All Kinds of News for June 07, 2017
How do you get a young teen girl to change, to love herself, to accept love and support? At Moonridge Academy, a small residential treatment center that specifically caters to the needs of younger girls ages 11-15, this change often occurs as students participate in weekly outdoor adventure activities. Moonridge Academy excels at disguising life-changing and often painful work as having a great time. Moonridge Academy’s philosophy is that the more a young teen girl plays, explores, builds mastery, connects with nature and others, the more open she will be to making those adjustments towards a healthier, more balanced life.
Moonridge Academy formally provides outdoor adventure therapy activities all day every Wednesday. Adventure therapy experiences include, but are not limited to hiking, kayaking, climbing and rappelling in the summer. Winter activities include downhill skiing, snowboarding, cross country skiing and snowshoeing. Wednesday activities might also include volunteering at Best Friends Pet Sanctuary or competing in an engineering fair. All adventure activities are carefully designed to provide a therapeutic experience or teach a new interpersonal skill. To further enhance the Adventure Therapy component of the Moonridge Academy program, students also set off on a 3-day expedition once per month. In 2017, Adventure Expeditions will include trips to Goblin Valley, Escalante Grand Staircase, Bryce Canyon and Lake Powell. In July 2017, students will spend time whitewater rafting on the Colorado River just outside of Moab, UT.
The clinical team at Moonridge Academy has said more than once that the best breakthroughs and therapy rarely happen on a couch. A student’s individual therapist accompanies her on every Wednesday activity and each 3-day trip. The therapist ensures that the adventure therapy experience meets a student’s specific clinical needs. The true moments of change have been seen while hiking in the rain, laughing with friends in a raft or facing fears as a young teen girl rock climbs higher than she's ever gone before. Unlike many programs, a student’s eligibility and invitation to participate in adventure therapy events does not depend on securing a high status in the program. It starts the first day a teen arrives at Moonridge Academy. Girls are immediately immersed in being active and experiencing new things. Recently as one of students finished a water hike in Red Cliffs Recreation Area, she told her therapist, “This is the happiest I have been in over a year! I finally accomplished something I can be proud of.”
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.
This month, two skilled clinicans join the clinical team to assist SUWS of the Carolinas to further the mission of providing safe, and clinically driven, wilderness therapy programming to the clients and their families.
- Melissa Villodas, LPC joins the SUWS team as the Primary Field Supervisor for the adolescent female group. Her group is called group Luna. Luna serves young girls ages 14-17 years of age. Melissa's client base may be experiencing issues associated with attachment, trauma, conflicted family relationships, body image, identity, self-harm and relational struggles. Melissa's experience supporting families and adolescents struggling with a variety of symptoms related to attachment and trauma make her an excellent fit. Melissa has specialized training in Family Centered Treatment, EMDR and Trauma focused CBT. Melissa uses a family systems approach to support families and girls to create healthy connections. She believes in the power of experiential, “in the moment” intervention which creates self-awareness and understanding through mindfulness and peer connection. She is passionate about empowering young women to discover their inner beauty and reach greatness.
- Erica Thiessen House, LPC, becomes a member of the SUWS clinical team the 13th of June. Erica completed her Master’s Degree at Antioch New England University. She is a licensed professional counselor in North Carolina, Georgia and California. Erica will be in the coed Seasons group, ages 10-14. Erica has expansive experience in various roles as a clinical director, community based clinician in public schools and both lead peer group counselor and wilderness therapy counselor. Erica’s therapeutic specialties are in anxiety, grief, depression, change and transition, identity development, learning difficulties, trauma recovery, issues of adoption, and family systems. Erica also enjoys visiting her group with her therapy dog, Sierra.
About SUWS of the Carolinas
SUWS 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. For questions, please contact Director of Business Development Kelly Dunbar: email@example.com
To help ensure that Mountain Valley’s family therapy and family education curriculum is comprehensive and integrated with the clinical curriculum, Mountain Valley Treatment Center (MVTC) is now collaborating with the highly respected transition support and aftercare provider, Homeward Bound, employing their Not by Chance™ program. Homeward Bound provides a family education curriculum tailored to parents’ needs and is delivered via a subscription-based online platform called Family Bridge. All MVTC families are provided a free subscription upon enrollment. Family Bridge includes the relevant parenting support content from Homeward Bound and the Mountain Valley parent education curriculum.
In addition to providing online access to educational content, Family Bridge also allows parents to see pictures of their son/daughter and receive updates from Mountain Valley in a secure and easy-to-navigate format. Mountain Valley therapists can supplement the psycho-education on 'family accommodation of anxiety' with prescribed assignments from Family Bridge. While the partnership is relatively new, feedback from families has been overwhelmingly positive and the collaborative nature of the relationship between MVTC and Homeward Bound is refreshing.
Of the approximately 60% of MVTC residents who return home after their 90 days of treatment, Homeward Bound also offers their optional in-home transition support and coaching services. Homeward Bound’s masters and doctoral level transition coaches provide an important ingredient to the discharge plan, supporting the team of providers residents and families have in place after leaving MVTC and thus help ensure positive outcomes for residents.
The famed dictionary publisher Miriam Webster reported the use of the verb “adulting” is up 700% in the last year, which can be directly linked the increase in searches for therapeutic programs that work with emerging adults. On the surface, the word refers to taking responsibility for one’s own life, as well as the ability to deal with the tedium and details of adult life in general.
On June 2, 2017, Living Well Transitions Executive Director Carl Baccellieri presented to a full room at the National Association for Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP), Utah Regional Conference, in Layton, UT. Baccellieri’s presentation, The ACT of Adulting: Showing Up for Life, explored the art of living a life that aligns with one’s established goals and values.
Through the philosophical lens of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Baccellieri outlined the cognitive, behavioral and emotional challenges that get in the way of true adulting, and explored the cycle of shame that results from pervasive experience avoidance.
Baccellieri went on to explain an approach that offers emerging adults an alternative to the all-too-common trap of attempting to “not adult today.” Baccellieri said, “As emerging adults learn to open to their experience as it is, without the attempt to control it, they paradoxically develop the psychological flexibility to move in the direction of what they truly care about.” This, he went on to say, is the foundation for the kind of experience that leads to living a life of meaning, connection and love. “Adulting isn’t so bad, after all,” Baccellieri said.
About Living Well Transitions
Living Well Transitions, in Boulder, CO, has been treating young adults like young adults since 2004, by offering intensive individual and group therapy along with life skills counseling to young adults ages 18-32 in a real-world, independent living environment. Living Well helps clients struggle less by developing self-acceptance, values clarity and the courage to take action, no matter the circumstance, so they can lead purposeful lives in alignment with their core values.
Every summer the mountains of Western North Carolina welcome fireflies to the area, much like many other locations in the United States. The mountains, however, welcome a rare breed of fireflies that appear in several of the National Forest areas. They are known as the 'Blue Ghost Fireflies". The difference between the most well known fireflies and the Blue Ghost fireflies is the colors they illumnate the night with. These fireflies will glow in shades of both blue and green, and can glow for up to a minute. It is shared that the best place to view these fireflies is deep within the Appalachain forests, with spongy, leafy bottoms and nearby streams.
Scientists struggle with studying these fireflies because their appearance is so rare and limited to certain times within the summer. These fireflies make their appearance after sunset and are very hard to capture on camera, there are also a number of legends surrounding their origins. Red Oak Recovery recently planned a special weekend trip to the specific locations where these fireflies have been viewed, in hopes that staff and clients would be able to experience this phenomenon.
Red Oak Recovery's Adventure Program Manager, Nathan Gazaway, shared his personal experience with the Blue Ghost fireflies:
"It was a quiet summer night in the Trace Ridge area of the Pisgah National Forest and the group was just settling in for the evening. Just as the sun was setting, the group was introduced to a topic and were engaged in conversation, focused on the campfire that burned before them. Just as the group reached a focal point, we noticed that everyone's attention had shifted to something outside of the fire light. The forest and streams had become alive with the most vivid blue specs of light I had ever seen in the natural world. The blue ghost fireflies seemed to move to a song unheard, or perhaps, disregarded by humanity. This amazing array of lights existed with no input or interference by my hand. The fact that someting so remarkable could occur completely independent of me humbled my enormous ego and, for the first time in years, I could see the beauty in an imperfect world and in an imperfect life. In an imperfect situation, on an imperfect camping trip. Amongst a blue glow, I rolled out my pad to sleep and felt content. "
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.
The Rocky Mountain Regional National Assocation of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP) conference will he held in Whitefish, MT at the beautiful Grouse Mountain Lodge, on June 22 and 23, 2017. This conference is an annual event bringing varying types of treatment programs, wilderness therapy programs, referring professionals/educational consultants, and other professionals from the treatment and recovery field together to learn, discuss new ideas and debate current topics of the Family Choice Behaviorial Healthcare Industry. The theme this year is "All in the Family: Treating the Whole System." The keynote address will be given by Rick Johnson MSW, author and co-founder of Summit Prep School. The title of his talk is "The Parallel Journey: A Developmental Approach to Working with Parents." During his sessions, Rick will share practical ways to engage parents and promote healthy change in the family. There are several great breakout sessions and planned opportunities to network.
Rick has decades of experience working with families. In his book, An Upward Spiral: A Developmental Approach to Parenting Your Teen, Rick shares practical and helpful suggestions for parents as they work to develop positive communication with their teens. Rick shares stories of his own challenges with parenting his two daughters and throughout the book there are light humored drawings to help bring home a point in the world of parent/teen communications and perceptions.
About Summit Prep
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.
Giving back to the community is an integral part of the AIM House program. In the beginning of every participant's program, they are asked to be a part of community service at AIM House. With service opportunities 2-3 times a week, participants can choose what kind of projects they want to participate in, from building a community garden, to trail restoration in the mountains, to reading to the elderly in the local community. On top of their weekly service opportunities, participants also take part in a personal community service project of their own choosing. Since the beginning of 2017, the Castle Program at AIM House has accumulated over 680 community service hours within the local community, not including individual service projects. Our aim is to invigorate our participants with enthusiasm to help and become a larger part of the Boulder community through the lens of volunteering.
"When it comes to recovery and community service, service to others is really where healing begins and I think that's why it's especially important in a therapeutic program. I've seen multiple times where participants come through the program who feel like they have nothing to give and might feel like everything is falling apart around them, but then realize that they still have something to give to someone else. I've seen the empowerment that happens when participants are volunteering," says Cat Carranza, the lead mentor that runs the community service program at AIM House.
Not only does this kind of work add to the greater good of our local mountain town but it gives participants a sense of purpose in becoming caretakers of their community. By giving their time to people and organizations that need the help, the AIM community grows stronger and healthier with each service project.
About AIM HouseAIM 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, offers a bi-annual expedition which brings the classroom environment outdoors. By incorporating academic programming into recreational activities, students experience a hands-on learning environment while gaining valuable life skills.
In the past, these outdoor classroom trips have ranged from rock climbing and learning about physics in Idaho’s City of Rocks, to hiking and learning about art in the national parks near Moab, Utah.
On a previous trip to the City of Rocks in Idaho, students took part in physics lessons while simultaneously learning how to rock climb.
“Some students struggled in physics classes prior to the trip,” comments Jonathan Griffith, Director of Recreation and Experiential Education. “However, when there was an application aspect to physics lessons, students wanted to understand every detail of what they were doing. For example, they would be excited to calculate how far they would have to fall to break the system or how much force would be applied to a particular anchor. When students begin to have fun while learning, it changes their investment in the curriculum and activities.”
During the most recent outdoor classroom expedition, students paddled through Labryinth Canyon on the Green River in Utah.
“This Spring, students studied art and natural history in relation to the natural wonders they experienced while learning to paddle,” says Joe Ballent, a member of the Outdoor Recreation Staff at Elevations. “Students worked together as a team to coordinate paddlestrokes and navigate the rushing waters of the river. After the trip was over, I had several students express feelings of accomplishment from traveling farther under their own power in a few days than they thought possible.”
Over the week students spent in Labryinth Canyon, they participated in an art project based on their surroundings.
“The project was simple, paint without paint! The materials for ‘Project Surroundings’ consisted of a 12x12 wooden panel, clear medium, and any natural pigment they could get their hands on,” says Johnny Tanner, art teacher at Elevations RTC. “The students not only looked around for inspiration, but for literal objects and matter that would become their painting. The goal was to help the students absorb every beautiful and powerful visual in their surrounding as they glorified where their feet were. Real learning happened as we took the textbooks away and placed the students in the ‘real textbook’.”
Outdoor classrooms make it easy for instructors at Elevations to illustrate a point. Instead of relying purely on concepts or images, students are immersed in a learning environment they would not get to experience in a traditional classroom. Students can take the skills learned in outdoor classroom experiences and utilize them in the “real world” after they graduate.
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 located in Utah and provides specialized, clinically intensive programs to struggling teens.
ViewPoint Center believes that art can be an extremely powerful tool for boosting self-confidence and improving one's work ethic. Daily one-hour Art classes are held four days each week at Viewpoint, headed up by Nate Pack, a teacher at the ViewPoint Center. Nate has experience in the art world professionally for two decades. His illustrations have been published in numerous magazines and his paintings have been shown in a variety of venues. Pack discusses his experience as an art teacher at ViewPoint Center:
Learning about art is just as important as the other subjects students learn in school. And in a treatment and assessment environment, art is an opportunity to access teens who have difficulty expressing themselves via other forms of communication; these newly successful students can feel more confident in themselves.
Recently, Nate had a student tell him that he couldn’t do art. Nate told him that "everyone can do art, but some people don’t like the way their art turns out. Just like any subject, you need to push yourself and work hard to see improvements." If students begin to see growth, they start to feel better about their abilities. This newfound confidence can translate into other areas of life.
During these art classes, students offer constructive criticism to each other. Nate believes this to be one of the most important parts of the process. A student seeing their own work through another’s eyes can help identify much needed improvements that otherwise would remain invisible.
During this critique, students discuss the ways in which their creations relate back to their own struggles. This ties art classes back to the clinical work students do with the therapeutic team. It is important to remember that no one is born a great artist. Everyone, even people who are naturally skilled at art, can improve.
About ViewPoint Center
ViewPoint Center, a mental health assessment center for teens ages 12-17, is located just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. With a program lasting 6-7 weeks, ViewPoint Center provides superior assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and stabilization for teens struggling with mental and behavioral issues such as suicidal ideation, anxiety disorders, and eating disorders. In a safe, personalized environment, ViewPoint helps teens focus on the healing process.
Evoke Cascades is excited to announce that Lauren Roberts, LPC, has joined the team as their new therapist. Lauren is a Licensed Professional Counselor with a Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling. Lauren has been working in the mental health field since 2005 in a variety of therapeutic roles. She worked with both adolescents and young adults at Evoke Entrada in southern Utah for 9 years.
Lauren's approach to working with clients is diverse and individualized to best meet the needs of each client. Her approach to therapy is similar to her approach to life – straightforward and compassionate. Lauren’s strength lies in creating a safe environment where clients explore underlying patterns and insecurities and begin to live out of place of healing.
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. 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.
Turn-About Ranch involves parents in the therapeutic process throughout the program. As each child progresses through the program, it is essential that parents do their part. It is true, the transition home is harder than the treatment itself. There are many essential things parents need to do in order to help their child maintain the changes made in treatment. The following are 3 critical items no parent should overlook.
Purpose: Helping your child find a new focus and purpose that replaces their past focus on technology and friends and whatever else brought them into treatment. It’s great to be sober but if that’s all you’re doing, it won’t last. Help your teen explore hobbies, job opportunities, interests and volunteering or job shadowing to help them find something they are excited about doing. This purposeful activity should be one that helps them grow, feel significant, contribute, and happens more than once a week so it fills a time slot that would help keep them busy and out of trouble. Ask friends and associates (home team members) if they have ideas, contacts that may create an opportunity for your teen.
Relationship: Don’t forget to nurture your relationship. The key reason teens will follow the home contract and rules that it contains is because they care what you think. So help them continue to care. Remember the three areas that give you the biggest relationship “bang for your buck” are:
- Do something in their love language (Physical Touch, Quality Time, Service, Gifts, or Words of Affirmation) Do it when they least expect it- when they have disappointed you or the relationship needs repair
- Do something Surprising! Respond in a way that is out of character for you or participate in something they enjoy that they would never expect you to join in on. Ask them to sit down with you and have a bowl of ice cream with you and tell you about their night (even if they were 15 minutes late - save the lecture and let the consequence be the teacher.
- Make them the expert: Ask your teen to help you do something that they are better at. Ask their advice on a new hair style, or to show you how to change the oil in your car. Even better if it is something they learned on the ranch.
Communicate: Talk to each other! Do it often and in short increments. Don’t wear them out by long drawn out conversations. Consider timing. When your teen is in the middle of their favorite video game, shutting off the electronic device and asking them to join a conversation almost guarantees that the conversation is not going to go well. Remember the 4 horsemen and how damaging they can be to open and honest conversations. Model taking responsibility for mistakes and apologize if needed.
About Turn-About Ranch
Turn-About Ranch is a wilderness therapy and residential treatment program located in the heart of Southern Utah’s canyon country. Students experience life on a real working ranch while undergoing treatment to improve their life back home. Surrounded by multiple national parks and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Turn-About Ranch is the ideal location for youth of today to have the space they need to find healing and purpose.
New Vision Wilderness in Medford, Wisconsin began accepting preteens, 10-12 years of age for their group named Sasquatch. According to lead therapist Nicole Prescott, MA., LCPC, "the group creates emotional regulation through safety, reliable care-giving, trauma exploration, spontaneous play and developmentally sensitive experiences". This is a small, individualized group, where each student receives a specific developmentally appropriate treatment plan. Families can view the introductory video here.
Why New Vision Wilderness?
For more than ten years, New Vision Wilderness (NVW) has set industry benchmarks in therapeutic outdoor programming for safety and clinical innovation and is nationally recognized for specialized intervention and relational model therapy for childhood trauma and attachement. NVW provides an unparalleled wilderness experience in a compassionate environment and offers a unique and proprietary treatment (CASA) approach.
Preteen Programming Includes
- Developmentally focused for the needs of 10-12-year-olds.
- Evidence-based clinical interventions include Brainspotting, Dyadic Developmetal Psychotherapy and Neurotherapies.
- Trauma informed care.
- Attachment focused modalities.
- Adapted Canine Therapy.
- Parallel Play with unconditional acceptance.
- Focused sensory integration experiences and integrated movement
- Neurobiological regulation.
- Family-focused therapy.
- Alumni Services
About New Vision Wilderness
New Vision Wilderness (NVW) is a proud member of a unique organization comprised of an extraordinary family of programs, all dedicated to healing the effects of early childhood trauma. New Vision Wilderness offers intensive, short-term outdoor programs all focused on cutting edge, trauma-based interventions that deliver immediate impact. All Calo Programs implement 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 establishing, deepening and maintaining healthy and safe relationships that ultimately lead to co-regulation and Joy. Calo exists to Profoundly Change Lives and Create Joy. To learn more contact Thomas A. Ahern, MA at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The expert-designed, informed and facilitated program known as UNPLUGGED at Outback Therapeutic Expeditions was recently featured on an episode of 20/20 on ABC. This episode, on the effects of teen internet and gaming addiction, highlights the serious impacts of excessive use of technology associated with behavioral, psychological or developmental challenges for some teens. Often daily engagement with internet and electronics inhibits sleep, decreases academic performance, disrupts personal hygiene and disintegrates relationships with family and friends due to isolation. This destructive dependence on electronics becomes evident and families find themselves in search for various internet addiction treatment options.
Outback Therapeutic Expeditions recognizes the severity of technology addiction, the negative impacts on everyday life, and the strain created within relationships between family and friends. UNPLUGGED offers a unique and effective treatment approach for teens struggling with technology addiction by combining video games therapy, internet addiction therapy and electronic addictions treatment with the wilderness experience. Addressing this issue head on through identification of underlying contributors of addictive patterns, diagnostic factors, and systemic contributors, Outback Therapeutic Expedition’s UNPLUGGED program helps your teen unplug and get back on the right track.
To catch the rebroadcast of the original episode featuring UNPLUGGED on 20/20, please tune into ABC on Friday, June 9th after the NBA finals game.
About Outback Therapeutic Expeditions
Outback Therapeutic Expeditions is a licensed wilderness therapy program located in Utah that offers an integrative approach to comprehensive assessments and treatment for teens. Outback offers help for troubled teens ages 13-17. Outback supports teens with various areas of difficulties, such as depression, anxiety, trauma, 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.
Dragonfly Transitions is excited to welcome Kalia Feldman-Klein, MS as a therapist for Dragonfly's Ashland Campus. Kalia engages with clients from a humanistic approach and works from a trauma-informed care perspective. She frequently employs Internal Family Systems and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and strives to build a nurturing therapeutic alliance founded on genuineness, compassion and empathy. Prior to joining Dragonfly, she developed clinical experience in community mental health settings and at the SOU Student Health and Wellness Center.
Kalia grew up in California and lived in New York and Colorado before making her home in Ashland. In her undergraduate studies at Bard College, she double majored in Religious Studies and Dance, with a concentration in Environmental Studies. After spending time working on organic farms and leading youth in wilderness travel and environmental conservation projects, Kalia realized her true passion was working closely with people, and she returned to school to get her Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Southern Oregon University.
Kalia loves experiencing new places and cultures and has traveled extensively in Europe, Asia, and Central and South America. In her free time, Kalia enjoys gardening, skiing, doing yoga, dancing, and spending time adventuring throughout Southern Oregon with her dog and family.
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.
Benchmark Transitions has recently added the very latest innovation in addiction and behavioral health treatment to our program. We are pleased to offer our clients BioSound Therapy with our new Serenity Lounge.
The Serenity Lounge utilizes state of the art technology and the latest research in holistic addiction and behavioral health treatment modalities, assisting our young adult clients with managing their anxiety, depression and fear during treatment. Benchmark's Serenty BioLounge is a vibrational platform system, constructed with memory foam and integrated audio and visual system, utilizing music and low frequency tones and beats that are synchronized to help the client relax. The frequencies and music therapy system help bring the client to a meditative state, which generally takes approximately 15 mintues to achieve.
The guided imagery selections are designed to address issues such as guilt, fear, shame, anger and trauma, associated with the issues that many clients are facing during treatment at Benchmark Transitions. An inspriational video is then played for the client to complete their session, helping synchronize the balance of the brain, heart and nervous system, creating physiological coherence, known as "being in the zone."
The BioSound Therapy System is helping reduce early discharges, as well. When a young adult client is frustrated with the treatment process and threatening to leave, the Serenity Lounge provides an ideal intervention opportunity to "take a break" from the stressful situation, allowing for the positive results to support on-going treatment.
Benchmark Transitions offers the BioSound Therapy System during our 90 day Extended Care and Transitional Living program. Sessions can be as often as needed and will typically take place over the full course of the 90 day program. The BioSound Therapy System is typically billable to insurance, helping make this accessible to fit our clients' needs.
About Benchmark Transitions
Benchmark Transitions is a comprehensive multi-disciplinary approach to residential extended care and transitional living for young adults, offering a full continuum of programs including sub-acute detoxification, primary residential treament, extended care, transitional living and independent living services.
Trails Carolina, a wilderness therapy program for teens ages 10-17, helps students rebuild confidence in the classroom by providing accommodations for individualized academic challenges. At Trails, students cycle through periods spent in the wilderness and on base camp. During their time at base camp, teens spend some of their time participating in academic programming within a traditional classroom setting. Academic staff work closely with students to address problems in the classroom. During the summer months, this can help students make the changes necessary to start the school year on the right track.
Trails Carolina Academic Director Dave Rollins holds a Masters Degree in teaching from Western Oregon University with an endorsement in Special Education from Concordia University. A large portion of his professional experience has included working with students dealing with emotional and behavioral issues. As a special education teacher, he is able to provide a unique perspective for evaluating student's individual learning differences during their time at Trails.
“We generally have quite a few students who have fallen behind in school or who have not been going to school due to learning differences,” comments Rollins. “Trails helps reintegrate these students into the classroom. Once they are in the classroom, we can begin to evaluate their specific academic needs and make accommodations based on what we see.”
Trails works with a wide range of students who have experienced different levels of academic success in the past.
“On the other side of the spectrum, there are also many students who do extremely well in school,” says Rollins. “For these students, the stress of feeling like they need to receive perfect grades and test scores can become too much. Our program allows these students to slow down and figure out their priorities.”
Throughout the program, students build confidence and gain skills that can translate back into the classroom setting upon graduation from Trails.
“The dedicated and passionate staff at our program provide the support and individualized attention students might have difficulty finding in their school back home,” says Rollins. “If a student is doing poorly in the classroom at Trails or acts out during class, we look for the underlying challenges causing the behavior and work towards a solution.”
Trails provides a safe, nurturing environment for students to feel more comfortable in the classroom and begin working towards a brighter, happier future.
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.
College Excel, the nation's leading residential college support program, is pleased to announce the following:
- Currently enrolling for Fall 2017, which begins on Monday, September 20, 2017
- Join us early for Exploregon, a packed five-day tour of Western Oregon
- New programming being offered this Fall: Athena, a Women’s Empowerment Program
- Focused process groups include "Wilderness Therapy to College"
College Excel, a coaching-based college support program, offers rolling admission. The ideal time for students to start our program is at the beginning of each academic term. The Fall term begins on Monday, September 20th, 2017, which aligns with the academic calendar of our partner college where our students immediately begin earning transferable college credits.
Athena, a Women’s Empowerment Program in conjunction with our core coaching curriculum, is another exciting new programming option. The program works with our female students to promote equality through education, action within our communities and advocacy.
Last Fall, Program Manager Peter Allen, MS, LPC, began a "Wilderness Therapy to College" support group, specifically aimed at students who are transitioning out of wilderness therapy programs and can greatly benefit from the support not just staff but their peers. This is an active group that meets weekly, gets outside, busts fires and continues the healthy traditions started in wilderness treatment programs.
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.
Courtney Merrill, LMFT, Admissions Director at True North Wilderness and Shayna Abraham, M.A., CEP Therapeutic and Educational Consultant with Prepare To Bloom, presented on Friday, June 2nd at the Salt Lake City Regional National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP) Conference to a packed room of clinicians and marketing professionals. The presentation focused on establishing best practices for education consultant or interventionist tours.
The two presented and discussed what they had learned over several years of successful (and unsuccessful!) individual and group tours that they had participated in and helped to plan. There was a thoughtful discussion around how much time is needed, how to split costs among programs and ways to target the consultants programs want on tours. The discussion was lively and audience participation of consultants and programs led to a valuable exchange of ideas.
About Prepare to BloomPrepare 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.
Novitas Academy is excited to announce that their first international trip to Costa Rica was a huge success. Eight boys, who are currently enrolled at Novitas, participated in this 10 day trip. Novitas partnered with Pure Life by Aspiro, a wilderness adventure therapy program that specializes in working with young adults and operates out of Costa Rica. The purpose of this trip was to learn about personal growth, identity and authenticity by diving into the lessons of A Hero’s Journey and The Seven Paths.
This trip allowed the boys to immerse themselves in an experiential learning trip where they were able to truly discover things about themselves and build their character in a way that they may not have had the opportunity to do before. As they bungee-jumped, zip lined, learned to surf and stepped out of their comfort zones, they found their inner Hero. Closely tied to the self-discovery experienced through these activities, they incorporated a rich service and cultural immersion element to this trip. They spent three days deep in the rainforest with a native host family learning about ancient Costa Rican traditions, identifying the plants of the rainforest, participating in a sweat lodge ceremony, making chocolate, going on night hikes and living simply as a Costa Rican family.
About Notivas Academy
Located on 30 acres of majestic river front property, Novitas Academy is a unique fully accredited therapeutic boarding school for boys ages 14-18. The program is designed to meet the needs of young men struggling with life skills, learning differences, lack of academic motivation, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD/ADD) and mild to moderate behavioral and emotional problems. Novitas is a relationship-based treatment program that strives to help our students build their self-esteem and self-confidence through discovering and nurturing their strengths, passions and dreams. Our goal is to help our boys reach their goals.
About eight months ago, I was looking for a way to work with families that would engage the parents, not the adolescent, as my primary clients. I have worked in wilderness and therapeutic programs for many years, and in those roles have always involved the parents in the therapeutic process, but the child was primary because she was the one who was always sitting in front of me. Of course, any of those jobs, done well, includes deeper work with the parents if they are willing to partake in a meaningful, self-reflective level of work.
As a synchronous, pivotal event for me, and I believe for the school, Headmaster John Grago and I had a conversation in which we realized simultaneously that this was what Greenbrier was looking for as well, and the role of Family Specialist/Parent Coach was born. As a result of that meeting, we have enriched our family services and continue to build on the school’s strong foundation. Here are the pieces that we have added to the GBA’s parent services.
First, all parents receive a welcome call from me within a few days of their daughter’s arrival on campus. I do a quick introduction and set up a phone call to begin our work together, including my educational and work history, how the school decided to engage parents in their own growth processes, my role at GBA, my role and how it differs from that of their daughter’s primary therapist, as well as some housekeeping details. From there, I arrange a recurring phone or video call with those parents every other week.
During these calls, I endeavor to understand the family dynamic, how willing the parents are to work on themselves, and at what level they may need my support. This can change over time, but I have found the general trajectory to be as follows: at the beginning, they may need help navigating the first few therapy phone calls and understanding what is “normal” in regards to their daughter’s adjustment. Most parents hope for a happy pronouncement of “I love it here!” and some girls do feel that way right away. However, more often than not, their daughters are struggling with the adjustment and might use early therapeutic phone calls to demonstrate their unhappiness to their parents. As long as parents know this up front, and have a sense that this is normal, they can handle these calls in a more balanced, informed way. The infusion of a few tools seems to go a long way to calming them down. And when the parents are calm and firm, the student typically settles in and then maybe someday becomes accepting and even appreciative of the experience. During this period, it is vital that I demonstrate confidence to parents so that they can trust my experience and will work with me at a deeper level later.
Soon after the initial adjustment, we may settle into a process of exploration about the family history and dynamics… essentially, what went “wrong?” What hurts? What’s pushing your buttons? What is it about your beliefs/history/values/vulnerabilities that is getting triggered? This might involve looking at the parents’ childhoods to determine the seeds of their own struggles. Perhaps not… but there are always dynamics in a family and if parents are willing to look at it from multiple levels and perspectives, there is inevitably something to learn.
Parents may need education about adolescent brain development, individuation, attachment and adoption dynamics, manipulation, boundaries, enmeshment, relapse, and so on. Some of this happens on our regular calls, but some of it happens during monthly topical videoconferences. Historically, small groups of Greenbrier parents whose daughters were at roughly the same stage of the process attended the Parent Programs together, where parents became support systems for each other. Our monthly videoconferences give these parents an opportunity to connect with their cohort’s other families, but also to meet families at different stages of the progress. Parents whose students are doing very well and getting ready to graduate often support parents who are new to the process and anxious or uncertain.
As the student progresses, we may work on issues of boundary pushing or relapse that come up, both their daughters’ and the parents'. We talk about letting go of who they thought their daughters were, or who they wanted them to be, and getting to know who they truly are. Parents learn that the goal is not to change who their daughters are, but to support them in becoming more functional, more loving, happier versions of themselves and being true to what they discover. As their daughter nears transition, we will talk about how to support them coming home or to traditional boarding schools, including setting boundaries, allowing them appropriate freedoms, and building a support system at home. I teach them about “normal arguing,” and that the goal is not necessarily smoothness; the goal is a commitment to getting through each challenge without anyone getting hurt.
Several families whose daughters have graduated from Greenbrier Academy still utilize my support for various situations that might come up. Together, we have handled responding differently to students pushing boundaries, how to hold the line, and how to support their daughter in becoming her own person while maintaining the structure they have set up.
The newest feature of the parent support program, launching this week, is a weekly drop-in videoconference support group for parents who may be struggling as well as for others who are on solid ground and wish to mentor newer parents. Some recently transitioned parents who can shed some light on the process of the student’s return home will be in attendance.
Of course, parents may need more or less, or different support at various stages of the process while their daughters are enrolled. We are free to flex up and down as needed. Parents who are willing to engage at a more vulnerable level (not just at a behavioral level) are more likely to have the tools to respond to their daughter’s ups and downs in a more balanced way.
A former colleague once described the process of therapy in this way: “therapy involves working through and healing the wounds we carry with us one by one, and dismissing those people that have been living ‘rent-free’ in our heads, hindering our freedom and peace. Eventually, the client’s job is to dismiss the therapist.” Parents can keep speaking with me for as long as they wish after their daughter’s transition… and I often tell them, “I am yours until you fire me!” Most parents want to keep talking for a while, and after a few weeks or a few months, they seem to develop some comfort in their own skills of navigating the challenges, and then they move on into a new rhythm of “normal” in their family's life.
Together with the Clinical Director Mike Beswick, our Aftercare Therapist Ron Schwenkler, and the day-to-day work of clinical, residential, and teaching staff, the addition of these services provide a full spectrum of work with families. I am proud and grateful to be a part of such a supportive, caring, passionate team of people. Especially, I am gratified to work with the many families who are willing to be open to their own processes of growth. - Greta Lutman, LPC (NC, GA), LCAS (NC), Family Therapy Specialist
About Greenbrier Academy
Greenbrier Academy for Girls is a college preparatory, therapeutic boarding school for grades 8-12, located in the mountains of West Virginia. The mission of Greenbrier Academy is to mentor and empower adolescent girls and their families to create quality, healing intrapersonal and interpersonal relationships through inspired critical thinking, advanced therapeutics, college prep academics, and stimulating adventures.
In the fall of 2015, Angie Shockley, the founder of Q&A Associates, was given the opportunity to purchase a property consisting of a farm house, several barns, a former medical clinic, nearly 15 acres and a 200 year old working grist mill. After calling in all resources, this incredible opportunity became a reality. Cabin Mountain Living Center had a new home, one of the three different program offerings for Q&A Associates.
The property includes opportunities for the clients to care for chickens, goats, cattle, a pot bellied pig, a large garden and various fruit trees. It also provides an environment where the clients of Cabin Mountain Living Center (CM) can live with a real sense of community. These clients have the opportunity to live in gender-specific lodging while also learning and practicing healthy social boundaries. "This is one of the most important life skills we teach and foster at Cabin Mountain," said Shockley. "Learning to recognize the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships is something most of our clients struggle with, and it is essential that we provide them with the education and coaching necessary for them to practice these skills in an independent way. CM is specifically designed for young adults who face challenges of Autism Spectrum Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury, developmental delays, and other neurological disorders."
The former property owners assisted and the The Old Mill came to life again this spring. The Mill is powered by water from the Dry Fork River which then turns grinding stones, resulting in cornmeal which is then packaged for sale. The Old Mill also features a Gift Shop where community artists and artisans showcase their products. This serves as a connection to community for the clients, but also provides them inspiration and ideas for their own products. Several talented staff of Q&A share their skills with the clients and showcase their products in The Mill. "We have folks who make beautiful jewelry, primitive crafts, stained glass art, and upcycled furniture and decorative items," continued Shockley, "which is a great way to support the Cabin Mountain clients in their own work and help them create an audience for their products."
In addition, Shockley intends to hold workshops on the second floor of the Mill, which is a natural studio space. "I will be teaching mindfulness classes as well as bringing in local teachers to lead yoga, dance, improvisation and art classes," said Shockley, "We also intend to feature local singers, songwriters, and musicians by inviting them to perform acoustically on weekends at The Mill." The Mill served as the hub of the community for generations and it is Shockley's hope that it will once again be a gathering place not only for the clients of Q&A Associates, but also for the members of the community of Harman, WV. "This Mill is a living history and the only way it continues is if it is shared," said Shockley.
About Q&A Family of Programs
Q&A Family of Programs offers three different options for young adults in West Virginia, Applewood Transitions for Young Women, The Journey WV for Young Men and Cabin Mountain Living Center. All provide opportunities for our students to develop independent, functional, and happy lives with a high level of quality. The 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.
Alpine Academy is honored to have been selected this year’s winner for the Utah Best of State program in the category of “Youth Treatment Centers”. This marks the 7th time that Alpine Academy has received this honor since 2010.
According to the Best of State website, “the Best of State Awards were created to recognize outstanding individuals, organizations and businesses in Utah. By recognizing excellence in our community and sharing examples of success and triumph in so many worthy endeavors, we hope all will be inspired to reach a little higher, to try a little harder, and to work a little smarter for our dreams and goals.” Alpine Academy has certainly been inspired by so many others in this field of helping youth and families. Alpine is grateful for the collaboration and support given by other wonderful programs and professionals engaged in this great work.
The Best of State judges evaluate organizations based on three criteria: Excelling in their endeavors, Using innovative approaches and methods, and Contributing to a better quality of life. Alpine Academy is constantly striving to improve the lives of students and families. This is best accomplished through their innovative approach to treatment using the evidence-based Teaching-Family Model.
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.
Dr. Lorraine Freedle, Clinical Director at Pacific Quest, was asked to contribute her original work to The Routledge International Handbook of Sandplay Therapy. Dr. Freedle’s chapter, "Healing Trauma through Sandplay Therapy: a Neuropsychological Perspective" explores the underlying mechanisms of Jungian sandplay therapy that promote neural integration and wholeness of personality. It also chronicles the sandplay journey of Liv, a teenager who came to Dr. Freedle to heal from traumatic grief following the sudden and violent deaths of loved ones.
“This chapter is not just a brain-based theory, it’s anchored in depth psychology. And so as we explore how sandplay helps traumatized people safely access and reprocess their pain, we don’t lose the importance of connection to the deeper Self,” Dr. Freedle shared.
As a board certified pediatric and school neuropsychologist and international Sandplay Teacher (STA/ISST), Dr. Freedle has practiced and lectured at the crossroads of neuropsychology and sandplay therapy for over 25 years. The contents for the chapter emerged over a number of years building upon her prior presentations and publications.
When asked about what makes this chapter unique, Dr. Freedle shares “the chapter makes the neuropsychology of therapeutic change accessible and explains how sandplay works. This is very important for people and programs who would like to utilize sandplay to effect meaningful change.”
This text will be used worldwide in universities to teach sandplay therapy. Pacific Quest congratulates Dr. Freedle on this prestigious honor and accomplishment!
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. www.pacificquest.org
Durability (noun) - the ability to withstand wear, pressure, or damage
Many stressors serve as impediments to emerging adults as they make their way in the world. Their ability to manage those stressors, over time and in real-time is critical to their effectiveness in coping with the multi-faceted lives they are compelled to live. Depression may keep them from getting out of bed to go to work. Executive functioning challenges might lead to losing track of assignments and due dates in a course of study. Anxiety could cause them to overthink, well, everything actually. And yet, what they are looking for, and what their families are hoping for are in many ways the same thing — durability.
Usually, they have a history of starting strong, like at the beginning of a semester. But over time, a corrosive effect takes over that wears away at them. They lose track of things, life piles on, the pressure mounts and they continue a long-standing pattern of succumbing and ending up with some damage to their psyche. Unlearning this pattern takes time, effort and the support of a long tether, one which allows emerging adults to dust themselves off, expose their inner grit and not feel the current of a circling helicopter care giver from above. This autonomy of the long tether helps them to feel greater ownership of their situation. They know the help is available, but that the expectation (by everyone) is that they will be able to, mostly, figure it out. According to Berk (2013), this helicopter style “likely interferes with emerging adults’ ability to acquire the skills they need to act on their own.” Garrett and Moskovitz of Urban Edge in Denver in the (2017) talk about the importance of grit as a predictor of achievement in multiple domains for emerging adults.
“In the six months before we opened Onward Transitions” says Darrell Fraize, M.Ed., LCPC, LADC, co-founder and Clinical Director of Onward Transitions, “and in the year since, we have spoken with nearly 100 families about how they hope that their emerging adult could come to Portland, put their therapeutic growth to some reality testing, and become more durable in the face of the business of life.”
During the Onward Transitions admissions process, one mother spoke of her hope for her son:
“We just hope he can continue to become more durable, over time.”
Unknowingly, she was the voice of her generation of parents, speaking plainly about her hopes for her emerging adult struggling to meet the challenges of independent living. He had done the “heavy lifting” in therapy, had tried college, tried volunteering at home, and none of it had really come together for him. The team they had put together as a family helped them to recognize that getting out, without a net, but with a tether, might be the right thing.
Fraize shares: “We have been able to be part of the lives of a small sample of young adults who have built up their durability through working, going to school, volunteering, cooking meals, exercising, budgeting, paying bills, refilling prescriptions, making appointments, and most importantly — bouncing back after making a mistake. The members of our Pine House, and our step-down “Neighbors” here in Maine talk openly about adding on another “layer of complexity” to their lives, as they gain mastery over the preceding ones. They relish the fact that they are working through their struggles, and report feeling “grown up” when they do. They report feeling better able to endure, and not collapse when old emotions rise up or life drama takes the stage.”Berk, Laura E., 2013, Lifespan Development Series, 6th Ed., Pearson, ISBN: 9780205957606Garrett, Clay M., and Moskovitz, A., 2017, Autonomous Programming: The Benefits and Challenges of Emerging Mentorship Models, The Journal of Therapeutic Schools and Programs, Vol. IX, Number 1.
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.
EDGE Learning & Wellness Collegiate Community encourages students to embrace challenges and, by using their strengths and resources available, navigate through difficulty. Finding fun and interesting experiences that highlight this approach to confronting life’s difficulties is a challenge that the EDGE staff embrace.
Understanding that their peers are a resource and that doing things together can be both fun and rewarding, the students chose to participate in an escape room activity for a recent community outing. Students were divided into teams; team one discovered first-hand what it would be like to escape from a prison cell, while others engaged in a bank robbery. Students proved resourceful and despite not being able to escape prison or rob the bank, were proud of their ability to work together and problem solve.
Often students at EDGE arrive with a history of having struggled with anxiety and coping strategies that include avoidance and a reluctance to accept support from others. For several students, even the thought of participating in the escape room was challenging and attending was a success in itself. The success didn’t stop there, of course.
One student who initially identified that even going to the venue for the activity would provoke significant anxiety decided, once there, to participate. She was encouraged by her peers and ended up having a terrific experience and said “It was a great experience, a 10 out of 10 and I would definitely do it again!” Other students focused more on the fun of problem-solving or of the competitive notes that accompany an activity that includes goals and time limits. Staff thought it was insightful to be able to see how the students worked together in order to investigate, unveil clues and strategize. Overall, being immersed in a trying environment with the students was a noteworthy and memorable experience for staff.
In the end, there’s no escaping that everyone wins when they connect, engage and persist beyond their comfort zone.
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.
Uinta Academy is excited to announce that the movie "Girl on the Edge" will be released June 1st at Walmart stores nationwide. Released in 2015, this movie has garnered rave reviews and won 13 awards for its depiction of how trauma and bullying affect society. The film was directed by Jay Silverman, written by Joey Curtis (screenplay) and stars Taylor Spretiler, as Hannah Green, as the girl in treatment.
It is largely based on the Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP), a type of experiential therapy offered at Uinta Academy. The movie depicts three EAP concepts used at Uinta Academy: horse ownership, riding and equine individual and group therapy and shows how a relationship of trust and connection can be forged through equine therapy.
About Uinta Academy
Uinta Academy is a fully licensed residential treatment center focused on working with young ladies ages 13-21. Uinta Academy is the nation’s leading multi-dimensional residential treatment center for adolescent girls. We specialize with girls who struggle with relationships and attachment who have experienced trauma. Uinta Academy’s clinically intense and sophisticated treatment program is balanced by a warm, nurturing, family-style living environment.
Summit Achievement is thrilled to announce a new therapist, Meg Paul, LCSW, who has rejoined the team. Meg worked at Summit as a guide (field staff) many years ago. She since completed a dual degree masters program, earning her masters in social work and her masters in adventure therapy. She is currently an independently licensed social worker.
After earning her graduate degrees, Meg worked as an adolescent and family therapist in a community mental health center and then as an equine therapist. During this time, she also managed the coordination and implementation of award winning wilderness therapy programming. Meg has utilized a variety of methods in her practice, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), solution focused therapy, motivational interviewing (MI), trauma informed therapy and structural family therapy.
Meg has begun accepting clients, and will be working with students in both our Achievement and Traverse programs.
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.
Who doesn’t love summer vacation? Parents, that’s who. Sure, a week or two of family togetherness at the beach sounds great (doesn’t it?!), but what about all of those other never-ending, unscheduled, unsupervised hours, days and weeks? While some degree of down time and boredom can be a good thing, adolescents and young adults who struggle with mental health, behavioral or substance use issues may experience an increased risk of relapse or regression if a more solid plan is not in place.
PRN for Families’ Home from School program is designed to support families in these circumstances. Some of our Home from School clients are on break from traditional boarding schools or from college, while others may be transitioning out of a more therapeutic setting with several weeks or months ahead of them before they transition back to school in the fall. While spending time with family is important, it can often be challenging as a result of complex family dynamics and chemistry between family members, as well as because of the level of support and structure that is available in the home setting.
In all cases, the family recognizes that they—and their child—need additional support in structuring and managing their time in healthy ways. PRN’s Home from School program is customized to meet the needs of each individual family, and may include an at-home assessment, case management and case consultation services, parent and family coaching, networking and collaboration with community resources, and mentor support. Extended, community-based support is often what can make the difference between a successful summer break or a step backward in treatment progress. We welcome the opportunity to work with programs, consultants and individual families to create a program of support that best meets the needs of an individual client and family.
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.
On June 2, Gail Curran, MS, MBA, CEP, CPC and Michele Royan, M.A., presented at the Layton, Utah regional conference for the National Association of Schools and Programs (NATSAP) with Megan Keller, mom, as a case study of how collaboration with professionals, families and treatment programs can work together synergistically.
Using emotional intelligence assessment tools development by Six Seconds, preferred partner Royan walked the audience through a case study of an 11-year old boy, Cade. His anger and behaviors were concerning enough for him to be asked to leave his independent school. In May of 2016, before Wilderness, Royan gave the assessment, and the results were, well, not good. The assessment measures eight competencies of Emotional Intelligence: Emotional Literacy, Recognizing Patterns, Applying Consequential Thinking, Navigating Emotions, Engaging Intrinsic Motivation, Exercising Optimism, Increasing Empathy and Pursuing a Noble Goal. The student’s results were at the lowest end of being challenged, and at times, not even on the scale.
Six months later, after 84-days in the wilderness and four months in a therapeutic boarding school, the young man took the assessment, again. The results were astonishing. He was above average on each of the measures; a true testament to the relationship and trust forged between the client and his therapeutic team, both in wilderness and boarding school. He was extremely proud of his accomplishments and beamed when Royan debriefed his results. She has not seen that much positive emotion and eye contact in a very long time and has known him ten years.
"We, either as educational consultants or program personnel, see the positive changes in treatment. But to see the before and after using this assessment tool, where the client had little emotional intelligence and then see the dramatic results after, was profound and proof that what we do to help families, works," said Ms. Curran.
“Measuring the social and emotional growth as Cade began his wilderness program, and assessing again, six months later, provided feedback that was so reassuring that the 'process' was effective. Allowing Cade to be away at a program that is the best fit for him to get the skills he needs, was difficult because of his young age. As a parent, having the ability to measure his growth, beyond letter grades in a classroom, is priceless. To see the exact areas of his development and progress is so powerful and reassuring. It’s what I held on to, in the times of struggle of not having him close and home. Finally, having the ability to measure his growth, and checking in with the development, is a resource that I continue to look forward to as Cade begins his journey home this month. It’s a process that will never end, never stop growing, and best of all, is identifiable and measurable,” said Megan Keller, Cade’s mom.
About Optimal Edu Options
Optimal Edu Options began in 2013 is a full service personalized educational and therapeutic placement consulting practice for families with struggling children, adolescents and young adults. There are offices in Phoenix and Tucson, AZ and working with families regionally and nationally.
Outcomes research is an integral part of the Skyland Trail evidence-based treatment model. Skyland Trail employs evaluative instruments considered to be gold standards in the mental health field to measure the effectiveness of the organization's mental health treatment programs.
Clients complete standardized clinical assessments during the admissions process and again at discharge. The assessments measure clients' symptoms, hope for their futures, attitudes about medication and treatment, and the impact of mental illness on their ability to function and complete activities of daily living.
Outcome data from 2008 through 2016 consistently confirm that the unique, integrated, whole person approach offered by Skyland Trail helps clients experience reduced symptoms, increased hope, more positive attitudes about medication adherence and improved skills for completing daily activities and functioning in their communities.
Key overall client outcome measures include:
- 90 percent of all clients experienced a statistically significant improvement in functionality, symptoms and social relationships (1)
- 83 percent of clients completed treatment with a positive attitude about taking psychiatric medication (3)
- 80 percent of all clients experienced a statistically significant improvement in hope (2)
Skyland Trail also conducts assessments specific to each diagnosis treated. These disease-specific measures ensure that evidence-based treatment is working effectively across all diagnoses. Clients are assessed every two weeks throughout treatment, based on the confirmed diagnosis at admission. The summary of 2016 client outcomes data highlighted exceptional results for patients with depression.
Clinical outcomes suggest that for depressed patients who graduate from Skyland Trail’s program, 90 percent have statistical and clinical response to treatment and a full 40 percent reach remission from depression. Clinical research studies in depression suggest that valid treatments typically result in at least 40 percent response and lower remission rates. These outcomes indicate that Skyland Trail’s evidence-based treatment strategies yield exceptional outcomes for patients with depression compared to other standard treatments.
Key outcome measures for clients with depression include:
- 90 percent of patients with depression experienced statistically significant improvement (5)
- 40 percent of patients with depression who admitted with MADRS score >20 graduated with a MADRS score <85 (This is considered remission.) (5)
- 40 percent reduction in depression symptoms was the median response of those who did not reach remission scores (5)
- 62 percent average improvement in feelings of hope among patients with depression (2)
- 53 percent average improvement in attitude toward activities of daily living and overall functioning among patients with depression (1)
- 81 percent of patients with mania experienced statistically significant reduction of their manic symptoms (6)
- 84 percent of patients with anxiety experienced statistically significant improvement in control of anxiety (7)
- 85 percent of patients with thought disorders experienced statistically significant improvement in symptoms of psychosis (4)
The full 2016 Outcomes Research Summary is available online.
About Skyland Trail Located in Atlanta, Skyland Trail is a nationally recognized nonprofit mental health treatment organization serving adults ages 18 and older with a primary psychiatric diagnosis. Through our residential and day treatment programs, we help our clients grow, recover and reclaim their lives. We’re focused on individuals with complex mental health issues, helping them understand that they can be – and are – more than a diagnosis. We offer expert, evidence-based psychiatric care alongside a compassionate, holistic path to wellness. Our integrated mental, medical, and social model helps clients develop strategies to improve mental health, physical wellness, independence, and relationships with family and friends. Unique therapies offered include music, art and horticultural therapy; workforce and school readiness; primary care services; family therapy; and healthy living and nutrition coaching.
- Results are significant at the p<.05 significance level. The 32-item Behavior and Symptom Identification Scale (BASIS-32): © Copyright McLean University, Affiliate of Harvard Medical School.
- Results are statistically significant at the p<.05 significance level. Beck Hopelessness Scale: Beck AT, Weissman A, Lester D, Trexler L. (1074). The measurement of pessimism: The Hopelessness Scale. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 42(6), 861-865.
- Results are statistically significant at the P<.05 significance level. Medication Attitude Inventory: Hogan TP, Awad AG, & Eastwood R. (1983). A self-report scale predictive of drug compliance in schizophrenics: reliability and discriminative validity. Psychological Medicine, 13, 177-183.
- Overall JE, Gorham DR. The Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale. Psychological Reports. 1962; 10:799-812.
- Montgomery, S.A. & Åsberg, M. (1979). A new depression scale designed to be sensitive to change. British Journal of Psychiatry, 134, 382-389.
- Young RC, Biggs JT, Ziegler VE, Meyer DA: A rating scale for mania: reliability, validity and sensitivity. British Journal of Psychiatry, 133:429-435, 1978.
- Hamilton M: The assessment of anxiety states by rating. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 32:50-55,1959.
Havenwood Academy, in Cedar City, UT, is expanding their capacity from 16 beds to 28. Havenwood specializes in treating teen girls with attachment disorders, specifically Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), and is licensed by the State of Utah and accredited by The Joint Commission. “It is exciting to be growing, as a high-end, research-based clinically based treatment option for families with children who suffer from Reactive Attachment Disorder," said Linda Reeves, LCSW, Clinical Director. "RAD is not well understood in the United States and there are few resources available to the many families who need help. We offer a program and services that are designed to help parents and families regain, repair and rebuild damaged and important relationships.”
As a clinically sophisticated program using varying types of evidenced-based therapy like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Eye Movement & Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Equine Therapy, there are beds available for girls to enroll. Along with the recent growth, Havenwood Academy welcomes visits from referring professionals and educational consultants to explore and learn about the program. For more information, please contact Josh Gardner at 435-592-5929.
About Havenwood AcademyHavenwood Academy, a licensed Residential Treatment Center in Southern Utah, specializes in treating teen girls experiencing Reactive Attachment Disorder. Licensed by the State of Utah and accredited by the Joint Commission, Havenwood utilizes state-of-the-art, research based and proven clinical methods such as EMDR, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Experiential Therapy, and Equine Therapy to help teen girls overcome their difficulties and learn to bond with their families. Havenwood’s Positive Peer Culture program, directed by Oscar Fakahua, allows teen girls to experience deep and lasting change.
The evolving landscape of student referrals and their needs has made it imperative for Equinox RTC to be on the cutting edge of therapeutic support for sexual and gender identity needs. The clinical and direct care teams receive specialized trainings, so the next step was to build the milieu’s understanding and commitment to creating a program of inclusiveness. To that point, Alicia Viani, LCSW, partnered with the Equinox clinical team to facilitate student debate and learning around sexuality and gender with the primary goal being to support an empowered, empathetic peer culture.
Ms. Viani is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a provider of psychotherapy to individual children and teens. A focus within her practice is therapeutically supporting transgender and gender-variant people and their families. Her clinical approach is rooted in mindfulness and body-based practices, aligning well with Equinox’s mission.
Equinox works closely with Solstice East, a “sister” program, three excellent psychiatrists and a phenomenal pediatric endocrinologist to support the needs of students across the gender spectrum. The seminar opened with a discussion on sexuality as an inherent aspect of being human. The students learned how that can include thoughts, feelings, behaviors, beliefs, gender, sexual orientation, love, relationships, spirituality and biological reproductive functions. They were empowered to consider that all humans experience sexualities from birth to death, and these experiences of sexuality are unique to the individual.
As the seminar progressed the residents were challenged to facilitate a community discussion to increase awareness of healthy sexuality on mental and emotional health terms, and in support of building a positive sense of self regarding sexuality. They also explored how to create healthy community culture so that each diverse individual can feel safe, accepted and supported in expressing their unique selves.
Dan Hadley, Clinical Director, MA, LMFT, notes “Alicia is amazing. She holistically incorporates a variety of approaches, including therapies that address the neurobiological impact of stress and trauma. She was a great fit to lead the student seminar on Gender and Sexuality.”
Dr. Kyle Gillett, Executive Director, PhD LMFT, commented, “It’s amazing to see the milieu begin to take ownership of their peer culture. They are now demanding from each other that Equinox be a sacred space where they can be open and vulnerable without fear of judgement. It affirms all the work to watch these young souls share their empathy and nurturing sides so broadly. This is truly a turning point for the growth of the Equinox program from infancy to maturity.”
Dan Hadley concluded, “The milieu holds so much power. Watching these young men embrace their journey and advocate for safe, inclusive support from their peers is powerful.”
About Equinox RTC
Equinox is a leading residential treatment center for boys ages 14-18. Equinox is unique in its focus on Trauma, Loss and Attachment, providing clinically intensive treatment for young men struggling with anxiety, depression, OCD, ASD, learning disabilities, and other emotional and behavioral needs. Equinox offers a combination of clinically sophisticated support with a whole child approach including adventure therapy, integrated Cross-Fit program, and a whole foods diet. Equinox provides a fully accredited school, with broad course selections taught by licensed teachers in a college-preparatory environment.
Journey Home East is a program for young women ages 16-21, where there are 10-12 clients living in the home at a time.
The residents at Journey Home East are young women who have successfully completed a previous therapeutic placement, whether that be wilderness, residential treatment or a therapeutic boarding school. The clients at Journey Home East are young women who have demonstrated the ability to handle freedoms and tasks independently. While there is structure for the Journey Home East resident, they are also being taught how to manage their free time appropriately. Our residents have highly trained staff members who are able to help them process and move through their day to day tasks with a wide variety of guidance, depending upon the resident's needs. The Journey Home East residents are provided the opportunity of off-site activities in downtown Asheville, including school, shopping and hobbies, all within walking distance.
Because of this freedom, the residents at the home cannot be court ordered to receive treatment and must be willing to be in the Journey Home East program. This program provides the amount of structure needed for a young woman to successfully launch into independence with minimal support and help sustain a healthy relationship with their family.
About Journey Home East
Journey Home East serves females aged 16-21 and provides structure for students while they learn independent living skills. Much of the structure and support provided by our 24/7 staffed home is managing electronic devices, managing free time and social life appropriately, and budgeting, shopping for groceries, and cooking meals. Clients enrolling at Journey Home have a previous therapeutic placement, where home was not an option afterward. They are provided with a therapist in the home to work on individual and family issues.
Solstice West had the privilege to participate in an important episode of ABC News 20/20, featuring the work that they do with their students on Social Media Addictions. Solstice's philosophy on addiction is a little different than other Residential Treatment Centers, in that they approach the thing that is causing addiction as a symptom of a core problem. A few Solstice West students have unresolved trauma or attachment issues, where social media has met a need for them. Social media is a new type of addiction that is extremely accessible for many adolescents.
The Solstice West student featured in this story, Brooke, said,“They had no respect for me. It was just like, ‘Send me this,’ like, ‘Do it now!’” Brooke said. “I was up all night, sending pictures [of myself to strangers]. When I did it and I got those compliments, I got that attention, and it just made me feel really good.”
Her father said, "When she was home and she was up in her room, I always felt more secure, because, okay, she’s home. She’s safe. But it was a complete false sense of security because she’s up there in her room with her phone on the internet.”
Raising awareness about these issues has become very important to the Solstice programs. Through the program, they are teaching the parents how to handle these issues and set boundaries around electronics. Solstice is passionate about helping their students to recover from addiction.
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, utilizing 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.
Journey Home West is happy to announce that five of their residents have graduated high school this Spring and are going to be attending college in the Fall. Two of these students were awarded with significant scholarships. One was able to get the Horizon Scholarship, which will amount to $56,000 toward her tuition, while the other received the Dean's Scholarship and will total $68,000 of her expenses.
The Journey Home residents have worked extremely hard over the past few years and Journey Home West is obviously so proud of them! They will be wonderful assets to their universities and are going to go on to do many wonderful things in their lives.
About the Journey Home
Journey Home West was established in Layton, UT in 2008 after noticing there were limited options for our clients from Solstice RTC West needing a community-based step down option. Journey Home West serves females aged 16-21 and provides structure for students while they learn independent living skills. Much of the structure and support provided by our 24/7 staffed home is with managing electronic devices, managing free time and social life appropriately, and budgeting, shopping for groceries and cooking meals.
Clients enrolling at Journey Home have a previous therapeutic placement, where home was not an option afterward. They are provided with a therapist in the home to work on individual and family issues.
"Release Workshop" at Next Chapter will be held from July 9th - 14th, 2017. This is an intimate workshop and space is limited. Next Chapter anticipates it to fill up quickly. Release Workshop participants will spend the week thoroughly immersed in group therapy sessions, somatic experiencing, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), mindfulness, yoga, meditation, art therapy, and much more. With the compassionate guidance of a team of specialists, they will help participants identify underlying issues, break down the barriers holding them back, and begin the healing process. Next Chapter is dedicated to helping individuals become the happiest, healthiest version of themselves as possible.
Types of participants who might be interested in this type of work experience:
• Family members struggling with enabling, codependency, or enmeshment.
• Those in recovery who are stuck and struggling to find joy in their lives.
• Those who continue to struggle with childhood and other traumas.
• Individuals struggling with intimacy and relationships.
• Professionals who are feeling burned out and struggling with self-care and boundaries.
For more information or to reserve a spot, please email Next Chapter at email@example.com. Also for more information on Release Workshop please click this link.
About Next Chapter
Next Chapter, founded in 2015, is an all-male adult and young-adult addiction and trauma treatment program that immerses the client and family into a unique combination of comprehensive clinical and recovery services. Our focus is to help guide our clients in uncovering trauma and other developmental issues fueling their addictive and other self-destructive behaviors. Next Chapter’s clinical staff are highly trained in treating trauma, using a variety of therapeutic approaches, including relational trauma work utilizing PIT (Post Induction Therapy). Next Chapter also offers a week-long intensive workshop called Release Workshop. In this workshop, participants spend the the week thoroughly immersed in group therapy sessions, somatic experiencing, cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness, yoga, meditation, art therapy, and much more. Barriers will be broken, and healing will occur. Folks will identify underlying issues with the compassionate guidance of specialists, who are all dedicated to helping individuals become the happiest, healthiest version of themselves.
Service projects are regularly integrated into each student’s therapeutic work at New Haven RTC and many projects are planned by the students. Outside of these regular activities, several times each year, New Haven students and their parents have the opportunity to participate in a service trip. These trips take place within the United States and internationally. Last month, a number of families and staff were able to travel to Peru for one such trip. The families spent a good portion of the week learning about the Peruvian culture and serving the local people. The group was able to make the journey to Machu Picchu, and the theme of service continued as they encouraged each other to the top.
Jessica Endres, Clinical Director of the Susan B. Anthony House, shared the following about their trip: “this trip was a once in a life time experience. The group really came together and bonded while we were out on the trail and away from civilization. I loved being able to get to know all of the families on a deeper level and support them. It was so fun to see the parents and students support one another, connect and have fun together. Peru itself was the most beautiful country. The mountains were so dramatic and green! The Incan ruins that we saw were amazing. It is amazing to think of how old they are and to imagine that people really used to live in the way that they did.”
Service is one of the best ways to gain perspective. It helps the clients develop deeper connections with others, and is a great way to deepen the family work that is done at New Haven on a daily basis.
About New Haven Residential Treatment Center
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.
Vive is pleased to announce three distinct packages that streamline their customers' experience. With these three options, Vive is better able to match a family's need for support with their children before or after they have had a treatment intervention. As a community-based, clinically sophisticated, experiential therapeutic program, with individualized programming provided in the clients' home communities, there are opportunities to meet the clients in real life situations and support them in the moment when environmental triggers may be challenging. This provides the masters level coaches and mentors with many opportunities for nurturing growth that are difficult to simulate in residential treatment settings.
For Vive clients that need the highest level of support. This can include clients that have not yet gone into a wilderness therapy program or residential treatment and can help assess if residential is necessary. This is also appropriate for clients coming home after treatment to help acclimate them back to their home communites and continue to use the skills they have gained. This package includes multiple sessions per week for the client, at least one session for the parents each week, flex time for both the client and parent to reach the Vive staff in moments of crisis and a family session once per month.
This package is the most popular option and favored by the young adult clients. It is appropriate for clients who require support pre or post treatment and for those stepping down from the intensive package. This package includes at least one session per week for both the client and parent, flex time for both the client and parent to reach the Vive staff in moments of crisis and a family session once per month.
Designed for families that need less support. While all of the packages include at least one family session per month, in this package the clients still have regular sessions, while the parents only have 1 to 2 sessions per month. They also have access to flex time to reach out to their Vive staff in moments of crisis.
About Vive Family Support Program
Vive Family Support Program works with families in their home and their community to create strong, lasting relationships. Vive support teams are available "in the moment" when family issues or crises arise and communication breaks down. Vive supports the entire family system, working side-by-side in an experiential and community-based approach. Vive is located in Boston, NY + tri-state, Washington D.C. metro, Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, + Denver/Boulder.