All Kinds of News for March 07, 2018
The ViewPoint Center introduced new programming this year to assist their students build communication and social skills. These skills are discussed and practiced in a specialized group that meets once a week. This specialized group is led by Amber Seely MS, CCC-SLP, a speech-language pathologist.
Although the group is focused on improving social skills, Amber's has experience with Articulation and Phonological Process Disorder, Learning Disabilities, Speech Therapy and so much more. Additionally she has several years of experience working with young people in residential treatment settings.
The social skills group on campus uses targeted strategies to help students learn effective social skills in a group setting. The topics addressed in this specialty group are designed to improve social skills in a variety of situations and environments. These include:
- Conversation skills
- Identifying and interpreting social cues
- Identifying emotions of others
- Problem solving appropriately for the situation
- Social filtering
- Listening skills
- Good sportsmanship
- Literal vs. figurative language
- Recognizing the perspective of others
About ViewPoint Center
ViewPoint Center, a mental health assessment center for teens ages 12-17, is located just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. With a program lasting 6-7 weeks, ViewPoint Center provides superior assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and stabilization for teens struggling with mental and behavioral issues such as suicidal ideation, anxiety disorders, and eating disorders. In a safe, personalized environment, ViewPoint helps teens focus on the healing process.
Skyland Trail is a residential psychiatric treatment organization in Atlanta, Georgia, serving adults ages 18 and older with mood, thought or anxiety disorders. Many patients have complex psychiatric diagnoses and treatment needs. A respectful, healing community, and evidence-based psychiatric treatment create opportunities for recovery for a few unique patient populations, including LGTBQ adults, college-age or emerging adults, adults with treatment-resistent depression, clients with chornic health issues, and clients with a history of self-harm or frequent suicide attempts.
The Skyland Trail treatment team and client community can successfully support transgender adults or adults with gender dysphoria. Transgender adults often need the same evidence-based, individualized care as cisgender adults. Skyland Trail welcomes all adults to our treatment community with the same inclusive, validating approach. When clients have a diagnosis of gender dysphoria, when gender identity is an issue for someone, or when someone is exploring gender fluidity, the treatment team provides support and appropriate expertise. Transgender clients find a welcoming community of peers at Skyland Trail and are able to work toward improved mental and physical health with support and encouragement.
Lesbian, gay and bisexual patients also experience a welcoming environment. Specialized LGBTQ peer support groups are available to clients of all ages, and Skyland Trail clinicians receive training on how to meet therapeutic needs that may be unique to LGBTQ individuals.
For clients with treatment-resistant depression, the Skyland Trail holistic approach and specialized services offer clients new hope and new options for better mental health. In addition to appropriate medication management and onsite Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) services, clients learn and practice coping skills to help them recognize and manage triggers for mood episodes, break the cycle of repeat hospitalizations, and make sustainable changes to live healthier lives.
For clients with chronic health issues, Skyland Trail's integrated mental and medical model with an onsite primary care clinic can uniquely support adults struggling with co-occurring psychiatric and physical health diagnoses, including diabetes, hypertension, sleep disorders and cardiometabolic syndrome.
For clients with a history of self-harm or frequent suicide attempts, Skyland Trail offers Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) as a 90-day intensive program beginning with residential treatment or as an outpatient program. DBT often is appropriate for individuals with borderline personality disorder and/or a history of challenges with emotion regulation, intense relationships, self harming behaviors, or frequent suicide attempts.
Almost 60 percent of Skyland Trail clients are young adults ages 18 to 25. Skyland Trail helps young adults learn to manage their illnesses, identify their strengths and work toward positive, productive futures. Many patients are struggling with a first episode of psychosis or with managing a mood or anxiety disorder as they transition to adulthood and independent living. Residential clients ages 18 to 25 stay at the Rollins Campus, a specialized residence and treatment facility for emerging adults.
About Skyland Trail
Located in Atlanta, Skyland Trail is a nationally recognized nonprofit mental health treatment organization serving adults ages 18 and older with a primary psychiatric diagnosis. Through our residential and day treatment programs, we help our clients grow, recover and reclaim their lives. We’re focused on individuals with complex mental health issues, helping them understand that they can be – and are – more than a diagnosis. We offer expert, evidence-based psychiatric care alongside a compassionate, holistic path to wellness. Our integrated mental, medical, and social model helps clients develop strategies to improve mental health, physical wellness, independence, and relationships with family and friends. Unique therapies offered include music, art and horticultural therapy; workforce and school readiness; primary care services; family therapy; and healthy living and nutrition coaching. Learn more at www.skylandtrail.org
In 2010, Q&A Associates began one of the goals, to help their clients on the Autism Spectrum find and maintain employment. Q&A partnered with Canaan Valley Resort and Conference Center, a West Virginia State Park, to ensure their clients with autism can achieve sustainable employment and be valued employees of the State Park. This successful partnership has allowed parents to put their fears aside about their adult children's employability and ability to sustain employment.
This winter, the Canaan Valley Resort continues to employ 5 Q&A clients. (There have been as many as 7 clients working concurrently). In the spring and winter, all Q&A clients attend a job fair at Canaan Valley Resort, and go through the practice of applying and interviewing. When they are hired, Q&A mentor staff provides transportation to and from work, and helps support them in preparing for work by dressing appropriately, having clean personal hygiene, and settling into a grounded state of mind.
Keith Bishop, Director of Operations for Q&A Associates, described the following scenario. “One day, we received a call from the HR Director at Canaan, and she was struggling with what to do with one of our clients employed there. We set up a meeting, and the HR Director, department heads, and General Manager Steve Drumheller sat down at the conference table. We opened the meeting with the assurance to all the department managers that we want to help. With that out in front, Becky Boyers, the HR Director outlined some struggles one of our clients was having at Canaan. As we listened to the issues, it became clear that the team at Canaan had not dealt with employees challenged with Autism in such a direct way. Over the next hour, we went through the Autism Diagnosis and how we address these challenges at Q&A. You could see their faces relax and everyone began to open up and become creative as to how they could help our clients. That was almost three years ago, and “Dave” (all client names have been changed), still works there.”
When supervising employees with Autism, there will always be challenging issues, such has hygiene, appropriateness around coworkers, eating too much in the employee cafeteria, hiding in the break room when they should be working, etc. The staff at the Resort can and often do call Bishop or other Q&A directors to discuss the issues and jointly form a plan to support both the client and the resort so that the relationship is beneficial to all.
"Dave" would often show up to work un-kempt or with body odor. When this occurred, the Life Coaches and Mentors would work with "Dave" to help him understand and adjust his behavior so that he could continue working. His supervisors at the resort would hold him accountable, but also provide support by allowing “Dave” to take a shower in the gym prior to working in the dining room.
Another Q&A client, "Josh" would eat several plates of food from the employee canteen. In fact, he ate so much that he would go find a place to lie down because he was too full to work. When the resort called, staff worked with "Josh" to help him develop a better understanding of how to manage his lunchtime. He did get better at making food choices and developed better self-management, and now only gets a small plate of food for his lunch or dinner. He has also lost weight and gotten much better at his job. He, too, has held his position at Canaan Resort for over a year. The supervisors of "Dave" and "Josh" often report that they love working with them, and that they are great to have as employees.
Q&A makes a habit of communicating and working with the employers in the local area to help the entire community grow. By educating the employers on how to work with adults with Autism, and finding the right place in the workforce, everyone benefits, including the hundreds of thousands of customers that come to Canaan Valley Resort each year.
Takeaways for assisting young adults who are on the spectrum in the workplace:
- Meet with potential employers first. Let them know who you are and what your mission is. Employers are usually open to exploring possibilities.
- When you have a client applying, take the time to introduce them to the place where they will work. Visit the establishment a few times.
- When the young adult applies, go through a trial application process, including role-playing: how to introduce oneself, questions clients may need to ask, questions the employer may ask of them, etc.
- Make sure the employer knows that the young adults are applying and provide the employer some insight on each young adult.
- If the employer decides to hire, set up a meeting with the key staff who will be working with the young adult. This is a great way to open channels of communication with the employer. Let them know the program's role as well, and how the program can help outside businesses develop the young adult into a valuable employee.
- Educate the employer and staff about autism and the challenges and benefits. This information can prove to be valuable to everyone.
- Follow up! Make the time to check in with the employer and key staff. Ask about areas/issues a program where can help. Make sure they know that they can call anytime and discuss specific ways to partner with them.
About Q&A Family of Programs
Q&A Family of Programs works with young adults ages 18 and up, providing opportunities for each of them to develop independent, functional, and happy lives with a high level of quality. Our clients have struggled to reach independence for a variety of reasons such as the inability to develop and/or implement the life skills needed to be successful, or struggling to obtain consistent employment. Our goal is to help these individuals find meaning and an authentic purpose for their lives and a practical path to achieve their goals.
About Canaan Valley Resort and Conference Center
Canaan Valley Resort and Conference Center sits on 6300 acres in Canaan Valley, WV, with 160 recently renovated guest rooms, 23 cottages, world class ski and tubing area, ice skating rink, 3 restaurants, gift shop, sporting clays area, indoor and outdoor pool, and an 18 hole championship golf course. With such a large offering, finding employees who will last and are customer-focused is a difficult task.
The clinical team at Telos U has opened a new space adventure simulator in the Telos U building. This simulator, called "The Hyperion," is a simulation of the interior of a working spaceship. Telos U students participate in building and running space missions for each other, adolescents at other treatment progrmas, and for the public.
The young adults at Telos U gain employment expereince while helping others build problem solving, stress tolerance and executive function skills.
Participants in space missions become the crew of a starship and are given mission objectives they must accomplish if they are to succeed as a team. Dr. Ryan Anderson, the Executive Director of the Telos Discovery Space Center, said, “It’s not unlike solving a real life puzzle. There is real stress, real decision making, and real consequences for the crew if they are unable to work together. It’s essentially like going to the gym for a workout of problem-solving skills.”
Treatment centers across Utah are booking missions at the Telos Discovery Space Center housed within Telos U. Therapists are bringing caseloads, leadership teams are booking professional retreats, and Telos U young adults are growing in their ability to master real life job skills.
About Telos U and Telos RTC
Telos Programs, located in Orem, UT, specialize in helping adolescents and young adults overcome depression, anxiety, processing issues, and other issues that prevent them from thriving in a typical academic setting. Telos has two campuses. The North Campus is home to Telos Academy, a residential and academic program for adolescent boys. The West Campus is home to Telos U, a co-ed young adult program offering students a continuum of support from residential treatment to independent living as they pursue education and employment. The West Campus also houses the Telos Senior House, a residential support program for adolescent boys age 17.5-18. All Telos programs are family systems based, working with parents and siblings alongside students as they strive for whole-family healing.
Mountain Valley Treatment Center (MVTC) is pleased to announce the appointments of five experienced professionals to the already talented clinical team. All of their bios can be found on the Clinical Staff page of the MVTC website.
Dr. Julie Balaban, Consulting Psychiatrist, grew up in New York City and left to attend college at Harvard University. She attended the State University Medical School in Brooklyn, NY, and completed her general psychiatry and child and adolescent psychiatry training at the Cornell University Medical Center/Payne Whitney Clinic. Since 2014, Dr. Balaban has worked in the Dartmouth-Hitchcock system.
Dr. Balaban is a member of MVTC's Admissions Committee and provides clinical supervision and peer review of documentation, protocols and implementation of the MVTC’s clinical program and medical services integration.
Dr. Burl Daviss, Consulting Psychiatrist, is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Interim Section Chief of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the Geisel School of Medicine. He is a child and adolescent psychiatrist specializing in the pharmacological treatment of ADHD and mood disorders. Dr. Daviss is the former medical director of the Center for Children and Families at the University of Pittsburgh, and he is a member of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
Dr. Daviss provides medication management and consultation for MVTC residents and families as well as clinical guidance for MVTC staff.
Dr. Szu-Hui Lee, Consulting Psychiatrist, brings to MVTC more than a decade of academic scholarship and clinical expertise in psychology. She is a licensed psychologist in New Hampshire, specializing in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Exposure and Response Prevention. She received her Ph.D. from The Ohio State University and completed her internship and post-doctoral fellowships at McLean Hospital - Harvard Medical School. She continues to hold an appointment as a Clinical Instructor at Harvard Medical School and is the course director of the Multicultural Training Seminars at McLean Hospital. She's an Executive Board Member of the International OCD Foundation New Hampshire Affiliate and a psychologist at Phillips Exeter Academy.
Dr. Lee provides external supervision to MVTC clinicians for complex OCD cases.
Additionally, she is fluent in English, Mandarin and Taiwanese.
Dr. Elizabeth Ellis Ohrm, Consulting Psychologist, is a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Exposure and Response Prevention. Dr. Ohr specializes in evidence based treatment of anxiety disorders and her specialty includes Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE) for PTSD, Exposure and Response Prevention (EX/RP) for OCD, as well as cognitive-behavioral treatment for social anxiety, panic disorder, specific phobias, and generalized anxiety. Dr. Ohr is an Executive Board Member of the International OCD Foundation New Hampshire Affiliate.
Dr. Ohr provides external supervision to MVTC clinicians for complex OCD cases as well as guidance for MVTC's assessment and outcomes data collection activities.
Dr. Seoka Salstrom, Consulting Psychologist, is a licensed clinical psychologist and specializes in mindfulness and acceptance-based CBTs, including Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), for the treatment of anxiety and mood disorders across the lifespan. She received her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from The University of Georgia and completed an internship at Durham VA Medical Center. A post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics provided training in the CBTs for anxiety among those with severe medical illnesses. Dr. Salstrom is a board member of the International OCD Foundation local affiliate, OCD New Hampshire.
Dr. Salstrom provides external supervision and training in third-wave behavioral therapies, including ACT.
About Mountain Valley Treatment CenterMountain Valley Treatment Center, a not for profit program, was founded in 2011 to provide intensive residential treatment to adolescent boys and girls and emerging adults struggling with severe anxiety, OCD and other related disorders. Located in Pike, NH at the edge of the White Mountain National Forest, and soon, in Plainfield, NH, Mountain Valley stands apart from like providers because of its specialization, its unique setting and its comprehensive approach to care. Residents typically spend 60-90 days at MVTC taking advange of the most effective evidence-based treatments through individual, group and family therapy, conducted in a caring, supportive and ethical fashion that meet the unique needs of the individuals, and the expectations of the professional practice of social work, psychology and psychiatry.
On February 9th, Greenbrier Academy students held an African Drumming workshop for Osteopathic Medical students at the Osteopathic Medical School in Lewisburg, WV. While GBA students practice drumming on a daily basis, they found it a true delight to give back to Greenbrier Academy's community in West Virginia with this special gift.
Students taught the community the traditional rhythms in a way that facilitates stress relief, is fun, generates feelings of joy, and feeds the soul during the Medical students' stressful schooling. By sharing four different rhythms to the 15 medical students who attended, GBA students were able to impart the intention and meaning behind each healing rhythm.
Drumming is a powerful tool to create a sense of togetherness and community which may alleviate feelings of anxiety, depression, and social isolation. Its profound therapeutic effect is deeply integrated into GBA's student culture. It is always a treat to share these benefits with the local community.
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.
Chris Black is joining Corner Canyon as Outreach Director. Chris has a wealth of experience working in the industry in many capacities, including Admissions and Outreach roles in residential treatment Centers, Nursing and in Wilderness Therapy. In addition to working with Corner Canyon, Chris is also continuing work towards a doctorate in Psychiatric Nursing and maintains an intense outdoor adventure schedule.
Corner Canyon is excited to have Chris on the team and to learn from him as the program grows. He adds a depth of knowledge of systems of care in residential treatment, has an organizational focus, and many years of helping programs grow by providing excellent and caring work with clients and their families as they enter treatment, often for the first time.
Along with therapeutic and logistical models, Chris has a wide array of knowledge and expertise in outdoor areas like rock climbing and canyoneering, skiing, snowboarding, peak bagging, trail running, photography, motocross, and boating (Lake Powell is a favorite destination). He is an amazing teacher of these skills to staff, clients, Educational Consultants and friends, sharing his time with them eagerly. Chris has a son and a daughter; they are his world. He practices yoga, the mindfulness component grounds him, and his religion is Love. He enjoys travel as long as it includes new cultures and people, otherwise it is just “travel”. Chris has managed a humanitarian clothing donation program for the last 12 years, gathering and donating clothing to single parent homes and immigrant communities.
About Corner Canyon Recovery
Corner Canyon Recovery, a 16 bed, trauma informed, adult, co-ed with gender specific programming, dual-diagnosis, holistic Residential Treatment Center in a large attractive home in Draper, UT opened in November, 2017.
College Excel announces Summer Term 2018 for 10 - 12 week session, a diverse array of academic classes, adventure, wellness, and service work. The summer of learning and exploring will culminate with an optional trip at the end of summer to Puerto Rico. In Puerto Rico, students will join forces with a non profit organization installing solar panels on individual homes to help families restore power after many months living without. Students will spend the morning working to install the panels and the remainder of the day exploring the communities within Puerto Rico.
The academic schedule for the Summer students includes a film studies course, Interpersonal Communication class, College Success class and a Culinary Arts course. All classes are for-credit college classes.
In addition to the academic coursework, the students will experience seminar classes, wellness programming, community activities/events, cultural opportunities and numerous outdoor adventure trips. These trips typically include Rock Climbing, Mountain Biking, Rafting, and much more.
Bend, Oregon is an amazing place to spend the summer. Students love the music shows, festivals, outdoor events, and much more. Spending the summer at College Excel is sure to be a memorable experience.
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.
PRN for Families' executive director Charles Elias presented at two sessions during the recent annual conference of the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP) in Tampa, Florida. Charles collaborated with Grace Losada, Ed.D., Vice President of Education with the Fusion Education Group, to focus on holistic approaches to working with parents and families who are struggling to understand and support a child with identified mental health, emotional, behavioral or learning issues. He also participated in a moderated panel discussion on the topic of Multi-systemic care in the community, along with Leah Madamba (Vive Family Support Program), Tim Thayne (Homeward Bound), and Kris Brightbill (Turning Tides Transitions).
During a presentation entitled “The Whole Child Approach: Strategies for Shifting Parental Focus from Problems to Solutions,” Charles and Grace focused on the primary need for children to first and foremost feel loved and accepted for who they are in order to be able to successfully tap into their internal motivation and help them to find success, whether academically, socially, or emotionally. They identified the challenges that many parents experience when they learn that their child has a mental health disorder or a learning difference, and how their genuinely placed concern and attention becomes focused on “the problem.” While this focus can be useful for a time as a tool for advocacy of their child’s needs, it can become detrimental if their child’s identity becomes wrapped up in the problem to the exclusion of other strengths and attributes. Charles and Grace discussed how parents can begin to ignore their own feelings of grief that the child they are parenting is not the child they had hoped they would have, and how to support parents in both acknowledging and addressing their own needs as parents. Finally, they shared ideas, resources and strategies for building resiliency into the family system, and best practices for educators and mental health professionals who are working to support all family members.
Charles was also honored to collaborate with colleagues in a well-attended and energetic panel discussion on the topic of “Multi-systemic Care in the Home and Community.” With an increasing focus on improving sustained outcomes following transition from treatment, the panelists focused on identifying challenges, strategies and home-based factors that contribute to client and family success once clients are back at home. Using real life vignettes from their collective experiences working with families in their homes, the experienced clinicians from four well-established transition programs shared thoughts, ideas, and resources as to best practices for home-based support. They also fielded and raised questions about how to support the parent choice therapeutic program field in continuing to be forward-thinking about creatively supporting families once they have transitioned from residential treatment venues.
Conference presentations are an exciting opportunity to share the sound clinical work in which PRN for Families is engaged; to collaborate with other industry programs and professionals; and to be part of broader conversations that drive the vision of therapeutic programming forward to continue to meet the needs of families and clients. PRN for Families is pleased to be an active, contributing member of the NATSAP organization and looks forward to future opportunities to provide education and advocacy for home and community-based support for families.
About PRN for Families and Tracks by PRN
PRN for Families and Tracks by PRN are home- and community-based support programs that serve families who have children or young adults who are struggling, or who may be reuniting following an out-of-home placement. 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. Tracks by PRN offers concierge-level services for young adults who may require additional support in order to find success in their efforts to live independently.
Evoke Entrada is pleased to announce their new therapist, Trina Grater, MA, ACMHC. Trina worked for Evoke previously for over four years as a Field Instructor and then trained as a clinical assistant for over a year. Trina went on to receive her Master of Arts in Counseling at Saybrook University in California. Trina also has an associate clinical mental health counselor license and she is a member of The American Counseling Association.
Trina works well with students who present as bright and manipulative clients and typically show signs of low self-worth, past trauma, addictive behavior (substance/processes), and attachment issues. Her clients tend to have lost a sense of self, which manifests in a variety of problematic behaviors. She also works well with families from a variety of populations and cultures and with youth populations who identify as female.
Trina is known for her authenticity and for holding clients accountable while balancing the client’s self-discovery. She also enjoys incorporating a range of expressive arts in her clinical work. Trina has recently contributed to the Evoke Thearapy Programs blog with her article titled "Mother Nature is a Patient and Persistent Teacher".
About Evoke Therapy Programs
Evoke Therapy Programs at Entrada in Santa Clara, Utah provides innovative mental health treatment solutions for struggling teens, young adults and their families. Their programs foster lasting change utilizing the power of nature and Wilderness Therapy. They also offer Personal Growth Intensive Workshops for individuals and families who are looking to create dynamic changes in their lives or to simply find the balance they are seeking.
This week kicks off another round of Pre-Service Training at Alpine Academy. This training is for all new staff members to be introduced to the Teaching-Family Model and how it is implemented at Alpine. In that the Teaching-Family Model provides the framework for the entire treatment process at Alpine, it is essential that all staff members (Residential, Clinical, and Academic) become familiarized with this evidence-based model.
Pre-Service Training takes place over the course of two weeks and includes roughly 60 hours of classroom instruction, role-playing, and practical application. During this training, team members are introduced to the history of the Teaching-Family Model; the origin of Alpine Academy and its parent company, the Utah Youth Village; effective teaching techniques; social learning theory; self-determination; family systems, professionalism, consumer focus, crisis management and more. This training is competency-based, so trainees are evaluated and required to meet certain criteria through written and verbal tests, role-plays and practicums.
Once Pre-Service training is completed, residential team members are provided with ongoing training, consultation, and supervision to prepare them to meet criteria for their annual evaluation to receive international certification within the Teaching-Family Model. This training and certification process is essential to Alpine’s ability to maintain accreditation within the Teaching-Family Association and to ensure each staff member is properly implementing the Model with consistency and fidelity. This not only allows Alpine to make use of the research and evidence-based nature of the Teaching-Family Model, but also ensures that every staff member that students interact with is highly trained and qualified in their area of expertise. By hiring people who are gifted in relationships and equipping them with an evidence-based method of working with youth, Alpine creates a nurturing environment/milieu in which students learn, apply, and are held accountable for their behaviors and use of pro-social skills.
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.
Sunrise RTC prides itself in helping girls build their core values in therapy and in giving them the context to practice their values via community involvement. One of the 5 values Sunrise bases programming around is generosity. Some of their girls recently had the opportunity to practice generosity at Casa Hogar Allegre, a children's orphanage in Chiapas, Mexico, where they brought sports equipment, toys and games and spent a week teaching the children how to play.
A student who participated in the trip said, "I absolutely loved my experience at Casa Hogar. I feel so blessed to have been able to be a part of something so wonderful. The children are absolutely amazing and it was so cool to have time to play with them and expand my knowledge of language. The children are so happy with what they have and were so loving and my heart felt full by the end of the trip. I am desperate to go back to Mama Liz, and so grateful for the time I had with them there.”
It was not just the Sunrise students who embraced the opportunity, Natalie Furnell, one of Sunrise's Residential Managers, said of her time at Casa Hogar. "I loved being able to visit Casa Hogar with our Sunrise girls. Our eyes were opened to the beauty of the lives of these little children and we were able to see and experience the simple ways in which the children found joy in their lives. I will always cherish our time at Casa Hogar; I hope to visit again and I am so grateful that Mama Liz opened her heart and doors to us.
We are grateful for the numerous opportunities we have at Sunrise to help instill positive core values in the hearts of our girls."
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.
SUWS alumni is excited to announce their Spring hike up Heartbreak Ridge for all alumni families. This event is for SUWS Alumni and their families who are interested in reconnecting with families and former participants on April 14th 2018.
Register for an opportunity to come back to the Pisgah, and hike to the top of Heartbreak Ridge. The event begins at the SUWS Basecamp at 10 am. Once signed in at the main office, hikers will recieve a brief orientation before departing for a day hike to Pride Rock. Included in this alunmi event is a bag lunch with a beautiful view, then return to campus. Hikers need to pack rain gear, water bottles, and all personal medications. The hike is roughly 3 miles round trip, and the event will conclude our event between 1- 2 pm eastern time. Registration is limited, so do not delay. A similar successful alumni event occured in the fall; click here to hear about the experiences. If you have any specific questions, please contact Mike Vines at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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. www.suwscarolinas.com
TechieForLife (TFL) is offering its first ever Summer Coding Intensive from June 11 and July 9th, 2018. Neurodiverse students who have an interest in learning computer coding can apply for the summer intensive so they can see if a career in tech might be a good fit for them. The focus will be for students to build a technology foundation in coding, hardware or specific interests.
But it doesn't end there because they will also have the opportunity to participate in:
- Life skill classes
- Fun activities
- Adventure trips
- Leadership opportunities
Students will be developing their social skills while having the opportunity to earn certificates in tech. Any student going into their senior year of high school and older may apply. Beginner and intermediate coders or software programmers may take part in four to up to ten week stays this summer.
Contact TechieForLife's Executive Director Jason Grygla at email@example.com to find out more details or to apply.
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. Neuroatypical 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.
Given that the students at Valley View School arrive with diagnoses such as attention deficit disorder, various forms of emotional and behavioral dysregulation, and learning issues, it should be no surprise that executive functioning is almost a universal area of struggle. Executive functioning involves the set of cognitive skills used in managing goal-directed behavior; directing and sustaining attention, planning, and organizing are some of these core capacities. Unfortunately, when these skills are underdeveloped or compromised, even bright, motivated boys struggle to meet their potential.
The clinical staff at Valley View School have been developing an extensive program to help boys access and develop these crucial executive functioning abilities. Several staff have received specialized training in executive functioning and how to train students in these skills. Dr. Jared Tonks, Valley View Clinical Director, has studied these core cognitive skills and developed an eight-session module designed to educate and train students in their usage. Dr. Tonks covers the broad area of executive functioning by teaching various organizational principles and then covers practical behaviors and strategies that can improve functioning. However, in the same way that it is fruitless to try to teach swimming in a classroom, Valley View has made efforts to reinforce these very same strategies and principles in the academic and residential programs. Dr. Tonks notes that when students hear teachers and residential staff using the same ideas and terms discussed in his course, the power of the ideas is reinforced. Education, training, in-vivo reinforcement and repetition are the core elements of Valley View School's executive function training.
Finally, it should be noted that Valley View has begun collecting data in an effort to assess the effectiveness and benefits of the training. Undoubtedly, the program will evolve as the most effective practices are identified. Interestingly, several staff have seemed to improve in their own personal executive functioning as a result of greater awareness of these strategies. It would appear that, at Valley View School, not only does executive functioning training take a village, it benefits the whole village.
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.
Selecting a voluntary young adult program typically involves a different level of client "buy-in" than with adolescent programs. Adults sign themselves in and out of care which affords them more "skin in the game", and at times can be a benefit to their treatment outcomes. A 2015 study in Norway demonstrated that program participants who had a voice in their own admissions process gained enhanced confidence in the program and in their ability to cope with life (Oslo, et. al.) Study participants noted that because of the "self-referral" process they were taken more seriously because in part they had exercised their own judgment in making the decision to engage in a particular type of treatment.
Onward Transitions is a non-residential, service-delivery program, and yet their admissions process involves some of the same tenets found on the American Residential Treatment Associations website (www.artausa.org) including client readiness and matching treatment with identified condition. The process for Onward Transitions however is notably different than with primary levels of care. "It's less like a psychiatric admission and more like the college selection process," says Co-Founder Darrell Fraize, M.Ed., LCPC, LADC. "We have some clear and strict rule outs, and we wind up rejecting probably five times as many clients as we do even begin the process with."
Psychiatric hospitalization typically occurs within a number of hours, whereas the Peterson's Guide to Four-Year Colleges coaches applicants to take months and even years to come to a decision. "An emerging adult who goes through our admissions process is essentially choosing a city -- Portland, Maine -- to likely spend the next year of their life. They are choosing us, and simultaneously and maybe more so choosing the draw and resources of the city itself. Along those lines, we become their best neighbors and resources to lean on as they work towards attaining their goals at this, their own chosen level of care," says Fraize.
The admissions process at Onward Transitions includes:
Introductory, remote interviews with the applicant, applicant's family, referral source and prior treaters.
Completion of all admissions materials: releases of information, formal application, personal surveys, transcripts, discharge summaries, etc.
Co-creation of a working, extensive and functional treatment plan with the applicant, family and prior treaters.
On-site visit and interview of the applicant and family, and meeting with currently enrolled Onward Transitions emerging adult members.
Onward Transitions works with emerging adults who have mild to moderate anxiety, depression and executive functioning challenges. The emerging adult members of the program have two defining shared characteristics: they are kind and they are tolerant. Remaining within this distinction helps keep the community and culture free of a resource depletion scenario. "I can remember trying to provide group therapy to adolescents with conduct disorder early on in my residential treatment career. Coming out of graduate school, I knew what the research said, but the program just always did it that way," Fraize recalls. "It was a total drain on the system for clients, staff, everyone. If we admitted someone to Onward Transitions who was philosophically not tolerant of others, or had a characterological issue that really got in the way of their ability to be kind, it would really upset our apple cart. So we just don't do it. Our thorough admissions process really helps to not only inform us, but also to inform an applicant that they may need something different than what we have to offer. That's a win-win for everyone."
https://artausa.org/choosing-a-residential-mental-health-facility/ Oslo, et. al., International Journal of Mental Health Systems, 2016,
About Onward Transitions
Onward Transitions is a comprehensive, non-residential living service that supports emerging adults ages 18-29 living independently in the neighborhood of their choice in Portland, Maine. Our members choose and live in their own apartment from day one. They do not ever live with us. Members' challenges include anxiety, depression, executive functioning and meeting the requirements of moving towards independence.
In today’s therapeutic world there is an overwhelming amount of information for families to process. There are seemingly limitless numbers of treatment and therapeutic programs to choose from. These programs work with children to help them facilitate ground breaking changes within themselves. There is no doubt that therapeutic programs working directly with children are changing lives. However, the reality is these changes are often difficult to maintain after transitioning back into the family.
All too often, kids get home and fall into the same old habits and routines. Upon successfully completing a program, parents are typically given coaching tips and keys to success for a healthy transition back into the mainstream. While this information can be transformative, parents sometimes find it difficult to implement. It is very easy to relapse to the old way of parenting. So who is there to catch these families that fall through the cracks?
Solutions Parenting Support’s belief is that providing a source of guidance to the entire family during these times leads to long-lasting success. This is achieved by collaborating with all support teams involved. Solutions Parenting Support excels in facilitating an all hands-on deck approach to a sustainable transition. Through years of experience and the ability to hold an objective position, they create an environment that allows for increased awareness, sustainable growth and effective decision making. This collaborative approach helps parents maximize the impact of the entire team that supports their child, leading to a holistic, lasting change.
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.
Dragonfly Transitions is excited to welcome Zoe Bartlett, MSFT, CADC II to the Clinical Team. Zoe earned a master’s degree in Family Therapy from Friends University and a bachelor’s degree in Rehabilitation Services Education with an emphasis in Addiction Counseling from Emporia State University. She uses her systemic training to view all relational aspects of the presenting issue, often implementing interventions of Bowenian Therapy and Family Systems Models, which she pairs with Cognitive Behavioral (CBT) and Solution Focused Therapies.
Zoe specializes in helping young adults who struggle with anxiety disorders, depression, attachment issues, addictions of any sort, the failure to launch/thrive, ADHD, trauma, and autism spectrum disorders. She has additional training in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), trauma informed care, person-centered case management, and play therapy (PT) with adults. Zoe also incorporates nature and holistic care into her work. Zoe’s professional experience includes working in wilderness therapy in Costa Rica, working with clients of dual diagnoses, serving as a substance abuse counselor, and offering therapy to young adults and family systems. She often implements experiential strategies with clients by incorporating play, humor, and movement into session.
Zoe was born and raised in a small town near Kansas City, KS. While pursuing her studies, she volunteered part time for a crisis hotline, as a “Big Sister,” and at the local Community Shelter. Zoe also worked the overnight shift as a dispatcher for the campus police station. With this experience, Zoe learned that she held a passion for helping people through community involvement as well as resourcing individuals with a toolbox of coping skills.
About Dragonfly Transitions
Dragonfly Transitions serves young adults 18 - 30 in three locations in Southern Oregon – Klamath Falls, Ashland, and the Homestead (for men, just south of Klamath). Students learn life skills and work to transition into a healthy young adult life with independence, autonomy, integrity and sustainability. Dragonfly provides opportunities for real world experience in a stable, supportive environment where students can flourish.
Summit Achievement continues a tradition of collaborating with other program professionals to provide outstanding educational panel presentations on topics they excel in. In early April, members of the Summit Leadership Team will be participating in three presentations at the Autism Symposium as well as the Wilderness Therapy Symposium in Asheville, North Carolina.
At the Autism Symposium, Dr. Will White will be facilitating and Nichol Ernst will be participating in a presentation titled, “On the Spectrum and in the Woods: Best Practices for ASD clients in Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Programs”. Other panelist include Colin Walsh (SUWS of Carolinas), Caitlin Galt (Aspiro) and Brandon Moffitt (Black Mountain Academy).
At the regional Wilderness Therapy Symposium in Asheville, Nichol will be participating on a panel presentation titled, “It Takes Time: Working together to design a timely and smooth transition for young adults from wilderness to transitional programs and beyond,” with John Conway (EDGE Learning & Wellness), William Brown, MA (Confluence), Karyn Kaminski (Red Oak Recovery), Darrell Fraize, (Onward Transitions), Mona Treadway, (DragonFly) & Gil Hallows (Legacy Outdoor Adventures).
Also at the regional Wilderness Therapy Symposium, Will is participating on a panel presentation titled “ Mindfulness Meditation and Countertransference: Working with Your Mind When Everyone around You is Losing Theirs!” Other panelist include Josh White (Red Mountain Sedona) and Norman Elizondo (Open Sky Wilderness Therapy).
Summit is honored to co-present with such inspiring professionals.
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 principals. Through the process of engaging therapy, classroom academics and exciting wilderness expeditions, students experience the therapeutic benefits of outdoor adventure-based activities while learning to manage the demands of a more traditional environment. As an intentionally small, owner-operated wilderness therapy program, we serve adolescent boys and girls, ages 13-20, from around the world.
Seven Stars began participating in equine therapy on a biweekly basis (starting March 2nd, 2018) at Hunter Stables and Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. While treatment is formally guided by an equine therapist, the horses model communication and relationship skills for the clients who are enrolled at Seven Stars, residential treatment and assessment program.
“Our students love animals and it’s often much easier for them to connect and build a relationship with animals than people,” comments Dr. Gordon Day, Executive Clinical Director and Founder of Seven Stars. “Horses are extremely skilled at reading body language. Because of this, students must speak calmly, establish safe boundaries, and follow directions. These are all areas we work with students to develop.”
Students are encouraged to build relationships with the horses and find motivation to continue developing communication and relationship skills as those relationships deepen; the horses demonstrate immediate feedback to Seven Stars teenagers 13-17 who struggle with neurodevelopmental issues. “It’s very rewarding for students to see the horse’s reaction to their progress in developing communication skills,” said Dr. Day. “Equine therapy is an effective way to help those skills develop naturally and the students really enjoy it.”
About Seven Stars
Seven Stars is a leading assessment program and residential treatment center for teens ages 13-17 who struggle with neurodevelopmental disorders such as Autism Spectrum Disorder and ADHD. 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.
Nicole Hopkins, LPC has been a Vive Family Support Program team member for almost three years and recently celebrated her one year anniversary as the Atlanta Regional Director. She has her masters in Professional Family Counseling and brings a diverse skill set to her role. She has worked in various therapeutic settings before coming to Vive, including a therapeutic boarding school, traditional day school, a community agency and private practice.
When asked what she is most proud of in the role she has now, Nicole reflected that during the past year at Vive there has been a lot of evolution on many levels and she was quite proud of how she was able to retain a strong and healthy team in Atlanta who are engaged, excited and delivering the best quality of care for their families. She also remarked that unlike residential settings, Vive serves a large cross section of people and she enjoys the challenges and sometimes out-of-the-box thinking required to make sure our families get consistent quality of service, regardless of age, gender, or issues. This also allows for room to build a diverse team of clinicians to serve these families. She goes on to mention that Vive bases the treatment approach with all of the clients on a family systems model, providing that consistency.
Her favorite part of the work she is doing is the connection with the families. She feels honored to be entrusted to help guide them during a very vulnerable time in their lives. She also feels grateful to be part of collaborative team that works together to choose the best match for the families and also support each other as the team and family progress in the program.
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.
Aspiro’s Adventure Therapy Model empowers girls with a place to become a more confident, healthier version of themselves. It is important for these young women to develop a belief in themselves, create self efficacy, and to find confidence in their ability to do hard things through individual, group and adventure therapy. In addition, a holistic approach is crucial in order for them to become stronger physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Since beginning their Wellness Wednesday activities, the girls have practiced mindfulness, learned about food attitudes, and engaged in Expressive Arts Therapy. They are quickly learning why these things are such an important part of their journey. Through yoga, breathing exercises, and meditation, the girls have begun recognizing the many benefits mindfulness provides, such as emotional regulation, greater concentration, increased compassion, and an overall feeling of being centered.
In addition to mindfulness, the girls have begun to develop healthier body images, better nutrition habits, and positive nutrition goals through groups taking place on Wednesdays; these specific groups focus on relationships with food, attitudes toward food, and the importance that nutrition plays, as well as learning to prepare and eat healthy group meals. This has quickly become a favorite activity.
Lastly, Aspiro incorporated art and expressive therapy into their groups, allowing students to develop greater insight and awareness, as well as a safe place for deeper emotional expression, through psychodrama and through various art therapy activities. When sculpting, painting, or drawing, one can create images and metaphors symbolic of their past hurts or trauma. The goal is to get these things out and learn to let them go.
The vision of Aspiro’s Wellness Wednesdays is to empower these young women with a true and experiential understanding of the mind-body connection, to help them see their bodies as strong and capable, to find the motivation to fuel their bodies with nutritious food choices, and to allow them to get further in touch with their emotions. The girls focus on these areas during Wellness Wednesday, then have the opportunity to practice their skills every day of the week with the support of their therapist and guides. The students are finding that the new habits and beliefs they are developing are making a difference in their physical health, emotional well being, and in their relationships.
Please read the blog and watch a video of Wellness Wednesday here.
About AspiroWith treatment-specific programs located in Utah and Costa Rica, Aspiro’s mission is to be the most clinically-advanced outdoor behavioral health program in the world, providing safe, dynamic, highly effective treatment modalities that are backed by empirical research. Aspiro Wilderness Adventure Therapy is a short-term wilderness program serving adolescents ages 13-17 and young adults ages 18-28 with varying degrees of social, emotional, and behavioral challenges.
Dr. Elnur “El” Gajiev, Primary Therapist, recently attended the third annual Gender Education and DeMystification Symposium (GEMS) in Salt Lake City, Utah. This conference is dedicated to expanding the awareness, knowledge, and skillful practice of engaging with gender-expansive youth. The annual GEMS conference is a gathering of clinicians, program administrators, educational consultants, frontline staff, students, and speakers. The presenters, who noted the relationship between growth and comfort, challenged the group to question many of the previously-held beliefs through thought-provoking exercises and activities.
As one speaker provided attendees with a foundational framework of languaging related to this work - noting the differences between biological sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, gender expression, and sexual behavior, another spoke about the striking data including: how 50% of transgender youth under the age of 20 have attempted suicide at least once, how LGB youth are 3x more likely than their straight peers to contemplate suicide, how 40% of homeless youth are LGBTQ, how 6 in 10 LGBTQ youth feel unsafe in schools, and how 80% of LGBTQ youth report severe social isolation.
Several speakers noted the importance of attuning to intersectionality, that is, “the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group” and how this plays a critical role in creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination, distress and disadvantage for children and their families.
Dr. El comments, “As a clinician, this further emphasized the significance of understanding how my day-to-day worldview may differ vastly from that of my students who identify as LGBTQI+. Furthermore, as a member of an organization dedicated to fostering sustainable growth in youth and families, this also highlighted several points of growth that we have before us from a programmatic vein, and how the impetus falls upon us to face these challenges with the same acceptance, awareness and openness that we ask of our students and our families.”
A highlight of the 3-day conference was the student panel - each of whom shared their experience, their insight, their humor, and their wisdom in remarking on their personal journeys as well as the ways in which those on the other side of the mental health baton can hinder or help them in navigating the worlds before them.
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
On April 1st, 2008 Dan Stuart, Kyle Gillett, and Keoni Anderson opened the doors to their new adventure at Solstice RTC. All three of them worked in residential treatment centers prior to opening Solstice and worked closely together for quite some time to brainstorm and create what Solstice is today. It all started with a vision to start a small, all-girls program focused on trauma, loss, and attachment with experiential components and an emphasis on the mind/body connection.
By the end of 2008, Solstice had twelve students enrolled. As Solstice was in its beginning stages, Dan, Kyle and Keoni worked in every aspect of the program. They were the therapists for the girls, worked as mentor staff, did admissions, marketing, etc. By the middle of 2009, there were around twenty students, and Solstice became full by its second year, with 36 students. In 2016 Solstice expanded to 44 beds, and it only took a few months for those beds to fill. To date, Solstice has had nearly 200 graduates.
As Solstice evolved and grew, Dan, Kyle and Keoni were approached several times about expanding to the East Coast. In late 2012, Kyle brought his family to North Carolina and opened Solstice East, taking with him Jenny Selent, the Solstice Clinical Director to further integrate the vision of Solstice as they opened the East campus.
Solstice opened The Journey Home, also in Layton in 2012, as an option for girls needing a transitional program after graduating RTC to further prepare them for next steps in their lives; as Journey Home West evolved, Journey Home East was opened in 2015. The newest expansion to the Solstice family came in 2017, when Equinox, a Residential Treatment Center for teenage boys was opened in North Carolina.
One of Kyle's favorite things about being a part of Solstice from the beginning is the privilege of working with five different teams now within the Solstice family and each team has truly felt like a family. The teams at the Solstice programs have taken the vision from 2008 and expanded with bigger and better ideas. The process of this has been breathtaking, and the longevity of the staff that stay at Solstice is proof that the vision has stayed a key part of the culture. The very first mentor that was hired at Solstice is still with Solstice today. She is a wonderful team member and her experience brings great stability to the milieu.
Dan, Solstice West's Executive Director, states, “This has been an amazing process, far greater than we ever expected at the outset. I couldn’t ask for better business partners or team members at Solstice. We have been blessed with incredible staff who have adopted the Solstice vision and have had such an incredibly positive impact on the lives of so many girls and families. It’s truly heart-warming.” Keoni loves being a part of a company that saves families every day with all the forces in the world trying to destroy families these days.
Solstice has worked with families from across the country as well as many International countries including Canada, Kuwait, Singapore, and others. Solstice is looking forward to many more years of supporting and healing families. Solstice thanks those who have traveled with them on this journey.
About Solstice West RTC
Solstice West RTC was founded in 2008 in Layton, UT. We serve females and transgender students aged 14-18 as a licensed residential treatment center focusing on complex diagnoses while using our clinicians' deep understanding of Trauma Based Therapy. As a clinically focused treatment provider, our clients receive individual, group and family therapy in conjunction with a variety of treatment modalities like Adventure Therapy and Equine Therapy program. All the different treatment modalities offered assist clients in learning new skills kinesthetically and get to their core problems quicker.
The Shortridge Academy clinical team is expanding with the addition of Alexandra "Lexie" Crosby, in her newly created role of Healthy Lifestyle Counselor. Lexie holds a master’s degree in social work from the University of New Hampshire, combining interests in both systems-oriented macro work and individual clinical services. She has previously worked as a behavioral intervention specialist, and has experience working with children and young adults in schools as well as therapeutic settings.
In her important new role, Lexie is responsible for creating and maintaining systems for the Healthy Lifestyle Goal, one of the seven goals of Shortridge Academy’s innovative Positive Youth Development model. Lexie has already hit the ground running, designing and promoting healthy trips and activities, coordinating interdepartmental health initiatives with the Shortridge Academy Health Center, providing enhanced support for students struggling to achieve their healthy lifestyle goals, and performing various other functions within the clinical department, such as individual and group therapy.
“I am thrilled to be synthesizing my interests and skills to empower Shortridge students to reach their potential. I’m also excited to teach students how much fun we can all have though healthy choices.” Lexie’s professional interests include advancing social justice, environmental sustainability, and primary prevention methods. Her personal interests include hiking, kayaking, swimming and cooking.
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.
Trails Carolina, a wilderness therapy program for teens ages 10-17, participated at this year’s Gender Education DeMystification Symposium (GEMS) Conference. GEMS, which took place from February 21-23 2018 in Salt Lake City, is specifically designed to provide an educational and clinical perspective to topics around gender identity. At the event, leading experts provide insight into the challenges faced by families and their transgender children, young adults and adolescents. The conference, attended by educational and therapeutic consultants, clinicians and program staff, provides attendees the chance to gain a sense of how best to assist transgender children, young adults and adolescents.
“This year’s GEMS conference was extremely powerful and extremely informative,” comments Ashley Brown, MSW, LCSW, LCAS, Primary Therapist at Trails Carolina. “At the conference, they did a great job in discussing the need to not only support transgender teens, but also their family members. Many parents feel as if they’ve lost the child they have always known after their child comes out as transgender. It’s important for programs to help them restructure the goals and dreams they once had for their teen into something positive and future-facing.”
The 2018 GEMS conference hosted expert speakers such as Aydin Olson-Kennedy, MSW who is the Executive Director of the Los Angeles Gender Center, Dr. Diane Ehrensaft, a developmental and clinical psychologist in the Bay Area, Megan Smith Sallans, MS, LIMHP, LIPC, a psychotherapist in private practice, and her husband Ryan Sallans, a world renowned transgender public speaker and author.
“I really enjoyed hearing Ryan Sallans speak as well as his wife Megan,” comments Brown. “Ryan Sallans speaks from his personal experiences, sharing his life story. It’s very powerful to hear and he has such a wealth of knowledge about gender identity issues. It was very interesting to hear from his wife, Megan, who is a clinical psychologist working with families, teens, and couples in the LGBTQ+. As the spouse of a transgender individual and someone who works with families on a daily basis experiencing a variety of challenges associated with LGBTQ+ issues, Megan has such a unique perspective on the support of transgender individuals. It was such an enlightening experience and I will definitely be using what I learned in my work with students and families at Trails Carolina.”
To learn about the ways in which Trails Carolina supports transgender and gender non-conforming students, visit the blog on the subject.
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.
Turn-About Ranch is known for pioneering the use of a working cattle ranch as a therapeutic, residential treatment center for youth. Their motto says it all: “Real Ranch. Real Values. Real Change.” Turn-About Ranch continues to successfully help families make life-long changes after this setting provides natural challenges and opportunities for experiential growth. The average stay is a mere 100 days and yet most of their students are able to successfully return home after treatment. Turn-About Ranch is more than a Ranch, it also offers a unique wilderness approach to treatment that plays a large role in the overall success of their program.
When Executive Director Michelle Lindsay was asked why Turn-About Ranch was so successful, she had the following to say, “Turn-About Ranch has the unique ability to combine two types of programming; gleaning the benefits from both wilderness and ranch into one residential treatment center. This allows students to build confidence, learn skills, and grow through natural consequences that occur in the Wilderness setting. Students build on those foundational skills as they transition to the Ranch portion of the program. Students can return to the Wilderness campus if they are unable to manage themselves effectively at the Ranch campus. This reduces the need to interrupt programming as would happen if they needed to be discharged from the program to a higher level of care.”
Arriving at Turn-About Ranch, students go directly to the intake campus, licensed as a Wilderness program. Called “Roundy Camp,” this campus is just seven miles up the mountain road from the main Ranch campus but surrounded by the beauty of nature. Students take a step back in time as a quaint log cabin and farm reminiscent of the late 1800’s provides the atmosphere for the first few weeks of their experience. This rustic environment lacks many of the niceties we all take for granted like electricity or indoor plumbing. Instead of being required to make a wilderness-based survival trek, students get back to the basics by taking an active role on the farm. Turn-About uses many interventions typical to wilderness therapy without being mobile. This setting provides natural challenges and opportunities for experiential growth; achieving the same treatment goals.
Roundy has a maximum of 6 students at once, which allows for an individualized experience. It also provides a controlled setting as students adjust to life away from home. Consistent with Turn-About Ranch philosophy, each student is challenged while being provided the coaching and support to succeed. By the time a student is ready to graduate Roundy and move to the main campus, they will recognize areas of growth and be ready to take another step forward in their personal journey of growth.
This dual-licensure offers unique flexibility to the over-all residential treatment at Turn-About Ranch. Lindsay explains, “It’s the best of both worlds- using the benefits of experiential therapy in both wilderness and ranch environments. As students gain confidence and get comfortable in one setting, they move to the next where they continue to be moved out of their comfort zone and challenged. This also gives them the opportunity to practice their skills and continue therapy in a new environment that includes academics, horsemanship, as well as a group size that goes from 6 students to 26. Not only does the environment shift but they have to negotiate new staff and new students, putting new skills into practice.” This fluid approach has proven effective at maintaining consistent opportunities to learn from experience. Even when making mistakes, students continue forward without giving up on the program as a whole.
It is clear that Turn-About is more than just a Ranch. The versatility and comprehensive nature of this program helps explain why Turn-About Ranch continues to successfully help struggling teens and their families. More than just wilderness therapy, they are able to grow with the individual needs and accomplishments of their students.
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.
EDGE Learning and Wellness joined other industry experts for the panel presentation “Navigating the Transition to College for Young Adults Experiencing Mental Health Concerns” at Vernon Hills High School (IL) on Feb. 27, 2018.
Community High School District 128 presented the panel. Students and community members listened as professionals from EDGE, Northern Illinois University, and Comprehensive Psychological Services discussed how young adults with mental health issues can achieve success as they enter college. Key topics examined include how to choose the right college environment, the coping and executive functioning skills needed for the increased independence of college, and how to access college mental health resources.
Throughout the night, audience members asked the panel questions as well. There were frequent inquiries regarding how to know whether a student is ready for college and what type of support is necessary for a successful transition.
“EDGE is committed to helping students and families experience greater success in life,” said Executive Director of EDGE Programs David Ventrelle, Psy.D. “We want to inform them of the various available college support options. If they don’t need the high level of support our program provides, we’re still happy to help them identify a more suitable path to success.”
The program is also happy to contribute to the local community whenever possible, as EDGE encourages its students to be active members of society and give back to others. Participating in local speaking engagements such as this one is just one of the ways EDGE continues to lead its students by example.
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.
Foundations Asheville, a transitional living program for young men ages 18-24, works closely with Asheville, NC based non-profit organizations on a weekly basis. In the past two months, students took part in service projects including cleaning debris from the French Broad river with RiverLink and Asheville Greenworks, organizing donations with Manna Food Bank and building trail systems for the Verner Center for Early Learning, a local day care center for young children.
“Service projects help students take part in something larger than themselves,” comments Zac Beyers, Experiential Education Coordinator at Foundations Asheville. “Additionally, it provides them with work experience that they can add to their resume. While taking part in service work, students have the opportunity to interact with other volunteers, developing friendships and getting the chance to network within the local community."
In addition to river clean ups, food banks, and building trail systems, students have worked with local retirement communities and soup kitchens as a part of their community service projects.
"The Foundations team works hard to make these experiences enjoyable and meaningful for students,” says Beyers. “These service projects can open doors and employment opportunities students wouldn’t otherwise have."
About Foundations Asheville
Foundations Asheville is a transitional living community located in Asheville, North Carolina. Foundations supports young men between the ages of 18-24 through the process of transitioning into adulthood by helping them gain confidence and motivation within a structured, individualized community environment. While at Foundations, young men gain skills to succeed academically, socially, and in the workforce.
Calo Programs' senior clinical team completed a three day intensive Brainspotting (BSP) Phase 2 training in Lake Ozark, MO with Steve Sawyer LCSW, CDAC and Senior Trainer and New Vision Wilderness Chief Clinical Consultant in late February. The team worked collaboratively to deepen their Brainspotting techniques to include five new tools used with the Phase 2 skill set. Brainspotting Phase 2 is advanced training for therapists who have successfully completed Brainspotting Phase 1 and is aimed at deepening their skills in an advanced Brainspotting technique. These techniquies include Dual Attunement Frame, Resource Model, Gazespotting, 3-D (Z Axis) and Rolling Brainspotting.
Senior therapists from all Calo Programs included Calo Young Adults in Winchester, Virginia, Calo Teens and Pre-Teens in Lake Ozark, Missouri, New Vision Wilderness in Bend, Oregon and Medford, Wisconsin, and Embark Family Intensives in Springfield Missouri.
About Calo Programs
All Calo Programs implement a unique and truly relational treatment model based on the science of neurobiology and evidence-based attachment and trauma treatment research. Calo’s proprietary treatment model is pervasive throughout its programs. This unique model facilitates establishing, deepening and maintaining healthy and safe relationships that ultimately lead to co-regulation and joy. Calo exists to Profoundly Change Lives and Create Joy.
On March 1, 2018 students from Eva Carlston Academy returned for their third annual SheTech conference, held in Sandy, Utah. At this all-day event, high school-aged girls from all over Utah gain exposure to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. Thought leaders and professionals in these fields sponsor hands-on, interactive workshops that spark enthusiasm and creativity. Students at Eva Carlston Academy are learning firsthand how they can break through barriers where, historically, women have been underrepresented.
The students that attend SheTech walk away with fond memories of building robots, creating wind turbines, and breaking down household items into their basic parts, to name a few activities. More importantly they become part of the SheTech community. Each participant receives a certificate and access to internship opportunities, and connections to role models and mentors. Society is turning a corner and the future is bright for women in STEM. Opportunities like SheTech along with the confidence, resilience, and curiosity gained from Eva Carlston Academy prepare them to successfully navigate these challenging but rewarding fields.
SheTech conference was created and sponsored by female professionals. Exposing students to opportunities and inspiration is a fundamental philosophy at Eva Carlston Academy, especially when students can get this experience in their community. The positive female role models they meet both within and outside the program inspire the students to make positive change and open them up to more possibilities.
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 expore the arts while working toward continued growth and healing.
The Boys Basketball team at Chamberlain International School finished their regular season strong to land themselves in the playoffs for the second time in three years. After a convincing 69-39 victory in their last game, the team has secured the number six seed in the playoffs.
Coach Bob McDonough, who also teaches Physical Education at the school, says the boys grew a lot over the course of the season. "This last victory was a total TEAM effort, Together Everyone Achieves More." The team is comprised of students from all classes and they compete in the local town league, made up of several teams from the Middleboro area. For a lot of the Chamberlain School students, this is the first time they have participated in competitive sports at any level.
The playoffs are formatted as single elimination games, similar to the NCAA tournament, with each games winner advancing to the next round until a champion is crowned. Coach Bob says "Win or lose, our kids are excited to have this opportunity. They have achieved so much already this season. I am very proud of them."
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.
After completing a rigorous onsite 3-day survey with a Joint Commission analyst in January, 2018, Benchmark is proud to announce that it has earned the Behavioral Healthcare Accreditation and the Gold Seal of Approval from the Joint Commission. "As the longest running young adult-specific treatment program, we felt that it was important to incorporate the Joint Commission standards of quality of care into our programming," states founder and CEO Jaynie Longnecker-Harper, M.Ed.
"Earning their Gold Seal of Approval is a reflection of Benchmark Transitions' commitment to the highest standards possible for Behavioral Healthcare, and to providing safe and effective care for our young adult clients, across the continuum of our programs," Mrs. Harper concluded. These standards inlcude care, treatment, services, environment of care, leadership, screening procedures and early detection of harm.
The Joint Commission's Behavioral Health Care Accreditation Program was established in 1969 and currently accredits more than 2,250 organizations for a three-year period. The joint commission evaluates programs on over 22,000 standards and provides on-going support throught the accrediation period. "We commend Benchmark Transitions for its efforts to elevate the standard of care it provides and to instill confidence in the community it serves," states Julia Finken, RN, BSN, MBA, CSSBB, CPHQ, executive director, Behavioral Health Care Accreditation Program, The Joint Commission.
Benchmark is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2018, and this achievement demonstrates an ongoing commitment to Courage, Conscience and Character and transforming the lives of young adult clients, and their families.
Founded in 1993, Benchmark Transitions is the longest running young adult-specific treatment program, providing a comprehensive multi‐disciplinary approach to the therapeutic process for men and women, ages 18-28, suffering with chemical dependency, mental health, co-occurring disorders and related behavioral issues. Gender-specific programs include sub-acute Detox, Residential Treatment, Day Treatment (PHP), Intensive Outpatient (IOP), Supportive Transitional Living and structured Independent Living Services (ILS), as well as life skills, collegiate recovery support, education and career development.
All Kinds of Therapy announces three new blogs that are live on the website. "College Admissions vs. College Readiness (10 Questions to Ask)." was co-written by four professionals from different young adult transitional programs [Edge Learning & Wellness Community (IL), College Excel (OR), Mansfield Hall (WI & VT) and Onward Transitions (ME)]. This blog focuses on the differences between chronological age and ability to handle/manage life without direct family supports.
The second blog was guest-written by Tom van der Veen, who has mostly worked with teen treatment programs from the regulatory perspective for over 20 years, titled "11 Questions that Families Should Ask when they are Investigating Teen Treatment Programs". "This is the first time that All Kinds of Therapy has had a guest blogger who represents the side of regulation and licensing," said Jenney Wilder, the creator of allkindsoftherapy.com. "I took a step back while working with Tom on this and learned a few things too," she went on to say. He currently manages the Children's Care Licensing Program in Oregon, is on the Board of Directors for the National Association for Regulatory Administration and works as a regulatory consultant and therefore his experience makes him perfect for this blog directed at parents, who are in search of details about treatment programs.
The third blog is part of a series of blogs written by a mother from New York City who has placed her child in residential treatment. This one is titled, "'I'm not going anywhere...' when teen treatment gets messy." This mother is in the hard part of treatment where previous gains in personal and family growth seem to vanish overnight and the family system is struggling and she describes this in colorful words.
The blog on All Kinds of Therapy is a platform to answer questions, ask more questions and provide perspectives that are not represented on treatment programs' websites. Many of the blogs are written because there are questions that are asked of the website on a regular basis. The blog is updated monthly.
About All Kinds of Therapy
All Kinds of Therapy is located in downtown Salt Lake City, UT. The Intermountain West is surrounded by cutting-edge Family Choice Behavioral Healthcare and substance abuse industries for troubled teens and young adults. The website provides the only comprehensive, independent, online directory with a ‘search and compare’ function to distinguish among the vast options of treatment models, locations, clientele and included features available throughout the United States.
All Kinds of Therapy donates 1% of its net income to nonprofits that they believe encompass all types of education, all types of learning and all types of therapy.