. Pacific Quest has long been a strong supporter of local charities and with the PQ Foundation, Pacific Quest now has a formal avenue for giving back, as well as a streamlined process for local groups to request support.
The Pacific Quest Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity committed to supporting the Hawai’i County community and its existing non-profit organizations. Vice President of the PQ Foundation, Suzanne McKinney, comments, “After years of working in and contributing to the Hawai’i Island community, we are excited to formalize our efforts and reach the broader community. We can now include PQ alumni families in our efforts to give back by raising awareness and funding for local community programming.”
Since Pacific Quest’s start in 2004, the program has developed deep relationships within the local community and assisted over 60 local non-profit organizations. In addition to financial support, the PQ model differs from traditional wilderness programs as students have an active role within the community, through volunteer opportunities. Recent efforts include working with residents at a local elder care center, sandalwood reforestation, beach clean ups, and vetiver propagation to assist in erosion control.
The Pacific Quest Foundation’s mission is to contribute to existing 501(c)(3) organizations on Hawaii Island that steward a healthy island community. Alumni and supporters of Pacific Quest are encouraged to give back to the Big Island through the Pacific Quest Foundation. Pacific Quest underwrites the Foundation’s leadership and administrative costs.
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.
Trails Carolina, a wilderness therapy program for young people ages 10-17, offers an equine therapy program with a very unique perspective. At Trails, most of the horses involved in equine therapy have experienced some form of trauma. Many live in local rescue shelters and exhibit behavioral or emotional issues.
Trails helps in the rehabilitation of these horses through their equine therapy program, since many students at Trails struggle with behavioral or emotional issues of their own. This similarity helps students relate to the horses. Within the equine therapy program, horses and students have a mutually beneficial relationship in which horses help heal students and students help heal the horses.
“The horse’s brain is very similar to an adolescent’s brain,” says Anne Westall, Equine Specialist at Trails Carolina. “Because of this, they are very perceptive to the emotions and behaviors of others. Our equine therapy program is especially helpful for students struggling with anxiety or depression, or for students who are adopted. Many of the horses have struggled with similar issues, such as feelings of defiance, lack of motivation, or reactive behavior due to being raised in high stress situations.”
Students get to know the horses and choose the horse they feel a connection with. They then groom and really get to know and understand the horse’s personality. Then, by leading their horse in ground training and challenging obstacles, the student teaches the horse how to respond to stress rather than having a strong emotional reaction. The horse in turn teaches the students about relationship intelligence and the ways in which self-regulation positively affects the relationship.
Every week, one equine therapy session is set aside for undemanding time in which students bond with the horses without being assigned a specific task or activity. This undemanding time deepens the bond between horse and human. It also emphasizes the importance of spending quality time in all relationships within a student’s life.
During equine therapy, students learn the importance of considering the feelings of others. In order to keep the horses calm within equine therapy, students must remain calm themselves. This regulation of emotions is a transferable skill which students can utilize long after they graduate from Trails.
“Many students begin equine therapy thinking that they will help the traumatized, struggling horse heal without realizing it will help them as well,” says Jason McKeown, MS, LMFT, CPE, DCC, Family Clinical Director at Trails Carolina. “By considering how the horse is feeling within their relationship, they begin considering the feelings of others within their human relationships as well.”
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.
BlueFire Wilderness, a wilderness therapy program for teens ages 11-17, utilizes weekly equine therapy to enrich the therapeutic experience of clients.
Equine therapy is a very powerful modality of treatment because it increases awareness of negative behaviors within a relationship. Horses are social creatures, mirroring the emotions of those surrounding them.
BlueFire Wilderness uses the EAGALA model of equine assisted therapy. This model involves no riding or horsemanship. Instead, all exercises within the EAGALA model are carried out on the ground alongside the horses. At ground level, clients are able to better understand and perceive the horse’s reactions as they work through their individual struggles. In addition to the EAGALA model, students also take part in therapeutic horseback riding.
As Winston Churchill once said, “there’s something about the outside of a horse that’s good for the inside of a human”. When humans are around horses, the human brain releases “feel good” hormones such as oxytocin and serotonin which instantly makes them feel calmer and happier.
“When disgruntled teenagers come into the proximity of a horse and start to bond with it through touch and other interactions, you can see an automatic change of mood through facial expressions and body language,” says Johnny Urrutia, Equine Specialist at BlueFire Wilderness. “Teens struggling with behavioral issues come into the program often feeling defensive and unwilling to open up to others. During equine therapy, in order to get a positive reaction from the horses, they must calm down and think about the way their actions and feelings are affecting the animals.”
This regulation of behaviors and emotions can translate into a teen’s social skills long after they have transitioned back into the “real world”.
BlueFire Wilderness has helped many teens by combining their comprehensive wilderness therapy program with other therapeutic techniques such as equine therapy, family therapy, group therapy, and individual therapy.
BlueFire Wilderness is a wilderness therapy program based just 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 emotional, behavioral and social challenges.
Angie Shockley, owner and Audrey Peavey, Admissions and Marketing Director of Q & A Associates are participating in a very important roundtable discussion at Young Adult Transition Association (YATA) Conference in Cour d'Alene Idaho October 19 - 21st, 2016. This Friday morning discussion will focus on critical incidents. This is an issue that is deeply personal to the Q & A Family of Programs and they will share their professional insights. The goals of the roundtable are to further the discussion, provide an open forum and support one another. Q & A has valuable knowledge and experience that they are going to share with colleagues.
Q&A Family of Programs, located in Canaan Valley, WV, serves young adult clients (ages 18+), providing opportunities for each individual to develop independent, functional, and happy lives with a high level of quality. Our clients have struggled to achieve independence like an inability to develop or implement life skills, or obtain consistent employment. Our goal is to help each client find meaning and an authentic purpose for their life and a practical path to achieve their goals
Chateau Recovery today announced it has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for Behavioral Healthcare Accreditation by demonstrating continuous compliance with its performance standards. The Gold Seal of Approval® is a symbol of quality that reflects an organization’s commitment to providing safe and effective care.
Chateau Recovery underwent a rigorous onsite survey this summer. During the review, compliance with behavioral health care standards related to several areas (including care, treatment, and services; environment of care; leadership; and screening procedures for the early detection of imminent harm) was evaluated. Onsite observations and interviews also were conducted.
“Chateau Recovery is pleased to receive Behavioral Health Care Accreditation from The Joint Commission, the premier health care quality improvement and accrediting body in the nation,” added Danny Warner, Chateau Recovery's CEO. “Since Chateau’s inception we have worked to develop a program and place where clients and families are emotionally and physically safe to heal. Receiving this accreditation is an excellent way to continue to provide this for our clients and their families.”
The Joint Commission’s behavioral health care standards are developed in consultation with health care experts and providers, quality improvement measurement experts, and individuals and their families. The standards are informed by scientific literature and expert consensus to help organizations measure, assess and improve performance.
Chateau Recovery is a co-ed residential treatment center serving adults struggling with mental health and substance abuse disorders who are looking for an empowering, collaborative way to heal and move forward. Chateau believes that the journey of individual wellness and recovery starts with personal choice. Understanding and nurturing all aspects of personal development creates empathy, honesty, lasting motivation and opportunities to live life outside of addiction.
Living Well Transitions is excited to have Deara Ball join the team as Director of Admissions and Marketing. Deara is a South Carolina native and master’s level therapist, and has moved from SUWS of the Carolinas, a wilderness therapy program, where she worked in several capacities since 2011, beginning as a seasonal therapist, working with adolescent girls struggling with depression, anxiety and oppositional behaviors. In September 2013, Deara joined the SUWS team full-time as an office and HR assistant before moving to Marketing Director. Deara has many years of planning events and traveling the country attending industry conferences to market and speak on behalf of programs.
Deara graduated from the Indiana University School of Education with a Master’s Degree in Community Counseling. While in Indiana, she was a school-based therapist. Since accepting her position at Living Well, she has moved to Boulder, Colorado. In her free time, Deara enjoys spending time with her two dogs and cat, reading, practicing yoga and pursuing her greatest hobby, eating! She also loves to dance and was in several performance groups in Indiana and North Carolina.
Living Well Transitions, in Boulder, CO, offers intensive therapy, groups and life skills counseling to young adults ages 18-32 in a real-world, independent living environment. Living Well helps 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.
Evoke Therapy Programs now has a podcast channel, available on iTunes. Dr. Brad Reedy will be recording new podcasts weekly on important mental health related topics. Currently the topics available are:
- 8 Tools for Transforming Relationships
- Entitlement 1
- Trust, Permission, Forgiveness & Forgetting
- Couple’s Work: What is Your Work While Your Child is in Wilderness?
Subscribe to the channel here.
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.
Alpine Academy recognizes the importance of teamwork, collaboration and consistency in the treatment process. A large factor in creating great teamwork is having a stable team without frequent turnover. This is one of the many reasons Alpine is fortunate to have such a wonderful Academic team.
This month Alpine celebrates the 10 year work anniversary of the English and Drama teacher, Ms. Bev Thompson. Alpine also celebrates the 5 year work anniversary of the History teacher, Mr. Andrew Fish. The average tenure of Alpine’s Academic team is 7.5 years, while half of the Academic team, like Ms. Bev, has been with Alpine Academy for 9 or more years!
Alpine Academy attributes this extraordinary longevity to the incredible “mission-minded” people that see this opportunity as much more than a job. The goal at Alpine Academy is to create lasting change in the lives of students, and their families. The Academic team fully embodies this mission by constantly searching for ways to be more involved in the treatment process, such as communicating daily with the Residential and Clinical teams about student attitudes, effort and behavior to ensure collaboration and minimize manipulation.
The students love and appreciate the teachers just as much as the rest of the team.
About Ms. Bev the students say:
“I love her enthusiasm and devotion.”
“She cares about me.”
“She wants me to succeed.”
“She goes out of her way for her students.”
Regarding Mr. Andrew the students say:
“He is super-knowledgeable.”
“I love his dry sense of humor.”
“He is so passionate about what he does.”
“I love that his is straight-up and honest.”
Alpine Academy recognizes and honors Bev and Andrew, and all of the other wonderful teachers at the program.
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.
Brock Jones comes from Seattle where he recently completed his MA in Community Counseling at Seattle University. Brock brings warmth, diligence and counseling skills that, combined with prior experience in education, make him a strong fit for the role that requires clinical skills and the ability to coach students toward resilience and success. He is a highly successful (and decorated) Masters level swimmer and is excited to be living in Chicago. Brock expressed his passion for this work by saying that “college students are at a crossroads—exploring the world while still learning about themselves—and it is a great honor to be part of the growth and change that occurs on the journey toward self-actualization.”
EDGE Learning and Wellness Collegiate Community located in Chicago, IL 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.
Greenbrier Academy (GBA) is excited to welcome our newest therapist, Heather Bowden, to our team. Heather joins us from the New River Valley in Southwestern Virginia. Prior to earning her undergraduate degree in Studio Art at Hollins University, Heather lived in Ghana, West Africa, for a year in 2010. During this time, she founded a primary school in a remote rainforest village. The founding and development of this school was a momentous accomplishment for Heather and one that is close to her heart. Even after moving back to the U.S., she returned to the village twice for a total of six additional months. The Nsumensa Village Primary School still operates today thanks to funding by donations to a non-profit organization, the Pocket Project, of which Heather is the president.
Heather is honored to have been a part of such an impactful project in Ghana. It was her service in the village that ignited her passion for humanitarian work. Drawn to the field of social work, Heather graduated with an M.S.W. from Radford University. With impressive experience in international education work, youth residential treatment centers, private practice counseling and hospice, she joins the Greenbrier Academy family. Heather is very excited to work with our young women at GBA to empower and heal on an individual, family, and community level.
In her time away from campus, Heather continues to pursue her love of art. She is a very family-oriented individual and, yes, that family includes her dog, Henry. Henry even accompanies Heather to campus sometimes to meet with her students! Heather is a nature lover at heart and spends as much time as possible outdoors. She also loves animals and has participated in wildlife rescues.