All Kinds of News for November 08, 2017
It is with great pleasure that PRN for Families announces the appointment of Patricia "Trish" Ruggles, LCPC, CADC, to the position of Family Consultant. Trish comes to PRN with many years of clinical experience working with adolescents, young adults and their families. Her passion for working with young people developed soon after earning her Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Trinity College in 2004; she soon set her sights on becoming a therapist. Trish earned her Master's Degree in Counseling Psychology from Lewis and Clark College in 2008. She went on to work for several prominent therapeutic wilderness programs and other mental health agencies, where she honed her family systems approach.
Trish is known for her endless dedication to her clients and their growth. Through her tough yet empathetic approach, she challenges them to reach their therapeutic goals. She brings a wealth of experience working intensively with complex family dynamics, both via parent and family coaching, family therapy, family intensive work, individual and group therapy. Trish states, "I am excited to join the PRN for Families team, and look forward to the opportunity to use PRN's unique family preservation model to further support families who are struggling." Trish lives on a lake in Maine near her family and spends most of her free time in the outdoors, frequently backpacking on the Appalachian trail. Trish is also an avid baker.
"We are thrilled to welcome Trish to the PRN team," said Charles Elias, PRN's Executive & Clinical Director. "She brings with her broad clinical experience, the skills to thoughtfully engage with clients, and confidence working with complex family systems. Our Family Consultants work comprehensively with intense family situations, and Trish is extremely well qualified to take on this role and bring great value and support to PRN's families."
Trish began her role with PRN for Families during the first week of September, and will represent PRN at several upcoming conferences this fall and winter. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
PRN for Families is an accredited, home-based support program that serves families who have children or young adults who are struggling, or for whom an out-of-home placement may be necessary. 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. To learn more about PRN for Families' services and programs, visit www.prnforfamilies.com.
Alpine Academy recently completed another Triennial Accreditation with the Teaching-Family Association and has successfully been re-accredited as a certified sponsor site and program. Alpine Academy has been accredited by the Teaching-Family Association for nearly 15 years.
Accreditation is overseen by the Teaching-Family Association Committee on Accreditation and Ethics, and the Board of Directors. Site reviews are conducted by a team of highly qualified reviewers, all with extensive experience in training, consulting, supervising, evaluating and managing the fidelity of the Model across North America and abroad. The on-site review takes place over the course of several days during which time the team reviews extensive documentation, visits programs, and interviews staff, students and other stakeholders.
This accreditation process is essential to ensure comprehensive implementation of all standards associated with the integrity of the Teaching-Family Model. All goals, systems and elements are assessed and evaluated; criteria must be met in all standards. The power and potential of this evidence-based model, based on 50 years of extensive and on-going research, is met only in programs and agencies fully endorsed and accredited by the Teaching-Family Association.
Alpine Academy is honored to be a part of the Teaching-Family Association and to join with other agencies around the world in creating effective change in the lives of students and families.
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.
Student-led projects are a positive component of the curriculum at Summit Prep, located in Montana. Here is an example of how successful this can be. Current student Joe had a great idea: he wanted to build a small pond in the courtyard. With five years of landscaping experience under his belt, including his own business, Joe was well suited to the task. Adam Shilling, art/landscaping instructor liked the idea so much that his Landscape Management class decided to take it on as a project, with Joe taking the lead. Formal plans were made and the idea was successfully presented to Summit Prep's Directors. The class actively participated in all aspects of the project, from the digging of the hole to the construction of the rock siding. The result is a professional looking water feature that is a fabulous addition to Summit’s courtyard.
About Summit Preparatory School
Summit Preparatory School is an accredited private, non-profit, co-ed therapeutic boarding school located on 520 acres near Kalispell, MT. Summit integrates professional therapy and college prep academics within a nurturing and dynamic community that energizes and challenges adolescents to succeed and transform their lives. Grounded in the concepts of the Summit Model, the program focuses on promoting the development of healthy psychological and social skills. The campus is close to Glacier International Airport (FCA) and is less than an hour from Glacier National Park.
Sedona Sky Academy underwent a rigorous on-site survey in August 2017. A team of Joint Commission expert surveyors evaluated Sedona Sky Academy for compliance with standards of care specific to the needs of individuals served and families, including infection prevention and control, leadership and medication management.
"With Joint Commission accreditation, we are making a significant investment in quality on a day-to-day basis from the top down. Joint Commission accreditation provides us a framework to take our organization to the next level and helps create a culture of excellence. This will also help us to assist families financially with insurance compatibility." says Tammy Behrmann, Program Owner. "Achieving Joint Commission accreditation, for our organization, is a major step toward maintaining excellence and continually improving the care we provide."
The Joint Commission's behavioral health care standards address important functions relating to the care of individuals served and the management of behavioral health care organizations. The standards are developed in consultation with behavioral health care experts, providers, measurement experts, individuals served and their families.
Founded in 1951, The Joint Commission seeks to continuously improve health care for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating health care organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value. The Joint Commission evaluates and accredits more than 21,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. The Joint Commission is the nation's oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. Learn more about The Joint Commission at www.jointcommission.org.
Sedona Sky Academy (SSA) was created by professionals with extensive experience who are passionate about working with teenagers. The primary focus at SSA is to create a program which is unsurpassed in assisting adolescent girls in overcoming anxiety, depression, family conflict, trauma and substance abuse. Every program and approach starts with an understanding that health is possible and with the right tools and knowledge each student can learn to make new choices for a happy, healthy and meaningful life.
Greenbrier Academy is proud to announce the promotion of Lauren Ware as our Director of Admissions and Outreach. Lauren has been with Greenbrier as the Admissions and Marketing Assistant since June 2016 where she enjoyed working closely with our incoming families on tours and facilitated new student enrollments on our campus in Pence Springs, WV.
Lauren steps into the Director of Admissions and Outreach with extensive and integrated knowledge of our therapeutic model that centralizes healthy relationships as the cornerstone of mental and emotional wellbeing. Lauren brings a wealth of experience that will allow her to best serve families at Greenbrier. Her dedication to the relational values we hold make us very excited to welcome her into this role.
Lauren graduated from James Madison University with a degree in Corporate Communication. It was her goal to begin a career where she could use her creativity and business techniques to make a difference in the world. For her, utilizing her skills to positively impact the lives of young women is a dream come true.
Point School Puerto Rico thanks the treatment community for all of the concern and well-wishes received since Hurricane Maria hit the island on September 20th, 2017. Hurricane Maria was the first hurricane of its caliber to hit Puerto Rico in nearly a century. Thankfully, the entire Point School Puerto Rico team (students, teachers and staff) are safe, and the facility survived with minimal damage.
Point School PR will be accepting applicants for 2018 after the school is certain the infrastructure, resources, and safe volunteer/community services opportunities are stable. The island of Puerto Rico has proven to be resilient in this time of healing and rebuilding. Founder Chris Mays is reporting acts of community and kindness as neighbors are helping neighbors recover and grow from the adversity. Clinical Director Tina Cottone has been assisting in the transportation of supplies including hiking backpacks full of formula and diapers to remote villages when roads are impassable for vehicles. Residential Mentor Jesus Perez has taken an assignment with FEMA, counseling victims of hurricanes in Texas and Puerto Rico. All staff members are aiding the relief efforts by helping rebuild, as well as supporting their own families and communities.
Point School PR is currently exploring options for volunteer and service opportunities for incoming students to pursue in 2018. The chance to help those in need will not only make a direct positive impact on the victims' lives, but will also have an empowering and meaningful influence in the students' lives through the innovated hybrid gap year.
About Point School Puerto Rico
Point School Puerto Rico is a hybrid gap year program designed for young men who are searching for a one-of-a-kind experience designed just for them. We aim to help our young men grow into adulthood with the ability to thrive. Our hybrid model includes therapeutic support delivered by a licensed clinician, life coaching with trained mentors, support for academic and/or vocational momentum, and a considerable amount of experiential opportunity and cultural immersion.
Mountain Valley Treatment Center was featured in the cover article in the October 15, 2017 edition of The New York Times Magazine. The article, “Why Are More American Teenagers Than Ever Suffering From Severe Anxiety?”, was almost a year in the writing, and we thank the author, Benoit Denizet-Lewis, for capturing the essence of Mountain Valley, and the photographer, Sasha Rudensky, for the powerful images that accompanied the piece. By the end of the week, more than 400 readers of the article had responded to the NYT's request to share their own stories of adolescent anxiety.
Soon after the publication of the article, Michael Smerconish, host of The Michael Smerconish Program on SiriusXM's POTUS Channel (124), interviewed Mr. Denizet-Lewis. Smerconish also hosts the CNN and CNN International program Smerconish, and is a newspaper columnist for The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Later that same day, Mr. Denizet-Lewis was interviewed on NPR’s On Point with Tom Ashbrook. Benoit once again talked about the work Mountain Valley does treating adolescents and emerging adults with anxiety and OCD. Joining Benoit on the podcast was another friend of MVTC, Lynn Lyons, author of Anxious Kids, Anxious Parents.
About Mountain Valley Treatment CenterMountain Valley Treatment Center, a not for profit program, was founded in 2011 to provide intensive residential treatment to adolescent boys and girls and emerging adults struggling with severe anxiety, OCD and other related disorders. Located in Pike, NH at the edge of the White Mountain National Forest, Mountain Valley stands apart from like providers because of its specialization, its unique setting and its comprehensive approach to care. Residents typically spend 60-90 days at MVTC taking advange of the most effective evidence-based treatments through individual, group and family therapy, conducted in a caring, supportive and ethical fashion that meet the unique needs of the individuals, and the expectations of the professional practice of social work, psychology and psychiatry.
Following Nick K's graduation from Telos RTC in May 2017, he has joined the Telos Family in a new way. Nick has committed himself to raising money for students who cannot afford the high costs of treatment. He has worked with Youth Champions Charity to raise close to $2000 already.
Another major accomplishment in Nick's life since leaving treatment is qualifying for the 2018 International Triathlon World Championship in Gold Coast Australia. The Telos community is proud to have a graduate who gives back and is still using his triathlon skills from Telos RTC.
About TelosTelos U and Telos RTC, located in Orem, UT, specialize in small class size and low pressure education systems support. Telos provides a therapeutic boarding school enironment for adolescent boys who need help with Processing of Information Disorders, ADD/ADHD, ASD and emotional disorders that prevent them from thriving in a typical high school environment. Telos offers a family systems approach to therapy, working with parents and siblings alongside Telos' students, and structuring a therapeutic mileu around triathlon training programs and other engaging activities outside of school class time.
SUWS of the Carolinas is proud to partner with Sky's the Limit Fund to make the gifts of wilderness therapy more accessible for families in need. Every year, SUWS make a push to raise awareness, and funds, in time for Giving Tuesday. As we get closer to the holidays, it is important to remember the importance of paying things forward. Giving Tuesday falls on November 28th this year, and provides an opportunity for non profit organizations to capitalize on the season for sharing. This year, SUWS is highlighting the journey of a former field instructor who is running across the United States to raise money for Sky's the Limit Fund.
David Chandler began his tenure at SUWS as a field instructor in the Spring of 2015. He worked in various groups and showed a great deal of versatility in his skills. He eventually moved into the role of graduation coordinator, where he saw the impact wilderness makes on the family as a whole. David would return home from his shifts and compete in adventure races, marathons, and even ultra-marathons. David left SUWS in the Spring of 2017 to pursue an opportunity to lead trips across the United States. An avid runner, to say the least, David decided to run home to his native North Carolina from California after the seasonal position ended. David wanted to capitalize on such a momentous undertaking and make it count for something bigger than himself. As a result, he set up a Pay It Forward webpage, that directly impacts the lives of others through the Sky's the Limit Fund. David's goal is to make it from Pacific Ocean to Atlantic Ocean in 120 days while raising money for Sky's the Limit Fund. Please donate here to support David's transcontinental support for Sky's the Limit grants for treatment.About SUWS of the CarolinasSUWS of the Carolinas is a licensed, CARF International-accredited mental health facility, committed to helping families rediscover their strengths and fostering growth for young people. Operating in the Pisgah National Forest under permit from the National Forest Service, SUWS delivers wilderness based therapeutic interventions for 10-17 year old boys and girls with compassion and excellence. www.suwscarolinas.com About Sky's the Limit Fund:Sky's the Limit Fund is a non-profit organization commited to helping youth realize their full potential as healthy and valued members of society. The mission of Sky's the Limit Fund is to transform the lives of youth in crisis by providing grants, support, and hope through wilderness therapy programs and beyond. www.skysthelimitfund.org
Kelly has been the Outdoor Experiential Manger overseeing the outdoor program since 2013. However, overall, Kelly has been with Gateway over 10 years. Kelly is a gifted and talented leader at Gateway Academy. Kelly is well versed in all of Gateway's technical activities including rock climbing, skiing/snowboarding, canyoneering and water water rafting. Kelly's skill set is not only set in the outdoors; her ability to manage clinical information and lead a team make her a perfect fit for the Program Director position.
About Gateway Academy
Gateway Academy in Utah, is dedicated to the healthy development and healing of adolescent boys and their families. We provide a safe and nurturing environment through five integrated programs: Therapy, Academics, Community, Outdoor Education and Fitness. With integrity and respect, we help students feel empowered and valued, build healthy relationships, make thoughtful decisions, develop life skills, become life-long learners and achieve their personal best.
ViewPoint Center evaluates and assesses the behavioral and emotional challenges their patients are experiencing. Their multidisciplinary team allows for a well-rounded view of each patient. They utilize the perspectives of every single one of their staff members in order to gain an in-depth understanding of their patients.
Neuropsychological assessments are one of the tools they utilize to evaluate teens. ViewPoint Center’s Assessment Director Jordan Rigby, PsyD, explains some of the most important elements of the assessment process:
What are neuropsychological assessments?
A neuropsychological evaluation is the application of performance-based assessments of various cognitive skills. Neuropsychological assessments measure many functions including learning/memory, attention/concentration, processing speed, reasoning, judgment, problem-solving, and language. A useful neuropsychological assessment will include a few key elements.
What are the keys to a good assessment?
Context of the individual
Evaluators must consider the context of the patient’s age, education, sex, and cultural background. These factors can affect test performance and limit the conclusions that can be drawn from the evaluation.
We also must gather information related to the patient’s therapeutic and medical status. Without a full medical and therapeutic evaluation, a neuropsychological assessment is limited.
Even with advances in imaging technology and medicine, it is anticipated that clinical neuropsychological assessments will continue to be used because individuals can present with no detectable imaging or medical concerns. These individuals can still have substantial cognitive and functional limitations. The possibility of a medical concern being a contributing factor to neuropsychological deficits needs to be addressed in a full assessment.
Familiarity with the patient
One area that is key to an assessment is time spent familiarizing oneself with the patient beyond the numbers and data acquired from testing. This results in a report that is about an individual rather than simply explaining numerical performance.
In a home setting, parents could follow their child around for a few weeks. In an outpatient setting this isn't possible. ViewPoint Center creates a third option, where residential staff, therapists and management have the opportunity to observe and interact on a very personal level.
About ViewPoint Center
ViewPoint Center, a mental health assessment center for teens ages 12-17, is located just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. With a program lasting 6-7 weeks, ViewPoint Center provides superior assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and stabilization for teens struggling with mental and behavioral issues such as suicidal ideation, anxiety disorders, and eating disorders. In a safe, personalized environment, ViewPoint helps teens focus on the healing process.
Breakwater Expeditions is going to 10,000 Islands Florida Everglades and is looking for teenagers to join. The 7-day canoe and sea kayak expedition begins December 27th, 2017 through January 2nd, 2018. This trip is designed for young people ages 13-17 years old looking to take a break from the holiday family time and to escape the cold, winter weather.
Breakwater will provide strength-based, creative, and dynamic programming that will correlate to each participant’s personal goals and focus. The program will help them re-boot their lives and get connected to their authentic self again. This program and the natural environment serve as a catalyst to provide new and exciting opportunities to work on commandeering life’s journey.
The trip includes lodging, ground transportation, all food, all canoe and sea kayaking gear and all camping gear. Airfare and personal clothing items are not included in the price. The trip will begin and end in Fort Meyers, Florida.
About Breakwater Expeditions
Breakwater Expeditions is located in Sandpoint, Idaho and has been in operation for 8 years with over 5,000 days of field time. Having a common thread is the only requirement for Breakwater to customize an adventure trip from the ground up. Breakwater works with all types of groups, families, teens and young adults throughout the year and has destinations that follow the sun of the seasons. Breakwater Expeditions consists of top Family Choice Behavioral Healthcare industry professionals with backgrounds in wilderness therapy, therapeutic boarding schools, and college prep schools. For more information please call our office at 208.263.0277 or email email@example.com.
Breakwater Expeditions is pleased to collaborate with Aspen Roots Collective on two upcoming trips in early 2018. Join Breakwater Expeditions and Aspen Roots Collective for Purpose in Patagonia on either of two trips in early 2018. The founder of Aspen Roots Collective is Sommerville Bevilaqua, a licensed professional counselor and experienced outdoor guide. Sommerville has guided with Breakwater Expeditions and is excited to collaborate with Breakwater on Purpose in Patagonia.
The first trip is from January 31-February 8, 2018 called “Rugged Renewal Retreat". It is gender inclusive for ages 30s-40s (mid-life). This retreat is a blend of ruggedness and rejuvenation and will provide participants opportunities to grow within themselves and within a group of peers. The focus will be to recenter and renew one’s sense of purpose in life back home. This adventure will include backpacking, kayaking, yoga, and more. The accomodiations include camping and lodges.
The second trip February 13-21, 2018 is called “Wise Women Retreat.” This retreat is for women only in their ‘wiser years’ of life. The programming will create opportunities to discover and embrace the personal gifts one has to offer to their communities. There will be day hikes, yoga, cooking classes, easy kayaking and more within this adventure. The housing for this trip is in lodges.
About Breakwater Expeditions
Breakwater Expeditions is located in Sandpoint, Idaho and has been in operation for 8 years with over 5,000 days of field time. Having a common thread is the only requirement for Breakwater to customize an adventure trip from the ground up. Breakwater works with all types of groups, treatment programs, professionals, families, teens and young adults throughout the year and has destinations that follow the sun of the seasons. Breakwater Expeditions consists of top Family Choice Behavioral Healthcare industry professionals with backgrounds in wilderness therapy, therapeutic boarding schools, and college prep schools. For more information please call our office at 208.263.0277 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Aspen Roots Collective
Aspen Roots Collective (http://www.aspenrootscollective.com) has a foundation in both the world of therapy and counseling, holistic health and adventure travel. Aspen Roots is composed of facilitators and trained clinicians with years of experience in outdoor education.
Eva Carlston Academy is pleased to announce that founder and Executive Director Kristi Ragsdale, MPA, has accepted an invitation to join the board of the Tracy Aviary in Salt Lake City, UT. The Tracy Aviary is an 8 acre aviary that inspires curiosity and care for birds and nature in and out of the classroom.
About Eva Carlston Academy
Eva Carlston Academy (UT) is a licensed residential treatment center located near the urban center of Salt Lake City. The program serves young women between the ages of 12 and 18 in a clinically intense, family-style program which focuses upon creating opportunities for students to explore the arts while working toward continued growth and healing.
In 2012, Summit Traverse joined the continuum of care at Summit Achievement Wilderness Therapy. Summit Traverse is an individualized, flexible length (minimum of two months) coed therapeutic boarding environment for teens who need more time to practice the skills they learned in treatment, while increasing contact with their family and reintegrating into a traditional school schedule.
This is done by providing the Traverse students an academic center with classes five days a week, additionally having individual therapy, family therapy and strong milieu therapy. Much of the program is focused on preparing and assessing the readiness of a student for a traditional academic environment either at home or at a traditional boarding school. Weekend activities are similar to a traditional school setting (though with a much higher staff to student ratio) including going to the climbing gym, skiing, movies, baseball games.
The history of Summit Traverse students transitioning to traditional boarding school environments is noteworthy. Here are a few examples of schools students have enrolled in following their treatment experience: Tilton School (NH), Kents Hill School (ME), Hyde School (ME), Rock Point School (VT), White Mountain School (VT), Oliverian School (NH), Brewster Academy (NH), Stoneleigh-Burnham School (MA/all girls), Marvelwood School (CT), Vermont Academy (VT), Hebron Academy (ME) and Gould Academy (ME). For more inforamtion about this program please contact Shannon Higgins, the Director of Admissions at (769) 720-2035.
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.
Solstice East, a residential treatment center for teen girls ages 14-18, utilizes charms and charm necklaces as a way to represent specific strengths that will benefit students throughout their healing journey.
During a student’s time at Solstice East, her healing journey is marked by phases. These phases follow the archetypal Hero’s Journey found in many books, movies and films. As students progress through phases, they learn more and more about themselves and face their innermost fears.
When students enter the Initiation phase, the third phase of the Hero’s Journey, their student mentor or “big sister” will choose a charm that represents a strength they see in the student. Each charm represents a different virtue or principle that students display. During the Charm Ceremony held during group therapy, the big sister passes the charm around the group.
During this ceremony, each student offers a specific example of how they have seen the specific strength or virtue displayed by the student. They might also discuss a way they believe this virtue will serve the student well during their healing journey.
After each student speaks, the Initiation student receives the charm and expresses their commitment to using this specific virtue to strengthen their relationships with others during their journey.
“The Initiation phase is the time in which a student overcomes increasingly difficult challenges, supported by their peers and mentors,” says Jenny Selent, LMFT, Clinical Director at Solstice East. “The first charm ceremony helps them build confidence and commit to their healing journey.”
The next charm ceremony takes place during the Atonement phase, which marks the completion of the Hero’s journey. When a student enters the Atonement phase, the treatment team chooses a charm that is representative of the ways in which a student is seen and experienced by others now that they have achieved personal growth.
The treatment team creates a charm necklace for the student and holds a presentation of the charm to the student. During this ceremony, the charm necklace is passed around the circle where each person gives an example of how they saw the charm’s virtue displayed during the student’s journey at Solstice East and discuss how that virtue has impacted and enhanced their relationship with the student.
“The final charm ceremony celebrates the progress a student has made during their time at Solstice East,” comments Selent. “It gives the treatment team an opportunity to reflect on the student’s strengths and reinforces the relationships students have formed at our program.”
Both charm ceremonies mark important points of a student’s healing journey during their stay at Solstice East. For more information about the Hero’s Journey at Solstice East, please visit our Hero’s Journey page.
About Solstice East
Solstice East, located just outside of Asheville, North Carolina, is a residential treatment center that has helped hundreds of struggling teens on their journey to solving issues like depression, anxiety, mood disorders, trauma and associated symptoms, drug abuse/addiction, and behavioral problems. Solstice East offers specialized, clinically intensive programs based on the specific needs of young women. At Solstice East, young women discover their full potential.
Eleanor, a graduate of Journey Home East, shares her success story:
"I’ve been very successful in the last few months since graduating Journey Home, only not in the traditional sense of the word; I’ve always been good at being nontraditional. I haven't been working out 8 hours a week, I don’t have straight A’s, and I haven't made many friends yet. Nonetheless, I wake up everyday, go to all my classes, do my homework, eat enough, and work hard to put myself in new situations. I hangout with the occasional friend, talk to those I left behind in Asheville, and facetime my best friend as much as both our schedules allow. This may not seem like a lot to most people, but I am proud of myself. I have been able to stay healthy, control my impulses, and not give in to my depression.
It has not been easy leaving Journey Home. I went from a very structured, yet independent, life off to college where everything is provided to me with very little structure. I miss my friends and Asheville everyday. Yet still I am proud of myself. I have not given into my urges to run away, both metaphorically and physically; I have been working hard to not self sabotage, and I am working on making friends outside of the treatment environment. Without Journey Home and the people who work there, I would not have the skills to hand the intense change and discomfort that beginning college comes with." To learn more about a day in the life of a student at Journey Home East, click here.
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.
Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness is excited and honored to announce Christine Riley, LMFT as the new Clinical Director at Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness. Blue Ridge has grown and evolved tremendously over the last sixteen months, and they continue to strengthen their commitment to healthy growth and company culture with a team that is stronger than ever at every level and department of the company. A leadership role at Blue Ridge is truly a role of service, and Christine embodies this through her passion and commitment working with students, staff, families, and referring professionals.
“It's my hope that I can support, encourage, teach, challenge, and serve every co-worker, student, family, and referring professional we work with.” Christine is a Primary Therapist for adolescent girls, ages 14-18, and will maintain her caseload while she steps into the Clinical Director role.
Christine grew up in the Adirondack mountains in upstate New York, and knew from a young age that she wanted to work in the woods with at-risk teens and their families. She had visions of families having more access to authentic relationship while utilizing the backdrop of wilderness. “There’s nothing I’ve experienced in a clinical or personal environment that so naturally lends to vulnerability and shared quality time as the wilderness.” She put those dreams on hold while getting her Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy in Hawaii, and then worked for a child sexual abuse treatment center, a place where families of domestic and/or sexual abuse came to heal.
Christine believes the true wilderness setting at Blue Ridge provides the safest, most meaningful and powerful setting for students to improve their self-worth, sense of belonging, and connection to self and others. Having facilitated therapy in several treatment modalities over the last 16 years, it is her experience that adolescent girls, in particular, aren’t given enough credit in terms of how strong and resourceful they are, especially when given the gift of being a part of a group of resilient, positive peers. Learning how to become more aware, more self-accepting, and increasing their sense of personal responsibility makes it more realistic for them to eventually tackle the noisy, often times overwhelming and risky “real world” outside of the woods.
Christine’s foundational approach is Family Systems oriented and she strongly believes that families need to be involved and evolving while the student is in treatment. For each student, she implements a combination of insight-oriented, strengths-based, client-centered approaches.
Many professionals in the Family Choice Behavioral Healthcare field have been lucky to work with Christine over the years. Please join Blue Ridge in congratuling her in this new role. Christine can be reached at email@example.com.
About Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness
Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness offers clinically driven programs encompassing advanced therapeutic skill, a highly flexible nomadic wilderness therapy model, licensed wilderness therapy assessment and multiple treatment options for troubled teens and pre-teens ages 10-18 years old. Our individualized approach, family support and commitment to service translate to an unparalleled experience and better outcomes for adolescents and families.
The Stetson School recently completed its latest outcome study, which examines the rate of sexual and non-sexual relapse among discharged youth. The study tracked youth for a five year period following their discharge, for convictions through national criminal record databases. This study measured outcomes for 315 youth discharged from Stetson between July 1, 2004 and June 30, 2010.
The study was carried out (databases searched) in July of 2016 and analyzed records for all youth up until that date. For some youth (those discharge in June, 2010) this covered a period of eleven years, for others it covered a period of only five years. Because of this variance, in order to ensure specificity and outcomes within the same timeframe for each study participant, only convictions within five years post discharge were recorded regardless of how long each participant had been discharged from Stetson School.
Stetson School's five year outcome rates compare very favorably to nationally reported outcomes for juveniles who display sexually reactive and/or problem sexual behavior(s). Stetson's 2.2% sexual relapse rate is significantly lower than the 10-13% sexual relapse rate commonly reported in the literature. Similarly, Stetson's non-sexual relapse rate (13%) also compare favorably to nationally published rates.
It is important to note that non-sexual relapse rates vary wildy for this population, and have been described as being anywhere from six to ten times the rate of sexual relapse (40% - 77%).
To read the full study report, or a more detailed summary, or if you have any comments or questions, please contact Peter C. Gow, Marketing and Outreach Coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Stetson School
Stetson School is a COA accredited, SEVIS-approved, residential and education treatment program, which is fully licensed by the Massachusetts Departments of Early Education and Care, and Elementary and Secondary Education. We serve young men and transgender individuals, ages 9-22, who have problematic behaviors, sexually reactive behaviors, complex developmental difficulties, chronic mental illness and other behavioral issues. Stetson supports young men who have suffered from severe trauma, have histories of physical, emotional and/or sexual abuse and who may have had disrupted living arrangements or placements.
The Aspire Group welcomes Erika Sieraski, LPC to the team. Erika's primary focus will be on local day school placement and local support services in the Chicagoland area. Erika will be helping local families in need of additional supports inside and outside the schools to find, recover and exhaust local options for financial assistance. Erika is a Certified School Counselor (Type 73) and is familiar with the IEP process and is a Licensed Professional Counselor and now adding Educational Consultant to her resume.
Seven Stars, a treatment program and assessment center for teens ages 13-17, works with many young people who struggle to connect with others in social settings. The majority of students’ challenges revolve around social appropriateness and sensory issues, both of which can contribute to anxiety. Learning to regulate sensory needs first and then manage emotions is an important factor in developing better social awareness and social thinking.
Throughout their time at Seven Stars, students develop coping strategies to deal with sensory challenges and other reactions they have within a social environment. These strategies are developed on a case by case basis.
“If a student is struggling with sensory issues we help them develop a daily routine for meeting their sensory needs,” comments Justin Manco, Primary Therapist at Seven Stars. “This 'sensory diet' is developed based on their specific sensory needs. This sensory diet can include things like quiet time, exercise or stretching, rock climbing, listening to music, walking, etc. Fidget toys and noise dampening headphones can also help. Reducing sensory distress is an essential first step to managing anxiety.”
Another coping strategy utilized in some cases is known as frontloading.
“Before a student enters an environment that may trigger anxiety and socially awkward behaviors, we prepare them by describing expectations, reminding them of coping skills they can use, ways to ask for help, different ways to be successful, etc,” says Manco. “During therapy sessions, we practice how to react within these triggering situations and find ways to change behaviors if the student becomes dysregulated.”
If a student is feeling dysregulated and triggered by their environment, staff ask them to rate how their response feels on a 1-10 scale. “We want them to take a break to refocus, recognize where they are within that scale, and take time to regulate themselves,” comments Manco. “This can be done through mindfulness exercises or fidget devices.”
About Seven Stars
Seven Stars is a premier therapeutic program for teens ages 13-17 struggling with neurodevelopmental disorders such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder, and Learning Disorders (verbal or nonverbal). Seven Stars’ treatment model takes a revolutionary shift from normal therapy methods. By combining acute care stabilization, with residential treatment and academics, true multidisciplinary assessment and treatment, outdoor experiential therapy and positive psychology, Seven Stars therapeutic program understands, assesses and builds the confidence and skills of students struggling with neurodevelopmental disorders.
Trails Momentum, a wilderness therapy program for young adults, ages 18-25, is excited to announce two new additions to their clinical team - Blake Smith, MA-ED, NCC, LPC and Tai Kulenic, MPS, LPC, ATR-BC. Both Smith and Kulenic join the team in roles as Primary Therapists.
“We are excited to add two such experienced, passionate individuals to our Trails Momentum team", comments Graham Shannonhouse, Executive Director of Trails Momentum and Trails Carolina. “Their guidance and support of students throughout a student’s therapeutic journey will be invaluable to the progress and success of our students.”
Blake Smith joins the Trails Momentum team as he merges his clinical background and passion for working with young adults and their families with his love of wilderness therapy.
Throughout his 25 year career, Smith has worked with children, adolescents, and young adults in a variety of academic and therapeutic settings. Most recently he has been a primary therapist at a residential treatment center for young men and a wilderness therapist for adolescents. Stepping into a role working with young adults in an adventure therapy oriented program is a natural progression for him.
"I look forward to the resources offered within the Momentum program as therapy is seldom as effective if removed from a supportive community", Smith explains. "In my many years as both as outpatient therapist and as a wilderness therapist - I contend that having the right team of collaborating professionals within the continuum of care is the most important aspect to sustain successful outcomes."
Tai Kulenic, MPS, LPC, ATR-BC joins the clinical team after working for several years at Trails Carolina, Trails Momentum’s sister program for adolescents. As a Trails Momentum primary therapist, Kulenic will be doing individual therapy, family therapy, and student group therapy sessions. She has a rich and diverse background that includes private practice, community mental health, and inpatient psychiatry.
Kulenic's previous work with young adults has her excited to begin working with this population again.
"I look forward to meeting each student where they are in their individual process and working with them to build the social and emotional skills needed for their future independence." says Kulenic.
In addition to her certification as an LPC, Kulenic is also a certified Art therapist and will be conducting experiential art therapy with students as part of the therapeutic process. The open studio will provide materials and guided projects with structured therapeutic intentions, and will be part of both the Trails Momentum and the Trails Carolina curriculum.
About Trails Momentum
Trails Momentum is a co-ed adventure-based wilderness therapy program for young adults ages 18-25. Located in the mountains of western North Carolina, Trails Momentum offers a transformative, whole student centered growth experience for young adults struggling to launch themselves into adulthood. Adventure programming, clinical services, education, service-learning, and community living are seamlessly interwoven to maximize the transference of important life skills in order to empower students to make the transition into independence.
Dragonfly Transitions, a young adult treatment program in southern Oregon, supports parents through the pivotal stage of raising a young adult in emerging adulthood. The success of a student in the treatment process is often tied to the willingness of a parent to engage and to be an active participant in the treatment journey.
To support this experience, Dragonfly Transitions facilitated a Family Workshop during the last week of October. Dragonfly offers Family Workshops three times a year to provide a supportive space for open and direct dialogue between family members, which can increase self-awareness and mutual understanding. These workshops often result in the most meaningful and uniquely impactful therapeutic progress for both the student and their family.
A mother of a current student recently sent an email in which she shared her joy at her child’s accomplishments and the acknowledgment that there was still a long journey ahead full of the unknown and anticipated setbacks and successes. She shared that she’d embarked on her own journey of developing new skills and interests, outside of her role with her child, through learning about meditation and Buddhism. She kindly sent an article that she’d found impactful from an adaptation on Raising Resilience: The Wisdom and Science of Happy Families and Thriving Children by Christoper Willard (2017).
What follows are themes pulled from the article that may be useful for a family contemplating entering the treatment process or perhaps provide a moment of reflection for those already navigating the oftentimes challenging process of change.
As humans we move through phases of life that are stressful. Change and uncertainly are about the only constants that can be depended upon, and these oftentimes contribute to suffering as well as growth. There is little that is more stressful, joyful, uncertain, or a catalyst for change than parenting. How do parents survive and thrive with the pain, suffering, and joy of life and also help children to do the same?
- Learn to identify and acknowledge emotions and teach your child to do the same.
- Engage with emotion in a stable and balanced manner. This supports a secure base of attachment with children and increases optimal physical, psychological, and spiritual development.
- Be attached, but not enmeshed. “I want you to be happy, but I don’t need you to be happy in order for me to be OK”.
- Support your child in not over identifying in one area, i.e. the smart child, the athlete, the musician. Encourage a variety of interests, so they develop a range of skills and flexibility.
- Find the silver lining when things don’t go as planned.
- Allow them to make choices and mistakes and to skin their knees.
- Show gratitude and appreciation for others.
- Take ownership of mistakes. Don’t blame others.
- The path to success is long and often has failure along the way. Share your experiences of failure with your child. How did you overcome the setback and find the opportunity and resilience to move forward?
- Humans are resilient. Your child is too. Believe in their ability and demonstrate this through allowing them the space to learn from their mistakes.
About Dragonfly TransitionsDragonfly 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.
Elevations RTC, a residential treatment center for teens ages 13-18, places great value on student feedback by incorporating input from student counsel and quarterly surveys into programming.
Each month, Executive Director Judith Jacques, M.Ed, meets with the student advisory board, a group of 8-12 students selected on their ability to anticipate student needs and to offer ideas for campus improvement. The student advisory board provides an opportunity for students to take on a positive leadership role in the campus community.
“During student advisory meetings, there are discussions addressing a variety of issues such as on-campus food, staff concerns and facility improvements,” comments Jacques. “This is how staff become aware of issues they would otherwise be unaware of. In addition to discussing concerns, we also plan fun events on campus.”
Additionally, student opinions are heard through a quarterly student survey.
“This is an anonymous survey in which students are encouraged to voice their opinion about each department on campus,” says Jacques. “When specific items score low on this survey, we may add them to our facility improvement plan, which is updated each month.”
In the most recent 2017-2018 student survey, 89 percent of students believed that their therapist understood and addressed their individual needs. Ninety percent of students said that Elevations treats students with respect and has helped improve lives. See more of the survey results here.
“Giving students a voice is extremely important to the success of our program,” comments Jacques. “We continuously make improvements based on student beliefs. Opening a dialogue with students has made a huge difference in our ability to help students feel they are getting the most out of their time with us.”
About Elevations RTC
Elevations RTC is a residential treatment center that offers guidance, support and relief to adolescents struggling with issues like trauma, depression, anxiety, mood disorders, behavioral problems, and substance use. Elevations RTC is located in Syracuse, Utah and provides specialized, clinically intensive programs to struggling teens.
Evoke Therapy Programs is happy to announce the promotion of Leah Shingler to Director of Admissions & Outreach. Leah has been with the company since 2004 and has been working in the industry for over twenty years. Leah has a passion for Wilderness Therapy that shows in her work and commitment to families.
When asked about her new position, Leah replied "I am passionate about working for a company that is exhaustively committed to helping students, families and employees achieve success and personal well-being. I believe strongly in the individualized clinical model and the overall mission at Evoke, and I am thrilled to be surrounded and supported by a team that shares her enthusiasm for serving families with a strong focus on customer service and professionalism."
To speak with Leah about Evoke's Admissions Process or about any of the programs that Evoke offers, you can reach her at 866.411.6600 or email@example.com.
About Evoke Therapy Programs at Entrada
Evoke Therapy Programs at Entrada, in Santa Clara, Utah provides innovative mental health treatment solutions for struggling teens, young adults and their families. Their programs foster lasting change utilizing the power of nature and wilderness therapy. They also offer Personal Growth Intensive Workshops for individuals and families who are looking to create dynamic changes in their life or to simply find the balance they are seeking.
In April of 2016, Pacific Quest started the Eat Local Initiative at the Young Adult Program at Reeds Bay. This initiative was created to help track the amount of produce being harvested and cooked, as well as to help create motivation in the student milieu. The program tracks whatever every student grows and harvests from the gardens; it is weighed, cleaned and documented. Then when it’s time for meal prep, students check to see if any of the freshly harvested produce can be cooked with that meal. If this is the case, then the food is used during that meal and documented. At the end of the month, based on how much home grown produce was cooked in the meals, the students are given a stipend to spend on specialty or rare items to use in the kitchen, such as cacao nibs, coconuts, and other island treats.
Alumni & Family Services Liaison Dara Downs works closely with Annette Nickontro, Young Adult Kitchen Manager on this project. Annette oversees every part of the kitchen, working directly with students in creating weekly menus and recipes. For many students, wandering the garden to collect herbs and produce is a whole new experience. Annette adds, “It’s been exciting to see the students pulling produce they grew from seeds and creating some amazing recipes for things like hot sauce, pesto, leafy green stir-fries and kale chips!”
The team found that since the Eat Local Initiative started, 990 pounds of produce has been harvested from the gardens, and of that, students have cooked 490 pounds of food. With these numbers, the team concluded that the group is harvesting approximately 55 pounds of food per month and preparing about 27 pounds of food from the gardens per month.
Once Dara realized how close students were to reaching 1000 pounds, she told them, and their immediate response was, “What? Only 10 pounds away from 1000, we are so close, let’s keep eating what we grow! That’s a crazy amount of food.” Soon after, Annette and the students harvested 12 pounds of basil and made a bunch of pesto to freeze for the winter! So after a year and a half the students reached 1000 pounds of harvested produce from the gardens. When asked to comment, PQ’s Horticultural Therapy Director Travis Slagle, M.A. said, “The need for self-sufficiency is both practical and emotional. The young people we serve benefit by knowing where their food comes from and taking an active role in sustaining their community. At PQ, we believe the experience of self-sufficiency is transferable and relevant across the lifespan.”
With the Eat Local Initiative in place, the team is focused on creating realistic goals and continuing to build a self sustaining agricultural model at PQ.
About Pacific Quest
Pacific Quest is an outdoor therapeutic program, located on the Big Island of Hawaii, for struggling adolescents and young adults that offers a clinical, yet holistic, approach to treatment. Our neurodevelopmental approach, combined with horticultural therapy, integrates evidence-based therapeutic methods, whole-person wellness and organic gardening to sustain a healthy community and motivate change.
The teachers at Moonridge Academy are committed to making their classrooms a place where students can be successful. For many students who have experienced anxiety in regards to academics or had extensive school refusal prior to coming to Moonridge Academy, finding academic success is imperative to clinical progress. With very small class sizes, teachers are able to individualize and differentiate assignments to meet a student where she is at academically. Teachers are also able to provide one-on-one support.
A major goal for the academic team is to provide experiential learning opportunities. During the month of October 2017, teachers came together to create “The Monster Smash”. In Social Studies class, students learned about creatures from folklore, mythology, urban legend, and fiction. Students were then assigned a beast. They researched their monster’s rumored powers, strengths and weaknesses. Students worked with their English teacher to develop a creative writing assignment associated with their beast. Students also created a poster presentation of their monster. In Math class, students completed a statistics sheet for their chosen monster. Teachers and students then developed a bracketed tournament where monsters fought against each other in computerized battles. The final battle was presented during the annual Halloween Party with drama teachers narrating the fight with hilarious commentary.
One student explained, “What I loved most about The Monster Smash was learning about folklore and urban legends”. Another student said she enjoyed the creative writing assignment the most, while another student enjoyed the statistics involved with the tournament. Many of the students said it was an assignment they would never forget. Academic Director Susan Mackert explained, “When teachers come together providing such an involved and creative assignment, students once again get excited about learning”.
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.
Developing executive function and self-regulation skills is essential for learning and development. Children have the potential to develop these skills - working memory, mental flexibility and self-control. Dr. Jared Tonks, Clinical Director at Valley View School, recognizes the challenges for students with deficits in executive functioning skills. He reports, "The absence of these skills is often associated with poor academic performance and emotional health needs".
Academically, students with weak executive functioning skills struggle to:
- remember to turn in assignments.
- complete assignments on time.
- organize homework.
- effectively use a planner.
- remember key instructions.
- follow through with commitments.
Emotionally, students with weak executive functioning skills tend to:
- often feel defeated in school.
- think they are not smart enough.
- feel different from their peers.
- become frustrated and angry.
- exhibit behavior that is overly emotional, avoidant, oppositional, disrespectful or apathetic.
The stress of school, homework, and interactions with peers and adults often triggers what may be described as a trauma response for students with executive function challenges. The focus of faculty and staff at Valley View has been intervention with students struggling with executive functioning. Dr. Tonks states, "One of the great things about Valley View is that the structure of the academic program lends itself to addressing student deficits in a natural, business-as-usual way". Valley View's average of 1:3 teacher-to-student ratio in the classroom allows for greater individual student attention and close monitoring of student progress. Curriculum and assignment modifications meet student-specific needs and the ability for teachers to assist students in maintaining and organizing their study space. It is common to see teachers not only engaging in instruction, but also taking the time to guide students in homework and backpack organization, test-taking strategies, study skills and assisting students with emotional regulation. The goal at Valley View is that school for every student with executive functioning challenges does not have to be a traumatic experience.
With the addition of a special education learning specialist, the development of a student executive function skills group and increased focus on professional and staff training, Valley View School is preparing students to be successful in their future academic endeavors. Students can overcome these challenges and be empowered to achieve positive behavior leading to healthy choices and lifelong benefits.
About Valley View School
Valley View School, founded in 1970, is a private therapeutic boarding school serving boys in grades 6-12. A nonprofit 501(c)(3) school, our campus is located in the central Massachusetts town of North Brookfield. Our overall program consists of a comprehensive blend of Therapy, Academics, Athletics, Arts and Activities challenging our students emotionally, intellectually and physically. The boys learn self-control, emotional regulation and social skills in order to create and cultivate relationships with peers and adults, while developing compassion, empathy and respect for others and to realize their true potential.
EDGE Learning and Wellness Collegiate Community is thrilled to announce that Kyla Cretekos-Gross, M.Ed., has joined the program as the new EDGE Learning Coordinator. She is taking over the Learning Coordinator position from Brittany Williams, who recently left EDGE to focus on her growing family.
Kyla earned her Bachelor of Applied Science in Human Development from Cornell University in 2013. She continued her academic career at Lipscomb University, earning her Master of Education in Planning and Instruction in 2014. Kyla has since developed a diverse background in education and mentoring. She recently held positions with both the Oasis Center and Teach for America, working as a program liaison and high school mathematics teacher, respectively. Through her experiences in education, Kyla has developed a passion for working individually with young adults.
“As a Learning Coordinator at EDGE, I am driven to assist students in discovering and building on their strengths to better understand their own goals and needs,” said Kyla. “While consistently keeping the main goal of successful independent living at the forefront of my work, I strive to help students gain an understanding of how to navigate college campuses, campus resources, and the demands of a college workload.”
Kyla helps EDGE students achieve success in college and beyond by providing one-on-one academic and personal coaching. Through fostering skills of self-sufficiency, her coaching furthers the EDGE mission to instill lasting, sustainable change in its students’ lives.
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.
Chamberlain International School’s Title 1 Teacher Sally Kelly was recently recognized for Excellence in Service by the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs. The Excellence in Service award is presented annually at the NATSAP regional conferences to honor staff who go above and beyond their job requirements to provide excellent services to their students. It is meant to pay tribute to those in organizations and schools who play such vital roles behind the scenes but do not get the spotlight very often. Sally was one of only two people chosen for this award from the Northeast Region this year.
Sally is in charge of working with any students in need of Title 1 services. She works with the most challenging students one on one and in small group settings to address individual academic deficits. In addition to this she also administers several of the academic assessments requested by school districts and parents. Sally goes above and beyond to help her students to be successful in all areas of their academic studies. Meeting the achievement standards on the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) is a graduation requirement for Massachusetts students. She has assisted many students over the years to exceed those expectations by alleviating the anxiety around testing by building confidence in all of the kids who enter her small class room.
Sally has become an important member of the Chamberlain family over the last 15 years. Her influence is widespread throughout the campus. She has assisted countless students achieve what had been unachievable. In addition to that, Educational Director Scott Davignon says “Her experience and influence has helped many of our younger teachers to develop into well the rounded educators they are today. We are very proud to call her one of our own.”
About the Chamberlain International School Located in Middleboro, Massachusetts, Chamberlain International School offers a therapeutic residential learning experience for students ranging in age from 11 to 22. Students at Chamberlain International School struggle with a variety of learning disabilities and mental health challenges.
At College Excel the students are working on developing their whole selves. This includes wellness programming, independent living skills development, community integration, and of course academic success. College Excel treats all of these pieces as equally important and the students leave College Excel with the tools and confidence to take on the challenges of academia on their own.
Many of the students have experienced academic struggles before attending College Excel. The coaches at College Excel are highly trained and skillful in helping a student determine what they need to be successful. The program has many ways that a student can gauge their academic success including the GPA for a term. For the Summer of 2017 academic term the students earned a program-wide GPA of 3.56 and earned 112 credits out of 115 attempted credits. Forty percent of the students earned a 4.0. College Excel commends the students for their hard work and determination.
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.
Anngela Wells Starnes is joining the Q&A Family of Programs as Director of Admissions and Marketing. Anngela comes to Q&A with rich experience in the therapeutic world. Her passion for helping others began in 1988 when she helped her father and stepmother, Larry and Karen Wells, found a program called Wilderness Conquest, later known as Wilderness Quest.
Anngela served as the Admissions and Marketing Director for almost 18 years. In 1995, Anngela became an International Certified Addictions Dependency Counselor. When Wilderness Quest changed hands in 2005, Anngela began working in her local school districts, providing experiential and self-esteem groups as well as life skills training to high school students. She also facilitated preteen groups, interventions for family members, anger management classes, along with providing services for first offenders and probation violators for the court system. She worked for a residential treatment program as an outreach counselor and served as Admissions and Marketing Specialist for Life Designs.
Anngela’s ability to share compassion, love and hope was developed through overcoming her own struggles and challenges. She has been working with adolescents, young adults and families for nearly 30 years. “Anngela’s knowledge, professionalism, and compassion for admissions and marketing will be an asset to our team at Q&A; we are thrilled to have her,” stated Angie Shockley, Founder and CEO.
Anngela is the proud mother of five children. She and her husband Buddy own and operate A&B Excavation Trucking. They make their home in Idaho Falls, ID. Anngela will be attending IECA in DC and looks forward to seeing old friends and making new ones. She can be reached at 304-704-6383 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Q&A Family of ProgramsQ&A Family of Programs works with young adults ages 18 and up, providing opportunities for each of them to develop independent, functional, and happy lives with a high level of quality. Our clients have struggled to reach independence for a variety of reasons such as the inability to develop and/or implement the life skills needed to be successful, or struggling to obtain consistent employment. Our goal is to help these individuals find meaning and an authentic purpose for their lives and a practical path to achieve their goals.
Acquiring a greater sense of agency — the capacity of individuals to act independently and make their own free choices — is key to becoming an adult. Society holds young adults responsible for their actions regardless of the difficulties, disabilities or impairments with which they may have struggled. It is therefore incumbent upon the professionals who work with young adults to help them learn the skills to meet these challenges.
It can be difficult for professionals and parents to accurately assess the degree to which an individual can participate in the decision-making process. This assessment is key to everything from choosing the intensity and urgency of interventions to offering options for colleges and transition programs. In order to facilitate this process, the EDGE team diligently accumulates observations and data on each student's functioning. This allows parents and other professionals to operate from a position of knowledge and insight as they collaborate with the student to plan for the future.
Hope is a fundamental element, and when those working with a young adult (parents, therapists, consultants, educators) limit one's agency in a way that is based more on caregiver anxiety than careful assessment, it can curtail hope for a more positive future. Similarly, failing to provide enough support and structure to a struggling young adult can increase the student's anxiety and lead to life-altering consequences. The EDGE team helps young adults recognize how they can expand their options in life. The students learn to identify ways in which their lives become smaller when crippled by limiting thoughts, impulsive behaviors, and irresponsible or careless decisions. They also learn effective communication methods to describe their hopes, goals, needs, and preferences to their parents and other adults in their lives.
The philosophical foundation for this coaching is the belief that every person can live a better life through effective use of resources and a commitment to wellness. It is essential to help students learn how to be interdependent in a challenging world and create a process in which they can invest in order to create an environment that can lead to meaningful and lasting changes.
Recently, EDGE had the opportunity to attend the Young Adult Transition Association conference in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. EDGE Executive Director Jason Wynkoop participated in a panel discussion focused on inclusion of the young adult in the transition planning process. Educational consultants, representatives of wilderness programs, and therapists and staff of transition programs all shared diverse viewpoints.
"Several observations were made about how the struggling young adult is someone who, at times, needs to be led and directed, but then is also expected to develop skills and embrace the opportunity for change while being presented with few reasons to do so,” said Wynkoop. “Once we establish that the student is safe, the new imperative is to elicit buy-in and to increase the student's agency as much as possible based on his or her ability. Missing the opportunity to help the young adult understand why only certain options are on the table and how they can live in a world with more choices keeps that person 'stuck' in the very cycle that intervention sought to break. Having our Therapeutic Life Coaches working from a developmental framework makes sure we are always teaching and opening new options to students."
For more information on EDGE’s approach to supporting students toward greater autonomy in an interdependent world, visit edgelearningcommunity.com/approach/the-edge-advantage/.
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.
Next Chapter, an all-male, residential trauma and addiction recovery center in Delray Beach, FL, moved into their new clinical office at the end of October. The office is located at:6646 W. Atlantic Ave1st FloorDelray Beach, FL 33446.
Since opening their doors in 2015, Next Chapter has expanded from one 10-patient residence to two separate residences, holding a combined 18 patients. The new clinical office is about twice as big as the old clinical office. Because the staff-to-patient ratio is so important, Next Chapter has brought on several additional therapists, counselors, and residential managers. Every potential patient will undergo a thorough and extensive clinical evaluation before admission to the program. During this process, staff members will work together to uncover pertinent personal information, such as family history and co-occurring disorders. Members of the clinical staff will then develop a highly personalized and comprehensive treatment plans, based on the specific requirements of each, individual patient.
Patients will spend the majority of their time at the clinical office, undergoing intensive group and one-on-one therapy. They will be transported to the clinical office every morning, and they will be transported back to the residential facilities every evening. Therapeutic work does not cease once patients return to the residence – the home-like, non-institutional environment is geared towards the development of personal responsibility, positive interactions with other residents, and the termination of unhealthy behavioral patterns. Patients will learn to live a sober lifestyle, while supporting one another and holding one another accountable.
The residential staff members are in close communication with the clinical staff members – they relay important information, noting significant interactions and any observed areas of concern. The clinical staff members are then able to focus their therapeutic sessions on relevant issues, tailoring group and individual sessions to best meet the needs of each individual patient. Like the residential facilities, the clinical office is clean, comfortable, and provides a safe and non-institutional environment – one that encourages patients to open up and begin the healing process.
About Next Chapter Treatment
Next Chapter is an all-male, residential program of trauma and addiction recovery. The residential facilities and new clinical office are located in Delray Beach, FL. Next Chapter is JCAHO Accredited, and has helped numerous men overcome the devastating effects of unresolved trauma, mental illness, and substance dependency since first opening their doors in 2015.
Founded in 1995, New Haven Residential Treatment Center has an extensive alumni network. Our alumni come from all over the United States, and at times, across international borders to come to New Haven. Each family has a unique story to share and we want to bring you some of these stories, as voices of hope.
Please follow this link to a recent blog posting that shares one family's story.
For decades, and with each day that passes at New Haven, families are working to build strong family relationships, make peace with past traumas and lay a foundation for a bright future. Please visit our website or social media pages to see more stories from our alumni.
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.
Sunrise RTC is known for its DBT program for girls ages 13-17. DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) is a cognitive behavioral treatment which Marsha Linehan, PhD, ABPP developed. This treatment blends individual psychotherapy and group skills training classes to help students both learn and apply strategies and skills to build a “life worth living”. Emotion regulation, distress tolerance, mindfulness, and interpersonal effectiveness are among the key skills taught.
All Sunrise therapists are foundationally trained by Behavioral Tech, a Linehan Institute Training Company. In addition to Sunrise’s therapist training, all staff members are offered DBT training through the Sunrise Employee DBT Course. This regular training is offered to Residential staff and all other Sunrise employees. With this training, staff are able to fully support the girls in their recovery process.
About Sunrise RTC
Sunrise is a residential treatment center for adolescent girls ages 13-17 aimed at uncovering the academic, social, and emotional potential of girls who have been held back by emotional or behavioral struggles. Sunrise combines the warmth of a home, the safety and clinical expertise of a residential treatment program, and the community access of a transition program.
One of the many significant ways TechieForLife (TFL) supports their neuroatypical students in preparing for careers that fit their aptitude and interests is by creating opportunities and developing community-based partnerships. Western Sky Aviation Warbird Museum accepted TFL student Windham, who applied and now volunteers weekly. In addition to gaining more confidence and increased social skills, Windham is offering valued service while connecting with others through his love of aviation.
"Windham absolutely lights up when he volunteers. On one occasion after volunteering, I was amazed at his excitement as he shared the experiences of his day," said Kristen McCoy, Program Director at TFL, a licensed vocational school in Southern Utah. "As one of our more introverted students, the chance to volunteer and interact with others at the museum is giving Windham the opportunity to become more comfortable in conversing with others." When things didn't work out for Windham's pursuit of a career as an air traffic controller after graduating from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in air traffic management, he chose to attend TechieForLife to find a new direction and continue to develop marketable skills.
Ray Stiens, the director for the Museum, has enjoyed working with Windham and watching his confidence grow. "I'm happy to have his help," said Ray. Western Sky Aviation Warbird Museum is an independently operated, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to preserving, restoring, and displaying aircraft for the educational benefit of current and future generations. Windham reports, "I like being at the airport with the smell, the sounds and the sights. It was uncomfortable at first when I didn't know anybody, but it has gotten better. I gave my first tour last week."
Along with volunteering, Windham has been taking online classes to get certified as an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operator. His next step is an apprenticeship. TechieForLife is working to partner with a professional that uses drones and UAV's to collect data for surveying and mapping purposes to help Windham gain hands on job experience.
TechieForLife (TFL) is a co-ed, young adult, residential and licensed vocational school located in St. George, Utah. Dubbed "Silicon Sands," beautiful Southern Utah is home to one of the fastest growing tech sectors in the U.S. Neuroatypical students who need a safe social emotional environment gain important life skills, mentoring and a college track or marketable technology training; leading to internship/job placement through TFL's close private sector partnerships. TechieForLife gives students a place to belong and the supports to succeed.
Calo Teen parents recently headed to Lake Ozark for a Fall retreat. Retreats are a great opportunity to engage parents in experiential activities and provide valuable shared experiences for students, their parents and the Calo Teens staff.
This season's theme was Restoring Trust. This topic was initially introduced last summer with parents using Calo's treatment model CASA, and introduced how Complex Developmental Trauma interferes with the development of trust and how the components of the CASA help to restore it.
Utilizing safe, experiential activities to demonstrate consistent Boundaries, Reliability (consistency and predictability), Integrity (courage to do what is right, even when it is difficult, to demonstrate commitment and security in the family relationships), Accountability (in trusting relationships, by practicing the process of repair that is a key aspect of the Calo treatment model and crucial in developing and maintaining trusting relationships), parents and students practiced the core tenets of CASA and experienced connection and improved trust.
Another highlight for families was an activity based around Brene’ Brown’s analogy that “Trust is like a Marble Jar”. Families created their own Marble Jar, where they identified the small interactions that occur within their relationship that contribute to the growth and restoration of trust, which were represented by marbles added to their jar. The most powerful aspect of this activity was the realization that just as trust is not built by one big ‘Marble Moment', neither is it destroyed by one big ‘Marble Moment’. Thus, a break in trust does not empty the entire marble jar, but instead removes one or two marbles, which can then be restored by one or two acts of trust. This simple activity not only reduced the overwhelming task of restoring trust to a manageable goal, but also inspired hope that restoring trust is attainable within their relationship.
The Neurotherapy department also presented information on the Neurobiology of Complex Developmental Trauma, and the many factors of the Fear Driven Brain that interfere with their children’s ability to experience security, acceptance and trust in relationships, as well as respond in ways that reflect their desire for connection and trust.
A parent support group provided the opportunity for paretns to receive true understanding, empathy and hope from others.
“It helped me further understand my son and the work that has to be done. I liked the explanation of the brain."
“The entire theme and the break out sessions that corresponded to each specific element were very beneficial. The best one was the Marble Jar exercise.”
The staff support was outstanding!
“B.R.A.V.I.N.G. was an awesome exploration of subject matter, opportunities for conversations, scheduled activities were a great mix of fun & challenge”.
The Boundary exercise and writing down, by both parents and kids, of their needs opened my mind greatly. The blindfold exercise reminded me of the need for trust. The marbles reinforced and reminded me of the need to recognize my son’s accomplishments”.
“Thank you again for your love, care and commitment to our son”.
“The biology and physiology of our kids is so very important to remember, and that they are doing the best they can. Excellent work by all!! Thank you Calo!!”
About Calo Teens
Created with the need for specialty care in mind and with almost a decade of outcomes (over 400 families), Calo Teens is the first treatment center focused on adoptive families. Calo Teens implements a true relational-based treatment approach to create change from the inside out… heart first, and behavior second.
Jen Murphy and Hilary Moses, founders of SolutionsParentingSupport.com, traveled to Boston to host another “Strengthen Your Family Workshop”. The workshop balanced didactic teaching of the top skills taught to most families with whom they work with a processing group focused on understanding the maladaptive patterns that parents developed in their childhood that can impact their relationships today.
Parents were given the opportunity to share specific situations with which they are faced and to build awareness of areas in which they would like to develop competency through practice.
This group included parents mostly of young adult children, some who were currently in wilderness therapy, some who had previously been to wilderness therapy and some who had received treatment in other ways while at home or in college. Many of the parents were navigating the waters of having substance using children and learning their own boundaries, what they are and are not willing to support and what exactly that means to each of them.
The workshop helped parents to identify the internalized networks, developed at a young age, that shape their current relationships. By building awareness of maladaptive patterns, parents noted that they are more able to see what underlies their triggers, reaction and interactions, which further allows them to hone in on personal growth goals.
The Solutions Parenting Support traveling workshops are next heading to Chicago and the Bay Area. If you have clients/families who might benefit or be interested, please have them visit the website and sign up for advance notification of upcoming dates and locations and priority registration.
About Solutions Parenting Support
Solutions Parenting Support, LLC, Parent Coaching and Transitional Support started in 2012 by owners Jen Murphy, LPC and Hilary Moses, LCSW, with the goal to provide more clinical as well as practical and educational support to parents during their child's therapeutic experience and during the transitional period. Solutions Parenting Support offers individual phone support sessions for families around the globe and provides personalized online parent support courses.
It's true... West Ridge uses private insurance to help cover the costs of treatment. Last year West Ridge received over two and a half million dollars of insurance coverage. This is a tremendous help to families so the focal point of treatment can remain on their struggling teenager.
There are 3 key points to remember about West Ridge Academy and its ability to bill insurance:
- West Ridge works primarily with out-of-network benefits. This means they are not bogged down by the necessity and criteria of being in network. It may seem daunting to deal with out of network deductibles and out of pocket costs but as a nonprofit organization, West Ridge offers a lot in the way of financial aid to help families in need to overcome this obstacle.
- West Ridge is licensed and able to bill for Residential, Partial Hospitalization (Day treatment), Out Patient Services, and General Out Patient services. This allows West Ridge to help families for an extended period of time through several levels of care.
- In situations where insurance is not an option, West Ridge offers the lowest Private Pay (Partial Scholarship Rate) exclusively to family members of the struggling teen. This partial scholarship rate is not available for state or government entities, private firms, or insurance companies. At $7,000/month, parents will be hard pressed to find another treatment center that offers the continuum of care that West ridge offers at anything close to this price.
Feel free to contact West Ridge at 801-282-1000 or email Charlie at email@example.com if you have any questions.
West Ridge Academy…where our 50 year mission has been to offer hope and healing in an environment that encompasses Humility – Accountability – Service – and Love..