All Kinds of News for June 06, 2018
Outback Therapeutic Expeditions, a leading wilderness therapy program in clinical oversight and shifting of industry norms, has added two year-round therapists to the clinical team. Jessica Jo Stenquist, MPA, LCSW, has come on board as a primary therapist for an adolescent boys group and Kelly Espy, MSW, CSW, has transitioned from her field therapist position at Outback to work with our families as a Family Therapist. Both had an effective start date of Monday, May 7, 2018.
Jessica Jo holds a masters degree in both Social Work and Public Administration and has worked in a variety of treatment settings that has provided her with a comprehensive understanding of continuum of care for students and their families. Her natural ability to support students in gaining true insight and further their progress and growth potential are some of the many skills Jessica Jo brings to Outback. She will be working with adolescent boys who have a history of Attachment Disruptions, Treatment Resistance, Anxiety, Depression, co-morbid Substance Abuse diagnoses, Executive Functioning Deficits, and those with an Alpha Complex.
Kelly Espy holds a master's degree in Social Work and began her journey at Outback as a Field Therapist. Her working knowledge of wilderness therapy as a field guide and field therapist, coupled with previously held professional experience with family systems work provide her with a unique vantage point from which her approach is shaped. Kelly has a keen sense and ability to draw out the strengths of each family member she supports. She is able to guide them in recognizing it for themselves and of one another. It is through these acknowledgements that families are able to feel empowered, move forward, and heal as a family.
The addition of Jessica Jo Stenquist and Kelly Espy, to the clinical team at Outback Therapeutic Expeditions, is complimentary to the existing quality of clinicians the organization employs.
About Outback Therapeutic Expeditions
Outback Therapeutic Expeditions is a licensed wilderness therapy program located in Utah that offers a highly integrated, comprehensive assessment and treatment for teens. Outback offers help for troubled teens ages 13-17 and provides clinical oversight by a Masters Level therapist every day of the week. Outback helps teens with various areas of difficulties such as depression, anxiety, trauma, family conflict, engagement in dangerous behaviors, mild ASD, electronic and gaming addiction and more. Outback’s treatment options place strong emphasis on healthy relationships, increased self-efficacy, and a healthy amount of autonomy through skill building.
U.S. House of Representatives Congressman Clay Higgins (R) LA, recently visited the Evangelhouse Christian Academy campus in St. Martinville, Louisiana. As a former law enforcement officer, the congressman has been a long-time supporter of preventive programs, treatment centers and specialty schools for troubled teens. Representative Higgins’ office requested the tour to raise awareness of such programs in his district. Evangelhouse’s founder and director Mark Barrentine, LCSW, hosted the congressman and introduced him to staff and students.
On the tour, Congressman Higgins praised the staff and congratulated Evangelhouse for its 23 years of highly effective service to struggling teen girls and their families. The congressman expressed particular support for Evangelhouse’s model of integrating of licensed clinical therapy with Christian values. Representative Higgins shared his insight on the importance of supporting families and teens in their faith as they face difficult issues like abuse, depression and addiction. He took time to encourage students and shared his support for their treatment efforts.
Representative Higgins communicated his support for the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP) efforts to influence policy in Washington, D.C. He affirmed his commitment to innovative treatment programs like Evangelhouse, and he shared a desire to be involved in future NATSAP legislative efforts.
About Evangelhouse® Christian Academy
Evangelhouse® Christian Academy is a boutique, fourteen-bed therapeutic boarding school for girls ages 12-18 in St. Martinville, LA. The academy offers a unique integration of licensed clinical therapy with non-denominational Christian values.
in a recent study, Telos RTC announced that asking students and a composite of parents, therapist, and teachers to rate executive functioning in seven different areas before and after a course of one on one executive function coaching resulted in the average showing significant improvement in all seven areas of executive function.
To understand “executive function”, it is helpful to imagine a brilliant but scattered executive. This executive, in an effort to be more effective and organized, hires a talented assistant to help the executive function - to help her prioritize, remember appointments, stay focused, and complete tasks.
Telos is celebrating eight years of success in developing this revolutionary service for young people looking to succeed.
Telos students are typically bright but underachieving, mostly due to poor executive function skills. In 2010 Telos developed an executive function coaching program in which students learn Exective Functioning (EF) strategies and are mentored on the over time. The strategies include: Attention, Flexibility and Shifting, Task Initiation and Completion, Metacognition, Organization, Time Management, and Working Memory.
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.
Dawn Bauer, Director of Admissions, says, “We were happy to see our student population return to Puerto Rico in February. We were grateful that our students, staff, and buildings were well prepared and untouched during the hurricane. But more importantly, we are grateful for the service and personal growth opportunities that our students and staff had in the weeks that followed from the hurricane."
Pacia Life Puerto Rico is specifically designed to prepare young adults for entry into adulthood, college, jobs, career, social life and beyond with an emphasis on growing in self-efficacy, self-determination, life mapping, leadership, service, education and career exploration.
Students in Pacia Life participate in one or more of the following six tracks:
- Traditional College Learning and Life Skills Support, teaching sustainable self-reliance in college;
- Non-Traditional Collegiate Learning, a tailored combination of experiential learning, internship, and certification;
- Entrepreneurial Track, similar to the prior program, but with the addition of business coaching;
- Financial Self-Reliance Track, including broad life skills teaching and fiscal education;
- Wellness and Personal Goal Development, including life coaching, mindfulness, wellness practices, relationship coaching, and so forth; and
- International Experience, covering GAP years, study abroad programs, personal growth, and education.
Randy Oakley, President of the Board of Pacia Life, says “Our students in Puerto Rico are continuing to experience strong, foundational growth that has strong transference into real-life situations. Many of our students start in Puerto Rico and then transfer one of our other five locations to put their skill sets into real action."
"The sense of community is the greatest I’ve seen it since moving here over five years ago,” says Lindsey Bauer, Executive Director. “The volunteer aspect of our program has been at an all-time high, and it’s wonderful to see the positive impact it’s making not only on our community but on our students and staff."
About Pacia Life
Pacia Life is a real-life, results-based, community-based academic and experiential learning experience with Clinically Informed Life Coaches®, College Education Specialists, Entrepreneur Coaches, international GAP experiences, Wellness Specialist, Business Coaches, and a strong community network of clinical staff as needed.
Pacia Life students use the Tatori method to extract and execute a set of goals and next step actions within their personal life map in one or more tracks as stated below. All five tracks have the purpose of balanced, sustainable self-reliance in the arenas of career/education, health and wellness, fiscal management, friends/family, leisure management.
The National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP) Board recently announced that Nichol Ernst, Executive Director and co-owner of Summit Achievement, was elected to its board. Nichol was one of thirteen program leaders who ran for the single board seat and he received the most votes by the NATSAP program members.
Nichol will be the only NATSAP board member from the Northeast region as well as the only one from an Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Program. Nichol is proud of the long legacy of support of NATSAP by Northeast programs and encourages all NATSAP program people and allies to attend the Northeast Regional Conference in Cape Cod this October.
Summit Achievement wants to congratulate Nichol Ernst and thank all who were willing to run for a board seat. Volunteering to help support people and programs is a long legacy that Summit wants to continue!
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.
Moonridge Academy is excited to announce Lacey Heinzelman, LPC, LMFT as their new Clinical Director. Lacey received her master’s degree from Abilene Christian University in Abilene, TX. Lacey comes to Moonridge Academy with a variety of experiences working in both residential and wilderness settings. Most recently Lacey was a lead clinician and trainer at New Visions Wilderness (NVW) in Wisconsin. Prior to working at New Visions Wilderness, Lacey was a therapist at Explorations in Montana, a therapeutic boarding school.
Lacey has advanced training in Brainspotting, Trauma Center Trauma Sensitive Yoga, and HeartMath strategies. She is a trained family therapist, working with the entire family system to create long lasting change. Lacey has unique experiences working with young women in adventurous settings. This is essential at Moonridge Academy where the students are middle school age and are involved in weekly Adventure Therapy. Lacey is also a creative therapist including art projects, play therapy and music in therapy sessions. She is a calming, steady presence as a therapist when working with younger girls in a fun and empowering way. For families, Lacey is a consistent support providing real solutions for families in need. Lacey knows the treatment industry inside and out, but even more importantly, she knows teenagers and how to help create incredible change.
“We're so excited about Lacey coming to Moonridge”, comments Executive Director Tawny Thomas, LCSW. “She's walking into an already amazing team of clinicians and there's no doubt she'll help make it even better!”
In her off time, Lacey enjoys exploring and playing in the outdoors, reading, Packer football, and spending time with her family.
About Moonridge Academy
Moonridge Academy is a premier residential treatment center for younger girl ages 11-15 years located in Cedar City, UT. Moonridge Academy specializes in healing trauma and addressing mental and emotional challenges using different therapeutic modalities including EMDR, CBT, DBT, Play Therapy, Equine Therapy and Adventure Therapy. As a small program of only 16 students, Moonridge Academy allows for a high degree of individualization in both clinical and academic services. By combining a nurturing home-like environment with a sophisticated clinical approach, Moonridge Academy is tailored to meet specific needs and to assist students to develop coping skills and identity.
Eva Carlston Academy, a residential treatment center for adolescent girls, understands that it is important for all youth to step away from self-motivated tendencies and serve others. They have found volunteering to be a vital aspect of their motivation system as the teens look for opportunities each day to be of service to another person. Additionally, youth in the program engage in larger, community-based volunteering each week. Equally important to Eva Carlston is having staff model appropriate behavior and, with volunteering, staff are encouraged to also volunteer outside of the workplace.
Staff at Eva Carlston Academy are involved in their community in a variety of ways. Of volunteering in his community, one staff member said, “I love the opportunity to make an impact, not only at work, but in my community as well. When I help other people and see the joy it brings to their life I am filled with a greater sense of purpose.” Eva Carlston has employees serving on the following boards:
Regional NATSAP Board
Salt Lake Business Advisory
Utah Museum of Contemporary Art
Additionally, staff and directors give their time to the following organizations:
Copper Moose Farms
Meals on Wheels
Tourette Syndrome Association Parent Advocate & Student Mentor
Boy Scouts of America
Congregation Kol Ami synagogue
St. Vincent de Paul Shelter
Kimball Arts Festival
Utah Film Commission
Utah Arts Festival
Through community involvement, staff and directors hope to instill the value of volunteerism in the youth with whom they work, and make their community a better place because of it.
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.
ViewPoint Center's clinical staff administers an assessment process in order to diagnose and form treatment plans for their patients. Some of these evaluations are neuropsychological in nature and others are psychological. But what is the difference between them? And what benefits do each provide struggling teens?
Dr. Jordan Rigby, Director of Assessment at ViewPoint Center explains that, like in most fields, there are many different types of psychologists, with the most common school specializing in clinical psychology, like she did. A clinical psychologist is someone who can assess, diagnose and treat psychological and mental health problems. These can include, but are not limited to, psychiatric disorders such as anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder etc. A clinical psychologist will assess a child's history, intellectual abilities, basic academic skills, and conduct a personality assessment.
Early in Dr. Rigby’s training, he was exposed to the specialty of clinical neuropsychology. This is the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of psychological disorders associated with brain-based conditions. Neuropsychology relates to the cognitive, behavioral, and emotional deficits resulting from patterns of cognitive strengths and weakness in someone with difficulties associated specifically to psychiatric (e.g., depression), neurodevelopmental (e.g., autism spectrum), and neurocognitive (e.g., traumatic brain injury) disorders. This requires post-doctoral training and supervision in addition to a clinical (pre-doctoral) internship.
A neuropsychological assessment differs from the psychological evaluations conducted by a clinical psychologist. Unlike traditional psychological evaluations, neuropsychological evaluations:
- use a series of tests to assess various areas of cognition and behavior. These areas include: memory, attention, learning, processing speed, and abstract reasoning. This information is linked back to brain structures, to provide information regarding the impact of any identified areas of difficulty on a person's everyday functioning.
- include detailed investigation of a child's developmental, medical, social, and psychological history. This is in addition to an extensive testing battery that examines intellectual, academic, attention, executive functioning, language, visuospatial, visuoconstructional, memory, and fine motor skills.
The results of a neuropsychological assessment are intended to identify not merely any intellectual or learning difficulties, but also any other cognitive or psychological difficulty that may be a contributing to an adolescent’s profile.
ViewPoint Center utilizes neuropsychological assessments along with psychological evaluations to provide patients with the most comprehensive assessment process possible.
About the ViewPoint Center
ViewPoint Center, a mental health assessment center for teens ages 12-17, is located just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. With a program lasting 6-7 weeks, ViewPoint Center provides superior assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and stabilization for teens struggling with mental and behavioral issues such as suicidal ideation, anxiety disorders, and eating disorders. In a safe, personalized environment, ViewPoint helps teens focus on the healing process.
Elements Wilderness Program invites you to join them at the San Rafael Classic Triathlon. On July 14th, Elements Wilderness Program will help host a fun and engaging weekend at Huntington State Park for the annual triathlon in support of Emery County Search and Rescue. Elements and various program friends will field multiple teams and individuals to support this worthy cause. The Search and Rescue Posse hosts a spaghetti dinner the night of the 13th, and after the race Elements will hold a barbeque for friends and family at the state park.
“The most important thing for everyone to know is that this event is designed to be fun,” says John Karren, Elements Co-owner and Admissions Director, who also volunteers his time each year as the Race Director of the triathlon. “You do not have to be a pro to have fun racing this course, by yourself or with friends. And the best part is that all proceeds go towards an organization that is very close to home for us, the Emery County Search and Rescue.”
The race itself hosts both Sprint and Olympic distances, with the Sprint course as follows: ½ mile swim, 20k bike ride, and a flat 5k run around the lake. The Olympic distances are double that.
Relay teams can take one leg each of the swim, bike, and run.
Please RSVP by calling John Karren (click here).
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.
For the last seven years, the Chamberlain International School has been hosting the Plymouth County District Attorney’s Office to discuss internet safety with the staff and students. Presenting this year was Assistant District Attorney Amanda Fowle, Director of the Human Trafficking Unit.
ADA Fowle began by letting the students know that she wasn’t there to confiscate their devices. “I won’t tell you not to use electronic devices but how to safely use them.” Over 85% of the students who attend Chamberlain have some sort of electronic device such as a laptop, tablet, phone etc. Students are not allowed to carry their personal cell phones until they reach the Independence Stage, the highest of the five stages in the tiered Behavioral Management System. They also have to sign a contract for appropriate usage which they review with the schools administration.
“A lot of people put all of their business on social media for everyone to see without thinking of the long term consequences of what they are leaving as a digital footprint.” ADA Fowle went on to explain the importance of being careful as to what one posts as each post can reveal more personal information than intended. “Something as innocent as posting a selfie while you are on vacation like ‘Loving the Island Vibes’, now everyone knows you are on vacation and your house is empty. Even scarier are the Sexual Assault cases based on relationships and information found on the internet. This number has been rising at an alarming rate. 'Ugh! I hate the walk home from the skate park!' is broadcasting to the world your location and makes you an easy target for an online predator.
ADA Fowle urged students to limit the information they are sharing when playing online games as well, regardless of how familiar they are with their opponents online, or how often they “game” together. “The reality is you don’t know who is on the other side of the computer screen looking at you or your information.”
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.
The state of Montana has some of the best recreational areas in the nation and Summit Prep’s campus is close to many of them. One of the goals of Summit Prep is to help students engage in the out of doors and find their passions. The staff designs purposeful activities to get students into the community and practice the skills they are learning on campus.
With each season there are many activities that are of interest to our students. In the winter, the students have the opportunity to ski and snowboard up to 3 times a week. Hitting the slopes of Big Mountain is a favorite, but many students also enjoy snowshoeing and hiking on campus.
Now that summer is just around the corner the students are anxious to get out and enjoy the lakes, the trails, and Glacier National Park. The weekend schedules are set to capture as many opportunities as possible. This past weekend the students divided out by teams and participated in a variety of outdoor options. Team Blue played Disc Golf on our campus course, and Team Red participated in a 5K run in an area park. Team Ocean headed to Avalanche Lake for a day of water fun. Three teams participated in some out of doors community service activities; Team Platinum headed to Whitefish to do some trail worked and teams Neon and Gold stained the sheds on the campus retreat site. All in all, the students had a grand time enjoying the sunshine, their teammates' company, and beautiful surroundings of Big Sky Country.
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.
Pacific Quest’s Clinical Director and renowned sandplay expert Dr. Lorraine Freedle presented “Play as Archetype and Agent for Transformational Change” at the recent Expressive Therapies Summit in Los Angeles. This summit is a gathering of international clinicians interested in the role of play and art in healing. The conference provided workshops in sandplay, poetry, nature art, role play, drawing, and more.
In Dr. Freedle’s workshop, audience members learned about the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics and the neuromechinisms involved with play, symbolic expression and healing. She highlighted how play isn’t just a human activity, it exists in many species of animals, and remains a critical component of social, emotional, and cognitive development. Dr. Freedle engaged the audience with interactive art, videos, and case studies, allowing participants to develop a felt sense for the power of play, and the important role it plays in transformational change. Dr. Freedle brought her travel sand tray from Hawaii, and offered insights into the value of sandplay specifically.
The keynote address was presented by Dr. Dan Siegel, leader in the neuroscience field. He introduced themes from his new book, linking tools and insights related to decreasing chaos and rigidity, and increasing flexibility, adaptation, coherence, empathy, and stability (F.A.C.E.S.).
The Expressive Therapies Summit was well attended and will remain a priority for continuing education in years to come.
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
AIM House announces participants will now take advantage of Life Lab. Held at the Madelife building in downtown Boulder, Life Lab offers individualized academic, vocational and executive functioning support in a co-working environment. The educational and vocational aspects of the AIM House program have always been prioritized, but what makes Life Lab innovative is the acknowledgement that skills needed for academic and professional success overlap and intersect into all area of life. By offering participants a space to explore these skills in the context of both immediate goals and overall executive functioning, the result is not simply immediate success, but also the ability to capitalize on what they’ve learned and practiced in the lab for years to come. Life Lab workshops and study/coworking sessions are taught and proctored by expert mentors, who work with groups and individuals to make sure all feel equal parts supported and empowered.
After nearly twenty years of helping young adults find and sustain success and wellness, AIM House leadership and staff have recognized a few patterns along the way. While participants certainly enter the program with varying academic or occupational goals, many of the skills or resources that they must learn and practice to be successful are congruent. Matt Sullivan, program director, explains: “the same personal accountability that allows for someone to show up to an 8 a.m. class, attend office hours, and apply for admission to college also enables a young person to stay committed through a job search, or hold on to a challenging internship. That same sense of agency will also motivate a young person to continue to attend recovery meetings and take ownership of their wellness.” Sullivan’s goal in Life Lab is to offer someone support with their individualized “AIM” plan (their educational/vocational aspirations), while simultaneously emphasizing how retaining the skills they will learn will also be beneficial in other aspects of life.
It’s important that support and coaching of these skills remains individualized. Not every young adult will study for exams the exact same way. Life Lab is the place to experiment and for students to figure out how they can best find motivating results. While exceptional educational and/or occupational advising and support has always set AIM House apart, Life Lab in particular emphasizes overall executive functioning. Effective study habits and focus tools learned in Life Lab will be just as useful for those constructing resumes for entry-level positions as they are for those working on classes at the University of Colorado.
The Life Lab format creates space for learning new skills, group work, and of course time to work on individual classwork, creative projects, resumes, etc. AIM House participants have the thriving city of Boulder at their fingertips — academic institutions, diversity of employment and internship opportunities, creative mentorship programs and apprenticeships, and countless community service organizations. Boulder is home to the University of Colorado Boulder, Naropa University and Front Range Community College. Well established companies across various sectors (technology, outdoor/adventure, media and arts) have campuses in Boulder, not to mention, it’s also a popular town for entrepreneurs and start-ups.
If taking advantage of a community like Boulder is how young people fulfill their goals and find success, Life Lab is the space in which the AIM House community experiments and learns how to best take advantage of Boulder.
Life Lab runs regularly throughout the week and will carry on year round. AIM House and Madelife welcome visitors and friends to stop by.
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.
Dr. Richard Whiting comes back to RedCliff as a Primary Therapist. Dr.Whiting completed his Bachelor of Science in Psychology (1987) and his Master of Social Work (1989) from Brigham Young University. After 15 years of clinical practice, he began teaching at BYU-Idaho and received his PhD. from the University of Utah’s Graduate School of Social Work (2014). He is currently a faculty member in the social work program at BYU Idaho.
Dr. Whiting has been a licensed clinical social worker since 1989 and specialized in working with adolescents and working with substance use issues. He began working in the field of residential and wilderness treatment in 1983 and has worked with hundreds of adolescents and their families in these settings. He has worked as a therapist in a number of community mental health settings with both youth and adults serving a wide range of mental health needs. During that time, he served as the clinical director of a substance abuse treatment program and eventually serving as the director over all of the adult services for that same agency. He is currently a professor of social work at Brigham Young University Idaho.
Dr. Whiting worked at RedCliff Ascent from 1994 to 2000 as a field therapist. He worked there until he returned to school to pursue his doctoral degree, after which he took an academic appointment. He has spent 14 years — seven with Redcliff Ascent, working with outdoor based treatment programs emphasizing experiential education and adventure based counseling models which he now integrates into his teaching.
He has worked as a professional river guide in the Grand Canyon for three years and has been able to integrate his love of outdoors into his social work practice. He continues to spend as much time as possible in the outdoors with his family.
About RedCliff Ascent and RedCliff Recovery
RedCliff Ascent is a therapeutic wilderness program, nestled between two mountain ranges in the high desert of Enterprise, UT. They focus on adolescents ages 13-17 who are struggling with various challenges from anxiety and depression, to school abandonment and the need to reconnect with their family. With over 25 years of experience, RedCliff uses a relational model and narrative therapy to drive an outcome and evidence-based approach. RedCliff Recovery is a women's specific, 12-step adventure based wilderness program. Designed by women, specifically for women.
New Vision Wilderness (NVW) therapy program is pleased to report it enrolled its first client in Asheville, NC last week. With this expansion, NVW now has programs in Bend, Oregon, Medford, Wisconsin and Asheville, North Carolina. NVW President and Co-Founder Drew Hornbeck said, “I’m honored and excited to direct our expansion to North Carolina. I value the support from Liz Deardorf, Steve Sawyer and other long term NVW leaders for their assistance in our expansion. Our intent is to create better access to specialized trauma-informed wilderness therapy services and opening on the East Coast helps us accomplish that".
New Vision Wilderness Asheville opens as a young adult, coed program serving young people ages 18-26 who are struggling with symptoms related to early life trauma like anxiety, emotional dysregulation, depression, relational stability and substance abuse. The program will access the Nantahala National Forest, utilizing state-of-the-art interventions that NVW is known for including the CASA developmental trauma treatment model, canines, Brainspotting, mastery skill building and adventure-based activities.
After 10 years working with New Vision Wilderness (NVW) in various roles from Field Instructor to Admissions Director, Adam Eader has transitioned into the role of NVW’s Expansion Director. In this role, Adam is overseeing the development of the new program and has been busy working with the state, interviewing staff, and training NVW’s new Director of Admissions, Patrick McAvoy. “This is an exciting time for me”, Adam said. “Not only am I utilizing all of the skills and experiences that I acquired over the past ten years at NVW, but I get to train an exceptional Admissions Director in Patrick, who will continue to provide excellent service to our referring professionals and their families”.
Two long term and respected NVW clinicians also take on expanded roles: Liz Deardorf, Family Services Director will assume the Clinical Director role and Steve Sawyer LCSW, Co-Founder, will provide direct training to the program while helping ensure that NVW's core values and cultural norms are pervasive throughout the program. They will also provide recently hired Executive Director Kristina Fortner with a comprehensive onboarding experience in the NVW trauma-informed approach and practice.
About New Vision Wilderness
New Vision Wilderness (NVW) is located in Wisconsin, Oregon and North Carolina. It serves teens and young adults and does not rely solely on a physical challenge regimen as the catalyst for positive change. NVW de-emphasizes the behavioral level system, favoring instead a relational focused treatment plan that includes mastery projects to assist with attachment and connection. This is what sets us apart and provides an unparalleled wilderness experience while adhering to the highest standards of safety and individual attention. For more information about NVW-Asheville, please contact Adam at (414) 801-9792 or email Adam Eader directly.
TechieForLife (TFL) students are making considerable progress as they overcome social, emotional and/or academic challenges due to neurological differences. These young people have had an amazing spring. Each student at TFL, a vocational training and college support school for neurodiverse young adults, is working toward independence and finding their individual career path. Here is an update of their extensive personalized progress:
- Amber received recognition at the AATC Annual Gala for her volunteer work redesigning the website for a non-profit organization, Art Around the Corner. See her work here: www.artaroundthecorner.org. She has also been successfully working full-time at her first graphic design job for the last month.
- Lee graduated from TechieForLife and is enjoying his course to become a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant), a completely different direction than he originally started. He also plans to continue taking classes at Dixie State University (DSU).
- Eric is teaching coding and software to junior high and high school groups with Code Changers over the summer while he continues to work on Microsoft certifications in data science/analytics.
- Dylan just finished his first semester at DSU and is working on publishing a research paper on amphibious disease. He is working with the DSU math department to create software to manage how the disease is spreading and affecting frogs. He also now works full-time at BusyBusy in their QA (quality assurance) department.
- Dallin graduated from TFL this month and just completed his first semester at DSU with excellent grades.
- Five of TFL's students Joseph, Reid, Grady, Carlos and Alec were accepted into an intensive advanced coding and software boot camp at DSU. This is a great opportunity for them to learn and network with Southern Utah software and tech companies. (Three students went on to attend DSU after last summer's Code School.)
- Hunter started his apprenticeship in gunsmithing with Justin Sip. His website can be viewed at www.justincustomguns.com.
Whether a student comes to TechieForLife fresh from a therapeutic wilderness program or after failing to find work after obtaining a bachelor's degree or right from living in their parent's basement, these young adult students are connecting and supporting each other. "I'm impressed with how humorous and witty our current population is. They seem to have a lot of fun and it makes me happy to see them laughing," said Jason Grygla, TFL Executive Director and Founding Partner. TFL's peer mentoring model can have a profound healing and motivating effect as these relationships develop.
TechieForLife opened its doors two years ago with a mission to help neurodiverse young adults build on their individual strengths and minimize their weaknesses so they can gain marketable skills to be successful in careers. "We are proud of the successes and progress our students are making and we are even prouder when they don't need us anymore," said Jason, grinning.
To find out if TechieForLife might be a good fit or to request a free interest and aptitude test for a neurodiverse young adult, email GetStarted@TechieForLife.com.
TechieForLife (TFL) is a co-ed, young adult, residential and licensed vocational school located in St. George, Utah. Dubbed "Silicon Slopes South," beautiful Southern Utah is home to one of the fastest growing tech sectors in the U.S. Neurodiverse students who need a safe social and emotional environment gain important life skills, mentoring and a college track or marketable technology training, leading to internship/job placement through TFL's close private sector partnerships. TechieForLife gives students a place to belong and the supports to succeed.
Montford Hall, a residential program for teenage boys in early recovery, entered its third year this spring.
“By industry standards, Montford Hall is relatively new,” says Executive Director Alex Kirby, Psy.D., “but the program was literally years in the making. While the process felt slow going at the time, it’s clear that all the careful, unhurried planning we did yielded a solid operation that seems like it’s been around for much longer.”
Kirby notes that Montford Hall’s mission statement has endured since it was crafted in 2010, with only a few minor tweaks to the language. Moreover, the true-to-life recovery model —which, as sensible as it is, was a previously untested concept — has proven to be a meaningful, workable approach to supporting teenagers in successfully transitioning teenagers from wilderness and other primary placement programs into the real world.
Making a tongue-in-cheek pro-recovery statement, Montford Hall celebrates its anniversary on April 20 — a date known to many as “weed day”—with a staff-family-student cookout, music, and lawn games.
About Montford Hall
Located in Asheville, NC, Montford Hall is a nonprofit residential treatment program for teenage boys in early recovery. The program combines comprehensive clinical care for substance use and co-occurring disorders, innovative academics, 12-step facilitation, family support, and a wide range of health/wellness and recreational activities to give students an integrated, individualized, an inspiring recovery experience. Montford Hall is licensed by the State of North Carolina and a member of the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP).
Valley View School is pleased to welcome Dr. Ann Maloney to the clinical team. Dr. Maloney is a psychiatrist affiliated with the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, with a specialty in child and adolescent psychiatry. Dr. Maloney began her career as a nurse and worked in that capacity for several years before receiving her medical degree from The Robert Larner, M.D. College of Medicine at The University of Vermont. She completed her residency and fellowship at the University of North Carolina Hospitals.
Dr. Maloney has extensive experience working within the context of residential treatment programs. She understands the specific issues that arise in these settings from both psychiatric and psycho-social perspectives.
Dr. Thomas Nowak, Valley View School's Executive Director, states, "Dr. Maloney's expertise is a perfect fit for Valley View's needs. She will be available not only for medication management but also clinical consultation with the treatment team at Valley View. As Valley View School continues to expand its clinical services, Dr. Maloney's presence on the clinical team will be an invaluable asset."
About Valley View School
Valley View School, founded in 1970, is a private therapeutic boarding school serving boys in grades 6-12. Our non-profit 501(c)(3) school is located in the central Massachusetts town of North Brookfield. The Valley View Program consists of a comprehensive blend of Therapy, Academics, Athletics, Arts and Activities challenging our students emotionally, intellectually and physically. The boys learn self-control and anger management, social skills in order to create and cultivate relationships with peers and adults, while developing compassion, empathy and respect for others and to realize their true potential.
SUWS of the Carolinas and Phoenix Outdoor invite you to attend the third annual Expanding Recovery and Wellness Retreat. This year the conference will be held August 15-17th at the Kanuga Resort and Conference Center in Hendersonville, NC. Participants can enjoy presentations from experts in the field of recovery, yoga, neuro/psycho-ed sessions, and recovery support while enjoying the back drop of the Blue Ridge mountains. All lodging, meals, CEU's and daily activities are included in registration.
This year's keynote Speaker is Jeff Georgi M.Div., MAH, LCAS, LPC, CGP. More about Jeff:
Jeff has practiced psychotherapy with a focus on substance abuse and families for more than 30 years. He holds licenses as a Clinical Addiction Specialist, a Certified Clinical Supervisor, a Licensed Professional Counselor, and a Certified Group Psychotherapist by the American Association of Group Psychotherapy. For over seven years, Jeff and his wife, Becky have been working with the South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Services implementing a staff development program through Georgi Educational and Counseling Services (GECS), which provides training and consultation for their addiction treatment professionals with a common definition of addictive disease and a group intervention for SUDs patients, Modified Interpersonal Group Psychotherapy. They are currently initiating the Leadership Academy, which will help ensure that their work in South Carolina continues into the future.
Prior to his involvement with GECS, Jeff served as the clinical director of the Duke Addictions Program. For more than two decades at the Medical Center, Jeff held clinical appointments in the Departments of Surgery, Obstetrics, and Psychiatry. He remains a consulting faculty member in the Department of Behavioral Medicine, Division of Addiction Research and Translation as well as a faculty member of the Duke University School of Nursing.
For a comprehensive line-up of speakers and registration: Click Here!
About SUWS of the Carolinas
SUWS of the Carolinas is a licensed, CARF International-accredited mental health facility, committed to helping families rediscover their strengths and fostering growth for young people. Operating in the Pisgah National Forest under permit from the National Forest Service, SUWS delivers wilderness based therapeutic interventions for 10-17 year old boys and girls with compassion and excellence.
Over the past 9 years, reSTART has been at the forefront of working with students struggling with internet and video game addiction. They have been focused on treating this specific issue with overwhelmingly positive results and are often labeled as “The Gold Standard” in internet and videogame addiction recovery. Continuing the expectation of highly skilled and motivated staff, reSTART is excited to welcome Dr. Samantha Dresmond to the team as one of the lead clinicians/program directors for reSTART’s adolescent program at Serenity Mountain.
Dr. Samantha Desmond is leading the charge of what is possible in quality healthcare for patients through integrative healthcare applications. After working her first seven years as a licensed medical massage therapist and interacting with the healthcare system professionally, personally, and through her patient’s experiences, Dr. Desmond decided to further her education in order to better serve a greater number of people and to effect a positive change in the larger system. She received her Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine and her Masters in Counseling Psychology from Bastyr University, her Business of Healthcare Certification from Johns Hopkins, and her Masters in Health Administration from the University of Washington. Dr. Samantha will be bringing this expertise, experience and energy to her role as clinician/program director.
Dr. Desmond is past president of the Seattle Storytellers Guild, and plays a variety of instruments including the harp. She has an intense love of travel and the outdoors. She has two cats, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.
Headquartered in Fall City, Washington, reSTART is a leading advocate of healthy sustainable digital media use (internet, VR, and videogames) for people and the planet. reSTART offers staffed residential care for youth (13-17) and life sharing retreats for adults (ages 18-30), along with independent living support.
As parents take the big leap into the unknown of wilderness therapy, they are experiencing severe grief and loss, while at the same time being inundated with information. They are often asked to study thorough write ups on their children and memorize parent manuals that contain vast amounts of information. Naturally, it becomes difficult for families to juggle all of this. Solutions Parenting Support would like to address the ways in which they are helping parents to understand the goals of treatment; both their own and their child’s.
Here is where parents often start to struggle:
● Understanding the techniques and structure used day-to-day within the program.
● What communication to expect and how to process the information when it is received.
● How to interact during weekly family call times while advocating for their child’s well-being and their own.
Information can quickly start to get fuzzy and overwhelming for parents to process.
Typical parent questions are:
- “What does ‘ready’ mean?” (in reference to when their child is ready to transition)
- “What issues is the program trying to ‘fix’ and are they issues that need to be ‘totally fixed’ for our child to be ready?”
- “My child is not showing any of the same behaviors in wilderness and the program is saying we should start looking at transition, but we don’t understand what has been worked on and what still needs to get worked on?”
- “Why is the program recommending a therapeutic boarding school?”
- “We thought wilderness would ‘fix’ the problem?”
Here is where Solutions Parenting Support can help:
- Solutions Parenting Support coaches are able to join those wilderness calls as silent observers. This helps to reiterate messages from the wilderness therapist. Solutions Parenting Support solely focuses on guiding parents and helping them understand what is happening in the moment and in the big picture.
- Solutions Parenting Support understands how easy it is for parents to lose information in the whirlwind of everything they are experiencing. They help to organize the information in a way that parents can more easily understand and retain.
- Once the family is focused on processing this information, it allows them to see the amazing learning transformation that their child is experiencing in the woods or garden.
In order to develop a solid and sustainable foundation of trust with the parents, Solutions Parenting Support finds it extremely useful to frequently identify the major issues that are the primary focus of treatment for their child. These can be:
- What are the specific behaviors and emotions that have the most negative impact?
- What are the strengths-based specific ways a program is supporting the development of a new understanding and habits within the child?
The role of Solutions Parenting Support is to continuously clarify these pieces to help parents feel confident in the program and supporting the goals that have been defined. This is critical since in many ways the program has taken over their parenting role during this period of time. Solutions Parenting Support fully understands that it takes a village to help families move positively through treatment.
About Solutions Parenting Support
Solutions Parenting Support, LLC is a nationally recognized parent support and transitional program assisting families during and after wilderness therapy treatment and/or residential treatment programming. With business offices in Steamboat Springs, CO and Tucson, AZ, the team is supporting parents and families in the United States and around the globe. The team of parent coaches and transitional specialists are family system focused, licensed professional therapists and/or licensed social workers with a combined 40+ years of experience working in wilderness therapy programs, varying levels of residential treatment programming and transitional support.
At Elevations RTC, a residential treatment center for teens ages 13-18, students are encouraged to express their voice and become leaders on campus.
On a monthly basis, Executive Director Judi Jacques, M.Ed, meets with a Student Advisory Board to discuss a wide variety of topics as well as plan special activities and events. The Student Advisory Board is an open format in which the students are invited to participate, and bring up issues that are important to them as related to their stay at Elevations. These issues cover a wide spectrum of topics: from the temperature of the water in the showers to generating new programming ideas that may help their peers who are currently struggling to gain some additional motivation. The students are also always quick to spend time recognizing outstanding staff members. The concerns and ideas generated during the Student Advisory Board are brought to the Elevations Leadership Team for discussion, solutions, and implementation.
“The voice of the students through the Student Advisory Board can be seen in countless ways on campus from our monthly Super Supper Social and Leadership Shirt Tuesdays to the addition of several level-associated privileges and community roles, all of which were generated from different Student Advisory Board meetings,” comments Judi Jacques, M.Ed, Executive Director of Elevations RTC.
In addition to the Student Advisory Board, students have the opportunity to gain leadership skills on campus in bi-weekly campus meetings. During these meetings, students learn skills such as problem solving, being assertive, and stress management. These skills help build students into strong leaders. “During these bi-weekly meetings, specific students are assigned as leaders,” comments Tiffany Orozco, Residential Team Director of the Olympus and Everett Teams at Elevations RTC. “Students assigned as leaders are encouraged to help lead these meetings by bringing up specific topics and communicating their needs.”
These meetings give students an opportunity to support one another, feel connected, and give each other feedback and ideas on how to help themselves and their teams. “I get a lot of support from the leadership on campus, whether it be advice for how to address a situation or just to talk about stuff that is going on,” says an Elevations RTC student. “I think that leadership really does help everything go more smoothly.”
Each quarter, students take part in a survey which allows them to voice their thoughts on a wide range of topics including academic programming, campus milieu, staff, and their overall experience.
In the most recent survey, students rated academic programming and therapeutic staff with a rating of 4 out of 5.
About Elevations RTC
Elevations RTC is a unique residential treatment center that works with both all students ages 13 - 18. Elevations offers guidance, support and relief to students struggling with issues like trauma, depression, anxiety, mood disorders, behavioral problems, and substance use. Elevations RTC is located in Utah and provides specialized, clinically intensive programs to struggling teens.
Red Oak Recovery® is proud to announce the opening of a clinically intensive, trauma-informed, gender-separate adolescent treatment program in the Winter of 2018. The program will serve adolescent males, ages 14-17. Located on an expansive 94-acre working horse farm in Ellenboro, North Carolina, equidistant between Asheville and Charlotte, it is an ideal location to utilize the surrounding landscape for experiential and adventure programming.
The program will be 45-60 day residential, multi-disciplinary program focusing on trauma, mental health, and substance use issues. In addition to extensive clinical care with master’s level clinicians who are dually licensed in mental health and substance abuse, it will also include an academic component, nutritional education, physical fitness, experiential therapies, psychoeducation, grief and loss work, and care around adoption and divorce issues.
The intensive, emotionally focused Family Program will be centered around communication skills, improving family relationships, and supporting recovery. Red Oak Recovery® interlocks their clinical approach with full holistic care for the body, mind and spirit. Focusing on the whole person, as well as integrating their family and loved ones in their care, has proven to provide the best chance at sustainable recovery for a young person.
“We have had multiple requests over the years to open an adolescent program utilizing our developmentally specific, clinically dynamic, and trauma informed treatment model,” explains Jack Kline, MS, LPCS, LCAS, CCS, CTT-2, MAC, President and Founder. “We are enthusiastic about this as we have seen how effective bio-psycho-social-spiritual care is, particularly when combined with strong family work.”
About Red Oak Recovery
Red Oak Recovery and The Willows at Red Oak are located in the pristine Blue Ridge Mountains, just north of Asheville, NC, and is the result of extensive experience and research for developing highly effective programming to create a foundation of long-term recovery for young adults. The Willows is dedicated to woman-only programming uniquely blends quality clinical care, adventure and experiential therapy. Both types of programming include 12 Step work and social skills development to create positive and lasting change.
Alpine Academy is excited to recognize the graduating class of 2018. These amazing individuals have completed all the requirements to earn their high school diploma. In addition to that, they have worked tirelessly on their individual treatment goals to improve their relationships and cope with struggles they face.
Of those 24 students, 16 have already selected and been accepted to the college/university they will be attending and this Fall. Of the remaining 8, 3 are undecided, 1 will attend a trade school and 4 others plan to attend their local community colleges after getting re-established at home.
Alpine Academy is so proud of these incredible young ladies and their dedication and hard work. They will have a huge impact on the world and future generations. As these students leave in July, Alpine Academy is looking forward to enrolling a new group of students to prepare for the next step in their academic careers and lives.
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.
Telos has been an exclusively male program since 2004. For the first time since its inception, this new apartment living support is designed for young women ages 18-26 in need of college mentorship, vocational training, employment coaching, or any other kind of emotional and life skills support.
The female apartment is located at Telos U, on the West campus.
Telos is a continuum of programs offering an evidence based, highly relational, clinically sophisticated treatment model for youth and young adults. The typical student at Telos is bright but underachieving. Many of our students get lost in traditional academic settings, needing a higher level of individualized support. Telos students tend to be soft hearted, behaviorally mild and clinically complex. Typical issues preceding enrollment to Telos include:
- Information processing issues
- Anxiety and/or depression
- Low self-worth
- School avoidance
- Family conflict
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.
It is with great pleasure that PRN for Families announces the appointment of Tim Anglum to the position of Admissions Director. Tim comes to PRN after successful careers in finance and in non-profit development. He is currently a master’s candidate in mental health counseling at Northwestern University. Tim is an experienced volunteer in crisis and domestic violence advocacy, and is passionate about finding ways to creatively support families in times of need. Of his desire to work directly with families in need of resources, Tim states, “In my professional work, I am guided by the intention first and always to listen; to seek the broadest understanding of both need and opportunity, and then with patience, persistence, respect and flexibility help to establish and deepen the relationships that will contribute to the most beneficial outcomes.” Tim’s previous work in non-profit development at Bennington College solidified his decision to dive into the world of counseling, as his deepest satisfaction came from working with students and their families.
Tim’s skill and thoughtfulness in building relationships ultimately led him to PRN for Families. “We are so pleased to welcome Tim to the PRN for Families team,” said Charles Elias, Executive and Clinical Director of PRN for Families. “He brings a wealth of experience and a broad range of skills, as well as a warm and genuine approach, that we believe will help him to foster the development of the most transparent and supportive connections between families and our program, and ultimately to set the tone for how we treat families in our care.”
Tim will work closely with Mary Jo DeGrandi, Director of Outreach and Marketing, as well as with Charles and the rest of the PRN for Families team, as he begins to meet and develop relationships with referring professionals. Tim is based on the East Coast and when not helping families plan their best next steps, he can be found exploring the trails of Vermont where he lives with his wife and three teenage children. Tim welcomes inquiries and can be reached at email@example.com or on his cell (click here).
PRN for Families
PRN for Families is an accredited, home-based support program that serves families who have children or young adults who are struggling, or for whom an out-of-home placement may be necessary. Since 2003, PRN for Families has offered intensive at-home intervention, crisis support, transition and reunification services that empower and support families so that they may live together successfully and safely. To learn more about PRN for Families' services and programs, visit www.prnforfamilies.com.
Gem Academy is proud to announce their clinical director, Stacie MacArthur M.Ed, LPC, CCTS has received the distinction of Certified Clinical Trauma Specialist by the International Association of Trauma Professionals. This is a continuation of the already strong commitment Stacie has had over the last 15 years in the areas of trauma and neuropsychology. She is also a member of the Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress. “We couldn’t be more proud to have such a dedicated and driven professional like Stacie leading our clinical department at Gem” states Jim Hershey, Executive Director of Gem Academy.
“A lot of people aren’t necessarily aware of the high rate of sexual abuse with adolescent girls who struggle with obesity. By some estimates it's two to three times the national average. We feel like it is our responsibility to not only continue to advance our sophistication in trauma treatment with our population but also to educate and advocate on behalf of our students and families.”
About Gem Academy
Gem Academy is a solution based program for adolecent girls who struggle wih obesity. The format is that of a year-round boarding school with a curriculum inclusive of high-school general studies, nutrition and culinary, fitness, therapy, community service and experiential learning.
EDGE Learning and Wellness students participated in the Volunteers of America of Illinois 2018 Hope Walk this past May. The fifth annual walk raised funds and awareness for programs that provide veterans with stable housing and income, life skills, greater social networks and improved health and wellness.
The Hope Walk’s mission to provide veterans with greater access to mental health services particularly resonated with EDGE students, as several strive to overcome obstacles with anxiety, depression and other mental health challenges themselves. Throughout the walk, students realized how crucial it is to provide veterans — a population with a suicide risk 22 percent higher than that of non-veteran adults — with resources, support and meaning.
"I enjoyed getting out and walking for a good cause,” said one EDGE student. “It was great to see so many people supporting veterans."
EDGE continues to participate in events like the Hope Walk to help others and increase the social wellness of its students. When EDGE students contribute to and connect with their community, both the student and their Chicago neighbors experience positive and fulfilling outcomes and increased interpersonal relationships.
"It’s so important for us here at EDGE to give back, no matter how big or small the effort,” said EDGE Life Coach Carissa Johnsen. “This walk was a simple way for our students to show veterans gratitude for their service. Becoming more supportive and aware of underserved populations can be an important part of personal growth — something we really try to help instill in all of our students.”
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.
Turn-About Ranch is committed to providing experiences that help develop healthy values. Charity is a value upon which most healthy values stand and often opens doors for personal awareness and change. So, Turn-About Ranch provides regular opportunities for its student to exercise charity in the form of service to others. They volunteer at the local Food Bank and look for opportunities to serve members of the community through simple acts of service that include such things as shoveling snow, chopping wood, weeding gardens for those in need. They have helped build the town’s Little League field, planted trees at the medical clinic, and volunteered time to clean and manicure the grounds of a local Heritage Center. “Each student who attends Turn-About Ranch has opportunities to serve in one capacity or another,” says Executive Director Michelle Lindsay. “Service is an integral aspect of our program.”
Most recently, Turn-About Ranch students were found participating in Utah’s Adopt a Highway Project on their local Highway 12. Turn-About Ranch has volunteered to keep a section of Highway 12 clean and a group of students spent a day cleaning up litter from the sides of the road. Students expressed gratitude for the opportunity to “give back to this beautiful place we’ve called home.” One student explained, “It was a bonding experience to work with the girls. It just feels good to contribute to the community and clean up the world. People forget how important that is. I’m glad we were able to step up and make a difference.”
In a Letter to the Editor of The Insider newspaper, a local resident wrote in support of all the good that Turn-About and its students offer the community. Karen Munson’s letter was printed on May 23, 2018, stating, “[Turn-About Ranch] students provide needed services such as landscaping and helping to maintain the clinic grounds, helping at Care and Share, and freeing our highways of litter.” Michelle Lindsay responded, “It is nice that community members recognize the contributions of our program. However, the real reward is in the character and esteem-building that occurs with each of our students as they serve someone or something beyond themselves.”
Values, such as charity and service to others, continue to be a part of the Turn-About Ranch program. The impact of such acts of service are evident in the local community and in the quality of growth and change with each of its students. Evidence that Mahatma Gandhi spoke truth when he said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
About Turn-About Ranch
Turn-About Ranch is a wilderness therapy and residential treatment program located in the heart of Southern Utah’s canyon country. Students experience life on a real working ranch while undergoing treatment to improve their life back home. Surrounded by multiple national parks and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Turn-About Ranch is the ideal location for youth of today to have the space they need to find healing and purpose.
Birgit hails from Bavaria, close to the Alps between Germany and Austria. She received her training and education in the homeland of key psychological figures like Jung, Adler, and Frankl. Her passion for helping others taps into this deep heritage as she left a career in business, left a very desirable, stable, and lucrative career with BMW and opted instead to go back to school. She opened her heart and followed a calling to work with struggling youth, earning an M.S. in pedagogy from the University of Augsburg. How does a therapist from Germany end up in Oregon? Birgit’s unique story with Evoke began back in December of 2006.
While studying for her Masters, Birgit worked at a youth psychiatric clinic. In spite of her home country's rich history, she discovered that treatment options for adolescents in Germany (and all of Europe) are surprisingly scarce and narrow in scope. Her experiences there left her in want, believing that there was another way to go about helping teens navigate turbulent waters. Searching for something more, she began pouring over publications and stumbled upon Wilderness Therapy. As she dug further, Evoke Therapy Programs were highlighted as one of the world leaders in Wilderness Therapy. Once again, she answered the calling and when she graduated she flew to Oregon and walked into the office and told the first person that she saw, “I heard you are one of the best and I want to work with you.” And so her journey with Evoke began as a field instructor.
She flourished in the fertile soil and longed to take root. In an odd twist, after 18 months she was not able to remain; bureaucracy dictated that she must return to Germany. Upon return, she served in transitional youth shelters, as an educational specialist, and as the director of a youth center. It wasn’t until 2013 that the door to the United States opened back up. She and her family followed the green light and moved from Germany to Bend, Oregon. Capitalizing on her experience and skills, Birgit was able to reunite with Evoke in 2014 and joined the clinical team and spent the next three years as a Clinical Assistant. The wheels of reciprocity between Europe and the USA are almost non-existent and she continuously and tenaciously has spent the last few years jumping through hoops towards licensure as a professional counselor in the States. Finally, the years of hard work have paid off as Evoke Therapy Programs announces that Birgit has her own group.
About Evoke Therapy Programs
Evoke Therapy Programs at Cascades, in Bend, Oregon provides innovative mental health treatment solutions for struggling teens, young adults and their families. Their programs foster lasting change utilizing the power of nature and Wilderness Therapy. They also offer Personal Growth Intensive Workshops for individuals and families that are looking to create dynamic changes in their life or to simply find the balance they are seeking.
Aspiro's approach to wilderness therapy is unique in that students are not limited to a specific geographical location. At Aspiro, there are 15 locations throughout the entire state where students participate in adventure therapy. These locations vary from the red rock deserts in Southern Utah to the forest covered mountains in Northern Utah, and out to the Salt Flats of the Great Salt Lake.
Providing students with the opportunity to experience the many incredible landscapes that Utah has to offer not only gives them an appreciation for the beautiful scenery, but also provides an education on the various flora, fauna, and rock formations throughout the state. These various settings allow students to look forward to a new experience week to week. Most importantly, utilizing various locations and activities continually provides Aspiro's team with a well-rounded functional assessment because students are continually exposed to new environments and new adventures.
Summer is a particularly lovely time to experience all that Utah has to offer. Read more on our blog at aspiroadventure.com/blog/summer-at-aspiro-wilderness-therapy to learn more about some favorite areas where Aspiro will be providing adventure therapy this summer.
With treatment-specific programs located in Utah and Costa Rica, Aspiro’s mission is to be the most clinically-advanced outdoor behavioral health program in the world, providing safe, dynamic, highly effective treatment modalities that are backed by empirical research. Aspiro Wilderness Adventure Therapy is a short-term wilderness program serving adolescents ages 13-17 and young adults ages 18-28 with varying degrees of social, emotional, and behavioral challenges.
Solstice East exposes students to equine-assisted therapy as a way to help them improve their own sense of self-awareness, give them a concrete example of responsibility, and show them the importance of being caring and nurturing towards others. The skills they learn by interacting with horses can be applied to their relationships with people. Licensed equine instructors are present on site to help guide students in improving their own self-regulation and developing a meaningful bond with the horse. Using the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA) model, students “learn by doing”, to analyze and problem solve different situations for powerful and meaningful results.
The relationships with the horses begin with communication. In order to effectively bond with a horse, individuals must be sensitive and nurturing. The horse's reaction will reflect the human’s communication, either positive or negative. This interaction lends itself to be a great learning experience for students. Horses can be great teachers in helping bring to life the importance of practicing self-control of emotions. Because the goal at Solstice East is to provide students with experiences and skills that are transferable to the real world and their day-to-day life, equine-assisted therapy is a great example of a therapeutic measure that teaches transferable skills. For trauma specifically, Solstice East uses the Trauma Focused Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (TFEAP) model that helps students re-engage for healthier processing and communication following trauma.
“Pressure and release” is another important method that the equine instructors teach both the students and families. During the first parent seminar, about 4-6 weeks into a student’s enrollment, parents visit campus and are trained on this method to help with their own communication skills. This form of nonverbal communication teaches students and families how to effectively regulate their own emotions and relationships. Through practice, they develop a greater understanding on how to apply and react to pressures from family and peers. This concept also emphasizes the importance of healthy communication.
“I love how work with the horses so easily shows ourselves in a non-judgmental way and gives us a beautiful opportunity to make healthy changes,” comments Georgia DeFrancia, Equine Director at Solstice East. “I also love the flexibility and creativity we have in ways of doing therapy and helping our families and their teens. We have the ability to find what works rather than just relying on one style!”
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.
Trails Carolina, a wilderness therapy program for teens ages 10-17, highlights the importance of treating individuals struggling with trauma in honor of PTSD Awareness Month this June.
“It is important to spread awareness of PTSD because trauma left untreated can lead to substance abuse, anger management issues, severe depression/anxiety, loneliness, and impede our ability for self-care, ” comments Tai Kulenic MPS, LPC, ATR-BC, Primary Therapist at Trails Carolina. Kulenic has spent the past couple of decades working with young people who struggle with trauma. “People experience PTSD through memory, emotion, and the body,” says Kulenic. “Because trauma is experienced in a variety of ways, traditional talk therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy may not be enough for some individuals. This has led me to rely more and more on my art therapy background when I work with students who have experienced trauma. I think the most important thing is meeting a student where they are and using the creativity of an artist to help students craft their own unique way of healing.”
At Trails Carolina, therapists utilize a variety of treatment approaches to help teens struggling with trauma. In addition to art therapy, therapists utilize yoga and mindfulness to foster compassionate self-observation for those healing from trauma. Additionally, several Trails therapists have been certified in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), which is an integrative psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma.
“I came to wilderness therapy from a traditional setting, so I can honestly say that I have never seen such movement in students as I have seen in wilderness,” says Kulenic. “Wilderness removes all distractions: hiding in one's room, playing computer games, social media, etc. It allows therapy to take place in a way that doesn't feel like therapy to teens.”
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.
Trails Momentum, a co-ed wilderness therapy program for young adults ages 18-25, recently introduced new weekend programming called the Peak Experience.
During the Peak Experience, students apply the lessons and skills they’ve learned in a classroom environment into outdoor adventure experiences.
During their time at Trails Momentum, students are able to earn college credit by taking an Introduction to Outdoor Recreation class and a Communication and Leadership class. The Peak Experience is an extension of these classes. Students take what they learn in any given week and apply it to experiences during adventure expeditions.
“Last weekend, students spent part of the weekend in a classroom learning about the care and maintenance of mountain bikes as well as the mechanical aspects of a mountain bike,” comments Meghan Bogutz, an Educator at Trails Momentum. “They were able to take what they learned and apply it to a mountain bike focused expedition. Experiences like these help students better understand how they can transfer the knowledge they’ve gained in the classroom into actual experiences in the real world.”
Additional examples of last month’s Peak Experiences included cooking a three-course meal on an expedition after learning about different aspects of nutrition throughout the school week, and summitting a mountain after learning how to use maps and compasses.
“These Peak Experiences can be extremely empowering to students,” says Bogutz. “For example, one student who was very scared of getting lost and not being able to navigate his way back to camp, expressed his newfound feelings of confidence when he was able to lead the group to the top of a mountain and back down to the campsite. He felt in total control of his ability to navigate his surroundings, something he never thought he could do without the help of 'Google Maps', prior to this experience.”
About Trails Momentum
Trails Momentum is a co-ed adventure-based wilderness therapy program for young adults ages 18-25. Located in the mountains of western North Carolina, Trails Momentum offers a transformative, whole student centered growth experience for young adults struggling to launch themselves into adulthood. Adventure programming, clinical services, education, service-learning, and community living are seamlessly interwoven to maximize the transference of important life skills in order to empower students to make the transition into independence.
Jessica started working with Vive in September 2013 as a mentor, and was promoted to Regional Director in March 2017. She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and has a master's degree in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University. Her favorite part of working with Vive families is getting outside of the office and into the homes and communities where they live. She loves being able to create a comfortable and authentic relationship that is unique to each family with whom she works. Jessica shared that the most challenging part of being a Regional Director is balancing the time between her administrative duties and working directly with the girls she mentors, because she enjoys being with clients so much.
She also loves how Vive assigns two therapists to each family, which allows them to work together as a team and have various eyes and ears on difficult situations. As Regional Director, she gets to be involved in the treatment planning of every Vive family in California and helps find unique interventions to the various problems for which our families are seeking support.
Jessica loves being to able to work with both the Northern California and Southern California teams. Since she grew up on the Bay area and has spent the last 9 years in LA, both of these regions feel like home to her. The relationships she's made through her work with Vive is extremely special to her and she hopes to be able to bring this unique service to as many families as possible!
Vive Family Support Program is relational and therapeutic support service for pre-teens, adolescents, young adults and their families. With a 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. Vive's goal is to ensure lasting positive change.
Auldern Academy, the college-prep, therapeutic boarding school, dedicates itself to helping teen girls, ages 14-18 uncover their true nature through relational therapy and values-based and learning experiences. The Ambassador Project at Auldern Academy is a concrete example of the ways in which these values help Auldern students blossom into community leaders. The Ambassador Project is an element of the Auldern Phase System and an integral part of the therapeutic and emotional growth curriculum.
The Auldern Phase System weaves together the clinical, academic and social concepts necessary in helping students feel confident that they are making progress, while also empowering them to become leaders. The Ambassador Project tasks students with identifying a way to give back to the Auldern community, thereby enriching the lives of current and future students.
Last month several students attained Ambassador status on campus. One student, Lindsey, raised money to update the book selection in the Auldern dorm library. “We have a lot of books in our school library, but I wanted to give girls more things to read for fun.” Lindsey said.
Another student, Maggie, has been drawing from her background in martial arts by leading a class designed to help students learn the basic principles of self-defense.
Elements of past Ambassador Projects can be seen throughout Auldern’s sprawling campus. Planter boxes, memorial walls and positive affirmation boards are reminders that former students have impacted and continue to impact the Auldern community through this special tradition.
About Auldern Academy
Auldern Academy is a college preparatory, therapeutic boarding school for young women ages 14 to 18. We provide a positive platform that helps transform the lives of young women academically, emotionally, and socially.
Sunrise RTC envisions a world where girls make peace with their past, thrive in the present, and move boldly into their futures -- a life of emotional health, personal growth, and independence. Sunrise empowers girls to make Real Life Change by creating opportunities for them to participate in the community through: service-learning activities; college attendance; team sports; art and music; internships and recreational experiences.
One of those recreational experiences is their annual camping trip to Snow Canyon State Park. For a week, the students, residential mentors, therapists, and teachers camp in beautiful Southern Utah. It is such a great opportunity for students and staff to strengthen their relationships and for students to have fun, practice their therapeutic skills outside of the traditional "treatment environment" and to enjoy, 24 x 7, all the benefits of nature.
Erin McMurtrey, Sunrise's Recreational Therapist, organized this year's camping experience. She loved being able to connect with the students in a way that was fun and sometimes challenging for the girls. She took the girls on a hike to Jenny's Canyon in the State Park. "Jenny's Canyon is a lovely, short walk to a small slot canyon. We created a DBT mindfulness experience and shared what we were most grateful for; it was a beautiful moment!"
As a team, Sunrise is grateful to be able to work with their girls to support them and their families on their healing journey.
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.