All Kinds of News for July 12, 2017
On June 21, 2017, Moonridge Academy became approved to accept students from California who are funded by their home school districts. This approval allows Moonridge Academy to assist California families to receive residential services that might have been unavailable to them previously. Moonridge Academy is excited to work with California School Districts to help middle-school aged girls receive the therapeutic, programmatic and academic services they need to learn and apply life skills that will help them overcome depression, anxiety, trauma, attachment issues and other clinical issues.
Moonridge Academy provides a modality of therapeutic interventions including DBT, CBT, EMDR, Equine Assisted Therapy, Sand Tray Therapy, Play Therapy and Adventure Therapy. Moonridge Academy also provides classroom hands on instruction with 4 core teachers instructing students in math, English, science and social studies. Elective classes include drama, art and foreign language instruction.
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.
All adolescent students at Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness now have two layers of clinical assessment within the first fourteen days of their arrival, and from the start, Blue Ridge Primary Therapists begin the family’s therapeutic journey with even more information at hand.
In its first full year, the Blue Ridge team recognized the need for a new and strengthened approach to intake and assessment; reinforcing the assessment process early in a student’s stay results in stronger case conceptualization, more tailored treatment, and clearer goals established for discharge planning. By combining the best of valid and reliable measurements, licensed Clinical Psychologist Lorena Bradley, PhD administers an in-depth initial assessment within the first two weeks of an adolescent student’s arrival at Blue Ridge. Unless the student has had comprehensive testing in the last 12 months, Dr. Bradley will meet with each new student and provide an assessment report to the Primary Therapist. This allows for a “second set of eyes” and for the Blue Ridge Primary Therapist to begin with even more information at hand as they develop an individualized Master Treatment Plan for each student.
The intake assessment includes a clinical interview, a mental status exam, a brief cognitive assessment and a risk evaluation. The aim is for treatment to be as effective and individualized as possible and Blue Ridge is beginning with that end in mind. Dr. Bradley meets with and provides an initial assessment report with Blue Ridge’s adolescent groups (ages 14-18). She is also accessible to the clinical team to help interpret prior testing, participate in group clinical supervision and case conceptualizations for all students.
These additional services are included in Blue Ridge’s tuition. Comprehensive psychological evaluations are often recommended prior to or during treatment for most students and Dr. Bradley is available to perform these assessments for an additional fee.
Dr. Bradley, who is an independent contractor with Blue Ridge, has conducted psychological testing in wilderness therapy programs for the last ten years and regularly participates in clinical team meetings. As a result of this collaboration, she has a solid relationship with the Blue Ridge team. Dr. Bradley believes the wilderness is especially advantageous for assessment because it illustrates an extensive scope of what is happening for the student in a distraction-free environment. Lorena shares, “Blue Ridge provides an environment where distractions are cleared away, whether it is technology, social structures, the family system… and we are able to get a clear look at the student’s behaviors and see not just what, but why they are happening. We closely examine what is driving these behaviors so that we can help treat the student and give them skills, insight, and support for next steps”.
About Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness offers clinically driven programs encompassing advanced therapeutic skill, a highly flexible nomadic wilderness model, licensed wilderness therapy assessment, and multiple treatment options for troubled teenagers and pre-teens ages 10-18 years old. Our individualized approach, family support, and commitment to service translate to an unparalleled experience and better outcomes for adolescents and families.
On Saturday, June 10, Mountain Valley Treatment Center was the proud host – and organizer – of the 2017 NH OCD Awareness Walk – 1 Million Steps 4 OCD – to benefit OCD New Hampshire, an official affiliate of the International OCD Foundation (IOCDF). The MVTC residents and staff enthusiastically participated, along with special guests, including Board Members Kerry Beck and David Chabot, Clinical Advisor Dr. Seoka Salstrom, and MVTC grad Sophia Bicknell – with her sister and a friend! After the (less than) grueling 5K walk, participants gathered at the Eve Center ropes course for games and a cookout.
A great – and informative – time was had by all. MVTC’s Associate Executive Director for Administrative and Clinical Support Services Jen Fullerton remarked, “This was a wonderful way to spend a beautiful day and help spread awareness of OCD, both here in Pike and in greater New Hampshire.”
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is the fastest growing diagnosis in the grouping of developmental disabilities. Given the growing prevalence of ASD, there is increasing focus, understandably, on the screening, diagnosis and interventions for young children. However, there is less attention placed on the challenges faced by young adults with ASD who are making the transition from the education entitlement system to an adult system based on available funding.
In May 2014, the Legislative Program Review and Investigations Committee (PRI) authorized a study to identify the needs of, and services available for, individuals with ASD, focusing on the transition from secondary school completion to young adulthood (up to age 25).
ATC looked at the answers that this study come up with in regards to state agency supported employment, independent living and other programs. They found that the answers for these questions were coming from a traditional services system designed for "typical" (non-ASD students) with little understanding of what ASD-diagnosed students truly need.
The common expression about a person being “stuck in his ways” is correctly used to describe someone who can’t or won’t change habits developed over time. However, this label is unfair when looking at the actions, thinking and patterns we see in individuals with ASD.
At The Crossroads (ATC) believes that Education, Experiences and Empowerment make the team who they are. Through change and growth, personal beliefs can be developed or strengthened in understanding what is most important to individuals: serving people, pursuing excellence, embracing change, acting with integrity and being an asset to our communities.
ATC discovered the video “Knowledge Doesn’t Equal Understanding” from the YouTube channel “Smarter Everyday”; the experiment of the "backwards bike" sparked a series of discussions and thoughts of how to provide a different approach for ASD individuals to attain independence and navigate the barriers and traditional approaches that may hinder their pursuits.
ATC followed the video's suggestions that a well-structured traditional learning environment cannot provide success like a non-traditional approach. For example, the student, colleagues, clinician and families would carefully design personalized outlines and preparation material to further assist the students in developing their approach to independence. However, there is a lot of room for the student's life to get messy. The mess is where a lot of the learning and opportunities to change come from. The Mess or the unknown is the hardest part of this idea. Messy and unknown are scary, nevertheless students and advocates all plunge into these depths time and time again in order for ATC to achieve the designed goals and successes.
By promoting looking at life in a backward bike way, ATC has shared understanding into the way young adults perceive messy situations, to apply the recently acquired knowledge to provide a full meaningful journey through the rest of their students' lives.
About At The Crossroads
At The Crossroads is a transitional program for young adults utilizing a highly individualized and client centered approach to treatment. Upon enrollment, each client is assessed to formulate a treatment plan unique to his or her strenths, challenges, needs and goals. Our multi-disciplinary team comprised of highly trained professionals aims to honor each young adult as a distinctive individual. There are no two pathways to success that will be exactly the same and therefore we, as a team with the client, navigate towards individuated success.
Red Oak Recovery is in the planning stages to take clients to prime eclipse viewing spots. On August 21st, Red Oak will transport clients - and purchase eye protection - for a special viewing experience! Red Oak Recovery strives to redefine the clinical experience for all clients, keeping in mind that while they are in treatment, life continues to happen. By allowing some of the most simple additions to life in treatment, Red Oak Recovery hopes to help its clients see that they can enjoy lifes simplicities, without the use of mind and mood altering substances.
Asheville, North Carolina is just a short drive away from this summer's most stunning natural phenomenon; Red Oak Recovery is also located just a short drive away. Western North Carolina is just one of the few areas in the path of the total solar eclipse this August. In a solar eclipse, the moon passes directly between the sun and the earth. The moon casts a shadow that moves across the earth surface creating a "path of totality." For areas within this narrow path, the air will cool as complete darkness falls in the middle of the day for up to 2 minutes and 40 seconds. The moon will block the sun, revealing the sun's rarely seen shimmering corona or "crown". 2017 marks the first time since 1979 that a total solar eclipse will be visible.
About Red Oak Recovery
Red Oak Recovery is located in the pristine Blue Ridge Mountains, just north of Asheville, NC, and is the result of extensive experience and research for developing highly effective programming to create a foundation of long-term recovery for young adults. The program uniquely blends quality clinical care, adventure therapy, experiential therapy, 12-step work and social skills development to create positive, and lasting change.
Have you ever wanted to go to the Galapagos Islands and swim with the turtles? Well, a group of Summit Prep School students and staff had that experience during the 2017 Summit Prep International trip. They headed to the Galapagos Islands and immersed themselves in the culture of the islands of Isabella, Santa Cruz and San Cristobal. Three of the goals for this international trip centered on learning about the surroundings, seeing unique wildlife and vegetation and processing these discoveries through a therapeutic lens. The trip was designed and led by therapist Mick Stemborski, L.C.P.C.
Here are a few highlights from the trip: A 60 foot sailing vessel was chartered and the group cruised around Baltra, Seymour and Mosquera Islands. They snorkeled in areas where there is much sea life and saw manta rays, trigger fish, jacks, sea lions, hammerheads, white tip sharks and Galapagos sharks. The good news is that the sharks are completely harmless due to the abundance of food and the unique process of evolution in the absence of humans. This is the reason the Galapagos creatures are so very viewable and present to view. The group followed the park rule of Look… Don’t Touch. On San Cristobal Island, the students snorkeled with turtles on a volcanic rock beach and then hiked in the afternoon on a trail seeing various bird species nesting on cliffs. During the evenings, everyone stayed in hotels on two inhabited islands. This is where the students could interact with the local culture, which included amazing food in open-street markets. Of course, seafood was on the menu almost every night. From beginning to end, this trip was packed with activities and educational moments. These international trips allow each student to share other worlds with their peers, staff and teachers. Together, each participant seems to develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of their home by immersing themselves in a different culture.
About Summit Prep 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.
A group of fourteen AIM House participants recently ventured to the incredible Mission Wolf in Westcliffe, Colorado for a week to work with rescue wolves. During the trip, participants not only served the wolf sanctuary, but also had the opportunity to work as a team and get to know each other better. Along the way to Mission Wolf, participants and staff made a few pit stops, first in Great Sand Dunes National Park and then at the nearby hot springs.
One of the new AIM House participants said that his favorite part of the trip was bonding with other participants at the Great Sand Dunes campsite the first night. They camped, cooked out and spent time with each other as a community. A group of participants helped to cook burgers, hot dogs and cut veggies. After dinner at the campsite, everyone hopped in the van and drove to the sand dunes where the wind was piercing and the view was impeccable. After spending time running around and exploring the dunes, participants went back to camp to make s’mores, talk, laugh and tell stories. For some, this experience was reminiscent of time spent in their respective wilderness therapy programs prior to coming to AIM House.
The participants woke up the next day, scrambled some eggs and then packed up the van and headed out to the nearby hot springs. They swam, relaxed and played beach volleyball. Most importantly, participants had the chance to wash off the sand from the dunes before getting back on the road and heading to Mission Wolf.
At Mission Wolf, participants had the opportunity to spend special time in nature. The Mission Wolf sanctuary has a 3 acre eco-village for volunteers and staff who live on site, plus 200 acres of land secured for the non-profit organization. The sanctuary is split up into 80 acres that are fenced-in for the wolves and a 120-acre conservation area that provides a buffer zone.
This experience was a once in a lifetime opportunity to interact with wolves and, most importantly, to help Mission Wolf with service projects that needed assistance. Some of the service work the AIM House participants helped with entailed laying gravel in the road to even out potholes from snow melt, splitting firewood for the community, and feeding the wolves on the designated feeding day.
Participants did a great job being engaged at Mission Wolf and received compliments for their work ethic on the trip. But there was much more to the trip than just doing community service. The bonding that occurred, leadership roles that emerged, and teamwork demonstrated over the course of the trip was immense. As a community, the participants feel closer to each other as a result of traveling to new places together and helping to serve a great cause.
About AIM House
AIM House is a transitional living program located in Boulder, Colorado. Participants come from wilderness therapy programs, residential treatment programs, therapeutic boarding schools and drug and alcohol treatment centers. Mentors and therapists work with each participant to create an individualized program that meets the needs of the participant and their family. Participants also have access to a large variety of educational institutions, such as the University of Colorado Boulder, Naropa University and Front Range Community College.
Elevations RTC, a residential treatment center for teens ages 13-18, provides a supportive and caring environment which helps teens of all gender identities work through emotional and behavioral challenges. Elevations defines their approach to working with students as gender affirming and individualized. For students who identify as transgender, Elevations follows World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) recommendations, with the expectation that no one fits perfectly into a standardized treatment protocol.
“The reality is that every person's journey is a different pathway, and impacted by others in their life sphere,” comments Dr. Michael Connolly, Medical Director of Elevations RTC. “Given our work with adolescents, the most immediate and obvious aspect is integrating the family system. We meet both patients and families where they come from. What this really means is that everyone's belief and understanding of psychological, social, physical, and medical needs are impacted by their available knowledge and belief systems. We promote a loving acceptance of this starting place, and work toward furthering empathy and partnership when needed.”
When medical treatment is approached, Elevations prefers to utilize providers (endocrinology, etc.) from the teenager's home area when possible, as they believe that a longstanding medical relationship with a provider optimizes care. When needed, Elevations utilizes local physicians and works with families to locate another provider upon discharge from the program.
“Medical interventions are only acted upon after careful consideration of side effects and adverse effects,” says Dr. Connolly. “If everyone is on board and there is some level of stability and consistency in desired goals, we help students move forward with medical interventions.The level of medical intervention is effected by a number of factors, including age. For example, hormone blockers are often used for younger children before they reach puberty. This helps to prevent the development of secondary sex characteristics. Teens don’t benefit from hormone blockers the same way a 10 year old would. For some teens, hormone blockers can help them psychologically by decreasing testosterone or estrogen in their bodies. ”
Elevations RTC fosters a program in which the expectation is to explore and solidify a student’s identity towards a fuller, more authentic self whether that identity impacts gender or not. To this end, Elevations has supported many teenagers in all points of their respective journeys, from exploration to integration of gender affirming medical interventions.
“At Elevations, students are able to feel accepted and learn more about themselves as individuals,” comments Dr. Connolly. “Unlike other programs, students are housed with the gender they identify with and are treated with respect and integrity. Students aren’t marginalized here.”
About Elevations RTC
Elevations RTC is a residential treatment center that offers guidance, support and relief to young men and women struggling with issues like trauma, depression, mood disorders, behavioral problems, and substance abuse. Elevations RTC is a licensed treatment center located in Utah and provides specialized, clinically intensive programs to struggling teens.
ViewPoint Center provides medical detox services, allowing teens struggling with substance use issues to take the first steps towards recovery and treatment.
Attempting to detox at home is far less effective than completing a medical detox in a safe, highly controlled facility such as ViewPoint Center. Teens who go through medical detox at ViewPoint Center are more likely to be successful because:
- Medical detox prevents relapse. When teens go through withdrawal from substance use, they often go back to using drugs as a way to stop the effects of withdrawal. Many begin to use the drug in larger amounts, which can lead to overdose and even death.
- Experienced, highly trained staff. ViewPoint Center has highly experienced medical and therapeutic staff assisting teens through the entire withdrawal process. The clinically advanced services not only allow for a safe withdrawal process, Viewpoint Center also help determine the underlying issues causing drug use to occur in the first place.
- Smoother transitions post-detox. After teens go through medical detox at ViewPoint Center, they are more likely to find success when they transition to another therapeutic program such as a residential treatment center or a wilderness therapy program.
Medical detox in a safe, supportive environment like ViewPoint Center allows for teens to be more open to further therapeutic experiences in the long term.
About ViewPoint Center
ViewPoint Center, a mental health assessment center for teens ages 12-17, is located just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. With a program lasting 6-7 weeks, ViewPoint Center provides superior assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and stabilization for teens struggling with mental and behavioral issues such as suicidal ideation, anxiety disorders, and eating disorders. In a safe, personalized environment, ViewPoint helps teens focus on the healing process.
When kids think of summer school, they don’t typically describe it as the best time of the year. But at Chamberlain International School, a year-round therapeutic boarding school, that is exactly what they are saying. Balancing academics and activities has helped to keep these students, with a varying mental health challenges and learning disabilities, stay engaged throughout the dog days of summer.
“The only camping I’ve ever done is in Central Park!” joked Nick S, when asked about his summer at Chamberlain. Nick is in Outdoor Challenge Enrichment and is from Staten Island, NY. The Outdoor Challenge group is planning two overnight camping trips to New Hampshire and Maine over the next two weeks with activities that include zip lining and whitewater rafting on the Kennebec River. After hiking the cliff walk in Newport, RI on a mild Thursday afternoo,n Nick said “the best part is getting to interact with my teachers outside of class.” Building relationships inside and outside of the classroom is a big part of the programming as these relationships become an agent for change.
With twelve different enrichment courses being offered, the programming covers a wide range of interests - Equestrian, Automotive and Artistic Exploration are a just a few examples of the offerings. The students attend three days of regular classroom instruction and two days in an enrichment program of their choosing. This schedule runs throughout the summer, from Mid- June until the end of August. The goal of the programming is to help build confidence within the students who have struggled in a traditional classroom. It also seems to have a bonus side effect of being a lot of fun.
About the 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 Cascades is proud to announce that after five years of hard work and dedication, therapist Sabrina Hadeed has completed the education, done the research, written and defended her dissertation, allowing her to earn her doctorate degree. Her degree is in Major in Counselor Education and Supervision from Oregon State University.
Sabina is the Assistant Clinical Director and Therapist at Cascades. She specializes in working with female adolescents with complex clinical presentations including trauma, oppositional defiance, attachment/adoption, ADHD, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem and body image issues, substance abuse, sexual identity and challenging family relationships.
Click here to read Sabrina's blog about her dissertation, and her experiences at Evoke that lead her to her research, "Gender Biases in Counselor Supervisor Evaluations of Counselors."
About Evoke Therapy Programs
Evoke Therapy Programs at Cascades, in Bend, Oregon provides innovative mental health treatment solutions for struggling teens, young adults and their families. Their programs foster lasting change utilizing the power of nature and Wilderness Therapy. Evoke also offer Personal Growth Intensive Workshops for individuals and families who are looking to create dynamic changes in their life or to simply find the balance they are seeking.
Evoke Therapy Programs is now providing tele-coaching for parents, children and families who are interested in pre-treatment and post-treatment with clients. Clients utilizing this service do not necessarily need to have participated in Evoke’s wilderness therapy program or intensive workshops. The tele-coaching program, like Evoke’s other services, will empower clients to discover their own truth, and provide guidance in areas of parenting, co-dependency, communication, reintegration to home and other relevant treatment areas.
The tele-coaching is provided by Evoke Therapy Program's Licensed Masters and Ph.D level therapists. Brad Reedy, Ph.D, owner and Chief Marketing Officer said, "This new service provides clients with access to Evoke’s high quality tele-coaching, reasonably priced, to anyone without long-term contracts. Evoke therapists' will provide tele-coaching on an as-needed basis, at an hourly rate." This service does not replace the therapy provided in recommended after-care settings for wilderness therapy or workshops. Please call one of the Admissions Counselors for more information at 866.411.6600.
Calo Young Adults (CYA), located in Winchester, VA is pleased to announce the promotion of long time Admissions Director Jon Young to Student Life Director. Mr. Young held the post of Admissions Director for almost a decade supporting families and clients in need and helped launch Calo Programs new emerging adult program. Lynn Sucher, of CYA announced the promotion, “Jon is an incredible asset to this community”, remarked Sucher. “He is beloved by our students, parents and staff and his talent for engaging our students is remarkable”. In this new role, Jon will be responsible for student life culture by working collaboratively with students and staff. He will take the point on program tours, facilitate orientation groups to new students and ensure the transition for families goes smoothly. “I am so grateful for this opportunity”, said Young. “I have always gravitated toward program operations and the milieu and after ten years of admission work and dozens of initial phone calls and intakes it’s exciting to be able to work with our students for the length of their stay”. “I have learned so much from so many people and I am extremely grateful. I can’t wait to get going”.
“Jon will be big shoes to fill” said Vice President of Admissions, Nicole Fuglsang, who is a ten plus year admissions leader and co-founder of Calo Teens. “We have a very talented group of admission personnel to step up led by Rachel Vandevoort and Adam Eader with talented Morgan Martensen, Lacy Ely, and Tamara Matheson”. To make a referral to Calo Young Adults families can call 540-722-4521 or email Nicole Fuglsang, email@example.com.
About Calo Young Adults
Calo Young Adults is a small, boutique transitional living program dedicated to healing the effects of early life trauma. Located in Winchester, VA. this emerging adults program implements a unique and truly relational treatment model based on the science of neurobiology and evidence-based attachment and trauma treatment research. This unique model facilitates the establishment of healthy and safe relationships that ultimately lead to co-regulation and Joy. Calo Programs exists to Profoundly Change Lives and Create Joy.
2017 marks the 16th birthday for Outback Therapeutic Expedition. As such, the Outback team set out to establish, engage, rekindle, and nurture a fundamental backbone in helping the company thrive: Relationships with Referral Sources. Outback Therapeutic Expeditions is humbled and grateful to announce that over 100 in-person meetings have occurred between the team at Outback and Educational Consultants as of July 2017.
Between the months of January and June, various members of the Outback Therapeutic Expedition team attended 6 major industry conferences, symposiums and events yielding 65 meetings. Additionally, 4 consultant hometown visits with 17 individuals were coordinated as well as the facilitation of 23 onsite visits at Outback. The culmination of these aforementioned connections have resulted in one of the best summer seasons the staff at Outback Therapeutic Expeditions has seen over the past few years.
The team at Outback Therapeutic Expeditions wishes to recognize, honor, and thank the continuation of support from the individuals who participated in making over 100 face-to-face connections during the past 6 months in 2017.
About Outback Therapeutic Expediations
Outback Therapeutic Expeditions is a licensed wilderness therapy program located in Utah that offers a highly integrated, comprehensive assessment and treatment for teens. Outback offers help for troubled teens ages 13-17 and provides clinical oversight by a Masters Level therapist every day of the week. Outback helps teens with various areas of difficulties such as depression, anxiety, family conflict, engaging in dangerous behaviors, mild ASD, electronic and gaming addiction and more. Outback’s treatment options place strong emphasis on healthy relationships, increased self-efficacy, and a healthy amount of autonomy through skill building.
Trails Carolina, a wilderness therapy program for teens ages 10-17, is putting the spotlight on Tai Kulenic, MPS, LPC, ATR-BC, a Primary Therapist at Trails Carolina who works with young people struggling with trauma.
Before joining the Trails team, Kulenic spent over 13 years working with adolescents in a variety of therapeutic settings. As a board-certified art therapist, Kulenic utilizes her art background to help teens express themselves in ways that are not accessible through words.
Several years ago, Kulenic was involved in a research project in the Gulu District of Northern Uganda where she carried out trauma-based art therapy with ex-child soldiers. The project grew out of an unrelated research project the previous summer, when the research team had innocently given village children paper and crayons to use while they waited.
“Almost every child drew a violent, trauma-filled drawing, and the research team did not know what to do or how to help,” says Kulenic. “They decided to find an art therapist and develop a research project that looked at whether creating art was healing for these children. That’s when they invited me to facilitate art therapy as a part of their project.”
Kulenic spent two summers in Uganda. The boys and girls she worked with were 14-19 years old but had been kidnapped and forced to be child soldiers when they were as young as 7. She carried out daily group art therapy with children from several villages, as well as a boarding school for ex-child soldiers.
“I did not speak Acholi, but art is a universal language, so the language barrier was never an issue,” comments Kulenic. “What proved more difficult was teaching them how to use the art materials because they had never seen such things. I will never forget the first therapy group. The kids were given the directive to ‘draw a day that you'll never forget.’ They could draw anything they wanted-- but EVERY child drew the night they were kidnapped and forced to kill their parents.”
Although such unimaginably horrific events occurred in these teen’s short lives, Kulenic worked with these teens to help them process their experiences. Kulenic’s work in Africa has influenced her in many ways.
“The most profound effect of my time in Africa has been having to let go of any preconceived notion of what someone needs or feels,” says Kulenic. “In the West, we are all about the individual, at the expense of the community. In Africa, it is all about the community, at the expense of the individual. I went there wanting them to process what happened to them because that is what I believe to be healing. The elders in the villages wanted the kids ‘to just forget what happened’ and not talk about the war at all. So, I left Africa questioning whether I did more harm than good. At the end of the day, I have to believe that processing our trauma is healthy and necessary. What that experience taught me was to be curious, provide the container, and listen for the story.”
At Trails, Kulenic utilizes her many years of experience helping young people to inform the work she does with students at Trails.
“I use a couple of different approaches when working with kids at Trails who experience trauma,” comments Kulenic. “I will use Cognitive-Behavioral Therapies by teaching stress management and relaxation skills to help cope with unpleasant feelings. Creating a trauma narrative about what happened is helpful because the retelling of the story helps master painful feelings and helps resolve the impact it had on their lives. I also lean on my art therapy background. It takes a lot of effort for the brain to deal with trauma because the traumatized brain is constantly on high alert. Art therapy helps because a picture can tell a story about their internal life that isn't accessible in words.”
About Trails Carolina
Trails Carolina is a wilderness therapy program based just outside of Asheville, North Carolina that offers a multi-dimensional wilderness therapy model to troubled adolescents, ages 10-17. Trails capitalizes upon the profound effects of a student’s wilderness experience, and then combines that experience with strong clinical assessments and therapy. For additional information about Trails Carolina, please call 800-975-7303.
Open Sky Wilderness Therapy is pleased to welcome Licensed Professional Counselor Kim Kelley to its clinical team.
“Kim is an excellent addition to the Open Sky clinical team,” said Clinical and Family Services Director, Dr. Tony Issenmann. “She is a confident, talented and humble clinician who brings tremendous knowledge and experience to Open Sky and the families we serve.”
Kim’s career in wilderness therapy began when she worked with children in the Berkshires of Massachusetts, after leaving her position at a drug and alcohol outpatient treatment facility in Texas. Through the power of the outdoors, Kim immediately saw dramatic progress towards wellness in her clients and was forever changed in how she wanted to provide therapy.
Kim continued providing counseling services through wilderness programs in Oregon and Colorado. Kim’s professional experience later expanded to include school counseling, graduate level teaching, state supervision of counseling interns and a private practice focused on CBT and EMDR techniques. After years of helping adolescents, young adults, families and couples in her thriving private practice, Kim returned to her first love, counseling youth in the outdoors, where strengths and challenges can be clearly identified and addressed through the unfolding of an individual’s perspective on their internal and external worlds.
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.
The team at Prepare To Bloom are very excited to welcome Bonnie Greenberg, Placement Coordinator. Bonnie joins Prepare To Bloom after providing direct care in an east coast residential treatment center. Bonnie also has an extensive background in marketing, customer service and strategic planning. While Bonnie has not been in the Family Choice Behavioral Healthcare industry for a long time, she is excited to jump in and learn as much as she can.
About Prepare to Bloom
Prepare To Bloom is a San Francisco Bay Area-based therapeutic and educational consulting firm devoted to helping families make sound therapeutic and educational choices, assisting families and their children to find treatment options regionally or out of the home. Founded in the spring of 2011, by Shayna Abraham, MA, CEP, Prepare to Bloom consultants visit over 50 different treatment programs per year. The team works with families around the United States and around the globe.
Point School Puerto Rico is excited to announce the development of brand new programming and a change in ownership and leadership. Over the past six months, Point School PR has reorganized ownership and worked vigorously to develop a Hybrid Gap Year Program designed specifically for young adult males, ages 18-22. Point School PR is targeting this population of young men who are planning to attend college but first need the support of an intentional gap year experience. This hybrid gap year integrates therapeutic and clinical components between completing high school and beginning their college career. Point School’s young adult clients will be exposed to new experiences and ways of learning while also learning more about themselves. These young men are looking for an experience that will help bring intention into their life while setting themselves up to be successful in their pursuits after the gap year. The program will have a Spanish immersion component and will allow our students to gain experience and different perspectives and ways of life within an authentic Puerto Rican culture.
The Point School team, which includes new owners Jason Cox and Tim McMahon of Brightstone Transitions and Sean Rose of Breakthrough Consultation, have partnered with the previous stakeholders to ensure a smooth transition. Together, they have spent the last six months hiring and training staff and bringing in new leadership. Along with these personnel changes, the program has undergone a six-month redesign with a focus on serving a specific population while developing a “hybrid gap year.”
Point School’s appropriate student is the young man, aged 18-22 years old who has finished high school but is not quite ready to move into their college career. These young men are trying to figure out who they are and where they fit into in the world. Point School’s gap year is not an alternative to a primary intervention such as wilderness therapy; however, it will serve as a supportive environment for young adults taking the next steps in their lives. Most of these students will have deferred their college plans and need extra layers of support while also having a transformative experience that they can use to launch themselves to adulthood.
About Point School Puerto Rico
Point School Puerto Rico is a one-of-a- kind Hybrid Gap Year Model that supports young adult male clients, 18-22 years old, who need support and direction with their independence. The program will challenge students’ self-perceived limitations, while providing them a broader understanding of the challenges of adulthood, and a much deeper sense of their personal capabilities and ability to succeed. Through these opportunities and an increased sense of self competence and confidence, students will be ready to guide their continued growth and directions for their future independence. For more information on Point School Puerto Rico, please the website at pointschoolpr.com or contact Jason Cox at (347) 903-3781 or Jason@pointschoolpr.com.
Register soon for the Autism Symposium held Aug 21-22 in beautiful Park City, Utah at The Grand Summit Hotel, as space is limited.
Conference check-ins will begin Monday, August 21 at 3:30 and will be followed by a welcome reception, panel discussion and dinner. Tuesday will consist of workshops held by professionals throughout the industry specializing in working with ASD level 1. Our keynote speaker is Danny Raede, the CEO of Asperger Experts out of Seattle, Washington.
Learn more at www.theautismsymposium.com
About Keynote Speaker Danny Raede
Danny is the CEO of Asperger Experts and was diagnosed with Asperger’s at age 12 when his parents noticed him having difficulties staying focused in school. He didn’t think much of it at the time and spent most of his time in his room playing video games such as Neverwinter Nights and World of Warcraft. His parents would say that he was very much addicted to the computer.
He now runs Asperger Experts in Seattle, Washington with an awesome team of parents, life coaches and people "on the Spectrum". When he isn’t working he enjoys boating, adventures with friends, travel and watching the Food Network on tv. Through his work at Asperger Experts, he has been fortunate enough to reach millions of people and share his passion for a fuller, richer life experience.
If your program would like to be a sponsor of this event, please see details below.
Platinum Sponsorship - $5000. The Autism Symposium will have 2 platinum sponsors. This sponsorship includes a full page ad in the Symposium Program. We will also include your logo and a "thank you" on our Autism Symposium website. Platinum Sponsors may have 2 people from the team join the Educational Consultant dinner at The Founders Grill Tuesday night. Platinum Sponsorship also includes a display table and 4 conference registrations and verbal recognition during announcements and transitions.
Gold Sponsorship - $3000. The Autism Symposium will have 4 Gold Sponsors. This sponsorship includes a half page ad in the Symposium Program plus verbal recognition during announcements and transitions. This sponsorship includes 2 registrations and a display table.
Silver Sponsorship - $1000. The Autism Symposium will have 8 Silver Sponsors. This sponsorship includes a program logo in the Symposium Program, 1 registration and a display table.
Email Sean Haggerty, firstname.lastname@example.org, if you have any questions or want to Sponsor the Symposium.
Call for Papers - To present at one of our workshops, please email a 1-page synopsis of your presentation topic to email@example.com for consideration.
About the Autism SymposiumThe Autism Symposium was created in order to bring more awareness to the increasing need for services for those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and to facilitate conversations on the most pertinent topics regarding these students and their families. With this symposium, the hope is to highlight top notch treatment approaches and provide insights that will continue to aid professionals that serve this population.
The symposium is sponsored by Brightstone Transitions (GA), Vantage Point Aspiro (UT) and Daniels Academy (UT).
Sam currently serves at Alpine Academy as the full-time academic counselor. She has served in this role for the past 3 years and has done amazing work with Alpine students, not only making sure they are on track with the credits they need but also in making sure they are prepared for whatever their next step may be.
Sam started working at Alpine Academy 10 years ago as an Associate Family Teacher in one of the homes. In this role, Sam spent several years learning the ins and outs of the Teaching-Family Model and working daily with the students to help them learn and practice the social and emotional skills they would need to be successful. Through her hard work and dedication, Sam earned multiple certifications in the Teaching-Family Model and positively impacted the lives of many students.
At that point, Sam continued working for Alpine Academy's parent company, the Utah Youth Village, as an in-home family specialist and went back to school to complete her Masters Degree in School Counseling. In 2014 Sam returned to Alpine Academy as the full-time school counselor. In this role, Sam works with each student to review their current academic standing and arranges their schedule to make sure they get back on track for graduation. She also is certified to teach ACT prep and and puts in many hours helping get students ready for that test. Sam also teaches one of the Friday rotations, College and Career Readiness. In this class Sam spends time with Alpine students to get them thinking about their plan post-high school and making sure they know what is required to meet their goals.
Sam is also an avid fan of the great outdoors and accompanies the youth on many camping and hiking trips. In the past decade, Sam's passionate service has benefited the lives of hundreds of students at Alpine Academy.
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.
Pacific Quest is excited to announce enhanced clinical services in their young adult program. The second of six phases, Kuleana (personal responsibility) is the foundation of the Young Adult Program at Pacific Quest. Based on the need and intensity during the Kuleana Phase, PQ has added another therapist to support students through this critical stage of the program. Students will continue to meet with their primary therapist and now will also engage with the Kuleana therapist, resulting in field-based therapy four days per week during the Kuleana phase to target individualized treatment goals.
This immersion model of therapy is an exciting development for this important phase of the program. The Kuleana therapist will coordinate directly with the primary therapist and the field team, and will function as a field-based extension of the primary therapist while students are in Kuleana. Alex Stitt has been selected to pioneer this role.
“By having someone there more frequently to manage the steps incrementally, we’ll be able to take full advantage of this specific phase of the program,” shares Dr. Lorraine Freedle, Clinical Director. “Alex brings not only clinical expertise but field expertise from his extensive experience over the past three years at Pacific Quest. His keen understanding of the identity level work and how it ties into the land work makes him an ideal Kuleana therapist.”
Alex adds, “Given that Kuleana is about personal responsibility, the phase is spent doing a lot of depth work around one’s personal values, what one is accountable for, and one's locus of control and responsibility. Progressively, students begin to take ownership of their life.”
With this added layer of clinical support, young adults will more effectively navigate Kuleana and develop a solid foundation for their treatment at Pacific Quest.
About Pacific Quest
Pacific Quest is an outdoor therapeutic program for struggling adolescents and young adults that offers a clinical, yet holistic, approach to treatment. Our neurodevelopmental approach, combined with horticultural therapy, integrates evidence-based therapeutic methods, whole-person wellness and organic gardening to sustain a healthy community and motivate change.
Many practitioners will be taking part in the opportunity to explore best and future practices at the upcoming Wilderness Therapy Symposium in Park City next month. One interesting area for continued growth was highlighted in a journal article co-authored by a group of notable past and present wilderness therapists in the Journal of Counseling and Development. As part of their longitudinal assessment of young adults having participated in wilderness therapy (Roberts, et. al., 2017), the study confirmed previous Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Council findings about the efficacy of wilderness programs in areas like psychosocial functioning, symptom reduction, etc. Researching practitioners like these professionals truly lend credence and credibility to the field and deserve our collective thanks.
Their research also highlights previous suggestions that some of the success in maintaining gains made in wilderness treatment may be due to the focus on relapse prevention and transition planning towards the end of participation. The authors at the same time acknowledge that there has been historical criticism about client gains being lost post-treatment in residential settings. However, the study gave encouraging results that even 18 months post-treatment, study participants were maintaining their successful gains.
Where wilderness “graduates” go after program completion can and does make a difference. The authors recommend further study for future assessment. Onward Transitions’ Clinical Director Darrell Fraize offers that in his anecdotal experience, wilderness therapy participants tend to identify their own strengths and capabilities that were either hidden or forgotten. “Clients tend to become more durable as they overcome pre-conceived limitations, and eventually some actual, historical limitations related to their mental health. They cope with stressors they cannot negotiate with like the weather, distance or elevation gain and loss. They build tolerance in delaying gratification, sustaining focus and simply following-through. They learn empathy and to put others’ needs ahead of their own, but doing this after exiting the wilderness can really be difficult to implement,” he adds.
Many programs teach and reinforce the Leave No Trace ethic, and yet post-treatment, many young adults struggle with the process of keeping their living spaces clean. They can recite the benefits, tell you why they have been able to do it in the past, but figuring out how to consistently do it on their own is a significant hurdle. Onward Transitions relies on its clinical team of Fraize, Austin Mehlhorn and Andy Derstine to utilize their wilderness backgrounds to help program members transition this and other backcountry skills into the front country.
With more than half of Onward Transitions’ current and past populations having wilderness therapy experience it makes sense to provide specific focus on this aspect of transition. “When in the backcountry, therapists have experience with both back and front country challenges. It makes sense to us that our therapists here in the front country have experience with both too,” adds Fraize. “We often find ourselves in sessions relating something that is happening now in the front country with an experience that the member had in the wilderness. A therapist having years of wilderness experience in the back pocket can really help in relating to the members’ struggle, and in identifying potential solutions.”
“Being able to sit with our members and help them recall that they have faced these types of challenges before and found solutions, often leads them to a greater sense of personal power and initiative.” Where wilderness therapy graduates transition to after program completion is determined by a multitude of factors (financial resources, clinical complexity, etc.) However, one factor that might benefit from future study is the efficacy of working with a former wilderness therapist, post-treatment. “As one member said to me after coming to Portland, ‘there’s getting it, and then there’s GETTING it’” Fraize recalled. “We have actually walked a mile in their shoes, or boots if you will.”
Roberts, S., et. al. (2017, January). Outdoor Behavioral Health Care: A Longitudinal Assessment of Young Adult Outcomes. Journal of Counseling & Development, 45-55.
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.
Summit Achievement has hired Beck Gee-Cohen (BGC consulting) as a consultant to help enhance their work with transgender and gender non-conforming clients. Beck, a presenter at the 2016 Gender Education DeMystification Syposium (GEMS) conference in Atlanta, is an expert in the field and an advocate for LGBTQ clients. As such, Beck has helped refine Summit Achievement's policies and practices to be as supportive and inclusive as possible in working with transgender and gender non-conforming clients. He conducted a dynamic training for Summit's direct care staff, worked with admissions, marketing, medical, leadership and clinical teams to refine the specifics and nuances of their work roles and best assure intentional, respectful practice.
Summit Achievement is uniquely set up to manage many of the logistical aspects with their Base Camp Adventure Therapy approach to Wilderness Therapy. The base camp has single occupancy bathrooms, mixed gender teams and a safe, supportive community. Please feel free to reach out to Summit Achievement's admissions department to talk about any specific cases or questions, Shannon Higgins, firstname.lastname@example.org
About Summit Achievement
Summit Achievement is, and always has been, guided by positive reinforcement and the power of choice. Our outcome-focused treatment program employs effective therapeutic and educational principals. Through the process of engaging therapy, classroom academics and exciting wilderness expeditions, students experience the therapeutic benefits of outdoor adventure-based activities while learning to manage the demands of a more traditional environment. As an intentionally small, owner-operated wilderness therapy program, we serve adolescent boys and girls, ages 13-20, from around the world.
PRN for Families is excited to announce that Charles Elias, the founder and director of PRN for Families, will be taking on a clinical role in the development and opening of BaMidBar Wilderness, a new outdoor behavioral healthcare program that is based on principles of Judaism.
“The close-knit nature of programs and referral sources in the parent choice behavioral healthcare industry often means that news of personnel and programmatic changes travels quickly, and the number of program closures in recent years also means that our collective antennae are on high alert as to what such announcements may really mean in terms of a program’s overall health and stability,” said Charles. “We wish to assure you that PRN for Families is in no danger of closing our doors, that the program has not been sold or acquired, and that the delivery of our customized, home-based family preservation services remains strong and available to families and clients who may benefit.”
Although he will be stepping back from a direct clinical role with new clients — with the exception of those with whom he is already committed to working — Charles will remain in the executive director role at PRN. In the coming months, PRN will be adding staff to build capacity and flexibility in recognition of a period of time in which Charles’s time will be stretched to accommodate his various responsibilities.
Over the past 14 years, PRN for Families has developed and maintained a reputation for customized programming, intensive provision of services, willingness to go above and beyond for clients, responsiveness and creativity in working with challenging and complex family systems. PRN for Families remains committed to providing families with the highest level of service, and to excellence in all aspects of our program delivery. If there are any questions about this transition, please contact Charles Elias directly at or at 970-923-2323.
About PRN for Families and Tracks by PRN
PRN for Families and Tracks by PRN are home and community-based support programs that serve families who have children or young adults who are struggling, or who may be reuniting following an out-of-home placement. Since 2003, PRN for Families has offered intensive at-home intervention, crisis support, transition and reunification services that empower and support families so that they may live together successfully and safely. Tracks by PRN offers concierge-level services for young adults who may require additional support in order to find success in their efforts to live independently.
Gail Curran, Educational Consultant with offices in Peoria and Tucson, has earned the highest designation as a Certified Educational Planner (CEP) by the American Institute of Certified Educational Planners (AIOCEP).
“Earning certification means achieving the highest standard available in the field of educational consulting,“ said Judith S. Bass, CEP Chair on the Commission for Credentialing. In addition to the designation, Ms. Curran pledges to continue her education through workshops and professional conferences, visiting institutions and striving to uphold rigorous ethical standards. “I work with human lives whose families are in crisis. It is important to me, as a life-long learner, to be the best at what I do," Curran stated.
With over 25 years of professional experience in education, clinical work and consulting, Ms. Curran has certainly proved herself as an accomplished professional and expert in the field of educational consulting. Her principal responsibilities involve matching a school or program that best meets the needs of the student. “Parents often surf the net for answers and talk to people over the phone that they do not know,” Curran said. "My service is personal and individualized. No two families are exactly alike. It's a big investment for families, getting it right the first time is critical," she said. Educational Consultants spend 30% of their time traveling throughout the United States to visit and evaluate dozens of schools each year.
First starting out as a primary child-care worker in a residential treatment facility for four years and then as a supervisor, assistant director, and director, as well as fundraiser, marketer, and admissions professional for over 25 years, Ms. Curran furthered her passion for helping families with struggling children very quickly. She joined the Independent Educational Consultants Association as an Associate Member in 2013 and earned Professional Membership in 2015.
Looking back, Gail attributes much of her success to hard work, determination, perseverance, and flexibility when striving to meet families' needs. For the future, she aspires to continue growing as a professional and making a difference in the world. She believes in contributing to society. Ms. Curran remains active as a board member for the West Valley Child Crisis Center where she presently services as Chair of the Development Committee.
About Optimal Edu Options
Optimal Edu Options is a full service educational and therapeutic consulting service for families with struggling children, adolescents, and young adults. It began in 2013 with services ranging from life coaching, mentoring and advising for young adults and placement services such as wilderness, boarding, therapeutic boarding, residential treatment and Gap Year, as well as college placements. Offices are located in Phoenix and Tucson, AZ while working with families regionally and nationally.
Several aspects of the psychiatric treatment program make Skyland Trail an effective and welcoming environment for LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Queer or Questioning) adults – including cisgender, transgender, agender, genderqueer, and gender questioning individuals – who are experiencing mental illness.
Foremost is the treatment philosophy of Skyland Trail. Patients are encouraged to define their own values and establish their own goals. The clinical team then helps each patient identify the best strategies for living a life true to their values, staying healthy, and achieving identified goals. Those strategies include an individualized mix of medications, stress management, skills building, nutrition and healthy living education, cognitive training and social skills development.
Some patients are comfortable with their gender identity, gender expression, and/or sexual orientation. That’s just part of who they are, and it’s not an issue. In that case, Skyland Trail will help the patient address the psychiatric symptoms and challenges that are causing them pain or disability, including anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, impulsivity, or self-harming behaviors while reaffirming their self identity.
Other patients may still be exploring their identity and how they express themselves in terms of gender or sexual orientation. They may be experiencing anxiety, depression, or other mental health symptoms as a result of that exploration, either from an internal conflict or from stress imposed by their environment - for example from their relationships or from barriers preventing them from participating fully in their community. We support these patients as they explore these questions. Skyland Trail helps them build skills to manage stress and conflict as well as the resilience needed to live the life they choose.
Another important element of our treatment program is our commitment to ongoing education and training for our clinical professionals. As needs are identified in the client population, the clinical team works to find the best evidence-based strategies to address those needs. Our clinical team has received training on supporting LGBTQQIAAP individuals and meeting therapeutic needs that may be unique. For example, Skyland Trail psychiatrists are comfortable and have experience managing medications and conducting psychotherapy with individuals who are also taking hormone therapy. The weekly schedule includes a group specifically for LGBTQQIAAP clients. Skyland Trail also has taken steps to make our facilities more welcoming, offering all-gender restrooms.
Beyond the relationship with individual patients, the holistic approach at Skyland Trail includes family therapy. Family therapy can be helpful for all patients, and may include therapy with biological family members or chosen family members. While in treatment, patients work hard to change their unhealthy thought and behavior patterns and adopt new perspectives and skills. If they return home to an environment that continues to reinforce the old unhealthy patterns, clients face a greater challenge in sustaining their recovery. Family therapy can help change the family dynamic and improve communication so that families can better support one another and prevent conflict and relapse.
Finally, Skyland Trail includes humanitarianism as a key element of our treatment program and healing community. For someone dealing with a mental illness, it can be difficult to shift your focus outside of yourself to instead focus on what you can do to help others or how you can contribute to your community. Skyland Trail emphasizes the importance of showing kindness and practicing empathy. This creates a welcoming community of peers for all of clients; they are met with empathy and acceptance. The focus on humanitarianism also is therapeutic. By practicing empathy and engaging in purposeful activities, patients help redefine their place in their world and discover the value they add to their communities.
Skyland Trail offers expert psychiatric care and a holistic path to wellness. Each week, patients participate in a structured schedule of evidence-based therapeutic groups matched to their diagnosis and symptoms, as well as groups focused on creative expression, healthy living, social skills, and community engagement. No matter where patients view themselves on a spectrum of gender or sexual orientation, if they are struggling with mental illness, Skyland Trail can help them grow, recover and live a life worth living.
Pure Life Adventure is excited to announce Janna Dean, LCSW as the Clinical Director of our young adult adventure therapy program based in Costa Rica.
Janna graduated with an MSW from the University of Utah in 2003 and earned her LCSW in 2006. Janna is currently a licensed clinical social worker and has extensive expertise with the young adult population. Her experience includes working with both males and females suffering from depression, anxiety, trauma issues, eating disorders, substance abuse and dependence, and self-harm. Janna prefers to use an integrated treatment approach that includes a focus on mindfulness, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, In Vivo therapy, Family Systems and Smart Recovery methodology.
Janna has been working with Pure Life Adventure for the last two years as a Wilderness Therapist. She has loved making a home for her family in the rainforest of Costa Rica. Janna and Pure Life are excited for her to take on this new role to ensure quality therapeutic care for all of Pure Life clients.
About Pure Life Adventure
Pure Life Adventures is located in the Central Pacific region of beautiful Costa Rica. Relying on decades of experience in the Costa Rican outdoor industry, our bicultural team provides a therapeutically sophisticated and holistic approach to helping young adults with depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, lack of motivation, executive function deficits, trauma and substance abuse. Our students are individuals with very real challenges looking for lasting change. Pure Life utilizes traditional individual and group therapy in combination with outdoor experiential learning and adventure. Our integrated and dynamic approach includes an emphasis on fitness, mindfulness, life skills and cultural immersion.
Solstice East is excited to announce the 5th team of students started on July 10th. Solstice East prides itself on their small team environment of 12 students, with two dedicated therapists per team. Therapists hold a case load of 6 students total, which helps to dedicate the time needed to their caseload. Also in that small team of 12 is a set of staff that is also solely assigned to their team, which helps to maintain individualized needs for each student.
With this addition of a 5th team, Solstice East will have a capacity for 60 students, but is growing that team steadily and intentionally, as to not affect the current milieu. There are two teams who are assigned to live in the previous Asheville Academy dorm, and there are three teams that live in the original lodge. Having this space dedicated to the Solstice East students has been extremely beneficial for their students living environment.
Rick Pollard, Executive Director at Solstice East said, “With the acquisition of the new building, we are excited to be able to offer our services to more families and maintain our small 12 person team environment. We love working with these families and are grateful to be able to work with many more.”
All of the teams in the Solstice Programs are named after the seasons Spring, Summer, Winter and Autumn. After the leadership team narrowed it down to about five options, the students were able to vote and pick the name for the new team. The name that the students chose was Terra, which is the latin word for Earth. They felt it would be a good name to encompass all of the seasons.
Solstice West is excited to announce the addition of Ally Jackson to their Admissions Team. She will be working closely with Jenn McMurry, Admissions Director at Solstice West.
Ally joined Solstice after spending the past five years working in admissions roles in residential treatment centers and wilderness programs. Ally graduated from Utah Valley University with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She has four years’ experience as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for abused and neglected children. Ally loves working in admissions because she is passionate about connecting with families and helping them find hope during a time of crisis. She understands the importance of finding the right program for each family and child, and is happy to offer her support and guidance throughout this process.
About Solstice West RTC Solstice West RTC was founded in 2008 in Layton, UT. We serve females and transgender students aged 14-18 as a licensed residential treatment center focusing on complex diagnoses while using our clinicians' deep understanding of Trauma Based Therapy. As a clinically focused treatment provider, our clients receive individual, group and family therapy in conjunction with a variety of treatment modalities like Adventure Therapy and Equine Therapy program. All the different treatment modalities offered assist clients in learning new skills kinesthetically and get to their core problems quicker.
Jen Rapp Sheridan joins Jen Murphy, LPC and Hilary Moses, LCSW providing parent support and coaching with Solutions Parenting Support, LLC. Jen has been working with adolescents and their family's since 2001 both as a field instructor and a licensed therapist in wilderness therapy and residential treatment programs. Jen has spent the last several years as a parent coach for Second Nature 360 while also maintaining a caseload as team therapist for Gateway Academy (UT) working with adolescent boys and their parents. Solutions Parenting Support is excited to have Jen join the team as they continue to support parents who either have a child in treatment or are transitioning from treatment. "Jen Rapp Sheridan has been in this industry for many years supporting parents while directly providing services to their adolescent children. Her additional work as a parent coach over the last several years will add experience and breath as Solutions Parenting Support expands to support parents around the country and globe," said Jen Murphy, co-founder and parent coach.
About Solutions Parenting Support
Solutions Parenting Support, LLC, Parent Coaching and Transitional Support started in 2012 by owners Jen Murphy, LPC and Hilary Moses, LCSW, with the goal to provide more clinical, practical and educational support to parents during their child's therapeutic experience and during the transitional period. Solutions Parenting Support offers individual phone support sessions for families around the globe and provides personalized online parent support courses.
New Haven Residential Treatment Center believes that family involvement during treatment is key to long term success and recovery. New Haven requires heavy family involvement during treatment. The families who enroll at the RTC participate in weekly family therapy sessions, and families spend several weekends at the Treatment Center, participating in intensive therapy with their daughters. No matter the need that brings a student to New Haven, be it depression, anxiety, substance, trauma or eating disorder, each family is best served if treatment is addressed systemically as a whole family.
During each student's stay at New Haven, New Haven utilizes the Adaptive Family Systems Model to address the roles and narratives that exist within each family. Although each girl and her family are different, every family passes milestones that are common to all families. The decision to have a child and expand the family is one example of a milestone. Other milestones happen as each child progresses-learning to walk and talk, attending school, and down the road that child will leave the home. These milestones are not unique, but their impact on each family is, and the Adaptive Family Systems Model provides a lens through which one can view the family, their history and their trajectory. Understanding the system from which each student comes from is imperative to lasting healing.
It is common for a family to come to New Haven when one of these transition periods has not been very smooth, or complete. Sometimes families get stuck in roles that are no longer appropriate for their stage in life. Other times a trauma has occurred that makes moving forward seem impossible. In working with students who have experienced trauma, the Adaptive Family Systems Model becomes particularly beneficial. Not only is the experience behind a trauma complex to the sufferer, but each member of the family will develop a relationship with the trauma. Trauma will disrupt a healthy family system, even when all of the details have not been disclosed; parents worry for the well-being of their daughter and siblings feel they lose their sister or that they are incapable of helping her.
Healing can only be found as each family member makes peace with the impact the trauma has had on their family. As the family works together through the therapeutic process they are able to get back on track and return to healthy adaptive patterns that will move a family forward, rather than the maladaptive behaviors that brought the family into treatment. The goal for each family at New Haven is to achieve Interdependence, a space to accomplish the vision where every young woman makes peace with her past, thrives in the present, and creates a hopeful future, hand-in-hand with the support of her family.
About New Haven RTC
Founded in 1995, New Haven Residential Treatment Center has been an industry leader in treatment for young women since its inception. We serve adolescent females, ages 12-18. New Haven is clinically intensive with an emphasis on family involvement, healthy relationships, academics, love and service. New Haven is a fully licensed professional Residential Treatment Center, located in rural Utah, just south of Salt Lake City.
With Williams House at Lindner Center of HOPE's diagnostic expertise and specialized track for adolescents suffering with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), the treatment team has encountered a number of Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcus (PANDAS)/Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (PANS) cases in the diagnostic process.
PANDAS is the sudden, rapid-onset of obsessive-compulsive behavior, as well as possible movement and behavioral abnormalities, following a Streptococcus pyogenes (Group A Strep) infection. The condition is thought to be the result of autoimmune antibodies mistakenly attacking an area of the brain, the basal ganglia, rather the intended infectious agent.
However, research indicates that Streptococcus pyogenes is not the only infectious agent to cause these sudden onset symptoms. In PANS, similar symptoms present due to other infectious agents, such as mycoplasma, mononucleosis, Lyme disease and the H1N1 flu virus. PANS can also include onset from environmental triggers or immune dysfunction.
Given the OCD-like symptoms of PANDAS and PANS, families often seek help in psychiatric settings like Williams House.
OCD-like symptoms include obsessions such as:
- Fears of contamination
- Pathological doubt
- Unwanted thoughts
- The need for symmetry, order and precision
And compulsions such as:
- Excessive checking
- Excessive cleaning
- Ordering and arranging
- Mental compulsions
In addition to OCD symptoms, PANDAS/PANS-specific symptoms may include:
- Severe separation anxiety
- Disordered eating
- Urinary frequency
- Tics and/or purposeless motor movements
- Acute handwriting difficulty
Identifying PANDAS/PANS starts with the most noticeable criteria -- the abrupt, dramatic onset of OCD symptoms, either observed by clinicians or reported by parents. The next step is testing for active infections, especially strep. If the patient has both the acute-onset OCD symptoms and active infection, it may be PANDAS/PANS.
Treating PANDAS/PANS varies by the needs of the child. Prescriptions may include antibiotics, anti-virals or even steroids. Intravenous Immunoglobulin (IVIG) may also be recommended in some severe cases. Treating PANDAS/PANS also includes OCD therapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and exposure and response prevention (ERP).
Even with treatment, symptoms may return, so surveillance is necessary. All family members must also be tested and treated to ensure the infection is eliminated from the home.
Additional resources include:
About Lindner Center
Lindner Center of HOPE in Mason, Ohio is a comprehensive mental health center providing excellent, patient-centered, scientifically-advanced care for individuals suffering with mental illness. A state-of-the-science, mental health center and charter member of the National Network of Depression Centers, the Center provides psychiatric hospitalization and partial hospitalization for individuals age 12-years-old and older, outpatient services for all ages, diagnostic and short-term residential services for adults and adolescents, outpatient services for substance abuse through HOPE Center North location and co-occurring disorders for adults and research. The Center is enhanced by its partnership with UC Health as its clinicians are ranked among the best providers locally, nationally and internationally. Together Lindner Center of HOPE and UC Health offer a true system of mental health care in the Greater Cincinnati area and across the country. The Center is also affiliated with the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine.
BlueSky Behavioral Health of Danbury, Connecticut, is excited to announce the launch of its new redesigned website at BlueSkyRecovery.com. The new site describes in detail our mental health and substance abuse programming and how they are integrated with our transitional living component.
Watch the site for new bi-weekly posts from one of our Life Coaches, Kate Connolly, about the sense of fulfillment from working with the clients every day and seeing them learn during their treatment. Click on our new Contact Us page to keep up to date on all BlueSky Behaviorial Health webinars and events.
BlueSky Behaviorial Health
BlueSky Behavioral Health was founded in 2012 with the mission to transition clients of all ages from the mental disorders and substances that had taken over their lives to a fulfilling, independent lifestyle. BlueSky's CARF accredited clinic and residential alternative housing serves over 200 clients yearly from across the country, giving them 24/7 support as they learn the clinical and life skills needed to take control of their diagnoses or addictions over the course of their two to six month stay.
About Sedona Sky Academy
Located just outside Sedona, Arizona, Sedona Sky Academy is a fully licensed and accredited residential treatment center serving adolescent girls ages 13-18 who may be experiencing family or peer conflict, academic failure, self-esteem issues, drug or alcohol use, and more. With 30 acres set in idyllic year-round weather, program highlights include a world-class horsemanship program, competitive athletics, rigorous college-prep academics and SAT and ACT scores above the national average, and outstanding family workshops and peer mentorship programs. For questions please contact, Tammy Behrmann Owner/Founder, 928-567-1322 ; email@example.com