All Kinds of News for September 14, 2016
Empowering an adolescent struggling with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) with the skills they need to manage their OCD can have a profoundly positive impact. Williams House at Lindner Center of HOPE has enhanced a specialized assessment and treatment track for adolescents suffering with OCD. This track focuses on creating a strong collaborative alliance in order to engage the adolescent in the difficult work involved in OCD treatment. Clinicians are experienced in making the tasks of hierarchy completion and exposure/ response prevention rewarding and fun.
Williams House also has expertise in working with complex co-morbidity coupled with OCD. Given the individualization of the program to meet the needs of the adolescent, the duration of stay is customized with a minimum stay of 14 days, with most staying 4 to 6 weeks.
- Clarify diagnosis (OCD symptoms are not always clear and sometimes may be masking other diagnoses)
- Evaluate treatment readiness
- Introduce Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP)
- Develop a treatment hierarchy
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) through integrated Williams House programming
- Illness management and recovery groups
Many individuals begin the track with a confirmed diagnosis and may not need a comprehensive diagnostic assessment. Therefore, Williams House at Lindner Center of HOPE’s treatment track for OCD will work with individuals and their families to take progressive and proven steps to free themselves from the grasp of OCD and other anxiety conditions through a customized treatment plan, which includes:
- The development of their treatment hierarchy and establishment of their completion goal
- Tailored intensive treatment that combines Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and medication treatment with specific emphasis and continuous opportunities to practice Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP). In addition to 3 hours of structured ERP, patients engage in ERP experiences throughout the day and participate in more than 5 additional hours of therapy daily
- Individualized therapy
- Self-directed work
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) through integrated Williams House programming
- Illness management and recovery groups
- Patient and family education
Admissions specialists and clinicians are available to confidentially discuss and assess each individual’s unique circumstances. Call (513) 536-0537 / (888) 537-4229 or visit Williamslindner.org.
Lindner Center of HOPE (Williamslindner.org) in Mason is a comprehensive mental health center providing excellent, patient-centered, scientifically-advanced care for individuals suffering with mental illness. A state-of-the-science, mental health center and charter member of the National Network of Depression Centers, the Center provides psychiatric hospitalization and partial hospitalization for individuals age 12-years-old and older, outpatient services for all ages, diagnostic and short-term residential services for adults and adolescents, outpatient services for substance abuse through HOPE Center North location and co-occurring disorders for adults and research. The Center is enhanced by its partnership with UC Health as its clinicians are ranked among the best providers locally, nationally and internationally. Together Lindner Center of HOPE and UC Health offer a true system of mental health care in the Greater Cincinnati area and across the country. The Center is also affiliated with the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine.
Life of Purpose Treatment and The Office of Substance Misuse and Mental Health Recovery Research are excited to announce the University of North Texas Recovery Conference will be held for its fourth consecutive year featuring pioneer speakers. The Recovery Conference is a national two-day event that brings together behavioral health professionals, educators, researchers, students and industry leaders. Held in conjunction with National Recovery Month, the conference will take place September 21 and 22, 2016 at the University of North Texas.
Proceeds from the 4th Annual Recovery Conference will benefit the Office of Substance Misuse and Mental Health Recovery Research. For more information about the conference, please visit: https://recoveryresearch.unt.edu. The conference features 18 expert speakers and 12 sponsors from all over the United States traveling to Denton, Texas. This conference is an opportunity to engage behavioral healthcare professionals, educators, researchers, students and industry leaders from renowned mental health, substance misuse organizations and treatment providers.
“This year’s event is more than just another behavioral health conference,” said Andrew Burki, MSW, Founder and CEO of Life of Purpose Treatment. “The 4th Annual University of North Texas Recovery Conference benefits the recently established Office of Substance Misuse and Mental Health Recovery Research. No conference of this nature has ever been structured to raise funding and promote recovery research before.”
The two-day conference includes a VIP dinner the evening before to welcome speakers and conference attendees to the event. Mr. Earl Hightower is scheduled to address VIP dinner attendees. With over 32 years of experience as an interventionist, Mr. Hightower is the 2013 recipient of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy’s Champion of Recovery Award and a 2014 Keynote Speaker at Congressman Hal Roger’s 3rd Annual Rx Drug Abuse Summit.
The conference begins September 21, 2016 with a keynote presentation featuring Bill Maher, CIP, CADC, ACI, BRI II, an expert and trainer in the field of intervention and substance use disorders. Mr. Maher is one of the founding fathers of the Family Centered Approach™ to intervention and Systemic After Care Coaching™ and has appeared on Good Morning America and has been featured in The Wall Street Journal for his work with substance use interventions. Day one continues with breakout sessions and an afternoon keynote presentation featuring Jenni Schaefer. Ms. Schaefer’s personal and clinical background includes substance misuse, perfectionism and eating disorders. She has published several books, is Chair of the Ambassadors Council of the National Eating Disorders Association, and has appeared on Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz, Today, and Entertainment Tonight.
Day two begins with an ethics panel moderated by Dwayne Beason, Founder and CEO of St. Christopher’s Addiction Wellness Center. Panelists Mike Neatherton and Paul Alexander, owners of Northbound Treatment Services, and Bobby Ferguson, Founder and CEO of Jaywalker Lodge, will discuss ethics and best practices in the behavioral health field. The second day continues with breakout sessions and conclude with a keynote luncheon featuring Dr. Kevin McCauley, former flight surgeon for the US Navy and Marines and founder of The Institute for Addiction Study, a center of research and training. Creator of the films “Pleasure Unwoven” and “Memo To Self: Protecting Sobriety With The Science Of Safety,” Dr. McCauley’s passion for the study of addiction as a brain disease fuels his advocacy for the rights of people who experience substance use disorders.
About Life of Purpose Treatment
Life of Purpose Treatment is the only primary care, academically-focused substance use disorder treatment facility located on college campuses across the United States. With facilities at the University of North Texas and Florida Atlantic University, the program was specifically designed for emerging adults whose education has been disrupted by substance misuse.
Young adult mentorship program, Urban Edge, partners with the Denver non-profit Open Media Foundation. Located in the Santa Fe Arts District, Open Media is a television and radio station complete with an education center.
The partnership allows Urban Edge clients access to state-of-the-art media equipment, software, training, classes and internships that are worth over 4 million dollars. The classes range from video production/post-production to 3D animation and motion graphics to digital audio production to studio and television broadcasting. The internships include accounting, media education, video production and editing, web and IT, fundraising and development, public access television, graphic design, public relations, radio and government relations.
“Denver is a startup and tech hub, so it’s an amazing place for such an innovative and community-oriented organization,” stated program co-Founder Andrew Moskovitz. “This is a fantastic opportunity for clients with any interest in the tech world to get the exposure and experience for their career and personal growth.”
About Urban Edge
Urban Edge located in Denver, CO is a residential and community-based mentorship immersion experience for young adults who are looking for a strategic way to push their lives forward.
Assisting clients who want to be intrinsically successful, professionally inspired, and self-sufficient.
ViewPoint Center offers medical detox services for teens struggling with substance abuse. Medical detox can be the first step towards recovery for drug use. Completion of medical detox in a safe, controlled facility like ViewPoint Center is far more effective than when teens attempt to detox at home. Overall recovery though medical detox is also more likely to be successful. Here are some reasons why:
Medical detox prevents relapse - when teens go through withdrawal, they often go back to using drugs as a way to stop the effects of withdrawal. Many begin to use in large amounts, which can lead to overdose and even death.
Experienced, highly trained staff - at ViewPoint, our highly experienced medical and therapeutic staff assist teens through the entire withdrwal process. Our clinically advanced services not only allow for a safe withdrawal process, we can also help determine the underlying issues causing drug ues to occur in the first place.
Smoother transitions, post-detox - after teens go through medical detox at ViewPoint, they are more likely to find success when they transition to another theraputic program such as a residential treatment center or a wilderness therapy program.
Medical detox in a safe, supportive environment like Viewpoint allows for teens to be more open to further therapeutic experiences in the long term.
ViewPoint Center is located in Syracuse, UT and offers a diagnostic and assessment setting for clinically complex clients between the ages 12-17.5. The assessment process is a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary process that involves psychiatry, therapy, medical stabilization, strong milieu, academics and psychological testing to create a comprehensive assessment and report. Clients recieve 30 hours weekly of therapy and 24-hour nursing support.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the annual Timpanogos hike for Heritage students. The hike is organized by Susie Route, home director of one of five girls homes at Heritage, leads the annual expedition. “Every mountain top is within reach if you just keep climbing,” said Canadian author Barry Finlay. A group of girls at Heritage School now know that for themselves. The towering mountains of Utah offer beauty, tranquility and breathtaking challenges that can provide needed insight and change lives. Students from the Sequoia East Home trained all summer to summit Mount Timpanogos in Utah, elevation 11,752 feet and 16 miles in length.
“Every week we went on hikes that got harder and longer,” Susie said. “We started out with some smaller hikes like Stewart Falls, the Y, Battle Creek to Grove Creek, mostly Utah County hikes. We also went to Little Cottonwood Canyon in Salt Lake.” The group goes out once a week, usually accompanied by house staff, academic advisers and sometimes therapists – all part of the girls’ treatment team. “We started training the end of May when the weather got nicer,” Susie said. "We went all through June and July doing a total of 10-12 hikes before Timp.”
Susie said the group summited Mount Timpanogos on July 30. “It was a just a day hike,” she said. “We started on the trail at 6 a.m. and summited for the first time this year. Every other year we have gone just to the saddle, but we made it to the very top this year. We started hikes to Timp in 2006 but have only gone to the saddle. We had permission to summit this year.”
She said most girls who went were excited and nervous. One girl wanted to turn back to the van after going a third of the way and "I told her we all go back to the van or we all summit,” she said. “She pushed herself. Another girl was helpful and coached her.” Besides seeing the obvious beauty of the majestic mountain, the girls gained new insight about themselves.
“They realize they can do hard things, things they never saw themselves doing or being able to accomplish,” Susie said. “We interview them throughout the whole hike and a lot are proud of themselves; it motivates them. This will be something that we talk about throughout the year. ‘Remember how you thought you couldn’t do this – how did you do it, how did you push yourself?’ It’s not just the hike and we’re done. We use it throughout their program until they are done.” Susie said most of the girls are not physically active but they realized they can push themselves physically and emotionally as well.
Dani, age 15, said, “Making it to the summit proved to myself that I can do emotionally/physically difficult things in this life,” she said. “Even when things are getting hard in the moment, I know how to push myself and work through the problems at hand. It helped me have confidence in myself.” Another hiker, Noemi, also 15, said, “you have to push yourself in order to truly move forward. You have to depend and trust yourself.” Noemi was given her Mastery at the summit – the highest phase that can be earned at Heritage. “We didn’t tell her that she got her Mastery until we were at the top,” Susie said. “It was awesome!” Noemi agreed. “I got my Mastery at the top and that’s freaking amazing because the hike was kinda like my program,” she explained.
Susie said the hardest part was getting the girls to prepare themselves for this difficult challenge. Some didn’t take the right amount of water; others weren’t drinking enough as they hiked. They were a team, “It was really awesome to see other girls who had extra water sharing with those who didn’t,” she said. “No one went without. We can use that as a lesson too – life is going to take work and preparation – you can’t fly by the seat of your pants. You do some work and prepare for things so they are more enjoyable and there’s not so much suffering.” Susie reflected on the one who wanted to turn back. “She was really emotional and doubted herself,” she said, “but was able to change her mindset, for her she learned she really could do hard things.” Another hiker asked Susie if she could talk to herself. “She encouraged herself, said ‘you can do this,’” Susie said. “She recognized she needed that motivation and self care. She had body issues but learned she appreciated her body and what it could do.”
Dani told of her favorite part of the trek. “My absolute favorite part of the hike was when we started going back down,” Dani said. “That sounds bad but that’s when I was able to really see all I have accomplished and how far I’ve come.” For these girls and others who come to Heritage they will learn what mountaintops are in reach if they just keep climbing.
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.
Family Help & Wellness, a highly successful group of owner-operated adolescent behavioral health programs, recently announced that they now operate 12 programs and serve over 1,000 students each year.
Family Help & Wellness (FHW) was founded with a single wilderness therapy program in 2008 and has since grown to include a diagnostic and assessment center, residential treatment centers, transition programs, programs for youth with special needs, and other wilderness therapy programs.
“I am extraordinarily proud of what Family Help & Wellness is,” said Founder and CEO Tim Dupell. “I am even more excited about what Family Help & Wellness will be. We are a growing group of partners delivering exceptional adolescent behavioral healthcare to help families throughout the U.S. every single day.”
FHW spent years developing a unique partnership model of owner-operated programs that allow the individual programs to focus on doing what they do best: deliver outstanding care for teens and families. FHW’s program partners make clinical, operational and strategic decisions while FHW provides financial stability, accounting and marketing services. This has led to successful growth and exceptional outcomes for struggling youth and their families.
It was also announced that industry veteran Mike Wellons has been appointed to Chief Development Officer for FHW. In his new role, Mike will be responsible for the company’s continued growth by identifying program start-up and acquisition opportunities.
Mike joins FHW with several decades of development experience. His background includes new market entry and positioning, as well as development of new product lines in the behavioral healthcare treatment services field. Prior to joining FHW, Mike most recently served as managing director for a consulting business for program owners/founders and financial/strategic clients seeking to enter or expand in the behavioral health field. Mike has had additional senior leadership roles within behavioral health entities, both publicly owned and private equity backed, in both the United States and the United Kingdom.
“We are very pleased to welcome Mike to our talented team and look forward to his efforts to build relationships with other industry leaders seeking to create or grow their business by partnering with Family Help & Wellness,” said Dupell.
Family Help & Wellness is an alliance of owner-operated behavioral health programs across the United States serving youth and families with special needs, emotional, behavioral and substance abuse issues. Each of its 12 programs was designed and developed by passionate and dedicated owners who have a depth of experience and an unwavering commitment to the success of every individual. For more information, visit www.famhelp.com or call (844) 413-2722.
Alpine Academy is excited to offer a new group therapy opportunity for our students. This specialty group focuses on social justice ideas, and serving the underprivileged in our community. This is another way to empower our students to "be the change" and give back.
As part of the therapeutic component at Alpine Academy, students have the opportunity to participate in three group therapy sessions each week. One group is based on the caseload of the primary therapists, with a focus on reviewing individual work done within our therapeutic curriculum, the Folder for Life. Another group is comprised of the students who reside together in each home and is centered on the relationship dynamics within the home. The third weekly group is the “specialty” group. Multiple specialty groups are offered each quarter, with the topics determined by the clinical team based on the the current needs and trends of the students on campus. Some of these include Healthy Relationships, Grief and Loss, Drugs and Alcohol, or Social Media Use.
Alpine Academy has started a new specialty group that is based on service of underprivileged populations and social justice concepts. This academic quarter, 8 girls have been chosen to help the refugee population with English and other basic academic needs. The refugees are primarily junior high students and come from various countries throughout the world. These individuals have varying degrees of education, cultural preparation, and non-English backgrounds, but all will have the opportunity to be assisted by the Alpine students who have been selected for this group.
In order to do this type of service, Alpine will be working closely with the Refugee Immigration Center-Asian Association of Utah (RIC-AAU) located in Salt Lake City. This service will be facilitated by Alpine Academy's therapists Trevor Earl and Abby Crouse. Both Trevor and Abby have experience working with RIC-AAU (through either employment or service opportunities) and have an understanding of the strengths and challenges that the refugee population experiences. It is our hopes that this type of service will help many of our girls recognize the challenges that many people face and gain a better understanding of their own position in society. If the group proves to be successful, this is an opportunity that Alpine would like to provide into the future.
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.
Mountain Valley Treatment Center, in partnership with the International OCD Foundation Affiliates OCD New Hampshire and OCD Massachusetts, will host an inaugural event focused on sharing the latest information and practice in the treatment of anxiety and OCD. The SeaCoast Anxiety Symposium will be held on Thursday, September 29, 2016 from 8:30 a.m until 3:00 p.m. at the Sheraton Portsmouth Harborside Hotel in Portsmouth, NH. Speakers will include Elizabeth Ohr, Psy.D., a private practice psychologist, Szu-Hui Lee, Ph.D., President of OCD New Hampshire and a counselor at Phillips Exeter Academy, Brian Ott, Ph.D., from Massachusetts General Hospital and Liza Coyne, Ph.D., from McLean Hospital's OCD Institute.
Mountain Valley Treatment Center, a not for profit program, was founded in 2011 to provide intensive residential treatment to adolescent boys and girls and emerging adults struggling with severe anxiety, OCD and other related disorders. Located in Pike, New Hampshire at the edge of the White Mountain National Forest, Mountain Valley stands apart from like providers because of its specialization, its unique setting, and its comprehensive approach to care. Residents typically spend 60 to 90 days at MVTC, taking advantage of the most effective evidence-based treatments through individual, group, and family therapy, conducted in a caring, supportive and ethical fashion that meets the unique needs of the individuals, and the expectations of the professional practice of social work, psychology and psychiatry.
In recent years there has been a growing awareness of the importance of body-based therapies as a necessary part of effective trauma treatment (Levine, 2010; Rothschild, 2000; Van der Kolk,2014;). There has also been a significant broadening of the understanding of the range and types of trauma that exist and their far-reaching effects on development, psychological functioning and general well-being (Heller and LaPerrier, 2012; Van der Kolk, 2014). The study of post traumatic stress disorder in the veteran population has led to an increased awareness of these symptoms in the general population as well. The term “complex trauma” is now used to describe the profound effects that repeated traumatic events (typically interpersonal events) during early development can have on the individual (Emerson & Hopper, 2011).
What is trauma?
It has become increasingly clear that, from a psychological standpoint, the critical factor in what constitutes a traumatic event for an individual is related much more to the meaning the event has for that individual and the perceived threat that event constitutes for safety and well-being than any objective measure of the event’s magnitude or threat (Heller and LaPerrier, 2012; Rothschild, 2000; Van der Kolk, 2014). If an individual perceives an event as seriously threatening to her personal welfare or the welfare of someone close to her, that event is likely to be, at some level, traumatic. The critical element long-term is often what the person takes this event to mean --- about herself, about the world she lives in and the people she lives with (Rothschild, 2000). This generally results in strongly held unconscious beliefs about the nature of the world and the self that are typically felt by the individual at an emotional and even physiological level, rather than something that is held in conscious awareness (Rothschild, 2000; Van der Kolk, 2014).
At Greenbrier Academy we work to access these unconscious beliefs to allow them to become conscious and therefore corrected when necessary. At the same time that we recognize the important cognitive elements and their contribution to the aftermath of the trauma, we also recognize the physiological aspect of the reaction to a traumatic event and how these are inextricably linked (Levine,2012). Advances in neuroscience in recent decades have given us a much more detailed understanding of the role that the body plays in the response to and recovery from traumatic events. Because the trauma response takes place on a physiological level, as well as a psychological level, the treatment of trauma symptoms also must involve the body to be truly effective. Understanding the psychophysiology of the trauma response is helpful in understanding why this is so.
The psychophysiology of trauma
What happens physiologically in a traumatic situation can be understood as the organism’s survival response. When a person feels seriously threatened --- and this doesn’t have to be a physiological threat --- signals are sent from the amygdala triggering this survival response. The brain itself is a first responder to this message, mostly shutting down the reasoning centers of the pre-frontal cortex in favor of the more instinctual/reactive brain stem (Van der Kolk, 2014). This allows for instantaneous action, which may be needed for survival. It also stimulates the release of hormones readying all systems for a fight, flight, freeze or submit response. In a situation where fleeing or fighting is perceived to be helpful, the sympathetic nervous system will be activated, flooding the body with adrenaline and noradrenaline. This readies us for instant action, sending blood to large muscles, increasing the heart rate and blood pressure. At the same time it efficiently shuts down those systems that are not needed for the immediate response (such as digestion and reproduction). In situations where the subject is not sure what the best response to the threat may be, the response will often be to “freeze.” In this state, both the parasympathetic and sympathetic systems appear to be activated---the sympathetic system preparing all systems for action, but the parasympathetic system putting action on “hold” until information can be gathered to take action (Van Der Kolk, 2014). If the threat is perceived by the subject as one where there is little hope of surviving, a parasympathetic state will become dominant with the individual “shutting-down.” This dissociative mode is protective as it avoids further aggravating an aggressor and limits the sensations of pain felt by the victim (Emerson & Hopper, 2012). These physiological survival responses clearly can be helpful in many situations. The primary difficulty for the person who has experienced trauma is that the triggered survival response continues long after it was useful and may become a set of symptoms that create additional suffering. It also appears that the more often an individual experiences a traumatizing situation of terror and an inability to take effective action, the more easily activated the nervous system becomes and the more difficult it becomes for the nervous system to return to the normal baseline (Van der Kolk, 2014). With repeated trauma, the nervous system may become highly sensitized and basically “stuck” in a highly activated or dissociated state. Being stuck in a highly aroused state means being in a place of nervous agitation, anxiety or panic attacks. Sleep may be difficult, digestion may not work well and seemingly minor things may trigger extreme reactions. Being stuck in a dissociative state means being unable to feel, unable to care, feeling disconnected from oneself and others. Any of these situations leads to increasingly difficult symptoms.
Those who have suffered from trauma often do not have a clear conscious narrative of the traumatic events. This is now understood to be related to the fact that the hippocampus area of the brain, which stores sequential memory and gives us the clear indication of events being “in the past,” is inhibited during the body’s survival response (Rothschild, 2000). However, it is well known by trauma specialists that sensations from the traumatic event (emotions and somatic memories) are actually stored in the body and can be accessed through the body ( Levine, 2010; Rothschild, 2000; Van der Kolk, 2014). This is why working with the body, as well as the mind is so critical in healing from trauma.
Helping the whole person to heal
Mind/body practices can be integrated into therapy in many ways. Yoga offers an ancient tradition of mind/body practices that are easily integrated for therapeutic benefit (Emerson & Hopper, 2012). At Greenbrier, we do this both with group practices and by integrating specific practices into individual therapy sessions. One way that trauma-sensitive yoga can help is to gently begin to assist the overly aroused or shut down nervous system to begin to self-regulate again. This is done through simple exercises of movement and breathing with attention. Engaging in this sort of breath and movement with awareness has been shown to stimulate the body’s ability to begin to self-regulate the nervous system. This is measurable as an increase in heart rate variability (HRV), which is one of the simplest ways to show the body’s ability to move between the activated state of sympathetic dominance to one of parasympathetic dominance (Van der Kolk, 2014). As they experience this shift, individuals who have been stuck in a hyper-vigilant state --- where a feeling of constant anxiety has become normal --- can begin to relax. Those individuals who have been in a dissociated state --- one where they are not actually aware of feelings and sensation in their bodies --- can begin to access bodily sensation and experience a sense of coming back into their body. They may have increased energy as a result. The challenge in the beginning stages of these practices is that many with trauma may find them very difficult to start with (Emerson & Hopper, 2012). The key is a very slow and incremental approach to the practices that gives the individual as much control and freedom as possible. This is the trauma-sensitive approach --- taking very small steps and allowing the individual to control the pace at which the practice proceeds. At Greenbrier, we are able to do this by offering individual sessions that combine the trauma-sensitive yoga practices with other therapies in way that allows individuals to guide the progress into difficult areas at a rate that is appropriate for them. Groups are helpful to many by offering a supportive environment with others where full permission is given to individuals to participate in the way that works for them individually. Group classes offered at Greenbrier have focused on practices for helping to reduce anxiety, connecting positively with the body, improving body image and finding a healthy mood balance.
The goal of integrating these mind/body practices is to enable the whole person to heal. The mind/body practices focus on simple movements and postures that are done with attention, breath awareness and brief mindful meditation. All these practices work toward present moment awareness by staying with the sensations noticed in the body --- integrating mental awareness with somatic (bodily) sensation. Each of these practices has multiple helpful results. Breathing tends to become deeper and more relaxed as it self-regulates under meditative awareness. This triggers the body’s relaxation response allowing the individual to begin to experience body sensations in different way. As they are ready, participants are guided to try different ways of breathing that may help them to access that relaxed state more quickly, such as slowing the breath and diaphragmatic breathing.
The ability to increase interoceptive awareness (our ability to perceive our own internal sensory experience) is another benefit of these practices. For those who have become dissociated from their emotions and the bodily sensations related to them, this is an important first step in being able to live more fully again (Emerson & Hopper, 2012). They can begin to increase their ability to notice these sensations incrementally and in a safe environment where there is adequate support if difficult past experience is triggered. Dissociated individuals feel disconnected from their bodies and the world around them. This is often experienced as a lack of synchrony or flowing connection (Emerson & Hopper, 2012; Van der Kolk, 2014). Rhythmic movement is helpful for increasing this felt sense of connection and synchrony with the world around them and is frequently incorporated into therapeutic sessions.
As individuals are able to access a place of greater emotional and physiological stability and are able to experience greater interoceptive awareness, many forms of more cognitively-focused therapy become more accessible and more effective. This is true both for individuals suffering from dissociative symptoms and depressed states, and for those suffering from hyper arousal and anxiety. In the case of those with dissociative symptoms, their ability to access somatic cues (the messages their body is sending them about how they feel) related to emotions may be very limited. This means that these individuals’ ability to engage in therapies will also be limited. Therefore finding a way to increase the area of comfort where they can connect again with emotions and somatic (bodily) sensations is extremely helpful. On the other hand, if a person is struggling with a very over-activated nervous system, losing stability while doing therapeutic work is also a very real danger (Rothschild, 2000). The ability to use the practices of yoga to ground the individual in the here and now of the moment and access those resources in the body can be extremely helpful as a basis for other trauma work (Van der Kolk, 2014). What may be revealed through a somatic (body) intervention can be worked with in cognitive ways --- but the body can also be used as a powerful resource for stability in practices that help with grounding, centering, regulating affect and being able to once again feel connected with one’s own self and the rest of the world.
Greenbrier Academy, a therapeutic boarding school located in Pence Springs, WV, aspires to heal the whole person by integrating cognitively-based therapies with somatically-based therapies within our relational model. By acknowledging the powerful and silent reality of the body as a repository of past experiences and its relationship to the mind, we are able to use a whole array of tools to help assist in a more complete healing process. Integrating mind/body practices facilitates a profound transformation of the individual by enabling the integration of insight and new identity with a new felt experience of the self. This experience of the self is not a self in isolation, but a part of a network of interrelated relationships that are able to grow and heal as well. Thus each one of our students who moves toward greater wholeness will also be facilitating greater wholeness in her whole community ---r adiating healing into her world as she grows.
Emerson, D. & Hopper, E. (2011) Overcoming Trauma through Yoga: Reclaiming Your Body. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.
Heller, L. & LaPierre, A. (2012) Healing Developmental Trauma: How Early Trauma affects Self-Regulation, Self-Image and the Capacity for Relationship. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.
Levine, P. (2010) In an Unspoken Voice: How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.
Van Der Kolk, B. (2014) The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind and Body in the Healing of Trauma. New York, NY: Viking Penguin.
Rothschild, B. (2000) The Body Remembers: The Psychophysiology of Trauma and Trauma Treatment. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & company, Inc.
Chelsea Dickenson, Aspiro's Admissions Director, announces the addition of Shannon Weaver as the Associate Director of Admissions and the promotion of Ryan Schaffer from a lead field guide to Aspiro's newest Admissions Counselor. Both of these individuals bring a vast amount of experience to our team. They’ve both traveled, worked and lived in a global market. The Aspiro Group is committed to expanding our commitment to helping serve students and families in the States and around the world.
As an LCSW, Shannon Weaver will be an excellent partner for families and consultants who desire a clinical eye when making decisions in the beginning of a treatment process. Shannon is a seasoned clinical professional with 20 years of experience in mental health, working in substance abuse clinics, residential treatment centers and private practice. Shannon also has experience in admissions and marketing as the Director of Admissions at a therapeutic boarding school. "Shannon is such a well-rounded, compassionate, and clinically savvy individual. She has a unique ability to connect with others and her commitment to helping families can truly be felt when talking with her," says Josh Watson, Chief Marketing Officer for the Aspiro Group.
Education is another passion of Shannon’s. She is a certified English teacher whose love of teaching and passion for working with youth led her to China, where she spent 6 years teaching children in International Baccalaureate schools and providing therapy in her private practice. “It is rare to find a professional with her level of expertise whose desire is to work in admissions by helping families during the crisis point. Shannon thrives on being the calm in the storm. She offers the comfort and clinical eye that is crucial for the families who look to Aspiro for help. I’m beyond excited to welcome her to our team," says Chelsea Dickinson.
Shannon grew up in Seattle, Washington and has lived in Israel, England, Russia, and China. She is an adventurer in her own right and recently completed a waterfall rappel with Aspiro’s field team and is always up for a challenge. Shannon loves the beautiful landscape and outdoor opportunities that Utah has to offer. Shannon especially enjoys traveling and spending time with her husband and 2 children.
Ryan Schaffer may be new to admissions and outreach but he is no stranger to the private treatment industry or Aspiro. His diverse experience ranges from a Lead Field Guide at Aspiro to teaching, administration and student coaching in a therapeutic boarding school. Families will benefit from Ryan’s first hand involvement in the field with Aspiro students. His experience and perspective provide a superior opportunity for families to learn about day-to-day life as an Aspiro student. Ryan is passionate about the effectiveness of wilderness adventure therapy and the profound difference it makes for Aspiro students and their families.
“Ryan has the heart of an educator and is an adventure enthusiast. What a great combination and perfect fit for Aspiro!” remarked Chelsea Dickinson. His career as an international English professor and in the private treatment industry speaks to his strengths and interests. As an Associate English Professor, Ryan spent seven years living abroad teaching English as a second language to adult engineering professionals. Ryan has lived and worked in Mexico, France, South Korea, and Germany. He can speak German and is also proficient in Spanish and French. When meeting and speaking to Ryan, it is quickly clear how his international experience informs his sensitivity, compassion, and understanding of people, cultures and families. Ryan is excited to work with a diverse range of parents and professionals. He will no doubt be a wonderful asset to anyone calling on Aspiro including international families and consultants.
Ryan grew up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago and received his degree in speech communications at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. If he's not on the phone at Aspiro, you’ll likely find him outside climbing, hiking, snowboarding or disc golfing. He’s also likely to be found reading, writing, or dabbling in music.
Uinta Academy went to the Leonardo Museum for Uinta's August exploration trip in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah. All of the Uinta girls go on a monthly explorations in order to learn as a whole. The Leonardo Museum is a hands-on museum where the girls can learn about learning. The Leonardo is about asking questions, and then participating in the activity. During this activity, the Uinta Academy girls learned about the origins of manned flight. They learned about the different types of flight including buoyant, ballistic and aerodynamic flight. While they were learning, the girls were able to climb in and on a massive C-131 aircraft. The girls sat in the cockpit to see what it takes to fly a plane. They were also able to go in a flight simulator and experience what modern day pilots go through today as they train to fly. Uinta Academy now has several girls interested in becoming pilots after their trip to the Leonardo.
About Uinta Academy
Uinta Academy 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, specializing in the treatment of identity development, attachment and trauma-based issues. In pursuit of relationship development, Uinta Academy utilizes a highly sophisticated equine program where every girl has her own horse to take care of and work with therapeutically. Uinta Academy’s clinically intense and sophisticated treatment program is balanced by a warm, nurturing, family-style living environment.
Uinta Academy 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, specializing in the treatment of identity development, attachment, and trauma based issues. In pursuit of relationship development, Uinta Academy utilizes a highly sophisticated equine program where every girl has her own horse to take care of and work with therapeutically. Uinta Academy’s clinically intense and sophisticated treatment program is balanced by a warm, nurturing, family-style living environment.
Jason McKeown, MS, LMFT, CPE, DCC, Family Clinical Director at Trails Carolina, is conducting a study exploring the therapeutic value of objects. Trails Carolina, a wilderness therapy program for teens ages 10-17, recently supported McKeown’s research into the therapeutic value of objects. McKeown leads Trails Carolina’s innovative family programming, helping families along a path towards rebuilding healthier, happier relationships.
McKeown is working alongside Brenda Cowan, Associate Professor of Exhibition Design at SUNY/FIT and Ross Laird, PhD, Interdisciplinary Creative Process, MA, Counseling Psychology, to define and examine the psychological underpinnings of the intrinsic relationships between people and objects.
At Trails Carolina, objects are often used as a therapeutic tool to help students heal. This research offers new insight into the therapeutic effect objects can have for teens struggling with grief and trauma. McKeown and Cowan have been working on this research since 2015. The initial phase of their research involved observing the ways in which Trails Carolina uses object-based therapeutic practices throughout the program.
The observations made in that initial phase have led to the current research which is titled “Psychotherapeutic Object Dynamic Research Case Study”. The current research involves a case study interviewing eleven individuals who had donated objects to the September 11th Memorial in New York City.
The case study explored the psychotherapeutic benefits of the participation of the object donors in the institution’s acquisitions, the personal identification of the donors with their donated objects, and the psychological experience of the donors through the process of donation.
Participants included five widows, three survivors (including one who also lost a husband and one who lost a cousin), one mother who lost a son, one first responder, and one on-location journalist.
According to McKeown, each participant’s story was unique. Many of the survivors interviewed, including the first responder, chose to donate something related to that day like their triage badge or their clothes to be a representation of what that day was like.
Widows or those who lost a family member usually donated an object belonging to a deceased family member that was best representative of their role within the World Trade Center. Parents who lost a child on 9/11 typically donated objects that represented their child’s personality and interests.
“For many people, giving the object away was helpful in a variety of ways,” says McKeown. “Some felt like giving the object away would help people remember the event or the person that was lost. For some, there was something meaningful and powerful in the act of parting with the object. We called this an ‘unburdening’ of the object. Others felt like they could use that object to tell a story that people needed to hear.”
McKeown, Cowan and Laird plan on continuing their research around the use of objects in a therapeutic setting.
“As we continue to define our theory, we will look into new ways of expanding the therapeutic use of objects throughout a student’s time at Trails,” commented McKeown.
About Trails Carolina
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.
Over the summer, one of Novitas' students had the opportunity to participate in the National SkillsUSA Additive Manufacturing Competition in Louisville, Kentucky and Chris brought home the GOLD!
The top 6,000 high school and college students were selected from a pool of 300,000 initial contestants, and participated in a week-long championship event that highlighted the capabilities of career and technical education students in their respective fields. SME created the additive manufacturing contest to attract students to the new and exciting emerging technologies and to introduce the tools involved. These technologies are very relevant to the industry and companies are looking for a workforce with additive manufacturing/3D printing experience and abilities. The competition helps contestants better understand additive manufacturing applications, and with the support of Stratasys, the 3D printing and additive manufacturing solutions company, students get hands-on experience using the latest 3D printing.
"The winners of this year's Additive Manufacturing competition represent some of the best and brightest at their schools," said Jeff Krause, CEO of SME. "Additive manufacturing/3D printing is growing rapidly, and the demand for talent in this field continues to outpace the availability of the workforce. Capturing the attention of high school students is key to securing a skilled workforce."
Twenty-two teams competed in this year's SkillsUSA Additive Manufacturing Competition and six teams walked away with gold, silver, and bronze medals for showcasing excellence in the field of digital and additive manufacturing. Prizes for the frontrunners include scholarships from the SME Education Foundation, a MakerBot Mini printer, 3D mouse, and SolidWorks 3D CAD design software. Novitas is proud to celebrate with Chris and his family in this monumental success story and cannot wait to see what lies ahead for him in the future! The possibilities are limitless! Congratulations Chris and keep up the good work.
In their commitment to best-in-class treatment, Calo Programs employs in its programs a full-time Board Certified Neurotherapist and many neuro technicians. These neuro technicians deliver cutting edge neuro-interventions. A few examples of these interventions include: (1) brain mapping, (2) neurofeedback, (3) Heart Rate Variability (HRV) biofeedback and (4) Integrated Listening Systems (iLs). These interventions quiet the fear-driven brain and foster a sense of safety. The effects of these evidenced-based interventions can include improved mood, better attention and sleep, diminished anxiety, and more.
Brain Mapping or Quantitative Electroencephalography (qEEG) provides a real-time brain functioning image that isolates instabilities and dysregulations in the brain, the source of many of the trauma symptoms and behaviors. This Brain Map provides the road map for targeted and individualized treatment.
Neurofeedback (NFB) is a form of evidence-based brain training that uses the reward system in the brain to practice self-regulation. NFB helps the brain change by releasing dopamine into the sub-cortical regions, informing the brain to re-wire or change its frequency to something that it enjoys or wants to promote. The result is an increase in the efficiency of neurological processing, i.e. sensory systems integrate, cognitive speed increases and attention networks become flexible – all of which allows the traumatized brain to be more prepared for engaging in relationship.
HEART RATE VARIABILITY (HRV) BIOFEEDBACK
Traumatized bodies function in a state of chronic stress and Heart Rate Variability (HRV) rhythms are irregular. HRV is a leading, evidence-based biofeedback technique that teaches, through focused breathing technique, heart-lung coherence. When the lung influences the heart rate, we experience self-regulation. When we breathe in, we distribute oxygen to the body. When we breathe out, the heart rests and slows down. Through HRV, we teach our clients to produce coherent heart rhythms, impacting anxiety, depression, increased memory and reactivity to stress.
INTEGRATED LISTENING SYSTEMS (iLS)
iLs is a multi-sensory listening therapy that improves brain function. The iLs programs offer cutting edge technologies that provide gentle and specific stimulation to the brain in order to activate neural pathways used in the processing of sensory information. During this treatment neuronal connections in these pathways are strengthened allowing for better processing, regulation and attention.
Scott Kuenneke, Calo's Director of Neurotherapies, reports that Calo Programs complete frequent studies to validate the effectiveness of treatment. He noted, "All humans have 4 brain frequencies: Delta, Theta, Alpha, and Beta. The images we track show a before and after on each of these frequencies for a student enrolled in Neurotherapies training. For example, any coloration in a brain image is an indication of deviation from the norm. White is normal while red is 3 standard deviations from normal. It's not uncommon for all four brain waves to be impacted positively after experiencing Calo Neurotherapy, which leads to increased regulation and focus, as well as less anxiety. These changes are dramatic and will change the course of this student’s life".
About Calo Programs
Calo (“kay-low”) Programs is a behavioral and mental health provider specializing 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), New Vision Wilderness, trauma informed outdoor behavioral health programs in Wisconsin and Oregon ("NVW”), Calo Young Adults, a transitional living program for young adults on Winchester, VA and Embark by Calo, a therapeutic workshop and family intensive assessment and treatment program for those reeling from issues of trauma, attachment and adoption.
Liz Lucarelli will be joining our SUWS of the Carolinas team on October 10, 2016 as the Seasons Therapist. Seasons serves middle school age clients at SUWS of the Carolinas, and is comprised of boys and girls ages 10-14. With her vast experience, Liz makes an excellent addition to the SUWS clinical team.
Here's a little more to know about Liz: her goals as a therapist are to help her clients discover that they have the internal resources, power and capability to manage life's hardships and challenges. This in turn builds a sense of competency, resiliency and empowerment. Liz assists her young clients in developing personal and relational awareness, responsibility and emotional regulation. Liz enjoys working with pre-teens who struggle with peer and family relationships, anxiety, depression, oppositional behaviors, emotional regulation, ADHD, negligent self-care, and students who have experienced a developmental trauma such a death of a parent/loved one, divorce, adoption, birth of a sibling, and/or neglect.
Liz has extensive experience working in wilderness and residential settings with preteens and adolescents in their families. Her journey began as a Senior Field Instructor at Second Nature Blue Ridge in 2005. After leaving Second Nature to further her education and experience, she set a personal goal to work specifically with pre-teens and served as a primary therapist at Lake House Academy and Greenbrier Academy. She has also led international adventure travel trips and worked as both a program director and lead instructor for an all-girls wilderness leadership program. Prior to joining the SUWS team, Liz was a primary therapist at Footsteps at Second Nature Blue Ridge.
Liz earned her Master’s degree from Western Carolina University in Community Counseling and a Bachelor of Arts in Wilderness Leadership and Experiential Education from Brevard College. Liz is a Licensed Professional Counselor and National Certified Counselor. She is certified in Brainspotting, NLP, and is a Wilderness First Responder. She is currently working towards becoming a Registered Play Therapist through the Association of Play Therapy.
About SUWS of the Carolinas
SUWS of the Carolinas is a wilderness treatment program for students 10-17 years of age who are working through addiction, depression, developmental disorders and behavioral issues. Students work with a licensed clinician and experienced staff members in a supportive outdoor environment free from the stresses and distractions of everyday life. SUWS of the Carolinas operates within the Pisgah National Forest under permits issued by the United States Forest Service (USDA), and is subject to the USDA Civil Rights Non Discrimination Agreement (Form AD-475-C).
Elevations RTC, a residential treatment center for teens ages 13-18, proudly highlights the specialized groups that meet weekly on campus. Each group is led by clinicians who focus on a specific therapeutic topic. The specialized groups provide an educational and therapeutic opportunity for students to learn more about specific struggles they may be experiencing.
Description of each of the six specialized groups offered:
- Attachment: Led by Phyllis Tronrud CMHC, this group helps students understand what attachments they currently have. Within the group, students gain insight into relationship patterns and how their attachment plays a part in unhealthy relationships. In understanding their own attachments, students problem-solve ways to overcome maladaptive patterns of behavior.
- Experiential Therapy: Led by Kim Williams-Redmond, CPCI, this group explores the ways which experiential therapy can help students better understand their inner strengths and weaknesses. Through activities like role playing and guided imagery, students can identify and address hidden struggles.
- Codependency: Led by Jennifer Maddock, LMFT, this group provides members with a space to process and discuss relationships they are struggling with. In the group, they can seek feedback and support from other group members and their therapist. The group covers topics such as lying, boundary issues, confusing love and pity, and feeling inadequate.
- Art therapy: The art therapy group, led by Ryan Faust, CSW, provides students with an outlet to express thoughts and emotions through nonverbal means. This specialty group is designed to allow students the opportunity to utilize their creativity and personal insight to further their treatment goals. The group focus ranges from topics such as fear, anxiety, depression and recovery.
- Body Image: Led by Anna Chauncey, CSW, the body image group provides an opportunity for group members to explore factors influencing the way they view their bodies and identify strategies to challenge current negative beliefs around the way they look. This involves increasing awareness and identification of current automatic negative self-talk and working to challenge these beliefs and work towards increased acceptance.
- Aggression Replacement Training: Led by Peter Brickey, CMHC, this group focuses on aggression replacement training, helping students rein in aggression through discussions and lessons around social skills, anger control, and moral reasoning.
“Our specialized groups provide a unique experience for students to learn more about specific issues they struggle with and work towards addressing those issues,” says Jennifer Wilde, LCSW, Executive Clinical Director of Elevations RTC. “They also help promote a strong peer culture on campus through peer support within these groups.”
About Elevacations 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.
Tere Snodgrass' career in Admissions and Consultant Relations began in 1991. Having held leadership positions in therapeutic wilderness programs, boarding schools, and residential facilities throughout the past twenty-five years, Tere has developed a deep understanding of the practical and emotional challenges parents face as they navigate the admissions process for a struggling child.
Highly regarded by parents and professionals for her relational approach, Tere strives to understand the unique needs of each client family and create a personalized admissions experience based upon open communication, integrity and trust. Tere has a unique ability to navigate obstacles and attend to details while gently guiding her client families with compassion, insight and care. Tere’s commitment to utilizing the strengths of a team while advocating for her families is evidenced in the positive relationships she has cultivated throughout her career. She works diligently with consultants and clinical professionals to ensure each family is equipped with the knowledge and information they need to begin the wilderness therapy journey. Tere is humbled by her role in this important first step as it sets the foundation for future success and family healing.
Tere shares, “I have immense satisfaction knowing that I am representing a program so committed to emotional strength, mental wellness, physical safety, and family programming. These components deeply align with my personal values, making Open Sky the perfect fit for me.”
Tere is excited to bring her experience and passion to the Open Sky admissions team, which consists of Danny Frazer, Susanna Shakespeare, and Tanya Dalebout. If you have questions about Open Sky, please contact their admissions professionals at (970) 759-8324. If you would like to talk with Tere directly, please feel free to reach out to her at (770) 313-8487 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Open Sky Wilderness Therapy
Since 2006, Open Sky Wilderness Therapy has been providing the premier family-centered wilderness therapy experience through its programs in the mountains of Southwest Colorado and Canyonlands of Southeast Utah. The Open Sky approach transcends traditional wilderness therapy by emphasizing treatment for the whole family, not just the adolescent or young adult, and the application of evidence-based clinical modalities with innovative, well-researched holistic healing practices such as yoga, meditation and mindfulness. When a family partners with Open Sky, they embark on a rewarding adventure of self-discovery, and learn a range of strategies that promote lasting success.
At ViewPoint Center, clinical services are tailored to each individual client's specific needs. Diabetic counseling, which helps patients struggling with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, is one of many diverse Nursing Services carried out by on-campus Registered Nurses.
Goals of Diabetic Counseling Services
According to Jessinna Nielson, Nursing Supervisor at ViewPoint Center, the overall goals of diabetic counseling services at ViewPoint Center:
- Help the patient become better educated regarding the role diabetes plays in their treatment and overall health.
- Educate the patient regarding optimal food choices to promote responsible Diabetic care.
- Encourage hygiene techniques to facilitate healing and physical health maintenance.
- Evaluate the patient's ability to self-monitor and care for glucose levels.
- Emulate understanding regarding living with a Chronic Disease and help to teach the patient to gain physical and emotional control over the diabetes diagnosis.
How do Diabetic Counseling Services at ViewPoint Center work?
Upon admissions, every patient recieves a History & Physical evaluation within 24 hours. If the patient has been previously diagnosed with Diabetes, a consultation with a Registered Dietitian is ordered. Our very experienced RD meets individually with the patient and discusses lifestyle food choices and the relationship between blood sugar, food and physical health.
Within 3 days of admissions, ViewPoint Center's Nursing Supervisor meets with each Diabetic patient and evaluates their comfort level regarding glocose monitoring, carb counting, insulin scales, and overall understanding of Diabetes. Diabetic education is then given, documented, and followed up on as needed.
ViewPoint Center encourages Diabetic patients to accept their diabetes diagnosis but to not let it define them as an individual. An emphasis is placed on encouraging the diabetic patient to make confident lifestyle decisions and to live healthy, productive lives despite living with diabetes.
About ViewPoint Center
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 provides superior assessment, diagnosis, treatment and stabilization for struggling teens. Many teens at ViewPoint struggle with mental and behavioral issues such as suicidal ideation, anxiety disorder and eating disorders. In a safe, personalized environment, ViewPoint helps teens focus on the healing process.
Discovery Academy located in Provo, UT is excited to announce that Laurie Laird is the new headmaster. Laurie brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience in education.
In discussing her new role, Laurie said, "I am so excited about this opportunity. This feels like home to me and I am so excited to be a part of the Discovery Academy! I have had great working relationships with the people at Discovery Academy for many years. I have always admired the school model, and how Discovery always puts the student’s needs first. I am looking forward to being a part of the academic program and am excited to help the industry understand the strengths of the Discovery Academy model and the unique way it serves all students and works to build upon their individual strengths. This is an opportunity I have been working towards my entire career, and I cannot wait to get started.“
Laurie brings to Discovery Academy over 20 years of educational experience working with learning disorder issues in the teen treatment industry, including most recently as CALO’s Executive Director over the pre-teen program. Before that, Laurie spent 15 years as the Academic Director of New Haven. She also served as the chair of the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP) education committee.
Laurie holds an undergraduate degree from Brigham Young University (BYU) in Secondary Education. Her Masters Degree is in Master's in Education from the University of Phoenix and she is certified in teaching Special Education.
Organized by the Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Council, the 2016 Wilderness Therapy Symposium was held the last week of August in Park City, UT; this conference is a gathering and celebration of the work done in the Wilderness Therapy industry. It brings together field guides, therapists, program managers, and many more affiliated professionals. The Symposium offers a chance for those in the field to learn something new and connect with those who are doing similar work in other locales.
In addition to the numerous workshops held throughout the conference, there is an event held on Friday night that specifically honors the work of the field instructors. High atop the gondola at the Canyons Resort, there’s a lodge where all of the attendees joined for dinner and music. The most important part of the event was the Jumping Mouse ceremony. This ceremony is meant to illustrate the importance of field instructors' work and several guides from different programs were presented the award.
Evoke at Cascades nominated Chris Cooper to receive the Jumping Mouse award. Chris has been an instructor at Evoke for over three years. While at Evoke, he’s developed into a senior instructor and has been integral in the professional development for countless other instructors. Chris brings humor and compassion to his work with Evoke clients and shows up each week with the most positive outlook.
The staff at Evoke Cascades have expressed that they believe that Chris more than deserves such an award and they look forward to many more months and years working with him.
About Evoke Therapy Programs
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. Evoke also offer Personal Growth Intensive Workshops for individuals and families who are looking to create dynamic changes in their life or to simply find the balance they are seeking.
Turn-About Ranch is excited to welcome Abigail Dominy, Ph.D. as the new Academic Director. Coined “The Million Acre School” in a 2014 blog post, Turn-About Ranch offers a unique therapeutic and educational experience for each of their students as they incorporate the vast and varied landscape of South-Central Utah with its high mountain lakes, big sky vistas, sandstone cliffs, and a uniquely rugged desert. The Academic Program is fully accredited and flexible enough to provide credit recovery or advanced studies in core subjects. “Students can complete a full semester’s credit in just 100 days,” said Shane Young, Admissions Director. “That wouldn’t be possible without the dedication and oversight Abby offers each student.” Along with her dedication, Abby adds depth to the classroom through her own experience and expertise.
As Academic Director, Abby works with schools, parents, and students to help ensure the best possible outcomes for each student when it’s time to transition back home. Along with managing Turn-About Ranch’s Academic program, she teaches Math and directs the Science experience by "bringing the outside in" while incorporating aspects of the surrounding area.
On a more personal note, Abby is a voracious reader (especially science fiction), enjoys spending hours in her sewing room and tending to her vegetable garden. She enjoys taking hikes, kayaking, boating, and catching turtles. Abby is also well trained by her cat and guinea pig.
About Turn-About Ranch 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.
Dr. Britta Zimmer, Dr. Ryan Shelton and Dr. John Souza were selected to present at the 2016 American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) Annual Conference in Salt Lake City. Hundreds of NDs, MDs, and DOs gathered to learn about the newest research in the field and practice skills, tools, and exchange ideas. The Pacific Quest team presented “Integrated Management for Adolescents and Young Adults with Psychiatric Diagnoses: The Role of Naturopathic Medicine, Psychopharmacological Agents and Family Dynamics.” This included two cases that showcased our integrated model that is based on naturopathic modalities with a family systems approach. Throughout the session, the talented group demonstrated how Pacific Quest is able to address the totality of the whole case, by implementing the naturopathic philosophy of treating the whole person as well as underlying causes by addressing family system issues.
Each presenter brought different areas of specialization to the session. Dr. Britta Zimmer focused on integrative psychiatry, Dr. Ryan Shelton presented on naturopathic treatment modalities and Dr. John Souza spoke to the family systems approach as it relates to whole-patient care. With these three separate perspectives, this team showcased how Pacific Quest's model is truly integrated.
With each case study, before and after videos were shared. Audience members were impressed with the significant changes that were clearly apparent by viewing actual clients share their experiences in their own words. Others expressed the desire to learn more about integrative psychiatry in order to help their clients in this integrative way. The overwhelming feedback is that Pacific Quest is really pioneering this part in the industry and people are looking to Pacific Quest as a leader in the field of integrative psychiatry.
Of the presentation, Dr. Britta says “We were able to share this model that we have been creating over the last eight years with our colleagues in the field. Being able to show the progression and success we have been able to achieve since this model has developed was really inspiring. The partnership that we have showed easily because we always work together as a team and side by side – implementing an integrative approach that benefits the client and the treatment team as well.”
About Pacific Quest
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.
The girls at Moonridge Academy love animals! Not only do they love the 4 mini horses, 2 dogs and 2 cats who live at Moonridge Academy, but they also love to volunteer at Best Friends Pet Sanctuary. Every 6 weeks, the girls at Moonridge Academy load up in the vans and make the 90-minute trek to Kanab, UT where Best Friends Pet Sanctuary is located. Best Friends Pet Sanctuary is the largest “no kill” pet sanctuary in the United States.
When the girls arrive at Best Friends, they are assigned a service project to complete. They have weeded, helped make pathways, cleaned the offices, they have filled in trenches, cleaned water buckets and yes, they have even scooped the poop. After completing the service project and lunch, the girls are thrilled when they are able to socialize with different animals. One of the young girls currently living at Moonridge Academy explained, “We get to hold and pet just about any kind of animal you can think of—sheep, goats, bunnies, cats, dogs and birds! My favorite are the bunnies, but I also love the dogs”. Other girls expressed that volunteering at Best Friends is the highlight of their month.
About Moonridge Academy
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 our 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.
Noah Schmelzer was selected as Evoke at Entrada’s Jumping Mouse recipient at the 2016 Wilderness Therapy Symposium. This award is given to an instructor from each OBH Council program that demonstrates a consistent high-level of performance in the field and a commitment to the difficult work that takes place in the wilderness. Noah is a Senior Field Instructor and has been working for Evoke for over two years. His quiet confidence is unique and allows him to maintain composure in every situation that is thrown at him while he is in the field. Noah’s loyalty to Evoke and his passion for the work he does with participants is apparent on a daily basis.
Week in and week out, Noah demonstrates a commitment to using his inherent connection to the outdoors and often receives positive feedback for his hard skills prowess. It was an easy decision for Entrada to nominate Noah for this award and it serves as a small token of recognition for the body of work he has demonstrated over the course of his employment. Evoke is proud to have Noah on their team and they look forward to his continued development.
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.
Scott Davis, MD and Patricia "Trish" Ruggles, LPC join Ginger's House located in Portland, Maine.
Scott Davis, MD is an Internist and Board-Certified Addiction Medicine specialist, serving as the Medical Director for Ginger’s House. He is also recognized as a Fellow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine for his service and contributions to the field of addiction. For over 23 years, Dr. Davis has provided Addiction Medicine treatment services to those suffering with drug and behavioral addictions and abuse. His expertise includes treatment and assisting into recovery in all phases of substance abuse treatment from detoxification through medically managed inpatient care. He graduated from Boston University School of Medicine, and completed his Internal Medicine residency at the University of California, Irvine. He completed a Fellowship in Addiction Medicine from Loma Linda University. Dr. Davis served as the Inpatient Medical Director for the renowned Betty Ford Center in California, prior to moving to Maine. He employs state-of-the art addiction treatment to help clients engage into a strong recovery process.
Patricia "Trish" Ruggles has been working with young people in clinical settings since 2004 and has an extensive history of working in wilderness therapy programs and other residential environments. She is a licensed professional clinician, as well as a drug and alcohol counselor. Ruggles uses client-centered, Gestalt approach and certified in Mindfulness-Informed EMDR. She is comfortable working with a variety of issues that impact young people: including: substance abuse, technology addiction, personality disorders, depression/anxiety, trauma, ODD, “failure to launch,” autism spectrum disorder/social skills deficits, and more. Trish also has an extensive history working with complex family dynamics.
About Ginger's House
Ginger's House located in Portland, Maine is an Extended Care and Transitional Living to support young women. The focus of the comprehensive treatment program is on recovery from eating disorders, addiction to substances, sex and love addiction, trauma, anxiety, depression and other co-occurring disorders.
Six students and three staff from Daniels Academy located in Daniels, UT are touring Italy October 5th - 15th. The young men will tour Rome, Venice, Florence and towns in between. This is one of four international trips Daniels Academy offers its students. The young men often struggle with the impact of learning differences and social challenges like Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Nonverbal Learning Disorder (NVLD), Aspergers Syndrome, Attention Disorders (ADD/ADHD), Anxiety Disorders, Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD or PDD NOS), or Social Pragmatic Communication Disorder (SPCD).
Travel abroad is designed to provide opportunities to expand their horizons with a variety of social situations and cultural experiences. At Daniels, young men have authentic life experiences where every interaction is an opportunity to teach emotional regulation, social learning, life skills and executive functioning skills so they can experience successful living not only at Daniels, but wherever life takes them. Ciao Italy!
For more information please visit http://danielsacademy.com
College Excel is excited to announce several new instruction and support-based program additions for the 2016-17 academic year. Beginning fall 2016, College Excel students will learn even more about how to understand and better manage anxiety. In a new course called Digital Overload, Laurie Honda, Ph.D. will teach students about the cumulative effects of “screen time” and how that impacts cognitive functioning among young adults. Through experiential learning, Jeremy Bowler, Student Life Director and former youth competitive rock climbing coach, will model various anxiety reduction techniques via rock climbing in a brand new student workshop.
In conjunction with the new curriculum offerings, College Excel students will now have access to on-site therapeutic support services. Program Director Peter Allen, M.S., will lead College Excel’s new support group, “Transitioning from Wilderness Therapy to College,” and Cindy Van Lom, M.S., will provide on-site counseling services to students in need.
About College Excel
Founded in 2003, College Excel is the nation’s leading residential college support program located in beautiful Bend, Oregon. At College Excel, post-secondary adults (18-25) who have diverse learning needs and require extra support are provided with the structure they need to move forward, both academically and personally. Through a proprietary coaching model rooted in research-based neurocoaching and behavioral coaching techniques, students receive daily support from a team of credentialed and experienced professionals while earning transferable college credits.
Waterfall Canyon Academy is expanding its continuum for their female clients. Until now, the girls' program has consisted of a Residential Treatment and a Transitional Independence component. November 1, 2016 signals the opening of a 6 bed program for young women ages 16-22.
The program will focus on preparing the girls for independence, encouraging more community involvement and assisting them to identify safe relationships. The young women at the Transition Program will work with their Treatment Team to devlop a transitional plan consisting of therapeutic, educational and vocational goals. They will have the opportunity to learn time management skills, how to navigate the community, money management, meal preparation, independent living and vocational skills. Individual healthy hobbies, productive personal interests, exploring and maintaining employment will be encouraged along with organized social and recreational activities as a group within the community.
The program will be staffed 24 hours a day. Students will recieve therapeutic services including medication mangement, indivdual, family and group therapy sessions. Academics can be achieved through Waterfall's High School and/or other community options such as the Applied Technology College, Weber State University and Vocational Rehabilitation.
LWT annual Mission: Wolf trip started off with a group check-in and debrief of the itinerary. Each client was asked to clarify an intention for going on the trip and state what they are looking to take away from the experience. For some this was thorough and others it was pithy, but each client mentioned getting to know all the other group members better.
Arriving at Mission: Wolf, the group was greeted by their hosts who provided a tour before setting up camp. The tour was rich with metaphor and told the heart-wrenching stories of how each of the wolves arrived at the sanctuary. The stories of the wolves are of resiliency and good intentions gone wrong, ultimately sharing the education of why one doesn’t try to domesticate a wild animal. Often one of the wolves’ stories echoed parts of each of participants' personal stories, resulting in a connection to the animal that runs deeper than an intrigue of a wild animal and makes it personal. Mission: Wolf has also become a horse rescue, providing refuge for horses that would have been donated for food who still have quality life left. This sanctuary has taken a vested interest in preserving the lives of wild mustangs.
On the second day LWT staff and clients helped with bucking hay bales, stacking wood, and covering the bales with tarps to protect them from the elements at “The Farm,” Kent Weber’s (Kent and his wife Tracy are the founders of Mission: Wolf) personal residence. The service project was physically demanding and left many clients seeing they were capable of far more than they thought. As a show of Mission: Wolf’s gratitude, they let the group sit in the top of the wolf enclosure for a wolf greeting. It was a big feed day which has become very popular, so the enclosure was full of participants excited to have the opportunity to greet a wolf.
At Mission: Wolf their motto is “Education vs. Extinction” and in order to go into the enclosure to get an up close and personal greeting from a wolf, you need to be educated in ways of training and working with them. Before entering, Kent gives a speech that highlights balanced leadership and what happens when we act out of imbalance. He clearly states that we are a guest of the wolves and need to understand their behavior and respect their space to enter their home. Wolves use their mouths like we use our hands, so part of shaking hands is for the wolf to place their nose on your nose and lick your teeth. Several of Living Well’s clients were fortunate enough to encounter this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Though excited for what lay ahead, leaving Mission: Wolf was bittersweet, the group had experienced a family feeling at the sanctuary that made it hard to say goodbye.
The last leg of the journey was a drive to the top of Mosca Pass, a famous entry point to the San Juan Valley in the 1800’s. The group hiked into the Great Sand Dunes National park and glimpsed the one and only Great Sand Dunes of Colorado. The group also hiked into the sand dunes and rolled, boarded, and sledded down the dunes. "Majestic" is about the best descriptor of coming into contact with 14,000 foot peaks in the backdrop of the sand dunes at sunset.
The last morning was casual and offered the opportunity to soak in the past three days while lounging in Mt. Princeton Hot Springs. Each night of the trip, the group processed through individual highs and lows and stated if intentions for the trip were being met. The encouragement was to weigh this out in depth. Reflecting on impactful experiences is a simple and powerful way to integrate new knowledge into our daily lives; hot springs are conducive to this reflection and integration (as well as make the van smell better for the drive home).
Chrysalis is excited to welcome Maggie Taylor as the newest member of the team! Maggie arrived on campus this week, and joins Chrysalis as a Registered Nurse. She will be heading up the Health and Wellness program, and Chrysalis is thrilled to have her expertise and knowledge as a complement to the overall dedication to students' well-being. Maggie will be taking care of medication management, as well as facilitating the morning workout and providing guidance to students around nutrition.
Chrysalis believes health and well-being are two different concepts, but they go hand in hand. Wellness is described as "the quality or state of being healthy in body and mind, especially as the result of deliberate effort." Maggie has had an extensive background working with children and their families, providing health education and outstanding medical care, and Chrysalis believes her unique experience will serve to faciliate both health and wellness for students in their program.
Chrysalis School is an all girls therapeutic boarding school in northwest Montana for ages 13-18. Its mission is to provide the best-quality therapeutic services , education and experiential opportunities to adolescents and their families in the context of a warm and nurturing residential boarding school environment while maintaining a commitment to integrity in all that they do.