All Kinds of News for September 13, 2017
Rebecca has been with Gateway Academy for over 10 years working in several positions including Residential Manger and Program Director, before becoming the Executive Director.
Rebecca’s passion has always been working with youth to help motivate and provide the boys and families at Gateway a sense of purpose. As Program Director, Rebecca has been well respected by each of the Gateway Academy teams she has supervised. Rebecca brings to her new position established leadership and her ability to listen with intention and understanding, skills that have garnered her the respect and admiration of her co-workers.
Rebecca has a Bachelors degree in Psychology from Westminster College and a Masters degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from University of Phoenix. Rebecca has worked with adolescents and their families for over 17 years. Prior to joining Gateway Academy, Rebecca worked with adjudicated youth; she supervised the YWCA Teen Home for Pregnant and Parenting Girls and has been a private practice therapist.
Rebecca has a strong commitment to friends and family, personal learning and self-discovery. She loves cooking, weekend trips that take her to the ocean, live music, fashion, and her weekly barre class. Rebecca has a creative and artistic side that she brings to her private and professional life and is always open to new adventures. Rebecca spent several years exploring snowboarding the slopes of Alaska, Colorado and Utah prior to diving into her formal education and career working with adolescents.
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.
During the August 2017 Wilderness Therapy Symposium in Park City, Utah, Moonridge Academy's Executive Director Tawny Thomas presented to a packed room on Self Care and Avoiding Burnout. She was accompanied by Educational Consultant Shayna Abraham and Admissions Director for True North Wilderness Courtney Merrill. Tawny and her team discussed the unavoidable stresses and responsibilities of working within treatment and caring for vulnerable populations.
Because treatment is high energy and focus, and the stakes are high, many professionals fall victim to burnout by overextending themselves and not implementing self-care and balance. Treatment providers are invariably teaching adolescents and families the importance of taking care of themselves and respecting their limits, so it's important that they go beyond teaching, and live and model those lessons as well. Most professionals admit to not only regularly working from home after hours, but also taking work with them on vacations and weekends, never turning their phones off, and finding themselves in frustrating cycles of prioritizing work responsiveness over family time.
A survey completed during the seminar revealed that over 70% of the attendees not only leave their work cell phones on during the night, but most also check for emails and messages at least once in the middle of the night, and almost everyone checks first thing in the morning. This constant level of arousal and anticipation introduces anxiety, fatigue, and only feeds into more of the same.
An obvious conclusion is that these professionals are less effective when they are stretched thin, so self-care and "me time" actually translates to better care for their clients and families. Moonridge Academy is working to be more careful with the workloads given to employees, to encourage them to unplug outside of work, to support days off, and to not feed into the "busy is best" mentality. Wouldn't it be great if the query "How are you?" didn't have to be met with the expected response of "I'm soooo busy and stressed”? Instead they could respond with the goodness and self-focus they are balancing their lives with.
Find what recharges you, whether that be meditation, reading a book, a 30 minute walk, or dedicated play time with your children - and bring that back into your daily routine. Encourage and praise your coworkers and clients when they practice self-care. Invest in you so you can bring the best to yourself, your family, and your clients.
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
The Northeast National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP) conference will be held on September 26th and 27th in Kennebunkport, Maine. SUWS will be represented by Kelly Dunbar (Director of Business Development), Bryan Delaney (Program Director), and Kevin Waller (Primary Therapist). Waller, who recently presented at the Expanding Recovery for Young People's Conference, is excited about the opportunity to collaborate with long time friend and colleague Karyn Kaminski for this presentation. Titled "Psychological Flexibility: ACT with Dually Diagnosed Emerging Adults", Waller and Kaminski will discuss the merits of acceptance and commitment therapy in addictions treatment.
"Working with adolescent and young adult men can feel like a game of chess," states Waller. They often present as oppositional, rigid, avoidant, disengaged or treatment resistant. The co-occurrence of disorders with problematic substance use can further complicate accurate diagnosis and effective treatment planning. Waller and Kaminski intend to address enhancing psychological flexibility using defusion through Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). 12 Step principles overlap with ACT modalities, and the ability to work from both will be discussed. Presenters introduce strategies in working with fusion, including appropriate self-disclosure, metaphor, acceptance, and others utilizing case studies from our work. CEU's will be offered for this presentation.
About SUWS of the Carolinas
SUWS of the Carolinas & Phoenix Outdoors are licensed, CARF International-accredited mental health facilities, 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. Phoenix Outdoors is for 13-17 year olds in single gender groups. Substance abuse is of primary concern, with co-occurring mood disorders, ADHD, defiant behavior, negative peer relationships, school failure, and anger issues.
Mountain Valley Treatment Center (MVTC) has recently purchased a spectacular piece of property in Plainfield, NH and will be relocating during the holidays. The Plainfield location will continue MVTC's mission and daily programming, while expanding the aspects that have made the Pike campus unique and successful.
The new location will be on 25-acres of land settled by Thomas Gallup in 1763. The Gallup Homestead, built in 1818, was owned by the Gallups until 1912 – ending a remarkable six-generation ownership. Since then, the Federal-style brick home has been used as a private home and, most recently, an inn. The intention is to use this magnificent building for administrative offices, residents’ rooms and dining. The Carriage House, located directly behind the main building, will also be used as a dormitory. A third building, also on the campus, will serve as our Clinical Center and feature office space for our therapists, nurses and psychiatrists. Other on-campus buildings will be used for Residential Staff offices and programming – art, yoga, gardening and the animals.
As a community and a team, MVTC is already begining to prepare a seamless transition to the new campus. Contractors are currently in Plainfield making sure that the facilities are ready for (up to) 24 residents and our clinical and residential staff. In the next few weeks, the residents will begin to spend Tuesdays in Plainfield engaged in therapeutic programming – and becoming accustomed to what for some of them will become their new MVTC home. They, like the staff, are very excited about this opportunity – one that would not have happened without the support, guidance and leadership from our advisors, parents and, especially, our former residents.
Since 2011 the Pike location has served MVTC well, however, as the treatment program further evolves, here are several reasons for the change:
Safety – With all needed facilities on one central campus, our residents and staff will spend far less time in vans driving to dormitories and programming locations.
Geography – Plainfield is significantly closer to Hanover and Lebanon, NH, as well as other destinations for therapeutic programming opportunities and medical appointments. The Plainfield campus is also minutes away from the Lebanon Airport, the I-89/I-91 junction and the Dartmouth College campus, and approximately an hour closer to Manchester, Boston and New York.
Programming Opportunities – All the experiential education modules that have helped to make the MVTC experience unique will still occur on the Plainfield campus – gardening, fitness, hiking, biking, etc. But there is also a clay tennis court, a pitch and putt golf course and acres of pastures for our animals – including the chickens and their Cadillac Coop. Outdoor activities are going to be closer, like the the Connecticut River, for easier access to canoeing, kayaking and fishing, and Mt. Ascutney and Mt. Sunapee for skiing and hiking. The new immediate neighbors include a Christmas tree farm, an equestrian center, a dairy, orchards and a nursery and farm stand.
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.
The field therapists at Living Well are invited, just as the clients are, to show up and engage with their own passions and to find where those might overlap. In line with this — and based on client interest in working with horses — field therapist Bonnie Fischnaller recently began an equine therapy group at Twin Oaks Farm. It has been offered bi-weekly since, as a therapeutic group.
Last Wednesday, the group finally caught a break from the afternoon thunderstorms and were able to do more direct work with the main herd. Bonnie, another facilitator, and the volunteer horse handler watched as participants practiced both haltered and un-haltered leading of one of the heard who's known as “General.” He was introduced to the group as ‘low man on the totem-pole’. As a group member led General around the ring and back towards the center, the goal was to keep him from getting to the hay pile in the center of the ring. Three other participants acted as resources and potential boundary keepers of the hay pile. The metaphor offered was relatively broad, in that the hay might represent desires, habits, or compulsions that have been difficult to shift.
The activity, from an outside view, may have appeared relatively simple, but there was far more happening than what might meet the untrained eye. The sensitive nature of horses (evolved as herd-based prey animals) makes them an ideal instrument for reflecting back what is felt but not always seen or vice versa. As Bonnie stated, “they respond to what we are communicating, even when we aren’t aware that we are communicating it. Once we are aware of what we are communicating we can engage in the conversation from a more attuned place whether with horses or people.”
To learn more about Twin Oaks Farm, click here.
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.
Jack Kline, President and Founder of Red Oak Recovery and Heather Hayes, Founder of Heather R. Hayes and Associates, team up once again to present "The Legal and Ethical Dilemmas in Clinical Practice" at the Cape Cod Symposium on Addictive Disorders (CCSAD) from September 14th - 17th in Hyannis, MA. Both Kline and Hayes intend to help those present in the workshop to understand modern day ethical challenges and how to safely navigate around them.
There are a multitude of ethical issues that are challenging clinicians and those that operate treatment centers today. Through a combination of experiential, case study and didactic methods, the goal is to spread awareness of such dilemmas and help others understand the inherent conflict around financial reward and sound mental health care and view situations as a cynical scientist should. "Cui bono? (Who benefits?)"
There were over 1200 attendees to the CCSAD in 2016.
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.
Who is Chad Stark, ACMHC, MA. Ed?
Chad Stark was raised not too many miles away from ViewPoint Center and has lived in this area for the majority of his life. Since the time he took his first course in Family Science during his freshman year at Brigham Young University (UT), he wanted to be a counselor.
After finishing a Bachelor’s degree in Family Science with a Minor in Psychology, Chad went on to earn a Master’s degree in Education and a second Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling.
Chad has counseling experience with clients needing treatment for issues resulting from substance abuse, domestic violence, depression, anxiety, suicidality, self-harm, transgender exploration and ADHD. Before becoming a therapist, he was an Academic Counselor and Director of Curriculum Development at the university level. In addition to his work at ViewPoint Center, he is currently an adjunct university faculty member teaching incoming freshman.
Chad’s work at ViewPoint Center
Since the summer of 2017, Chad has worked with patients at ViewPoint Center as a Primary therapist on the clinical team. On a daily basis, Chad works closely with patients to build a rapport and increase insight into their challenges. He provides an additional perspective to the assessment process and helps patients develop coping skills through individual, family, and group therapy. As a member of the treatment team, Chad builds diagnostic profiles for patients which can be used in long-term treatment when necessary.
His favorite aspect of working at ViewPoint Center is the interactions he has with patients. He enjoys seeing the progress patients make by gaining higher levels of stability and better insight into their struggles.
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.
Elevations RTC, a residential treatment center for teens ages 13-18, observes suicide awareness month this September by encouraging individuals to take action and manage the risks of suicidal and parasuicidal behavior. In June, Jordan Killpack MA, NCC, LCMHC presented on this topic at the annual NATSAP conference alongside ViewPoint Center’s Assessment Director, Jordan Rigby, PsyD.
For adolescents, the lifetime prevalence rates of suicidal ideation, plans and attempts are 12.1%, 4% and 4.1% respectively. This is a rapidly growing problem and there is an expanding need for a systemic approach to suicidal and parasuicidal behavior management.
Suicide prevention training programs provide individuals with a better foundation to expand their knowledge of the potential risk factors of suicide.
“Gatekeepers, anyone who comes in frequent contact with someone who has an elevated risk of suicidal behavior, can be trained to prevent suicidal behaviors through relatively quick, cost effective training programs for suicide prevention,” comments Killpack. “An example of one of these programs is known as Question, Persuade and Refer (QPR). QPR follows the same chain of survival model as CPR. By recognizing warning signs and risk factors early and applying QPR, individuals can get help from professional services and receive professional assessment and treatment early.”
Accurately assessing and identifying suicidal and parasuicidal behaviors helps provide a better understanding of the level of risk. Understanding the difference between someone who is suicidal and parasuicidal helps gatekeepers and professionals target risk factors and begin to take action.
“The difference between suicidality and parasuicidality lies within intent,” says Killpack. “Someone who is suicidal struggles with suicidal thoughts and may begin forming a plan. Their overall intention is to end their life. Individuals suffering from parasuicidality may make an apparent attempt at suicide, known as a suicidal gesture. However, their intention is not death. They may utilize self harm or sublethal drugs to modulate their mood and the rush of endorphins caused by self harming behaviors to produce a sense of euphoria. Confusing suicidality and parasuicidality can be harmful to the individual. ”
By better understanding the risk factors, dispelling dangerous misconceptions about suicide and increasing awareness of suicide prevention, individuals can be better equipped to help prevent suicidality.
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 Utah and provides specialized, clinically intensive programs to struggling teens.
Now is your chance to see the off-Broadway, critic-praised multimedia documentary theater piece WILDERNESS based on actual wilderness therapy experiences. The production will be playing at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Thursday, October 12th through Sunday, October 15th. A panel discussion will follow the Saturday, October 14th show, with Evoke Therapy in attendance.
WILDERNESS is presented by the award-winning En Garde Arts and tells the story of six real families struggling with issues of mental health, addiction, and gender and sexual identity. The production was inspired by Executive Producer Anne Hamburger’s personal journey with her son.
“As a parent, there has never been a more difficult moment than when I had to admit that my child needed more help than I could provide,” said Hamburger. “But, as an artist, I knew that we weren’t alone and that our shared human experience demanded a home on stage, where I could use the power of theatre to explore the wilderness of emotions that knows no societal boundaries.”
Hamburger and writer/director Seth Bockley visited the field at Evoke Therapy to delve deeper into the therapeutic process and day-to-day life of students. They spoke with numerous families, some of whom are featured in the production.
WILDERNESS takes the audience to the high desert of southern Utah using multimedia video and projection design to combine picturesque landscapes with documentary footage of parents. It confronts feelings of emotional crises, insecurities, sadness and anger as families cling to hope to help their struggling teens.
A folk-rock score by Kyle Henderson and his band Desert Noises, Kyle Miller with his band Towr’s, and Gregory Alan Isakov accompanies emotionally charged movement by Devon de Mayo and Patrick McCollum.
More information about WILDERNESS can be found here.
About Evoke Therapy Programs
Evoke Entrada provides innovative mental health treatment solutions for struggling teens, young adults and their families. Their programs foster lasting change utilizing the power of nature and Wilderness Therapy. They also offer Personal Growth Intensive Workshops for individuals and families that are looking to create dynamic changes in their life or to simply find the balance they are seeking.
Calo Programs partners with three non-profits, on a five-city, childhood trauma awareness bus tour, ending on Capitol Hill in Washington DC.
Calo Programs, innovators in healing the effects of early life trauma in young people, is partnering with three of the nation's leading authorities on attachment, trauma and adoption: the American Adoption Congress (AAC), the Attachment & Trauma Network (ATN) and the Association for Training on Trauma and Attachment in Children (ATTACh). Together they are launching a first-of-its-kind mobile campaign to increase awareness, compassion and understanding of the lifelong impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), and to share a hope for healing. The purpose of this five-city bus tour is to raise awareness of how ACEs impact the development of 1 in 4 children in the U.S., and how these often-overlooked experiences can adversely impact development, in a physical, mental and emotional way.
The events in each of the five cities are free and open to the public and include presentations, workshops and a resource fair. For more information or to register for this free event go to Campaign to Heal Childhood Trauma. Other collaborating organizations include The Trauma Center, Justice Resource Institute, Voices for Adoption, and Adoptions Together.
"November is National Adoption Month, an important time to recognize that adoptive children and those in foster and residential care are at significant risk for Developmental Trauma Disorder (DTD)", noted Julie Beem, Executive Director of the Attachment & Trauma Network (ATN), adoptive parent and one of the tour sponsors.
Developmental Trauma Disorder (DTD) is a proposed diagnosis focusing on prolonged interpersonal trauma in adolescents and children which can lead to development delays. Children experiencing DTD can have impaired attachment, lack impulse control, have delayed cognitive development and maladaptive behaviors. According to Mary McGowan, Executive Director of the Association for Training on Trauma and Attachment in Children (ATTACh) and parent of five adopted foster children, "The challenge has been that no one diagnosis adequately captures the plight of these young people, who are overrepresented in IEPs, juvenile justice and treatment facilities. And that is why a new diagnosis for them is needed. As it stands now, these children are often misdiagnosed and incorrectly treated."
Although tour organizers are not suggesting that every adopted or foster child has DTD, they are advocating for better assessment and treatment protocols for this population. Amy Winn, Executive Director for the American Adoption Congress (AAC), an adoptee and psychotherapist specializing in adoption issues said, "Unfortunately, not enough professionals or caregivers are trauma-informed and don't necessarily make the connection or offer the specialized care that these young people need."
The tour launches from ATTACh headquarters in Minneapolis, MN on November 10th and includes stops in Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia and ends in Washington DC on November 15th where the tour will join Voice for Adoption and their Adoptive Family Portrait Project on Capitol Hill for a rally. "Not only are we advocating for this population, but we are also offering hope for healing as the tour includes informing both parents and professionals on new interventions and strategies geared specifically to work with these youngsters", expressed Thomas Ahern of Calo Programs and tour organizer.
Any proceeds from this tour will be shared equally between the three nonprofit organizations dedicated to working with this population. To learn more please visit, www.endchildhoodtrauma.com.
About Calo Programs
Calo (“kay-low”) Programs is a behavioral and mental health provider specialized in healing the effects of complex developmental trauma. Calo Programs is comprised of Calo Teens, Calo Preteens – both residential programs located in Lake Ozark, MO predominately serving adoptive families, and New Vision Wilderness – “NVW”), Calo Young Adults – a transitional living program for young adults - and Embark by Calo, a therapeutic workshop and family intensive program for those reeling from issues of trauma, attachment and adoption.
Dragonfly Transitions is excited to announce Nick Wagenseller, MA and Casey Sims, MSW as Primary Therapists on the Clinical Team. With specialized training as a relational and systems therapist, Nick Wagenseller, MA balances client-centered therapy with a focus on the individual’s relationship to their environment and the family system. He draws from both professional and personal experience to work with issues such as substance abuse and its effects on family systems, co-dependency, trauma, self-esteem issues, anger, depression and anxiety, and learning differences. Nick works with students who struggle with a range of clinical challenges, and he often utilizes motivational interviewing techniques. He has extensive experience working with trauma.
With his background in wilderness therapy, Nick later earned is MA in Counseling Psychology with a concentration in Marriage and Family Therapy, Professional Clinical Counseling and Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute. Prior to joining the Dragonfly team, he was a therapist for a community counseling center in Southern California working with individuals, families and couples.
Casey Sims, MSW uses a trauma informed, person-centered approach and believes in the innate wisdom of each student. She draws primarily from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), mindfulness, and internal family systems in her work. Casey earned her Master’s in Social Work from the University of Denver with a concentration in Health and Wellness. Her previous experience includes working in wilderness therapy and serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal, West Africa for two years. She has also worked in a refugee resettlement, a day treatment program for young women, and as a social worker at the Children’s Hospital of Colorado where she provided support to parents and families around trauma, grief, and loss.
Casey is joined by Jada, her professional therapy dog from Freedom Service Dogs in Colorado. For those students who would benefit from the unconditional love and acceptance offered by dogs, Jada will gladly snuggle or retrieve a box of tissues on command.
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.
New Roads Behavioral Health continues its commitment to provide its clinicians with the conclusion of Intensive Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) training, a two-week course. This instruction increases competence and confidence in the clinicians. Particularly, DBT provides proficiencies and structure for therapists, which (according to a myriad of research studies) are applicable to a variety of populations, particularly people suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder. This education enhances an already incredibly proficient clinical team, which effectively treats those who battle with Dysregulation.
DBT was originally designed 40 years ago to address the absence of an effective treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder. DBT founder Marsha Linehan conceptualized DBT as an effective mix of Eastern philosophy and Western psychology. Interestingly, Linehan later divulged publicly that she, herself, struggled with BPD and found relief by applying the skills of DBT.
DBT is now proven efficacious for treating a variety of conditions including Substance Use Disorder, Eating Disorders, Depression in the Elderly, etc. Essentially, DBT is well applied to any disorders with dysregulation.
Now, with the conclusion of New Roads’ first intramural DBT Intensive training, all therapists are trained in DBT. This further bolsters the team’s ability to provide unique and effective programming in the New Roads WoRTH program, which concentrates on treating women with Borderline Personality Disorder. This type of programming, with the extensive expertise, is quite rare.
About New Roads Behavorial Health's Family of Treatment Programs
New Roads Behavioral Health’s family of treatment programs are based upon a holistic, community-focused treatment approach, with a foundation in research and results. New Roads has residential treatment, transitional living, and outpatient options for their clients. There are three distinct and completely separate programs within the residential and transitional living focus: Pathways to Healing (PATH), Women’s Road to Healing (WoRTH), and New Roads to Healing (NoRTH). PaTH is a dual-diagnosis treatment program for young men between the ages of 18-28 struggling with substance abuse and mental health concerns. WoRTH is a program designed specifically for young women that focuses on both substance abuse and mental health disorders (including borderline personality disorder) with a strong emphasis on Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). NoRTH is designed to assist clients with severe mental health disorders in achieving independence by teaching them how to successfully live a life with their diagnoses.
Benchmark welcomes Tanya Westcott, CADC II, to the treatment team at Panorama Ridge, our young adult women's primary RTC program. With over 20 years' experience in chemcical dependency and co-occurring disorders, Tanya has counseled adolescents, young adults, women and families as they traverse the path to recovery.
As Senior Case Manager, Tanya facilitates the lead case management role at Panorama Ridge, working alongside our caring professionals, including MD, PA, PNP, PhD., LMFT, CADC and LVN level clincians, supported by a 24/7 residential advisor staff. She brings the experience of her own personal recovery from drugs, alcohol, co-occurring disorders and co-dependency to her work at Benchmark, and is able to share that recovery process with our young adult clients and their famililes.
Tanya is also a Eagala Equine Therapy Certified, so she will be facilitating our equine therapy program for all of our clients, including Wildwood Canyon, Panorama Ridge and Transitional Living. Benchmark's equine specialist Michelle Mecca supports Tayna during the equine therapy programs.
Additionally, Tanya is certified in guided imagry, a process that allows the unconscious to surface to the concious levels, allowing the client to make changes in real time in a safe environment.
About Benchmark Transitions
Benchmark Transitions is a licensed residential treatment center, offering a comprehensive continuum of substance abuse and behavioral health treatment including detoxification, primary residential and therapeutic transitional living for young adult men and women, ages 18-28.
Benchmark Transitions is pleased to celebrate 24 years of helping young adults, and their families, treat and heal the challenges of chemical dependency and mental health disorders, and the behavioral issues that are so often related.
On Friday, September 8, 2017, we hosted our annual Anniversary Luau Luncheon, featuring the TK Burger Truck, Sno-Cones and (new this year) - a dunk tank! Staff, clients, local colleagues and friends all got together to celebrate the journey of our dynamic founder and CEO Jaynie Longnecker-Harper. Twenty-fours years ago, Jaynie started Benchmark with one young adult client named Alex, one staff member named Ed and a couch at Ed's home!
Today, Benchmark has over 60 full and part time staff and clinicians and 48 beds for our young adult clients:
- 12 Detox & Primary RTC Beds (6 at our 50-acre ranch, Wildwood Canyon for men and 6 at Panorama Ridge, our young adult women's primary RTC)
- 24 beds at our transitional living houses, Cypress House and Magnolia House
- 12 beds in local apartments in the community of Redlands
We also have our 20,000 square foot Outpatient & Learning Center for our extended care programs - day treatment, intensive outpatient, individual therapy, group therapy, life skills, culinary arts, art therapy, nutrition, case management, job skills and education.
"When I started Benchmark, I wasn't really considering the longevity potential of my program. At the time, I was filling what I saw as a need. I loved working with young adults and their familes and knew that there was really nothing else out there that could provide academic support, vocational traning and also a nurturing, therapeutic environment. I was so touched and heartened today to hear our clients and staff get up and talk about how much Benchmark has helped them change their lives," states Jaynie. "We're thankful to our amazing friends, families and staff to have had such an impact on so many lives for such a long time!"
Benchmark Transitions is not only the longest running treatment program specifically dedicated to young adults, Benchmark Transitions is also the only one that offers a full continuum of care, including sub-acute detoxification, primary residential treatment, extended care (PHP/IOP), transitional living, outpatient and Independent Living Services. They have programs for chemical dependency and co-occurring issues and offer a separate stand-alone option for primary mental health, as well. Benchmark also has an on-site, integrated high school component, where clients can complete a fully-weighted WASC-Accredited high school diplomma, as well as Collegiate Recovery support. Integrated case management and comprehensive therapeutic treatment with experienced and caring clinicians is the key to their success.
"Benchmark Transitions doesn't aspire to be all things to everyone, but we are proud to be the go-to resource for young adults and their families," exclaimed Jaynie, as she cut the anniversary cake and reflected on what she will do in the next 24 years!
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, is excited to announce the opening of their sister program, Trails Momentum.
Trails Momentum is a co-ed adventure wilderness therapy program helping young adults ages 18-25. This program is designed to help young adults who are anxious, depressed, and without direction to successfully transition into adulthood through the development of important life skills.
As a sister program to Trails Carolina, Trails Momentum builds off the transitional, skill building, educational and family programming for which Trails Carolina is renowned.
“At Trails Momentum, we combine the best aspects of adventure programming with clinical services, educational programming and service learning,” comments Graham Shannonhouse, Executive Director. “Trails Momentum helps young adults gain the skills and knowledge needed to allow them to feel confident in launching into independence and adulthood.”
Programming at Trails Momentum will help students by:
- Fostering growth: Evidence-based therapy carried out by experts in the field will focus on the personal growth of students, gaining important life skills and rebuilding family relationships.
- Encouraging learning: Trails Momentum will offer accredited high school academics and integrated college credits through a university partnership program. In addition to traditional academics, educational programming will include seminars on interpersonal communication, leadership skills, as well as culinary arts workshops and outdoor skills.
- Gaining important life experiences: Adventure therapy programming at Trails Momentum will help students learn important skills and gain valuable experiences through exciting outdoor adventure activities on and off campus.
- Boosting mindfulness: Trails Momentum provides an opportunity for students to reflect and grow as individuals through mindfulness exercises and activities.
“We are thrilled to introduce a new wilderness therapy option for young adults on the east coast,” says Shannonhouse. “Trails Momentum is an excellent opportunity for young people to break out of destructive behavioral patterns and have the chance to make important steps towards a brighter future.”
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.
Novitas Academy is a boys high school boarding school providing education within a therapeutic framework. One of the exciting clinical models used at Novitas Academy is Adventure-Based Counseling (Schoel & Maizell, 2002). Adventure-Based Counseling (ABC) gives group counseling a sequenced series of experiential activities. ABC allows for therapeutic process to be utilized in recreational and educational programs.
Working with teenage boys, clinicians come across some resistance to group counseling and process groups; talk therapy can be unrelatable to adolescent boys. Providing experiential activities that are counseling-oriented gives the clients opportunities to learn and receive treatment through interactive activities. Due to the ABC model, treatment is still being provided to address behaviors, communication, trust, and other areas of need without using traditional talk therapy.
At Novitas Academy, students participate in adventures from backpacking in the Sawtooth Mountains and floating the Payette River, to a robust game of partner dodgeball. Each activity has teachable moments or intentional work to induce growth. Although fun is happening, change is occurring in each of the students.
About Novitas Academy
Located on 30 acres of majestic river front property, Novitas Academy is a unique fully accredited and SEVIS certified therapeutic boarding school for boys ages 14-18. The program is designed to meet the needs of young men struggling with life skills, learning differences, lack of academic motivation, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD/ADD) and mild to moderate behavioral and emotional problems. Novitas is a relationship-based treatment program that strives to help our students build their self-esteem and self-confidence through discovering and nurturing their strengths, passions and dreams. Our goal is to help our boys reach their goals.
“I just feel better.” “I have more energy.” “I feel calmer.” “I feel more confident and happier!” “I’m less anxious.”
These are some of the positive comments that we hear from our students about the benefits that they receive from exercise and mindful movement practices like yoga. Many of us notice these benefits when we exercise and engage in activities with a meditative focus. There is now abundant research supporting the great benefits of these practices for physical and mental health and well-being. Yet many of us still struggle to make these practices a regular part of our daily life. It isn’t surprising that teens in treatment, who can benefit so greatly from exercise and meditative practices, also struggle to engage in them. As our clinical director Mike Beswick is fond of reminding us, it is often the very thing that is the most difficult for us to do that is the most needed for the change we wish to experience.
At Greenbrier Academy we have recently started a mind/body fitness class that includes practices that help both with physical fitness and mental/emotional regulation through integrated mind/body practices. We call this class “Balanced Body and Mind.” This integrative approach is informed by the therapeutic model that guides all our work at Greenbrier -- “Strong Relationality.” This theoretical approach emphasizes the importance of healing the whole person by bringing virtue to our relationships. This includes all relationships, both intra-personal (within the “parts of the person”) relationships and interpersonal (between the individual and others) relationships.
The current Balanced Body and Mind class at Greenbrier incorporates our relationality approach by helping girls heal their relationships with themselves and others in three ways. First, it helps them to heal their relationship with their body, mind and emotions through encouraging a caring and nurturing attitude towards themselves, rather than a judging and rejecting attitude. It also teaches them to use body-based practices like exercise, breathing and mindful movement to heal and re-regulate emotional and mental and physical imbalances. Secondly, it helps them to heal their relationships with others by encouraging them to bring virtue to their peer relationships as they support each other in class and out in these healthy practices. We do this by having the girls work in supportive teams and encouraging peer leadership and peer teaching wherever possible. Third, it helps them heal and develop their relationship with their “holon.” By holon we mean the interconnected web of all relationships in a person’s life, including social and spiritual relationships. It does this by creating a space for meditative focus which invites them to become more open to their relationship with whatever greater source of inspiration and strength they experience in their life. This in turn can encourage them on their path to self-discovery and a sense of purpose in life.
The class consists of two days a week of running/walking and other cardiovascular and strength training activities and two days a week of mindful movement practices, meditative focus and breath awareness exercises, commonly known as yoga. Staff members also participate as much as possible to model for and encourage students. It makes an impression on the girls when they see the school residential and academic directors, their teachers and therapists and the executive director out there running and doing yoga with them. This is putting our philosophy into action in a very tangible and experiential way -- and it can be fun as well.
And as with many healthful habits, more practice leads to feeling better -- which increases motivation to continue!
About Greenbrier AcademyGreenbrier Academy is an all-girls' therapeutic boarding school. The mission at Greenbrier Academy is to mentor and empower adolescent girls and their families to create quality, healing intrapersonal and interpersonal relationships through inspired critical thinking, advanced therapeutics, college prep academics, and stimulating adventures.
Aspiro is very excited to announce that Leigh Uhlenkott, MS, LPCS, NCC, LMHC has joined our clinical team. Leigh has twenty years of experience as a clinician working with adolescents in wilderness and therapeutic settings. She is extremely passionate about this work and loves seeing the powerful transformation that takes place in wilderness therapy. Leigh recognizes how students thrive when removed from the dysfunction of daily life and loves to utilize the experiential opportunities for growth in the outdoors.
Leigh specializes in the clinical assessment and treatment of challenges associated with social/executive function deficits, Autism Spectrum Disorder, family systems, NLD, ADHD, adoption, school refusal, anger management, addictions and obesity. She is also trained and certified to work with transgendered youth, and she is well versed in the practice of psychodrama. Leigh especially sees power in using psychodrama with students on the Autism Spectrum. She finds that psychodrama enables kids to understand how they are being perceived by others, to connect with their emotions, to get in better touch with their bodies, and creates opportunities for them to interact with others. Leigh is also trained in Rapid Trauma Resolution which can effectively lead to overcoming anxiety, maintaining better focus, and working through traumatic experiences. Leigh states, "I love to see students find great strength through their wilderness process and see them get to a point where they no longer feel their negative emotions or experiences in life are holding them back."
When not working, Leigh especially enjoys traveling and spending time with her daughter, family, friends and two rescue dogs - Fluffy and Yoda. She is looking forward to her own adventures in Utah and being a part of the Aspiro team.
About AspiroWith treatment-specific programs located in Utah and Costa Rica, Aspiro’s mission is to be the most clinically-advanced outdoor behavioral health program in the world, providing safe, dynamic, highly effective treatment modalities that are backed by empirical research. Aspiro Wilderness Adventure Therapy is a short-term wilderness program serving adolescents ages 13-17 and young adults ages 18-28 with varying degrees of social, emotional, and behavioral challenges.
The blond hair and blue eyes catch your attention. Then the big smile draws you in. And then she shares her sassy personality, and you have no choice but to fall in love. Her name is Hope. Of course it is! She is riding on her favorite steed, Elvis, free from her wheelchair and all of its bindings. She is singing and dancing on her horse to her current favorite song, “Yeah Boy” by Kelsea Ballerini. Keith Bishop, COO, and Angie Shockley, Founder and CEO of Q&A Associates use adaptive equipment to keep Hope safe. Staff and clients from Applewood Transitions for Young Women lead the horse, sing and dance with Hope, and encourage her to stretch her body and reach the rings she must move from one place to another while she is riding.
Hope is a Saddles & Smiles kid. Elvis is a Saddles & Smiles horse. Standing 16 hands, this Tennessee Walker Paint gives Hope love, opportunity and freedom. She has been riding him for over a year. When she first met Elvis, her team of doctors at Shriner’s Children’s Hospital was talking about surgery to loosen her hips which were becoming stuck and so inflexible that her only options were to have a complicated surgery or deal with the pain and lack of movement. Her mom found Saddles & Smiles and thought that riding horses might help. It has. Recently, Hope visited Shriner’s Hospital for her evaluation, and the doctors found that her hips are looser and do not require surgery at this time. They credit horseback riding as the change agent. Another win for Elvis!!
Angie Shockley founded Saddles & Smiles (S&S) in 2014. It is a 501c3 nonprofit that provides equine assisted therapies to kids and families as well as the clients of the Q&A family of programs (Applewood Transitions for Young Women, The Journey Transitions for Young Men, and Cabin Mountain Living Center). The services provided through Saddles & Smiles are free of charge. The officers of S&S along with volunteers raise money to support the services provided and the care for the 18 S&S horses, most of which are rescues. S&S is currently providing services to more than 10 special needs children and their families in the North Central region of WV. These services include teaching the children how to ride horses, instruction in horsemanship skills, facilitating opportunities for emotional growth, and providing family education and support. The children of S&S face the challenges of Autism Spectrum Disorder, physical disabilities, as well as mental health and emotional diagnoses.
The clients of the Q&A family of programs volunteer their time to assist with the S&S kids and care for the horses. Seeing a young adult spend time with Hope and shift his or her personal perspective is quite rewarding. Many young adults come into the Q&A programs with a sense of entitlement and lack of awareness for the world around them. When they experience the joy that Hope exudes, it allows them to evaluate their own situations and opportunities. They often experience humility at a profound level which allows them to adjust their own actions and expectations. It is a true moment of growth that can’t be facilitated by traditional approaches or therapy. It is experienced; it is not taught.
About Q&A Family of Programs
Q&A Family of Programs works with young adults ages 18 and up, providing opportunities for each of them to develop independent, functional, and happy lives with a high level of quality. Our clients have struggled to reach independence for a variety of reasons such as the inability to develop and/or implement the life skills needed to be successful, or struggling to obtain consistent employment. Our goal is to help these individuals find meaning and an authentic purpose for their lives and a practical path to achieve their goals.
Valley View School is happy to announce that Dr. Alisha Jaquith will be providing on-site psychiatric services to our students, starting September 20, 2017. Dr. Jaquith is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Medical School and Residency Program in Child Psychiatry. Her clinical interests involve adolescent psychopharmacology, the integration of mental health services within schools, parenting training and family therapy. Dr. Jaquith strives to evaluate and treat her patients from an integrative perspective, considering biological, psychological and social factors.
Dr. Thomas Nowak, Excecutive Director, said, "Dr. Jaquith is a tremendous addition to Valley View School, and we look forward to her insights and contributions to students and families."
About Valley View School
Valley View School, founded in 1970, is a private therapeutic boarding school serving boys in grades 6-12. A non-profit 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 and anger management, social skills in order to create and cultivate relationships with peers and adults, while developing compassion, empathy and respect for others and to realize their true potential.
The author Frances Hodgson Burnett said, "How it is that animals understand things I do not know, but it is certain that they do understand. Perhaps there is a language which is not made of words and everything in the world understands it. Perhaps there is a soul hidden in everything and it can always speak, without even making a sound, to another soul." Alpine Academy believes this accurately describes the power of incorporating animals into the healing process for students.
Due to the rural, open setting of the campus and the family-style approach of the Teaching-Family model, Alpine is able to provide students with multiple opportunities to interact with animals in both formal and informal situations. The individualized treatment approach at Alpine Academy also enables students to have as much or as little involvement with the animals as they need or want.
Most students at Alpine will have at least one equine therapy session during their time at Alpine. In addition to the two equine specialists supervising the equine therapy, all therapists are trained and receive certification in the EAGALA model of equine assisted psychotherapy. That way the primary therapist can be more deeply involved in the sessions. If they find it works well with the student, the sessions will continue. In addition to the equine therapy, students who want to spend more time with the horses can do so through the weekly free-riding sessions and participating in the Horsemanship Club.
As part of the family-style home environment, many of the homes on campus also have pets that the students are able to interact with on a day to day basis. These small, daily exposures to the animals have a wonderful effect on the atmosphere of the home and provide opportunities for the students to connect on a deeper, inner level with something outside themselves. Some of the students even have one of the certified therapy dogs join their individual or family therapy sessions to provide that connection and help calm anxiety or help them open up in session.
Alpine Academy is grateful for these wonderful creatures and the unique elements they add to the treatment process.
About Alpine Academy
Alpine Academy is a licensed residential treatment center for girls ages 12-18 located in Utah. Students struggle with emotional disturbances that are severe enough to prevent them from going to school successfully. Alpine is a fully accredited school with dual-endorsed teachers at the front of every classroom. Therapy is built into the school day. It is a nationally certified Teaching Family Model treatment program. The students live in homes with married couples, Family Teachers.
Pacific Quest is excited to announce a new Video Library for parents, students, and referring professionals. Viewers can easily filter the videos by category and featured staff member. Categories include: Advice for parents, Common Questions, Medical + Wellness Questions, Therapeutic Approach, and Why Pacific Quest. Parents can get to know our team from afar and hear their personal and professional perspectives on what makes Pacific Quest the special and healing place that it is.
With this new video library and new content, we worked hard to anticipate the needs of parents considering Pacific Quest for their child. Videos like “Being so far away, how effective is Pacific Quest at reconnecting the family system?” and “Gardening seems a little soft. How effective can it be?” are just two examples of real questions we’ve received. This video library gives parents the opportunity to get candid answers from multiple team members.
The videos provide new and engaging content, as well as informative visuals for what Pacific Quest looks and feels like. Parents are able to see the many areas of campus from these videos. These resources are accessible to parents and professionals at whatever time of day is most convenient for them to learn more about Pacific Quest and get specific questions answered.
Pacific Quest is an outdoor therapeutic program, located on the Big Island of Hawaii, for struggling adolescents and young adults that offers a clinical, yet holistic, approach to treatment. Our neurodevelopmental approach, combined with horticultural therapy, integrates evidence-based therapeutic methods, whole-person wellness and organic gardening to sustain a healthy community and motivate change.
As Onward Transitions increases its capacity and expands operation, it is proud to announce the promotion of Andy Derstine, LCSW to the role of Clinical Director. Andy has been providing counseling and therapy services to children, adolescents and their families for nearly 35 years. He began his career working in a residential treatment center for adolescents in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. From there he moved to Portland, Maine and served as the program director for an independent living program for older adolescents. In addition to maintaining a private practice for most of the past 25 years, Andy has provided consultation services to local public and private boarding schools, served as a program manager/clinical supervisor for a community mental health center, and worked as a therapist/clinical supervisor in a wilderness therapy program for adolescents. Derstine earned his BA in Psychology at Muhlenberg College and a Masters in Clinical Social Work at Boston College. Andy lives in rural Maine with his wife, two dogs and five cats. He has a 24 year old son and a 21 year old daughter. He is a reasonably accomplished woodworker, avid outdoorsman and is a member of the National Ski Patrol.
Derstine will oversee operations of the clinical department which includes co-founder/therapist/Clinical Outreach Director Darrell Fraize, M.Ed., LCPC, LADC, Program Director Austin Melhorn, MA, CMHC, and Expressive Arts Therapy Intern Bailey Knox. Each clinical team member carries an individual caseload, and receives clinical supervision from Fraize. Fraize reports that he will carry a caseload of 6 and will be better able to remain deeply connected to the day-to-day operations of Onward Transitions’ Pine House location in Portland, ME, while being able to focus more intently on researching, writing and presenting about serving emerging adults. Fraize will be collaborating this fall with EDGE Learning and Wellness, and Mansfield Hall to present at regional and national professional conferences, while continuing to serve alongside Executive Director Tracy Bailey in the admissions process.
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 and Wellness Collegiate Community and Onward Transitions are thrilled to share their collaborative presentation, Using Setbacks to Take Leaps Forward — A Combination of Accountability, Coaching/Mentoring and Failure, at several upcoming conferences.
Onward Transitions Co-Founder and Clinical Director Darrell Fraize and EDGE Executive Director Jason Wynkoop will co-present the philosophical and theoretical foundations of coaching emerging adults at the 2017 National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP) Midwest Regional Conference on Sept. 14. The pair will present later this fall at the 2017 NATSAP Northeast Regional Conference from Sept. 26 to 27 and the 2017 Young Adult Transition Association (YATA) Conference from Oct. 18 to 20 as well.
“The inspiration lies in the desire to share ideas with colleagues, and hopefully help move our collective work forward,” said Fraize. “My hope is that people will leave with some understanding of how to provide structure and support in ways they might not have thought of before."
The presentation will consider examples of coaching toward greater autonomy in post-treatment settings. Attendees can expect an in-depth look at successful coaching models that blend mentoring, case management, solution-focused and task-centered types of therapy, apprenticeship and experiential learning.
“It's been important to see how we can use real-time, meaningful tasks to make the therapeutic work that students have done relevant to them so they will continue to integrate those practices into their lives," said Wynkoop.
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.
EDGE Learning & Wellness Collegiate Community announces the ability for students to further immerse into the arts, culture and public life of Chicago by choosing an annual membership from among a number of cultural institutions. “The goal of balanced living is the impetus for these initiatives,” according to EDGE Learning & Wellness Executive Director Jason Wynkoop. “Many of our students have done significant therapeutic work and their lives rightly involve a lot of effort to maintain those gains while also investing to achieve academic success. This is an opportunity for us to encourage both engagement and balance, which are essential to the sort of holistic wellness that EDGE aim to inspire. As with so many other things at EDGE, it’s also being leveraged as a skill-building process.”
While acclimating to the city and EDGE community, students consult with their Therapeutic Life Coach regarding their interests and opportunities to deepen their connection to Chicago. Students will then get to choose an annual membership from among a number of cultural institutions; the many possibilities include nationally renowned institutions like the Art Institute of Chicago and the Field Museum, and other local favorites like the Gene Siskel Film Center and the Chicago Architecture Foundation. “I like to have a place where I’m comfortable and I can walk around and learn things,” said Johnathon, an 18-year old student enrolled at EDGE for a few months.
Additionally, after a student has been successful at EDGE for at least eight weeks they are eligible for another opportunity to benefit from the amazing learning opportunities afforded by the city. Working with EDGE staff, students write proposals to seek engage grants that would subsidize classes that develop new skills or broaden their engagement in the arts and cultural opportunities of Chicago. Students will learn to do research, create plans, and write and defend proposals as part of the process of seeking grants. By learning how to seek funds independent of their parents, students gain greater independence and the confidence that comes with leading one's own life.
When told of the new opportunities, Jordan, a 19-year old student, said, “There are so many places I would like to be a member at that it will be really hard to choose. I love animals, so I will most likely get a membership at the Shedd aquarium."
To learn more about the opportunities for EDGE students to engage in Chicago, click here.
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.
When preparing students for the transition from Eva Carlston, parents are often faced with limited options during the summer. In order to fill this need, Eva Carlston launched our first ever post-graduation summer program. Spring graduates from Eva Carlston Academy participated in a wide array of activities designed to create opportunities for them to use the valuable skills they learned throughout treatment in real life situations. The program was created as an opportunity for students to continue developing their skills while creating lifelong memories. In its regular program, Eva Carlston utilizes a robust social skills curriculum which uses evidence-based strategies to teach pro-social behaviors; during the summer, students were able to generalize the concepts and further recognize their application outside the treatment setting.
The program ran in two, six-week sessions. In the first session beginning in May, students explored the art world by visiting galleries and museums around Utah, volunteered with the International Refugee Committee, met with various business women in the community, honed their acting skills, and went to Washington, D.C. for eight days. In the second session, beginning in July, students volunteered at a special-needs summer camp, attended the Utah Shakespeare festival for a full week, served at the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, created documentaries, and went white water rafting in Moab, Utah. Throughout all of these activities, they experimented with more freedom, access to cell phones and social media, and endless problem solving and negotiating opportunities with their peers.
After participating in the program, one student commented, “I found it to be a very helpful transitional program. Before this summer, I had no real experience of being with friends outside of a school setting. It was so fun.” Another student noted, “It kept me out of trouble for the summer and gave me something to do, which made it less likely that I would relapse, and it gave me a chance to show my parents that I could handle myself in the real world outside of treatment, which built more trust for me when I came home.”
Eva Carlston hopes these students will remember the lessons they have learned in both the regular program and during the summer as they move on to their new academic settings. The goal of Eva Carlston is to help young women find their place in the world, find what they are passionate about, and ultimately be on the path to finding and creating the life they want. This summer program served as another stepping stone in that direction. Next year, and onward, Eva Carlston looks forward to providing this and similar opportunities for their students.
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.
Techie For Life (TFL), St. George, Utah, is pleased to announce their current 100% placement rate for young adult students with unique challenges and learning differences into tech jobs, internships and apprenticeships with local area companies in which they have partnered. Beginning as a licensed vocational school 15 months ago, TFL's goal has been to progress students toward independence and self-reliance. TFL's latest job placements have been in quality assurance ("QA") and app testing for the Souhern Utah based tech startup, BusyBusy, that provides support for Caterpillar Inc. TFL's students were qualified enough to receive paid internships. Recently, two other TFL students were hired as coders and software designers for BuildStar Technology, Inc., a producer of construction management software.
"We're proud of our students who have worked hard and been willing to reach this level of capability. They overcame fear, doubt, anxiety, and learned failure to get there," said Techie For Life Founder and Executive Director Jason Grygla. "The real success for these students is not just in getting the jobs. To go through the interviewing process and be hired is big, however the real test comes with keeping the job." Key factors for maintaining employment are attributed to all the innate strengths built into the TFL program of minimizing weaknesses, repetition, confidence building and positive industry touches that all create a transformational experience for their students. Jason explained, "It's important to identify not only vocational skills but also personality type and the individual challenges that are unique to every student so that we can place them in the right job at the right business with the right supervisor and culture." They can do this in large part because of their partnership with Eric Pedersen, Dean of Science and Technology at DSU and partner in many tech startup companies in the Southern Utah area (dubbed "Silicon Sands" due to its quickly growing tech sector).
Techie For Life serves the educational needs of students who may be described as:
- Neuro atypical
- Pattern thinkers
- Socially or emotionally delayed
- Higher-functioning with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD,) Asperger's or similar
- Average to high IQ's, often with processing issues
- Developmentally different
- Non-diagnosed lower functioning
- Highly unique ("quirky")
- Lacking identity or self-esteem
Students are offered a college experience emphasizing studies in technology (including coding, software design and web development,) graphic design or a customized track based on a student's individual interests. They combine these marketable skills with essential social, emotional, and other life skills. TFL's evidence-based program includes teaching, modeling, repetition and especially mentoring. "We walk our students into successful adult life," said Jason Grygla. "We're a school-family that works hard and plays hard, where all are integrated and each person can find a place within our circle and in the professional world."
About Techie for Life
Techie For Life (TFL): A co-ed, young adult, residential and licensed vocational school located in beautiful St. George, Utah. Recently dubbed "Silicon Sands," Southern Utah hosts one of the fastest growing tech sectors in the U.S. TFL provides the most up-to-date coding education available for neuro atypical students who need a safe social and emotionally supportive environment of mentoring and partnering to strive for quality living and independence.
Congratulations to Paul Fontana who was selected to represent Second Nature Wilderness Family Therapy in the Jumping Mouse ceremony at the 2017 Wilderness Therapy Symposium. The Jumping Mouse award represents the embodiment of what it means to be a compassionate mentor, always striving to grow in the face of the difficult trails that greet each of us on our individual journeys.
Paul's dedication to the students of Second Nature, his contagious positive energy, and his commitment to his own professional develpoment as well as that of those he supervises, exemplifies this award.
Paul brings a wealth of knowledge and wilderness experience to the field with him and serves as an inspiring role model to the students he mentors. While attending the University of New Hampshire, Paul sharpened his focus studying Outdoor Behavior Health. This formal study combined with Paul’s hands-on experience has cultivated a striking combination of insight, intelligence, and sensitivity that is expressed seamlessly in his field work every week.
Paul is the embodiment of an asset to an organization, and at Second Nature we continue to be grateful to have him.
Congratulations and Thank You Paul!
About Second Nature Second Nature is a licensed wilderness therapy program located in Duchesne, Utah that was founded in 1998. Second Nature works with adolescent male and female 13 - 17 year olds in single gender groups, using the wilderness as an intervention and clinically guided by licensed Masters and Ph.D level to assess and diagnose a client's specific needs.
Solstice West is excited to announce their new Primary Therapist Nicole Shewey, PsyD.
Nicole believes in coming alongside families and working collaboratively to restore relationships and empower young women. Therapeutically, she leans on empathic, relationship-based work that utilizes evidence-based practices to guide her clients through emotional pain. Nicole has been working with children and adolescents since 2006. She earned her undergraduate degree at Azusa Pacific University in Psychology and went on to earn her Master's degree and PsyD from Antioch University New England in Clinical Psychology. She also worked for two years as an in-home Applied Behavioral Analyst (ABA) therapist for children on the Autism Spectrum. Nicole is honored to specialize in emotional dysregulation issues, suicidal ideation, self-harm, ASD, and/or personality disorders. She is certified in Functional Family Therapy (FFT) by Western Youth Services and is certified in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy (TF-CBT). Her graduate work and residency training focused on the use of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) with suicidal teens.
About Solstice West RTC
Solstice West RTC was founded in 2008 in Layton, UT. We serve females and transgender students aged 14-18 as a licensed residential treatment center focusing on complex diagnoses while using our clinicians' deep understanding of Trauma Based Therapy. As a clinically focused treatment provider, our clients receive individual, group and family therapy in conjunction with a variety of treatment modalities like Adventure Therapy and Equine Therapy program. All the different treatment modalities offered assist clients in learning new skills kinesthetically and get to their core problems quicker.
“I can’t tell you how many of our newly enrolled students seek me out to let me know that they ‘do not do school,’” explained Boulder Creek Academy Executive Director Lisa Hester.
Boulder Creek Academy students have spent years in academic settings where their unique learning styles were not understood or capitalized upon. Despite all the support and tutoring their parents arranged, they still felt different. Many began to believe they were stupid and not capable of learning, which in turn led to anxiety and depression.
Boulder Creek Academy teachers are the experts when it comes to non-traditional learners. Boulder Creek Academy features a state-certified special education program and our academic team includes the Academic Director who holds a master’s level Special Education certification, the Science Teacher who holds a Ph.D. and the master’s level English Teacher who has been teaching on campus for 20 years.
Students are immersed in a nurturing learning environment where instructors utilize a variety of teaching methods that play to students’ academic strengths and support them in developing successful strategies to cope with academic challenges. In classrooms instructors utilize experiential learning practices and bring tools to students such as graphic organizers, color coding and sequencing, and task initiation.
Students also benefit from special education services that develop phonemic awareness, passage comprehension, attention and concentration capabilities, operational and problem solving abilities and working memory. Boulder Creek Academy uses comprehensive testing to assess students ability and to track progress.
“We have a student whose reading comprehension went from the fourth grade level to the college level and a student who is spelling four grade levels higher than when he enrolled,” said Hester.
Boulder Creek Academy’s academic program features:
- Certified Special Education Program
- Average class size of 5-6 students
- One-on-one teacher support
- Academic coaching
- Executive function skill building
- Extended time
- Onsite academic testing
- Linda Mood Bell Sensory-Cognitive Instruction Programs
- Stetson Spelling Program
- Brainware Safari Cognitive Training Program
- Membean Vocabulary Instruction Program
Each day at Boulder Creek Academy is purposefully designed to maximize experiences that allow students to practice social skills, engage in academics, exhibit leadership qualities, benefit from therapeutic learning and have fun.
The academy has spent more than two-decades focused on meeting the unique needs of adolescents ages 13 to 18 who have experienced school failure and feel socially disconnected. Typical student challenges include unevenly developed cognitive skills, emotional regulation challenges, social difficulties, executive function issues, depression, anxiety, and extensive internet and gaming use. Students are also bright, creative, and compassionate young people.
To help students achieve to their full potential, Boulder Creek Academy offers a carefully designed blend of academics, therapy, plus adventure and leadership opportunities. Students benefit from: a college preparatory academic curriculum; personalized learning plans; special education support; individual, group, family, and equine assisted therapy; milieu counseling; character development; adventure education; plus our horticulture and therapeutic canine program.
About Boulder Creek Academy
For 24 years, Boulder Creek Academy has focused on meeting the unique needs of adolescents, ages 13 to 18, whose needs are not being met in a traditional school setting. At Boulder Creek Academy students rediscover their academic and social confidence. The key to our success is that we reignite our students’ belief in themselves by utilizing time-tested and proven methods. Students begin to experience academic achievement, regain self-esteem, learn to embrace their uniqueness and become capable learners who are confident in themselves. The campus is situated on 180-acres at the base of the Cabinet Mountains in northern Idaho. Students are accepted for enrollment year-round.
“The level of camaraderie and teamwork I have seen – not just amongst the clients, but amongst the entire staff, as well – is truly unparalleled," said Andy Silvagni, Lead Resident Manager.
After the devastating flooding in Texas, those living in Florida began preparing themselves for the worst, as soon as the destructive path of Irma was announced. Next Chapter Treatment is a residential treatment program, and both of the residential properties (as well as the clinical office) are located in Delray Beach, Florida. As soon as the word ‘evacuation’ came to the forefront of local media attention, Next Chapter began making arrangements to safely house their clients and Residential Managers in another state entirely. A safe house in Northern Georgia was booked for an entire week; however, the dedicated and compassionate clinical team did not stop there. They organized two outdoor adventures over the weekend (on September 9th and 10th), geared towards improving both morale and camaraderie.
The clients and Residential Managers went white water rafting in Tennessee on Saturday, and returned to the area on Sunday to zip-line. Everyone participated, and communal feedback after both experiences was exclusively positive. The clinical staff at Next Chapter organized both experiences as a means of continuing therapeutic work while away from a structured, daily schedule. Adventure therapy, an experiential and active approach to psychotherapy, utilizes an activity to strengthen interpersonal bonds, while bolstering self-esteem and encouraging pro-social behavior. Much of adventure therapy is grounded in positive risk-taking, and includes an activity that could be perceived as posing some degree of physical and psychological risk. Extensive research points towards adventure therapy as a successful treatment modality.
The clients do go on weekend excursions while living at the residential treatment center in Florida, participating in activities like snorkeling and kayaking. Adventure therapy is certainly a valuable component of the comprehensive, therapeutic program, which also includes modalities such as EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), inner child work, breathwork, relational therapy, and numerous other experiential and traditional approaches. The Next Chapter program is a minimum of 3 moths long, and is open to men aged 18 and over. One of the residential properties houses younger men while the other houses the more mature clients. Since it first opened in 2015, Next Chapter quickly made a name for itself as one of the premier trauma treatment programs in the country.
About Next Chapter Treatment
Next Chapter Treatment is a male-exclusive trauma and addiction treatment center located in Delray Beach, Florida. Next Chapter has developed a unique and comprehensive program of recovery, which focuses on addictive disorders and personality disorders through the lens of trauma and attachment. Both highly individualized and family-oriented, the Next Chapter program caters to men of all ages, and is designed to help individuals overcome the past experiences that may be holding them back - while helping them to develop a strong sense of self and the interpersonal and life skills that they need to thrive.
Vive Family Support Program is excited to announce the roll out of Master Treatment Plans for all clients enrolling after September 15, 2017. As Vive works with a variety of clients ranging in age from 10-26 who present with a variety of clinical issues, this evolution will allow Vive to offer clients and families an even more enhanced clinical service. The treatment plans follow the roll out of Vive's streamlined clinical packages which offer three individualized ways families can engage with Vive. In each of the three tiers- Intensive, Standard and Lite, there is family involvement which further highlights Vive's commitment to prioritizing family systems work. The Master Treatment Plans help clarify the clinical direction for each client and for the parents.
Vive is also committed to ensuring all parent coaches and mentors are fully licensed clinicians. Most of the current coaches and mentors are licensed with the intention of 100% attaining the same in the very near future. This will allow a higher number of families to seek insurance reimbursement.
About Vive Family Support ProgramVive Family Support Program is a relational and experiential therapeutic support service for pre-teens, adolescents, young adults and their families. With our unique approach and roots in the community, Vive works closely with families to offer insight, implement coping skills and rebuild trust within the family system. Our goal is to ensure lasting positive change.
At New Haven, understanding how each student responds to her senses is essential to her overall treatment. Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) occurs when the brain has difficulty interpreting the information it receives through the senses. This looks different in everyone and no two individuals interpret sensory input in exactly the same way. People can be over responsive, under responsive, or sensory seekers. Each individual’s brain will respond differently to certain senses.
Please follow this link to our most recent blog posting about SPD and how New Haven utilizes this data in our clincal approach.
The blog post discusses the three types of processing disorders, as well as additional resources and how SPD relates to Residential Treatment. Then take the assessment we use with our students to understand how you respond to sensory stimulation.
About New Haven
Founded in 1995, New Haven Residential Treatment Center has been an industry leader in treatment for young women since its inception. We serve adolescent females, ages 12-18. New Haven is clinically intensive with an emphasis on family involvement, healthy relationships, academics, love and service. New Haven is a fully licensed professional residential treatment center, located in rural Utah, just south of Salt Lake City.
Sunrise Residential Treatment Center for girls ages 12 to 18 is a leader in empowering girls and their families to create healthy relationships and to heal. Eighty-six percent of our students will return home after treatment at Sunrise versus going on to attend a step-down facility. Sunrise students and their families are offered a variety of Sunrise transition options to support their journey beyond treatment; Sunrise believes planning for transition is integral to every girls’ success, therefore discussions begin early in treatment. “We know that transition is amongst the most stressful times for our students and their families”, said Brad Simpson, Sunrise Executive Director. “The more we can do to extend healing beyond the Sunrise campus, the more successful our girls and their families are in maintaining positive, real life change. One of our goals during transition is to establish a strong support network by partnering with mental health professionals in our family’s communities,” continued Brad.
There are two different transition packages.
A. Home-Based Transition Options include a customized combination of the following:
- Three months of clinical coaching and transition support. A two-day home visit with the student’s Sunrise therapist is customized to the family’s needs and may include: job and/or volunteer search, meeting with home therapist(s), meetings with school teachers and/or counselors, formalizing structure in the home, family and individual coaching sessions, individualized work around trauma and/or recovery and meetings with peers and other positive supports in the community.
- This transition option includes extensive telephone coaching in any combination of individual, group or family sessions.
- In addition to the above services, families have access to a 24/7 support line and may participate in monthly Parent Alumni group telephone calls facilitated by a Sunrise therapist.
- Transition program elements may be customized to suit each girl and family’s needs. For example, some students transition home mid-semester and Sunrise’s education package provides support and coaching in helping her complete the classes required to advance to the next grade level.
Sunrise students practice their DBT skills in real life situations in the community while attending Sunrise. All Sunrise girls have the opportunity for recreational and service learning activities and more than 30% enjoy off-campus experiences such as taking classes at Dixie State University, professional internships at local businesses and part-time jobs. These experiences further help prepare Sunrise students for successful transition. Sunrise has created a community-based transition support program for students who graduate from Sunrise and choose to remain in the local community to attend college or work.
B. In-Town Transition Option
- Continued individual and group therapy with a Sunrise clinician.
- Coaching from a personal life-transition mentor. Life skills coaching includes: college advising, personal finance, life balance, time and stress management, healthy eating and exercise, job and apartment seeking, interpersonal skills in dealing with roommates, dating and maintaining relationships with family and much more.
- In addition, the in-town transition program provides support for families including ongoing DBT skills webinars.
For more information on Sunrise’s transition options, please contact Sue Barnes, Admissions Director at firstname.lastname@example.org
About Sunrise RTC
Sunrise RTC, near St. George, Utah, is a DBT-intensive, residential treatment center and therapeutic boarding school for adolescent girls ages 12-17 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
On June 27, 2017, Charles F. Brady, PhD, ABPP, Lindner Center of HOPE Clinical Director of Outpatient Services and Staff Psychologist, was recognized among 25 other individuals for their Healthcare Leadership. Venue and LEAD magazines, two of Cincinnati’s most elite publications, awarded the individuals with this honor.
At the Lindner Center of HOPE, Dr. Brady administers the Life Skills Development services, guiding patients in goal setting through their management and recovery. As a psychologist, he shows expertise in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and is nationally and regionally known for his expertise in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and anxiety.
At the Lindner Center of HOPE, Dr. Brady has excelled as a strong leader with a respectful and calm approach. He has headed efforts to create services and programs that are in apparent short-supply for the demand in the region for ODC patients. He also established Lindner Center of HOPE’s Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services (a unique offering in the non-public sector) and its OCD and Anxiety Treatment Disorder Center. Additionally, Dr. Brady started a Post Doctoral Fellowship position to assist in handing the increasing amount of OCD patients coming to Lindner Center of HOPE for treatment.
Dr. Brady’s remarkable positive influence as a leader is not limited to merely the patients he works with directly, instead he keeps a focus on demonstrating the best and most efficient methods to reach as many individuals as possible. He has done scholarly presentations at national conferences sharing his knowledge regarding the treatment of OCD and anxiety disorders. Because Dr. Brady maintains a highly respected reputation across the nation as an expert in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and anxiety disorders, while achieving positive, measureable results, many patients and families across the country desire his treatment.
About Lindner Center
Lindner Center of HOPE in Mason, Ohio is a comprehensive mental health center providing excellent, patient-centered, scientifically-advanced care for individuals suffering with mental illness. A state-of-the-science, mental health center and charter member of the National Network of Depression Centers, the Center provides psychiatric hospitalization and partial hospitalization for individuals age 12-years-old and older, outpatient services for all ages, diagnostic and short-term residential services for adults and adolescents, outpatient services for substance abuse through HOPE Center North location and co-occurring disorders for adults and research. The Center is enhanced by its partnership with UC Health as its clinicians are ranked among the best providers locally, nationally and internationally. Together Lindner Center of HOPE and UC Health offer a true system of mental health care in the Greater Cincinnati area and across the country. The Center is also affiliated with the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine.
The Capstone Projects at Sedona Sky Academy are part of the Experiential Learning Initiative that also includes Equine Therapy, Culinary Arts, Art Therapy, activity clubs and experiential academics. It is an important part of how SSA integrates therapy and academics and brings them to life for the students at the program.
There are several interesting projects happening, like a student is creating ceramic bowls to be donated to the Sedona Arts Center for the Loving Bowls function. She is also be researching the history of bowls, the importance of organizations like the Sedona Arts Center and the importance of community service.
Another student is learning about occupational therapy in elementary schools. She is researching and interviewing a current occupational therapist to understand the job that occupational therapists do and how it is applied in the elementary school system. This student is interested in working with special needs children. After she finds out what techniques are successful, she will be creating a sensory kit that can be used in a learning environment and donating it to a local school.
Additional subject areas include a study on the Effects of Social Media on Adolescents that includes research, surveys and construction of an informative Web Site, Forensic Psychology and the creation of Garden Kits for various Climate Zones.
Hit The Green!
SavingTeens 7th Annual Charity Golf Tournament
SavingTeens will host its 7th Annual Charity Golf Tournament on Tuesday, January 30, 2018 at the Saddlebrook Resort, Wesley Chapel, FL. Proceeds from the event will benefit troubled teens in crisis and their families.
The tournament will kick off on Tuesday, January 30th on the Palmer Course at the Saddlebrook Resort in Wesley Chapel, Florida, with registration at 11:00am, networking at 12:00pm, and a shotgun start with boxed lunches at 1:00pm. Join us after the tournament (5:30pm - 8:00pm) in the Grand Marquee for the 19th Hole Celebration for food, awards, raffle and recognition.
Sponsors, golfers and 19th Hole Celebration guests can easily register online here. Don't delay, the tournament is limited to the first 120 golfers!
"The Annual Golf Tournament and 19th Hole Celebration was developed by caring educational consultants who wanted to increase the number of teens we support. In its 7th year, it continues to be our largest fundraiser," SavingTeens Executive Director Kelly Brown said. "Thanks to the generosity of the many people who make it successful, we are able to award additional teens in crisis access to high-quality therapeutic programs."
SavingTeens in Crisis Collaborative (SavingTeens)
Wesley Chapel, FL
About SavingTeens In Crisis Collaborative
SavingTeens is the only national nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting teens in crisis and their families by implementing a methodology that incorporates both financial and emotional support throughout a 12-24 month process of evaluation, intervention, and education. High quality short and moderate term therapeutic programs are extremely expensive and ONLY affordable for a limited number of families who have the capacity to participate. Working in close collaboration with the therapeutic community, our goal is to provide families with limited financial resources who are struggling with a teen in crisis access to these programs.