All Kinds of News for December 06, 2017
At Aspiro, girls experience a different adventure skill such as rock climbing, skiing, mountain biking or backpacking each week. As they experience successes in these skills, they develop self efficacy and gain a positive self-regard. Whether it be reaching the top of a climbing wall, navigating a trail on a mountain bike, or being open and vulnerable with their peer group, these students take on daily challenges that build their sense of self and identity.
Students can have levels of trauma stemming from not fitting in, failure, rejection, judgement or trauma such as rape or abuse. Through Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) and through Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR), clinician Grace Larson, guides her students through a therapeutic process where they begin cognitive reprocessing in a safe environment, in which girls are able to dive into feelings and issues they have often been avoiding. As these students experience daily successes by completing challenging adventures, and as they break down negative belief patterns, they develop new skills and gain a sense of mastery. Grace states that seeing these girls who believe they are 'not worthy' or 'not good enough' gain confidence and bravery is something that keeps her coming back to her job every day.
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.
Novitas Academy believes that sports and healthy, energetic, extra-curricular activities play a very important part in one’s mental health. When people are actively engaged in physical exercise their body releases endorphins that can make them feel happy and more content.
Competitive sports and regular exercise can help those who battle depression, or many other forms of mental health challenges, to have a better outlook on life. Walking, jogging, cycling, swimming or hiking are commonly recommended to relieve or prevent depression. Many people who participate in sports, in addition to having other treatments, say that it feels good to be able to do something to fight their depression themselves.
Did you know that sports are a great outlet for behavior issues as well? Yes, Novitas Academy has had many students that have profited from being in competitive sports. Participation helps curve their poor behavior choices towards their peers because it builds their self-respect and in return they seem to treat others better. Sports offer them the opportunity to be active and to meet other people and focus on building those relationships. A more productive student, whether in the classroom or on the gym floor, is a happier, more confident student.
For instance, it is wonderful to see how much change occurs in our young men’s behavior during wrestling season. Novitas students that take wrestling at the local high school have the unique opportunity to be coached by one of our Novitas staff who has coached wrestling for over 20 yrs. He also coaches for the local high school in golf and tennis. Wrestling is a tough sport and they not only get a hard workout but they have that connection both on and off campus with their coach. More respect is even observed from other students that have supported their classmates at their wrestling matches and other games.
Novitas clinicians practice active, Adventure-Based Therapy for just this reason. The students have mastered many challenging backpacking trips and day hikes. Accomplishing something difficult makes participants feel achievement. Isn’t that a great feeling for everyone?!
About Novitas Academy
Located in Emmett, Idaho on 30 acres of majestic river front property, Novitas Academy is a unique therapeutic boarding school for boys ages 14-18 and grades 9-12 accredited by AdvancED. Novitas is a 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.
- 4 weeks in our week-long Village Retreat over the 4 month period
- Individualized tutoring with the potential to complete a semester’s worth of school credit within the 4 months.
- Animal Programs
- Family Program
- Adventure & Service Outings
- 3 months of integrated coaching
- Needs a preventative intervention
- Is looking for a short term rather than long term intervention
- May have had a primary intervention like success completing a Wilderness Therapy program
- Girls who have anxiety from bullying
- Body image issues
- Fear and anxiety related to academics
- Girls who have symptoms related to trauma
- Girls who are in contentious conflict with parents
Dragonfly Transitions began as a wilderness therapy program in June of 2000 and has since evolved into a young adult transition program. Dragonfly remains committed to the philosophy hands-on learning and trying new things. Change and growth occur within the context of exploring new areas, having new experiences, and the community that is created through shared experience. Each year Dragonfly Transitions engages in a variety of adventures whether it’s travel to Cambodia, floating the Rogue River, or a trip to Portland or San Francisco. The research demonstrates that Dragonfly’s philosophy of hands on learning allows students to reflect on and practice new skills and embrace ways in which to interact in the world beyond treatment.
One alum recently shared the therapeutic benefit of new experiences and challenging themselves to step outside their comfort zone:
The overarching theme of just new experiences, any sort of new things I did with Dragonfly, whether it was the rafting trips that I went on with them or skiing, even horseback riding, which I hadn’t really done. Those were all exciting and overcoming the little challenges that I found helpful, especially with OCD. I’ve had a lot of fear with trying new things or leaving the comfort zone, which I’m sure a lot of the students do, so those new things were good.
In December, Dragonfly students will participate in an annual trip to Portland, Oregon. The trip focuses on service work to those in need, as well as highlights the unique cultural activities that Portland has to offer. This trip presents students with an opportunity to get to know the city, take part in cultural experiences, and broaden their horizons. Many of the Dragonfly students come from cities and miss the lifestyle that accompanies it. Old memories and triggers can present themselves; these can be old behaviors, substances, or technology. The Portland trip allows for a safe environment to work through these obstacles and prepares students for upcoming home visits. Many students can also take the opportunity to tour Portland State University.
Reflecting on this trip specifically, another alum offered: “Going to Portland was a good experience after a lifetime of depression and anxiety.”
The Dragonfly adventure trips, led by therapists and mentors, contribute to the overall treatment alliance between program staff and participants. New and challenging experiences in treatment can create opportunities to develop significant levels of trust. In addition, shared experience combined with challenge, fun, and camaraderie, support the therapeutic alliance. These experiences can enhance interpersonal growth through building positive social interactions, stretching personal limits, and strengthening group cohesion. The interpersonal connections and community created through this process is a catalyst for change. It compels a more active participation in one’s own treatment and increases responsibility for change while engaging the participants’ internal motivation. Additionally, these adventures and new challenges engage students on physical, cognitive, and affective levels while at the same time it can be viewed as fun.
About Dragonfly Transitions
Dragonfly Transitions serves young adults 18 -30 in three locations in Southern Oregon – Klamath Falls, Ashland, and the Homestead (for men, just south of Klamath). Students learn life skills and work to transition into a healthy young adult life with independence, autonomy, integrity and sustainability. Dragonfly provides opportunities for real world experience in a stable, supportive environment where students can flourish.
Telos U has partnered with Utah Valley University (UVU) and is now recognized by their accrediting body as a distance education campus for the university. This designation allows Telos U to provide credit-bearing courses from Utah’s largest university on our campus. Starting in January, students will have the option to take all of the courses required for an associates degree from UVU at Telos U.
Classes on campus will allow Telos U to provide needed support to students who may need guidance to successfully navigate university level courses for the first time. As they progress through the program, they will develop necessary study habits, understand how to utilize available supports, and gain confidence in their ability to be successful students at the university level. As they work with their support team at home and at Telos U, many students will also take courses at UVU’s main campus located in Orem, UT as they pursue more than 80 baccalaureate programs. These courses will also transfer to other colleges and universities throughout the nation.
These courses will be taught in person by professors provided to us by the university or through live, interactive broadcasts using Cisco’s Tandberg system, commonly used for concurrent enrollment with the Utah Education Network. Students will be able to ask questions and engage the professor and classmates with either system.
About TelosTelos U and Telos RTC, located in Orem, UT, specialize in small class size and low pressure education systems support. Telos provides a therapeutic boarding school environment for adolescent boys who need help with Processing of Information Disorders, ADD/ADHD, ASD and emotional disorders that prevent them from thriving in a typical high school environment. Telos offers a family systems approach to therapy, working with parents and siblings alongside Telos' students, and structuring a therapeutic mileu around triathlon-training programs and other engaging activities outside of school class time.
Evoke Therapy Programs announces the opening of the new Summit Lodge where they will facilitate Therapeutic Retreats and Intensives in beautiful Park City, Utah. Evoke's Therapeutic Retreats and Intensives are 4-day programs featuring inspiring education, powerful psychodrama, supportive group therapy and mindfulness practices.
Finding You is for adults looking for a therapy springboard into their personal work or a therapeutic accelerator to create dynamic changes in their lives. Participants looking to find balance or confront current dilemmas will come away with a greater feeling of peace and clarity. Finding You is the perfect program for self-care and for creating greater awareness into issues keeping adults from a more fulfilling life.
Finding Family is Evoke's program for families looking to create a greater connection, confront difficult family dynamics, develop healthy communications skills or establish clear interpersonal boundaries.
To find out more about Evoke's Intensives, please contact one of their Admissions Counselors at 866.411.6600 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 who are looking to create dynamic changes in their life or to simply find the balance they are seeking.
The third annual GEMS (Gender Education & DeMystification Symposium) Symposium will be held in Salt Lake City February 21st - 23rd, 2018, moving from the east coast. The "Save the Date" announcement went out in mid-November and registration will open on December 1, 2017. The event is designed to offer a clinical and educational perspective regarding gender identity for the Family Choice Behavioral Healthcare Industry. The three day event begins with a pre-conference workshop being put on by Beck Gee-Cohen, consultant and trainer specializing in the intersections of gender, sexuality, addiction and trauma, and Encircle, LGBTQ+ and Family & Youth Resource Center. All money from the pre-conference will be donated to Encircle. The keynote speaker, Diane Ehrensaft, Ph.D. is a developmental and clinical psychologist who is the Director of Mental Health and founding member of the Child and Adolescent Gender Center from University of California San Francisco.
This three day conference has thought leaders in the treatment, research and life of Transgender youth, adolescents and adults. "Utah is an exciting location not just because of the volume of treatment programs there, but because there are several programs working with adolescents who are transgender, and therefore, thought-provoking dialog will occur, " said John Singleton, owner of Whetstone Academy (NC) and Founder of GEMS event. With the pre-conference workshop on February 21, the conference officially begins on Thursday, February 22. Speakers include Ryan Sallans, International Transgender Speaker, Consultant, Publisher and Author of Second Son and Dr. Stephen Rosenthal, program director for Pediatric Endocrinology, director of the Endocrine Clinics, co-director of the Disorders of Sex Development (DSD) Clinic and co-founder of the Pediatric Diabetes Program at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital. He is also a professor of clinical pediatrics at UCSF. Additional speakers include Aydin Olson-Kennedy, MSW ACSW, Director of the Los Angeles Gender Center where he provides psychotherapy for gender nonconforming and transgender youth, adults and their families, and Dr. Johanna Olson-Kennedy, Medical Director of The Center for Transyouth Health and Development and Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, Keck School of Medicine of USC. For the most up-to-date conference schedule, please visit the GEMS website.
"The conference has grown year after year, and we expect the same this year since Gender Identity is an important topic for referents, providers and all professionals in our industry, " said Singleton. The symposium will offer CEUs through the NBCC this year. Click here to register. If there are any questions, please reach out to any of the GEMS committee Judi Jacques, John Singleton, Barb Cunningham, Daniel Fishburn, Rick Pollard, Beck Gee-Cohen, Shayna Abraham, or Sharon Findlay or write to email@example.com.
About Gender Education & DeMystification Symposium (GEMS)
The Gender Education and DeMystification Symposium (GEMS) is an annual event designed to offer a clinical and educational perspective regarding gender identity. GEMS is a 501(c)(3) in the state of Georgia. This symposium began in 2016.
Seven Stars, a therapeutic program which provides assessments for teens ages 13-17 who struggle with neurodevelopmental disorders, gets students into the holiday spirit during the last weeks of December through special holiday-oriented activities on campus and a huge holiday feast.
For students who do not get the opportunity to go home during the holiday season, due to their recent enrollment or ongoing therapeutic needs, these holiday activities can bring a piece of home to campus.
“Parents are encouraged to send cards, letters and small gifts or items that allow our diverse student population to remember their family traditions,” comments Dr. Gordon Day, Executive Clinical Director and Founder of Seven Stars. “Being away from home at this time of year can be difficult for students, but they often enjoy the camaraderie with their fellow students and think fondly upon family traditions. During the holiday season, students take part in activities that encourage relationship-building, respect for diverse beliefs and a sense of community.”
Celebrating diversity is important for Dr. Day and his team.
“We always remind ourselves and our students that we have a very diverse student body at Seven Stars,” says Day. “Our social skills groups are the perfect place for us to talk about traditions and holidays. The students enjoy talking about special meals and visiting relatives. We talk about different symbols, special food, service to others and traditions in general. We make a variety of decorations for our dorm and talk about their meaning. Sometimes a family will send special holiday treats for the whole group to enjoy.”
As an assessment and treatment program that works with students who need high levels of therapeutic support, usually only a few students at Seven Stars go on home visits for the holidays. For those who stay, families are encouraged to come visit their child.
“It can be tough for parents to be away from their child over the holiday season too,” says Dr. Day. “However, parents are welcome to stay close to campus and celebrate the holiday together through scheduled on and off campus activities. This can be a great time to work on family relationships and family therapy. Some families even bring their holiday traditions to Utah. Holidays such as Christmas or Hanukkah celebrated as a family in a local hotel, condo or mountain cabin provides a memorable, quiet retreat from the normal bustle of the holidays at home.”
Students who have made progress within the program have the opportunity to go on home visits with their family. These visits can range from a few days to a week depending on the student.
“The holiday season can be a stressful time for families,” comments Day. “When students go home for visits during this period, it can be a unique chance to see how far they’ve come and the changes they’ve made during their time at Seven Stars.”
About Seven Stars
Seven Stars is a premier therapeutic program for teens ages 13-17 struggling with neurodevelopmental disorders such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder, and Learning Disorders (verbal or nonverbal). Seven Stars’ treatment model takes a revolutionary shift from normal therapy methods. By combining acute care stabilization with residential treatment and academics, true multidisciplinary assessment and treatment, outdoor experiential therapy and positive psychology, Seven Stars therapeutic program understands, assesses and builds the confidence and skills of students struggling with neurodevelopmental disorders.
Moonridge Academy excels at disguising life-changing, soul-excavating, often painful work as having a great time outdoors. The philosophy at Moonridge Academy is that the more a student explores, builds mastery, connects with nature and others - the more open that student will be to making adjustments towards a healthier, more balanced life. At Moonridge Academy, this is called adventure therapy. Moonridge Academy provides adventure experiences all day every Wednesday and three-day adventure trips away from campus every month. The activities on Wednesdays and the adventure trips are not a privilege, instead they are an essential part of the clinical program. These activities are carefully designed events to allow the primary therapists to participate and interact with the students. Executive Director Tawny Thomas, LSCW explains, “The therapists at Moonridge Academy feel that often the best work they do with their students is done during Adventure Therapy activities. The true moments of change and breakthrough have been seen when a student is hiking, kayaking, skiing or white-water river rafting with their therapist.”
Ruth Morrow, CMHC, Recreation Director at Moonridge Academy carefully plans the three-day adventure trips to meet the clinical needs of students. Each adventure has a DBT theme with specific activities planned to teach the theme. Trips in 2017 have included cross country skiing at Bryce Canyon, down-hill skiing/snowboarding at Brian Head Ski Resort, hiking in the Grand Canyon, paddle boarding at Lake Powell, rock climbing at Capitol Reef National Park, star gazing and cave exploration at Great Basin National Park and river-rafting on the Colorado River just to name a few. Wednesday activities include outdoor recreation, school field trips, horseback riding instruction and service projects.
One student who is nearing her completion at Moonridge Academy said, “The Adventure Therapy activities and trips helped me learn about myself and have helped me gain skills to deal with the stuff that life brings. They were my favorite thing about Moonridge Academy. Nature is now my happy place!”
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.
Mountain Valley Treatment Center is pleased to announce, in supporting growth and to serve even more adolescents who suffer from debilitating anxiety and OCD and their families, it will continue to operate in Pike, NH and at the same time, open their recently acquired Plainfield campus, near Hanover and Dartmouth College.
Mountain Valley’s original plan was to move the entire operation from the longtime campus in Pike, NH to the former Home Hill Inn in Plainfield, NH; the significant increase in interest by referral sources and families since inception in 2011 has justified adding an additional facility. Operating on two distinct campuses will allow Mountain Valley to continue to be an attractive employment option, offering unique and specific CBT training and certification for residential program staff, as well as increased professional development for clinical staff. Demographics of the resident population will not change, yet having two campuses may allow for a specific sub-set of the current resident profile at each location.
Mountain Valley will be operational on the Plainfield campus in January 2018. Active recruiting of staff and experienced, qualified professionals for the new campus is occurring. Most important to their business growth strategy is ensuring an ability to realize the company vision and mission. Helping more parents and their children with debilitating anxiety and OCD is paramount.
Mountain Valley has had nearly 500 adolescents successfully complete treatment since opening in 2011 and have many to thank for the ongoing growth and development. Mountain Valley looks forward to serving more clients and their families. If there are any questions, please contact Don Vardell, Executive Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Mountain Valley Treatment CenterMountain 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, and soon, in Plainfield, NH, 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.
Despite the cool temperatures on Veterans Day, several SUWS alumni met at the Mount Misery Trailhead outside Philadelphia with their families for a hike through the historic park. SUWS and Turning Tides Transitions partnered to put this alumni event together. "The idea is to bring alumni together, and continue the conversation about sustaining success after their wilderness therapy experience", said Michael Vines of SUWS of the Carolinas. "Kris Brightbill, (MA, LPC, NCC) founder of Turning Tides Transitions was instrumental in assisting in creating the event and shaping the conversation," Vines went on to say.
The hike was an informal gathering of alumni from the Seasons, SUWS and Phoenix Outdoor programs. During the three mile hike, students and parents were able to share stories and resources that led them to the successes they are currently experiencing. One parent commented that sending her child to SUWS was the hardest decision the parents have ever made, and they would do it again if they had to. When asking the teens to talk about what was most difficult about their SUWS experience, almost all of them commented that being away from home was hard, and they found the hikes to be difficult, yet enjoyable at times. Almost all the students commented that having time in the wilderness therapy program, where they could think without distraction, was the game changer in their progress.
This was the first trip to Philadelphia for the SUWS alumni activities and SUWS looks forward to a return. Additional alumni events have taken place in Asheville, Charlotte, NC, Atlanta, GA and Miami, FL. If you are interested in SUWS organizing an event in your area, please contact Mike Vines at email@example.com
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. www.suwscarolinas.com
ViewPoint Center, an assessment center and mental health hospital for teens ages 12-17, is looking back on exciting opportunities and growth experienced throughout 2017.
“In 2017, we made several additions and changes to our program which further enhances the experience of our patients and their families,” says Jennifer Wilde, LCSW, Executive Clinical Director at ViewPoint Center. “We’ve made several improvements to our campus including remodeling our medical office, cafeteria and patio room. Enhancing the aesthetics of our facilities has had big payoffs in overall mood and attitude for patients.”
In addition to cosmetic improvements to campus, ViewPoint Center added new staff members including Primary Therapist Chad Stark, Psychology department team member Merissa Cook, Residential staff member Nichole Wardell, and certified classroom instructor Jennifer Capellen.
“In order to deliver the highest quality of care possible to our patients, we have added a fully certified DBT program, a patient health program led by our Nursing Supervisor Jess Nielsen, and an EMAR system which streamlines medication distribution,” comments Wilde.
Over the past year, ViewPoint Center has helped over 100 patients and their families. “Without the support of caring professionals and our hard working team we never would have had the opportunity to help so many families work towards a happier, healthier future,” says Wilde.
About ViewPoint Center
ViewPoint Center, a teen mental health hospital for teens ages 12-17, is located just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. With a program lasting 4-9 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.
Visitors at Sunrise often hear “DBT is the common language that we speak”. This common verbiage among staff and students is a result of the implementation of intense DBT skills that are a part of everyday life among the milieu at Sunrise. Practicing these skills are key in helping students heal, grow, and prepare to transition to a meaningful life worth living once they return home.
One residential manager shared that knowing DBT skills has been helpful in being able to coach the girls in the moment. “It is even more effective when you have built a relationship with the girls and are able to use the skills with them while they are emotionally dysregulated.” She goes on to share one such experience: “I had a student who really struggled with anxiety and anger. Because I had already worked with her numerous times, I knew that the DBT skill TIPP (temperature change, intense exercise, paced breathing, and progressive relaxation) worked well for her when she was feeling out of control. One October evening, she stormed into the kitchen yelling about how mad she was about her off-campus part time job. She was not getting along with her boss and was trying to advocate for herself but he wouldn't listen and she felt invalidated. She didn't want to go to back.
‘Why do I even try?’ she yelled, ‘I just want to give up. I am so mad; I just want to do something crazy!’ ‘Let's go do something crazy then,’ I replied, ‘Want to go jump in the pool?’ ‘We can't do that; people will think we are crazy!’ ‘Isn't that the point? Come on,’ I said; ‘it will help you clear your mind.’ So we did... in October. It was very cold! As she came out of the water, she took a deep breath. ‘How do you feel?’ I asked, teeth chattering. ‘Better.’ she said, voice calm now. ‘I'm going to call my mom and have her help me come up with a plan for what to do about my boss.’ “
DBT experiences like these are common between Sunrise staff and students. It is this everyday practice that helps students convert the therapeutic skills they are learning to life saving habits they will take with them when they graduate from treatment and transition to a healthy life back home.
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.
Every year, when the temperatures start to drop, Stetson School students are given a wonderful opportunity to spread their wings into the community and to give to those in need, all while having the experience of a lifetime. They do this by volunteering to sell 50/50 raffle tickets during Boston Bruins and Celtics games. The raffles are held by the Bruins Foundation and the Celtics Shamrock Foundation respectively. The proceeds are donated to a different charity or charitable organization after each game.
Community service is an essential way for Stetson youth to explore their interestes and to develop empathy for others. This program not only accomplishes these goals but it affords these youth opportunites to utilize, practice and master the skills that they are learning in treatment. Some of these include, but are not limited to, a sense of social responsibility, building relationships and social connections, critical thinking skills and to have fun. The last goal is accomplished throughout the entire event, but is enhanced exponentially before the game and during the third period of Bruins games and the fourth quarter of Celtics games. Before the games, the group gets to welcome the players arriving to the arena, and during the last period/quarter of each game, the group gets to sit back and cheer on the home team from prime seating locations.
Lisa Ouimette, Stetson's Scheduler, who created and developed this program from its inception, reports "Each trip has its own wonderful experiences. The youth are extremely grateful and continously thank staff on the ride home. For most youth, who've never had a pro sports experience before, these trips are priceless and forever memorable."
About the Stetson School
Stetson School is a COA accredited, SEVIS-approved, Residential and Education Treatment program, which is fully licensed by the Massachusetts Departments of Early Education and Care, and Elementary and Secondary Education. Stetson serves young men and transgender individuals, ages 9-22, who have problematic behaviors, sexually reactive behaviors, complex developmental difficulties, chronic mental illness and other behavioral issues. Stetson supports young men who have suffered from severe trauma, have histories of physical, emotional and/or sexual abuse and who may have had disrupted living arrangements or placements.
The Blue Ridge team announced a change in programming last month when they released a press release: 5 Things to Know About Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness. The team announced the decision to focus on adolescent treatment and strengthening their core and the enhancements they have added to their program in the last sixteen months. Blue Ridge is revamping their entire clinical and academic curriculum, for both students and their families, to showcase their Blue Ridge identity and individualize treatment more than ever.
- This means working with students, ages 13-18, exclusively in Georgia, and will no longer accept students to their Footsteps program, the younger middle school age group, which has been in North Carolina. They are excited to use this opportunity to come together as a team under one roof in North Georgia, all in the same state, for the first time in eleven years. Their focus is to provide the highest quality adolescent treatment within a nomadic wilderness model.
- Jeremy Nunnelley, LPC who has been working with the middle school population since he joined the Blue Ridge team in May, has finished up his Footsteps caseload and is continuing his primary work with anxiety with adolescent boys, ages 13-18. Jeremy has a strong background in program development and will be playing an important role in revamping the curriculum and programming.
Adolescents at Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness experience something that takes them beyond shifts in behavior to true second order change. It is the depth of work and individualization that matter most. The Blue Ridge model allows for the greatest amount of flexibility to meet the needs of each unique teen they work with, as well as the peer group in which they integrate. The constant, gentle pressure of this model speaks volumes to Blue Ridge students. It reminds them of their self-agency, power, compassion, responsibility, depth and resilience.
Dan McDougal, Executive Director states, "It is crucial that we continue creating a healthy and robust foundation and that our treatment program meets our vision of providing excellent clinical support to our students and families. We offer the most effective and individualized wilderness programming possible for our clients and their families and the enhancements we have made over the last year and a half support our vision as we continue to grow and evolve."
Click here to read the full blog post the changes in programming at Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness.
About Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness
Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness offers clinically driven programs encompassing advanced therapeutic skill, a highly flexible nomadic wilderness therapy model, licensed wilderness therapy assessment and multiple treatment options for troubled teens ages 13-18 years old. Our individualized approach, family support and commitment to service translate to an unparalleled experience and better outcomes for adolescents and families.
Befitting its status as a therapeutic school within the context of a boarding school model, Valley View School regards sports as a key element in students' development. For over 30 years, Valley View students have competed against other schools in soccer, basketball, tennis and cross-country running. The benefits have been wide-ranging and impressive.
Valley View's Athletic Director Aaron McKee states, "Upon arrival, many of our boys have given up on sports for a variety of reasons. Yet sports can be very beneficial to their development and self-image. We provide our boys with a path back into sports so they can experience the joys and benefits of athletics." Of course, finding the right level of competition can be a challenge. Mr. McKee works with other schools' coaches to achieve the right level of competition for their teams.
Athletics can provide a powerful metaphor for life, and thereby offer tremendous opportunities for learning and growth. Head Basketball Coach Dale Nowers has noted that winning is way down on the list of his priorities. He states, "Our players learn discipline, teamwork, how to sustain effort, how to tolerate frustration, how to enjoy winning and how to lose with class."
In the course of each sports season, players often show great improvement in their skill level and the maturity with which they approach their practicies, games and meets.
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, our campus is 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, emotional regulation and 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.
A few pioneering clinicians in adolescent wilderness therapy treatment have teamed up to bring Utah its newest residential addiction treatment program, Corner Canyon Recovery.
Corner Canyon Recovery is the result of many years of experience helping adolescents and their families recover from addictions and behavioral health issues. Corner Canyon Recovery is a sixteen-bed, minimum 45-day, adult addiction program that utilizes trauma informed, brain-based and experiential therapeutic approaches to provide individual, group and family therapy for clients of all genders who require a well-appointed, compassionate and comfortable setting. In their family style environment, clients can stabilize and begin the process of recovery from addictions and other co-occurring diagnoses. Corner Canyon Recovery's goal is to walk alongside their clients and families as they commence the journey of recovery in the safest and most supportive way possible.
Corner Canyon values compassion, communication, and service, and those are the principles that drive all that it does. Corner Canyon’s guiding philosophies are born out of its owners' personal experiences, both in addiction treatment and in personal recovery. The treatment program is dedicated to creating the best experience for the clients, families and professionals treated.
About Corner Canyon Recovery
Corner Canyon Recovery opened November 2017. A 16 bed, trauma informed, adult, co-ed with gender specific programming, dual-diagnosis, holistic Residential Treatment Center in a large attractive home in Draper, UT.
There is always a buzz around campus with the beginning of winter block. Yes, the holiday season brings a heightened energy but even more than that, the ski season is just about to begin. Summit Prep students have the opportunity to purchase a season pass to Whitefish Mountain Resort at a bargain price and they can ski or snowboard on Big Mountain up to three times each week throughout most of the season. Many staff and students take to the slopes on the weekends and even do some night skiing. According to Dave Perisho, “Not only is this an opportunity for our community to have a good time, it is also great for relationship building, and physical exercise.” Students who do not choose to ski or snowboard participate in other events both on and off campus. The students also know that going skiing is a privilege and they are mindful that their behavior and academics play a part in this activity.
About Summit Preparatory School
Summit Preparatory School is an accredited private, non-profit, co-ed therapeutic boarding school located on 520 acres near Kalispell, MT. Summit integrates professional therapy and college prep academics within a nurturing and dynamic community that energizes and challenges adolescents to succeed and transform their lives. Grounded in the concepts of the Summit Model, the program focuses on promoting the development of healthy psychological and social skills. The campus is close to Glacier International Airport (FCA) and is less than an hour from Glacier National Park.
Alpine Academy is proud to highlight one of our amazing Family Teacher couples, Derek and Melissa Barney. Derek and Melissa were recently awarded the Utah Youth Village Agency Practitioners of the Year and also nominated for the Teaching-Family Association Practitioners of the Year at the annual national conference.
The Barneys joined Alpine Academy in 2011 after having spent several years working in other residential treatment centers and as foster parents. They came to Alpine with a great desire to learn a better way to serve and help adolescent girls. Family teachers receive specialized training and supervision and are evaluated each year in their ability to implement the Teaching-Family Model in their home. Derek and Melissa Barney have completed the national certification in this evidence-based model 6 times.
The role of a family teacher is essential to the progress of students at Alpine Academy. Family Teachers live in each of the 7 homes on campus and devote their time and efforts to teaching Alpine students the necessary skills to be successful in life. Family teachers establish a family and home environment where students participate in cooking and eating family meals, doing homework and chores, and going out in the community together. Throughout these day-to-day experiences, the family teachers are actively looking for opportunities to teach to the individual skills that each student is working on. Family teachers are able to provide a real-life environment and situations that empower students to be more successful when they return home.
The family teachers also play a pivotal role in the communication between the therapists, school teachers, and the parents of the students in their home. Through these many layers of communication and coordination, Alpine is able to minimize miscommunication and manipulation and provide a more collaborative approach to the treatment process.
Alpine Academy is grateful for Derek and Melissa, and the other family teachers, for the sacrifices they make in their own lives to be able to provide havens of safety, learning, and love for their girls.
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.
Calo has a robust canine program that is headed Jeanna Osborn, Canine Director. There is excitement about at the Calo Teens and Calo Preteens campus, as they just received a special holiday treat of six new puppies, two of which are slated for the preteen canine program. Canine dynamics, health and wellness have been the training focus. Heart training continues to be a success. The Calo Teens and Preteens team have done a great job of implementing this co-regulation piece to canine training times.
Calo Young Adults canines are enjoying the holiday festivities in beautiful Winchester, VA. Though some of the inflatables around town are more frightening than the weather, they provide lots of opportunities to manage the dogs through distraction while building trusting relationship with handlers who keep them safe. The students are enjoying results from their efforts to get the canines walking on leash with minimal pulling. Those enjoying success are creating motivation and momentum for those still struggling. We continue to work on the AKC STAR Puppy training and are looking forward to the puppies receiving their certifications.
New Vision Wilderness canines are enjoying the cool weather. They are feeling and looking great in their winter coats. In Wisconsin, the plan for 'Athena' is for her to work from the office until a group splits. In the meantime, she is available for tours, enrollments, discharges and special projects/interventions. In Oregon, Canine Coordinator Rachel reports students utilizing the Canine Reflection sheet to share insight. Students reveal that while spending time in the "Growth Zone" with a canine they are able to identify that when they relax and feel good, it is reflected by their canine. How exciting to hear the students experiencing co-regulation. Great job, NVW team. Check out the new version of the website that highlights the canine program here.
Embark by Calo, the Transformational Family Intensive and Workshops, also have their own canine to the program. This dog is with the Calo Teens students for a couple of months before going full-time with Embark.
"Thanks to everyone for the support during the Campaign to Heal Childhood Trauma Tour. It was such an honor to represent Calo canine program and to be a part of this movement. Hope to be a part of this for a long time to come" said Jeanna Osborn.
About Calo Programs
Calo (“kay-low”) Programs is a behavioral and mental health provider specialized in healing the effects of complex developmental trauma. Calo Programs is comprised of Calo Teens, Calo Preteens – both residential programs located in Lake Ozark, MO predominately serving adoptive families, and New Vision Wilderness – “NVW”), Calo Young Adults – a transitional living program for young adults - and Embark by Calo, a therapeutic workshop and family intensive program for those reeling from issues of trauma, attachment and adoption.
This November, Elevations RTC, a residential treatment center for teens ages 13-18, hosted internationally recognized transgender speaker Ryan Sallans for a two-day training and seminar on campus which educated staff, students and parents about the transgender experience and issues related to gender identity.
Ryan Sallans has spent the past 12 years providing training and seminars to staff and students in academic environments across the country.
Over the two day period, Sallans facilitated a keynote seminar delivered to students, staff-wide trainings, and support groups for LGBTQ students and their parents.
“The seminar and staff trainings were focused on helping everyone gain a better understanding of terminology around gender identity as well as creating a positive environment for transgender students on campus,” comments Phyllis Tronrud, CMHC, Primary Therapist at Elevations.
Throughout his time at Elevations, Sallans spoke openly and candidly about his own experiences as a transgender individual, attributing therapy as a key component to his successful transition and positive mental health.
“I think it is great that Elevations had a transgender person come to talk to the students,” says Eric, a student at Elevations. “These kinds of things help cisgender people to understand transgender people better, and understanding combats fear and hatred. In addition, there was an event specifically for transgender residents, which I felt was a great place for us to talk about things we were facing without fear of judgement, because everybody else understands it. It was also a great space for discussions about things transgender people as a group face, and things we are divided on. I believe every one of us walked out of that room with a greater understanding of each other and our community.”
The information gained at Sallans’ staff trainings will be implemented into new hire trainings for the upcoming year.
“We were so fortunate to have Ryan Sallans on campus to provide our staff, students, and parents with education and insight about the transgender experience,” comments Judi Jacques, M.Ed, Executive Director of Elevations. “He provided us with such a great opportunity to make personal connections and to ask questions in a helpful and non-judgmental way that will allow us to better serve all of our students.”
About Elevations RTC
Elevations RTC is a residential treatment center that offers guidance, support and relief to adolescents struggling with issues like trauma, depression, anxiety, mood disorders, behavioral problems, identity issues, and substance use. Elevations RTC is located in Utah and provides specialized, clinically intensive programs to struggling teens.
Janet Levitt came to Vive in 2010. She joined the team as a parent coach and over time moved through various leadership roles. Janet helped develop and implement the parent coach training protocols and still is active in training parent coaches in all 8 regions. She at one time also held the position of national clinical director. Janet is currently the regional director of the Vive Chicago region and has built strong relationships in the community in order to better to serve the clients and families served in that region.
When asked about the work she does with parents and what she finds most rewarding, Janet states, "One of the most powerful moments in the work we do, is when the parents are finally able to allow their child or young adult to launch forward into their lives without feeling as if they need to rescue or fix things for them. That turning point when parents are no longer enabling, hovering, anxious or scared is a powerful time. When they are finally able to find the joy in their child or young adult's growth and momentum toward heathly independence, that is the sweet spot and the reason we do what we do."
In response to a question about her role as regional director and what she enjoy mosts about that, Janet says, "To watch and participate in the collaborative process with the mentors and coaches is amazing. During this process we are working at a systematic level that takes into account the family, extended family, community members and beyond. It's within this multi-systemic approach that many levels of work is being done by the client and the parents and is supported by the whole team."
Vive Family Support Program is a relational and experiential therapeutic support service for pre-teens, adolescents, young adults and their families. With our 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. Our goal is to ensure lasting positive change.
Makahiki is a holiday that marks the end and new beginning of the yearly farming cycle in Hawaii. Every year, Pacific Quest hosts a special day for students and employees that focuses on the Makahiki celebration. This includes a day of cultural lessons, storytelling, games, crafts, chants, dancing and a Makahiki feast.
This year students and staff prepared a feast of turkey, pork and a vegetarian dish called laulau, which were cooked in an imu (underground oven). While the meats and laulau were prepared, the imu was stocked with wood and rocks. The wood was set on fire and the rocks heated up as the fire burned for hours. Once the rocks were extremely hot, they were carefully placed to make a flat surface and then covered with pieces of banana stump which contain water and created steam. Ti leaves were added on top of the stumps to help contain heat and moisture in addition to acting as a fire barrier so the food would not burn. Next, the pans of meat were placed on the ti leaves and then covered with more ti leaves. The final step included placing wet sheets over the pit and covering it with a tarp. Once the tarp was over the food the edges of the tarp were covered with dirt to trap in heat, moisture and steam. The food cooked in the imu overnight until the next day when the pans were pulled out of the pit. The students were excited to see the covering and uncovering of the imu during this special preparation for the celebration.
On the day of the feast, each camp prepared a special part of the menu which consisted of stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberries, gravy and salad. For dessert, students harvested Kalo (taro) from the land and then peeled, boiled, grated down, and mixed it with honey and coconut milk. This mixture was then wrapped in Ti leaf and cooked. The group also prepared a special favorite – sweet potato haupia pie!
The Makahiki celebration this year was a special time where students and staff worked side by side to create a meal for the entire group to enjoy. The group had the opportunity to connect with each other and share gratitude for the abundance of the land, family, friendship and community.
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. www.pacificquest.org
An Onward Transitions member was recently interviewed by Jenny Wilder for her blog series about young adults in transition. The post titled "OCD in Real Life" featured a young woman who was just completing a year of treatment with the autonomous program in Portland, Maine and preparing to return to college.
Using the pseudonym Grace Renee, she spoke candidly about what she considered critical to her process of change: "Being pushed a little, but not forcefully so I would basically say people checking up on me and not letting me fall back into those bad habits. I was constantly being encouraged or receiving resources to get me outside. Having a safe environment, [like Onward Transitions] and feeling comfortable was also a huge part of overcoming social anxiety."
After completing an intensive outpaitent program in her warm weather home city, Grace Renee began her time in Portland struggling to get out of her apartment. Fast forward and she's been significantly promoted at her retail job, moved into the final stages of completing a lengthy course in Pilates instructor training, and is fully prepared to shovel, sand and salt her driveway over her second winter in Maine. This spring she will add another layer of complexity to her repertoire as she enrolls in three classes at a local university.
"She's become a mentor to others who are experiencing similar symptoms and challenges," said co-founder and Director of Clinical Outreach Darrell Fraize, who is Grace Renee's therapist. "It's been truly fantastic to support her and her family, and to watch this process unfold," he added. "Everyone's really proud of how things have worked out, and excited about what's happening next."
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.
TechieForLife (TFL) students recently competed at "Southern Utah Code Camp: a programming, design, and entrepreneurship contest all rolled up into a ridiculously compressed 24-hour event. Crazy fun! #BringYourGenius." The coding extravaganza was sponsored by the Dixie Technical Association (Dixie Techs) which is comprised of numerous local tech companies and Dixie State University. The exciting event draws the best and brightest students in tech from all over the greater St. George area to show what they can accomplish and get noticed.
Dixie State University (DSU) hosted the Code Camp which grew to over 300 participants this year, ages 6 and up. Dr. Eric Pedersen, Dean of Science and Technology at DSU, is one of the founding partners of TechieForLife, a private vocational tech school for neuroatypical students who need extra social and emotional supports. Dr. Pedersen and others within the Dixie Techs have been collaborating to create a pipeline starting in grade school to help support and grow the local technology industry. He said, "The biggest issue our tech industry has is finding enough tech talent."
There is an ongoing average of 20,000 open tech positions posted within a 300-mile radius of St. George, Utah. "The industry wants to trigger and spark interest in technology," explained Joshua Aikens Chairman of Code Camp and CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) of iGlobal Stores. Finding and cultivating great tech talent and creating opportunities is an important long-term strategy for these local companies to remain comptitive.
For TechieForLife students, the competition is an opportunity to develop and showcase their skills while getting a real-world taste for entrepreneurialism, cramming for a work deadline, receiving feedback, having their work judged and speaking with potential employers and investors. One TFL student enlisted the help of two fellow TFL students to build an app to improve efficiency for BusyBusy, the company at which he was interning. "I'm hoping to get noticed and impress them with something useful," said Dylan. His internship recently became a hired position, which is the goal for students at TechieForLife.
TechieForLife (TFL) is a co-ed, young adult, residential and licensed vocational school located in St. George, Utah. Dubbed "Silicon Sands," beautiful Southern Utah is home to one of the fastest growing tech sectors in the U.S. Neuroatypical students who need a safe social and emotional environment gain important life skills, mentoring, and a college track or marketable technology training, leading to internship/job placement through TFL's close private sector partnerships. TechieForLife gives students a place to belong and the supports to succeed.
In this day and age, it can be difficult to find your voice amongst the masses. This is true in politics, the workplace, sports, and certainly in a college environment. Add to this a student suffering from anxiety and the challenges can be overwhelming. College Excel is hoping to provide a forum for these students through the recently launched Athena Program.
Under the direction of Lee Whitwell, students in the Athena Program will engage in activities designed to inform and empower. Lee has spent a career helping individuals and groups find their voice and passion. She earned her master's degree in industrial and organizational psychology with a concentration in leadership and team development. Lee has been involved in professional sports for many years and has helped countless women develop their passions.
The Athena Program is optional for College Excel students and it is designed to integrate flawlessly with the program’s standard model. There is no additional cost to be involved and students can attend when they’re able. Students are spending on average 3 to 4 hours per week engaged in an Athena activity/event. Some of the programming offered through Athena includes visiting and learning about local women-owned businesses in Bend, self-defense training, wellness activities, roundtable discussions, etc.
As a leading residential college support program College Excel is in an ideal position to offer such services to our students. Preparing students to succeed in College requires more than just helping them achieve better grades. Success in college means feeling confident in your role and value to your community.
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.
Supporting their philosophy of holistic healing and wellness, The Willows at Red Oak Recovery has added the ancient healing practice of Shiatsu to their programming. Shiatsu was designed to use pressure points within the body to help regulate the flow of energy and help correct patterns of disharmony in the body.
The benefits of Shiatsu are many, particularly for those who may have spent a long time neglecting the care of their bodies in ways ranging from poor eating habits, lack of proper exercise, and putting harmful and damaging substances into their systems. Shiatsu is a non-invasive therapy that aids in reducing tension, stress, anxiety, and depression. It is also helpful in lessen fatigue and weakness by restoring and maintaining the body’s energy.
The Willows has also added an outdoor Low Ropes Course on their widespread 38-acre campus to add to their experiential and adventure components. Clients participate in challenging team building activities and initiatives to enhance personal growth and development. Trust building, leadership skills, positive risk-taking, team work, and increased self-confidence are developed through the use of these elements and can last a lifetime.
About the Willows at Red Oak Recovery
The Willows at Red Oak Recovery is treatment for women located in the pristine Blue Ridge Mountains, just south 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 adult women. The women-only program uniquely blends quality clinical care, adventure and experiential therapy, 12 Step work and social skills development to create positive and lasting change.
Open Sky is excited to welcome Mary Zaunbrecher, MS, LPC, to its Clinical Team. Throughout her studies in counseling, Mary was driven by her desire to help others through the use of alternative and creative therapies, including art and play. She received a Master of Science in Counselor Education from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. During and after her graduate experience, Mary worked with diverse populations utilizing a variety of therapeutic interventions and creative methods to meet the needs of her clients. Eventually, she found that she connected deeply with the power of wilderness therapy.
Mary creates space for reflection and growth by providing compassion and support. She strives to model authenticity and transparency and encourages the same attributes in her clients. She has worked with young adults experiencing depression, anxiety, troubled relationships, grief and loss, substance use and codependency. Through the years, Mary has developed a straightforward therapeutic approach focused on honesty, accountability, and action. She values working with the family system and provides support and guidance so that families can experience more effective and meaningful connections.
"Mary is an excellent addition to the Open Sky Clinical Team,” shared Dr. Tony Issenmann, Clinical and Family Services Director. “She is a passionate, skillful, and experienced wilderness therapist. I’m excited about the impact she will have on Open Sky and the students and families we serve."
Mary believes that by building an environment based on trust and support, her students can begin to explore positive alternatives to past patterns, thoughts, and behaviors. The wilderness setting strengthens this exploration by freeing individuals from day-to-day distractions. Working within this framework, individuals experience self-empowerment, belonging, and insight, which helps to cultivate healthy values and life skills for the future.
About Open Sky Wilderness Therapy
Since 2006, Open Sky Wilderness Therapy has been providing the premier family-centered wilderness therapy experience through its programs in the mountains of Southwest Colorado and the Canyonlands of Southeast Utah.
The Open Sky approach transcends traditional wilderness therapy by emphasizing treatment for the whole family in addition to the individual, and the application of evidence-based modalities with innovative, proven, healing practices such as yoga, meditation, and mindfulness. When a family partners with Open Sky, they embark on a rewarding adventure of self-discovery and acquire a range of tools that promote lasting success.
Pure Life Adventure is excited to introduce Andrew Taylor’s podcast, In the Trenches, which is now on iTunes and SoundCloud. As the Executive Director and Founder of Pure Life, Andrew has been thrilled to discover the ups and downs of working with young people as they strive to emerge into adulthood. Through Pure Life’s journey he has relied on experts in the field to help and support the mission. Now he is sharing that knowledge with the larger community.
Millennials, as a generation, continue to be widely criticized and ridiculed. Yet, the people working closely with them, on a daily basis, have a different perspective. Through his podcast, Andrew talks to professionals about what they have learned while working with young adults. And, he is talking with millennials to get their perspective and better understand their stories. His hope is that, through his podcast, more struggling millennials and their families can have access to the helpful information about their unique struggles.
Pure Life Adventure is the only adventure therapy program that focuses solely on work with young adults. The 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. The students are individuals with very real challenges looking for lasting change. Pure Life provides intermediate level treatment, utilizing traditional individual and group therapy in combination with outdoor experiential learning and adventure. The integrated and dynamic approach includes an emphasis on fitness, mindfulness, life skills, and cultural immersion.
To follow the podcast visit: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/id1313522266.
About Pure Life Adventure
Pure Life Adventure 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.
Foundations Asheville, a transitional living program for young men ages 18-24, supports young men as they launch themselves into adulthood by providing a structured, supportive environment in which students can achieve academic success, take part in volunteer work, and search for an internship or job.
“The young men we work with have found it difficult to transition into adulthood, due to emotional struggles such as depression, social anxiety, and academic difficulties,” comments Adam Ray, Director of Program Development at Foundations Asheville. “Our individualized approach to helping these young men provides the support and guidance they’ll need to make positive changes and take the first steps towards independence.”
Many of the students who come to Foundations have previously been in a residential treatment or wilderness therapy environment.
“During their time at Foundations, we help students build confidence and motivation to make the first steps towards independence,” comments Ray. “We encourage students to go out into the community and gain communication skills by engaging in volunteer work and pursuing hobbies. Our program also focuses on the development of functional living skills such as cooking, budgeting, time management, and punctuality.”
Students at Foundations Asheville have the opportunity to enroll in a local community college, four year university, or trade school such as paramedic school or culinary school. Staff members at Foundations work closely with students to help them establish an individualized plan as they begin their journey towards independence and success.
About Foundations Asheville
Foundations Asheville is a transitional living community located in Asheville, North Carolina. Foundations supports young men between the ages of 18-24 through the process of transitioning into adulthood by helping them gain confidence and motivation within a structured, individualized community environment. While at Foundations, young men gain skills to succeed academically, socially, and in the workforce.
At Solstice, repairing and rebuilding trusting family relationships is an important part of the students' healing journey.
This Fall, seven pairs of dads and daughters joined members of our team at Solstice for a three day Father-Child retreat near Fisher Towers in Moab, Utah. During the trip, they were able to focus on helping fathers and daughters deepen their relationships through a variety of hands-on activities, encouraging less talk and more action.
- One-on-one short hikes
- A 60+ foot rock climbing face and similar rappelling wall
- A hike near Fisher Towers
- Helping in the camp kitchen & clean up
- Fireside group therapy which helped both fathers and daughters open up to each other
Trails Momentum, a wilderness therapy program for struggling young adults ages 18-25, recently conducted student interviews and produced a video highlighting the benefits students feel they have received from Momentum, as well as sharing their reasons for being at the program.
Difficulty in college and tech addiction, as well as depression and anxiety, were the primary reasons the young adults at Momentum sought treatment in a program. They chose Momentum because of the dedicated staff and the overall support for growth and positive change that the program provides.
Students participate in base camp activities 4 days a week including mindfulness and yoga, culinary classes, gardening and fly-fishing. They are also engaged in daily academics and will earn 6 college semester hours with completion of the program. Coursework includes introduction to outdoor leadership and introduction to communication. Clinical services are focused on individual, group and family therapy sessions and include contact with Momentum certified art therapist in the on-site expressive arts studio.
When the weekend comes, student participate in a variety of off-campus adventure therapy expeditions. Activities include canoeing, rock climbing, white water rafting, hiking, mountain biking, and zip-lining are among the choices. While on expedition, students camp and learn wilderness survival skills. “Trails Momentum really opened me up to a whole new world of experiences in my life” says one student who struggles with technology addiction.
“Right away you realize how everybody is in this together and everyone here is here for your success and wants to help you grow. It becomes really easy to talk to them” comments another Momentum student who came to the program due to her struggles with anxiety and depression.
The wilderness adventures are designed to create success experiences for students so that they learn transferable skills that they can take with them after the program and that they can enjoy wilderness and nature as an activity they will want to incorporate into their future lives.
About Trails Momentum
Trails Momentum is a co-ed adventure-based wilderness program that offers a transformative, whole student centered growth experience in the mountains of Western North Carolina for young adults ages 18-25. Trails Momentum uses adventure programming, clinical services, education, service-learning, and community living to guide students on their path to health and happiness.
Trails Carolina, a wilderness therapy program helping teens ages 10-17, has developed an equine therapy program that promotes the development of communication and relationship skills in both students and horses.
The horses within the equine therapy programming at Trails share many of the challenges faced by students. Coming from rescues, these horses are in need of a healing environment and trusting relationships.
Students work with horses upon their return to base camp every couple of weeks. Their work with horses can be some of the most memorable and rewarding experiences of their time at Trails.
Within equine therapy programming, student and horses build a close bond that is beneficial to both parties. Horses help students regulate their emotions and vice versa. The work students do with horses helps the horses trust and think before they react. This work helps horses maintain better relationships upon their return to their owner or when they go up for adoption.
“Over time, our horses are able to trust people and have developed their brain in a way that allows them to think and act (rather than emotionally react) when faced with pressure,” comments Anne Westall, Equine Therapy Instructor at Trails Carolina. “In this process students are able to practice getting their horse and themselves to a connected and thinking state.”
The equine therapy program at Trails Carolina allows students to develop a new set of skills and boost confidence within themselves.
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.
After initially pursuing a career in hotel hospitality, Dorian Hawkins decided to switch paths and apply her culinary and organizational skills at EDGE Learning and Wellness. As EDGE Operations Lead, she helps students develop and refine essential daily living skills.
Dorian teaches students how to shop responsibly, cook, clean and organize their spaces. A crucial aspect of her role is setting realistic expectations about these skills while simultaneously finding ways to connect with students and gain their trust.
“I connect with students by taking the time to get to know each of them individually when they arrive at EDGE,” said Dorian. “I try to find some common ground, whether it’s something we both love or dislike, such as TV or music. I also find that being truthful and upfront with each student helps both of us determine the best path to success.”
This path begins when Dorian asks students what they already know about a certain skill and how they feel when executing it. She then works with each individual side-by-side to demonstrate the most efficient and habit-forming methods for building the skill. The student isn't the only one who learns during this process, though.
“Dorian is an integral part of the interdisciplinary team, along with our registered dietitian and certified personal trainer, learning coordinator, and life coaches," said EDGE Executive Director Jason Wynkoop. "Everyone’s perspective informs our work with each student. Dorian often gains insights through her connections with students that help us all better understand and serve each one.”
With Dorian’s guidance, students learn how to complete the fundamental tasks that will be present throughout their entire lives, such as doing laundry or buying groceries for the week. Her favorite activity, however, is developing meal plans with students. When she sees students independently utilizing cooking skills they had previously worked on together, she can’t help but feel inspired.
About EDGE Learning and Wellness Collegiate Community
EDGE Learning and Wellness Collegiate Community is an accredited transitional living program located in Chicago, IL. EDGE offers therapeutically supported residential and non-residential options for post-treatment young adults. The participants, ages 18 -24, are striving to excel academically, while creating a life of balance, joy and wellness.
An alumnus of Q&A Associates young men's program The Journey recently sat down with Angie Shockley, Founder and CEO, to discuss his life before and since he entered the treatment world. Matt* completed his time at The Journey on July 20, 2015, after being in the program for almost a full year. Prior to enrolling at The Journey, Matt had completed a wilderness program and spent a short time at a therapeutic boarding school. His journey into the therapeutic world began at age 14 when his parents recognized some significant issues in his life with drug and alcohol abuse, significant anger, impulsivity, and a lack of self-management. He was transported to his wilderness program, which was quite a shock for him, as it is for many adolescents who don't recognize their own struggles and challenges. Looking back, Matt can express gratitude for that initial intervention and how it propelled him down a path of self-discovery to adulthood.
Below is the discussion between Matt and Shockley.
Shockley: What do you think started you down the road to needing treatment?
Matt: Not knowing how to manage my life; my issues with drugs and alcohol; my anger issues, which wasn't really anger but it took me a while to understand that; and just being a kid who was hanging out with older kids and making bad choices.
Shockley: During your time in treatment, what worked for you?
Matt: Wilderness and being at The Journey. Wilderness helped me realize there's more to life than what I knew. Getting back to basics and actually living off the land helped me to understand that things are not just handed to you. Up to that point, I had never had to survive by myself. I learned things like bow drilling, but it wasn't easy. I was on solo for several days because I refused to do it as intructed and I couldn't bust an ember. When my solo started, I really didn't care about anything. I was going to just wait it out. My wilderness therapist talked to me a lot about how I wasn't providing for my family (wilderness group) and how that wasn't showing them I cared. Slowly, over the days on my own, I began to realize that I could be as stubborn as I wanted, but it wasn't changing anyone else. All the staff and the other kids were moving on. Then one day, I busted an ember because I followed the instructions and did it like I was supposed to. That was a moment of change for me.
Being in The Journey also helped. It helped me to slowly get back to reality from wilderness. I began to slowly make some of my own choices and began to understand that the consequences were mine, good or bad. I realized I could choose to be successful. Having freedom but with some structure to bounce me back was important. The staff was also really important. Having different personalities and lifestyles helped me to always have someone to relate to. The relationships have been lasting and continue to help me.
Shockley: What didn't work while you were in treatment?
Matt: Being told what to do all the time was really hard for me. I like to be involved in my process and decision making. If someone is telling me to do something, they should be willing to do it themselves. When staff and clients are on the same team, it makes it much easier to take feedback.
Shockley: Why was a young adult transition program important for you?
Matt: It slowly shows you the reality of life, what life really is. The Journey staff was like bumper guards for me. I could make choices and then there was always someone there to support me, no matter what. I truly got to see the consequences of my own choices but know that the support and love was unconditional. If I had gone right home after wilderness, I would have relapsed into old behaviors. I know that wilderness is designed to create a success for almost everyone who goes through it, but it wasn't until The Journey that I learned to apply the skills I got in wilderness. It was crucial for me to have those bumper guards and lots of guidance while I was figuring out life, what I wanted to do. My parents did a great job with me, but when I was young, I was going to do whatever I wanted, no matter what they said or did. They gave me the boundaries I needed, even when I didn't want them and didn't respect them, but having them early on helped me get better boundaries during my time at Journey.
Shockley: What worked about your transition program?
Matt: An opportunity to have a job right away. Having everyone around, working together in a powerful and motivating environment was important. It wasn't a "sit on your hands" environment. Learning how to do the basics like grocery shopping was really important. I thought I knew all the basic life skills, but I didn't. I still use everything I learned in my life skils classes at Journey. Learning how to manage money was another really important skill. Learning how to manage my life in real life situations was also importnat. And I'm really glad I had supports through all of that, which meant I didn't have to navigate all of that alone. There was always someone to talk to who could help me process my own struggles. It was also important to learn how to deal with the "alpha" - because there always is one in life. I had to learn how to not take things personally and how to deal with different personalities and other boys who had different challenges from my own.
Shockley: What didn't work in the transition program?
M: Honestly, I can't think of anything. I would say that having strict rules in a transition program wouldn't have worked for me. I needed to be able to experience some freedom and learn from my mistakes. Sometimes it was hard in my peer group because they were all different, but having relationships with staff helped me through that. Those staff relationships showed me the joy of helping others, of mentoring other young men. I love giving back and helping others as much as possible, and it's because of my experience with the staff at Q&A.
Shockley: How important have relationships been in your treatment history? What made them special for you?
Matt: They have been crucial and they have been real relationships. My wilderness therapist and the therapist I saw while at the Journey were both really important to my growth. Having the ability to find someone I could truly relate to was one of the best things in my relationships. My relationships with the staff at Q&A have been an ongoing positive influence in my life. I feel like part of a big family and I know I always have unconditional love and support from everyone at Q&A. There's no judgement.
Shockley: How has your relationship with your family changed since you went to treatment? What have you done differently? What have they done differently?
Matt: I just grew up and matured! Slowly, my relationship with my parents has improved. I have more patience for the fact that my mom needs more contact. I talk with my parents almost everyday and I see them every few months. My parents have given me the space to grow up. We always had a loving relationship, but there wasn't a lot of understanding. Now there is understanding and acceptance on both sides. I don't have a close relationship with my older sister, and I know that is something I want to work on. We are just very different people, but I love her and she loves me. There is no resentment there any more.
Shockley: What do you still struggle with?
Matt: Voicing my problems and emotions. I want to keep everything inside. Finding words to express my emotions accurately is difficult for me. I get too attached in relationships with girls. I don't hold healthy boundaries when I should. I do have an addictive personality and can get addicted to the relationship I'm in, even when it's not healthy. When that happens, I'm not sure how to get out of the relationship and it gets really hard. However, each time I go through this, I learn something and I know it's part of my journey. I'm making better choices with regard to dating and the partners I choose in my life.
Shockley: What are the challenges you feel you have conquered?
Matt: I have grown up! I was put in a situation that required me to grow up. I've begun to learn how to manage situations in my life...but it's a journey, not a destination, and I will keep learning. I have found true happiness and I know how to ground myself as needed. That's huge for me! When I first started using drugs and alcohol, I was so immature and young that I didn't know how to self-manage...I was going to be cool, but I hung out with kids a lot older than me and I began doing the things they were doing. That didn't work out. Now I know how to self-manage. I'm aware of my addictive tendencies, but I know how to manage them. I don't like being drunk or hungover any more. I know when to step back and exercise some self control. It's the difference between being immature and mature about substances. I felt a compulsion to use pot in the past, but I am managing that now. Wilderness was a detox for me, and that was important. I got my head clear. It gave me perspective. Now, I know how to self-manage and it's been because I have had people working with me who were realistic in their approach. I am not ever choosing to be completely sober, but I manage my life in a mature, adult way. It is an individaul choice for everyone.
Shockley: What advice do you have for other young adults entering transition programs?
Matt: Save your money! Take it slow; take the guidance. Take the life skills seriously... shopping for groceries is not a joke. It's the little things that make life work, so pay attention to the little things.
Shockley: What advice do you have for parents of young adults entering transition programs?
Matt: Trust the program... trust the people working with your son or daughter. Allow them to do their jobs. Do your homework on the program to make sure they are doing what they say they are doing, but once you find a good program, trust the process. Follow the guidance. Know that it will take time. Show your kid you're being srtrong... don't show the weak emotions or try to rescue them. Strive for true communication... truly listening to each other. Use "I" statements and respect the space so there is true listening.
Since completing his time at The Journey, Matt has graduated from culinary school and has been working as a chef at high end restaurants. He recently returned to the Davis area to explore living there full time. He is considering a business partnership in a local restaurant owned and operated by Shockley's husband, one of his long time mentors. He is also volunteering in the local commuinty and working as a part time mentor with other young men at The Journey.
*The name of this former Q&A client has been changed to maintain his privacy.
About Q&A Associates
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.
The Chamberlain International School is happy to announce the addition of Katie Clemens to their clinical team. Katie is a Licensed Clincial Social Worker (LICSW) and will be providing individual and group therapy to a number of students at the therapeutic boarding school in rural New England.
Katie recently relocated to Massachusetts from New Hampshire where she was working for the Community Mental Health Center (CMHC). She was looking for something to match her experience and passion for working with adolescents and their families. Chamberlain seems to be the perfect fit for her. When asked what she likes most about the school, Katie said "There is a real feeling of community here between staff and students."
In addition to her schooling at the University of New Hampshire, Ms. Clemens has completed speciality training in the areas of Suicide and Risk Management, Complex Trauma and Attachment, and Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. When she isn't working closely with the students and staff at the school she enjoys working outside in her yard and exploring the area. Director of Counseling Services Colleen Quaile, LMHC, is excited to have Katie join her team, saying "Katie brings a fresh perspective and experience that is beneficial to working with our very complex and diverse population at Chamberlain."
About Chamberlain International School
Located in Middleboro, Massachusetts, Chamberlain International School offers a therapeutic residential learning experience for students ranging in age from 11 to 22. Students at Chamberlain International School struggle with a variety of learning disabilities and mental health challenges.
Evoke Therapy Programs at Entrada 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.
Winter is a particularly powerful time to enroll at Open Sky. Living amidst the winter elements provides students with unique opportunities to increase competence and resilience. When students complete a winter stay at Open Sky, they leave with a tremendous sense of pride, empowerment, and confidence - attributes which will serve them well as they navigate life's future challenges.
At Open Sky, ensuring the safety of our students is our highest priority. We are committed to maintaining the highest standards of safety in all aspects of our operations. During the winter, Open Sky implements specific practices and protocols that encompass all aspects of programming, including course area management, guide training, staffing, student education, gear, nutrition, activities and program accreditation.
Course Area Management
In October, our course area moves from the high mountains of Colorado to the desert canyon country of Southeastern Utah where the climate is more predictable, precipitation is infrequent, and sunshine is plentiful. The typically mild winters in the lower elevations provide perfect conditions for our winter course area. Between November and March, average high temperatures range from 41 – 61 °F, average low temperatures from 20 – 32 °F, and average snowfall accumulation is between 0.5 to 4.5 inches.
Open Sky utilizes a hybrid base camp-wilderness model year-round. In the winter months, students spend several days each week at base camp. Each group's base camp site is furnished with a large tipi, a canvas tent with a potbelly stove and a covered camp structure, which provide teams with shelter and warmth during winter. These structures also provide areas to gather, prepare food, eat, and dry gear. In addition, individual shower stall structures in each group site provide the added comfort of a warm shower, and gravel pathways throughout base camp alleviate the inherent challenge of mud and clay. Firewood is stocked throughout our operating area for easy access.
Weather is monitored continuously with twice-daily forecasts provided (by phone or radio) to the field guides in each group. Students do not leave basecamp if temperatures are below 10 °F. When severe weather is in the forecast, groups are required to return to base camp to stay comfortably in the tipis or other shelters during passing storms.
Open Sky instructors are highly qualified and experienced outdoor professionals committed to student safety. All instructors are certified Wilderness First Responders (WFR), the nationally recognized standard in wilderness medicine education. (A WFR is trained to provide extended emergency medical care in a wilderness setting. A typical WFR certification requires 72-80 hours of classroom and practice training, along with successful completion of both a written and practical exam.)
Our field department has a mandatory curriculum for winter skills training. This mandatory curriculum provides guides with a comprehensive understanding and competency in winter camping skills and best practice risk mitigation. The training's emphasis is on prevention and then stop-and-fix. Guides are well-versed in the ways in which our bodies can lose heat and are trained in weather-related injury identification and treatment. During the winter, each student receives extremities checks (hands, feet, and head) a minimum of three times per day and more frequently in specific situations.
Our emergency response team meets quarterly to address seasonal needs and a variety of response scenarios. These in-service meetings are required for program management, field guides, operations staff and field managers. Additionally, we hold a 90-minute field staff training each week to address safety, wilderness skills, course curriculum, and other risk-management topics. Beyond internal trainings, Open Sky routinely coordinates with the local community's safety personnel to ensure effective collaboration and best practice protocols are in place.
Open Sky is the only wilderness program with an around-the-clock field manager and field medic who live in base camp 24 hours per day, seven days per week. Open Sky employs two full-time field medics, each of whom is a certified Wilderness EMT. That way, there is always one medic living in base camp and embedded in the field to oversee the safety and well-being of each student. The field medic is available to respond rapidly in the event of any illness or emergent need. No other wilderness program provides this level of around-the-clock medical support.
Upon enrollment, each student is provided with the Open Sky Student Pathway, an educational guidebook specifically designed to educate students on self-care in the wilderness. A primary goal of the Student Pathway is to empower students with the information they need to live safely in the wilderness environment. Students must first master physical safety and self-care (hydration, temperature management, and wilderness skills) before progressing to the therapeutic curriculum.
Open Sky students are provided with exceptional gear designed specifically for winter conditions: insulated winter hiking boots, over-boots, winter socks, thick long underwear, fleece jackets, deep winter sleeping bags, puffy warm jackets, insulated gloves, hats, neck gaiters and waterproof outer layers. Sleeping bags are rated to -30 °F and students are provided with two insulated sleeping pads. Students receive two of each base layer (thick and thin) so they always have clean and dry base layers. In the winter months, our operations team does the students' laundry on a weekly basis, so they have at least three pairs of fresh, clean, and dry socks at all times. Camp shoes are also provided so that insulated hiking boots and NEOs (over-boot covers) may be dried overnight.
Open Sky modifies diets in winter to include calorie-dense foods such as extra protein, butter, peanut butter, and nuts to ensure sufficient calories are consumed to offset additional energy demands of winter temperatures. We also provide hot beverages and carefully monitor water intake to ensure appropriate hydration at all times.
Open Sky was the first wilderness therapy program to receive the Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare (OBH) accreditation, developed and conducted by the Association of Experiential Education (AEE) and the OBH Council. Open Sky’s OBH accreditation was renewed in Fall 2017, signifying our unending commitment to quality, safety, and risk-management best practices. This voluntary accreditation, completed by an independent, third-party group of professionals, ensures that we not only meet the minimum state regulations, but also meet or exceed the industry’s standards of preferred practices.
About Open Sky Wilderness
Since 2006, Open Sky Wilderness Therapy has been providing the premier family-centered wilderness therapy experience through its programs in the mountains of Southwest Colorado and the Canyonlands of Southeast Utah. The Open Sky approach transcends traditional wilderness therapy by emphasizing treatment for the whole family in addition to the individual, and the application of evidence-based modalities with innovative, proven, healing practices such as yoga, meditation, and mindfulness. When a family partners with Open Sky, they embark on a rewarding adventure of self-discovery and acquire a range of tools that promote lasting success.
Founded in 1995, New Haven Residential Treatment Center has been an industry leader in treatment for young women since its inception. Serving 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.
From its founding over 20 years ago, New Haven RTC has been leading the industry in ethical practice and the highest level of care. For a long time, New Haven was the only program to be nationally accredited through the Joint Commission. New Haven was the first to emphasize heavy family involvement during treatment and have been fortunate enough to witness healing through repaired relationships and long-term recovery for decades as a leader in residential treatment.
New Haven RTC has long been committed to refining safety standards to improve programming. Likewise, New Haven has been committed to sharing best-practices within the industry to help other programs grow. One best-practice that New Haven has been utilizing for years is surveying students about quality of care. Additionally, employees are surveyed about what tools they need to execute their work and create an optimal environment for growth and healing. Taking this feedback, in addition to in-depth analysis recently completed, New Haven wanted to share some newly implemented practices. These practices have been put in place at New Haven to improve both students and staff’s sense of emotional safety.
- Windows have been installed in all offices on the campus, those used by therapists therapists and residential directors. The windows maintain privacy, yet provide natural light, along with additional awareness and oversight.
- New Haven has added groups to the clinical rotations that are dedicated spaces for each community of students to address the safety of each community.
- Additional forums have been provided to staff to seek additional training and support when they have questions and concerns. Both students and employees have been educated on a revamped process to bring concerns to the attention of leadership. Feedback from both employees and students has helped us provide a safer feeling environment.
New Haven has long been a refuge for families to find healing, a safe space where therapeutic growth is easily fostered. It is important to reiterate New Haven has an commitment to families, other programs and referring partners.
About New Haven RTC
Accredited through the Joint Commission since 1997 and licensed through the State of Utah, New Haven Residential Treatment Center has been an industry leader in treatment for young women since its inception in 1995. 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.
Since EDGE Learning and Wellness opened its doors in 2011, it has been a priority to introduce the practice of mindfulness into its students’ lives. Although mindfulness is a concept that seems vague and confusing to some, it’s really as simple as being in the present moment.
With mindfulness, individuals focus on being aware of the effect their thoughts and emotions are having on their daily lives. This practice helps people manage their negative emotions instead of shoving them to the side and letting them build into something even more antagonistic and unhealthy.
In addition to processing emotions, mindfulness can help increase self-image and compassion. In the experience of EDGE Mindfulness Therapist Maria Bidelman, LCSW, she has found that this can be especially difficult for people who have mental illness.
“As soon as I ask them to, they’re very, very resistant,” said Maria. “So, one of the things we try to teach with mindfulness is that when you’re in a situation and you’re in the present moment, you want to regard the situation without judgment toward yourself as best as you can, and instead view it with kindness and curiosity.”
Mindfulness doesn’t just improve how individuals view themselves, however.
“When you pay attention to yourself and you are being in the present moment, it helps you become more aware of your surroundings,” said Maria. “Therefore, you naturally end up being more empathetic toward others, more conscientious of your environment, and you extend more love and kindness toward people.”
When Maria works with EDGE students, she makes sure to emphasize that mindfulness is a tool they can access at any time. She begins her mindfulness lessons by teaching students how their breathing effects their mind and body, as well as techniques that allow them to be more in control of their breath. Through her teachings, Maria has found that mindfulness has made a positive improvement on many students’ lives.
“EDGE students are finally in a space where they’re getting support, and yet they can still be independent and figure things out by themselves,” said Maria. “Mindfulness really works well with that journey, as it helps them feel less anxious and self-conscious about whatever they’re going through.“About EDGE Learning and Wellness Collegiate CommunityEDGE Learning and Wellness Collegiate Community is an accredited transitional living program located in Chicago, IL. EDGE offers therapeutically supported residential and non-residential options for post-treatment young adults. The participants, ages 18 -24, are striving to excel academically, while creating a life of balance, joy and wellness.
The Experiential Healing Institute has celebrated its first year of parent and whole family training. Although the in-home intervention service is a new company, Robert Trout, MA, founder and trainer is a seasoned veteran to the Family Choice Behavioral Healthcare industry with over 17 years of experience. Trout created a new approach to offering assistance to an ongoing problem within the home and family unit. The Experiential Healing Institute (EHI) is offering support for families who want to learn new approaches and techniques within the dynamic of their family. Through a systematic and individualized approach, EHI guides and trains parents who are hoping to prevent out-of-home placement for their child or assisting in developing an effective transition back home from a program.
Robert spent years working in and around wilderness therapy programs and residential treatment programs in the industry. Through these experiences, he realized that the industry needed a platform to transfer the skills and knowledge from the 'on the ground' professionals to the parents and care-givers supporting their child once they returned home at the end of their treatment. It became evident to him that programs would do a masterful job of creating a platform for deep, therapeutic work and connection for families, but what would often happen is the parents (who had read the books and had their weekly calls with therapists) were stuck in patterns because they did not have an opportunity to practice their knowledge in a real-life scenario, but only in theory. Naturally, all the good intentions and “homework” could not prevent the conflict which would often immediately erupt and block the “path” for change.
Through these experiences, The Experiential Healing Institute was founded. They offer a family a team of professional “trainers” that travel to family's home and facilitate a two or three day intensive training / workshop. These intensive in-home workshops provide “hands on” training. The goal is to focus on real life and practical skills that will change how the parent(s) navigate their relationship with their children.
Here are some of the areas of focus that clients have worked on:
- How to articulate effective messages from parent to child
- Teaching techniques in de-escalation
- The roles in a family and the dynamics of these roles
- Perspective and manipulation
- Understanding the diagnosis and the mental health needs and behavioral issues of the child
- Co-Parenting strategies for divorced parents
- Helping create and maintain a personalized structure and approach within the home
Whether a parent has already placed a child in a treatment setting or is working to prevent an intervention from occurring, The Experiential Healing Institute guides and trains the whole family with therapeutic skills that are utilized in programs. This individualized assists in creating the support and structure that helps lead to safe and healthy relationships in the family system.
About the Experiential Healing Institute
Based out of Colorado, The Experiential Healing Institute was founded to bridge the skills learned in a treatment setting back to the family's home or to assist families before an out of home placement is made. It is an action-oriented guidance, training, support and experiential growth service for individuals and the family. For more information, call 970.315.2036.