All Kinds of News for December 05, 2018
As the leaves turn in New England, the Chamberlain International School held its Annual Open House. The event was open to families of all the students who attend the school.
Guests flew in from all of the country where they were greeted with a small reception, sharing light snacks with several faculty. Afterward, the Parent Support Group was attended by most families, providing the chance for parents to talk about any of the challenges or successes they may be having with each of their students. This group was facilitated by the Clinical Supervisor Nicole Allen and Residential Supervisor Talima Brown. One of the parents called the Group one of the few places that she truly felt others understood what she was going through with her daughter.
Dinner in the Dorm was very well attended as the residences were full of laughter and plenty of food. Parents had the opportunity to meet some of the students living with their child and also interact with staff in a less formal setting. The relationships built at the school often become the greatest agent of change, according to one administrator. After dinner families engaged in various games and activities to include a cookie bake off.
Overall the Weekend was considered a success and folks were heard already talking about the upcoming holiday parties.
About Chamberlain International School
Located in Middleboro, Massachusetts, Chamberlain International School offers a therapeutic residential learning experience for students ranging in age from 11 to 22. Students at Chamberlain International School struggle with a variety of learning disabilities and mental health challenges.
On Friday November 9th, Greenbrier Academy students departed from campus in Pence Springs, WV to tour Hollins University. The group was comprised of students who are close to high school graduation and expressed a genuine interest in attending a private liberal arts University.
With the support of their Educational Consultants, parents, and therapists, these young women receive the support they need to make informed decisions about their futures. Many enroll having struggled in their academic careers in the past, and are able to get back on track during their time at Greenbrier.
As a therapeutic boarding school and licensed non-acute treatment center, Greenbrier's mission is to protect and preserve the future of each student that comes through their doors. With an emphasis on engaging academic curricula, small class sizes, and coordination of care between clinical and academic staff, many of Greenbrier's students are admitted to the college of their choice upon graduation. By planning University tours, Greenbrier students are encouraged to use the skills and tools they've practiced on campus to envision futures for themselves that are full of purpose and fulfillment.
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.
Newport Academy, a series of leading adolescent treatment centers specializing in mental health, trauma, eating disorders and substance abuse, has expanded its national reach with the addition of several new facilities in the San Francisco Bay Area and Marin County. Jamison Monroe Jr., founder and CEO of Newport Academy, set out to expand the company's presence to Northern California in order to address the lack of adolescent mental healthcare providers in the area.
"As Newport Academy continues to expand upon our successful treatment model, we identify communities that lack necessary mental health services for adolescents at a time when these teens and their parents need it most," said Monroe. "Entering the San Francisco Bay area allows us to meet the needs of a region that unfortunately experiences high rates of mental health concerns, and that previously did not have adequate treatment facilities specializing in these sectors for young people. We look forward to being able to serve families in need closer to their homes, as we believe strongly that family involvement in treatment contributes to better long-term outcomes."
The new Bay Area treatment centers will be designed in accordance with Newport Academy's exceptional level of clinical excellence, and will encompass residential treatment facilities offering comfortable, home-like settings conducive to healing. The expansion also includes partial hospitalization programming (PHP), intensive outpatient services (IOP) and therapeutic day schools, allowing Newport Academy to provide more teens and families with its Joint Commission–accredited, evidence-based and highly impactful mental health services.
"In 2010, I took a trip up to Marin County to look for land for a facility," Monroe said. "I vividly recall the feeling, the energy, the views, the weather — it was all incredibly inspiring, and I couldn't wait to open a program in this outdoor paradise."
Monroe has assembled a team of expert clinicians, led by Dr. Jennifer MacLeamy, to deliver Newport Academy's unparalleled services. Newport Academy's PHP and IOP in Marin County have already begun taking patients, and residential services for 12 females and 12 males will launch this month.
For more information on Newport Academy, please visit NewportAcademy.com.
About Newport Academy
Newport Academy is a series of evidence-based healing centers for adolescents and families struggling with mental health issues, eating disorders, and substance abuse. With locations across the United States, Newport Academy offers a family-systems approach, providing gender-specific, individualized, and comprehensive holistic programs that encompass clinical therapy, academic support, and experiential practices. Offerings include residential treatment centers, Partial Hospitalization Programs, Intensive Outpatient Programs, and Therapeutic Day Schools. Newport Academy nurtures the physical, psychological, social, educational, and spiritual needs of adolescents and their families, from a foundation of compassionate care, clinical expertise, and unconditional love. Our primary mission is to empower teens and restore families. Experts include MDs, psychiatrists, therapists, registered dieticians, nurses, licensed social workers, teachers, and more.
Newport Academy, a series of leading adolescent treatment centers specializing in mental health, trauma, eating disorders and substance abuse, is launching an annual series of signature day conferences across the United States, titled, “Rethinking Teen Mental Health: A Path to Sustainable Healing.” This informative conference series shines a light on what really works in the arena of teen mental health treatment, including emphasizing a holistic approach and integrating families in the healing process.
"Today, one out of every five teenagers is diagnosable with anxiety or depression, and approximately more than 7 million American youth, ages 17 and under, are using antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs,” says Heather Senior Monroe, LCSW, Director of Program Development at Newport Academy. “Meanwhile, recent statistics show that 13 percent of high school seniors are using illegal drugs. Our young people need a new approach to mental health and substance abuse treatment — one that addresses the underlying causes, not just the symptoms.”
The conferences will kick off the national tour in San Francisco, California, on December 4, followed by Los Angeles on December 6 and Irvine on December 7, along with other stops throughout the country, ending on the East Coast in the spring of 2019.
For more information on Newport Academy, please visit NewportAcademy.com.
About Newport Academy
Newport Academy is a series of evidence-based healing centers for adolescents and families struggling with mental health issues, eating disorders, and substance abuse. With locations across the United States, Newport Academy offers a family-systems approach, providing gender-specific, individualized, and comprehensive holistic programs that encompass clinical therapy, academic support, and experiential practices. Offerings include residential treatment centers, Partial Hospitalization Programs, Intensive Outpatient Programs, and Therapeutic Day Schools. Newport Academy nurtures the physical, psychological, social, educational, and spiritual needs of adolescents and their families, from a foundation of compassionate care, clinical expertise, and unconditional love. Our primary mission is to empower teens and restore families. Experts include MDs, psychiatrists, therapists, registered dieticians, nurses, licensed social workers, teachers, and more.
RedCliff Ascent is thrilled to announce the promotion of Stacy Sturtevant to Field Director.
Stacy began working for the RedCliff Ascent family in early 2013 after graduating from Brigham Young University. Stacy has a bachelor’s degree in Recreation Management and Youth Leadership. Her love and understanding of the healing powers that come from the wilderness started at a young age. She grew up in northern Minnesota near a small town. As a child, she enjoyed fishing, hiking, camping, and just being outside.
Stacy has spent her professional career working with adolescents and young adults. She spent three years as Women’s Program Director at a young adult transition program in southern Utah. While at RedCliff, Stacy has held many positions including Head Instructor, Field Support Manager and now Field Director. Her high warmth along with clear expectations and appropriate boundaries define her style.
Stacy met her husband at RedCliff in 2013. They have two dogs that join them on many camping and traveling adventures. Stacy also enjoys working on art. You can often find her working on stained glass, loom beading, and gourd carving.
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. We 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.
Evoke Therapy Programs is excited to launch their Women’s Wellness and Men’s Wellness retreats at their Summit Lodge in Park City, Utah. In addition to the existing intensives hosted in Park City, the Wellness focused retreats provide a blend of traditional therapeutic process with recreation and fun.
Burnout seems ever present in the current culture of on-the-go attitude. Evoke aims to provide the experience of human-being, rather than human-doing. So often those seeking a refresher, solely focus on one aspect of the self. While wellness may seem a general term, Evoke is creating a more holistic retreat - meeting the needs of mental, physical, and spiritual well-being. This more complete experience addresses these areas through psychodrama, art therapy, experiential activities, yoga, massage, and seasonal activities such as skiing, biking, hiking, and snowshoeing.
Over the course of four days, the Wellness program focuses on providing opportunities for professionals to rediscover self-care, and bring a better balance between professional endeavors and personal lives. Through individually tailored experiential therapy and active recreational activities, the Wellness programs look beyond the self-care versus burnout paradigm to bring into focus a sustainable approach to healthy living.
The Wellness programs emphasize refreshing, reclaiming, and rediscovering a professional’s passion and inspiration while navigating their personal journey. Evoke’s caring and talented clinicians and staff help guide working individuals as they explore attainable and accessible avenues of self-care, and how they can better “show up” in the different aspects of their lives.
Wellness programs are available for professionals as well as companies looking to create customized retreats for their employees.
Women’s Wellness 5/1-5/5, 2019
Men’s Wellness 6/5-6/9, 2019
For more information, please contact email@example.com
Evoke Therapy Programs at Entrada, in Santa Clara, Utah provides innovative mental health treatment solutions for struggling teens, young adults and their families. Our programs foster lasting change utilizing the power of nature and Wilderness Therapy. We also offer Personal Growth Intensive Workshops for individuals and families who are looking to create dynamic changes in their life or to simply find the balance they are seeking.
Trauma can result in brokenness and lost innocence. Dr. Donald Kalsched, Jungian Analyst and author of Trauma and the Soul notes that innocence lies at the core of one's sense of aliveness and spirituality. The recovery of innocence is an important and complex process that leads to renewed vitality and embodied living. Dr. Lorraine Freedle, Pacific Quest's Clinical Director, presented at the Sandplay Therapists of America (STA) national conference in Albuquerque, NM with Dr. Kalsched. Together they took the audience on a powerful journey of lost and recovered innocence featuring the sandplay process of a young man, "Howard" (pseudonym), from Pacific Quest.
In attendance were helping professionals from around the globe, including Theresa Hasting, Pacific Quest's Clinical Supervisor, and Hannah Mariotti, MA, LMHC Boston-based Educational Consultant. Theresa stated, "The presentation illuminated how sandplay and the Pacific Quest approach are used to help students access and reprocess past traumas, and also showed a real world application of Kalsched's model.”
Hannah Mariotti stated, "I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from Dr. Lorraine Freedle and the other inspiring sandplay therapists at the Transformation in Sandplay conference last week. Lorraine is a wise and compassionate guide in sandplay therapy. Being a part of this community has inspired me to begin my own process and to pursue sandplay therapy certification this winter!”
Mariotti continued, “One of the most powerful moments of the conference was watching Lorraine’s mentor and co-presenter, the legendary Dr. Donald Kalsched, as he wiped away tears, praising Lorraine’s skillful work with her deeply traumatized client. I returned from this experience with a deeper understanding of how ‘the hands can solve the riddle that the mind cannot.’ Sandplay therapy resonates for me on a personal and professional level as it centers on the development of an authentic relationship. The clinician and client co-create a new, and ultimately healing narrative, which challenges the stories written by their protective yet destructive Self Care System (as defined by Kalsched). My hope is renewed for clients who carry unexpressed trauma; and that as clinicians we can plant the seeds of growth and healing through sandplay. As clinicians we can encourage them to access their innocence, live in the reality of their painful feelings, and be present with them in their authentic suffering."
About Pacific Quest
Pacific Quest is an outdoor therapeutic program, located on the Big Island of Hawaii, for struggling adolescents and young adults that offers a clinical, yet holistic, approach to treatment. Our neurodevelopmental approach, combined with horticultural therapy, integrates evidence-based therapeutic methods, whole-person wellness and organic gardening to sustain a healthy community and motivate change. www.pacificquest.org
Lake House Academy is excited to welcome Heidi Strand as Executive Director. Heidi has worked for more than 25 years professionally creating successful programs and business models for traditional and special needs programs for children, adults and families.
Having worked as an executive director at New Vision Wilderness for several years, Heidi is excited to join the Lake House family. “There is a contagious energy with the team at Lake House”, Heidi said. “I asked a student at Lake House how the program is important to her and she said the big difference was that the staff at Lake House are there because they want to be. It’s not a job to them, but a family. That’s a huge draw for me as an executive director.”
“It’s a really impressionable age,” Heidi continues. “Parents are sending their young daughters to live away from home and that’s a big deal. It’s a transferable relationship and we work on helping our families trust us to care for their young children.”
Heidi has served on local Boards of Directors in Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin with Boys and Girls Clubs, Girl Scouts, and the American Camp Association. She has served on steering committees for the NATSAP Mid-West and various regional and national professional conferences. She is also a member and mentor of Evolving Women. When Heidi is not in her office she enjoys traveling, cooking for friends, planning community parades, and engaging in meaningful discussion and hearty laughs with her nephew and nieces.
About Lake House Academy
Lake House Academy is a therapeutic boarding school meeting the needs of girls ages 9-14. Younger girls require different care from older teen girls and so Lake House helps these girls find healing through play. By combining this play with superior academics and a healthy, home-like environment, these girls are able to develop the resiliency and confidence needed to thrive throughout life. To learn more about Lake House go to https://www.lakehouseacademy.com/ or call Amanda at 877-267-5888.
Eva Carlston Academy, a residential treatment center for adolescent girls, is located in Salt Lake City, Utah. The city is a thriving center for art and culture in the Intermountain West, and is the home of several award-winning performance and visual art organizations. Eva Carlston actively engages in a myriad of art experiences including monthly visits to local galleries and museums. They also are season ticket holders to the Utah Symphony and the Pioneer Theatre Company. Eva Carlston focuses on art in its programming, as it is an important therapeutic modality for expression, creation, and emotional exploration. Art can be a tool to speak when words cannot.
It is common for traumatic events, that have been pushed deep into the subconscious, to arise while creating art, especially when an art project has specific therapeutic intent and direction. Once the emotions have been tapped and expressed, therapists can help guide the individual with connecting, managing, and releasing the emotions or events at an accelerated rate. In the therapeutic art groups at Eva Carlston, art media is the primary mode of expression and communication. The projects are specifically customized to fit the needs of the group and individuals, such as boundaries, family dynamics, body image, or life stories. After an art therapy project is complete, whether it be a one-day, or multiple-week project, group participants process each piece. Processing and analysis of the artwork can aid in reconciling emotional conflicts, cultivating self-awareness, and fostering personal growth. These kinds of projects allow the individual to show up as they are, without judgment or restrictions. In the group discussions, they also learn that many of their peers have shared similar experiences, and sometimes unacknowledged emotional pain sharing these repressed emotions, they learn that they are not alone, and can start to free up new energy towards healing and acceptance.
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.
A group of La Europa Academy students and parents just experienced the trip of a lifetime... to Nepal! The primary goal for the trip was to provide service to a local orphanage for three days. Students and parents played soccer, drew, sang, taught games, and read to the children ages 7 to 16.
Staying with a host family really gave the La Europa students and parents the chance to fully experience Nepal. The wife of the host was an excellent cook and the group was treated to incredible Nepali food. The wife taught La Europa students a cooking class reviewing spices and techniques of Nepali cooking. Students also tasted the local cuisine in restaurants including one of Nepal's most famous foods: "momo's", delicious dumplings originated by the Newari people of Nepal.
And, of course seeing the sights was a must on this trip. Excursions included visiting the Monkey Temple; shopping in the Thamel open market; touring Durbar Square Temples in Kathmandu; visiting a small village with views of the Himalayas; visiting the village of Sankhu, the ancient town of the Newari; and hiking up to the Changunarayan Temple where everyone was blessed by a priest. Students learned Nepali traditions and that rotating the prayer wheels is a form of praying. Written on each prayer wheel is the phrase "Om Mani Padme Hum" in the Newari language of Nepal.
La Europa couldn't have timed this trip any better. They were in Nepal for one of the country's major holidays, Tihar, a five-day festival. Large artwork creations of colored powders were displayed in Thamel, a major outdoor shopping area to celebrate the festival. La Europa students and parents were frequently seen pushing local kids on a huge swing erected in every village during the festival.
La Europa students and parents won't forget the people they met, the sights they saw and the feelings they experienced as they explored the rich culture of Nepal.
About La Europa Academy and Mosaic House Transition Program
La Europa Academy is a residential treatment center for girls ages 14 -18 who struggle with emotional dysregulation, anxiety, depression, school refusal, disordered eating and substance use. Our program, located in Murray, UT, uses a combination of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and clinical expressive arts to help students learn to manage their emotions effectively. Students at La Europa experience expressive art therapies multiple times per week as well as engaging in creative arts in our fully-accredited high school.
Mosaic House Transition Program provides La Europa students with a step-down experience toward the end of their stay in residential treatment, in order to help transition the student to the next step. Mosaic House is a 15-bed home where students can practice the skills they have learned in a less-structured environment.
The holiday season is a time of reflection about many wonderful things. A time where people look back and savor the memories that the year has bestowed. As this year closes out, Summit Prep would like to express its gratitude.
Thank you to the parents that were willing and courageous enough to place there child in the care of therapeutic staff, whether it be a wilderness program, an RTC, acute care facility or a boarding school. This decision is one of the hardest yet one of the most important decisions that a parent makes.
Thank you to the educational consultants who have so diligently explored and gained knowledge about the many different program options that are available for these students. The many hours on the phone, reading through pages of testing, and the traveling the country are very much appreciated. The families rely on your expertise and support as they explore their options during this stressful and often frightening time.
And last but not least, thank you to all of the programs and people in the industry. Whether your setting is out in the woods, in a hospital, or a structure built to house the program, the design and layout of each program is so thoughtful and purposeful. The staff at the programs is hardworking and dedicated to helping in the betterment of their clients. Each program offers a unique venue to support and guide their clientele.
Over the past 15 years, Summit Prep has had the wonderful opportunity to work with students, families, educational consultants, wilderness programs, RTC’s and therapeutic programs that are awesome. Thank you.
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.
After two years as Executive Director at Telos U, Adam Miner, MBA will be transitioning to a new role that includes business development, continued executive leadership and board positions for Telos companies. Scott Downs, LMFT, the current Clinical Director at Telos U has been preparing for the role of Executive Director for the past two months in anticipation of this change. As a primary therapist and three-time Clinical Director, Scott brings talent and experience to this position and will help continue growth and progress at Telos U.
Telos leadership is excited for Adam to advance to his new role and pleased to have such a talented replacement in Scott Downs. It is anticipated he will make a huge impact as Executive Director. Please direct any questions to Telos U representatives.
About Telos Academy and Telos U
Telos Academy is a residential treatment program for adolescent boys (13-18). Telos U is a clinically strong, yet community integrated support program for co-ed young adults transitioning to college, work, or independent living. The levels of support across Telos programs range from residential treatment to supported independent living.
Emerald Arrow: A Bold Path for Young Adults at Blue Ridge is up and running with several mixed gender students and the program is excited to continue its growth. Anne Wilzbacher, LPC has created the vision from the ground up and is the Primary Therapist for Blue Ridge's Young Adult program. Students at Emerald Arrow experience the revealing effects of nature, in-depth clinical insight and intervention, integrated with creativity and purpose-driven experiences.
Emerald Arrow is committed to its mission to prepare young people in the best way possible for their life beyond wilderness. Emerald Arrow is a Bold Path to become more conscious (Reveal), more connected, more knowledgeable and responsible (Restore), to then become more loving of self and others that will lend to increased gratitude and empowerment (Reclaim). This creates the foundation for emerging adults to step into Sustainable Health, Vital Living, and walking a Bold Path, which are the three bedrocks of the program.
In regards to profile and diagnoses, Emerald Arrow students are experiencing some level of complex trauma, depression, anxiety, and substance use. Although students may be highly intelligent or present acceptably functional in their lives, their struggles can manifest through identity issues, disordered eating, isolation, avoidance, self-harm, family system issues, and personality traits/disorders.
The program's approach is clinically informed, using varying avenues for enhanced and comprehensive assessment, is relationship-based, and integrates body, mind, heart, and purpose in order to respect and take into account the full spectrum of the human experience. Emerald Arrow integrates a whole-body, whole-self, whole-family system approach. The foundation is to view people as already whole and complete at their basic core and for students to experience deep consciousness with intention, deep connection with understanding interconnection, radical responsibility with embodiment, and devoted gratitude with knowing empowerment.
Anne Wilzbacher, LPC, the Primary Therapist for Emerald Arrow, has worked with adolescents and young adults since 2004. She rooted herself into this work by working as a field guide for many years, which opened up parts of herself she didn’t know existed and experienced others way of being that inspired her to want to know more and know better about human experience and relationships. With this foundation and continued education, Anne developed a strong devotion to do continued self-growth and supporting others to know their edge. With her insight and observation, Anne has the ability to swiftly assess and directly address students in a way that is both disarming and incredibly warm and compassionate. Anne uses a psychodynamic lens in working with individuals and groups and has extensive experience in mindfulness practices, somatic-based practices and awareness, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Family Systems Awareness, Group dynamic interventions, and Group Psychotherapy, Psychodynamic Theory and Modern Psychoanalysis. "The natural essence of the wilderness and the creativity it provides is my co-therapist. I collaborate closely with the field instructor team to provide a powerful united container and structure in order to create effective, change-inspiring growth challenges for our students. I truly assess what each student may require in order to settle into this environment and into themselves".
Anne graduated with her Masters of Contemplative Psychotherapy from Naropa University in Boulder, CO and she is a Licensed Professional Counselor. To learn more about Anne and the Emerald Arrow Senior Field Instructors, all of whom were trained to launch this unique program, please visit: http://blueridgewilderness.com/young-adult-team.
Telos' Senior House is approaching, completing its first year in operation, has had 22 students work through the program. The Senior House was specifically designed for students too old to be comfortably placed in a youth program, but still in need of higher structure, oversight, and services than what is typical for a young adult treatment setting. Of the 22, 19 have (when clinically ready) transitioned to a more-traditional Telos U young adult apartment located in Orem, UT, where they have successfully continued and completed their treatment. The remaining 3 students have either remained at the Senior House for their entire stay (due to their need for continued higher structure), or have transitioned home or to another setting. Historically, these students have been hard to find the appropriate treatment setting for and their age forces parents and referral sources to choose between sacrificing excellent academics or surrendering the success that comes with structure.
In its first year Senior House has confirmed that students, between adolescence and adulthood, are challenging and complex — there is a reason why they are an underserved population. The process of creating a safe treatment community and culture has been daunting, yet the Telos team has responded to each new challenge with tenacity, expertise, and innovative solutions. Some of these solutions include:
- The hiring of Mont Criddle, LMFT, as a full time Executive Director solely dedicated to the Senior House. Before joining Telose, Mont spent his early career working with youth and clinical teams in residential treatment settings. Mont is an expert in culture building, systems analysis, clinical leadership, and youth treatment.
- The development and enhancement of a robust weekend program designed to help older teens learn and practice new skills and explore their passions.
- Transitioning all high school classes to the Senior House campus (aka the Geneva Campus). This enhances clinical and academic support during school hours.
The Telos team is proud of the services offered at the Senior House and are excited to continue treating this traditionally underrepresented population. Please contact admissions staff Becca Jolley or Emery Brown with questions about Telos Senior House programming or availability.
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.
Havenwood Academy and its sister program Zion Hills Academy, in Cedar City, UT are grateful to announce the grand opening of their new education and administration building. Operations commenced on September 10, 2018 in the 6,600 sq. ft. facility. Amenities include a basketball court, three classrooms, an art room, three therapy offices, administration offices, and a common area/cafeteria. The new school will serve as the primary location for most daytime activities, including school, therapy, positive peer culture groups (PPC), physical education, and other programming.
“It is exciting to have this new building because of our humble beginnings. Coming from our roots in a small office building to this beautiful facility brings a lot of gratitude. Our new facility opens new educational and therapeutic doors to our girls allowing them to further blossom and grow," said Oscar Fakahua, Program Director
If there are any questions from parents or Educational Consultants about the appropriateness of Havenwood Academy for their daughter or client, please contact admissions at 435-586-2500 EXT 306. With advance notice, tours can be provided of the different buildings, school, or to observe the PPC community,
About Havenwood Academy
Havenwood Academy, a residential treatment center in Southern Utah, specializes in treating teen girls experiencing Reactive Attachment Disorder. Licensed by the State of Utah and accredited by the Joint Commission, Havenwood utilizes state-of-the-art, research based and proven clinical methods such as EMDR, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Experiential Therapy, and Equine Therapy to help teen girls overcome their difficulties and learn to bond with their families. Havenwood’s Positive Peer Culture program, directed by Oscar Fakahua, allows teen girls to experience deep and lasting change.
Summit Achievement, the original hybrid wilderness therapy program, has updated it services for young adults of all genders from ages 18-21, on its campus in Stow, Maine. Summits model is uniquely suited for younger, young adults who might not be as well served in programs that includes young adults over age 21. Summit Achievement combines class-room academics, three days a week, with adventure activities four days a week, with regular interventions with Summit’s team of licensed, experienced therapists to help young people move to a full and productive life. Summit also serves young adults, ages 18-21, on its Traverse Team (a short term therapeutic school model).
While addressing therapeutic needs younger, young adults will also be able to work on academic skills whether it be completing high school course work for a high school diploma or taking some on-line college courses. Summit also works with the young person’s family through our parent coaching curriculum, weekly family sessions and overnight visits to help young adults practice their newfound skills within their family system.
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.
ScenicView Academy, a non-profit residential program for young adults on the Autism Spectrum and with learning disabilities, held its annual Gala in October 2018. It was a festive evening with a fitting theme of "A Million Dreams." Many of the students participated in the Gala either as performers or behind the scenes cooking for or serving the guests. One of the highlights of the evening occured when doTERRA presented 4 current students with scholarships. This scholarship money will be used by each recipient to purchase household goods for their new individual apartments located in downtown Provo, UT.
These students are great examples of hard work, determination, and perserverance. Achieving the first of the Gala's "Million Dreams," each student has overcome many obstacles and dared to successfully achieve their individual goals. The scholarship students demonstrated a mastery of employment and independent living skills. ScenicView is tremendously grateful to doTERRA for their financial support.
ScenicView Academy's mission is to help our students obtain and maintain gainful employment, develop indepedent living skills, engage in meaningful social relationships and interactions, progress in their educational abilities and understand and engage in productive leisure time.
About ScenicView Academy
Located at the mouth of Provo in Provo, Utah, ScenicView Academy is nationally recognized non-profit school for young adults with autism spectrum disorders and learning disabilities. Through our residential and day programming, we empower our students to reach their potential and gain skills to live independently.
For more information please contact ScenicView’s website at svacademy.org
The holidays in wilderness therapy are known to be some of the most powerful times to engage in treatment, and being out in the red rock desert does not mean the experience has to be any less special. Elements values the holidays as a time for reflection and contemplation, and the groups draw together in these times. Clients and staff bring their own holiday traditions and meanings to the group, which creates an experience which is greater than any one individual. Although clients may be separated from their family this year, they recognize that the end goal is a lifetime of holidays together.
We are committed to the expedition model because of the sense of accomplishment clients feel after completing one cohesive journey. To this end, Elements supplies everything in the wilderness, from the therapists to the adventure programming specialists and right down to all the clients’ physical and personal needs. The same applies to the holidays, when the team brings out delicious feasts to the groups, meeting them in their space with cards and communication from their families as well as simple gifts that everyone can share. When the group gathers together to prepare the feast, it is apparent to our clients and staff that their appreciation for the special treats of the day is only a fraction of the meaning and gratitude they are gaining for life as a whole.
“Beyond the meaningful experience of the clients and staff in the field, I love the way families come together even at a distance,” says Dr. Neal Christensen, Owner and Clinical Director. “Some of the greatest breakthroughs I’ve seen in our family systems work have happened while the family gets that objective distance from one another while still feeling the emotions and warmth that naturally come with the holidays.”
About Elements Wilderness
Since 2008, Elements Wilderness has been providing a specialized therapeutic intervention for adolescent boys aged 13-17. We at Elements envision a world in which everyone has the skills and support necessary to live a full and healthy life. Through innovative therapeutic and psychiatric intervention, a comprehensive outdoor living experience complete with expeditionary backpacking and adventure programming, a robust family program involving the family at every step, and evidence-based substance abuse treatment, we strive to provide our clients with intervention, treatment and assessment.
November 30th marked two years since HopeWay welcomed their first client into treatment. Since then, HopeWay has had the privilege of serving over 600 individuals across all three levels of programming. These men and women have come to HopeWay from 26 states as well as from Canada and the Philippines.
Every day, HopeWay's staff sees hope rekindled in the lives of their clients as men and women leave treatment with increased confidence that they can handle the variety of mental health challenges they may face in everyday life. HopeWay is deeply grateful for their clients' trust to help them navigate what can be a challenging road to healing and wellness. HopeWay is looking forward to entering year three and celebrating even more stories of transformation and hope.
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.
At Seven Stars, a residential treatment program and assessment center for teens ages 13-17 who struggle with neurodevelopmental disorders, students celebrate the holiday season by taking part in a variety of holiday-oriented activities and a holiday feast.
During the holiday season, parents have the opportunity to send letters, gifts, and cards that allow students to celebrate their family traditions while on campus. “Being away from home at this time of year can be difficult for our students, but they often enjoy the camaraderie with their fellow students and think fondly upon family traditions,” says Dr. Gordon Day, Executive Clinical Director and Founder at Seven Stars. “During the holiday season, students take part in activities that encourage relationship-building, respect for diverse beliefs and a sense of community.”
Throughout the year, honoring and celebrating diversity is an important aspect of programming at Seven Stars. “Our student body is very diverse. During the holiday season, discussing different family traditions is a fun learning experience for students that helps everyone feel included,” says Dr. Day. “Our social skills groups are the perfect place for us to talk about traditions and holidays. The students enjoy talking about special meals that their family creates and the different symbols and activities their family takes part in.”
Speaking of traditions, Seven Stars students and staff make a variety of decorations for the dorms on campus and discuss their meaning. Sometimes families send holiday treats for the whole group to enjoy.
As an assessment and treatment program that works with students who require intensive therapeutic support, usually only a few students at Seven Stars go on home visits for the holidays. For those who stay, families are encouraged to come visit their child. Parents are invited to stay close to campus so that they can celebrate the holidays with their child through scheduled on and off campus activities.
“This can be a great time to work on family relationships and family therapy,” says Dr. Day. “Some families even bring their holiday traditions to Utah. Holidays such as Christmas or Hanukkah celebrated as a family in a local hotel, condo or mountain cabin provides a memorable, quiet retreat from the normal bustle of the holidays at home.”
Students who are ready have the opportunity to go on home visits with their family. These visits can range from a few days to a week depending on the student. “The holiday season can be a stressful time for families,” comments Dr. Day. “When students go home for visits during this period, it can be a unique chance to see how far they’ve come and the changes they’ve made during their time at Seven Stars.”
For more information about therapeutic and academic programming at Seven Stars, please visit http://www.discoversevenstars.com/ or call 844-601-1167.
About Seven Stars
Seven Stars is a premier therapeutic program for teens ages 13-17 struggling with neurodevelopmental disorders such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder, and Learning Disorders (verbal or nonverbal). Seven Stars’ treatment model takes a revolutionary shift from normal therapy methods. By combining acute care stabilization, with residential treatment and academics, true multidisciplinary assessment and treatment, outdoor experiential therapy and positive psychology, Seven Stars therapeutic program understands, assesses and builds the confidence and skills of students struggling with neurodevelopmental disorders.
Elevations RTC, a residential treatment center for teens ages 13-18, is excited to welcome Amber Boyce to their team as their new Recreation Director. Prior to accepting this position, Boyce spent the last 10 years building a working foundation within the realm of youth programming, recreation therapy, and adventure.
Her professional career started with nearly 7 years of experience as a preschool teacher, where she learned all about group management and the power of play. From there, she spent time interning with a community youth recreation program and the National Outdoor Leadership School. During this time, she completed a bachelor's degree in Recreation Management with a focus on Recreation Therapy. After completing her bachelor’s degree, she worked as a recreation therapy assistant at a residential center for adults, and spent 2 years in the field as a lead wilderness therapy guide.
Much of her management and coaching experience comes from her time as an assistant director for a Boys and Girls Club, serving an array of families and family needs.
Boyce is trained in the therapeutic facilitation of mountain biking, rock climbing, backpacking, and skiing, with hopes to expand her knowledge to water sports during the next year.
“I am thrilled to be joining the recreation team at Elevations RTC,” says Boyce. “Over the last month, the recreation team and I have spent plenty of time brainstorming new and great ideas including what we can do to maintain a growth mindset for our program, and what we can bring to the program that does not already exist.”
In the month of November, Boyce has challenged the recreation team to think critically about the way they facilitate recreation activities, and how to create positive interactions with students during that time.
“We have begun practicing and training on the soft skill concepts in addition to the technical skill sets we normally focus on in recreation,” comments Boyce. “These include really intentional programming, facilitation/debriefing techniques, and conflict resolution skills. Enhancing our soft skill abilities as facilitators will contribute to making meaningful connections with our students.”
Additionally, Boyce and her team have been planning upcoming winter recreational programming. The recreation team will be offering skiing and snowboarding to all students. “Skiing will be offered at least every other Saturday, and potentially more for students who are interested,” says Boyce. “Students will have access to rental gear and our very own in-house instruction which has been approved by our resort, Snowbasin. When students are not out on the slopes they will be exposed to other winter activities such as cross country skiing, snowshoeing, snow tubing, snow science/shelter building, and more. Additionally, each dorm will have two separate opportunities for overnight ski/snowshoe yurt trips.”
For students who haven’t reached their eligibility to go off-campus, Boyce and the recreation team have already begun offering and facilitating more on-campus activities this winter season. These whole-team team building/experiential learning activities are based on themes provided by and in conjunction with team directors and therapists.
“The other option for on-campus activities is increasing the use of our very own on-campus climbing wall by offering climbing practices, competitions, and climbing focused team building activities,” says Boyce. “I recently completed my Climbing Wall Instructor course through the American Mountain Guide Association, and have a team full of competent and passionate climbing facilitators.”
Boyce and her team are looking forward to all the potential this new season has to offer.
About Elevations RTC
Elevations RTC is a unique co-ed residential treatment center that works with 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. For more information, please call 1-855-290-9681 or visit our website www.elevationsrtc.com
At OPI we are committed to providing safe and affirming spaces for our LGBTQ+ young adults and their families. We recognize that best practices for a young adult who identifies as LGBTQ+ are going to differ from their straight/cisgender counterparts because of a number of factors and that our awareness of those needs should be constantly evolving. We also recognize that everyone's experience is individual! Through diverse hiring practices, open and out staff members, LGBTQ+ process groups and social clubs, we are able to model for and provide holistic support to our participants identifying as part of the LGBTQ+ spectrum.
Part of our continued commitment to working with an LGBTQ+ population involves ongoing continued education at a variety of conferences and action summits available in L.A. and across the country. In the past year, many members of our staff have attended LGBTQ+ Affirmative Conferences, trainings, or events in Massachusetts, Utah, and California to enhance our clinical skills and expertise. In the past month, we sent representatives to two local events, the EDGY Conference (sponsored by Penny Lane) and ETA Summit (“Eat, Think, Act” luncheon coordinated by La Fuente). Some of our takeaways are as follows.
Alisa Foreman, Clinical Director at OPI, attended the ETA Summit and said, “We decided to be gold sponsors because we, at OPI, strongly support the LGBTQ+ community and pride ourselves on making OPI a ‘safe space.’ We have worked with many LGBTQ+ participants and are eager to continue to learn more about how to truly respect and support one’s journey towards their authentic identity.” Missy Martin, Director of Life Coaching, noticed that while we recognize a person's internal journey, we must also be aware and versed in their societal context, the messages they have received about themselves from others, and how those messages shift and fluctuate based on time, geography, and other factors. As an out lesbian member of OPI’s staff, I truly believe in the intention and honesty present in Alisa’s and Missy's words. I take pride in being part of an organization that backs up those words with action.
OPI, specifically, is in a unique place to actively support our LGBTQ+ participants for several reasons. For one thing, as we are situated in California, an informed consent model is utilized with regard to transgender individuals seeking medical treatment. La Fuente’s ETA Summit did a wonderful job familiarizing clinicians and lay people alike who might not know about this model. Historically, a mental health professional was responsible for providing clinical recommendation before a client could explore medical options. Under an informed consent model, the patient has agency over this and other pieces of their medical decision-making. Alisa Foreman said, “I was interested to learn about the ‘gate keeper’ vs. informed consent model and how that impacts an individual’s sense of control over their own lives, bodies, and identities. As an MTP, I do not want to be the ‘gate keeper’ for someone else’s true identity.”
ETA Summit also left me thinking about how I can better serve our LGBTQ+ participants by remaining knowledgeable in areas that might not apply to my own queer experience (remembering that I do not know everything) – for instance learning about and remaining familiar with dating apps that are also used to seek drugs. As members of the LGBTQ+ community are more prone to relational difficulty and addiction because of a variety of developmental and social factors, this is particularly relevant with our young adults. Even more specifically, our participants who identify as gay men are at risk to become part of a growing movement of “chemsex” or sexual encounters under the influence of drugs (particularly/often crystal methamphetamine) as a way to dampen internalized shame about their desires. Keeping my ear to the ground and being aware of the dating apps our participants are using, as well as being alert for certain acronyms (for instance PnP – Party And Play) can help me to counter harmful/toxic messaging, and keep our residences and offices safe, as our participants deserve them to be.
OPI also sent representatives to this year's Edgy Conference – Penny Lane's 10th annual gathering of panels and speakers intended for those who work closely with LGBTQ+ persons and their families. The theme this year was “Building A Brighter Future.” One of our primary takeaways was a growing awareness of similarities between young adults who identify as transgender or gender-expansive, and young adults on the autism spectrum. OPI Life Coach, Brittany Williams, summarizes, “I was intrigued by the workshop we took on the correlation between gender variance and the autism spectrum since we've had participants in the past who identified with this and had spectrum-like tendencies. It has caused me to be aware of possible patterns and tendencies that may have been overlooked because of their diagnoses." We were also interested in the continued conversation of how clinicians can best support clients going through any coming out process (with a recognition of how that process shifts, changes, and recreates itself over the course of a person's life).
Both EDGY and the ETA Summit left OPI participants renewed in their existent core understanding of each person's identity as unique, non-fixed, and non-linear. "We will not act as gatekeepers. We will hold space for those who have been (and continue to be) othered. We will respect and listen to the experiences of our LGBTQ+ young adults. Some of us will be allies, some of us will be mentors, and some of us will be mirrors. All of us will be informed."
Author: Britt Kusserow
About Optimum Performance Institute
Optinum Performance Institute (OPI) was founded in 2003 and Joint Commission (JCAHO) accredited and located in the San Fernando Valley. OPI offers treatment focused on complex mental health diagnosis and challenges for young adults ages 17-28. Participants engage in real life experiences in an urban setting and work with a multidisciplinary team to forge the path to lasting independence.
Ben came to College Excel in 2016 after an unsuccessful attempt at earning a college degree. Today, Ben is thriving as he nears the end of his undergraduate career. He and his College Excel coach, Allison, caught up recently to reflect on his journey before, during, and after College Excel.
What brought you to College Excel?
I was pretty depressed, unmotivated, and honestly didn't want to do much of anything. I stayed inside most days, and just kind of hung around. It was pretty miserable for everyone involved. I did get sick of it eventually, but even then I didn't know how to move on. I wanted to get back to college but didn't know how to get myself there. I had considered it, but going back to college just to fail would have been horrible, so I wanted an intermediate step to safely turn myself back into someone capable again.
What did you gain from coming to College Excel?
Beyond all the lessons on self-reliance, the personal habits refined and replaced, and the responsibilities slowly given, most of all I turned into someone who solved problems rather than bemoaned them. My favorite part of the experience was having to manage a budget for food and luxury items. Having to figure out what I wanted most and then figuring out how to pay for it was honestly pretty liberating.
What are you up to now?
I'm doing fantastic! I'm going to Beloit College and graduating next year with a double major in History and Economics. I'm also in a summer internship with Fidelity Investments, learning tons about the financial world. I'd definitely say that getting back into college at all, let alone taking 2 majors and getting a rather competitive internship was all attributed to the attitude of self-reliance I learned at College Excel. It seriously turned my life around and I'm still grateful for it.
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.
EDGE Learning and Wellness students recently explored fun, untraditional ways to incorporate fitness into their lives with an aerial yoga activity at AIR Aerial Fitness in Chicago’s River North neighborhood.
The activity was part of a new monthly challenge created by EDGE Dietitian and Personal Trainer Jennifer Ventrelle, MS, RDN, CPT. Every month, the student with the most recorded Fitbit steps gets the opportunity to choose and coordinate a group fitness outing with Jennifer. This month, the winner of the challenge chose aerial yoga.
“This outing inspired EDGE students to engage in healthy competition,” said EDGE Life Coach Candace McGee, MA. “It also allowed for students at all levels of fitness to engage in a new fitness arena.”
The activity, which involves combining traditional yoga poses with pilates, dance, and the use of hammocks, certainly was a new “arena” for most EDGE students. One student stated that he appreciated the opportunity to “try new things.” Learning to balance on the hammocks challenged students’ resilience, and the outing as a whole pushed students outside of their comfort zones and invited them to engage in a unique, peer-coordinated exercise.
Partaking in a monthly fitness group challenge and outing helps students improve several dimensions of wellness, particularly the social and physical dimensions. EDGE continuously invites students to share their ideas with one another and learn that exercise can be fun and beneficial for their mental health. The aerial yoga activity also increased conversation among students, as they’re already discussing what they will do to win next month's challenge and outing choice. EDGE can’t wait to see what exciting activity its students will choose next.
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.
Dragonfly Transitions is pleased to welcome Cassandra Rustvold, LCSW, MEd, CSAT, SEP to the clinical team. Cassandra has a passion for blending health education, social services and therapeutic support. She holds dual masters degrees in Clinical Social Work and Education in Human Sexuality from Widener University in Chester, PA. Cassandra’s graduate training focused on sexual positivity and affirmative therapy for those who identify as LGBTQI and/or gender non-conforming.
Following her graduate studies, she worked extensively with individuals struggling with problematic sexual behaviors where she became acutely aware of the underlying trauma fueling these behavior patterns. Prior to joining the Dragonfly team, Cassandra worked as a highly sought-after therapist at a residential treatment facility in Arizona serving adolescent females and their families.
As a licensed Clinical Social Worker, Cassandra has completed specialized training and certification in trauma-informed approaches such as Somatic Experiencing, Post Induction Therapy, and EEG Neurofeedback. In addition, Cassandra has advanced training in EMDR, Tremor Release Exercises, and Sex Addiction Therapy. Cassandra’s therapeutic style is grounded in research with interventions that are guided by neurobiology, attachment theory and trauma informed care.
Dragonfly Clinical Director Travis Slagle, LMHC, NCC, comments, “Cassandra’s talents, experience and professional expertise are an excellent match for the Dragonfly team and will be great benefits for our families and students. I am thrilled to have Cassandra on our team. Her authenticity, dedication to service and relational approach is unmistakable.”
About Dragonfly Transitions
Dragonfly Transitions is a co-ed young adults 18-30 transitional program who support clients on a journey of personal exploration, health, and independence. Dragonfly is designed with progressive phases, college and vocational options, recreation, therapeutic support, and a variety of living environments located in southern Oregon. Students are provided opportunities for hands on experience in a supportive environment where they can flourish.
TechieForLife (TFL) welcomes Jeremy Creager as their new Career Coach. Jeremy is a recently-retired (20 year veteran) of Las Vegas firefighter/paramedic stations, who loved his work and helping people. His focus will be on helping TFL students find internships and career paths as well as continuing to mentor students in TFL’s computer tech classes. He brings stability and life experience to the TechieForLife team along with determination to help students grow.
Five years ago, Jeremy started the Abby Lou Foundation to employ adults with special needs and to help the less fortunate have better days. Jeremy is the father of five children, including one with special needs. “I love that we are all more alike than different,” said Jeremy. “I like that TFL students are full of enormous amounts of potential and we need to help them find it, grow it, then share it.”
Neurodiverse young adults often experience barriers to employment. Jeremy said, “In the short time I have been doing this, ability is not their issue.” He described some of the emotional challenges facing some students, like rigidity, immaturity, and priorities. Jeremy is good at focusing students on practicing “the little things, like getting up, making good choices and being on time.” The tricky part he said is, “supporting them without suffocating them.”
TechieForLife has successfully placed several students in Quality Assurance computer tech positions, nursing homes, grocery stores and computer hardware businesses. Volunteering at Habitat for Humanity has also been a great resource for TFL students to practice working and build confidence. “Relationships are key to sustainable employment for our student population,” said Jeremy. TechieForLife is strongly focused on networking and utilizing local companies. They know a student is in the right job/career area when students are “fulfilled, on time, needing less and less support and choosing meaningful work over computer gaming or isolating.”
TechieForLife (TFL) is a co-ed, residential and licensed vocational school with a career support wrap-around program in beautiful St. George, Utah. Students with neurodiverse social, emotional and academic challenges receive mentoring so they can build social connections, confidence and independent living skills. In-house computer tech training, college or trade school support, apprenticeships and/or internship/job support offerings, allow for individualized paths forward. At TechieForLife, students have a place to belong and the supports to succeed.
Melissa J. Villodas, LPC, NCC is returning to SUWS after welcoming her baby Atlas in September. While she has thoroughly enjoyed this time to focus completely on him, she now states, “I’m excited to get back in the woods to continue supporting the healing, change, and growth with my Luna ladies.”
Luna is the treatment group at SUWS of the Carolinas, a wilderness therapy program, that focuses on adolescent females who find themselves overwhelmed by trauma, learning differences, family conflict, or maladaptive attachments. Melissa uses a variety of modalities, including EMDR, to help the ladies find their inner capabilities to move through life’s suffering. Erica Thiessen, Clinical Director and proud “Auntie,” appreciates having Melissa on the treatment team because of her hard work, optimistic spirit, and compassionate care for her clients.
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 outside of Asheville, SUWS delivers wilderness based therapeutic interventions for 10-17 year old boys and girls with compassion and excellence.
Emily was extremely bright, you could call her an academic high achiever. Yet, she barely graduated high school. She was only able to graduate because her parents stepped in at the last minute and held her feet to the fire. Even the process for choosing a college and taking the necessary steps for acceptance and enrollment often landed at the feet of her parents because Emily was too paralyzed by fear.
Her parents were desperate to escape the pattern of picking up the pieces of Emily’s lack of follow through and responsibility. They wanted her to be at the helm of her own life, asking for help when needed. They could see that she was not equipped with the skills needed to face the challenges and adversities of college and adult life.
With encouragement from her parents and the help of trusted professionals, Emily discovered Pure Life Adventure, a therapeutic program in Costa Rica specifically for young adults. Emily decided to take some time, before starting college, to prepare herself and to discover what she wanted to do with her life.
Once at Pure Life, Emily realized that she was not the only young adult who struggled with the transition from high school to college. Meeting her group mates, she learned that many young adults need more time to develop confidence and self-worth. Emily realized that Pure Life could support her as she developed the emotional strength to withstand the trials of college life. By participating in the various adventure activities, she started to explore her own core beliefs and identity. She learned that, while she loved white water rafting, she also loved engaging with local Costa Rican people and their families. This re-sparked her passion for connecting with people and helping them.
Emily wrote to her parents about being tired and frustrated by hiking through a rainstorm, but then loving the feeling of accomplishment at the end of the hike. She wrote about a misunderstanding with a peer and what she did to navigate through. Her parents learned ways they could support Emily and where they could put the responsibility back on her. Emily was developing the capability to handle adult challenges on her own, such as advocating when she needed support, using skills to manage anxiety, and giving and receiving feedback.
At the end of her stay at Pure Life, Emily was excited to move on to the next stage of her gap year. She was able to look at the world around her, excited by the possibilities that awaited her. Emily’s parents could recognize the confidence she now possessed and were excited for her future. When Emily talked about her new daily routine, waking up and setting goals for each day, her parents were encouraged by her ability to follow through and her honesty when she did not quite reach a goal. They were also relieved to see that many of the symptoms of anxiety and depression were controlled, helping alleviate some of their own fears as well. She was now a purposeful and confident young woman, standing at the helm of her life, ready to tackle the storms on the horizon.
About Pure Life Adventure
Pure Life Adventure is located in the Central Pacific region of beautiful Costa Rica. Relying on decades of experience in the Costa Rican outdoor industry, the bicultural team provides a therapeutically sophisticated and holistic approach to helping young adults with depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, lack of motivation, executive function deficits, trauma and substance abuse. The students are individuals with very real challenges looking for lasting change. Pure Life utilizes traditional individual and group therapy in combination with outdoor experiential learning and adventure. The Pure Life integrated and dynamic approach includes an emphasis on fitness, mindfulness, life skills and cultural immersion.
At Trails Carolina, a wilderness therapy program for teens ages 10-17, students celebrated Thanksgiving this year by sharing feelings of gratitude with their families and taking part in a delicious festive feast.
Prior to Thanksgiving Day, students put together Thankful Statements which expressed feelings and thoughts of gratitude towards family and friends. The statements were shared with their families on Thanksgiving.
“At Trails, we find that taking time to be thankful for things and practice gratitude is a very effective and healing form of treatment,” says Jason McKeown, MS, LMFT, CPE, BC-TMH, Trails Carolina Family Clinical Director. “Whether a student is struggling with depression, anxiety, anger, frustration, or relational issues, being being able to take a moment to be present and see what there is to be grateful for can be extremely powerful.”
On Turkey Day, students were treated to a feast including all of the traditional Thanksgiving fixings. The meal included: turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, yams, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie.
For more information about holiday celebrations at Trails Carolina, please visit their blogs 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.
Sunrise Residential Treatment Center is very proud of the clinical work that they do with their students and families. Having a strong clinical team in place allows Sunrise to reach families in a way that results in real, lasting change. Jennifer Spangler, M.Ed., CMHC, and Clinical Director at Sunrise's Hurricane Campus is a crucial part of ensuring that the students' needs are met by supervising the clinical team and running an effective treatment team.
Jen grew up in Glenwood Springs, Colorado and moved to Utah to attend college. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a bachelor’s degree in Education, and furthered her education by gaining her master’s degree in educational psychology. Jen has worked as a therapist ever since focusing her career in private practice, hospital, and residential settings. "Jen is consistently optimistic and full of energy", says Craig Simpson, Sunrise Senior Clinical Director. "Her enthusiasm is contagious to those around her, and she is constantly laughing. She approaches problems with a willingness to jump in, get dirty, and figure things out. We are so lucky to have her leading our clinical team."
“I am grateful and humbled to be part of the Sunrise team", Jen says. "They are truly a family and I have come to adore every single person with whom I work! I knew the very first day of being on site that I needed to be here just as much as the sweet girls who call this place home. I love being witness to the personal and incredible enlightening path towards wellness upon which each of these young women and their family embarks. Nothing in this world means more to me than being part of a process that teaches others that they are stronger than they know and that they cannot be defined by the challenges they are leaving behind, still battling, or the ones that lie ahead.”
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.
Montana Academy recently was visited by two representatives from NIPSA, the National Independent Private Schools Association, over the course of a three-day period in order to review and renew their academic and therapeutic accreditation. This process occurs every five years and is a large undertaking for academic faculty, clinical and program staff, as well as the administration. This process and site visit offers the opportunity to ensure that Montana Academy is providing students and families with a quality of care that reflects our values and cultivates a sense of community while providing robust academics and clinical sophistication.
NIPSA's mission is to ensure that schools are effective in their educational program as well as delivering other high quality services. The NIPSA accreditation evaluates services provided to students and their families, and also reviews each organization internally from organizatinal structure to on-going staff training and overall policies and procedures. NIPSA is dedicated to ensuring that the mission and objectives set forth by each organization are upheld to a high standard and takes into consideration the overall quality of life including physical plant, dormitory life, health/safety, and assures that each program is consistently looking ahead for future improvements and that the staff, faculty, and program offerings are continually evolving.
The NIPSA site visit spent time on Montana Academy's 480-acre campus and also took time to visit the Sky House, Montana Academy's in-town transition houses, to evaluate the continuity and quality of care between to the two venues. Their visitors took time to interview staff and faculty members across departments and met with Montana Academy's leadership team. The accreditation process is rigorous leading up to the site visit and is a testament to the collaboration and investment that exists amongst the various departments at Montana Academy.
"The visit from NIPSA was a welcome process for Montana Academy and we are proud of the work that is done on a daily basis to uphold our mission for our students and their families. Montana Academy is committed to evaluating itself in regards to our offerings and look forward to future visits to ensure that we are upholding this commitment."
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 clincal sophistication, an effective therapeutic program, and a challenging prep school all situated on a 500 acre 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 remove, insofaras possible, the obstacles to psychological development; and (b) to prod student to achieve new psychological milestones and so to restore the momentum of normal adolescent maturity.
AIM House participants and staff participated in a 3 day volunteer immersion at Mission Wolf, a wildlife sanctuary in Southern Colorado this month. Mission Wolf is non-profit, educational wolf sanctuary in the remote Colorado mountains. In addition to the focus on wildlife conservation and preservation, Mission Wolf focuses on sustainability -- the facility operates on solar power, and was built with recycled materials. AIM House has partnered with Mission Wolf for years and is happy and grateful for a facility in the state that is doing such incredible work.
While at Mission Wolf this trip, AIM participants and staff had the opportunity to help build enclosures for the animals. They worked to repair facilities. Of course they also got some time with the wolves. One participant said the most memorable moment of the trip was hearing all of the wolves call out to each other. “I won’t ever forget it!”
In addition to working hard, the AIM crew also enjoyed time camping out and staying warm around the fire. With so many members of our community coming from profound experiences in the wilderness, it was a welcome retreat back to nature.
About AIM House
Founded in 1999, AIM House is a transitional living program located in Boulder, Colorado. Young adults come from wilderness therapy programs, residential treatment programs, therapeutic boarding schools and drug and alcohol treatment centers. Mentors and therapists work with each participant to create an individualized program that meets the needs of the participant and their family. Participants have access to a large variety of educational institutions, including the University of Colorado Boulder. AIM House also offers executive functioning support, vocational coaching, and personalized artistic and entrepreneurial mentorship.
Alpine Academy was pleased last month to celebrate the naming of our clinical building (built 2010) as the Ardeth Kapp Healing Center. This was done to memorialize and honor a long-time member of the Board of Trustees, Ardeth Kapp.
Alpine Academy’s parent company, Utah Youth Village, was founded in 1969 by an amazing woman, Lila Bjorklund. Lila had a passion for helping children and families, and especially young women. Her desire was to help young women find their inner strength and see their potential for greatness. In the early 1990’s, Lila found a kindred spirit in Ardeth Kapp.
Ardeth grew up on a farm in rural Canada and had many struggles with school and friends. Seeing an opportunity for a fresh start, her parents sent her to a boarding school in Utah where she completed High School. Ardeth then graduated from the University of Utah and became an elementary school teacher. Because she understood children that learn differently, she was able to touch the lives of many students. Ardeth went on to become a writer and producer for the Utah Network for Instructional Television. She also became an author and has published dozens of books, all dedicated to helping individuals grow and reach their potential, with a particular focus on young women.
In 1995, Lila asked Ardeth to join the Utah Youth Village Board of Trustees, where she continues to serve today, 23 years later. To honor her life of dedicated service to children, her fellow board members gave a generous donation to name a building on Alpine Academy’s campus after her, the Ardeth Kapp Healing Center. A celebration was held at Alpine in November in which Ardeth met and then addressed the students, sharing many stories and lessons she has learned throughout her life. Among her words of wisdom are these classic phrases she has shared with youth across the world for many years: "I'm better than I was but not as good as I'm going to be." "You're better than you think you are." "I'm trying a little harder to be a little better." And finally, she encouraged each of them to follow the personal motto that has guided her life for more than 70 years, “If you want a friend, be a friend.”
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.
With the arrival of winter, Shortridge Academy is excited to launch its ski and snowboard program for the 2019 winter season. Located in southeastern New Hampshire, the close proximity to both the seacoast and the mountains affords Shortridge students many unique outdoor recreational activities, but few are as popular as skiing and snowboarding.
Trips to Gunstock Mountain Resort for the Ski & Snowboard Club occur every Wednesday for an evening skiing on lighted trails, and every Saturday for a full day on the Mountain. All students are encouraged to participate, regardless of ability level. Options for lessons from a certified professional are also available.
For students who are not interested in skiing or snowboarding, the Shortridge Academy campus is conveniently situated on 350 acres of fantastic snowshoeing terrain, and plenty of other outdoor winter activities are available, such as ice skating, ice fishing, and sledding. When cold temperatures drive folks inside, their regular trips to local gyms are a welcome alternative to staying active during the frosty New Hampshire winters.
“It’s one thing to go ski or snowboard once or twice a winter, but having the opportunity to go once or twice a week is really special and offers students the opportunity to hone their skills and demonstrate mastery in impressive ways.” - Mik Oyler, Chief Operating Officer
If you would like more information about Shortridge Academy recreational opportunities or Residential Life, please contact COO, Mik Oyler at firstname.lastname@example.org
About Shortridge Academy
Shortridge Academy is a private co-ed New England boarding school, founded in 2002, that emphasizes challenging yet supportive academics within a therapeutic community. Guided by the innovative Positive Youth Development model, we support the cognitive, emotional, and social development of bright yet struggling adolescents by utilizing clearly-defined, goal-directed plans, evidenced-based strategies, and a college preparatory curriculum. Joining with families, our trained staff engages students to identify their strengths and encourages the development of skills and knowledge that will prepare them for healthy and productive adulthood.
Preparing for winter programming in wilderness therapy involves more than exchanging the type of gear and clothes designed specifically for such a season. A vital precursor in ensuring winter weather preparedness and winter safety is in educating, training and acclimating staff who are charged with the care of students in the fields. This allows field staff to recognize the warning signs of cold stress and how to prevent cold-related injuries throughout the winter months.
Additionally, a wilderness therapy program with a robust winter programming accounts for the variability in how a student perceives and tolerates temperatures. This can allow for the mental and emotional needs of students to be met due to their physiological and safety needs being met. When sitting down with the leadership team at Outback Therapeutic Expeditions, department heads spoke of key focus areas such as personal/group gear, medical/emergency response, meeting nutritional and physiological needs, and ongoing staff trainings as summarized below.
Personal & Group Gear
- Each student is provided with proper gear and clothing for winter camping. These items are designed for below zero-degree weather although average lows do not typically go below the teens. Outback also makes use of winter sleeping bags that are rated at negative 20 degrees Farenheit.
- Students sleep within "big wall" (group) tents with wood burning stoves EVERY NIGHT between mid-November and mid-March.
- Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors with regular device checks and battery replacements are located within each tent, as part of safety protocols that set up staff to provide extra safety.
- Sleeping temperatures in tents with wood burning stoves stay over 50 degrees at night.
Medical & Emergency
- Medical Coordinator performs weekly checks for students in the field.
- Hands/feet checks perfomed 4x/day with field guides:
- Warm hand/foot washes that accompany checks.
- Changing of socks 2x/day. This occurs to help remove moisture found on feet from hiking. Changing into dry socks after a warm hand/foot wash and foot check for the evening helps to keep feet dry.
- Emergency Response staff are strategically placed, throughout the year, to serve as first line of support in case of both nonemergency and urgent needs.
- Unattached to a specific group, these staff members remain in close proximity of groups in the field and are equipped with all communication devices to stay connected with groups as well as administration and staff at the main office.
- Staff are equipped with trucks set up with Mattracks System for use if there is ever a need to travel over difficult terrain. Although rarely used, it is an added safety measure utilized at Outback Therapeutic Expeditions.
- Warm, dry, and undamaged gear is critical. As such, our emergency response staff also work to visit groups regularly to ensure that logistical needs such as switching out and/or replacing gear and clothing occur as quickly as possible, whenever necessary.
Nutrition & Physiological Needs
- Increase caloric intake by adding supplemental food. There is also an increase in hot drink options such as non-caffeinated, herbal teas throughout the winter
- Decrease frequency of hikes and length of hikes. Field Guides remain in close contact with Emergency Response staff and Field Directors throughout the year. Winter Safety protocols provide constant communication regarding weather in order to determine appropriate daily activity for groups.
On Going Staff Trainings
- Staff begin field trainings on winter camping in early Fall and continue well into the winter months.
- Medical Coordinator and on call Medical Director provide ongoing cold related injury information and training throughout the winter.
About Outback Therapeutic Expeditions
Outback Therapeutic Expeditions is a licensed wilderness therapy program located in Utah dedicated in bringing families BACK together. Outback offers a clinically-informed comprehensive assessment and treatment that yields high clinical values for teens and families. Outback provides an innovative clinical structure designed to optimize clinical oversight by having an additional Masters level therapist in the group daily along with a clinician overseeing every main department of programming. Outback helps teens ages 13-17 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 bringing students BACK to Self, BACK to Family, and BACK to Purpose through increased self-efficacy, building healthy relationships, and a healthy amount of autonomy through skills building and discovery of meaning in life.
New Directions for Young Adults, NDFYA, offers opportunities for adolescents to be successful while living in Deerfield Beach, Boca Raton and West Palm Beach. The program inspires diversity, allowing students to gain opportunities, enjoy and learn from their experiences as they enter young adulthood.
“Our goal is to provide independent living for young adults,” said Caitlin DeFlaun, executive assistant at NDFYA. “We provide therapeutic services and life management skills for our students to help them with their goals and successes in life.”
NDFYA works with many notable job recruiters to provide jobs to their students, including The Encore, The Embassy Suites of West Palm Beach, Kickback Hair Salon in Boca Raton, Whitehall, Florence Fuller, Vocal Point and also Target of Deerfield Beach.
“My job is to help the students get ready, to teach them the skills to understand what they need to have a job first,” said Paula Katz, vocational director at NDFYA. “So, I help them with the application process and then to help them attend to the employer, to craft the relations needed to retain a job.”
The staff also facilities with accommodations and tutoring services for those that need extra support. The programs hope is for their students to succeed, and provide instructional benefits to those who need it. “New Directions has changed my life,” student Lexie Van Orden said. “The staff have been amazing and they have helped me get my life back together. I used to be home doing nothing; now I am a full time student at Lynn University. I have grown so much during my time at New Directions.”
About New Directions for Young Adults
New Directions is a state of the art multidisciplinary clinical program for typical young adults and young adults with special needs. New Directions was founded in 2006 and currently has locations in Deerfiled Beach, FL and Pleasant Hill, CA. The program integrates expertise in cognitive behavioral therapy, developmental theory, and neuropsychology, into an evidenced-based treatment approach called Direction Therapy (Dt²). The primary goal is to help young adults achieve their goal of independent living. The crux of the New Directions program is the Individualized Service Plan or “ISP.” This important plan is developed using input from the student, family, standardized test scores, transcripts, psycho-educational reports, and results from assessments administered by New Directions. For more information please visits us at www.NDFYA.com or contact us directly at (844) 814-7084.
Vive Family Support Program announces it has focused 2018 to refine the mission, purpose and goals to better serve families in need of In-Home Therapeutic Support. The leadership team worked together to make sure the quality of care is always improving with the implementation of discharge surveys, monthly calls to current clients by someone on the leadership team, and timely communication with referral partners.
Earlier this year, Vive also published a Parent Handbook that is used to guide families through their course of treatment, addressing the most frequently asked questions as well as a play-by-play of what to expect as families progress through the program.
There has been intentional training and development for the clinical team. The entire Vive team from across the country had a training in Chicago. This featured 2 days of training and immersion in learning the CASA Framework (Commitment, Acceptance, Security and Attunement). This framework will serve as a guiding tool in the treatment of the Vive clients and families. This is done through the development lens of CASA. This provides a consistent approach for the clinicians to utilize when developing treatment plans with their clients.
The most recent and most exciting news of 2018 has been the addition of Vive Family Intensives as an additional service under the Vive Family Support Program umbrella. Vive Family Intensives and Vive In-Home/Community Support Program will be two separate services offered by Vive. This opportunity will allow each service to grow through the sharing of clinical trainings and knowledge as well as adding depth to the continuum of care for the clients.
With this strong foundation of systems, innovative clinical frameworks and additional services, Vive has a wealth of opportunity to reach more families in need of services in 2019. The Vive team looks forward to working with you and your families in the year to come.
About Vive Family Support Program
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 for our clients and their families.
Trails Momentum, an outdoor adventure-based therapy program for young adults, offers insight into today’s widespread technology addiction and overuse within the young adult population.
“Technology addiction and overuse can lead to negative social, behavioral, and physical effects in young adults,” says Dan Hadley, Primary Therapist at Trails Momentum. “There is no easy fix for tech addiction, but parents can take important preventative measures, and young adults struggling with a tech addiction can create ways to cope with technology in a healthier way. At Trails Momentum, we help young adults break out of negative patterns and work towards replacing technology use with hobbies and interests that have a positive impact on their lives.”
This past month, Hadley and Director of Student Development Sarah Parlier took part in a video series discussing technology addiction and social media overuse. In addition to technology addiction, the video series includes information about options for gap years and how to get help for a college dropout.
You can view the video series and more on the Trails Momentum video page.
For more information about technology addiction in young adults, visit Trails Momentum’s blog on the subject here.
About Trails Momentum
Trails Momentum is an outdoor adventure-based therapy program for young adults ages 18-25 struggling to launch themselves into adulthood. Young adults are guided on a journey of self-discovery where they develop self-concept and are empowered to make the transition into independence. Adventure programming, clinical services, family involvement, college coursework, and social skill development are seamlessly interwoven to maximize the transference of important life skills and address clinical and behavioral challenges.
Bend, Oregon: New Vision Wilderness is excited to announce the addition of community integration to its nationally recognized, young adult therapy program. According to Andrew Scott, Executive Director, “It’s always been challenging to successfully prepare students to transition to their next placement or to their communities. This program enhancement gives students the opportunity to process these stressors and develop better transition and life skills. In this way, the skills they learn in wilderness therapy are put into action. For example, Heartmath training allows student to breathe through a stressful situation and get back into a calm state. The ability to stay regulated is a skill most students struggle with. Community Integration allows students to see that they can interact with the community in a positive, productive way.”
Prior to transitioning from the program, students begin by taking day trips or engage in activities that may include grocery shopping, mock interviews, library visits, volunteer work, and museum visits. Depending on the student, these trips might gradually increase to last several days and may include an adventure component including surfing on the coast or exploring some of Oregon’s beautiful waterfalls, caves, and other natural wonders. “Our goal is to integrate the therapeutic benefits of wilderness and continue the emotional and behavioral growth shaped in the program", said primary therapist, Tim Moore.
"We are proud of our trauma-sensitive program and we believe the wilderness experience continues to provide a safe and effective environment to heal and get a life reset. With the addition of community integration, and the careful introduction of societal pressure back into camp prior to their departure will further prepare our young adults for transition, wherever it might be", said co-founder Steve Sawyer.
About New Vision Wilderness Therapy (NVW)
NVW serves preteens, teens, young adults and families in three (3) U.S. locations: the beautiful Northwoods of Wisconsin, the majestic Cascade mountain range of Central Oregon and the lush Nantahala National Forest of North Carolina. NVW is a specialty wilderness therapy treatment program that is clinically intensive, highly specialized and trauma-informed. To learn more, go to www.newvisionwilderness.com or contact Admissions at 855-689-8326.
Last Saturday night, Windhorse Portland hosted its annual community holiday dinner. The clinical director donned her chef’s hat, and with the help of the expressive arts therapist and one of their clients, a scrumptious Italian-style meal was prepared for the entire therapeutic community. Twenty staff members and clients sat family-style around the dinner table at Still Point house, celebrating togetherness and the healing power of delicious food. Who wants seconds?
An outsider would not have been able to distinguish staff from client, mirroring the fundamental Windhorse belief that all are in this journey of recovery…together. The Still Point manager and a client worked together to string up lights and other festive holiday decorations around the house. Others pitched in to prepare side dishes and desserts. The new operations manager eagerly took a stab at holiday cookies— let’s just say Windhorse is happy they hired her as an operations manager and not a chef.
At Windhorse, this type of gathering doesn’t just happen once a year around the holidays. The belief that community, relationship, and connection promote healing is elemental to the Windhorse approach -- “People are the medicine.” Their community recognizes the profound recovery that takes place when bringing awareness to household disciplines such as meal preparation. The seemingly simple acts of organizing the kitchen for cooking, cutting and smelling ingredients, and cleaning up as a group can help ground individuals experiencing extreme mind states. The value of togetherness runs deep within the Windhorse community.
Good times and laughs were had by all.
Questions about Windhorse Integrative Mental Health? Please email Admissions@WindhorseIMH.org.
About Windhorse Integrative Mental Health
Windhorse Integrative Mental Health, an alternative nonprofit offers semi-residential care to adults living with psychiatric challenges (schizophrenia, bipolar, depression, anxiety and complex trauma). Clients live with dignity in the larger community supported by a multidisciplinary team often including a therapeutic housemate. Services are individually tailored and represent a wide range of intensity and structure. Windhorse operates in three (3) locations: Portland, OR, San Luis Obispo, CA and Northampton, MA.
With partisan tensions at a fever pitch, Solstice East Timbersong Academy students took a step toward principles that everyone can believe in: fair representation for everyone. In a two-day seminar this semester, students took intensive courses in various subjects, all centered on the theme of partisan redistricting, colloquially known as gerrymandering.
Nestled in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, Solstice East Timbersong Academy students have front row seats to the latest political battle over redistricting. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear disputes between lawmakers over whether the lines drawn after the 2010 census reflect an illegal racial bias. Timbersong Academy students can see for themselves one of the realities of politics, and academic team members were ready to guide their inquiry over the course of the intensive seminar.
While connections to government and history may be clear, innovative teachers in all disciplines found new and engaging ways to bring their discipline into this perspective, providing students with a rare opportunity to build connections between disciplines and see real world applications of the concepts they explore daily in the classroom. Students in math broke out into groups and united geometry and algebra concepts to show just how unfair a given set of lines could be, while their peers in English and history groups saw how these invisible lines have clearly visible effects on the lives of real people. Down the hall in the science classroom, students explored the environmental impact of gerrymandering through the lens of climate change, and in the civics classroom students experimented with potential solutions. And all of this was just the prelude.
On the second day of seminar, students were asked to apply their newfound expertise and tackle the problem of partisan redistricting head-on. Divided into teams, students were given blank maps of North Carolina and told to apportion representation fairly, whatever that meant to them. As a further twist, each student went to a different set of breakout sessions, so students were forced to teach each other the concepts they had just encountered, synthesizing as they went. In rooms that could be mistaken for legislative sessions on casual Friday, students crunched numbers, advocated for new ideas, and came back not only with a map but also a rationale for the way they drew their lines. Demonstrating tremendous poise and diligent preparation, students summarized their proposals in front of faculty and peers with a presentation.
This seminar is only the most recent example of the innovative, multi-disciplinary, whole-student focused instruction that goes on at Timbersong Academy every day. Students are asked to explore the world, handed a set of tools for understanding, and encouraged to make that world their own. Timbersong Academy students are expected to do more than memorize dates and formulae. They are charged with creating new ways of thinking and understanding that will equip them for life after graduation.
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.
New Focus Academy, a new residential treatment program, welcomes Marisa Davis as Admissions Director. New Focus Academy provides treatment for students ages 12-18 with neurodevelopmental disorders opening this December. Marisa has over ten years of experience working with families on insurance coverage and benefits. She is compassionate about family hardship and has a thoughtfulness to detail in ensuring work is accomplished and families are protected. Marisa also has experience working in residential treatment as a staff supervisor, where her passion and desire to help students reach their best developed into a strong desire to be part of a program she believed in.
Marisa looks forward to the opportunity to provide families and their New Focus Academy teens a safe, supportive, and emotionally accepting environment to allow these incredible teens to discover the tools that will help them be successful in life. Her first step is providing support to their families as they endure the journey together with their child.
As Dr. Brandon Park, Founder and Executive Director, states, “Her enthusiasm, compassion, and love for the work is something she shares with our team, the students, and especially the parents and professionals working with us at New Focus Academy. We are excited for you to speak with and know Marisa, and we are sure you will love her.”
Learn more about the team of professionals at New Focus Academy by visiting here.
New Focus Academy is a therapeutic residential treatment program for adolescent boys ages 12-18 with neurodevelopmental disorders. Located in Heber City, Utah, just outside of Salt Lake City, New Focus Academy prepares struggling teen boys for a purpose-filled, independent life. New Focus Academy creates an environment of success using a positive reinforcement approach and empowering students to take small steps leading to big changes and overall wellness.