All Kinds of News for August 09, 2017
At Moonridge Academy, the Academic Director is consistently looking for unique and interesting ways to merge the academic components of the program to the clinical aspects. Recently, Moonridge Academy introduced a new class to our academic schedule—Improvisation Comedy.
Improvisation (or improv) is a form of live theatre in which the plot, characters and dialogue of a game, scene or story are made up in the moment. Professional improv actors TJ Penrod and Rev McLean, who perform regularly at OTC Comedy in Cedar City, UT, have spent the summer teaching the students at Moonridge Academy how to develop characters and scene plots literally “off the cuff”. Some of the students have taken to the challenge easily, while others have had to stretch their comfort level to do so. In this process, students learned that not only is improv fun, it is also very therapeutic. One of the students shared, “At first, doing Improv was hard for me because it made me very anxious. I was anxious about looking weird or not doing it right. TJ and Rev didn’t put any pressure on me to participate and at first, I just watched. As I watched the other students, I saw that it wasn’t as scary as I thought. I learned that I could do something or say something and it was OK for it not to be perfect. The other class members just acted off of what I had said or done. I now love going to class!”
The skills of managing both the process of improv and the process of therapy are quite similar. In both improv and in therapy there needs to be a teamwork approach with each participant’s interactions determining how a process will conclude. There needs to be cooperation in both improv and in a therapeutic environment, as unexpected twists and turns provide points that each person must adapt to. The capability to share and understand another person’s emotions and feelings are at the core of both therapy and improv.
Improv has also taught students how to communicate with their peers verbally and nonverbally. Body language provides insights into a person’s attitude and state of mind while doing improv. Improv has taught the students to be better listeners as well as how to more effectively express their needs. Another student said, “Improv helped me to understand my friends better. I got to see them be funny and I learned that sometimes you learn what another person is thinking by what they are doing and not by what they are saying”.
About Moonridge Academy
Moonridge Academy is a CERTS Program in beautiful Southern Utah with 16 beds, and is specifically designed for younger girls, ages 11-15. 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.
Last month, Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness (BRTW) celebrated one year and shared the excitement around their evolution and growth. Blue Ridge is proud to continually serve and support families with a primary goal of setting up students and families on their path to healing and helping teens to reconnect with the best version of themselves.
What hasn’t changed? The direct experience of pure wilderness and the distraction-free environment helps to facilitate extraordinary change and healing in our students. Wilderness is the foundation for which therapy flourishes. Blue Ridge offers the highest level of clinically integrated and individualized programming by employing dynamic therapists and tenured field staff who are known for their contribution to wilderness therapy. There is a huge emphasis on building an incredibly influential clinical team focusing on talented and skilled therapists who deeply understand how to work with struggling adolescents and who also excel at connecting with families and Educational Consultants in order to provide incredible customer service.
Last July, Executive Director Dan McDougal made the announcement that Second Nature Blue Ridge would be operating independently and transitioning into the more focused and evolved Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness. Many people in the industry experienced a range of reactions; some were surprised and curious, while others shared their encouragement and excitement surrounding the experience of BRTW. Blue Ridge is proud to share that one year later, their wilderness therapy program has served over 120 families, attracted 5 very talented therapists who align with the company's vision and mission, added to and strengthened their leadership team, and made countless program enhancements.
As part of Blue Ridge's commitment to creating a healthy culture, team, and evolved programming these have been added:
- Family Services Curriculum, spearheaded by Ashley Green, LCSW, who supports and guides parents through an individual and family change process that parallels student’s growth in the program and is integrated with the student’s experience.
- Strengthened Early Clinical Assessment administered by Lorena Bradley, Ph.D. Reinforcing the intake assessment process early in a student’s stay results in stronger case conceptualization, more tailored treatment, and clearer goals established for discharge planning.
- Holistic Programming focusing on mind, body, and spirit, with an emphasis on nutrition, physical exercise and mindfulness. Health and Wellness Director Shay Woerner has developed nutritious and balanced menus and we resupply groups twice a week with locally grown, seasonal produce and meat and cheese from a local farm-to-table purveyor.
- Female Gender-Focused Curriculum: Christine Riley, LMFT is putting the finishing touches on this first-ever specialized program and will be launching it in the next few months.
- Increased training and career growth for field staff through a new 12 part curriculum covering aspects of clinical education.
- Co-occurring mental health and substance abuse treatment for adolescent boys, with the addition of primary therapist Mathew O’Connor, MA, LCAS.
Reflecting over the last year, Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness celebrates their successes and considers the many lessons while setting goals for their future. This last year was about transition, reflection and adjustments that reestablished a healthy and strong foundation. Blue Ridge continues to build upon our 15 years of effective and individualized programs, dedicated staff, and an excellent safety record. Blue Ridge provides a safe environment for struggling adolescents to begin the healing process, tap into the core of what has brought them to us, and equip them with new and healthy coping skills to continue practicing and integrating into their lives. The skilled Blue Ridge team does this by harnessing the power of nature in combination with evidence-based therapeutic approaches, positive peer relationships, and freedom from the distractions of everyday life.
About Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness offers clinically driven programs encompassing advanced therapeutic skill, a highly flexible nomadic wilderness model, licensed wilderness therapy assessment, and multiple treatment options for troubled teenagers and pre-teens ages 10-18 years old. Our individualized approach, family support, and commitment to service translate to an unparalleled experience and better outcomes for adolescents and families.
Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness is thrilled to announce the addition of Primary Therapist Mathew O’Connor, MA, LCAS, ICAADC to their Clinical Team. Matt will be taking adolescent male students, ages 14-18, struggling with co-occurring mental health disorders and substance use. Matt joined Blue Ridge in March of this year after years working in primary substance abuse treatment, which is where his passion and expertise lie. Matt has over six years experience working on all levels of care for substance abuse, including education, prevention, treatment and recovery. He has spent the last five months training with Blue Ridge therapists and Clinical Director and learning every aspect of the Primary Therapist role in the wilderness therapy setting. He has devoted week after week in the field with each of our five groups, shadowing individual and group sessions, spending time with the milieu, joining weekly parent and ed consultant calls, and co-facilitating parent support calls.
Matt is a Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialist and an Internationally Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor. He earned his Master's Degree in Contemplative Counseling Psychology from Naropa University in Boulder, CO. After years of working with this demographic, Matt has developed an approach that is eclectic, person centered and holistic. His approach to therapy is gentle, respectful and designed to help clients increase their capacity for self-awareness.
Matt believes that the wilderness presents a platform for individuals to connect with their inherent wisdom, which has been covered up by drug and alcohol use. Addiction can create immense amounts of shame, guilt and low self-worth, which leads to isolation and loneliness. Blue Ridge’s expedition model of wilderness therapy creates an environment to engage with the world around us on a much deeper level, which is a key part to sustained recovery. Therapy involves the difficult work of honestly looking at our lives, and Matt brings patience and humor to this courageous endeavor. He believes that the healing process begins by creating a space that is safe and nurturing. By creating a space that is based on compassion, respect and care, individuals can tap into some of the deeper emotional processes that have been underlying patterns of behavior that created suffering in their lives.
Matt utilizes a variety of clinical approaches to meet his students where they are. These include mindfulness-based therapeutic interventions, motivational interviewing, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. He has a deep understanding of and connection to 12 Step recovery programs.
About Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness offers clinically driven programs encompassing advanced therapeutic skill, a highly flexible nomadic wilderness model, licensed wilderness therapy assessment, and multiple treatment options for troubled teenagers and pre-teens ages 10-18 years old. Our individualized approach, family support, and commitment to service translate to an unparalleled experience and better outcomes for adolescents and families.
Join SUWS of the Carolinas, September 6th-8th 2017, for three days of education, self-care and personal growth, exploring options for young people in recovery. Kristina Wandzilak, CAS, CIP is the founder of Full Circle Addiction and Recovery Services and her mother Constance Curry will present as key-note speakers. Kristina who is based out of Marin County California has been a leader in the addictions industry since 1995. They co-authored "The Lost Years." Their story of healing and experience operating Full Circle Addiction and Recovery Services which includes Intervention Services, Intensive Outpatient Services and Full Circle Living (FCL) that supports men and women who have completed residential treatment and are interested in transitional living home. Kristina is a docu-series host and media consultant.
This recovery conference will have daily yoga and meditation, biofeedback stations, nature hikes, speaker panels and much more. There are 10.5 hours of CEU's available with full participation. To register for the wellness retreat and learn more, visit the website.
About SUWS of the CarolinasSUWS of the Carolinas is a licensed, CARF International-accredited mental health facility, committed to helping families rediscover their strengths and fostering growth for young people. Operating in the Pisgah National Forest under permit from the National Forest Service, SUWS delivers wilderness based therapeutic interventions for 10-17 year old boys and girls with compassion and excellence.
SUWS of the Carolinas, Montford Hall, Solstice East, Journey Home, and Equinox RTC are proud to present the second annual Expanding Recovery Conference and Retreat. The event will be held at the Kanuga Conference Center in Hendersonville, NC from September 6th - 8th. This conference has something for everyone who is passionate about addictions treatment, diversity and inclusion training, mindfulness and yoga practice, and connecting with others in a natural setting. Lodging and meals are included with your registration, and 10.5 CEUs will be provided for participants who attend all the presentations.
Kristina Wandzilak and her mother Constance Curry are the key note speakers for the conference. Kristina is executive director and founder of Full Circle Intervention, is a nationally recognized interventionist, presenter, and author. She has worked in the field of chemical dependency since 1994 and is a certified drug and alcohol counselor and board-registered interventionist. Constance has been in codependency recovery for many years. She has studied and tried to understand the disorder that took over her life and the lives of those she loved most. She has been on various educational speaker panels for practicing therapists and teachers speaking on the intricate subject of addiction and family recovery.
Connie organized a women's golf tournament to raise money for the Children's Center at the Family Service Agency. Constance has begun a new career but always staying close to her four children and her three young grandchildren. Together, they co-authored "The Lost Years". Their story highlights the pain addiction can inflict while testing the sacred mother-daughter bond. Ultimately, Kristina and Constance share a story about the power of living a fulfilled life in recovery.
For additonal information or to register click here.
The conference schedule is as follows:
Wednesday, Sept. 6th
3:00pm-5:00pm Guest Check-in/Registration
Wellness Center Opens (vendors, brain stations, chair massages)
5:00pm-5:45pm Welcome remarks & Alumni Panel
6:00pm-7:00pm Fellowship Dinner Dining Room
7:00pm-9:00pm Opening Presentation
Chasing the Dragon screening & Discussion
9:00pm-10:00pm 12 Step Support Group
Thursday, Sept. 7th
7:00am-8:00am Morning Breakout Options
1. Morning Meditation AA meeting
8:00am-8:45am Breakfast Dining Room
9:00am-10:30am Morning General Session
Letting Values Drive the Bus: Utilizing Acceptance and Commitment Therapy with Dual-diagnosis teens.
(Kevin Waller and James Skelton)
10:30am-11:00am Snack Break
11:00am-12:15pm Morning General Session
Gender Today: Best Practice for Trans & Non-Binary Young People in Treatment (Beck Gee-Cohen)
12:30pm-1:15pm Lunch & Roundtable Discussions w/Daniel Fishburn
1:30pm-2:15pm Afternoon General Session
Gender Differences in Substance Abuse Treatment: A Neurological Approach
2:30pm-3:45pm Breakout Sessions
1. Mindful Grieving (Judi Bessette & Josh White)
2. The Sanity of Addiction (Lauren Ciovacco)
3:45pm-4:15pm Snack Break
4:15pm-5:30pm Breakout Sessions
1. Afterward: Strong at the Broken Places (Kris Brightbill & Blake Smith)
2. Understanding and Assessing Adolescent Sex Addiction (Michael Dunn)
5:30pm-6:00pm Vendor Time
6:00pm-6:45pm Fellowship Dinner
7:00pm-9:00pm Keynote w/Kristina Wandzilak & Constance Curry
9:00pm-10:00pm Refuge Recovery Meeting
Friday, Sept. 8th
7:00am-8:00am Morning Breakout Options
1. Morning Meditation AA meeting
8:00am-8:45am Breakfast Dining Room
9:00am-10:30am Morning General Session:
Managing the Unmanageable: A Look at Young Women in Recovery (Alice Cennamo)
10:30am-11:45am Morning Breakout Options
1. Nature Hike w/wilderness skills
2. 12 Step Yoga
12:30pm-1:15pm Lunch & General Session Dining Room
Queering Recovery: Bringing Inclusion & Intersectionality to the Forefront (Samantha Field & Co-Presenter)
1:30pm-2:45pm Speaker Panel Chapel
2:45pm-3:15pm Closing Meditation Chapel
Mountain Valley Treatment Center is excited to announce Sarah E.G. Hazelton, L.C.S.W., to the clinical team. A licensed therapist, Sarah began her career in mental health in the late 1990’s, working as an Activity Therapist at Retreat Healthcare in Brattleboro, VT, where she coordinated and implemented activity therapy and recreation programming for adolescent inpatient and residential populations. She then transitioned to Spurwink Services in Lewiston, ME, where she provided comprehensive clinical treatment to residential students with acute mental health needs, including assessment, treatment planning evaluations and discharge planning.
Prior to joining Mountain Valley’s clinical team, Sarah served as the Assistant Clinical Director and therapist at Logan River Academy (LRA) in Logan, UT. Her responsibilities at LRA included providing residential clinical services to adolescents with mental health and autism spectrum diagnoses, supervising clinical interns and provisionally licensed clinicians, case coordination with referral sources, providing clinical training for staff, coordinating and managing chronic and acute mental health and behavioral crises and creating psychoeducational presentations for families.
A graduate of Springfield College where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Therapeutic Recreation and Outdoor Environmental Recreation, and University of New England where she earned her Masters of Social Work, Sarah greatly enjoys working at Mountain Valley. “There’s something about the culture of Mountain Valley that sets it apart from other residential treatment centers. Everything is so positive – and calm – the perfect environment in which to work with anxious teenagers.”
A Certified Master Gardener, Sarah also likes to hike, road bike, canoe, ski, run, cook and read. She is also an avid whitewater rafter.
Areas of Specialty and Interest:
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
- Motivational Interviewing (MI)
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
- Wilderness First Responder
- High Functioning Autism and executive functioning deficits
- Digital/Technology Addictions
About Mountain Valley Treatment Center 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, NH 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 60-90 days at MVTC taking advange of the most effective evidence-based treatments through individual, group and family therapy, conducted in a caring, supportive and ethical fashion that meet the unique needs of the individuals, and the expectations of the professional practice of social work, psychology and psychiatry.
When one meets Living Well Transitions Life Skills Counselor Lauren Ciovacco, one immediately learns three things:
1. His smile is contagious
2. He's passionate about so many aspects of life and
3. He loves talking about his passions with others.
On Saturday, August 5, at the Arise Music Festival in Loveland, CO, Lauren spoke on a panel entitled Right Livelihood: Living & Working Mindfully After the Festival Ends. According to the organizers, the goal of the panel was to show “that there are many ways that one can live a mindful, creative, climate-conscious life, both socially and professionally.” This topic plays out daily for Lauren, as his role at Living Well involves working with young adults to help them design a mindful way of living that supports their physical, emotional, social and financial health and functioning.
Next month, Lauren will be speaking at the Expanding Recovery for Young People Conference and Wellness Retreat in Asheville, NC, September 6th-8th. During a breakout session on Thursday, September 7, Lauren will present The Sanity of Addiction and The Power of Choice, where he examines the etiology and logic of addiction, as well as explores some of the advantages and disadvantages of traditional models of recovery. He will also examine the ways in which choice-based, self-directed models of treatment provide the opportunity for clients to move past symptom alleviation and into new forms of healthy relating in all areas of their lives.
For more information about Expanding Recovery for Young People, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Living Well Transitions
Living Well Transitions, in Boulder, CO, has been treating young adults like young adults since 2004, by offering intensive individual and group therapy along with 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, no matter the circumstance, so they can lead purposeful lives in alignment with their core values.
A labrynth is used for personal and psychological transformation. They do not belong to any culture, religion or denomination and have been used for thousands of years across the globe. Over the last 15 years, therapeutic use of labrynths has sky rocketed. They are believed to enhance right brain activity and allow those using it to explore their inner selves and use as a form of centering.
Staff and clients at Red Oak Recovery's women's campus, The Willows at Red Oak Recovery, have worked tirelessly over the last several months to construct a labrynth. This will be used as a peaceful, calming space where the women at Red Oak will be able to meditate in a quiet environment while seeking answers from within.
About Red Oak Recovery
Red Oak Recovery is located in the pristine Blue Ridge Mountains, just north of Asheville, NC, and is the result of extensive experience and research for developing highly effective programming to create a foundation of long-term recovery for young adults. The program uniquely blends quality clinical care, adventure therapy, experiential therapy, 12 Step work and social skills development to create positive, and lasting change.
Elevations RTC, a residential treatment center for teens ages 13-18, welcomes parents and siblings to campus during their two-day parent seminar, July 27th and 28th. Parent seminars take place every eight weeks and provide a chance for families to reconnect. There were 15 families participating in the seminar which totaled about 58 people.
Research shows that family bonding time can lead to stronger emotional bonds, improved communication and decreased behavioral problems. As the family begins to function ineffectively, family time is decreased as parents and siblings go into survival mode. Parent seminars at Elevations allow parents and siblings to reconnect.
“The parent seminar was an opportunity for students to see their siblings and parents engage in therapeutic work, including managing frustrations and pushing themselves, while providing helpful support,” says Elevations primary therapist Kim Williams-Redmond, CMHC. “Sibling involvement during family seminars can be an extremely important aspect of this programming.” Brothers and sisters can powerfully influence one another's personality development, social adaptation, emotional vitality, family experience, and life choices.
Parent weekends that focus on the sibling relationship help begin the healing process in a guided, fun therapeutic environment.
“While working with teens, it is crucial to work within their family system, encouraging each individual involved to make the changes necessary for improvement,” comments Primary Therapist Anna Chauncey, LCSW. “At this most recent Parent Seminar, Elevations invited parents and siblings to attend the workshop with this idea in mind.”
During a beautiful day at the lake, students and their families, with the guidance of clinicians, recreational staff and team directors, participated in a variety of experiential exercises. All were encouraged to set goals for the day, and step outside of their "comfort zone", with the understanding that growth stems from challenge.
“Family dynamics were visible from the start of the day, with additional activities providing skill-practice opportunities and bringing to light information regarding areas in need of improvement,” says Chauncey. “Kids and families expressed enjoying the experience and many were able to gain skills and insight which will be utilized in ongoing family therapy sessions as well as future interactions with one another.”
Elevations RTC is a residential treatment center that offers guidance, support and relief to young men and women struggling with issues like trauma, depression, anxiety, mood disorders, behavioral problems, and substance use. Elevations RTC is located in Syracuse, Utah and provides specialized, clinically intensive programs to struggling teens. For more information about family programming at Elevations, please visit https://www.elevationsrtc.com/family-support/ or call 1-866-952-7930
The ViewPoint Center evaluates and assesses the behavioral and emotional challenges that their patients are experiencing. Their multidisciplinary team provides a well-rounded view of each patient. They utilize the perspectives of every single one of their staff members in order to gain an in depth understanding of their patients.
Neuropsychological assessments are one of the tools they utilize to evaluate teens. ViewPoint Center’s Assessment Director Jordan Rigby, PsyD, explains some of the most important elements of the assessment process:
What are neuropsychological assessments?
A neuropsychological evaluation is the application of performance-based assessments of various cognitive skills. Neuropsychological assessments measure many functions including learning/memory, attention/concentration, processing speed, reasoning, judgment, problem-solving and language usage.
Keys to a Good Assessment
A useful neuropsychological assessment will include a few key elements.
Context of the patient
Evaluators must consider the context of the patient’s age, education, sex and cultural background. These factors can affect test performance and limit the conclusions that can be drawn from the evaluation.
They also must gather information related to the patient’s therapeutic, treatment and medical status. Without a full medical and therapeutic evaluation, a neuropsychological assessment's application is limited.
Even with advances in imaging technology and medicine, it is anticipated that clinical neuropsychological assessments will continue to be used because many individuals with psychological issues present with no detectable imaging or medical concerns. These individuals can still have substantial cognitive and functional limitations. The alternative of a medical concern being a contributing factor to neuropsychological deficits needs to be addressed in a full assessment.
Familiarizing with the patient
A significant aspect in an assessment is time spent familiarizing oneself with the patient beyond the measurements acquired from testing. This results in a report that is about an individual rather than testing performance.
When Dr. Rigby, Director of Clinical Assessment, was in private practice, he would tell parents that the best thing he can do is follow their child around for a few weeks. In an outpatient setting he was unable to do this, but at ViewPoint Center, Dr. Rigby has the opportunity to observe and interact on a very personal level.
About ViewPoint Center
ViewPoint Center, a mental health assessment center for teens ages 12-17, is located just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. With a program lasting 6-7 weeks, ViewPoint Center provides superior assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and stabilization for teens struggling with mental and behavioral issues such as suicidal ideation, anxiety disorders, and eating disorders. In a safe, personalized environment, ViewPoint helps teens focus on the healing process.
Evoke Therapy Programs is happy to announce their new therapist at Entrada, Ellyn Zografi. Ellyn specializes in working with those struggling with anxiety and depression that is often related to past trauma. Ellyn also works well with individuals with Autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders.
One of Ellyn's strengths is adapting therapy techniques to allow her clients to feel heard and for them to be able to see the sources of their distress and the related behaviors. Ellyn believes that being in the wilderness is a natural therapy and can provide transformative experiences, especially when combined with clinical work.
About Evoke Therapy Programs
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.
As of July 2017, Turn-About Ranch updated its Utah state licensure to include adolescents as young as 12 years old, to now provide care for ages 12-17. For years, Turn-About Ranch was licensed to treat boys and girls between the ages of 13-17. This change allows Turn-About Ranch to offer its services to a younger population than ever before. Executive Director Michelle Lindsay explained, “Over the past few years, we’ve had an increasing number of inquiries regarding 12 year old boys and girls. This allows us to meet the needs of many that we’ve had to turn away in the past.”
Some adjustments will be made to accommodate the younger students, paying attention to individual need and maturity. The primary change will be where and how these younger students begin the program. Turn-About Ranch uses a level system, and two separate campuses for students as they progress through the program. Generally, they begin the program at the Roundy Campus which is about 5 miles up the mountain road from the Main Campus. Roundy has a maximum of 6 students at a time (co-ed) and uses Wilderness Therapy strategies on a rustic farm. The first 2 levels can be achieved at Roundy within the first 2-3 weeks. Michelle clarified, “These younger students will advance through the first two levels of the program at the main campus with similar programming that takes place at the intake campus, however they will have regular amenities. These students will be assessed on a case by case basis to make sure they are appropriate for the program at that young age, and to insure that interventions are age- and developmentally-appropriate to their individual needs.”
Turn-About Ranch is licensed by the Department of Human Services in the State of Utah and accredited by CARF as a Residential Treatment Center (RTC) and Partial Hospital Program (PHP). For over 28 years, Turn-About Ranch offers an intensive therapeutic setting that utilizes an experiential approach found naturally in a working-ranch environment. Turn-About is also a fully accredited academic institution, accredited by the Northwest Accreditation Commission, which provides individualized academic support that transfers back home.
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.
Calo Young Adults (CYA) is excited to announce the special delivery of eight precious puppies born July 2nd to Princess Leia in beautiful Winchester, VA. There are three males and five females. Colors range from light to dark gold. The puppies are fathered by Aaron of Calo Teens (Jake’s son).
According to Jeanna Osborn, Calo Programs Canine Director, "We carefully selected Princess Leia (not available for adoption) who has a small build and short coat that is caramel golden and an ideal temperament to mother puppies from our beloved Calo Jake lineage."
Aaron, pictured below, was the students’ pick of the litter from Calo canine Cali and Calo canine Jake, March 24th, 2015. What a perfect pick he turned out to be. He is short and stalky with the “classic” head (huge). He is light golden and has his father’s temperament, which is ideal for the work that the Calo canines’ do with the emerging adults. This pairing will help CYA achieve smaller, easier-to-handle golden retrievers rather than the 100+ pounders like Bruno and Lightning that can be seen at conferences or other community events.
Leia had her first puppy at 11:50 am EST. Students offered her a whelping box and private room, however, she was insistent on an earth birth. Jen Morgan, Calo Young Adults Program Director, said, "The most important thing for this first-time mommy was for her to experience CASA (our treatment model) from us. Therefore, we practiced acceptance, safety, commitment and attunement and everything went great."
The delivery occurred in a cool, dry, peaceful spot behind a shrub in the backyard of the Holly House, the all female house at CYA. All Calo Young Adult students were aware and many wanted to help out. Two students volunteered to administer, under supervision, her first and second oxytocin injection. The first six pups were healthy, but number seven was stillborn. No delayed labor/delivery issues with the little guy the students called "Freedom." He just wasn’t strong enough to make it through the birthing process. The students were able to reset quickly as number eight came. Freedom was later laid to rest after a brief ceremony.
After a short water break, it was decided to move the puppies into the whelping room. Leia followed excitedly. As she got snuggled in, the last puppy was delivered.
Once everything was cleaned, this special delivery was over at approximately 3:30 pm. All students came to visit Leia and puppies, taking pictures and exchanging stories from the special day’s events. Visiting hours were over at 7:00 pm so mommy, puppies, students, staff (including canines Bruno & Stella) could relax, decompress and reset. Some even needed to emote; after all, it was a very emotional day.
The students at Calo Young Adults decided to name the puppies with Independence Day themed names. They are submitting names by petition and seek the majority of their community’s support for the name. As petitions are submitted, the puppies are picked by the petitioner(s) to be named that specific name. The students are all excited and very busy getting signatures for their preferred name. All students are aware that just because they petition to name a puppy, that does not give them claim to the puppy. There is a foster/adoption process that all our Calo teens and young adults are offered. If they choose to participate, it could result in the adoption of the canine they connect with during their stay with us.
To learn more about the Calo Canine Program contact Jeanna Osborn at email@example.com
About Calo Young Adults
Calo Young Adults specializes in helping Young Adults overcome the symptoms caused by exposure to adverse childhood experiences and provides the highest level of clinical intervention available in a transitional living environment.
New Roads Behavioral Health is pleased to announce the addition of our psychiatric community care to those outside of the New Roads Family. Our psychiatrist Michael O. Meason and our APRN Anthony Lee are highly regarded as some of the best in the field.
About New Roads Behavorial Health's Family of Treatment Programs
New Roads Behavioral Health’s family of treatment programs are based upon a holistic, community-focused treatment approach, with a foundation in research and results. New Roads has residential treatment, transitional living, and outpatient options for their clients. There are three distinct and completely separate programs within the residential and transitional living focus: Pathways to Healing (PATH), Women’s Road to Healing (WoRTH), and New Roads to Healing (NoRTH). PaTH is a dual-diagnosis treatment program for young men between the ages of 18-28 struggling with substance abuse and mental health concerns. WoRTH is a program designed specifically for young women that focuses on both substance abuse and mental health disorders (including borderline personality disorder) with a strong emphasis on Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). NoRTH is designed to assist clients with severe mental health disorders in achieving independence by teaching them how to successfully live a life with their diagnoses.
Trails Carolina, a wilderness therapy program for teens ages 10-17, uses art therapy as a therapeutic tool to help students struggling with a variety of emotional and behavioral challenges. Primary Therapists Ashley Brown, MSW, LCSW, LCAS and Tai Kulenic , MPS, LPC, ATR-BC incorporate art therapy into clinical work with students on an individual and group basis.
Kulenic and Brown work closely with students who have struggled in the past with challenges such as trauma and social anxiety. Art therapy allows students to open up about their struggles and feel more comfortable communicating thoughts and emotions.
Kulenic, a licensed art therapist, promotes creativity through art as a way to better connect with students. “I look at my art therapy license as having another tool to use when talking doesn't work, especially for kids with a trauma background,” comments Kulenic. “Trauma is a non-verbal event, inaccessible to verbal contact and understanding. Art therapy provides access to nonverbal memory by externalizing the experience into a visual representation. This is safer for most students because the graphic narrative is detached from the artist, making it easier to manage emotional distance and maintain an objective viewpoint.”
Kulenic and Brown utilize natural objects found in the wilderness during art therapy with students. “When students are building something on the ground during individual therapy sessions, whether that be a fairy house using sticks, a portrait made of sand, or something abstract, they can often talk in greater depth about their emotional challenges than if they were just staring me in the face,” says Brown. “I use art therapy to help students relax when talking about topics we might not normally go into. At the end of our sessions, we look into what they created and discuss a potential hidden meaning behind it.”
Kulenic uses natural materials to carry out exercises that empower students and teach important lessons. “Using natural materials found in the woods allows students to go beyond words and into the senses,” says Kulenic. “We bring meaning and understanding to life by creating with our hands. Sticks get painted and become personal 'Power Sticks' that we can then use to explore the use of power... that power is not power over someone or something. These sticks help remind students that they are powerful and strong. Rocks become sculptures or serve as a physical boundary that then becomes a visual reminder of the importance of limits or a safe retreat from anxiety.”
In addition to utilizing art therapy in individual sessions with students, Trails therapists incorporate art therapy exercises into group therapy. “A lot of the art therapy I carry out with students focuses on building culture and community,” comments Brown. “For example, students work together to sew a ‘superhero cape’ which they pass off each morning. This activity involves a huge amount of collaboration, but also a good deal of creativity. Another example of an activity which reinforces this idea is the identity collage students create during group therapy. Through newspaper and magazine clippings, students create a collage representing who they are, who they want to become, and how they see themselves within the group.”
Art therapy is a tool students can use long after they leave Trails to relieve stress and improve mindfulness. “Creating leads to increased self-exploration by discovering yourself in new ways,” says Kulenic. “It is something you can do on your own to just release stress. Art making provides a distraction, and this meditative-like state focuses your mind and temporarily pushes aside any worry or anxiety. A picture can tell a story about our internal life that isn't accessible in words. It allows students to verbally and nonverbally communicate emotions that might otherwise be sealed off.”
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. For additional information about Trails Carolina, please visit http://trailscarolina.com or call 800-975-7303.
College Excel, the nation's leading residential college support program, is pleased to announce a program to serve students transitioning out of wilderness therapy programs.
Located in Bend, Oregon, College Excel's short term, high energy and fun filled program works with young adults (18+) transitioning out of a wilderness therapy program who want to prepare to start, or return to, college.
The highest priority is to create a space in which students can continue the powerful work they started in their wilderness program while preparing for a successful college experience.
Students spend an average of three months in College Excel's structured residential setting while receiving daily support to build upon the gains made during their wilderness experience as they begin to lay the groundwork for a successful college experience.
As students feel ready to take on more responsibility and autonomy, they begin their integration into College Excel's core program where they enroll in Central Oregon Community College or Oregon State University-Cascades and begin earning credits.
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+) with diverse learning needs requiring extra support are provided the structure they need to move forward, both academically and personally. Using a proprietary, blended coaching model rooted in Harvard research-based neurocoaching and behavioral coaching techniques, College Excel students receive daily support from a team of credentialed and experienced Academic and Student Life Coaches while earning transferable college credits.
College Excel is pleased to introduce our new brand to more clearly communicate the power of the program. The new brand gave us the opportunity to reflect on what College Excel does well and it is done. Among the many things discovered, "our passionate commitment to our students stood out like a beacon," said Peter Allen, LMFT and Program Director.
The Autism Symposium was created in order to bring more awareness to the increasing need for services for those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and to facilitate conversations on the most pertinent topics regarding these students and their families. With this symposium, the hope is to highlight top notch treatment approaches and provide insights that will continue to aid professionals that serve this population.
The Autism Symposium features cutting-edge workshops by leading experts in the field of autism and an informative panel discussion, as well as collaboration with like-minded colleagues within the industry.
We are excited to introduce our keynote speaker, Danny Raede who is the CEO of Asperger Experts. Danny was diagnosed with Asperger’s at age 12 when his parents noticed him having difficulties staying focused in school. He didn’t think much of it at the time and spent most of his time in his room playing video games. His parents would say that he was very much addicted to the computer. He now runs Asperger Experts in Seattle, Washington with an awesome team of parents, life coaches, and people on the spectrum. Through his work at Asperger Experts, he has been fortunate enough to reach millions of people and share his passion for a fuller, richer life experience.
Along with our keynote there will be several practioneers presentinging on todays most cutting edge fields of Autism and a panel disscussion along with dinner on Monday night. Click here to register.
The Point School Puerto Rico is excited to annouce that Sean Rose, M.Ed will take over the role of Director of Operations. He recently closed his Break Through Consulting Education Consultant/ Therapeutic Consultant practice to join the Point School PR team in this full time position. He is also an owner of the Point School, and his role will consist of overseeing the Point School PR leadership team and supporting the innovative programing and operations of the hybrid gap year.
Sean has more than 22 years of experience in education, treatment, and mental health with families, children and adolescents. His experience spans leadership roles in the public and non-profit sectors and he has successfully partnered with state and local government to advocate for and serve youth with complex trauma, mental health and behavioral health issues. Over his career, Sean has successfully managed programs, from residential to recreational, aimed at enabling youth to develop to their full potential. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts from Lesley University (MA) and was awarded a Master’s degree in Education and School Administration from American International College (MA). Sean can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (508) 561-5097.
About Point School Puerto Rico
Point School Puerto Rico is a one-of-a-kind Hybrid Gap Year Model that supports young adult male clients, 18-22 years old, who need support and direction with their independence. The program will challenge students’ self-perceived limitations, while providing them a broader understanding of the challenges of adulthood, and a much deeper sense of their personal capabilities and ability to succeed. Through these opportunities and an increased sense of self competence and confidence, students will be ready to guide their continued growth and directions for their future independence.
Novitas Academy is delighted to announce that Amee Hardy, LCPC, has joined our team as the new Clinical Director, as of June, 2017.
Amee returns to Idaho with her family after serving as Clinical Director for a young adult transitional program in Costa Rica. We are thrilled by her return to Idaho and the wealth of experience, knowledge, and compassion that she brings to us and our young men.
Amee comes from a family of educators so it was natural for her to pursue her undergraduate degree in education and to begin her professional career as a teacher. With this in mind, Amee went on to pursue her advanced degree and received her Master’s in Counseling from Boise State University. She has received training in the Trauma Resiliency Model, Social Thinking model, the Arbinger Institute Leadership model and the Ruler Approach for emotional literacy and Equine Therapy.
Amee's professional experience is vast. She has worked as a therapist in a wide variety of clinical settings including an inpatient psychiatric unit, community agency, and a regional hospital. She specializes in a wide-range of diagnoses and clinical modalities including, but not limited to autism spectrum disorder, NLD, ADHD, anxiety, depression, acute mental illness, transition planning and parent coaching. Prior to her time spent in Costa Rica, she served first as a therapist, then as the Clinical Director at Cherry Gulch Therapeutic Boarding School for 6 years.
When she is not working, Amee will certainly be spending her free time back in the beautiful Idaho outdoors enjoying running, rafting, and skiing through our mountains and valleys with her husband and two young sons. Amee is excited about joining Novitas and welcoming new students into our relationship-based program that strives to help our students build their self-esteem and self-confidence through discovering and nurturing their strengths, passions, and dreams. Novitas administration welcomes Amee and her many strengths to Novitas Academy.
About Novitas Academy
Located on 30 acres of majestic river front property, Novitas Academy is a unique fully accredited and SEVIS certified therapeutic boarding school for boys ages 14-18. The program is designed to meet the needs of young men struggling with life skills, learning differences, lack of academic motivation, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD/ADD) and mild to moderate behavioral and emotional problems. Novitas is a relationship-based treatment program that strives to help our students build their self-esteem and self-confidence through discovering and nurturing their strengths, passions and dreams. Our goal is to help our boys reach their goals.
Greenbrier Academy is excited to announce that it is celebrating 10 years of changing lives.
It's hard to believe it's been 10 years since GBA first opened its doors! Last weekend, Greenbrier Academy students, alumni, parents and staff reunited on campus to celebrate 10 years of healing.
Participants spent the weekend reconnecting and meeting new faces. We were thrilled to see alumni from as far back as 2008.
A particularly special highlight of our celebration occurred as students, current and past, joined together in the GBA drumming yurt. By the nature of our student-led drumming, drum rhythms tend to change and develop over the years as new students bring their own unique influences to the music. Despite the differences, our current students and our alumni were able to align and play a number of the rhythms together. It was truly a remarkable performance.
We closed out our weekend celebration with a return to the GBA Village. For many students, the Village experience proves to be the most powerful component at Greenbrier. Together, students, alumni, staff, and parents hiked the half-mile trail up the mountainside to Village. In the serene, wooded setting, stories and intentions were shared by all.
As we reflect on the past 10 years, we feel unbelievably proud of the accomplishments of our alumni. As we look forward to our next 10 years, we are incredibly thankful for our current families and our dedicated staff.
While we celebrate this milestone, we can't help feeling blessed to have crossed paths with so many incredible individuals. Greenbrier Academy has always been and will always be committed to changing lives and building meaningful relationships. To our alumni, families, students and staff, thank YOU for making this achievement possible.
About Greenbrier Academy
Greenbrier Academy for Girls is a college preparatory, therapeutic boarding school for grades 8-12, located in the mountains of West Virginia. The mission of Greenbrier Academy is to mentor and empower adolescent girls and their families to create quality, healing intrapersonal and interpersonal relationships through inspired critical thinking, advanced therapeutics, college prep academics, and stimulating adventures.
Aspiro is excited to announce the launch of a new website, at aspiroadventure.com. The website is live with a focus on a fresh new look, responsive layout, streamlined menus, simplified navigation, and more resources to better serve our clients.
The goal was to deliver a website that clearly defines who Aspiro is, who they serve, and how they do it. Aspiro has attempted to provide visitors with more dynamic imagery, informative videos, and clear content that tells the story of Aspiro. Aspiro invites readers to explore the new website, learn more about the Wilderness Adventure Therapy model, and meet the team that makes it all happen.
About AspiroWith treatment-specific programs located in Utah and Costa Rica, Aspiro’s mission is to be the most clinically-advanced outdoor behavioral health program in the world, providing safe, dynamic, highly effective treatment modalities that are backed by empirical research. Aspiro Wilderness Adventure Therapy is a short-term wilderness program serving adolescents ages 13-17 and young adults ages 18-28 with varying degrees of social, emotional, and behavioral challenges.
Indigenous cultures have utilized energy work, often referred to as Shamanic Healing, for centuries with great success. But in Western cultures, this type of healing has traditionally been discounted as a non-serious approach to wellness. Healers often worked in the shadows, which prohibited widespread knowledge, use, and ultimately research of these practices. In the past 30 years, different modalities of energy healing have become more mainstream in the Western world, and at Q&A Associates, it is offered to the young adult clients participating in each of the three programs (Applewood Transitions for Women, The Journey Transitions for Young Men, and Cabin Mountain Living Center).
Energy healing can be achieved through various modalities, including mindfulness, meditation, yoga, massage, acupuncture, Reiki and Shamanic Healing, among others. At Q&A, clients have access to Reiki, Shamanic Healing, meditation, and mindfulness. Clients can also make appointments with Allegheny Holistic Healthcare, located in the community, to experience acupuncture, yoga and massage.
Energy healing is achieved through ceremony combined with meditative breathing. Issues are transformed on an energetic level, which means that the client may or may not be aware of the shift as it is occurring. This is especially useful for clients with significant trauma as the traumatic event(s) may have created a recurring pattern that is unhealthy; that pattern can be transformed without the client having to relive the trauma(s). At Q&A, Angie Shockley, Shaman, works in cooperation with Jennifer Randall Reyes, PhD, NCC, LPC, ALPS, of Natural Resilience, providing opportunities for young adults to engage in evidence-based trauma treatment EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing), in addition to Shamanic Healing. Randall Reyes summed up the collaborative approach: “Traumatic experiences stay with us; sometimes as intrusive memories or flashbacks and sometimes as physiological reminders that the body has been traumatized. Energy work has been an excellent addition to the trauma work I do with clients.”
Clients of Cabin Mountain, living with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), can also benefit from energy healing modalities. Learning mindfulness techniques provides them with coping skills for self-awareness and emotional regulation. While Shockley meets with all clients face-to-face for an intake session, she can also provide distance work for clients who may have attention challenges which would mean the young adult would not have to be present for the session which can take an hour or more. Many young adults with ASD are unable to maintain self-regulation for that length of time. The distance session can be just as effective, especially when the staff is well-informed and trained to provide the supports needed following the distance session.
All humans have an energetic field that can be affected when a traumatic event occurs. The energetic field can hold onto a traumatic impression for years, beyond traditional treatment. These impressions or tears in the energetic field can lead to recurring negative behavior patterns. Young adults in transitional living programs have often attended several treatment programs through their adolescence and continue to have recurring negative patterns of behavior with seemingly no explanation. Shockley and Randall Reyes are utilizing this unique approach for clients who have had short lived successes in the past but then experience significant regression which negatively impacts their ability to find effective and meaningful independence. It is important to address the whole person, including the energetic field, in order to facilitate opportunities for complete healing. These clients are demonstrating significant growth and development as a result of this approach.
Shockley and Randall Reyes are currently experimenting with assessment tools which will provide valid measurements of this type of collaboration.
About Q&A Family of Programs Q&A Family of Programs works with young adults ages 18 and up, providing opportunities for each of them to develop independent, functional, and happy lives with a high level of quality. Our clients have struggled to reach independence for a variety of reasons such as the inability to develop and/or implement the life skills needed to be successful, or struggling to obtain consistent employment. Our goal is to help these individuals find meaning and an authentic purpose for their lives and a practical path to achieve their goals.
Next Step Recovery is excited to announce the launch of their Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) on August 1, 2017. Beginning on the first of August, residents at Next Step Recovery, located in Asheville, NC, will have the opportunity to participate in an intensive outpatient program (IOP), whose main offices are at 900 Hendersonville Road, Suite 203.
The 12-week program will include three 3-hour group sessions and one individual counseling session with a licensed clinical addictions therapist each week. The IOP is only open to residents of the sober living program. “We’re excited to provide this extra level of support in house,” says Next Step Recovery’s executive director Susan Stader. “Some of our residents need more clinical support, especially if they are just coming from inpatient treatment or have a history of relapse.” Now in its 11th year, Next Step Recovery is Asheville’s longest continually-running transitional living program for adult men recovering from alcohol and/or substance abuse. Residents typically stay in the program for 6 to 9 months during the critical period when the risk of relapse is the greatest.
An IOP can help those in early recovery successfully transition to sober living and daily responsibilities while still receiving a high level of clinical support. “When residents join our program, many don’t realize they are still in active withdrawal,” says Stader. “It takes more than 30 days of detox to become healthy again. Participating in an IOP and a structured sober living program like ours buys these guys time to heal and learn how to live life on life’s terms.”
Next Step Recovery’s IOP uses a three-pronged approach that includes intensive group therapy, individual counseling and 12-step immersion education. Participants are exposed to a variety of therapeutic tools to help them self-regulate, change negative thought and behavior patterns, and develop healthy coping skills. The program includes neurofeedback, wilderness and equine-assisted therapies.
At the end of the 12-week program, participants continue to receive support in Next Step Recovery’s sober living program that includes daily 12-step work, individual case management, counseling, relapse prevention education, life skills training and job search support.
“That’s what really sets our IOP apart from other programs,” explains Stader. “Three months in an IOP is a good start, but it’s just a start. The risk of relapse remains high for the first year, which is why sober living programs like ours are critical for long-term recovery success.”
About Next Step Recovery
For more information about Next Step Recovery’s IOP or sober living programs, call 828-350-9960 or email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Valley View School welcomed six students at the start of the Summer Program on July 10th. While therapeutic and academic engagement is a constant at the school, the Summer Program features a more relaxed structure and focuses on a wide variety of enjoyable activities. The summer schedule is structured and packed with field trips around Massachusetts, accelerated reading and math as well as newly added skills-based classes like cooking, nutrition, 3D printing technology, environmental education, music, creative writing and art illustration.
Dr. Thomas Nowak, Executive Director, said, "It is exciting to have more students enroll in our school. I am passionate about physical activity for the students and have had a chance to get to know the students through pick-up basketball games and our fitness club." Nowak went on to say, "The boys at Valley View are active, engaged and experientially learning in the summer and all year long." The summer program ends on August 18th, but the fun and learning will not. The traditional academic subjects with academic support will begin again on September 7th. However, the activities like tennis, hiking, fishing, boating, camping, skateboarding and soccer will occur all year long.
About Valley View School
Valley View School, founded in 1970, is a private therapeutic boarding school serving boys in grades 6-12. A a nonprofit 501(c)3 school located in the central Massachusetts town of North Brookfield. Our overall program consists of a comprehensive blend of Therapy, Academics, Athletics, Arts and Activities challenging our students emotionally, intellectually and physically. The boys learn self-control and anger management, social skills in order to create and cultivate relationships with peers and adults, while developing compassion, empathy and respect for others and to realize their true potential.
Valley View School is pleased to announce that Dr. Jared Tonks has assumed the position of Clinical Director. Jared earned his doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from Idaho State University, where he previously earned his Master of Counseling degree. Jared earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology from Brigham Young University. Dr. Tonks' career has spanned over 15 years in wilderness therapy programs, therapeutic schools and consultation practices.
Dr. Thomas Nowak, Executive Director, said, "It is exciting to have a clinician of his caliber joining our team. He is a skilled clinician, with a professional concentration on family therapy, adolescent development, understanding and managing at-risk behavior, and a focus on family unification strategies." Jared adds, "My family is excited to be part of the Valley View community and sees the move to Massachusetts as a wonderful adventure."
About Valley View School
Valley View School, founded in 1970, is a private therapeutic boarding school serving boys in grades 6-12. A nonprofit [501(c)3] school with our campus located in the central Massachusetts town of North Brookfield. Our overall program consists of a comprehensive blend of Therapy, Academics, Athletics, Arts and Activities challenging our students emotionally, intellectually and physically. The boys learn self-control and anger management, social skills in order to create and cultivate relationships with peers and adults, while developing compassion, empathy and respect for others and to realize their true potential.
Alpine Academy is excited to be able to offer multiple opportunities for students to push themselves and grow while participating in some world-class experiences right in their own backyard.
The first trip this summer was for students who are really into hiking, and worked hard to prepare themselves for this special activity. A group of 10 students and 7 staff members from the residential and academic teams went to explore some of the greatest hikes of southern Utah. Over the course of 3 days, the students hiked Upper and Lower Calf Creek Falls, Peek-a-Boo Gulch, Spooky Gulch and Sulfur Creek. The students were able to demonstrate teamwork, determination and some good old-fashioned grit to make it through such a challenging and wonderful experience.
The next trip was for students in Alpine’s Drama class. They had the privilege of being able to go to Utah’s annual Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City. Joining over 100,000 attendees to the festival from all over the Western United States, the Alpine students were able to experience first-hand the coming to life of the Festival’s mission statement, “The Utah Shakespeare Festival presents life-affirming classic and contemporary plays in repertory, with Shakespeare as our cornerstone. These plays are enhanced by interactive festival experiences which entertain, enrich, and educate.” It was truly an amazing experience for the students and accompanying staff members.
Alpine’s final trip of the summer clears out the entire campus -- the annual Wyoming camping trip. This trip involves every student on campus plus the teachers, therapists, and most of the administrative and residential teams, roughly 115 people in total. The amount of leg work that goes into such a venture is difficult to imagine. But it is well worth the months of effort and planning as the trip provides an amazing opportunity for the students. Camping, hiking, swimming in hot springs and lakes, and whitewater rafting are just the beginning of the experience. They also participate in experiential group therapy sessions and some lessons given by the teachers in the open air. Alpine appreciates the time for students to practice the skills have been learning outside of the “normal” Alpine experience. It is a time to build relationships with other students and the staff members in a non-traditional format. It is a time to connect with nature and enjoy life and the wonderful world the community lives in.
About Alpine Academy 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.
For anyone who has participated in a Rites of Passage experience (structured or otherwise), one of the toughest tasks is explaining the significance to loved ones; the feeling of transformation or the significance of a falling leaf or animal encounter can be easily lost in translation. For students in wilderness therapy, the lack of words to express the significance can be frustrating. Having a Rites of Passage experience that includes an examination of the family unit and the family system itself allows for shared language, experience, and growth.
At Pacific Quest, the Family Program is an extension of the Rites of Passage experience. By examining families through the lens of the Four Shields Model, Pacific Quest is able to reveal the value and viewpoints of each phase of life. The Four Shields Model examines the joys and naiveté of childhood in the south shield, the identity formation and differentiation of adolescence in the west, the responsibility and drive found in adulthood in the north, and the simplicity and wisdom found in elderhood in the east. Without a holistic view of the human experience, adolescent Rites of Passage can end up an extension of the unintended selfishness of childhood. And the true intent of a Rite of Passage is to not only benefit the individual but the community at large as well.
During Family Program, Pacific Quest works with families to highlight the strengths and acknowledge the flaws in each generation’s way of thinking. Oftentimes, a family has come back from their experience blown away by the newly articulated views of their children. Many parents and adults have lost the language of expression found in those tumultuous years. And their students can walk away knowing that their voice has been heard and that the adults in their lives have their best interest in mind.
About Pacific Quest
Pacific Quest is an outdoor therapeutic program, located on the Big Island of Hawaii, 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.
As Onward Transitions looks to the fall and the beginning of the school year, two current members stand out as individuals working their way back into a more traditional academic routine. In addition to the rigors of living independently, holding down jobs and or volunteer roles in the community, maintaining consistent fitness regimens, practicing budgeting, designing and maintaining a schedule to keep appointments and commitments, learning more about reciprocity in peer relationships, and managing their own transportation to and from commitments, these members have an eye on being full time students in the very near future.
- Female, early twenties
- Highly intelligent, highly anxious
- Came from an IOP in her home city after struggling in her first semester at a big university
- Embraced in vivo exposure therapy with an academic slant
- Started with online study, but was unsuccessful due to lack of structure and accountability
- Moved to adult community/continuing education classes at a local college and was successful
- Next, began an apprenticeship in the fitness world with a major anatomy and physiology component, and included homework, testing and practical observations and is successfully on track to complete by the winter
- Is beginning a community college class in the fall, and is more motivated due to a desire to pursue the sciences as a field of study
- One year ago - living at home, engaged in IOP, some volunteer work organized by family members, working out semi-regularly
- Today - living in her own apartment, engaged in individual, group and family therapy, engaged in life coaching, working 25 hours per week, completing an apprenticeship of approximately 20 hours per week, working out nearly daily, managing her own vehicle, planning to attend college again in the fall, and full time in the spring
- Male, early twenties
- Highly intelligent with anxiety and depression due in part to a chronic health issue
- Came from home after a brief hospitalization and struggling in the first semester of his small college
- Embraced in vivo exposure therapy with an academic slant
- Started with adult community/continuing education classes in his desired field of study
- Next, took two community college classes in his first semester and was successful
- Tried to take four community college classes and despite illness, was able to complete two successfully
- Serving as a tutor for both his college and a community adult education program
- Registering again for four classes this fall
- One year ago - living at home, participating in individual therapy, engaged in self-study in his chosen major, medication and health care managed by family members, being driven by family members to his appointments, etc.
- Today - living on his own, engaged in individual, group and family therapy, engaged in life coaching, registered for his third college semester, tutoring for two different institutions, managing his apartment, managing his own medication and health care, training in the performing arts, exercising daily, involved in a long-term relationship, navigating public transportation on his own.
About Onward Transitions Onward Transitions is a comprehensive, non-residential independent living service that supports young adults, ages 18-27 living independently in the neighborhood of their choice in Portland, Maine. Our members choose and live in their own apartment from day one. They do not ever live with us. Members' challenges include anxiety, depression, executive functioning and meeting the requirements of launching towards independence.
The image is Summit Achievement Co-founder Will White, circa 1993
"Chasing the Buddha: Wilderness Therapy and Mindfulness" at the 2017 Wilderness Therapy Symposium in Park City, Utah:Facilitators:Josh White, Red Mountain SedonaNorman Elizando, Open SkyWill White, Summit Achievement
Three long time practitioners of mindfulness and wilderness therapy will share their stories related to the evolution of their personal mindfulness practices as well as thoughts on the various ways in which mindfulness can be integrated into a wilderness therapy program. This workshop will include fun experiential exercises, stories and case studies.
Participants in this workshop will also explore the value of mindfulness in the wilderness therapy milieu.
Josh is a renowned Zen teacher and pioneer in the emerging field of mindfulness-based Young Adult treatment. Josh co-founded Red Mountain Sedona.
Norman is certified through the Dharma Ocean Foundation as a meditation instructor in the Tibetan Kagyu and Nyingma lineages. Norman was the first field instructor at Open Sky.
Will started practicing meditation in 1982 and lived as a Buddhist monk in Thailand in 1993. Will co-founded Summit Achievement.
About Summit Achievement
Summit Achievement is, and always has been, guided by positive reinforcement and the power of choice. Our outcome-focused treatment program employs effective therapeutic and educational principals. Through the process of engaging therapy, classroom academics and exciting wilderness expeditions, students experience the therapeutic benefits of outdoor adventure-based activities while learning to manage the demands of a more traditional environment. As an intentionally small, owner-operated wilderness therapy program, we serve adolescent boys and girls, ages 13-20, from around the world.
Eva Carlston Academy is pleased to welcome Lauren Angerosa as the Admissions Director. Lauren has 10 years of experience working in the Family Choice Behavioral Healthcare Industry including a wilderness therapy program, residential treatment programs and working with a therapeutic education consultant as a Placement Coordinator assisting with a busy private practice based out of California. She holds a degree in Sociology and Adventure Recreation from Ohio University. Kristi Ragsdale, Executive Director and Owner of Eva Carlston Academy said, "Lauren's experience in admissions and as direct care staff, attention to detail and experience makes her a perfect fit for the team." Lauren is excited to join the team and looks forward to guiding families with compassion and care.
About Eva Carlston Academy Eva Carlston Academy is a Utah licensed residential treatment center located in Salt Lake City that provides treatment to teenage girls in a family-style, but clinically intense therapeutic environment. Our urban location provides daily opportunities to experience community involvement and fine arts opportunities. Students at Eva Carlston face challenges associated with trauma, anxiety, relationship problems and depression.
In the spirit of empowering young women, Eva Carlston hosted the LeadHERship conference in Salt Lake City. All the speakers who presented were influential female leaders in the Salt Lake community. The conference was well attended by multiple local girls programs' students, as well as staff and community members.
Special thanks to the following speakers: Lindsay Kite & Lexie Kite of Beauty Redefined Foundation, Keri Jones-Fonnesbeck, LCSW of YWCA Utah, Joy Alegria Haynes of Haynes Novick Immigration Law Firm & 3irons.com, Hannah Lockhart of Utah Jazz, Erin Mendenhall of Salt Lake City Corporation, Erika Minjarez of Disability Law Center, Ashley Patterson of Wasatch Community Gardens, and Margaret Willis, Art Director at Eva Carlston Academy.
About Eva Carlston Academy Eva Carlston Academy (UT) is a state licensed residential treatment center located in Salt Lake City that provides treatment to teenage girls in a family-style, but clinically intense therapeutic environment. Our urban location provides daily opportunities to experience community involvement and fine arts opportunities. Students at Eva Carlston face challenges associated with trauma, anxiety, relationship problems and depression.
Eva Carlston Academy's Art Director, Maggie Willis, incorporates the Fieldwork Method, a non-suggestive peer feedback-based art critique process, into the art curriculum while working with the girls enrolled in the treatment program. As a trained Fieldwork facilitator, Maggie recently presented at the Field National Network Conference in Miami, Florida on her experience in incorporating Fieldwork in a therapeutic setting and authored an article on the subject.
Through many different art mediums, Eva Carlson students are able to access emotions that have been buried and possibly too painful to express verbally. The Fieldwork Method teaches students a process in which they let their art speak for itself. Through this, students are able to hear feedback about their art's voice instead of defending the message they intended.
About Eva Carlston Academy Eva Carlston Academy (UT) is a small licensed residential treatment center located in Salt Lake City, UT that provides treatment to teenage girls in a family-style, but clinically intense therapeutic environment. Our urban location provides daily opportunities to experience community involvement and fine arts opportunities. Students at Eva Carlston face challenges associated with trauma, anxiety, relationship problems and depression.
PRN for Families proudly announced that it has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for Behavioral Health Care 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.
PRN for Families underwent a rigorous onsite survey on June 29th and 30th. Established in 1969, The Joint Commission’s Behavioral Health Care Accreditation Program currently accredits more than 2,250 organizations for a three-year period. Accredited organizations provide treatment and services within a variety of settings across the care continuum for individuals who have mental health, addiction, eating disorder, intellectual/developmental disability, and/or child-welfare related needs. During the review, compliance with behavioral health care standards related to several areas (including care, treatment, and services; environments of care; leadership; and screening procedures for the early detection of imminent harm) was evaluated. Onsite observations and interviews also were conducted.
“Joint Commission accreditation provides behavioral health care organizations with the processes needed to improve in a variety of areas related to the care of individuals and their families,” said Julia Finken, RN, BSN, MBA, CSSBB, CPHQ, Executive Director of the Behavioral Health Care Accreditation Program, The Joint Commission. “We commend PRN for Families for its efforts to elevate the standard of care it provides and to instill confidence in the community it serves.”
“PRN For Families 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 Charles Elias, founder and executive director of PRN. “PRN for Families is the first program of its kind, providing home and community-based family preservation and reunification services, to earn this prestigious accreditation, and our staff is committed to continuing to work together to develop and implement approaches and strategies that have the potential to improve care for the individuals and families that we serve.”
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.
About PRN for Families/Tracks by PRN
PRN for Families and Tracks by PRN are home and community-based support programs that serve families who have children or young adults who are struggling, or who may be reuniting following an out-of-home placement. Since 2003, PRN for Families has offered intensive at-home intervention, crisis support, transition and reunification services that empower and support families so that they may live together successfully and safely. Tracks by PRN offers concierge-level services for young adults who may require additional support in order to find success in their efforts to live independently. Learn more about PRN’s services at www.prnforfamilies.com. Joint Commission ID #: 582759
Urban Edge is a young adult mentorship program that follows an emerging philosophy and design model that recognizes the need for young adults to have an “edge” experience prior to independent living. Autonomous programming offers this opportunity while providing a safety net of support.
Autonomous Programming can be defined as a mentor-based strategy that is driven by client-directed components such as volunteerism, internships, classes, etc., though initially supported by a set sub-structure of daily routine. These activities eventually are completely replaced or augmented by additional and more robust client-directed components. Autonomous Programming places the burden of productive scheduling/activity on the client, as it is in the real world.
[For more detailed discussion, Andrew Moskovitz and Clay Garrett, cofounders of Urban Edge, wrote a paper for the NATSAP Journal of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (JTSP) Volume IX, Autonomous Programming: "The Benefits and Challenges of Emerging Mentorship Models."]
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.
Skyland Trail, a primary psychiatric residential treatment organization in Atlanta, GA, will begin offering Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) services this fall. Clients with treatment-resistant depression enrolled in the Skyland Trail residential treatment or day treatment program may be referred to participate by their Skyland Trail psychiatrist.
TMS is one of many services offered in the Glenn Family Wellness Clinic, an onsite primary care and wellness clinic, staffed with physicians and clinicians with expertise in both mental health and traditional primary care and preventive medicine.
TMS is a noninvasive brain stimulation therapy. A TMS machine targets an electrical current to affect the brain's limbic system, specifically the left prefrontal cortex, which is implicated in depression. Patients receive TMS in one hour sessions (including 37 minutes of treatment delivery), five days a week, for a total about 30 sessions. Additional sessions or follow-up maintenance sessions may be scheduled as needed.
TMS has been reported to have results similar to ECT, but with minimal side effects. TMS may also be beneficial for patients who cannot take medications due to allergies or other contraindications.
As with medications, once TMS begins to produce results and the symptoms of depression begin to lift, clients have more capacity to participate in skills-based therapies like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).
In 2016, about 60 percent of Skyland Trail clients had a primary diagnosis of major depression. Clinical outcomes suggest that for depressed patients who complete treatment at Skyland Trail, 90 percent have statistical and clinical response to treatment, and a full 40 percent reach remission from depression. The added TMS service will further improve outcomes for clients with major depression.
About Skyland TrailLocated in Atlanta, Skyland Trail is a nationally recognized nonprofit mental health treatment organization serving adults ages 18 and older with a primary psychiatric diagnosis. Through our residential and day treatment programs, we help our clients grow, recover and reclaim their lives. We’re focused on individuals with complex mental health issues, helping them understand that they can be – and are – more than a diagnosis. We offer expert, evidence-based psychiatric care alongside a compassionate, holistic path to wellness. Our integrated mental, medical, and social model helps clients develop strategies to improve mental health, physical wellness, independence, and relationships with family and friends. Unique therapies offered include music, art and horticultural therapy; workforce and school readiness; primary care services; family therapy; and healthy living and nutrition coaching. Learn more at www.skylandtrail.org
A long-time practitioner of a Positive Peer Culture (PPC) system in its treatment program, Havenwood Academy announces it introduced PPC among its administrative team over the last year. Led by Program Director Oscar Fakahua, the administrative team meets regularly to participate in PPC groups where each member is encouraged to address any company concerns following the same format and vocabulary that teens in their treatment program use. The practice has brought an understanding of Positive Peer Culture to each member of their organization including Accounting, Insurance Utilization and Human Resources.
“Positive Peer Culture has benefited Havenwood’s administration team because it allows us to communicate directly with one another" said Oscar Fakahua, Program Director. He went on to say, "we work in an environment where it is easy to be passive aggressive and Positive Peer Culture allows us to discuss sensitive issues with care and concern. This has in turn benefited our program because everybody, from the top down, understands the PPC language. The administration team understands the methods being used by Program and Therapy, which gives us great unity.”
About Havenwood Academy
Havenwood Academy, a residential treatment center in southern Utah, specializes in treating teen girls experiencing Reactive Attachment Disorder. Licensed by the State of Utah and accredited by the Joint Commission, Havenwood utilizes state-of-the-art, research based and proven clinical methods such as EMDR, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Experiential Therapy, and Equine Therapy to help teen girls overcome their difficulties and learn to bond with their families. Havenwood’s Positive Peer Culture program, directed by Oscar Fakahua, allows teen girls to experience deep and lasting change.
Pure Life Costa Rica offers custom trips for transition programs, mentoring programs, sober living homes and boarding schools. These unique trips are 7-14 days and offer North American treatment programs and schools a chance to explore Costa Rican (Tico) culture with local homestays, adventure activities, and provide community service to local Costa Rican communities. Since Pure Life offers these trips in their own areas of operation, all safety and risk management aspects are appropriate for clients in a therapeutic setting.
Additionally, the Tico homestays are uniquely remote, located deep in the jungle, yet familiar to Pure Life, since Executive Director Andrew Taylor has worked with the Tico families for over fourteen years. Pure Life staff manages all the logistics and risk management throughout the visit. This ensures the partner program or boarding school does not have to coordinate and deal with potentially perplexing situations in a foreign country from the moment they land until the moment they leave Costa Rica. Pure Life staff are trained to handle all types of therapeutic/treatment milieus, are bilingual, and are accustomed to a North American clientele.
A typical itinerary includes homestays, river rafting (seasonal), surfing, waterfall hikes and/or community service. Pure Life is able to customize the trip based on each program’s particular needs and hopes for an international experience. Contact Meagan Taylor at email@example.com for more details.
About Pure LifePure Life Adventures is located in the Central Pacific region of beautiful Costa Rica. Relying on decades of experience in the Costa Rican outdoor industry, our bicultural team provides a therapeutically sophisticated and holistic approach to helping young adults with depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, lack of motivation, executive function deficits, trauma and substance abuse. Our students are individuals with very real challenges looking for lasting change. Pure Life utilizes traditional individual and group therapy in combination with outdoor experiential learning and adventure. Our integrated and dynamic approach includes an emphasis on fitness, mindfulness, life skills and cultural immersion. For more information, contact us at (801) 896-9490
Journey Home East has found great success with young women entering independent living with the introduction of the Pillars of Success model. The three pillars are:
- Self Renewal
With these three pillars, there are different things to be learned in each phase.
In Foundations, the focus is on Skill-Building, Education and Healthy Living. Students work with the treatment team to create an Interdependence Plan that is individualized on each resident’s needs, in which the resident is vital in the process of creating their own plan. The residents on Foundations also receive 3-4 hours of therapy each week and spend the majority of their time in the home with the group or in the community. While on Foundations, they are learning about healthy relationship, developing safety skills and making a well balanced schedule for themselves, with the support of their staff members.
In Interdependence, the focus is on Social Integration, Personal Responsibility, and Life Skills. During this part of their stay, the residents work with the Interdependence coach to find ares of interest that they have passion around, build confidence, and build support and connections in the community.
The Interdependence Coach Tatiana Martinez is trained in motivational interviewing and meets one on one with girls every other week (or weekly, depending on need) and discusses various independent living skills. The topics fall under the 5 Core Principles, which are:
- Healthy Living
- Life Skills
- Personal Responsibility
- Social Integration
Some of the topics that are discussed and practiced while at Journey Home East are:
- Balancing a weekly schedule/ time management
- Budgeting/ financial education
- Community service opportunities
- Interviewing skills/ creating a resume
- Extracurricular activities/ hobbies
- Social Media
- Filling out job and college applications
- Study skills
The last pillar is Self-Renewal and the focus is on Fine-Tuning Skills, Achieving Balance and Self-Awareness. During this stage of the program, the residents are able to learn from experiences out of the home and are able to function confidently without supervision. They will identify their final goals and are ready to start the process of transitioning out of the program.
About Journey Home East
Journey Home East serves females aged 16-21 and provides structure for students while they learn independent living skills. Much of the structure and support provided by our 24/7 staffed home is managing electronic devices, managing free time and social life appropriately, and budgeting, shopping for groceries, and cooking meals. Clients enrolling at Journey Home have a previous therapeutic placement, where home was not an option afterward. They are provided with a therapist in the home to work on individual and family issues.
Solstice West held their First Annual Alumni Event on July 28th & 29th, in conjunction with their Parent Seminar. With over 20 Alumni, and their families in attendance, they took part in an Alumni Group Panel with current families. This provided meaningful insight for families as well as the other Alumni. Other activities the first day included, karaoke, dunk tank, shave ice shack, drum circle, mural painting, t-shirt screen printing & photo booth. The day concluded with a BBQ dinner, music and a program to celebrate the successes of each of our Alumni.
Day two, the Alumni and their families had a fantastic time at Pineview Reservoir. There was sun, food, paddle boarding and the mega water slide and trampoline were the perfect combination for reconnecting and bonding between Alumni.
There were many memories made, but the most rewarding was hearing the Alumni discuss the importance of Solstice in their lives. Comments such as; "We don't ever want to miss an Alumni Event, Solstice will forever be a part of me", "It was important for us to be here, so my child could remember how far they have come" and "Solstice saved our daughter's life, without question".
About Solstice West RTC
Solstice West RTC was founded in 2008 in Layton, UT. We serve females and transgender students aged 14-18 as a licensed residential treatment center focusing on complex diagnoses while using our clinicians' deep understanding of Trauma Based Therapy. As a clinically focused treatment provider, our clients receive individual, group and family therapy in conjunction with a variety of treatment modalities like Adventure Therapy and Equine Therapy program. All the different treatment modalities offered assist clients in learning new skills kinesthetically and get to their core problems quicker.
Black Mountain Academy is pleased to announce the opening of a second campus. It is nestled within the safe and nurturing community of Black Mountain, North Carolina. It is in a residential style home located walking distance to the main campus. The new property will create a home-like setting for 4-5 students who are practicing transitional living skills as they prepare to begin college or return home following their treatment Black Mountain Academy.
This house's goal is to increased emphasis on the generalization and transferability of independent living skills. Black Mountain Academy students living in the new residence will also enjoy increased community immersion. The close proximity to the downtown area offers exciting opportunities for students to obtain internships and part-time jobs with local community partners and independence.
About Black Mountain Academy
Black Mountain Academy is a therapeutic boarding school for high-school aged boys (grades 9th-12th) diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD, level 1). For information regarding admissions, please contact Admissions Director Carla Shorts, MS, LPC at (828) 767-5509.
Daniel is eighteen and graduating from Boulder Creek Academy. He’s confident. He’s got a dream. He’s on his way to living his life as a young adult. Daniel’s mother, Elizabeth feels as if she’s “part of a miracle”.
Elizabeth explained, “Before Daniel came to Boulder Creek Academy, I never would have believed he could be doing what he’s doing today. I think back and remember how scared I was to send him so far away to school. Would he adjust? Would he be picked on? Would he be safe? Would I lose touch with him? After three high schools and two wilderness programs, could I really hope he’d be able to turn his self-destructive life around?”
At the time, Elizabeth felt she was facing a choice that could literally mean the difference between Daniel surviving or meeting a disastrous end. “I just knew that getting him away from all the confusion and the bad stuff in the city had to happen.”
Elizabeth was looking for a specific place: small, cozy, and individualized. It had to be away from the city - the drugs, and the phones, and the internet, and the horrible people who seemed bent on showing Daniel everything but the right choices to make. Her educational consultant recommended Boulder Creek Academy.
Elizabeth and Daniel made the trip from the Bay Area to North Idaho with guarded expectations.
“We were from the city and it was slightly unnerving to be driving in a more remote and rural area. Then we drove into the wondrous, unbelievable beauty of their campus. I knew that it was the perfect setting — away from the bullies and the distractions — the best place I could imagine for Daniel to get in touch with himself."
Elizabeth got to know the Boulder Creek people, their philosophy, and how it all fit with the school’s curriculum.
“I loved the staff. They were so caring, and they had the experience, the expertise and that special something it takes to work with kids like Daniel.
It was clear to me that my son’s need to improve and manage his social skills actually trumped academics. Boulder Creek’s emphasis and expertise in both those areas were important to making our decision, and as it turned out, the best thing that ever happened to Daniel.”
While at Boulder Creek Academy, Daniel spent his time gaining confidence and experiencing the joy of accomplishment. He especially loved working with animals and building things. He had a job with the Plant Operations team, gaining a reputation as a talented handyman. He thrived on working and playing in North Idaho’s spectacular outdoors.
“Here was my son who didn’t think he could do anything, and now he knows he’s got talent and skills. Having this sense of accomplishment was a huge thing for Daniel and being away from our urban area allowed him to focus on that.”
Elizabeth stayed engaged and in close contact with Daniel, his teachers, therapist, and support staff.
“The staff at Boulder Creek brought home to me the differences in the way Daniel sees things. He will always face some challenges socially; it’s who he is, but he has gained the tools to deal with it. And I have learned how to communicate with him about that, and understand what he’s going through. Now I better understand how to support him. Daniel arrived at Boulder Academy with a sense of entitlement, totally self-absorbed and not really knowing what was going on around him. He’s a different kid today. He has a great work ethic. And he has a dream to pursue,” explained Daniel’s mother.
After graduation, Daniel will pursue his dream when he attends the Northwest Railroad Institute in Vancouver, Washington.
“It seems like half a lifetime ago that my son was flunking out of school and depressed. Now he is a confident young man with high self-esteem who has made me proud. Boulder Creek was a Godsend for our family.”
Boulder Creek Academy has spent more than two-decades focused on meeting the unique needs of adolescents ages 13 to 18 that have experienced school failure and feel socially disconnected. Typical student challenges include unevenly developed cognitive skills, ability to self-regulate, social difficulties, executive function issues, depression, and anxiety. Students are also bright, creative, and compassionate young people.
To help students achieve to their full potential, Boulder Creek Academy offers a carefully designed blend of academics, therapy, plus adventure and leadership opportunities. Students benefit from: a college preparatory academic curriculum; personalized learning plans; special education support; individual, group, family, recreation and equine assisted therapy; milieu counseling; character development; adventure education; plus our horticulture and therapeutic canine program.
Each day at Boulder Creek Academy is purposefully designed to maximize experiences that allow students to practice social skills, exhibit leadership qualities, benefit from therapeutic learning and have fun. Students also enjoy purposeful breaks and programming designed specifically for single-gender experiences.
Boulder Creek Academy’s campus is situated on 180 acres at the base of the spectacular Cabinet Mountains in Northern Idaho.
About Boulder Creek Academy For 24 years, Boulder Creek Academy has focused on meeting the unique needs of adolescents, ages 13 to 18, whose needs are not being met in a traditional school setting. At Boulder Creek Academy students rediscover their academic and social confidence. The key to our success is that we reignite our students’ belief in themselves by utilizing time-tested and proven methods. Students begin to experience academic achievement, regain self-esteem, learn to embrace their uniqueness and become capable learners who are confident in themselves. The campus is situated on 180-acres at the base of the Cabinet Mountains in northern Idaho. Students are accepted for enrollment year-round.
Sunrise, for girls 13-17, is known for its DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) program. The DBT skills Sunrise girls learn and practice enable them to prepare to return home and resume a “life worth living”, armed with real life coping skills. Sunrise partners with local businesses in order to provide internships away from campus for girls who are ready to start transitioning back home. The internship provides valuable DBT skills practice as well as real life professional experience to support a smooth transition home and beyond. One such internship is at the Fish Rock Grille in St. George. Elijah, the executive chef of River Rock, provides two ongoing internships for Sunrise girls. A current Sunrise intern explains how valuable this experience has been for her.
‘Katie’ explains, "When I was offered an internship in the kitchen at the Fish Rock Grille, I was overjoyed. I had been wanting to go into culinary arts and this was the perfect opportunity to learn all about the culinary industry. If I have learned a thing or two aside from how to cook gourmet food from this internship, they would be leadership qualities and how to use DBT skills in a real life setting.
I have been in DBT skills groups ever since before I got to Sunrise, but I never really understood how applicable they could be to real life situations. When I started to apply them, I became better and better at using these skills. The skills that I probably use the most are emotion regulation, distress tolerance and interpersonal effectiveness skills. All three of these are very important to keeping one's cool in a work environment and in professional social situations. Because I have anxiety, being in a busy, sometimes hectic work environment could be a nightmare. In all honesty, it is at times! While dealing with annoyed customers or tickets flying out of the printer one after the other is scary, it has really helped me work on using my DBT skills in real life. I really like to use deep breathing to help me calm down when I am distressed, and when I am all calmed down I can resume working. To help with my shame, I like to reality-check my perceptions of what customers or coworkers are thinking. In fact, just going to work helps me use the build mastery skill by doing my job and making food. These are just three of many skills that I use while at work.
My internship has been also great for helping me develop my leadership skills. I usually like working alone, so working in a kitchen was a challenge at first. Working with other people just frustrated me. It is still frustrating at times, but being able to work as part of a team was a very important life skill to learn. Another leadership skill I learned while working at the Fish Rock Grille was interdependence. Having responsibilities and deadlines is very anxiety provoking for me, but when I started working, I liked to do everything myself and not ask for help. Learning and practicing interdependence was really hard, but is a vital life skill that I need for this and future jobs.
Having this internship has been a huge learning experience for me, whether with the culinary food, DBT skills, or leadership qualities. I am very thankful to have had this opportunity!”
"Katie’s" experience is clearly invaluable. Internships like this are provided regularly for Sunrise girls in order to provide opportunities for growth and to practice the DBT and life skills they are learning at Sunrise, enabling them to return home to resume a happy and healthy life.
About Sunrise RTC
Sunrise is a residential treatment center for adolescent girls ages 13-17 aimed at uncovering the academic, social, and emotional potential of girls who have been held back by emotional or behavioral struggles. Sunrise combines the warmth of a home, the safety and clinical expertise of a residential treatment program, and the community access of a transition program.
Marisa Keller has been a "Viver" for almost 3 years. During her time with Vive, Marisa has been a contract mentor and parent coach, full time mentor, New York Regional Director and most recently was promoted to the Mid-Atlantic Regional Director overseeing and managing both the New York and DC regions.
When asked what is her favorite thing about the work she does, Marisa shared that to be able to connect the whole family through the individualized work that is done with each family member, and added that she feels privileged to see change in the family system by going to them in their home environment in real time. When asked about the biggest challenge in the work she does with families, Marisa stated that many of the families she works with have been through several interventions. Whether it's residential treatment, wilderness, outpatient therapy, hospitalizations, she commented many of these families are weary and worn out and meeting them where they are at and building from there is very important.
When the discussion moved to talking about her work managing the regional teams, Marisa said she feels blessed to work with committed professionals that come from a diverse background of expertise and experience. She also stated that being able to work in a truly collaborative team that supports each other and actively engages in case reviews is also a key element to successful work with the families. Each member of the team brings knowledge of various treatment modalities that helps the innovative process evolve.
In her new role as Regional Director of the Greater DC Area, Marisa is excited to work with more "Vivers" who are passionate about the work Vive does and to support their professional growth so they are bringing the best treatement to their families. Also she is looking forward to learning about her new community and all the support it can offer the families on a cultural level.
About Vive Family Support
Vive Family Support Program is an in-home relational and experiential therapeutic support service for pre-teens, adolesents, young adults and their families. With a unique approach and roots in the community, Vive works closely with families to offer insight, implement coping skills, and rebuild trust within the family system. The goal is to ensure lasting positive change.
Lack of insurance coverage is the harsh reality that parents face when trying to find programs to help treat their children who are affected by mental illness. Physical health concerns can be treated with ease and the support of insurance. The same cannot be said about mental health treatment options, especially long-term care like that found at New Haven RTC. And parents often have to pay for extended care out of pocket.
Professionals from New Haven, representatives from alumni families, and other faces from National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP) travel to Washington D.C. annually to visit with legislators to advocate for equalized care in addressing mental health concerns. New Haven’s purpose in attending is to clear misconceptions about long-term treatment, to share families' journeys and the healing outcomes that are found in the high-quality care offered.
Earlier this spring, New Haven met with Representative Rob Bishop (UT) and staff members from the offices of senators Ted Cruz, Dianne Feinstein, Kirsten Gillibrand and Kamala Harris. Please read the full article* by Karissa Neely, featuring one of our alumni families on the Daily Herald Website.
About New Haven
Founded in 1995, New Haven Residential Treatment Center has been an industry leader in treatment for young women since its inception. We serve adolescent females, ages 12-18. New Haven is clinically intensive with an emphasis on family involvement, healthy relationships, academics, love and service. New Haven is a fully licensed professional Residential Treatment Center, located in rural Utah, just south of Salt Lake City.
*This article misquotes the amount of GDP that the industry brings into the state of Utah, as $4 million. It is $423 million according to a study from 2015.
BlueSky Behavioral Health is proud to announce the Morning Program, a significant and exciting addition to transitional housing morning structure. The Morning Program is a daily group program designed to purposely engage all new clients with the clinic community and kick-start building on the client's independent living service plan.
The Morning Program is designed to support new client's integratation with staff, their peers and community living, while working with clients to focus on weekly themes like exercise or budgeting. Daily current events, yoga and weekly art therapy discussions round out the Program's scope for each morning. All of this is another tool for BlueSky's philosophy of linking together clinical skills, independent living skills and self-care to give the greatest chance for treatment success.
About BlueSky Behaviorial Health
BlueSky Behavioral Health was founded in 2012 with the mission to transition clients of all ages from the mental disorders and substances that had taken over their lives to a fulfilling, independent lifestyle. BlueSky's CARF accredited clinic and residential alternative housing serves over 200 clients yearly from across the country, giving them 24/7 support as they learn the clinical and life skills needed to take control of their diagnoses or addictions over the course of their two to six month stay.
Ascend Healthcare has opened a residential treatment center (RTC) in Encino specializing in the treatment of adolescents struggling with mental health and substance-abuse issues. The new RTC is co-ed and accepts teenagers from age 12 to 17. The center is located in a home in Encino Hills, south of Ventura Blvd.
Helmed by Clinical Director Meg Newman LMFT, the program is a minimum of 45 days, trauma-focused treatment plan that is individualized and tailored specifically for each child’s unique challenges, and addresses the underlying trauma causing kids to "self-medicate" a variety of complex bio-psycho-social issues. Both Seeking Safety and The Trauma Resiliency Model are utilized. Each adolescent receives individual therapy twice a week, group therapy daily, family therapy weekly, and group family therapy weekly. Evidence-based therapies include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), brainspotting, and mindfulness. Experiential therapies include, but are not limited to, art and music therapy, horticultural therapy, psychodrama, equine therapy, surf therapy, and more.
The center is pet-friendly and clients are permitted to bring their animals.
About Ascend Healthcare
Ascend Healthcare is the vision created by owner FE Goldberg, previously National Director of youth non-profit NCSY, when he noticed teenagers slipping through the cracks, due to substance abuse and underlying mental health issues. The center seeks to help both teens and their families learn to self-soothe and emotionally regulate in a healthy and holistic manner. Ascend’s center currently accepts out-of-network insurance benefits and can be reached directly at 747-247-2176 with any inquiries.