All Kinds of News for August 08, 2018
Benchmark Transitions is pleased to announce that effective August 1, 2018, Benchmark is contracted with Southern California Kaiser Permanente for young adult substance abuse and mental health treatment.
"We are excited about this partnership with Kaiser Permanente," states Founder and CEO Jayne Longnecker-Harper, M.Ed. "Becoming credentialed and contracted with Kaiser Permanente in Southern California is a long and comprehensive process and it demonstrates how effective our treatment programs are here at Benchmark Transitions, as Kaiser doesn't offer long term contracts with just any provider. We've seen an increase in the numbers of families, and their placement consultants, to find exceptional treatment programs that offer the ability to utilize insurance to offset the family's out of pocket costs. We're pleased to be able to offer this option so that more families can access the care they need for their young adult son or daughter," Mrs. Harper concludes.
Benchmark is contracted with the Southern California region of Kaiser Permanente for sub-acute residential detoxification, primary residential treatment, and extended care (Partial Hospitalization and Intensive Outpatient) levels of care. Families would be required to meet any co-payments per their policy, as well as the non-insurance covered costs of Transitional Living - such as room & board, meal plans, academic support, high school, collegiate recovery support, life skills (banking, finance, culinary arts), and other ancillary therapeutic programs offered. Benchmark makes these affordable and manageable for most families by setting a flat rate fee for non-insurance covered program services. Benchmark can also work with other regions, such as Northern California, Colorado, Hawaii, Georgia, Northwest (Washington/Oregon) and Mid-Atlantic, on a case-by-case referral basis.
Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente is one of the nation's not-for-profit health plans, serving over 12 million members, with headquarters in Oakland, CA. For more information on Kaiser Permanente visit their site at Fast Facts About Kaiser Permanente.
About Benchmark Transitions
Benchmark Transitions was founded in 1993 by Jayne Longnecker-Harper, M.Ed., and is the longest running young adult specific treatment program in the nation, serving young adults 18-28 years of age with mental health, behavioral health and co-occurring substance use disorders. Benchmark offers a full continuum of care, including sub-acute detoxification for chemical dependency, primary residential treatment, extended care, supportive transitional living and aftercare. Our wrap-around transitional living support services provide young adults with the life skills, social skills and career development skills needed to become independent.
Students with mood disorders come to Telos from all over the world to find guidance, healing, and support as they overcome challenges related to depression and anxiety. A key component of the Telos program is what is called activity therapy. Recovering from mood disorders often involves getting up and out. The many canyons, trails, lakes and national parks in Utah make it an ideal place for students to find adventure and activity.
Telos’s activity therapy program is run by licensed recreation therapists. Each weekend, students leave the Telos campus to engage in activities that involve perceived risk, such as hiking, canyoneering, climbing and rapelling. As students push themselves, face their fears, and overcome the tangible obstacles (like that of a sheer cliff), they are better able to use their newly formed skills in combating the intangible obstacles of depression, anxiety, learning disorders and other challenges.
During these activities, trained professionals are with the students to provide safety and encouragement, and to assist them in generalizing insights gained in nature to the more mundane tasks of daily living.
In 2019, Telos will be celebrating 15 years of using adventure to facilitate personal growth in the lives of our students.
About Telos U and Telos RTC
Telos U and Telos RTC, located in Orem, UT, specialize in small class size and low pressure education systems support. Telos provides a therapeutic boarding school environment for adolescent boys who need help with Processing of Information Disorders, ADD/ADHD, ASD and emotional disorders that prevent them from thriving in a typical high school environment. Telos offers a family systems approach to therapy, working with parents and siblings alongside Telos' students, and structuring a therapeutic mileu around triathlon training programs and other engaging activities outside of school class time.
Summit Achievement is excited to announce that Michael DeLuca, LCSW is joining the clinical team at Summit Achievement, starting in September 2018. Michael is well known to the Summit Community as he had previously worked at the organization from 2008-2011 as a team leader and guide. He went on to complete a Masters of Social Work (MSW) after leaving Summit and then worked at Carroll County Mental Health Center as an adolescent clinician providing rural outpatient mental health treatment in Northern New Hampshire.
Michael received his Bachelors in Adventure Recreation from Green Mountain College and his MSW from the University of New Hampshire. He has worked with youth since 2005 in a variety of settings and is especially proud of his time at Outward Bound and at Summit Achievement. His approach to therapy pulls from a variety of evidenced-based treatments including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Motivational Interviewing and Exposure Therapy.
He is licensed as an independent clinical social worker, certified in Modular Approach to Treatment with Children (MATCH) from the Judge Baker Institute at Harvard Medical School, and has extensive training in cultural competence and creating inclusive safe places. Michael believes in the effectiveness of groups and the power of interpersonal relationships. He enjoys traveling and is often out canoeing during the warm weather months and skiing in the winter.
About Summit Achievement
Summit Achievement is, and always has been, guided by positive reinforcement and the power of choice. Our outcome-focused program employs effective therapeutic and educational principles. Through the process of engaging therapy, classroom academics and exciting wilderness expeditions, students experience the therapeutic benefits of outdoor adventure-based activities while learning to manage the demands of a more traditional environment. As an intentionally small, owner-operated wilderness therapy program, we serve adolescent boys and girls, ages 13-20, from around the world.
Eva Carlston Academy, a Residential Treatment Center for young women, is located in Salt Lake City, Utah. Salt Lake is a thriving center for art and culture in the intermountain west, and is the home of the International Sundance Film Festival, as well as award-winning performance and visual arts organizations. Eva Carlston actively engages in a myriad of art experiences including monthly visits to local galleries and museums, and holds season ticket to the Utah Symphony and the Pioneer Theatre Company, to name a few. Eva Carlston believes that art is a vital tool for expression, creation and a positive outlet for emotions.
Just recently, Eva Carlston’s clients participated in and volunteered at the children’s art area at The Utah Arts Festival. The Utah Arts Festival features international musical and performing arts, a mini-film festival, visual arts, art and technology, and the ever-popular “Children’s Art Yard”. The festival hosts over 90,000 guests each June, and was given Utah’s highest honor in arts and culture with the 2016 Governor’s Leadership in the Arts Award. Nationally, it has received acknowledgment for being one of the top festivals of its kind by The National Endowment for the Arts, The Art Fair Sourcebook, and the International Festival Events Association, to name a few. Needless to say, it is an exciting opportunity for Eva Carlston Academy to participate in this festival.
Each year, the young women at Eva Carlston Academy participate in the Children’s Art Yard, with Art Director Maggie Willis, who also coordinates the Art Yard. In the art classes leading up to the event, the students create upcycled sculptures and art pieces bases on the themes of the Art Yard. These art pieces are then put on display and are part of larger collaborative installations that get added to, throughout the course of the four-day festival. All clients not only get the opportunity to create art, but also to volunteer with the 7,000 children that visit the Art Yard – helping them to paint, color, and decorate the installations. This year, the theme of the Art Yard was “Circles”, and the volunteers helped kids create mandalas, dreamcatchers, and circles of all kind, including some giant gummy bear rose windows.
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.
Q&A Associates is pleased to announce the addition of neurofeedback as an additional service for their young adults clients. Neurofeedback is direct training of the brain by which the brain learns to function more efficiently. Neurofeedback is an effective intervention for people struggling with ADHD/ADD, Autism, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Depression, Addiction, Anxiety, PTSD and Sleep Disorders.
Q&A has partnered with Symmetry Neuro-Pathway Training to include this valuable resource within the program structure. Symmetry Neuro-Pathway training utilizes the brain’s own remarkable capacity to develop and flourish via non-invasive sessions which take the client through a guided process of sight and sound that prompts the brain to reconfigure and ignite new connections. Neurofeedback is backed by over 50 years of research, and the data confirms the success of this approach for assisting participants to develop better emotional and cognitive regulation.
Four members of the Q&A team have been trained to provide this service. Kelly Gooding, BSW, Director of Cabin Mountain Living Center, Michael Anderson, MSW, Director of Applewood Transitions, Marci Jones, CLC, Lead Life Coach, and Keith Bishop, CLC, Chief Operating Officer, all completed an initial training with Dianne Kosto, Owner and CEO of Symmetry Neuro-Pathway Training. All four team members are also participating in ongoing training and coaching with Dianne as this service is being implemented.
“I am very excited to include this opportunity to our current and incoming young adult clients,” said Angie Shockley, Founder and CEO of Q&A Associates. “Most of our young adults are dealing with high levels of anxiety, so adding Neurofeedback to our program services allows them an additional option for calming the central nervous system and retraining the brain, creating the space and capacity to make better decisions - responding with thought, rather than reacting from emotion.”
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.
After 10 incredible years as the Executive Director of Moonridge Academy, Tawny Thomas, LCSW will be passing the baton and transitioning into a new position with CERTS, the parent company of Moonridge. (CERTS includes programs Kolob Canyon, La Europa Academy, Mosaic House and Mountain Springs Preparatory Academy.) In late August 2018, Tawny becomes the CERTS Director of Business and Program Development. Tawny will oversee marketing, relationship development and program support for all CERTS Programs. While it was an extremely difficult decision to step back from her beloved programs and team, Tawny shared “I am looking forward to this new opportunity and to continue working with the fabulous team at Moonridge Academy.”
With Tawny's transition, Moonridge Academy is excited to welcome Dr. Jack Hinman, Psy.D, as the new Executive Director. He will be joining the Moonridge team in mid-August 2018. Jack comes to Moonridge Academy teams with years of clinical and leadership experience, having helped grow and develop other exemplary girl's programs. Jack says "I am excited to join a great team that has a strong commitment and passion to helping young women and their families reach their potential.” Jack and his family live in Southern Utah. Jack is an avid cyclist and outdoors enthusiast.
About Moonridge Academy
Moonridge Academy is a premier residential treatment center for younger girl ages 11-15 years located in Cedar City, UT. Moonridge Academy specializes in healing trauma and addressing mental and emotional challenges using different therapeutic modalities including EMDR, CBT, DBT, Play Therapy, Equine Therapy and Adventure Therapy. As a small program of only 16 students, Moonridge Academy allows for a high degree of individualization in both clinical and academic services. By combining a nurturing home-like environment with a sophisticated clinical approach, Moonridge Academy is tailored to meet specific needs and to assist students in developing coping skills and identity.
RedCliff welcomes back David Cacamis, CSW, in the role of primary therapist. David graduated from the University of South Alabama with a BA in Psychology. After spending several years with the Ascent Companies, split between RedCliff and Discovery Ranch for Girls, he went back to school and completed his MSW at Radford University in Virginia. David started working with adolescents during his undergrad through a community based outpatient facility and has made it his goal to continue working with young people ever since. Since he was a child, David has always had a passion for the outdoors and the compelling experiences it provides. Being able to combine his love for helping young people with the outdoors has been an incredibly fulfilling experience.
David will be working with both adolescent male and female clients and believes that a client-centered approach allows clients to identify their authentic self.
David tailors his therapeutic interventions to meet the needs of each student, using a holistic, strengths-based, humanistic approach, believing that unconditional positive regard allows for a foundation of rapport and strong therapeutic alliances.
"We are excited to have David rejoin our team. He brings a unique blend of field and therapeutic experience. We look forward to David continuing our commitment to healing families through the process of outdoor experiential therapy that works so well in the teen treatment environment.” said Steven DeMille, Executive Director.
About RedCliff Ascent and RedCliff Recovery
RedCliff Ascent is a therapeutic wilderness program, nestled between two mountain ranges in the high desert of Enterprise, UT. They focus on adolescents ages 13-17 who are struggling with various challenges from anxiety and depression, to school abandonment and the need to reconnect with their family. With over 25 years of experience, RedCliff uses a relational model and narrative therapy to drive an outcome and an evidence-based approach. RedCliff Recovery is a women's specific, 12-step adventure based wilderness program. Designed by women, specifically for women.
The wilderness provides a complimentary backdrop for a powerful intervention that allows an individual to reflect on their life, goals, and true values. The wilderness does not contain the pressures of a busy day to day life: school, homework, multiple activity choices, what clothes to wear, whose opinion to favor what hairstyle to have, or what to post on social media. This state of being free from distractions allows individuals ample opportunities to connect with themselves and the staff around them and build meaningful relationships. The wilderness setting allows natural challenges where individuals can experience success, connect with a supportive peer environment, boost their self-esteem, and discover a path for their lives.
Through the wilderness therapy process individuals have the opportunity to practice empathy, problem-solving skills, and communication. This directly correlates to the healing process within the family. While the individual is working on him or herself and adding new skills the family is also doing similar work. This therapeutic journey can be likened to a plane ride. Most begin with an anxiety during takeoff, similar to when a family "launches" into the realm of discovery. Mid-flight turbulence can be likened to when things become uneasy, uncomfortable; however, through that discomfort a family can come out on the other side with a smooth landing.
The wilderness is an amazing place. A place of discovery, self-exploration, challenge beauty, energy, and a place that is constantly changing; a meaningful parallel for the busy lives we live with an intervention that has a powerful impact.
About Ryan Ebersberger, MSW, NVW-Asheville Wilderness Field Therapist
Ryan has a passion for helping youth move from a place of discouragement to empowerment. His experience comes from working with youth and families for over a decade in a variety of settings including therapeutic boarding school, direct care social work and Wilderness Therapy. Ryan received his Master of Social Work from Western New Mexico University where he graduated with honors and is a member of the Phi Alpha Honor Society. Ryan firmly believes that when a client can take their power and put it into constructiveness instead of destructiveness, the seed of change begins to grow and that spreads to everyone around them. The wilderness is a perfect backdrop for that change, free from distractions where empowerment can blossom and the gifts that each person is meant to give this world can shine. In his spare time, Ryan is a dedicated family man and enjoys going on family adventures. He works hard to find a balance of connection, love, responsibilities, and joy. He enjoys getting out in the wilderness through whatever the mountains and oceans provide and can be found with his family on the rivers, trails, mountains, and oceans whenever possible.
For Admissions inquiries, please contact Patrick McAvoy, Admissions Director at 855-689-8326 or email@example.com.
About New Vision Wilderness
NVW has programs in Wisconsin’s beautiful North Woods, Oregon’s picturesque Cascade Mountain Range, near Bend, Oregon and the Blue Ridge Mountains outside Asheville, North Carolina. They offer groups for adolescent and pre-adolescent boys and girls, as well as young adults. New Vision Wilderness is a specialty wilderness therapy treatment program that is clinically intensive, highly specialized and trauma informed. NVW was founded and designed to heal the consequences of early childhood stress. NVW is the nation’s premier “relational model” wilderness therapy program and integrates the latest research on adverse childhood experiences. Their “relationship centered” approach coupled with a safe environment and the most effective clinical interventions serves as the backbone to their success and reputation. They believe in relationship, not consequence, as the main vehicle for change. To learn more, go to (NVW) or contact Patrick McAvoy at 518-524-7676.
The Flathead Valley in Northwest Montana is a perfect place for an outdoor experiential classroom. Summit Prep’s science teachers Erica Gerber and Shawda Stevens take advantage of the beautiful surroundings whenever they can. Recently the Honors River Ecology Class loaded up the canoes and headed out for an area river. The primary goal was to complete field research by collecting water samples and analyzing the data. Once this task was complete it was time for a little water fun. On such a gorgeous sunny day the water was just too tempting! A good time was had by all.
The Rivers Ecology Class is a field-based research course designed to evaluate the water quality of the local watershed. Students learn Riparian Ecosystem concepts by studying biological, chemical, geological and physical parameters of the Flathead Lake Watershed. The course culminates with student groups identifying water quality issues, planning a solution, and presenting findings to local government or community groups.
In order to perform high level field research, top quality tools are needed so Erica Gerber did her own research to find a way to enhance our science equipment. Recently Erica was notified that Summit Prep was the recipient of 2 grants that will enhance the research abilities for the students. One grant of $1000 is from the North American Native Fish Association (NANFA) and the second grant of $1500 is from the Flathead Conservation District. The monies from these grants will be applied to the purchase of equipment for students to collect macroinvertebrates and diatoms to evaluate water quality. There is also a plan to purchase equipment to analyze fecal coliform levels and to buy two tablets to use in the field to collect data with computer probes.
About Summit Preparatory School
Summit Preparatory School is an accredited private, non-profit, co-ed therapeutic boarding school located on 520 acres near Kalispell, MT. Summit integrates professional therapy and college prep academics within a nurturing and dynamic community that energizes and challenges adolescents to succeed and transform their lives. Grounded in the concepts of the Summit Model, the program focuses on promoting the development of healthy psychological and social skills. The campus is close to Glacier International Airport (FCA) and is less than an hour from Glacier National Park.
At College Excel, students have the opportunity to make a home for themselves and practice independent living skills in the housing we provide them. Each student has a private bedroom and one to three housemates, all of whom are students in the program as well. The students are neighbors with one another and College Excel itself; most are located just a crosswalk away from our headquarters. The houses are fully furnished, and the kitchens are stocked with all the tools needed to cook nutritious meals. College Excel housing is sober, and weekly house checks are conducted to help our students uphold this standard.
While the houses are unstaffed in order to promote student autonomy, each is assigned a coach who facilitates regular house meetings. These sessions are individualized to the house’s needs, covering topics from how to prepare a meal or do laundry, to establishing expectations for the house and developing healthy communication between housemates. By offering students this experience and support, they are able to apply the skills learned here to be successful in their next living environment.
About College Excel
Founded in 2003, College Excel is the nation’s leading residential college support program located in beautiful Bend, Oregon. At College Excel, post-secondary adults (18+) with diverse learning needs requiring extra support are provided the structure they need to move forward, both academically and personally. Using a proprietary, blended coaching model rooted in Harvard research-based neurocoaching and behavioral coaching techniques, College Excel students receive daily support from a team of credentialed and experienced Academic and Student Life Coaches while earning transferable college credits.
The West Ridge Academy Recreational Room was designed for students to have a space to do daily circuit training, exercise for de-escalation, and develop healthy habits that they can use to self-regulate. West Ridge Academy is helping students to use exercise as a life skill they can take with them after treatment. West Ridge Academy hopes that kids will use the sports and team training along with physical development in exercise and fitness to feel better about themselves, to help build confidence, and develop self sustaining coping options while at home. In addition to the fitness training side of the room, kids learn appropriate use of leisure time with card and board games, foosball, pool, and ping pong. West Ridge Academy built these activities into the structure of the program for maximum use and effect.
About West Ridge Academy
West Ridge Academy… where our 50 year mission has been to offer hope and healing in an environment that encompasses Humility – Accountability – Service – and Love. Feel free to give us a call or email us if you have any questions.
This summer, Greenbrier Academy students had the opportunity to visit the farm of Arthur Bartenslager in Lewisburg, WV for a biology field trip. The fourteen GBA students were welcomed by Art and his son Zack, who is an animal husbandry professor at the University of Tennessee, and Dr. Allen, DVM from Lexington, VA.
Students observed while Dr. Allen’s team collected fresh embryos from three donor cows. The embryos were examined under a microscope to be used in two separate procedures. One group of embryos would be set in reciprocal cows that afternoon, while the other would be frozen in liquid nitrogen and saved for later use.
Students were able to ask questions for Dr. Allen and Professor Bartenslage that demonstrated basic knowledge of reproductive physiology. Dr. Allen gave a short talk on how the basic reproductive anatomy and physiology influences how the procedure is conducted. Girls were fascinated by the liquid nitrogen preservation tanks and at the high viability of the embryos stored in them. Two of the girls who aspire to be veterinarians were particularly interested in the epidural and palpation procedure. All the girls left with an appreciation for the gentleness with which the cows were handled and how calm the cows were when walking out of the holding chute, following the procedure.
By engaging in this experience, students were able to cultivate greater understanding of animal husbandry and its connection to science. Experiential, hands-on learning creates lifelong learners, one of GBA’s primary academic objectives.
About Greenbrier Academy
Greenbrier Academy (GBA) 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.
Corner Canyon Recovery is innovative and always seeking to provide adult clients with the most effective treatment options possible, proven by research and/or by personal experiences, to improve and change lives in ways that other treatment programs cannot. In addition to the carefully designed treatment program, implemented by caring, intelligent, and well trained personnel, Corner Canyon implements the following cutting edge additions that direct treatment planning and implementation:
Corner Canyon offers Brain Balancing Technology, partnering with a company named Vitanya (http://vitanya.com). Brain Balancing is a combination of neurofeedback integrated with a new technology that assesses the brain, testing for responses from 50,000 elements/states, and sends structured electrical impulses back in to help heal the brain, develop new, healthy neuropathways, and balance brain chemicals, hormones, mind and physical states, and nutritional needs (including specific supplements that address the gut-brain connection). This program was developed to help veterans and first responders with PTSD, and it treats trauma-based problems and damage to the brain done by substance abuse. Our clients are reporting improvements in sleep, trauma responses, depression and anxiety, chronic pain reduction, allergies, ADHD, cravings, and other brain-based problems.
Corner Canyon recently began working with Previdence (https://www.previdence.com), a company that uses Artificial Intelligence to process therapeutic data collected weekly and give feedback to the therapist about specific, research-validated therapy modalities that are proven to work with the symptoms the client is presenting, directing individualized treatment for all clients. They have been working with the Department of Defense for 6 years, reducing suicide rates by 64%. Previdence identifies mental illness and the potential harm it may cause by appraising the mental health of an individual through evidence-based psychological assessments. Previdence uses established treatment protocols to generate a mental illness treatment plan. Previdence then monitors and reports the treatment progress towards mental wellness.
DNA ADDICTION TESTING
Corner Canyon also uses Geneus (https://www.geneushealth.com) and their DNA testing for Addiction to aid clients in assessing their predisposition for addictive, compulsive, and impulsive behaviors. They developed the GARS (Genetic Addiction Risk Score) test to help people understand their genetic predisposition toward substance and non-substance craving behaviors. This collection of harmful and challenging behaviors is encompassed by the term “Reward Deficiency Syndrome" (RDS). After this assessment, done with a simple cheek swab, Geneus recommends specific milligrams of supplements to regulate dopamine and other brain chemicals through neuro-nutrients that decrease substance and non-substance behaviors and cravings.
About Corner Canyon Recovery
Corner Canyon Recovery, a 16 bed, trauma informed, adult, co-ed with gender specific programming, dual-diagnosis, holistic Residential Treatment Center in a large attractive home in Draper, UT opened in November, 2017.
HopeWay is thrilled to introduce Mike Carroll as their new Director of Human Resources. Mike joined the leadership team in June, and he brings more than twenty-five years of experience to the position, having worked in hospitality and entertainment, as well as for multi-national banking corporations. At HopeWay, Mike oversees all aspects related to human resources, which includes talent acquisition, staffing, compensation, training and development, new hire processing, employee relations and employee retention.
Mike and his wife, Julie, have been Charlotteans since 1998. HopeWay asked Mike some fun questions to get to know the man behind the desk. Enjoy his answers below!
Q: What is the next thing you want to cross off your bucket list?
A: I would love to take a river cruise trip with my wife down the Danube and the Rhine.
Q: What is an interesting fact about you?
A: As a child, I was fluent in French living in Brussels, Belgium. Unfortunately, all I know now is "Bonjour!"
Q: What is your favorite method of self-care for your own mental health?
A: Taking time for myself usually includes reading or challenging myself in an exercise class at the YMCA. When I can manage, I also enjoy participating in community theater.
HopeWay is an accredited, non-profit residential mental health facility for adults, 18 years and older. Located in Charlotte, NC, HopeWay is a physician-led treatment center with The Joint Commission's Gold Seal of Approval for Behavioral Health Care Accreditation and certification as a Behavioral Health Home. The center offers a continuum of care that includes residential and day treatment programs within a holistic model of medical, psychological and emotional wellness and education. Each client receives an individualized treatment plan with a clinically structured schedule based on specific therapeutic goals.
Skyland Trail recently began construction on a new campus for adolescents ages 14 to 17 with mood and anxiety disorders. The campus is scheduled to open in 2019 and offer a continuum of care for adolescents beginning with residential treatment.
A 26-bed residential facility will include private rooms for adolescent clients as well as common areas for socialization, family engagement, and dining. An adjacent 30,000 sq. ft. building will offer therapeutic spaces for group and individual sessions as well as expressive activities like art and music therapy. A media center will include dedicated workstations for clients to complete their school work supported by an education coordinator who will act as a liaison with clients' schools.
The adolescent campus is made possible by generous philanthropic support provided through the Building Resilience, Changing Lives capital campaign. Foundations and individuals contributed more than $20 million to develop this adolescent program to meet the needs of families in Georgia and beyond.
About Skyland Trail
Located in Atlanta, Skyland Trail is a nationally recognized nonprofit mental health treatment organization serving adults ages 18 and older with a primary psychiatric diagnosis. Through our residential and day treatment programs, we help our clients grow, recover and reclaim their lives. We’re focused on individuals with complex mental health issues, helping them understand that they can be – and are – more than a diagnosis. We offer expert, evidence-based psychiatric care alongside a compassionate, holistic path to wellness. Our integrated mental, medical, and social model helps clients develop strategies to improve mental health, physical wellness, independence, and relationships with family and friends. Unique therapies offered include music, art and horticultural therapy; workforce and school readiness; primary care services; family therapy; and healthy living and nutrition coaching.
Solutions Parenting Support is pleased to announce that they will be presenting at this month's Wilderness Therapy Symposium in Park City, Utah. Co-Owner Hilary Moses, MSW, LCSW will be presenting along with Michael Gass, PhD, LMFT, Tony Alvarez, MSW, Jessalyn Hobson, MSW on "Family Therapy with OBH populations".
The purpose of this workshop is to offer innovative methods of enriching family therapy processes through the use of experiential and active treatment techniques. Rather than just focusing on the “talking-the-talk” part of therapy, this workshop will also provide applied methods of “walking-the-talk” to use in both individual and group therapy sessions for OBH programs.
Solutions Parenting Support is proud to bring skills both from the wilderness side as well as the aftercare process. Their goal is to cover:
- Identifying the tools that seem most effective in helping parents through the process of supporting their family's growth throughout the wilderness therapy process.
- Some common patterns seen during wilderness (but primarily focusing on tools that can help families overcome some of the obstacles through the process).
- The grief and loss that is common for families through this experience.
- Discussing ways to capitalize on the parent wilderness visit and addressing patterns that parents are experiencing such as "rescue trauma", that lead them to be unclear about what is rescuing and what is being a loving parent.
About Solutions Parenting Support
Solutions Parenting Support, LLC is a nationally recognized parent support and transitional program assisting families during and after wilderness therapy treatment and/or residential treatment programming. With business offices in Steamboat Springs, CO and Tucson, AZ the team is supporting parents and families in the United States and around the globe. The team of parent coaches and transitional specialists are family system focused, licensed professional therapists and/or licensed social workers with a combined 40+ years of experience working in wilderness therapy programs, varying levels of residential treatment programming and transitional support.
Moving towards the decision to enter treatment is a challenging decision to make. Both clients and families should be congratulated for having the courage to take this important first step. Research indicates that substance abuse disorders are a brain disease, not a moral shortcoming. As such, these issues do not get better without comprehensive treatment which includes treating all issues that clients may be facing, such as mental health issues and the ongoing effects that trauma may have on an individual.
While recovery and treatment for our clients is incredibly important, Red Oak Recovery and The Willows believe that working with the entire family system is just as important. Our families work with a designated Family Support Therapist who is separate from their loved one’s primary therapist so that the family can work towards their own healing and growth.
A two-day Family Workshop is held each month that includes a mix of education, experiential learning, multi-family group work, and processing. Red Oak clinicians and staff spend time discussing the disease of addiction, codependency, Al-Anon, mental health issues, trauma, and how to establish healthy boundaries. Weekly phone calls between the family and their therapist are held in addition to weekly educational webinars. When appropriate, Family Intensives are scheduled where the client and family come together for an in-person session with the client’s therapist and the family therapist to work on how to come back together as a united family unit.
The Red Oak Family Program is designed to support family members and to develop awareness around how the relationship with their loved one will grow and change throughout the recovery process. Families learn strategies for strengthening their relationships while focusing on their own healing. The engagement of the entire family is crucial in creating a healthy, functioning family system that is able to support loved ones in early recovery
About Red Oak Recovery
Red Oak Recovery and The Willows at Red Oak are 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 Willows is dedicated to woman-only programming uniquely blends quality clinical care, adventure and experiential therapy. Both types of programming include 12 Step work and social skills development to create positive and lasting change.
Elevations RTC, a residential treatment center for teens ages 13-18, provides students with an opportunity to learn and play music with the Music Club on campus. Music club is entirely optional for students and no previous experience is required to sign up for it.
During music club meetings, students practice and perform songs of their choice using a variety of instruments such as percussion, bass guitar, lead/rhythm guitar, harmonica, keyboards/piano, singing, and whatever else a student might request. Elevations has a student enrolling who plays the trombone and are very excited to have him join in.
“Music club has helped me meet other kids and get to know them,” says an Elevations RTC student in music club. “Someone I wouldn’t think I could be friends with, I found out we love the same music and we can jam together. I love that!”
The members of music club have the chance to perform the songs they practice at events such as graduations, parent seminars and assemblies. Currently, students are learning to write their own songs, taking influences from different music styles.
“A large aspect of music group is to build confidence in learning music while having fun,” comments Peter Brickey, CMHC, Primary Therapist at Elevations RTC. “Performing and practicing these songs brings a therapeutic value not accomplished sitting in an office on a couch. This also provides a break from what feels like monotony of everyday life. As the facilitator of Music Club, I appreciate the opportunity to see the kids learn and love music and be able to express their emotions through this avenue.”
According to one student, “I struggled at home with anger and frustration and I didn't have an outlet. Now, I can play and write songs, it really helps me feel calm. I play the guitar and have learned to play the drums here. Also, music brings people together.”
In the fall, Dr. Massimiliano Frani, a world renowned pianist and composer, will be hosting a weekly Musical Arts class.
“The Musical Arts’ Class program is developed upon the belief that there is an inborn musicality residing in every human being that can be activated in the service of personal growth and development,” comments Dr. Frani. “This self-actualizing potential is most effectively awakened through the study of music aesthetics, choir, instrumental group and group education.”
About Elevations RTC
Elevations RTC is a unique residential treatment center that works with both all students ages 13 - 18. Elevations offers guidance, support and relief to students 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.
Sustain Recovery held its third annual alumni event Sunday July 22nd. Alumni came from as far as New York City to attend. Several people joined in including current clients, alumni and families of both came to reconnect and enjoy the festivities. The full day started off with a lot of hugs and catching up amongst the graduates, current students, parents of both and staff, followed by an emotional meeting/check in for the staff and students and another for the parents and staff. Everybody who works at Sustain is hand’s on so there is a lot connection between all. The meeting was followed by a delicious lunch provided by a BBQ food truck and an afternoon of fun. There was the ever popular dunk tank, a water balloon fight and snow cones. Despite the extreme heat, everybody expressed being happy to be there and their gratitude for the event.
Sustain Recovery is an extended care program for adolescents who have primary substance use along with other co-occurring disorders that need extensive family work and a mid term range program. Sustain works with adolescents 13-17 primarily after they have completed shorter-term primary treatment or a wilderness program and need a little longer residential placement. The average length of stay is five to six months; Sustain is located in Anaheim Hills, California. There is the ability to supplement some of the family's financial burden through private insurance.
About Sustain Recovery
Sustain Recovery is 5-6 months for 13-17 year olds in Anaheim Hills with co-occuring issues. It offers gender separate programs and a safe and structured environment in two 6 bed residences in which the residents are able to maintain a meaningful and fun substance free way of life. The clients are also enrolled in the off-site Partial Hospitalization/Intensive Outpatient Program (PHP/IOP) depending on their level of care upon admission, where an individual counselor and an individual therapist will help them adjust to Sustain Recovery. It is also where they work on their academics.
Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness, a northeast Georgia wilderness therapy program that currently serves adolescents and families, is proud and excited to announce that they will be expanding next month by opening a program specifically for young adults and their families.
This program will be led by Anne Wilzbacher, LPC, one of Blue Ridge’s esteemed therapists. Anne has a plethora of professional experience and expertise in the clinical, wilderness, and self-growth arena that lends her to have a unique perspective in what it takes to create an effective foundation for supporting growth, movement, health, resilience and empowerment. Dan McDougal, Executive Director and Owner of Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness states, “Anne has passionately taken on creating this development with the utmost intention and effectiveness in gathering current trends and utility of practices. The program is dense, with a powerful vision and full of heart.”
The program vision includes providing quality attention, care, and inspired action to support young adults being able to root into who they are and what they want in their life. Blue Ridge aims to support young adults and their families through comprehensive assessment, deep integrated individual and family work, intensive group psychotherapy, creative exposure and skills building, and thoughtful transition prep. This young adult wilderness therapy program will start with a mixed gender group serving 18-30 year olds struggling with trauma, depression, anxiety, family system issues, identity, disordered eating, personality disorders/traits, substance abuse and addictive behaviors. It is located in western North Carolina Nantahala National Forest.
“I feel deeply grateful for this opportunity to basically have a blank canvas of wilderness… to create what I believe can serve young adults and their families on a deep level,” commented Anne. “I have poured my heart and soul into this and value holding integrity in this work and what we are going to be offering.”
Blue Ridge will be announcing their opening in early September.
About Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness
Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness offers clinically driven programs encompassing advanced therapeutic skill, a highly flexible nomadic wilderness therapy model, licensed wilderness therapy assessment and multiple treatment options for troubled teens ages 13-18 years old. Our individualized approach, family support and commitment to service translate to an unparalleled experience and better outcomes for adolescents and families.
Janna Dean, LCSW, is passionate about wilderness therapy and the positive changes she sees her clients making in the wilderness treatment environment. Janna is excited to join the Aspiro Adventure team in Utah after working for 2 years in the beautiful Pure Life by Aspiro program in Costa Rica.
Janna states, "I enjoy the young adult population because they are just launching into a wonderful phase of self discovery and independence. It is a fun time of life and a time full of change and possibilities. It is an age in which these young people have the legal right to make decisions for themselves and are learning how to navigate the world of adulthood with new tools and options."
In multiple settings where she has gained experience, including county mental health, substance abuse treatment, an eating disorder center and wilderness treatment, Janna has helped clients navigate many different emotional and mental health challenges, including learning to change their negative beliefs about their bodies and develop healthy relationships with food. Janna initially did not think that her passion for helping people who experience eating disorders and body image issues would be applicable in a wilderness setting, but finds that the wilderness creates a platform to help clients distract from their usual negative coping mechanisms. This allows the real issues and patterns to come out in order to be dealt with effectively and in healthy ways. Read more about her thoughts on this topic in her blog here.
With 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.
ViewPoint Center helps adolescents struggling with a variety of challenges. One of the difficulties they help teens face is trauma. If the adolescent has experienced trauma in their past or is suspected of experiencing a response to trauma, they conduct a comprehensive assessment of trauma. The assessment is conducted through a multidisciplinary approach which involves every member of our staff.
Their team includes a psychologist and several therapists, psychiatric practitioners, nurses and direct care staff. As a team, they work collaboratively to assess for a wide range of traumatic events. The assessment is conducted through several avenues which include clinical interviews, standardized measurements and observations. The entire team also gathers information from a variety of sources including key figures in the child’s life such as parents and caregivers. They also seek information from school representatives, past providers, and education consultants.
After gathering information and observing the adolescent, they discuss how each traumatic event has interfered or impacted:
- Functioning (daily living, social, interpersonal)
- Emotional regulation
- Risk factors for behavioral expressions of symptoms.
During the assessment, the ViewPoint team also discusses how other mental illnesses may be contributing to the functioning of the adolescent. As part of the assessment, it is essential to determine what trauma-focused interventions, as well as other interventions, may be effective in relieving the symptoms and trauma responses many of their adolescents experience.
After an initial assessment is completed, ViewPoint worka towards establishing the next steps. An ongoing assessment is beneficial in determining the relief of symptoms, changes in symptoms and the effectiveness of ongoing treatment.
Throughout an adolescent’s time at ViewPoint Center, they are dedicated to providing the most thorough assessments possible in order to form an accurate treatment plan.
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 6-8 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.
Mike Comparetto, LMSW, has joined the Montford Hall team. A native New Yorker, Mike earned a Master’s of Social Work from New York University in 2013, graduating summa cum laude. In that same year, he also earned certification as a Holistic Health Coach and a Hatha Yoga Teacher. He has extensive training in ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy), CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), and motivational interviewing, as well as mindfulness meditation, which he discovered when he began his own recovery journey in 2006 and has been practicing ever since. He has a significant background treating substance use disorders, LGBTQ issues, and anxiety.
When working with students, Mike brings all of this expertise and personal experience to bear. Clinical issues are explored in the context of the whole person, and with the student’s physical health, diet, habits of thought, school experiences, family dynamics, and family history in mind.
“Mike's clinical background and focus make him a great addition to our team,” says Alex Kirby, Psy.D., Executive Director. “Given Montford Hall’s all-encompassing approach to treatment, we couldn’t be happier to have him.”
Before joining Montford Hall, Mike was a clinician at NYC Cognitive Therapy, a group practice in New York City. Mike’s first career was as an audio engineer; he began as a freelancer and then ran his own recording and production company for six years.
About Montford Hall
Located in Asheville, NC, Montford Hall is a nonprofit residential treatment program for teenage boys in early recovery. The program combines comprehensive clinical care for substance use and co-occurring disorders, innovative academics, 12-step facilitation, family support, and a wide range of health/wellness and recreational activities to give students an integrated, individualized, an inspiring recovery experience. Montford Hall is licensed by the State of North Carolina and a member of the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP).
Global health company CIGNA released a sobering report this May on mental health and loneliness in Gen-Z (iGen) and millennial respondents of an online survey. Of the 20,000 emerging and young adults who reported, 48.3% saw themselves as lonely. Though the study found the national average in the United States to be at 44%, a few striking responses truly differentiate Gen-Z from their predecessors. They see themselves overwhelmingly (60+%) in feeling alone, isolated, shy, that no one knows them really well, and in having people around them but not actually with them.
Northern Illinois University Counseling and Counselor Education Chair Suzanne Degges-White, Ph.D. writes that “research shows that the most connected generation in history is also the loneliest of all time” (2018). Both Degges-White and Washington Post writer Rachel Simmons (2018) see working on goal-related tasks as more of a loneliness factor than smartphones and electronic consumption. Products of play dates, prescribed tutoring and coaching, competitive travel teams and the other accoutrements of “good parenting”, these generations have struggled with what to do with and how to manage their unstructured time. Increasingly, these young people become overwhelmed in their own forms of “rat races”, that when the process of goal attainment unravels a bit they become utterly lost. Leaving the structure of institutions like school or treatment can be powerfully paralyzing for emerging adults who crave social stimulation but lack some of the skills to connect on their own. The Cigna research offered hope for future change in that “individuals who are less lonely are more likely to have regular in-person interactions, are in good overall physical and mental health, have found a balance in their daily activities, and are employed.”
Often these variables are more easily facilitated in a residential treatment setting, but clients struggle to carry these practices forward in their return to their lives. Members at Onward Transitions participate in a regimen of services geared towards helping sustain lasting change. The following bullet points demonstrate some of the ways Onward Transitions supports the hope for future change outlined in the Cigna research and specifically encourages members to get out of their apartments:
Regular in-person interactions are facilitated for OT members by:
- Scheduling appointments with multiple in-house professionals on different days of the week
- Arriving at daily family style brunches and dinners throughout the week
- Numerous group and social recreational opportunities on different days of the week
- Regular apartment, job site and volunteer placement in-vivo consults with staff members
- Guided “bus safaris” to learn and master public transportation
- The “drop-in” set-up of two strategice sites in the city of Portland for spontaneous social recreational opportunities
Good overall physical and mental health is fostered for members through:
- Paid gym memberships, with optional guided staff facilitation
- Fitness based groups twice weekly (ie - rock climbing, short walks, yoga, paddling, etc.)
- Wellness and cooking groups four times weekly
- Weekly individual nutrition and health plan coaching
- Up to three weekly therapy sessions (individual, group and family formats)
Employment is facilitated for members through:
- A dedicated, full-time, Career Explorations Coordinator to help members get hired
- Coaching on the intangibles of seeking work and being a more attractive candidate
- Abundant job opportunities in the city of Portland, ME
- Ongoing coaching about how to maintain a job and/or continue searching while already employed
Balanced daily activities are supported through:
- Regular daily check-ins with a dedicated staff member throughout the week
- Open dialog in group and individual meetings about lifestyle choices and resulting consequences
- Meeting with staff to review use of services to help members better understand how they are actually spending their time
Cigna, online report, May 2018 https://www.multivu.com/players/English/8294451-cigna-us-loneliness-survey/docs/IndexReport_1524069371598-173525450.pdf
Degges-White, Suzanne, Ph.D., Psychology Today, August 3, 2018. www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/lifetime-connections/201808/are-todays-young-adults-becoming-generation-lonely
Simmons, Rachel, Washington Post, May 3, 2018
About Onward Transitions
Onward Transitions (OT) in Portland, ME is a small, independent, owner-operated program for bright, motivated, emerging adults in the final stages of learning to live on their own. OT supports actual sustainable independent living and autonomy from two city locations. Participants (members) ages 18-29 never live with us; they live in their own apartments, scattered throughout the city. Members' challenges include anxiety, depression and executive functioning.
Red Mountain Sedona is thrilled to announce the addition of Rod Adams, MS, to the clinical team. Rod brings a wealth of experience in residential treatment to his role as Primary Therapist. In addition to his experience as both a therapist and program administrator, Rod is highly skilled in treating trauma, attachment issues, substance use, oppositional behavior and family systems related issues.
Rod is a natural fit for Red Mountain Sedona, specializing in the use of Mindfulness-based techniques to help students learn to self-regulate, develop greater insight and learn to make effective decisions as mature adults.
Josh White, Executive Director, commented “Rod is a fantastic addition to Red Mountain. The strength of his clinical and administrative experience adds even greater depth and knowledge to a talented team.”
About Red Mountain Sedona
Red Mountain Sedona is a mindfulness-based, trauma informed Young Adult “Launch” program, located in beautiful Sedona, Arizona. Red Mountain specializes in helping young adults between the ages of 18-28, address the social, emotional and behavioral issues holding them back from successfully transitioning into adulthood. Through a truly holistic program that provides structure, individual, group and family therapy, life skills training and mindfulness-meditation, yoga and martial arts instruction, Red Mountain Sedona helps students gain the stability and maturity needed to move forward in life. For more information on Red Mountain Sedona call (855) 998-5272.
Point School Puerto Rico is a hybrid gap year program for young adult men, ages 18-22. But what does it mean to be hybrid? In 2017, PSPR owners Tim McMahon, Jason Cox, Sean Rose and Chris Mays identified a need that was not being filled in traditional gap year programs. That need was intentional structure and support surrounding emotional and behavioral issues, self-identity development and mental health medication management.
Point School Puerto Rico created a program structure not unlike traditional gap years which includes cultural immersion, spanish language immersion, service and humanitarian projects, and a wide array of experiential activities including SCUBA certification, surfing and sailing lessons, hiking, and more. With all of these components, PSPR is as impressive on a college or professional resume as a traditional gap year, but the hybrid aspect creates another accomplished variable.
Point School Puerto Rico’s hybrid structure provides young men with opportunities to develop their positive self-identity, character strengths and intrinsic motivation through the aid of validated, empirically-based assessment, clinician informed goal-setting and accomplishment, and intentional strength-based experiences. All of these interventions will help inform each young man’s experience in order to boost motivation, direction and confidence for their future success.
Point School Puerto Rico program structure also provides time for each young man to create and implement a life plan before leaving PSPR that can be maintained once they are established in whichever academic or professional path they ultimately choose. The goal is for Point School Puerto Rico to not only be an unforgettable cultural and experiential experience, but also a meaningful and transformative experience that can be used to launch young men into a successful and informed adulthood.
About the Point School Puerto Rico
Point School Puerto Rico is a hybrid gap year program designed for young men who are searching for a one-of-a-kind experience designed just for them. We aim to help our young men grow into adulthood with the ability to thrive. Our hybrid model includes therapeutic support delivered by a licensed clinician, life coaching with trained mentors, support for academic and/or vocational momentum, and a considerable amount of experiential opportunity and cultural immersion.
Valley View School is pleased to announce that Kristen Birch, MA, will be joining the clinical team on August 13, 2018. Kristen has worked for the last 11 years at YOU, Inc., a large youth counseling agency in Massachusetts. She held a variety of positions over those 11 years, including milieu supervisor, clinical supervisor and program director.
Above all else, Kristen is a highly regarded clinician who specializes in family work and group therapy with adolescents. Kristen's primary focus is conducting group therapy using creative modalities, such as art, sculpture, music, and movement. Undoubtedly, Kristen's skill set will be a great complement to the already strong therapeutic program at Valley View School.
Kristen's role at Valley View will be broad and creative. She will serve as a student advisor, run on-going process groups and specialty therapy groups, conduct family consultation, and work within the milieu in the continual pursuit of providing students with optimal therapeutic engagement. Everyone at Valley View is excited that Kristen is bringing her talents to the school. Her contribution promises to be impressive.
About Valley View School
Valley View School, founded in 1970, is a private therapeutic boarding school serving boys in grades 6-12. Our non-profit 501(c)(3) school is located in the central Massachusetts town of North Brookfield. The Valley View 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 Montana Academy community is excited to welcome Dr. Moira McKinnon to the staff team. Dr. McKinnon has recently returned to Montana with her husband and two young children and has just joined her father, Dr. John McKinnon, in sharing the Medical Director responsiblilties. Moira McKinnon, MD is a physician with specialty training - board certified in both adult psychiatry as well as child and adolescent psychiatry. Dr. McKinnon received her undergraduate degree from Stanford University before attending Medical School at the University of Washington. Dr. McKinnon then trained in adult pschiatry at California Pacific Medical Center and in child and adolescent psychiatry at UC San Francisco.
For the past month, Dr. McKinnon has begun to do rounds and attend staff meetings at Montana Academy's transitional living program, Sky House, and looks forward to integrating her work on campus in due time. Meanwhile, Dr. McKinnon joins her father in performing thorough psychiatric reviews of every new enrollment as this has consistently been Montana Academy's practice in order to deeply understand our students and to compliment materials for each treatment team.
Montana Academy is excited and enthusiastic about the addition of Dr. Moira McKinnon and look forward to all of our colleagues and friends having the opportunity to get to know her as she continues to take over the role of Medical Director in the coming year.
About Montana Academy
Founded in 1997, Montana Academy is a coed, accredited, privately-owned therapeutic boarding school located in Northwest Montana. Unique in the nation, Montana Academy provides students a robust combination of clinical sophistication, an effective therapeutic program and a challenging prep school all situated on a 500 acres Montana ranch. Instead of limiting treatment to symptom relief (pills or brief therapies), Montana Academy pursues a two-step diagnosis and dual treatment: (a) to identify and then remove, insofar as possible, the obstacles to psychological development; and (b) to prod students to achieve new psychological milestones and so to restore the momentum of normal adolescent maturation.
For the last five years, a group of people have been rising early on a chilly Saturday morning in January for an important run. They’re gathering for Brandon’s Run, held annually every year to assist young adults with Autism in obtaining employment. This 5K run was inspired by Brandon, a New Directions for Young Adults (NDFYA.com) graduate, who wanted to share his passion for road running with his community.
Brandon’s Run was initially a way for Brandon to develop his own self-discipline and other skills that could assist him as he searched for employment. With help from NDFYA and his friends at the Greater Fort Lauderdale Road Runners Club (GFLRRC), a new 5K benefiting autism was born.
In addition to giving Brandon the confidence and the experience that he needed to land a paying job, Brandon’s Run for Autism benefits other young adults with autism who are also interested in similar pursuits. The money raised by the 5K will provide group services, vocational coaching, weekly stipends, and internships for other young adults with ASD. Additionally, students at NDFYA have the opportunity to volunteer their time and talents to help organize the run, keep everything moving smoothly, and enjoy the event together.
Every year, Brandon’s Run for Autism grows bigger. There are more participants, of course, but there are also more sponsors. As such, more people learn and become aware of how autism affects their community, and that there are capable young adults with autism who are suitable for work. Brandon and his friends show the community the true face of autism— specifically, that autism doesn’t stop them from fulfilling their dreams of becoming a valuable member of society.
About New Directions
New Directions is a state of the art multidisciplinary clinical program for typical young adults and young adults with special needs. Our program integrates expertise in cognitive behavioral therapy, developmental theory, and neuropsychology, into an evidenced-based treatment approach. Our goal is to help all young adults achieve the goal of independent living. The crux of the New Directions program is the Individualized Service Plan (ISP). The initial plan is developed using input from the student, family, transcripts, standardized test scores, psycho-educational reports, and results from assessments administered by New Directions. Long and short-term goals will be developed in three areas; education & vocational, life management, and psychosocial. ISP’s are re-evaluated regularly, so as to assess progress in each area and to make any necessary adjustments.
August is here, and The Wilderness Therapy Symposium is right around the corner. Several Evoke Entrada employees are preparing presentations for the Symposium, hosted by the Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Council in Park City, UT August 23rd – 25th. Evoke therapists Matt Hoag, Tim Mullins, John Tobias and Trina Grater will be presenting, along with the Health and Wellness Coordinator, Elise Mitchell, and the Program Director, Katelyn BeVard. Evoke has teamed up with several other professionals in the field of Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare to create a more rounded perspective. These workshops will provide a wide range of topics and opportunities for professional growth for attendees of the conference.
As Owner and Clinical Director, Matt Hoag, Ph.D, spends a lot of his time focusing on clinical research and best practices. He will present on Friday morning at 9:00 am with colleagues on the Limits of Wilderness Therapy and again, on Saturday at 1:30pm, he will share and explore research pertaining to the backgrounds of Field Guides and how it relates to the treatment process. Tim Mullins, CMHC, LCPC, and Elise Mitchell, E-RYT, will explore challenging relationships and navigating complex interactions from the views of interpersonal neurobiology, interaction and engaged relationships. Tim will also present with John Tobias, ACMHC, and a colleague at 4:00 pm on Friday to discuss the transition from Wilderness to a continuing care program. Lastly, Trina Grater, ACMHC, and Katelyn BeVard will join forces with a local Utah County outpatient therapist to examine the importance of authenticity and collaboration when working within a treatment team to provide the best care for clients. Many of these workshops will utilize qualitative and quantitative research to demonstrate best practices and invite participation from the audience.
About Evoke Entrada
Evoke Entrada is a Wilderness Therapy Program located in Southern Utah, operating year round and working with adolescents (13-17) and young adults (18 - 28+). Entrada is a clinically focused intervention that provides comprehensive support for clients and families and is designed to teach accountability, communication skills and healthy emotional and behavioral habits. Entrada is a proud member of the Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Council and believes in the sharing of ideas among programs and colleagues in order to embody and promote best practices in the field of Mental Health and Outdoor Behavioral Health.
In the wake of the departure of Michele and Jeff Boguslofski (announced in last month’s newsletter), Alpine Academy has restructured some of the departments and has some new faces to introduce.
Christian Egan has taken over as the Director of Alpine Academy, leaving quite a hole in the admissions department. As such, Alpine Academy has created the Admissions and Development team. This new team combines the admissions, marketing and development, and alumni and aftercare work that was already being done into one department. Jill McIntyre is the Director of this new team. Her supporting team members are Royal Robins, who has been and remains Alpine’s admissions coordinator, Caitlin Forcier, who has been and remains the main aftercare and alumni guru, and Jason Stout continues as a primary player in business development and will also take on an expanded role in admissions.
Jill McIntyre has spent the last 5 years at Alpine Academy teaching the consumer math class and helping out with fundraising campaigns and alumni family outreach. In her prior life, Jill has over 20 years of business experience including working with 2 major global communications firms in marketing and development. Jill also has experience in starting and running her own businesses.
Jill is the proud mother of 5 children and has 2 amazing grandchildren.
Additionally, Lynnette Daybell has been hired as the new Residential Director to fill Jeff Boguslofski’s shoes. Lynnette and her husband were family teachers (live-in “house parents” that are trained and certified in the evidence-based Teaching-Family Model) at the first Alpine Academy home in 2002. Since then, Lynnette has also served at Alpine Academy’s parent company, the Utah Youth Village, as a Treatment Foster Care Supervisor, Residential Supervisor, and Residential Director.
Alpine Academy is excited about these adjustments and is looking forward to continuing to provide the highest quality of care for students and families.
About Alpine Academy
Alpine Academy is a licensed residential treatment center for girls ages 12-18 located in Utah. Students struggle with emotional disturbances that are severe enough to prevent them from going to school successfully. Alpine is a fully accredited school with dual-endorsed teachers at the front of every classroom. Therapy is built into the school day. It is a nationally certified Teaching Family Model treatment program. The students live in homes with married couples, Family Teachers.
Trails Momentum, a young adult wilderness therapy program for men and women ages 18-25, provides students with the academic skills and tools to build success in the classroom. During back-to-school season, young men and women who have struggled to succeed in school or who have dropped out of college may be wondering what their next steps might be.
At Trails Momentum, students have the opportunity to earn six college credits from Western State Colorado University, an accredited university. The two courses students participate in, Principles of Outdoor Recreation and Introduction to Communication and Leadership, are completely integrated into therapeutic programming. “Both of the classes we offer at Trails Momentum are directly tied to the work we are doing in therapy sessions and on expedition,” comments Dr. Sarah Parlier, Lead Educator at Trails Momentum. “Both our academic and therapeutic programming are designed to help students build goals and a purpose for themselves. Many feel lost and without direction before joining us. We work with them to feel comfortable in a classroom setting and transform their beliefs about themselves as students.”
The curriculum at Trails Momentum is arranged topically so that it doesn’t matter when students come in throughout the year. Students move through the curriculum wheel until they come back to where they started.
“Some of our students have dropped out of school or have not been successful in school in their past,” says Parlier. “During the period where schools start their fall semesters, students are seeing all of their friends go back to school. This time of year can amplify their feelings of hopelessness and their lack of direction. It can be a great time for them to consider a program like Trails Momentum where they can begin the healing process and experience being in a supportive classroom environment.”
For more information about academic programming at Trails Momentum, please visit https://trailsmomentum.com/learn/ or call (877) 296-8711.
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.
Trails Carolina, a wilderness therapy program for teens ages 10-17, helps young people struggling with a variety of challenges, including adoption/attachment-related issues. At Trails, students who struggle with attachment issues have the opportunity to learn about establishing boundaries and build a better understanding of how to process their attachment issues. “A wilderness therapy environment is an incredible setting for assessment,” comments Justin Messinger, MA, LCASA. “Because staff members are with students 24/7 in a wilderness setting, we are able to gather a more complete picture of student behaviors and observe the kinds of attachments they form with staff and students while they are at Trails.”
When students test boundaries with staff members and their peers, Trails staff members often utilize that as an opportunity to speak with students about the importance of holding boundaries and the ways in which attention-seeking behaviors may be affecting their relationships with staff and peers. “Trails provides students with a highly structured environment with an emphasis on boundaries and consistency,” says Messinger. “Throughout each day, staff hold boundaries for students and students may push back, testing the limits of staff members. Students may begin developing attachments to specific staff members, exhibiting attention-seeking behaviors similar to those they display within their family unit.”
Each week, students write letters to their parents detailing how they are feeling and their progress at Trails. For students with attachment issues, these letters provide therapists and staff members with insight into the attachment style students may be exhibiting.
“I think it’s very important to open up the lines of communication between students, their parents, and our therapeutic staff,” says Messinger. “Having honest conversations about a student’s adoption process can really help a student process that event. The letter-writing process helps provide an outlet for students to have that conversation in a low-pressure way. Guided by their therapist, students have the chance to share their feelings on paper in a supportive setting.”
To learn more about the ways in which Trails therapists work with students who have attachment issues, please visit Trails’ blog on the topic.
About Trails Carolina
Trails Carolina is a wilderness therapy program based just outside of Asheville, North Carolina that offers a multi-dimensional wilderness therapy model to troubled adolescents, ages 10-17. Trails capitalizes upon the profound effects of a student’s wilderness experience, and then combines that experience with strong clinical assessments and therapy. For additional information about Trails Carolina, please call 800-975-7303.
Foundations Asheville, a young adult transition community for young men ages 18-24, is currently preparing new students for the upcoming fall semester through individualized coaching.
At Foundations, students have several options to continue their education including attending local community college AB Tech. For students attending AB Tech for the fall semester, the three weeks between the end of summer term and the beginning of fall term provides an opportunity to prepare for their next chapter.
“We coach each student through this process based on their individual needs and goals,” comments Natalie Bryenton, Director of Education and Career Development at Foundations Asheville. “For new students, this time of year provides a chance to gain functional living skills that are involved in learning how to send transcripts, advocating for their interests, and determining their major. It invites creativity and helps them get excited for the new school year. The enrollment process can be an empowering experience.”
Foundations Asheville students come from a variety of academic backgrounds. Some have dropped out of school in the past, while others are currently on academic withdrawal from a four-year university and are able to accrue credits during their time at Foundations.
“At Foundations, we help students explore their strengths and feel prepared to face the challenges they’ve dealt with in the past,” says Bryenton. “Students are able to get back to their goals and rewrite their narrative about school. A lot of the young men at Foundations have had different relationships to school and they all work alongside each other, challenging and driving one another. It’s a very rewarding experience for them”
For more information about academic programming at Foundations Asheville, please visit https://foundationsasheville.com/meet-your-goals/career-growth or call 828-408-0803.
About Foundations Asheville
Foundations Asheville is a transitional living community located in Asheville, North Carolina. Foundations supports young men between the ages of 18-24 through the process of transitioning into adulthood by helping them gain confidence and motivation within a structured, individualized community environment. While at Foundations, young men gain skills to succeed academically, socially, and in the workforce. For more information about Foundations, please visit https://foundationsasheville.com/ or call 877-318-7273.
Seven Stars proudly puts the spotlight on psychiatrist Dr. Kristen Shadow. Dr. Shadow joined the Seven Stars team last year and has spent the past two decades working with individuals on the autism spectrum. Throughout her career, Dr. Shadow has worked in a variety of settings including outpatient, inpatient, observation and assessment, and residential settings.
Dr. Shadow received her M.D from University of Nevada School of Medicine and completed the Triple Board Residency Program (Pediatrics, General Psychiatry, Child & Adolescent Psychiatry) at the University of Utah. She is Board Certified in General Psychiatry and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
“We are so lucky to have Dr. Shadow on our treatment team,” comments Dr. Gordon Day, Executive Clinical Director and Founder of Seven Stars. “She is truly passionate about the work she does with students and has many years of experience working with populations similar to ours.”
Dr. Shadow’s interests within the field include the detailed diagnostic evaluation and medication management of individuals with complex difficulties, anxiety disorders, developmental disorders, and early parent - child attachment.
According to Dr. Shadow, “One of my favorite parts of my job at Seven Stars is being able to see students on the spectrum make their first friend and feel like they finally fit in somewhere.”
To learn more about the team at Seven Stars, visit https://discoversevenstars.com/about-us/staff/
About Seven Stars
Seven Stars is a leading assessment program and residential treatment center for teens ages 13-17 who struggle with neurodevelopmental disorders such as Autism Spectrum Disorder and ADHD. For more information about programming at Seven Stars, please visit http://www.discoversevenstars.com or call 844-601-1167.
As the summer winds down and kids start discharging from wilderness programs or other summer programs and begin to head home, Vive Family Support Program is here amping up to support those families as their young person transitions back to their communities. For those clients that do not need a residential next step after a wilderness or other short term intervention, Vive can be the scaffolding to bridge the gap and provide support and expertise to help the family move forward in a way that honors all the hard work they have done while their child was in treatment.
Before the clients transition home, the Vive Mentors can start working with the wilderness therapists weeks before the program ends to start outlining how the transition can best serve the client and their family. The Parent Coach can also start working with the parents at this time to help give them support in preparing for their childs return to the home environment. If there is a home contract or family agreement, the Mentor and Parent Coach will work closely with the program to develop an agreement that is logical, reasonable and enforceable. Awareness of what hurdles and victories the family may experience during this transition is half the battle. Vive works closely with them as they work through those by being the guard rails on the road to success for the family.
By partnering with home therapists, the wilderness program team, family members, schools and other community supports, Vive is able to collaborate with other professionals to help the family meet their goals. Vive Mentors then take the clients out into their community and help them to start making healthy choices in social settings, work settings, school, etc. We choose experiental activities that support this process and allow the clients to use the tool box they have worked so hard to fill.
Having a strong aftercare plan is a continued investment in the client and family's well being. Vive's experienced clinicians are the experts in this process that can help ensure lasting positive change.
Vive Family Support Program is a relational and experiential therapeutic support service for pre-teens, adolescents, young adults and their families. With our unique approach and roots in the community, Vive works closely with families, to offer insight, implement coping skills and rebuild trust within the family system. Our goal is to ensure lasting positive change.
At Equinox RTC, the personalized academic approach helps students build confidence in their learning abilities. With small class sizes and passionate educators, Equinox help students develop individualized academic plans (IAPs) that focus in on their specific needs.
According to Equinox science and math teacher Zach Allen, “Many of our students are quite intelligent but struggle with issues of self-esteem and self-confidence. The small classes help provide them with individualized support and encouragement. It is a powerful experience to see a student who previously believed they were incapable of doing math grow confident enough to go to the board during class and share their work and answers with their peers.”
At Equinox RTC, the academic programming and therapeutic programming are fully integrated. When students succeed academically, this can serve as a great boost in motivation in other areas of their lives. Students begin to feel good about themselves again by experiencing an increase in self-confidence and self-efficacy, which in turn has a very positive impact on their clinical progress and family relationships.
In the upcoming semester, students will be working on some exciting new projects in their classes. In algebra classes, students are having fun developing a card game that allows them to develop their mastery of the order of operations in a fast paced and challenging class game. Students in physics classes will continue to explore a wide variety of topics through experiments and activities with homemade musical instruments, catapults and Snap Circuit kits. In environmental science, students will be continuing a biome project involving identifying/collecting leaves and creating a leaf press. And finally, in executive functioning class, students are working on organizing, planning and prioritizing goals with a new calendar system and accordion folders.
About Equinox RTC
Equinox is a leading residential treatment center for adolescents ages 14-18. Equinox is unique in its focus on Trauma, Loss and Attachment, providing clinically intensive treatment for young adults struggling with anxiety, depression, OCD, ASD, learning disabilities, and other emotional and behavioral needs. Equinox offers a combination of clinically sophisticated support with a whole child approach including adventure therapy, integrated Cross-Fit program, and a whole foods diet. Equinox provides a fully accredited school, with broad course selections taught by licensed teachers in a college-preparatory environment.
At Sunrise Residential Treatment Center, we are proud of the extensive work we do, not only with the girls, but the entire family as a whole. We often consider our clinical approach to be similar to a tree with Family Systems Theory as the roots, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy as the trunk, and all other modalities of therapy we use to create a successful healing environment as the branches and leaves. But why is Family Systems Theory and approaching the family as a whole so important?
Family Systems Theory, originated by Dr. Murray Bowen, is "a theory of human behavior that views the family as an emotional unit and uses systems thinking to describe the complex interactions in the unit". The theory takes a close look at the roles that each family member plays, the spoken and unspoken rules of the family, and the relationship between each family member. At Sunrise, we recognize that if we do not address, during weekly family therapy sessions, the roles, rules, and relationships that each family creates for themselves, lasting change and healing cannot occur. Shifting the whole family dynamic creates the support our girls need to normalize the skills they are learning in order for them to function successfully outside of Sunrise.
Craig Simpson, LCSW, Senior Clinical Director at Sunrise, shares his expertise on working with families, saying "Family Therapy is critical at Sunrise and so much fun. A lot of our girls will be working really hard in individual and group therapy but as soon as they step into family therapy they will fall back into their identified role- the victim, identified patient, scapegoat, etc. It is then our job to challenge the family system to break that pattern. This creates a really cool opportunity for the family to grow and support each other in new ways."
About Sunrise RTC
Sunrise is a residential treatment center for adolescent girls ages 13-17 aimed at uncovering the academic, social and emotional potential of girls who have been held back by emotional or behavioral struggles. Sunrise combines the warmth of a home, the safety and clinical expertise of a residential treatment program and the community access of a transition program.
For young adults who struggle with anxiety, depression, or lack of motivation, exploring nature and all the world has to offer is key to self-exploration and becoming a more well-rounded and balanced person. Recognizing the benefits of exploring new thresholds in a safe environment, Dragonfly Transitions students take daylong trips around the Southern Oregon area each Saturday.
Most recently, several students took a Saturday trip to explore the United States’ deepest lake at Crater Lake National Park. Crater Lake was formed 7,700 years ago by an eruption from the 12,000 foot tall Mount Mazama. Today Crater Lake is known as the deepest lake in America at 1,943 feet deep. Filled only with rain and snowmelt, the lake is a stark blue color due to having no sediment in it from streams. Also as a result of the snowmelt and high altitude, it is incredibly cold! After gathering together at the Crater Lake rim, several Dragonfly students decided to hike down to the lake, and some even took the plunge into the frigid but very refreshing water.
Hiking down the only trail from the rim top to the lake, the group rallied to be supportive and encouraging to a peer who was nervous to jump. After much perseverating, he made the jump and then surfaced to the group's applause with a giant smile on his face. At the end of the long hike back up, everyone agreed the experience was worth it, and he circled the group up at the top of the hike to recount the experience with smiles and laughter after a full day. Exploring new edges and bonding with the group helps students develop confidence and healthy peer relationships.
About Dragonfly Transitions
Dragonfly Transitions serves young adults 18 - 30 in three locations in Southern Oregon. The variety of locations allows for a continuum of care. The campus a student first enrolls in is based on the level of support desired and personal goals and interests. Students pursue educational, vocational, therapeutic, social and recreational life goals. Dragonfly offers opportunities for hands on experience in a supportive environment where students can flourish.
During the 2017-2018 academic year. Solstice East Timbersong Academy students have achieved tremendous successes, with accomplishments ranging from college acceptance to the completion of challenging coursework. The Timbersong Academy Flat Creek campus celebrated the graduation of 14 students at the end of the 2017-18 school year. Of those 14, 7 went through the college application process and all 7 were accepted at their first choice school (as well as getting accepted to many other schools). These schools include Temple University, University of Vermont, University of Kentucky, Agnes Scott, and Warren Wilson.
Academic Director Ryn Blecke comments on the enjoyable and engaging learning experience that student’s got to take part in during the school year: “Our experiential week was pretty cool, and the students really enjoyed all of the exciting opportunities. We explored the theme of water across the curriculum, in all subject areas, culminating in a week-long, project-based learning experience. Students went off campus for water sampling, a hydro-engineering experiment, and river clean up and then participated in on-campus workshops including poetry and the history of white water paddling in Western North Carolina.”
Timbersong Academy emphasizes the value of experiential and hands-on learning. Students get the opportunity to not only learn material, but to put it into action. “In our Civics course students have participated in Mock Trial simulations as well as a mock election where they presented themselves as candidates, preparing issue statements and speeches, and speaking before the student body in an all-school assembly,” says Blecke. “In science they have participated in Escape Room labs, as well as dissection and soil analysis labs.”
Additionally, students are assigned various books to read throughout the school year. This exposes them to many different genres and encourages them to explore a variety of works to soak up all the knowledge that they can. Examples of some of the works students have read in their English courses include: Animal Farm (Orwell), Julius Caesar, (Shakespeare), and Death of a Salesman (Miller), as well as other books, plays, and poems.
The educational experience at Solstice East is enriching and rewarding as students’ find their passions, develop their skills, and seek a lifetime of success.
About Solstice East
Solstice East is a residential treatment center for adolescents ages 14-18 located just outside of Asheville, NC. Solstice East has helped hundreds of students and their families with issues ranging from depression and anxiety to trauma and behavioral problems. Solstice East is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), and academically accredited by AdvancED and the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). Additionally, Solstice East is licensed by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
Matthew Krugh’s journey at Open Sky Wilderness Therapy began in 2013. He arrived in Durango with a Master of Social Work from Texas State University and varied experience working in residential treatment, volunteering in the Peace Corps, and conducting research on the benefits of wilderness and adventure therapy.
Matthew has long believed in the robust healing potential of humans reconnecting with nature, fostering self-empowerment, and moving through suffering via self-awareness and more mindful living. He finds it consistently humbling and inspiring to coach families in an evidenced and holistic fashion toward transformative experiences. Matthew operates from a belief in the inherent goodness in everyone and values identifying an individual’s intrinsically motivated joy and strengths. He believes mindfulness, healthy self-regulation, and respectful communication are the keys to family healing.
We took a moment to catch up with Matthew to ask him about his new role as Family Services Director.
Q: What do you hope to bring to your new role? What are your goals for the Family Services department?
In my five years at Open Sky, I’ve had the pleasure of serving in a variety of roles within our Family Services (FS) Department: wilderness guide, transition mentor, and therapist. I’ve led graduations, ceremonies, Wellness Weekends, Monday Night Parent Support Calls, and Family Quests™. I know the “ins and outs” of each of these roles and the services we offer at Open Sky. I’ve seen the evolution of our department and I think we’re stronger than ever before.
My first goal is to continue to deliver the highest quality of both our standard services and our Enhanced Family Services.
I also hope to bring my informed experience and perspective to the role. My “on-the-ground” insight about what works is something I really look forward to integrating into my new role. Family Quests™ and many of our other services are not formulaic. Using common foundations like communication, emotional regulation and mindfulness skills, our services are individualized and designed to unfold in ways that reflect the unique values and dynamics of the family. I want each family to be challenged and leave feeling hopeful, empowered, and confident in moving forward.
Another goal is to keep serving and investing in the people that make up our FS team. Our department attracts truly unique, strong and gifted individuals. It’s important to me that we train our team members well, so they can continue to learn and experience for themselves the remarkable benefits that our families do. Building a strong team with room for growth leads to long-term sustainability.
Q: The Family Services Team is made up of therapists... How is it different than the Clinical Team?
One of the things that really sets Open Sky apart is that we have two distinct teams of clinically-trained professionals to support both the individual client, as well as family members.
Our Clinical Team is mainly focused on our students on an individual and group level. The work of the Family Services Team differs in that we do much of the systems work that corresponds to the individual work. Our job is to support families in their parallel experience alongside their child.
Q: What, in your opinion, are the strengths of the FS Department?
We are a small team that works together quite closely and on a regular basis. Through our teamwork and communication, we’ve come to know each other incredibly well, which allows us to serve families in the best possible way.
Another strength I see in our team is that we practice what we’re called to do organizationally, utilizing the same skills and practicing the same communication exchanges that we’re teaching our families.
Finally, one of our greatest strengths is that we all believe in and share the values of family and love. That’s what everyone’s here for – to help clear the way for expressions of those values to flow more freely. I think that this shared goal is why our team shows up every week in the way that they do.
About Open SKy
Open Sky is the premier family-centered wilderness therapy experience. While many of our students and families have struggled to work together to find success, we believe that all have the capacity to thrive, and our mission is to help family members work together to identify and achieve their goals. We provide numerous ways for family members to be involved in the therapeutic process, including weekly phone calls with the treatment team leader, Family Pathway assignments, Wellness Weekends, Family Quests™, weekly family support group teleconferences, parent-child phone calls, family Graduation experiences, and Alumni Reunions throughout the country. To learn more about Open Sky, visit: https://www.openskywilderness.com.
At Journey Home East, there are 5 Core Principles that integrate into the work with residents: Healthy Living, Education, Life Skills, and Personal Responsibility. While these principles support meaningful and healthy lifestyles, Journey Home East also believes that each resident should be able to approach the principles in their own unique ways. Journey Home East provides the coaching, therapy, and educational or vocational opportunities for residents to create their unique paths for future success.
Alumni residents who have graduated from Journey Home East note their ability to navigate situations that used to cause a great deal of social anxiety with a newfound confidence. For example, one resident came to Journey Home East with no experience picking up the phone to have a conversation with people. All of her experience had occurred through text and emails. She went through an extended period of not getting a job because of her fear of making phone calls and not knowing what to say. She worked with mentors and the Interdependence Coach at Journey Home East to make calls by role playing phone calls, having a friend or mentor sit with her for the phone calls, and following up after interviews with phone calls and emails. She now reports that she prefers calls over text messages because she feels more confident about herself and enjoys truly connecting with others. She also learned at Journey Home East that it was really just a phone call getting in the way of her and the job she wanted.
Additionally, alumni residents are requiring less services upon graduating from Journey Home East due to the skills and confidence they have gained and their ability to ask for help. Residents work with their primary therapist months before leaving the program on developing a strong transition plan for their next step, which usually involves regular outpatient therapy and psychiatry appointments, finding a recovery support group or social network in that area, and establishing supplemental academic support services. By the time residents leave Journey Home East, they have typically engaged in a minimum of 30 community service hours, maintained a job for an extended period of time, attended classes at a local community college, developed new interests and hobbies, and gained some of the most meaningful friendships that will last a lifetime.
About Journey Home East
Journey Home East serves females aged 16-21 and provides structure for students while they learn independent living skills. Much of the structure and support provided by our 24/7 staffed home is managing electronic devices, managing free time and social life appropriately, and budgeting, shopping for groceries, and cooking meals. Clients enrolling at Journey Home have a previous therapeutic placement, where home was not an option afterward. They are provided with a therapist in the home to work on individual and family issues.
As the fall semester approaches, college students will face a number of unique stressors that can make prioritizing nutrition and exercise difficult. With the energy it takes to manage work and class schedules, prepare for exams and navigate social life on campus, many will admit that leading a healthy lifestyle isn’t at the top of their ever-expanding to-do lists. EDGE Learning and Wellness helps its students overcome this mindset and discover that they don’t have to sacrifice their physical wellness for school.
”When I begin working with students, they usually think I’m going to suggest intricate diet and exercise plans that will cost a lot of time and money,” said EDGE Dietitian and Personal Trainer Jennifer Ventrelle, MS, RDN, CPT. "Instead, I help students develop small, realistic and budget-friendly goals they can incorporate and work toward in their day-to-day lives.”
Jennifer first helps students identify their unique motivations. For example, one student may want to walk more during the day, and another may want to lose weight without resorting to disordered eating. After working together and creating a plan to meet these motivations, Jennifer periodically meets with students to discuss progress and update the EDGE team on what the student is working on. This helps keep students accountable and gives them the opportunity to address any barriers they’re facing. With Jennifer’s support, students can determine how to overcome these barriers, normalize healthier behaviors and learn the positive impact healthy nutrition and exercise can have on their mental health and academic success.
“I try to motivate students to follow through on their goals by giving them the autonomy to make their own decisions,” said Jennifer. “Maybe that means a student wants to incorporate a favorite unhealthy food in his or her plan. That’s fine! Living healthy doesn’t have to be all or nothing.”
Although Jennifer eliminates the idea of perfectionism, she still makes sure EDGE students understand that they have to consistently prioritize and implement healthy behaviors. Students receive even more physical wellness education in a group setting with games, monthly learning topics and cooking demos. Most recently, Jennifer collaborated with an EDGE student to design a healthy chicken pesto pasta and Greek salad recipe.
“I like Italian and Mediterranean food, so I thought, 'Why not just combine the two?'” said the EDGE student. “Creating my own recipe changed the way I view healthy eating because it taught me that there are more options than just raw vegetables. I’m looking forward to my next recipe — I want to create a cucumber salad with a simple dressing my grandmother makes that contains mustard, olive oil and black pepper.”
Another thing EDGE students are looking forward to? Continuing their weekly fitness classes outside before Chicago’s beautiful summer weather says goodbye. Students are making the most of their exercise routines with activities such as jogging along the Riverwalk and rock climbing at Maggie Daley Park. With encouragement from both Jennifer and the city itself, EDGE students can learn the physical wellness skills they need to enjoy their lives and achieve their goals in college and beyond.
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.
Outback Therapeutic Expeditions, a leading wilderness therapy program in clinical oversight and shifting of industry norms, launches PEAK in August of 2018. PEAK is a unique way of bringing adventure therapy into the existing non-restrictive expedition model at Outback. This week-long, high adventure based programming emphasizes focus on student preparedness for upcoming transition from wilderness. PEAK will bring students entering into the latter part of their stay into a new student group, placed into a new environment, and presented with new challenges through adventure therapy.
Tracy Hopkins, Business Development Director had this to say, “We are passionate about giving as much information, insight, and instruction as we can to every family who gives us the privilege of supporting them and their loved ones. By incorporating PEAK, we get to add a critical layer of examining student readiness for transition from wilderness while allowing time for necessary adjustments prior to departure. We are thrilled to be offering adventure therapy in such an intentional way without detracting from who we are as a program”.
Outback Therapeutic Expeditions has been operating since 2001 and continues to push the envelope in what the standard of care looks like in wilderness therapy, while maintaining the heart and sacredness of an expedition model. For more information on PEAK, contact McKay Deveraux, Executive Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tracy Hopkins, Business Development Director, at email@example.com.
About Outback Therapeutic Expeditions
Outback Therapeutic Expeditions is a licensed wilderness therapy program located in Utah that offers a highly integrated, comprehensive assessment and treatment for teens. Outback offers help for troubled teens ages 13-17 and provides clinical oversight by a Masters Level therapist in the group daily. Outback helps teens with various areas of difficulties such as depression, anxiety, trauma, family conflict, engagement in dangerous behaviors, mild ASD, electronic and gaming addiction and more. Outback’s treatment options place strong emphasis on healthy relationships, increased self-efficacy, and a healthy amount of autonomy through skill building.
Watching and working with families who participate in and overcome the challenges associated with the ropes course is one of the highlights at Turn-About Ranch.
Families often come to Turn-About Ranch a little bruised and battered. Often the last conversations they have had with their teens have been filled with conflict, abusive language and disrespect. As families approach the midterm experience many are not sure what to expect from their teen: anger, blame, resentment, or sorrow, remorse, and guilt regarding past behaviors.
Benefits for those participating in ropes course activities include communication skills, problem solving skills, personal and group confidence, self- discovery, commitment, increased awareness of personal strengths and limitations, going beyond self-imposed boundaries, and the development of increased level of agility and physical coordination.
One stressor on the family doesn’t necessarily lead to acting out or mental health issues. However with increasing stressors and the lack of coping skills or hope for the relief of these stressors, acting out and mental health issues can arise. However, families that experience low level stressors and are able to work together to solve problems can develop stronger, closer families than those families who experience no stressors at all.
Overcoming stressors or adversity in family life can result in resilient families that communicate with each other in an open manner to address difficulties and solve problems without blame and disrespect. As families solve problems together, trust increases as well as confidence in the family’s capability to face and overcome perceived adversity. When done effectively, each family member feels valued and capable. They begin to recognize that they contribute to the family system in a meaningful way.
The ropes course at Turn-About Ranch helps provide families with these types of experiences. Trust building activities are designed to provide participants the opportunity to demonstrate their trust in other members of the family through a series of sequenced actions. Students and parents have to trust each other in order to successfully complete the various activities offered. Taking a risk and succeeding allows trust of others to grow for the student and parents alike. Many students feel proud of their parents as they see them become willing to take risks and do new things in order to build their relationships back. They find themselves hoping their parents can be proud of them too. Drawing out the emotions behind the activities helps take the family therapy to a whole new level.
The ropes course gives families an opportunity to start healing past hurts, and to communicate in healthier ways. The value of Experiential Therapy like the ropes course activities goes far beyond the moment. Turn-About Ranch effectively uses challenging experiences like the ropes course to create opportunities for personal and family growth.
About Turn-About Ranch
Turn-About Ranch is a wilderness therapy and residential treatment program located in the heart of Southern Utah’s canyon country. Students experience life on a real working ranch while undergoing treatment to improve their life back home. Surrounded by multiple national parks and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Turn-About Ranch is the ideal location for youth of today to have the space they need to find healing and purpose.
TechieForLife (TFL), a licensed vocational and college support school, trains and supports neurodiverse young adults looking for a career path to independence. 18,916 available tech jobs recently posted on the Dixie State University (DSU) Dept. of Computer and Information Technology web page, jobs all within 300 square miles of TFL, located in St. George, Utah. This is providing internship and job opportunities for TFL’s students, many of whom are technically inclined pattern thinkers.
TechieForLife specializes in creating a supportive social and emotional peer culture where students receive mentoring to find success in careers for which they’re well-suited. “It is essential that talented children labeled either high functioning autism or Asperger's be trained in fields such as computer programming, where they can do intellectually satisfying work,” stated Dr. Temple Grandin, a professor of animal science at Colorado State University and a well-known autism spokesperson. She has taught that of the three types of autistic thinkers, “The pattern thinkers, they are the one that are going to be your mathematicians, your software engineers, your computer programmers, all of those kinds of jobs.”
To help determine how a student’s brain works when considering an educational plan, TFL offers a free career interest and aptitude assessment as part of their admissions process. With so many programmer and developer positions largely unfilled, Dr. Eric Pederson, the Dean of Science and Technology at DSU and tech advisor, co-founder and partner at TFL said, “Companies are looking for the talent and not finding it. So there is great demand for tech talent in the industry.”
Many of the neurodiverse students enrolling at TechieForLife with pattern thinking brains are finding the right supports and marketable training for satisfying careers in the growing tech industry. To find out if TechieForLife might be the right fit or to request a free career interest and aptitude assessment for a neurodiverse young adult, email GetStarted@TechieForLife.com.
TechieForLife (TFL) is a co-ed, young adult, residential and licensed vocational school located in St. George, Utah. Dubbed "Silicon Slopes South," beautiful Southern Utah is home to one of the fastest growing tech sectors in the U.S. Neurodiverse students who need a safe social and emotional environment gain important life skills, mentoring and a college track or marketable technology training, leading to internship/job placement through TFL's close private sector partnerships. TechieForLife gives students a place to belong and the supports to succeed.
For the last year, on almost any given Saturday, the horse barn at the Circle “C” Equestrian Center was filled with the neighing of horses, the giggles of little girls and the hustle and bustle of the “RIIT’S” (Riding Instructors in Training) from Auldern Academy. They spent their time grooming and tacking horses, all in preparation for a day of leading young girl scouts through a variety of horseback riding programs. Throughout the past year, a group of students from Auldern Academy have played an integral part in helping to facilitate weekend horseback programs at the Circle C Equestrian Center at Keyauwee Program Center in Sophia, North Carolina.
Each weekend, the “RIITS” from Auldern learned and practiced horsemanship and teaching skills while grooming, tacking, leading and assisting the Horse Instructor during a variety of horseback lessons. The students shared their love and enthusiasm for all things horse related, by aiding the Horse Instructor and the participating girls scouts during mounted and un-mounted riding and barn lessons, and they experienced first-hand what it takes to care for a horse, by helping with feeding, grooming and barn chores. In return for their services, the RIITs traded their volunteer hours for riding time and attended other RIIT events and learning opportunities throughout the school year.
Cathy Thacker, Outdoor Program Specialist at Circle C said, “The Auldern students have been a great addition to our RIIT program. Their work ethic, coupled with their wonderful patience and excellent communication skills made such a positive impact on our programming this year. They were a huge help with programs, horse care and barn chores. I couldn’t have asked for better RIITS.”
Auldern students will soon begin their second year of service with KPC and the Circle C Equestrian Center on September 8th, when they participate in an intensive one-day RIIT training in-service. What a great year 2017-2018 was for the RIITS from Auldern! The students were grateful for the opportunities they were given and they are excited for what next year will bring at the Circle C Equestrian Center.
About Auldern Academy
Auldern Academy is a college preparatory, therapeutic boarding school for young women ages 14 to 18. We provide a positive platform that helps transform the lives of young women academically, emotionally, and socially.
How can a workplace feel like an extension of your family? When they show up with casseroles! SUWS of the Carolinas prides itself on the sense of community they foster among team members. SUWS wants it to be noticed by families and visitors. It's regularly cited as a reason for job satisfaction. It's definitely a core value. So when a team member is expecting a baby, they celebrate. When someone suffers a loss, SUWS mourns together. And when someone spends 5, 10, or 15 years in the company, they celebrate it.
Within the past month, SUWS welcomed a new baby, Lucinda Vines. Her proud parents met here at SUWS and dad is Mike Vines, the Alumni Coordinator. Melissa Villodas, a SUWS clinician, is expecting her first baby within the month. SUWS of the Carolinas threw her a potluck baby shower and presented her with a custom made SUWS onesie that ushered in a round of "ahhhhhhh's." The admissions team has been steady parts of the family for over a decade; Josh Gunalda, Admissions Director, celebrated 15 years with the company and Akela Bryson, Admissions Coordinator, celebrated 10 years.
Needless to say, SUWS is proud of their ever-expanding family and will continue to support each other during the up's and down's of life. Whether it's a ride to work, a meal delivered at home, or some shared laughs, the SUWS family keeps doing what they do best - supporting families.
About SUWS of the Carolinas
SUWS of the Carolinas is a licensed, CARF International-accredited mental health facility, committed to helping families rediscover their strengths and fostering growth for young people. Operating in the Pisgah National Forest under permit from the National Forest Service, SUWS delivers wilderness based therapeutic interventions for 10-17 year old boys and girls with compassion and excellence.