All Kinds of News for February 06, 2019
Jenney Wilder, creator of All Kinds of Therapy, along with 43 colleagues from treatment programs around Utah and Educational/Therapeutic Consultants participated in the first ever Advocacy Day at the Utah State Capitol. This day-long event (February 5th, 2019) was organized by the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP) to introduce employees and owners of Utah programs to the state's lawmakers, offer legislators a network for collaboration in raising standards of care, as well as to share the economic impact that the industry has on the entire state of Utah. The meetings were were a minimum of 20 min and small groups met with 27 different Utah state legislators.
NATSAP has 187 different members throughout the United States that range in types of service from therapeutic schools, varying levels of residential treatment programs, young adult transitional living, and wilderness therapy programs for teens and young adults. 53 of the members are from State of Utah. All of the NATSAP member program serving adolescents in Utah are licensed by the state, "yet many of the state legislators are unaware of these programs. We felt that the SLC advocacy day would create a great opportunity to introduce ourselves and highlight the quality of care that our (treatment) programs provide," said Megan Stokes, Executive Director of NATSAP based out of Bethesda, MD. NATSAP was founded 20 years ago, "with a spirit of collaboration that is central to NATSAP that is continuing on with all of these programs coming from across the state to advocate for their treatment program and the students they serve."
"According to the Economic Impact Study, 423 million dollars came into Utah 2015 from this industry generated by 5305 clients who came to treatment in Utah. Each family that chooses treatment in Utah, generates 78K dollars," said Wilder. These treatment programs, not all are members of the association, operate in 21 different counties and create 6400 jobs in 2015. This wide ranging industry in Utah and nationally is constantly evolving and changing to ensure quality standards by state licenses and national accrediting organizations. NATSAP is advising their members participate in Outcomes Based Research project by the University of New Hampshire.
About All Kinds of Therapy
Launched in 2015, All Kinds of Therapy (located in Salt Lake City, UT) is an advertising-based online directory of treatment options focused on Family Choice Behavioral Healthcare, substance abuse industries and supportive Gap Year programs for troubled teens and young adult. This web portal provides families the ability to ‘search and compare’ the broad options of programs throughout the United States, Puerto Rico and Costa Rica, with the helpful ability to ‘favorite’ treatment options. The website allows consumers to review treatment models, different intervention types (in and out of the home). AllKindsofTherapy.com provides this newsletter, monthly, a jobs listings and a curated blog that compliments the user experience.
NATSAP was created in January, 1999 to serve as a national resource for programs and professionals who assist young people beleaguered by emotional and behavioral difficulties. NATSAP publishes an annual directory listing all of its member programs. NATSAP members include therapeutic schools, residential treatment programs, wilderness therapy programs, young adult programs, and home-based residential programs. NATSAP is not an accrediting or licensing body. We are a volunteer membership organization supporting professionals and programs in their efforts to help struggling young people.
At the recent NATSAP (National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs) Conference in San Antonio, TX, three members of the Moonridge Academy Clinical Team shared their expertise and experience as they presented sessions to peer professionals.
Executive Director Jack Hinman along with Executive Director Robbi O’Kelley of La Europa Academy (Moonridge’s sister school), presented on the topic of “Understanding and Treating Disorders of Over-Control.” In this session Jack and Robbi explored the issues of over-control as it pertains to mental health. They also discussed the use of RO-DBT (Radically Open-Dialectical Behavior Therapy) in treating over-controlled students. Not every student that comes into treatment struggles with outward dysregulation and behavior problems. For some of students in treatment, it's the opposite
Self-control is important for overall success in life, yet too much self-control is a prominent factor in a number of mental health concerns such as treatment-resistant depression, treatment-resistant anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder and a number of personality disorders.
Primary Therapist Annette Pelletier presented along with Kayla Bogs from Merridell Achievement Center. The topic of their session was “Choice+Action=Change: the Combined Use of Reality and Adventure Therapy”. Annette is certified in choice theory and reality therapy through the William Glasser Institute. This training, in conjunction with the expansive use of Adventure Therapy at Moonridge Academy, provided attendees with ideas to effectively bring lasting change to students in treatment. The more a student explores, builds mastery of outdoor adventure opportunities, connects with nature, the more open that student will be to making adjustments towards a healthier, more balanced life.
Clinical Director Lacey Heinzelman participated on a panel that discussed the very important topic “What Are We Actually Doing To Help Gender Non-Conforming Kids?” More and more students in treatment are facing questions about their gender identity. Moonridge Academy currently provides services to a number of students who identify as transgender or are questioning their gender identity. Lacey was able to share her experiences with the work being done at Moonridge to clinically support these students.
It is always edifying when professionals in the same field can come together to learn new things from one another to improve what is being offered to teens in treatment.
About Moonridge Academy
Moonridge Academy (located in Cedar City, UT) is a premier residential treatment center for younger girl ages 11-15 years. Moonridge Academy specializes in healing trauma and addressing mental and emotional challenges using different therapeutic modalities including EMDR, CBT, DBT, Play Therapy, Equine Therapy and Adventure Therapy. As a small program of only 16 students, Moonridge Academy allows for a high degree of individualization in both clinical and academic services. By combining a nurturing home-like environment with a sophisticated clinical approach, Moonridge Academy is tailored to meet specific needs and to assist students in developing coping skills and identity.
The 4th annual Expanding Recovery for Young People Conference will be held on August 14-16, 2019 at the Kanuga Conference and Retreat Center in Hendersonville, NC, featuring Kevin Rumley, a Purple Heart Veteran and Coordinator for Veterans Treatment Court as this year’s keynote speaker. Kevin weaves his gripping story of trauma and addiction with his passion for restorative justice and treatment advocacy. Visit the registration site at www.expandingrecovery2019.eventbrite.com for more information. Early bird savings are available until April 1st. Use code EARLYBIRD19 to save when booking single or shared rooms.
The call for papers is offically open. Please submit proposals from a wide range of topics related to young people and recovery; email Alyson.Smith@SUWSCarolinas.com with a title, brief description, and three learning objectives for a 90 minute presentation.
In other news, as you visit the SUWS website, you will see the new SUWS logo and color scheme! SUWS is excited to have a fresh brand that conveys their strength, endurance, and ability to evolve.
About SUWS of the Carolinas
SUWS of the Carolinas is a licensed, CARF International-accredited mental health facility, committed to helping families rediscover their strengths and fostering growth for young people. Operating in the Pisgah National Forest outside of Asheville, SUWS delivers wilderness based therapeutic interventions for 10-17 year old boys and girls with compassion and excellence.
This past week, in San Antonio, Texas, was the Annual National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs Conference, more commonly know as NATSAP. It was a time where several hundred therapeutic professional colleagues got together to gain knowledge from the many sessions, have some face to face time with Educational Consultants and program people, and to reconnect with old friends while forming new friendships.
During one of the meeting time with consultants, Summit Prep’s Executive Director Todd Fiske and Clinical Director Tim Corson shared some of the great things that are happening on campus. They talked about their plan to enhance parent programming, the changes they are making in the program calendar, Summit Prep's great academic and clinical teams and of course the newest addition… the Arts Studio. In listening to these discussions it was a reminder of an all staff activity that Summit Prep has done throughout the years where folks talk in groups about what is going well on campus and also where is there a need for improvement.
The setting for these groups is typically an all staff meeting and the participants are divided into small groups. The diversity of the groups are planned so that each group has at least one director, one teacher, one therapist, and one residential staff. The groups are then given the task to discuss and record their thoughts on the day-to-day campus happenings. Typically the discussions are high energy, engaging and positive. The recorded information is then compiled and presented at future meetings.
One might ask if this is necessary to go through a drill such as this. The programs in the therapeutic industry are doing many great things, and yet when daily routines and expectations pattern out, some of the great things that are happening may be overshadowed. Discussion groups like this give a new perspective to the wonderful things that are happening on a campus and they provide a forum for positive affirmation. So you might want to ask “What do we do well?” at your next staff gathering.
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.
As AIM House enters its twentieth year, founder Danny Conroy and the leadership team remain ever committed not only to upholding the standard of care at AIM House, but also to supporting movements, programs and individuals who share similar values and goals. Collegiate Recovery is one of those movements. As a young adult transitional living program, dedicated to helping participants and families launch forward (and onward) towards health and wellness, AIM House is proud to support college students finding community on their campus.
The annual Association of Recovery in Higher Education (ARHE) “ski-a-thon” was held the last weekend in January in Keystone, Colorado. Now known as the Mountain Region Collegiate Recovery Leadership Summit, this event has evolved over the years to provide programming which helps Collegiate Recovery programs across the country grow. ARHE’s mission with the summit is to “connect, educate, and engage collegiate recovery stakeholders from the Mountain Region and the country as a whole. As an auxiliary event of the ARHE and S.A.F.E. Project Collegiate Recovery Leadership Academy, presentation topics will center on the intersection of collegiate recovery, service and leadership.”
AIM House was thrilled to return as a sponsor of the summit. Over 200 students from all over the country flooded into Keystone Colorado for a weekend of fellowship, workshops... and of course some time on the slopes. AIM House participants, alumni & staff were among those in the mountains this weekend. As a program, AIM House could not be PROUDER of the work that ARHE and Collegiate Recovery programs do nationwide.
AIM House employee (and former student in the University of Colorado’s Collegiate Recovery Center) Lily Wilkinson spoke Friday night as the event kicked off: “AIM House, along with countless other young adult programs, directly benefits from the work of collegiate recovery programs. With the emergence of recovery communities on college campuses nationwide, higher education can now become an accessible reality for our alumni.”
The reality is this: access to mental health support makes college a viable part of the continuum of care, offering young, recovering college students the opportunity to thrive on campuses across the country. Locally, AIM House participants and alumni have become heavily involved with the University of Colorado’s program. And with the work that ARHE does to support conversation and community between programs, CU Boulder students and AIM Houser’s can connect to an even larger group of young people in recovery.
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.
The ViewPoint Center’s assessments are unique because of their:
- Multidisciplinary approach: ViewPoint Center Staff, coming from different disciplines and backgrounds (such as psychiatric, therapeutic, milieu, academic), are able to observe and assess patients on a regular basis over the course of 7-8 weeks. Their staff works closely together, looking through a variety of lenses and angles to come to a consensus about a patient’s diagnostic profile and treatment needs moving forward.
- Flexible assessments and testing: Their longer length of stay allows ViewPoint to be able to reschedule testing if a patient is having a bad day or week. This allows for more accurate assessments.
- Expansive testing library: They have an extensive testing library to work with. This allows ViewPoint to add tests for patients that weren’t originally part of their testing battery when observations of patients include new and different behaviors or patterns that had previously gone unnoticed.
- Ability to compare observations and testing over the course of multiple weeks: their longer length of stay provides ViewPoint Center with the chance to track the progress of patients and compare observations over a long period of time. Patients may be behaving very differently between week 1 and week 6, which allows ViewPoint to generate a more accurate treatment plan because of this longitudinal observation.
About ViewPoint Center
ViewPoint Center, a mental health assessment center for teens ages 12-17, is located just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. With a program lasting 6-8 weeks, ViewPoint Center provides superior assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and stabilization for teens struggling with mental and behavioral issues such as suicidal ideation, anxiety disorders, and eating disorders. In a safe, personalized environment, ViewPoint helps teens focus on the healing process.
"High school that is low-pressure and high-structure helps our students succeed” remarked Kevin Kuykendall, Academic Director for Telos Titans.
The Titans, a 1A School, are experiencing a high college-bound population, and the low-pressure/high-structure formula is a key ingredient. According to 2018 data, 78% of Telos students are off to college*. In the Titan tradition, these students are aiming high and are on track for incredible careers and productive lives. College is not for everyone, but after leaving Telos, students are more prepared to take on hard thing, be it college or whatever life has in store. The following are colleges our students have recently been accepted to:
Santa Monica College, Arizona State University, Utah Valley University, Utah State University, University of Utah, Dixie College, University of Colorado, Texas Christian University, Notre Dame, UCLA, Colorado School of Mines, Denver College, Brigham Young University, Menlo College, UC Santa Barbara, Green Mountain, University of Arizona, Texas State College, High Point University, University of North Carolina, Montana State University, Chico State, University of Miami, Bridgewater State University - Mass, University of New England, CalArts, Northeastern University, University of Colorado - Boulder, Ohio Wesleyan University, University of Denver and more.
*Data acquired by Telos in post-treatment survey, one year after discharge
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.
Evoke is pleased to announce Jordan Machtelinckx, as the new Director of Operations at their Cascades location in Bend, Oregon. Jordan worked for 2 years as a Field Staff at Evoke Cascades before returning to his new position.
Jordan is responsible for all things logistical in the field, at base, and everywhere in between. In the field, he ensures groups have the gear and equipment needed for changing conditions and ensures compliance with land use regulations. Back at base, he supervises the logistics team, the warehouse, and management of the vehicle fleet. He also organizes and supervises all transportation for staff, participants, and families to and from the field area.
When asked about returning to Evoke, Jordan said "I’m excited to return to Evoke in a management role to be able to support the field staff who are at the front lines of what we do to support families. I felt my time as a field instructor come to a natural close after two intense years, and moved on to a seasonal dream job working as a glacier guide in Alaska. While the work there was equally intense and rewarding, I noticed an absence of the deep fulfillment which I felt while supporting participants through their journey in wilderness therapy. As it turns out, a field instructor position in wilderness therapy is a very tough job to follow up. My understanding of the inner workings of Evoke, combined with my diverse experience in logistics and my desire to support the industry pieced together nicely when I had the opportunity to return to Evoke as the head of the operations department."
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.
Dropping a loved one off at a treatment center is often a bitter-sweet experience. After hours of researching, planning and traveling, anxieties run high. A recent Turn-About Ranch parent, John S., described his emotions when dropping his son off at Turn-About Ranch, “Dropping a son or daughter off at Turn-About Ranch is not an easy thing. You’re filled with all kinds of emotions. Am I doing the right thing for my kid? Will my child be taken care of? Will he learn the skills needed to succeed when he returns home? There’s so much that is unknown.”
While good-byes can be difficult, the assurance they will receive needed treatment is comforting. Turn-About Ranch uses the admissions as an opportunity for growth and understanding for all involved. The student is introduced to staff and other students and given a full orientation of the program. The parents are given their own tour of the facilities which involves current students as their guides. Turn-About Ranch’s goal is to help insure both student and parent feel the program provides a safe and caring environment.
Regarding his experience, John explained, “I knew that when I dropped my son off at Turn-About Ranch, I would be going on a tour to learn a little more about where my son would be staying and what he would be doing. What I wasn’t expecting is that my tour guides would be two young men who, just like my son, had been sent to Turn-About Ranch by their parents to get their lives back on track. What a pleasant surprise this turned out to be. The three of us wandered, unescorted, through various parts of the ranch while the boys showed me and explained to me what life was like at Turn-About Ranch. Because we were alone for most of the tour, I took advantage of the opportunity to ask the boys a barrage of questions: things I may not have asked if staff had been along. I really wanted to know what it was like from their point of view. Were they glad they had been sent? Did they want to return home? What was the success rate? What was it like for those who struggled with the program? These two young men were amazing. They respectfully answered each question and were both funny and positive about their experiences.”
While this experience is good for the parent, it also benefits the students giving the tour. One of the students wrote about his experience as the tour guide, “Recently, I had the privilege of giving a parent who had just dropped off their son a tour of the [campus]. Another student and I related our experiences here and tried to give the father an idea of what everyday life is like and what his son would be learning and living for the rest of his time at Turn-About Ranch.”
The student continued to explain how this opportunity helped him personally. “Taking the parent for a tour gave me a unique opportunity to gain some insight into the perspective of a parent leaving their child in the care of people they in all likelihood have never met before. I realized that it must be just as hard, if not more, for parents to go through this program. There was definite pain in this father’s eyes as I spoke to him, but I also sensed that he was hopeful for the future and an improved situation with his child. I appreciated this learning opportunity and the trust that the staff showed in allowing me to give the tour. Hopefully, we were able to help the father understand better life here at the ranch and give him some hope for the future.”
John shared, “Having these two young men escort me through Turn-About Ranch gave me tremendous hope for my son. It was hard for me to believe that these courteous young men had just a few months earlier been struggling with the same kinds of things that my son was. They were appreciative that their parents had sent them, looked forward to being with their families again, recognized the pain they had caused their families before arriving at Turn-About Ranch, and expressed some concern and sorrow about leaving the ranch in the near future. Though I realize that there may be challenges ahead for these young men and that my son’s experience at the ranch may not be as positive as theirs, I left feeling relief, hope and confidence about our decision to send our son to Turn-About Ranch”
Providing a real and honest experience for parents and students is an important aspect of Turn-About Ranch’s philosophy. After 30 years of treating troubled teens, they have nothing to hide and everything to share; providing opportunities for growth at every step. Their motto, “Real Ranch. Real Values Real. Change.” is even illustrated in how they treat parents when they are dropping their children off for treatment.
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.
According to Jeanna Osborn, Calo Programs Canine Therapy Director, the world of canine therapy research is taking off. As an example, she points to Yale University who recently opened a Canine Cognition Center to study how canines think, perceive, solve problems and make decisions. Osborn explains; “One of the goals of the center is to better understand how canines think about the world so the center can advise canine professionals how to better utilize canines in a therapeutic setting.” Interestingly, the Canine Cognition Center is researching what Calo Programs canine teams have long known: that dogs feel empathy and other human emotions. Because Ms. Osborn is always interested in canine research, to enhance Calo’s canine therapy program, this initiative is timely. In an article in the Journal of Learning and Behavior, scientists report, “It’s not just your imagination when your dog cuddles you when you’re crying in bed. They do seem to care about how we’re feeling.”
Ms. Osborn went on say, “We experience canine empathy regularly. For example, canine therapy team member Jess recently noticed that canine Teddy has a very different response and relationship with a specific student that is on the spectrum. Teddy has many students that seek out a relationship with him. This would make gravitating towards them an easy choice for social contact. What’s different is that Teddy sees this student and gravitates to him, even though the student doesn’t share the same enthusiasm. This seems to be more than a sympathy response; he seems to intuitively know there is a need that he can help fill. Teddy gently persists in pursuit of a connection and relationship with the student as evidenced by his approach and softer demeanor, sitting on his feet, leaning into his legs and nudging his hand. This looks and feels more like empathy than sympathy or a desire for social contact”.
Just like people, some dogs respond with more empathy than others. Some dogs even “catch” human yawns according to Christine Dell’Amore of the National Geographic. Osborn followed up to say, “There are so many of us who are charmed by these amazing beings. There’s no doubt the canine connection movement will continue to grow and gain momentum throughout the therapeutic world”.
About Calo Teens
Calo Teens, located in Lake Ozark, Missouri is a unique program comprised of an extraordinary team of professionals, all dedicated to healing the effects of early trauma. They 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 Developmental Trauma CASA Treatment Model and Clinical Structure is pervasive throughout the program. This unique model facilitates establishing, deepening and maintaining healthy and safe relationships that ultimately lead to co-regulation and joy. For more information, visit www.caloteens.com or call Rachel Vandevoort at 877-879-2256.
Open Sky is excited to announce the addition of Dr. Melia Snyder to our Clinical and Leadership Team. Dr. Melia is a Clinical Therapist working primarily with young adults and as Education Director overseeing Open Sky’s student and family programming.
Dr. Melia is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Registered Expressive Arts Therapist. She is trained in Family Centered Treatment and Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She earned her Ph.D. in Counseling from the University of North Carolina in Charlotte. She then went on to work as an Assistant Professor in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program and Director of the Expressive Arts Therapy Program at Appalachian State University.
In addition to her extensive research and education in mental health, Dr. Melia has more than 15 years of experience working in wilderness, community mental health, integrated care and private practice.
Dr. Melia’s doctoral research at UNC focused on salutogenesis — the promotion of health — for young adults recovering from substance use disorders. Dr. Melia looks forward to incorporating her passion and expertise in promoting health and artistic expression in her work at Open Sky. Explore Dr. Melia’s studies on the health-promoting capacities of wilderness, nature, and the arts in her 2017 book Nature-Based Expressive Arts Therapy.
“The values found in Dr. Melia’s professional body of work and in who she is as a person resonate profoundly with Open Sky’s humanistic, wilderness-based approach to health and healing,” says Emily Fernandes, Executive Director. “A gifted clinician and educator, Melia is already enriching Open Sky programming. We look forward to sharing exciting developments in our student and family curriculum in the year to come.”
About Open Sky Wilderness
Nestled in the mountains of southwest Colorado and the Canyonlands of southeast Utah, Open Sky transcends traditional wilderness therapy with an approach that emphasizes treatment for the whole family. When a family partners with Open Sky, they embark on a rewarding adventure of self-discovery and learn a range of strategies that promote lasting success. The Open Sky clinical approach utilizes the latest in evidence-based clinical modalities integrated with innovative, well-researched mindfulness and holistic healing practices. Therapists develop treatment plans, provide individual and group psychotherapy, and update families each week via teleconference. Students participate in daily process groups and a wide range of experiential activities designed to increase awareness and facilitate growth.
Greenbrier Academy is a highly accredited therapeutic boarding school and a licensed, staff-secured residential treatment center serving young women 14-18. This dual accreditation has given Greenbrier the capacity to provide college preparatory academics within a fully immersive therapeutic experience. Beginning 2019, Greenbrier is proud to provide greater individual support by implementing the following programmatic changes:
- 4:1 Student to staff ratio
- Enhanced services for Insurance Reimbursement
- Expansion of our Art Therapy program to include Performing Arts
- Tutoring services
- A Whole and Nutritious Food Menu
- Expansion of available AP & Honors classes
Located in Pence Springs, WV, Greenbrier provides one of the best therapeutic boarding school experiences on the east coast. Every family comes through Greenbrier's doors with a unique history and specific needs. These programmatic developments will increase our capacity to tailor academics and therapeutics. Greenbrier will continue to offer these new options within the welcoming, community-oriented culture that families have come to know and love.
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.
Mountain Market, a new store located in Thomas, WV, will open on Saturday, February 9, 2019. This store will be managed by a client from Applewood Transitions for Young Women and be stocked with products made by the clients of Cabin Mountain Living Center and the Journey WV for Young Men. The products include goats milk soaps and candles, lip balm, upcycled primitives, art, jewelry and wood products. The store will also include jewelry from MJ Designs that supports mindfulness and meditation practices, including earrings, wrap bracelets, and Mala necklaces for prayer and meditation. (MJ Designs was founded by the Coordinator of Student Services and Lead Life Coach at Q&A Associates.)
“The residents of Cabin Mountain Living Center struggle to find sustainable employment due to their individual challenges, but they are a talented group of people with lots to contribute,” said Angie Shockley, Founder and CEO of Q&A Associates, parent company for Cabin Mountain Living Center. “This is the newest opportunity that the Q&A programs are providing for our clients to explore and develop new skills,” said Keith Bishop, Q&A's Chief Operating Officer. Partnerships in the community have provided a launching ground for the products that will be sold in the Mountain Market.
Thomas, WV, is an eclectic small mountain town featuring boutique shops, art galleries, world class music, antiques, and quaint, small town living. While the town has less than 1000 residents, it is one of the Tucker County destinations hosting nearly a million tourists a year. “Having a retail space in Thomas is a wonderful opportunity,” said Shockley, “the products made by our clients will be seen by thousands of people.”
A quick hat top to Scooter Goldman, a former marine and rodeo man who has become wood shop mentor and teacher at Cabin Mountain Living Center and Journey Transitions for Young Men. Each client has the opportunity to spend time with “Mr. Scooter” in the shop. They are learning the basics like measuring and design as well as the operation of each piece of equipment. Clients are working on dining room tables, benches, flower boxes, cutting boards, oven push/pulls, and flag boxes to honor the fallen heroes of our country.
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.
Northwest Passage, a residential mental health treatment program for children located in northwestern Wisconsin, is pleased to welcome Dr. Michael Woodin, Ph.D. to the clinical team at their Prairieview campus. Dr. Woodin’s strong background in pediatric neuropsychological assessment and intervention makes him a welcome member of the team. In addition to his neuropsychological background, Dr. Woodin formerly served as a Graduate Program Director and Clinical Professor at Miami University, where he focused on courses in psychological assessment, evidence-based interventions, collaboration with educational and medical professionals, neurodevelopmental disorders, and teacher education. While working in higher education, Dr. Woodin actively worked as a neuropsychologist in service to urban and rural school districts providing direct service and consultation to teachers, administrators, students and their families. He was comfortable providing services in the schools as he previously worked as a teacher, English Department Head, and Special Educational Administrator.
Dr. Woodin is an expert in neurodevelopmental disorders who has authored current books on brain research, childhood development, assessment, clinical case studies, and special education. He has conducted and published neuropsychological research in the areas of behavioral genetics, neurocognitive phenotypes, the 22q11.2 microdeletion syndrome, attention, executive functioning, working memory, giftedness, anxiety, and evidence-based interventions for use in school and clinical settings.
Before joining Northwest Passage, Dr. Woodin worked as a pediatric neuropsychologist at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the Rush-Presbyterian Medical Center in Chicago, and in private practice. He received his training in Pediatric Psychology, Pediatric Neuropsychology, assessment, and therapy through the Children’s Seashore House and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia where he completed his residency. He also completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in Pediatric Neuropsychology at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center in Philadelphia where he was part of a team that completed groundbreaking research on the neuropsychological profile of children with velocardiofacial syndrome, a genetic condition that has links to schizophrenia, mental health concerns, and childhood problems with social cognition.
Dr. Woodin has consulted at the state and national levels and worked extensively with public, private, and charter schools to effect positive change for students, staff, and parents. He spent several years as a teacher and administrator for a private and residential summer school program in Vermont for individuals with learning disabilities. Dr. Woodin has presented at international, national, and state conferences and has actively trained professionals such as psychologists, teachers, administrators, and graduate students.
Dr. Woodin is proud to be married to Teresa, his wife of 23 years and to be the father of his two teenage sons, Connor and Brendan. Dr. Woodin is thrilled to work with the children and teens who come to Northwest Passage, by giving them a great overall assessment, finding their strengths as well as identifying their weaknesses, and helping them to move forward and live a life worth living.
About Northwest Passage
Northwest Passage is focused on blending traditional mental health treatment with arts and nature-based therapy to restore hope in their clients. By investing in the lives of marginalized youth, Northwest Passage is influencing and changing how mental health is ultimately treated and viewed. The transformations seen are no less than extraordinary.
There are strong indications that increasing numbers of preteens and teenagers are experiencing serious anxiety disorders, such as social anxiety, generalized anxiety, and panic. Many factors have been implicated, such as the ubiquity of being judged on social media, changes in parenting styles, prevalence of school shootings, achievement pressures, and so forth. As a result, significant numbers of young teens narrow their lives, disengage from or avoid school, and take refuge in game fantasy.
Dr. Thomas Nowak, Executive Director at Valley View School, states, "We assess anxiety by its three main manifestations: 1) subjective distress; 2) physiological arousal; and 3) avoidant behaviors. Any effective treatment of anxiety must address all of these domains. Thus, at Valley View School, we have instituted a multi-modal treatment approach to anxiety." The treatment team at Valley View addresses the anxiety concerns of students with an individualized regimen of interventions from the following list:
- Elimination of social media stress
- A milieu that is structured and supportive
- Supported engagement or re-engagement in intrinsically healthy pursuits, such as academics, sports, nature outings, theater, music and community service
- DBT- and CBT-based individual and group therapy, including specialized protocols for social anxiety and panic disorder
- Family therapy, psycho-education, and consultation with parents regarding their child's anxiety
- Mindfulness and meditation
- Individual and group work
- Yoga-based meditation
- An exciting new biofeedback/video game program, designed by researchers at Boston Children's Hospital, that teaches kids how to control their physiological arousal and develop emotional control.
Teaching students to successfully manage anxiety can open the door for healthier, more engaged development through adolescence, which has long been a central goal for Valley View School.
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.
Therapists at Alpine Academy are encouraged and supported in seeking certification from leading sources in a wide variety of therapeutic modalities. The administrative team is committed to this approach as they feel it is the most effective way to provide quality treatment to students.
Alpine Academy does not subscribe to the notion that any particular therapeutic modality has the ability to reach every student every time. For this reason, all of the therapists at Alpine Academy receive training and certification in several modalities, including DBT, EMDR, and the EAGALA model for equine assisted psychotherapy. With these modalities as a starting point for their tool box, the therapists are then encouraged to seek further training and certification in areas of personal interest. Some of these include ACT, Neurofeedback, Sandplay, and Motivational Interviewing.
Having so many options empowers therapists to recognize what each student responds best to and employ that method to help the student gain the necessary insight and skills to move forward in life and their relationships.
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.
Summit Achievement encourages those interested in learning about their program to read the Summit Blog, located on the Summit Achievement website. The Summit Blog regularly addresses a variety of topics that are beneficial to parents, students, educational consultants as well as other referring professionals. The most recent blog post is titled, “Why Summit recommends parents hire a therapeutic educational consultant.” Previous topics include “Is Summit like Outward Bound?”, “How to receive insurance reimbursement for Summit Achievement Services,” “Tips for parents with children who are refusing or anxious about going to Summit Achievement”, “Summit Achievement Re-Accredited as an Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Program,” and many more.
Summit Achievement’s regular updates and educational offerings to students, alumni, parents, educational consultants and other referring professionals is part of the reason they have been so successful since 1996.
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.
Due to the unique environs and the inherent personalities of multiple Pacia Life locations, inviting viewers to truly see the programs required more information than what is on Pacia Life's primary website (www.pacialife.com).
Please check out the additional websites for more detailed location information:
- New Perspectives dedicated website www.npya.net
- Pacia Puerto Rico dedicated website www.paciapr.com
- A new website for Pacia Life Portugal is coming soon. For more information on any of our locations, please reach out directly to our new Admissions Director, Michelle Stinnett (see below)
Hiring: We are seeking people with industry and leadership experience in our Boston and Puerto Rico locations. We are also starting to accept job applications for our new location in Austin, TX (opening soon). To apply, please send an email with your resume and interest to HR@PaciaLife.com
Pacia Life welcomes Michele Stinnett to our global team as the Director of Admissions.
"After having worked in this field for 25 years, I am thrilled to join a team helping struggling and emerging young adults. The experience, creativity, and dedication at Pacia Life match my vision for helping these individuals excel and recognize the contribution they can make in creating a better world. I am excited to become a part of such an incredible group of individuals giving their all to improving these lives, and recognizing the return in investment will be a better future for all." -Michele Stinnett
You can contact Michele directly via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or (912) 805-7009 Admissions or (217) 440-5163, her direct cell.
About Pacia Life
Pacia Life is a transitional experience that guides young adults with strong therapeutic and clinical support systems who are seeking to live a results-based life in areas of education, vocational training, apprenticeships, careers, entrepreneurship, personal financial independence, domestic and international GAP year experiences, etc.
Through the Tatori method, students also receive curriculum, support, and coaching in areas of finances, resume building, executive functioning, health and nutrition, wellness, leisure time, social life, relationships, home repairs and more.
The National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP) invited TechieForLife (TFL) tech students to their recent 2019 Annual Conference in San Antonio, TX for the launch of the NATSAPConnect app. Students in TFL’s in-house tech program have had the opportunity to build an app to increase accessibility for educational consultants searching NASTAP’s current program directory. A few TFL students from the app development team were on hand at the conference assisting and collecting feedback for added features.
This free app, developed as an internal industry tool, provides educational consultants and NATSAP members a mobile ability to:
- Connect quickly on handheld devices
- Contact the right person confidently
- Use clickable map links to easily locate destinations
- Search more effectively with updated capabilities
- Stay current with school and program staff changes
- Share and update direct internal contact information
“Building this app from the ground up has been an amazing learning opportunity for our students,” said Jason Grygla, TFL Executive Director. Providing learning and practice with real life, team-based projects is an important aspect in how TechieForLife prepares its neurodiverse students, including those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), for success in internships and careers.
For those interested in accessing the app and/or offering feedback in the development of added app features, email Jason@techieforlife.com. To find out if a wrap-around career support program like TechieForLife might be the right fit or to request a free career interest and aptitude assessment for a neurodiverse young adult, email GetStarted@TechieForLife.com.
TechieForLife (TFL) is a co-ed, residential postsecondary school with a wrap-around career support program in beautiful St. George, Utah. Students with neurodiverse social, emotional and academic challenges, such as autism, receive mentoring so they can build social connections, confidence and independence. Licensed as a vocational school, TFL offers in-house computer tech training, college or trade school help, apprenticeships, internships and job support for individualized paths forward. At TFL, students have a place to belong and support to succeed.
Solstice West RTC, a leading residential treatment center for young women ages 14-18 located in Layton, Utah, is celebrating an impressive milestone of having over 100 years of combined clinical experience.
At Solstice West RTC, the clinical team is highly experienced working as a team, since many of the therapists have been members of the Solstice team for 5-9 years. Additionally, many individual therapists have been working in therapy for 20+ years. The clinical team has multiple therapists who specialize in trauma, that are certified in EMDR, and several are also equine specialists working with trauma. The other clinical team therapists are very experienced in therapeutic approaches such as CBT, with several that are experts at teaching DBT, which is part of the Solstice West clinical cognitive approach.
One thing that is unique to the clinical team at Solstice West RTC is the low caseload that the therapists have, with only 6 students on each therapist's case load. This allows the therapists to build great relationships with students. They are able to eat lunch with them, go camping, and really spend 1 on 1 quality time with students, making the clinical team at Solstice one of the highest quality.
As Keoni Anderson, Executive Director and Cofounder, comments, “Our treatment teams bring so much experience collectively. All the therapists bounce off of each other so that it is just not one therapist working all alone with a student. Our treatment teams have the opportunity to bounce ideas off of the entire team of experts who have been doing this type of work for years, which is why we are able to help so many different kinds of clinical diagnoses. We can help so many different types of students because our clinical team is extremely strong."
Every week at Solstice West RTC, there are treatment team meetings where therapists, nursing, residential, adventure, academic and milieu staff all come together, collaborate, and give feedback on the therapeutic interventions with each student. They discuss how well a student is doing, where they are struggling, or where they might need to be rewarded. This helps everyone check in and make sure the team is all on the same page, and also allows each to share ideas.
In addition, Solstice West RTC have leadership meetings every week where all of the heads of each department go over the needs of their departments and overall needs of Solstice West. All staff problem solve areas that are problematic, and work together to make sure things run smoothly.
Keoni Anderson goes onto state, "My favorite part about working at Solstice is how passionate our staff is about what they do. You can tell that they all love their jobs, it is a very happy crew, and they are always coming up with new creative ideas. Our staff is very caring about their students. They all love to have fun, laugh, and joke around. We have a very cohesive, tight-knit group that all really like working together which is unique to Solstice West. Our staff is very experienced at what they do.”
To learn more about the clinical team at Solstice West RTC, please visit https://solsticertc.com/clinical-team/.
About Solstice RTC
Solstice RTC is a residential treatment center for teen girls that has helped hundreds of struggling teens on their journey to solving issues like trauma, depression, anxiety, and mood disorders. Solstice RTC, located in Layton, Utah, offers a specialized, clinically intensive program based on the specific needs of young women. At Solstice RTC, young women discover their full potential. For additional information on Solstice RTC, please visit http://solsticertc.com or call 801-444-0794.
The Solstice family of programs is pleased to announce the opening of Journey Home Young Adult, a 6-12 month step down, transition, home-like setting located in Salt Lake City, Utah. Journey Home Young Adult offers therapeutic support for residents and provides the opportunity for greater freedoms, responsibilities, further education, career development and a healthy lifestyle. Based on structure, support and mentoring, young women emerge from Journey Home Young Adult emotionally and intellectually equipped to successfully launch into a fulfilling life.
The Journey Home Young Adult program provides an environment for young women ages 18-23 to thrive as they continue to work towards academic and independent living goals. The transition program is designed to serve young women who are in need of a supportive living environment to assist them in making the transition into healthy young adulthood. The mission of Journey Home Young Adult is to assist young woman in making a healthy transition into becoming a responsible and successful young adult.
At Journey Home Young Adult, clients follow a specific, individualized therapeutic program with goals, tasks and a timeline. In addition, client’s short-term goals will be individualized according to their specific treatment plan and current client need. The long term goal is for Journey Home Young Adult clients to become thriving, successful young adults who are prepared with the skills necessary to live independently and demonstrate a pattern of making healthy life choices.
The Journey Home Young Adult program also provides key therapeutic interventions in a home-like setting. These services include group psychotherapy, individual psychotherapy, family therapy, independent living skills training, milieu therapy, academic support services, psychiatric services and activity/recreational services, plus a life coach, health/fitness coach and community mentorship services on a weekly basis. These services are provided for each resident according to the defined needs in each resident’s individual treatment plan.
The program specializes in serving females ages 18-23 with emotional, behavioral or mental health disorders. Journey Home Young Adult specializes in working with women who struggle with a variety of presenting problems such as: depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, body image issues, ADHD and other learning issues, academic struggles, low self-esteem, and others. This population of young ladies is considered to be a higher level of functioning than those indicated for residential treatment services. The emphasis with these young clients is to assist them in maintaining success in academic, vocational, social and career goals and plans. These clients have achieved a level of functioning that would provide them with the ability to succeed in these areas given the necessary ongoing support that any young lady would require. However, a return to their home environment is not seen as able to provide the necessary support, whether it is structurally, socially or academically, to provide these young women with the best chances of ongoing success.
Residents living at Journey Home Young Adult may be attending college, or be in need of a gap year and would learn to take responsibility of a variety of life-skills oriented topics (i.e., shopping, meal preparation, maintaining cleanliness of living space and property, budgeting, transportation, time management, gaining employment, appropriate recreation, personal hygiene, nutrition, fitness, etc.). A typical client in the Journey Home Young Adult program is a young lady who has made significant strides in areas of emotional development, self-motivation, self-confidence and a sense of self-efficacy, emotional maturity and insight into oneself and the development of a personal, active moral code. They have specific goals they are committed to in the areas of academics, vocational and career choices, self-development and growth including emotional, physical and relational health; positive relationship choices and development, commitment to family, and a sense of personal values and morals.
Additional life skill learning opportunities at Journey Home Young Adult include:
- Financial literacy
- Meal planning, shopping and cooking
- Time management
- Employment skills/job training
- College integration
- Executive Functioning skills
- Emotional support
- Personal responsibility
- Healthy relationships
- Intuitive eating and nutrition
- Internship/Volunteer experiences
Nestled in the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains, the Journey Home Young Adult's location offers a wide variety of activities. Residents will have the opportunity to engage in skiing/snowboarding, hiking, mountain biking and climbing; local area events and activities in the vibrant city of Salt Lake will also give residents to opportunity to experience live music, art, culture, museums, local festivals and more.
To learn more about Journey Home Young Adult, please contact the program at 801-444-0794 or visit www.journeyhomeyoungadult.com.
About Journey Home West
Journey Home West is a transitional living step-down program for girls ages 16-21 that have successfully completed a therapeutic program and are seeking further development of life skills before they transition into an independent living setting. Journey Home West is located just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. For more information about Journey Home and if it could be the right fit for your daughter, please call: 801-444-0794.
Equinox RTC, a residential treatment center for adolescents ages 14-18 located outside of Asheville, NC, is excited to announce that Sally Burleson will be joining the clinical team as primary therapist.
Kyle Gillett, Executive Director and Foundation Partner of Equinox RTC, states, “Sally embodies just what anyone would look for in a new teammate – she is an experienced therapist and leader, on top of being an incredible person. And she is a perfect fit for our team.”
Sally has provided clinical services for over 25 years in many different settings. Her love of helping individuals and families comes through in the clinical expertise she provides to students and families. Sally spent the last seven years at Four Circles where she provided clinical supervision, facilitated the Rites of Passage Vision quest experience, developed and implemented the 5th Circle extended care program, facilitated the monthly 3-day family seminar and led the clinical team.
As Dave Archer, Clinical Director at Equinox RTC comments, “We are so excited to have Sally join our team. She brings a wide range of experience, knowledge, and kindness in a relational approach that will allow the families we work with to be challenged and move towards the healing they seek. We feel very fortunate to have her here at Equinox.”
Additionally, Sally fell in love with experiential therapy 15 years ago when she began working at SUWS of the Carolinas. Wilderness Therapy gave her the opportunity to be creative and explore new and different ways to reach people therapeutically. She really thrived on being able to utilize her creativity to meet an individual where they were and support them in their own change process. Since then she has utilized these skills at Phoenix Outdoor a therapeutic wilderness program and Stone Mountain School a therapeutic boarding school.
Sally’s other passion is her family, being a wife and mother is “the best part.” When not at work, Sally is attending her son’s sports, cooking or loving on the family dog named Bear.
About Equinox RTC
Equinox RTC is a leading residential treatment center for adolescents ages 14-18. Equinox is unique in its focus on Trauma, Loss and Attachment, providing clinically intensive treatment for young adults struggling with anxiety, depression, OCD, ASD, learning disabilities, and other emotional and behavioral needs. Equinox offers a combination of clinically sophisticated support with a whole child approach including adventure therapy, integrated Cross-Fit program, and a whole foods diet. Equinox provides a fully accredited school, with broad course selections taught by licensed teachers in a college-preparatory environment.
ReSTART is the first and most well established center for internet and video game addiction in the country. Johnny Tock, MS, LMHC and Dr. Hilarie Cash from ReSTART presented "Intimacy Disorder Among Young, Heavy Internet Users", at the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP) conference in San Antonio, TX. The purpose was to share the research about how young adults and adolescents are developing their views on intimacy and sexuality within the virtual world and how this unhealthy development is impeding their abilities to form healthy and positive relationships into adulthood.
ReSTART has shown that the first step in helping young folks create healthy relationships is fostering and creating healthy attachments with them. Rather than families immersing themselves in their devices, ReSTART encouraged them to continue focusing on the children, and likewise, allowing the children to connect with the families, rather than tablets and phones.
The internet, Youtube, media, and video games - not just pornography - can carry with them oversexualized imagery as well as messages of misogyny. Early and prolonged exposure to these avenues can create the unhealthy template of what a “normal” individual and relationship looks like, specifically at younger ages.
To help avoid some of these pitfalls, ReSTART says to focus on building these healthy attachments with our children and encourage strong interpersonal relationships with their peers. Have them engage in healthy activities promoting communication and connection rather than risk early, prolonged exposure to media which can carry negative and unhealthy expectations and ideas of what happy and healthy relationships look like.
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.
At Seven Stars, a residential treatment and assessment program for teens with neurodevelopmental issues, this winter has been full of outdoor adventures and personal growth opportunities. Students have spent many weekends learning new snow sports such as cross country skiing and snowshoeing throughout the Wasatch Front. For most of the students enrolled, this is the first time they have done these activities and it is a big step outside of the comfort zone. And still, “many students have become pros at cross country skiing, which has become a favorite activity among many students,” says Mischa Ostberg, Outdoor Adventure Leader at Seven Stars. “We have taken advantage of the beautiful snowfall in Eden, Utah at North Fork Park. Interested students also attended a cross country ski class at REI in Salt Lake City where they learned about the basics of nordic skiing and gear maintenance.” This winter’s snowfall in Utah has allowed for many snowshoe trips on the Wasatch Front.
“Although it was a challenge, students were able to snowshoe to beautiful Donut Falls and many other mountain lakes on their trips,” says Ostberg. “During our more mild days, we took advantage of the hiking trails at Antelope Island and had the wonderful opportunity to spot the herd of bison when we were lucky.”
In addition to snowshoeing and cross country skiing, climbing also has become a regular activity for recreational programming. “Many students are enjoying the challenge and problem-solving that bouldering and top rope climbing require,” comments Ostberg. “Utah is full of climbing gyms and visiting them provide the students with a variety of climbing opportunities and opportunities to practice their social skills. Each time they climb, the students improve and try to challenge themselves more. It is very inspiring to watch! We have worked to teach them Figure 8 knots, bouldering and climbing safety when they get on the wall.”
For more information about recreation programming at Seven Stars, please visit the outdoor recreation page.
About Seven Stars
Seven Stars is a premier therapeutic program for teens ages 13-17 struggling with neurodevelopmental disorders such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder, and Learning Disorders (verbal or nonverbal). Seven Stars’ treatment model takes a revolutionary shift from normal therapy methods. By combining acute care stabilization, with residential treatment and academics, true multidisciplinary assessment and treatment, outdoor experiential therapy and positive psychology, Seven Stars therapeutic program understands, assesses and builds the confidence and skills of students struggling with neurodevelopmental disorders.
When a family enrolls their daughter at New Haven, they commit to attend all six (6) family weekends, designed as crucial components for parents to fully participate in this work and provide the best outcomes for their daughter. January marked the first Family Weekend of 2019 at both of New Haven campuses. Each New Haven Family traveled to the home their daughter lives in, to participate in this intensive two day therapeutic experience.
One student recently shared her experience with her family during parent weekend at New Haven, “Parent weekend can be, (if you make it) a very memorable weekend. My family and I have attended every parent weekend since January of 2018. Each time brings new knowledge and fun times. My parents have been divorced since I was 12 so at first having them attend groups together was awkward and uncomfortable. There was tension and very little conversation between them. As the months passed however, it got easier to navigate quality time between the two and we would occasionally go out to eat all together."
She went on to explain, "As far as groups go I personally think that my family has done some of our best work during parent weekends. Each therapist that leads a group opens an emotionally safe space for each person to push themselves and their family members to be open and honest. We’ve cried, laughed, yelled and shared endless love and support during these groups. Each schedule is specifically fit for where the girl is at in her program. You get to hear other families strengths and weaknesses and that provides comfort and support through your time here.”
About New Haven RTC
Founded in 1995, New Haven Residential Treatment Center has been an industry leader in treatment for young women since its inception. We serve adolescent females, ages 12-18. New Haven is clinically intensive with an emphasis on family involvement, healthy relationships, academics, love and service. New Haven is a fully licensed professional Residential Treatment Center, located in rural Utah, just south of Salt Lake City.
'Eating Disorders through the Lens of Attachment' was the topic for Amber Schlitter, LCSW, and Nicole Ponce, LPC, LCDC, presented at this year’s annual National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP) Conference in San Antonio, TX. Their presentation on January 30th was the perfect tribute to Fulshear’s Adult Attachment Model (FAAM) and the way in which Fulshear views attachment and relationships while working with the young women's eating disorder diagnosis.
The FAAM model starts with the understanding that an aggregation of smaller traumas that happened with your primary caregiver can lead to what is known as attachment trauma and trauma in itself is a disruption in the nervous system. This is why seventy-five percent of women with eating disorders have experienced childhood trauma.
Using this quote, “None of us is born with the capacity to regulate our own emotional reactions” (Fonagy et al 2002), Schlitter and Ponce spoke at great length about solutions that help young women and clients to connect. In the FAAM, it is focused that all people have a need to connect, just as we all have a need to eat. If clients are ignoring their need for food, it doesn’t mean that need disappears, just as a need for connection with others will not just go away. An eating disorder tends to be looked at as a deactivating strategy, where a young woman may try to become numb toward her emotions rather than acknowledge them. Looking at eating disorders through an attachment lens means more than just learning to eat well again – it’s digging much deeper than that.
We are biologically wired for connection. What someone does with this urge to connect depends on their “internal working model.” Internal working models consist of how people see themselves, others and the world. The internal working models for those struggling with eating disorders tend to be along the lines of themselves believing that they are not worthy, not good enough, powerless, etc. Through the FAAM, it is changing those beliefs about themselves into positive thoughts rather than negative, by having more positive experiences with healthy connections.
With eating disorders being a secondary attachment strategy, the goal is about getting their unmet needs met; it’s not about the food. It is the treatment team’s goal to understand the client’s best intention and deepest need. Validating the problem is important, and understanding that the urge and intensity is very real for them. Externalizing the problem, educating the team and others around the disorder, would be the next steps. Balance between all of these dynamics is necessary. An example might be setting the expectation of rather than purging right after eating, to try talking with someone for 10 minutes. At Fulshear, using the FAAM teaches these young women that they have the ability to survive this thing that they are so afraid of.
"They must understand the reality of the continuation of urges to regulate emotions by way of eating disorders," stated Schlitter. "The urge will not just go away, and that’s okay; gaining the strength to not fall back into the pattern is what we practice and develop to achieve recovery." They learn, through experience, that they can be in crisis and a relationship will still be okay. The process of change is hard and there are bumps along the way, but learning about self through the lens of attachment also creates a different approach than many of the young women in treatment have experienced before coming to Fulshear.
Fulshear Treatment to Transition, founded in 2003 and accredited by the Joint Commission, is located right outside of Houston in Needville, TX and Stafford, TX. Fulshear works with young adult women ages 18-25 struggling with mental health issues along with accompanying co-occurring disorders, and is known for its development of the Fulshear Adult Attachment Model.
As a fully-integrated and adherent, relational Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) program, Sunrise Residential Treatment Center truly values the concept of mindfulness. Mindfulness is one of the core skills taught in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. At its essence, mindfulness is simply being present; paying attention to what is happening right now, without judgment. Research shows that this level of awareness assists in emotional regulation.
Sunrise is excited for the opportunity to team with Behavioral Tech, a Linehan Institute Training Company, to host “Mindfulness and Reality Acceptance for Personal and Professional Practice,” a three day training (April 24-26) providing two days of psycho-education and one full day of mindfulness practice to mental health professionals around the country. Randy Wolbert, LMSW, CAADC, CCS, Sensei while be providing the training in beautiful Southern Utah near the mouth of Zion National Park. Randy is a DBT trainer with Behavioral Tech and has been practicing DBT since 1995. He was a contractual trainer with BTECH since 1998 and transitioned to a full time trainer/consultant in 2015. While learning and practicing DBT, he began independent mindfulness practice and later became a Zen student of Marsha Linehan. Randy was recognized by Willigis Jaeger as a Zen teacher in 2016 and was confirmed as a Zen teacher (Sensei) in 2018 by Marsha Linehan.
“Marsha has always kept mindfulness training close to her heart” says Brad Simpson, DSW, LCSW, Executive Director of Sunrise Residential Treatment Center, “and we are so excited to have the opportunity to have someone who has trained at her feet come to our area and help us explore new ways to implement the skill into our daily practice.” For more detailed information and to register for the event, visit https://behavioraltech.org/events.
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.
Dr. John Santa, one of four founders of Montana Academy, received the first ever Legacy Award given by the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP) at their annual conference in San Antonio, Texas on Thursday, January 31, 2019. This award marks Dr. Santa's lifetime achievement and his lasting commitment, dedication and contribution to the creation and evolution of this field, and NATSAP itself.
Montana Academy, twenty-two years later, is the remaining program of the original six therapeutic programs that collaborated to form a professional organization that worked to legitimize and develop the industry of adolescent care. Dr. Santa, who served as NATSAP's president, was instrumental in the development of research tools and data collection that would eventually set standards for best practices and would, ideally, attract and guide other programs, schools and professionals.Today, NATSAP is comprised of 187 members and of those, there are 47 research designated programs engaged in the evaluation of effective programming and advocacy.
Dr. Santa is still involved in the day to day routine at Montana Academy and is currently serving as the interim Clinical Director, providing oversight in case conceptualization and treatment planning. Dr. Santa also serves on the editorial board for the Journal of Therapeutic Schools and Programs, a publication committed to following trends, presenting research studies and carrying forward evidence-based practices and topics related to residential and wilderness treatment of teens and young adults.
About Montana Academy
Founded in 1997, Montana Academy is a coed, accredited, privately-owned therapeutic boarding school located in Northwest Montana. Unique in the nation, Montana Academy provides students a robust combination of clinical sophistication, an effective therapeutic program and a challenging prep school all situated on a 500 acre Montana ranch. Instead of limiting treatment to symptom relief (pills or brief therapies), Montana Academy pursues a two-step diagnosis and dual treatment; (a) to identify and then to remove insofar as possible, the obstacles to psychological development; and (b) to prod students to achieve new psychological milestones and so to restore the momentum of normal adolescent maturation.
In January, Shortridge Academy clinicians completed the training “Internet Addiction: How to Assess and Treat the Disorder” developed by Kimberly S. Young, Psy.D.. Using a modified version of DSM criteria, the course provided a framework to identify the signs/symptoms of internet addiction, the utility and need for specialized assessment tools, and specialized techniques to conduct clinical interview. Examination of the varied subtypes of this condition was part of the learning experience and culminated with a study of a formal clinical model for treating clients with technology-use related challenges.
Living in the digital world has proven both beneficial and potentially harmful for teenagers. Internet addiction and other problematic uses of technology are impacting adolescents to the extent that clinical intervention is warranted. The Shortridge Academy Clinical Team has and continues to be committed to being knowledgeable and clinically equipped toward prevention and intervention to address these digital health issues.
Consistent with the tenets of the Positive Youth Development philosophy, Shortridge Academy students are empowered with use of technology. Given their own laptops with limited internet access upon enrollment, Shortridge students realize the educational and support benefits from having access to the internet. Shortridge is intentional in their efforts to prepare students for their independent learner role in future traditional learning environments. Some students require additional scaffolding and the individualization for each student technology use is identified and outlined in his/her individual plan, and overseen by the respective Shortridge Counselor and Technology Director.
“Shortridge Counselors have found that helping a student to navigate their digital environment, including patterns of usage and ways they may be using it as a maladaptive coping skill, is now an essential component of almost every student’s treatment. Our department is committed to continuing to educate ourselves, our students, and our families on how best to prepare for the current digital world.” Christina Smalley, MA, LCMHC, Clinical Director
If you would like more information about Shortridge Academy clinical services, please contact Clinical Director, Christina Smalley at email@example.com
About Shortridge Academy
Shortridge Academy is a private co-ed Therapeutic Boarding School, founded in 2002, emphasizing challenging yet supportive college prep academics within a therapeutic community. Located in southeastern New Hampshire with close proximity to both the seacoast and the mountains, Shortridge’s setting and Positive Youth Development model provides students with an ideal environment to further develop their sense of self and strengthen family relationships in an intellectually stimulating learning environment reflective of a traditional boarding school.
New Focus Academy, a residential treatment program for adolescents ages 12-18 located in Heber City, Utah, works with students with neurodevelopmental disorders, such as those on the Autism Spectrum by developing personalized academic programming.
The New Focus Academy education is not limited to a classroom; in fact, most children come to the program already frustrated and struggling in the classroom setting. The mission of New Focus Academy is to provide differentiated instruction in a supportive environment that promotes self-determination, resiliency, and excellence in learning. The New Focus team uses hands-on real world instruction to assist the students in developing skills to become independent and self-sufficient adults who can positively contribute to their community.
At New Focus Academy, academic prgramming use evidence-based practices to help uniquely abled students succeed at learning self-determination. Self-determination, or the ability to guides one’s own life, is the number one goal of education. To help students’ gain independence, New Focus teaches Utah Common Core Curriculum with a focus on the Essential Elements, which provides ways for students to learn life skills, functional math and language arts skills, community based living skills, and social-emotional skills.
Additionally, New Focus Academy offers students small class sizes, licensed Special Education teachers who specialize in individualized education plans using Utah Common Core Curriculum through the Essential Elements, and Credit Recovery available through BYU independent high school. The New Focus Academy educational programming focuses on job skills and independent living, self determination and problem solving, and social and emotional learning. The curriculum at New Focus Academy also provides students with the opportunity to participate in community and work based learning through internships and part time jobs.
To learn more about New Focus Academy’s academic programming, please visit https://newfocusacademy.com/academics/, or by calling (844) 313-6749.
About New Focus Academy
New Focus Academy is a therapeutic residential treatment program for adolescent boys ages 12-18 with neurodevelopmental disorders. Located in Heber City, Utah, just outside of Salt Lake City, New Focus Academy prepares struggling teen boys for a purpose-filled, independent life. New Focus Academy creates an environment of success using a positive reinforcement approach and empowering students to take small steps leading to big changes and overall wellness.
It has been an exciting month for Foundation House, providing extended care for young men. On January 23rd, residents, staff and alumni of Foundation House departed for Minnesota to compete in the team’s second U.S. Pond Hockey National Championship. Teams from all over the world met on Lake Nokomis, located just outside of downtown Minneapolis, to compete for the title. Fighting the blistering cold, with wind chills reaching negative twenty degrees, Foundation House’s team remained undefeated through the round robin portion of the tournament, qualifying the team for Championship Sunday.
Physically and mentally exhausted, Foundation House climbed the playoff bracket with two hard-fought wins to ultimately lose in the third round of the play-offs. Residents had an amazing experience and were shown how to fight through adversity, work as a team and how to win and lose with dignity and respect.
Additionally, Foundation House has expanded treatment offerings at the Foxhole Ranch located on 120 acres in Bethel, ME. When Foxhole Ranch opened six months ago, it served primarily as a destination for our therapeutic wilderness interventions. As of January 1st, Foundation House is broadening the scope of the ranch’s use to provide benefit to our entire resident population. Highlights of the Foxhole Ranch programming include:
- Proximity to the White Mountain National Forest
- Two beautiful Adirondack homes
- Pool House and Pool
- Stable and riding arena
- Cross-country skiing trips
- Equine Therapy
- Snowshoeing trips
- Trail and Service Work
- Winter-camping trips
- Ice climbing
- Family Workshops
- Therapeutic Wilderness Interventions
Foundation House is continually striving to provide an unrivaled extended-care experience for the young men who enroll. All seasons present new and exciting opportunities for our outdoor programming and opportunities for growth of our clients.
About Foundation House
Foundation House, founded in 2002, operates an extended-care program for young men in Portland and Bethel, Maine. It is built to meet a cross-section of behavioral health needs ranging from co-occurring and acute clinical care, to motivational and executive functioning issues. Our core belief is that growth occurs when young men find their way through experience. We teach our residents how to lead an addiction-free life - that means beginning and maintaining relationships, continuing their education by preparing them for the stresses of a rigorous curriculum, developing practical life skills, using technology responsibly, and learning how to have fun in sobriety.