All Kinds of News for January 09, 2019
Moonridge Academy is thrilled to welcome Annette Pelletier, LCSW, CTRTC as the newest member of their clinical team. Annette comes to Moonridge Academy with a great deal of experience. Annette received her Master’s Degree in Social Work at Texas State University in San Marcos, TX. Annette is skilled at treating a variety of conditions such as depression, anxiety, family relational issues, eating disorders, attachment disorders, substance abuse disorders, and emerging personality disorders. Annette specializes in the treatment of those who have experienced complex trauma. She utilizes a combination of trauma-focused cognitive behavior therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), reality therapy, motivational interviewing, equine-assisted psychotherapy, and experiential/adventure-based interventions. Annette is certified in choice theory and reality therapy through the William Glasser Institute. Annette also received EMDR training through the EMDR Institute, where she received her certification of completion for EMDR Part 1 and part 2. Additionally, Annette has attended training in trauma-focused equine assisted psychotherapy approach and most recently completed a specialized training in the use of equine-connected EMDR.
Annette loves outdoor recreation which aligns well with Moonridge Academy's emphasis on adventure therapy. When asked what she loves doing in her free time, Annette said, "Rock climbing and my family are my passions outside of my work. I love traveling to get to cool climbing areas and love how I can push myself beyond what I believed to be my limit or how I can take it slow and casual to just enjoy the moment. Other things I enjoy doing are just being outside in nature, camping, hiking, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, Latin dancing, reading, and going to the beach. Additionally, I have a great love of animals."
Annette is excited to start working with the younger students at Moonridge, "I love helping young women to see their worth; to help them recognize they are enough, always have been enough, and always will be enough. I enjoy helping them navigate how to express their thoughts and feelings more openly and using their voice to show up in their lives in a more authentic way. The greatest reward for me in this work is the relationships I get to build with these amazing young women and their families."
Emotionally, developmentally and clinically there is a difference between a younger teen and an older teen; their needs and wants are different, as is the way in which they process information and in how they approach problems. Moonridge Academy's dynamic clinical team, led by Clinical Director Lacey Heinzelman, LMFT, LCMHC, works closely to provide strong clinical support for students who struggle with depression, anxiety, trauma, and attachment issues. All members of the clinical team are creative in their process including art projects, play, sand tray and music into therapy sessions. This is so essential with the younger students served at Moonridge Academy. Lacey has advanced training in Brainspotting, Trauma Sensitive Yoga and HeartMath Strategies. She is a trained family therapist, working with the entire family system to create long lasting change.
Like Lacey, Primary Therapist Cam Rowley, CSW utilizes a modality of clinical approaches as she works her clients. Cam feels that the use of Adventure Therapy and Equine Therapy is essential to help the students recognize and build on their individual strengths. Adventure Therapy Director Ruth Morrow, LCMHC rounds out the clinical team. Ruth is excellent at cultivating relationships with the students inviting them to change through the use of outdoor adventure and DBT skills. Ruth is trained in EMDR Therapy, DBT Therapy and Equine Therapy. The clinical team's commitment to the students exemplifies the Moonridge mission statement: “We are all in, everyone of us, every day, for every child”.
About Moonridge Academy
Moonridge Academy is a premier residential treatment center for younger girl ages 11-15 years located in Cedar City, UT. Moonridge Academy specializes in healing trauma and addressing mental and emotional challenges using different therapeutic modalities including EMDR, CBT, DBT, Play Therapy, Equine Therapy and Adventure Therapy. As a small program of only 16 students, Moonridge Academy allows for a high degree of individualization in both clinical and academic services. By combining a nurturing home-like environment with a sophisticated clinical approach, Moonridge Academy is tailored to meet specific needs and to assist students in developing coping skills and identity.
Don’t discount middle schoolers’ abilities! That’s the message that primary therapist Liz Lucarelli, LPC, NCC, NMS, wants everyone to embrace. She approaches her clients, 10-14 year olds in the Seasons group, with respect, curiosity and playfulness. She guides them as they learn how to recognize their feelings, communicate those feelings, and make intentional choices.
As a new added layer of programming, Cameron Allen is providing a neurodevelopmental therapeutic approach for the Seasons group. This involves brain scans at intake and discharge, as well as processing the scan’s information with clients and their families. In addition, Cameron leads regular individual and group sessions about mindfully connecting the body and brain and taking ownership of emotions. What’s the science behind it?
A neurodevelopmental approach helps to integrate tactile, vestibular and somatosensory areas in the brain and body. Each of these areas help the brain and body communicate, which helps the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system remain in balance. This allows the brain to deal with environmental stressors without overactivating the limbic, or in other words, the emotional system. When the brain is receiving too much or too little information to the sensory system, the result is often an increased response in the hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal axis (HPA axis), which releases a cascade of neurochemicals that negatively affect memory, emotional regulation, and ultimately social interactions. This chemical response often leads to other challenges such as low self-esteem, increased anger, manipulative behaviors or isolation.
By teaching students and their families about neuroscience, the SUWS team is able to help them address the underlying brain processes that contribute to many of the behaviors that have hindered their success in school, family or social relationships. It’s all part of a multi-layered therapeutic approach tailored to the middle school age group that offers students a pathway to success and independence.
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.
At The Crossroads is excited to welcome Shannon Virgin as Admissions Director. At The Crossroads is a young adult transitional program in St George Utah.
Shannon has been with At The Crossroads since its inception in 2005. She has been a peripheral member of the team over the years. We are excited to be bringing her into a key role with At The Crossroads. Shannon has been working in the industry since 2003 where she worked with adolescents in Residential Treatment.
Shannon was born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina and has lived in St George, Utah with her husband and three kids for the past 13 years. She loves getting to know people, being creative and is always up for a fun adventure. Shannon looks forward to the opportunity to provide support to families as they start their journey with At The Crossroads.
About At the Crossroads
At The Crossroads is a young adult transitional living program providing coaching, therapeutic support and real life experiences for young adult men and women struggling to launch from their primary support systems. Although there is variance with the underlying diagnostic indicators that bring a young adult to ATC and the subsequent treatment planning and solutions necessary during their course of treatment, the inability to develop healthy individuation is at the common root among all clients.
The 2018-2019 ski season is well underway! The participants at AIM House partake in a ski trip every Friday to various resorts around Colorado. In addition to getting out in some powder, these trips create opportunities for participants to further bond with their housemates and staff, as well as to explore the state outside of Boulder.
The experience level of the participants (and staff!) varies from lifetime skiers and boarders to first-timers looking to learn their way around a mountain. The trips are led by AIM House lead mentor Tyler Wilkinson (a Colorado Native), who favors trips to the Loveland and Copper resorts. This season has been successful so far; AIM Housers have already had multiple “Bluebird” days. The number of participants interested in taking part in this activity has been steadily growing since the first trip in late November.
Wilkinson is planning a weekend long trip later in the season to either Winter Park or Copper Mountain. During this trip, everyone will stay up in the mountains at a slope-side rental, rather than trek back down to Boulder. The season is still getting started, and the AIM house community is, as always, excited to see what the rest of the season will hold!
--Written by AIM House Activities intern K.G.
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.
2018 has been such a phenomenal year for ViewPoint Center! With so many great additions to their team and to their program, they are so grateful for the growth they have experienced on their campus this year. Here are some of the highlights!
Exciting changes to their team
ViewPoint Center welcomed the following staff members to their team, who have proven to be strong assets to our program. They also want to recognize the promotions of current staff members to leadership roles on their team.
- Bailey Rinaldi - New addition to our clinical team as a Primary Therapist
- Amber Seely - New Speech-Language Pathologist
- J'Lene Alexander & Edoardo Gueera - New additions to our Psychology Department
- Oscar Gonzales & Kyle Christensen - Two additional Staff Leads to offer support to their patients
- Sindi Byerly - Promoted to Director of Nursing over ViewPoint Center & Elevations
- Holly Zohner - Promoted to Lead Nurse
- Trish Brimhall- New Dietitian for ViewPoint Center.
- Roxy, Ollie, Bunny & Zuko - New K-9’s welcomed into our Dog Pack
Updates to their daily schedule
ViewPoint Center's daily schedule also saw some additions and modifications to better serve their patients with the greatest quality of care.
- New weekly Social Skills Group led by their new Speech-Language Pathologist, Amber Seeley
- Meditation and Art for patients are now held 4 times weekly
- Access to our Dietitian is now available campus wide
Remodeling on campus
Lastly, in continuing with their wonderful aesthetic enhancements made last year to their facility, ViewPoint's classroom, patient bedrooms and patient bathrooms were remodeled this year to create a more welcoming and updated living area for their patients.
About The ViewPoint Center
ViewPoint Center, a mental health assessment center for teens ages 12-17, is located just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. With a program lasting 6-8 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.
Since opening in April 2018, Elevations RTC’s step down program The Approach has helped teens and adolescents transition successfully from highly structured residential environments.
Located in Syracuse, Utah, The Approach is a co-ed home environment designed to help teens and young adults transition out of the highly structured residential environment of a treatment center and into a more relaxed, less structured home environment. The program works with teens who have demonstrated significant progress during their time in residential treatment and have indicated a readiness to enter a life-skills based transitional living setting.
At The Approach, teens develop and practice life skills that will help them lead a healthy and productive life. Additionally, they continue to work on building and managing relationships with their peers and family members.
During their time at The Approach, housemates are responsible for overseeing their own medical and emotional health. This includes making doctor appointments, ordering medication refills, setting up therapy times with their therapist and scheduling check-in appointments with the Approach doctor.
Each week, housemates attend a Living Well group, led by Executive Clinical Director Jennifer Wilde. “This group is designed to help our housemates with communal living and to offer support with any issues or concerns that they may be experiencing,” comments Program Director Michelle Boulware. “Our students also attend a check-in goal setting group every Sunday. This group is designed to help the students identify tasks that they’d like to accomplish for the week and provides insight for staff on how to support them in reaching their goals.”
As a part of their transitional living experience at The Approach, teens gain full access to electronics such as cell phones, iPads, and computers. They learn how to use technology in a healthy way. Electronics are only used in common areas and staff will randomly monitor their online activity to make sure they are not overusing technology.
“Since opening in April of 2018, it has been exciting to see the transition and adaptability of Approach housemates from a highly structured facility to a more independent one,” says Boulware. “Most of our housemates have never been employed, prepared/cooked a meal, ordered their own medications or even made a doctor’s appointment. While at The Approach some of our housemates have obtained employment for the first time in their life, they have continued their academic pursuits beyond high school and have prepared and cooked meals for their families. These accomplishments have had a positive impact on them and have increased their confidence. It’s been very rewarding for staff and me to be able to aid in and witness their personal growth.”
About The Approach
The Approach is a co-ed transitional living program for teens and young adults who have recently graduated from a treatment environment such as a residential treatment center or therapeutic boarding school. At The Approach, students build confidence and life skills that will help them achieve a successful transition to the real world. Learn more about The Approach by calling 801-773-0200.
The various paths that bring students to the Chamberlain International School are equally as unique as the individuals themselves. Following a traumatic brain injury and a year long hospital stay, Sapphire was ready to start again. “Life never really began until I came out of my coma.”
Sapphire suffered an anoxic brain injury in 2015 that placed her in a coma for 43 days. This left her with extreme deficiencies in the areas of memory, executive functioning, attention and processing speed. After a lengthy stay in the hospital and rehabilitation facilities, Sapphire needed a school that could address all of the challenges she was facing completing her High School education, ranging from memory loss to being able to cross the street independently. After one unsuccessful program placement, a member of her Central Based Support Team in New York City recommended the Chamberlain International School.
The Chamberlain International School gave Sapphire the space to grow along with the structure to support her through that growth. “I learned a lot about myself while I was here. I was able to do more than I ever thought possible.” While at the school, she reported her memory has improved with her ability to recall names and events more readily. Her therapist reported that she did a great job incorporating all of the coping strategies and skills she has learned to manage any frustrations associated with her memory loss. Sapphire was able to attain the highest stage in the tiered behavioral management system and was able to maintain that level of high achievement for an entire year.
As Sapphire transitions to the next phase of her life in sunny Florida, to take music classes and attend college, she has some advice for present and future students. “Put yourself first and don’t put so much pressure on yourself. Whatever you do try to be positive”
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.
Evoke is excited to announce the addition of a Family Walkabout as an option for families who visit the field to see their teen or young adult. This includes parents and other family members that would like to participate. A Family Walkabout is part of the Mid-Program and/or End of Program visit and is customized by the participant’s therapist. The duration of the Walkabout is usually 3-4 days and 2-3 nights.
During this experience, the family will spend a short time with the participant’s group, and then the participant and their family will hike with Evoke staff. The participant’s therapist will meet with the family and guide them through an intensive family therapy session addressing their family dynamics and relationships as well as other issues the family may be dealing with.
Evoke’s Family Walkabouts end with the family and participant gaining greater insight, understanding and lasting memories. Parents interested in a Family Walkabout should notify their participant’s therapist, who will work with them to create a customized experience.
To find out more about the Wilderness Therapy offered at Evoke Therapy Programs, you can visit evoketherapy.com (evoketherapy.com link) or call (866) 411-6600.
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 that are looking to create dynamic changes in their life or to simply find the balance they are seeking.
Turn-About Ranch, a residential treatment center for teens ages 13-18, welcomes Amy Westhoff to the Academic Team. Amy worked as their English teacher in 2017 and taught English for a private online education company in 2018. Turn-About Ranch students benefitted greatly from her influence and teaching. They are pleased to have her return in the capacity of Teacher and Academic Director.
Amy earned her Bachelor of Science in teaching physical science from Brigham Young University. For 2 years, she taught Utah public school 8th grade Integrated Science. During that time, she also served as chess club advisor, STEM fair coordinator, and as a member of her district’s Technology Initiative. With experience teaching students K-12, she has a passion for education across all subjects and grade levels. Amy thrives on helping each student find value and success in their academic journey. When she’s not riding horses and rounding up cattle, Amy enjoys painting and playing the flute and guitar. She also loves taking care of all their ranch “critters” and can often be found hiking in the local area with her dogs. She is thrilled to be back at Turn-About Ranch as the Academic Director.
As a fully credited private school, Turn-About Ranch values the importance of solid education. Academics often suffer when teens struggle with mental or emotional issues. They provide individualized academic plans for each of their students in order to tailor their schooling to meet their specific needs. This can include IEP’s, 504’s, or other previously implemented support but is not limited to those supports. With small class sizes of 6 or less students, every student is provided with the support they need in order to successfully learn the material required. Students are able to complete a full semester credit within the 100 day minimum stay which will transfer on to any other accredited school in the country.
“Such a robust academic experience would not be possible without solid teachers like Amy Westhoff,” says Executive Director Michelle Lindsay. “We are excited to welcome her back and know she will provide the caring and support our students require.” Amy will work directly with parents and schools to implement the individual academic plans of each student. She will also have the opportunity to teach and interact with each student throughout their program. As part of the Clinical Team, she will also provide and use information about each student that will enhance their individual experiences and success in the Program as a whole.
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.
Dragonfly Transitions, a co-ed Young Adult transitional program located in Southern Oregon, welcomes Jackie Currie, MA, NCC, LPCI to the clinical team at the Klamath Falls campus. Jackie holds a BA in Psychology and MA in Human Development Counseling, with a concentration in Marriage & Family Therapy, from the University of Illinois Springfield. Jackie’s work history reflects her dedication to service, collaboration, and relational based intervention. Her experiences include working with adolescents and young adults struggling with behavioral and psychiatric disorders in wilderness and residential treatment, and providing family-based support and clinical interventions at an inpatient recovery and rehabilitation center.
Jackie’s experience and background has provided her the opportunity to effect change in the lives of individuals and families struggling with a range of issues including grief and loss, trauma, depression, and anxiety. In addition, Jackie’s recent experience working in a college counseling center helped to inform her understanding of the life transitions and unique developmental challenges facing young adults and their families.
Dragonfly's Clinical Director Travis Slagle, LMHC, NCC, comments, “Jackie is a great match for Dragonfly. She is smart, intuitive and has a natural ability to connect with others. Her calm presence, clear communication and relatability will serve our families and students well. We are grateful she is part of our clinical team!"
Jackie excels at creating a safe space for a person to be vulnerable and foster self-awareness. She works best with young adults dealing with life transitions, family struggles, relationship issues, and the development of the self. Jackie has a family-systems perspective and utilizes Attachment Theory and Emotionally-Focused Therapy as the basis of her work. She uses elements of existentialism, DBT, CBT, the transtheoretical model, outdoor therapy, motivational interviewing, art therapy, mindfulness-based approaches, and experiential methods.
About Dragonfly Transitions
Dragonfly Transitions supports young adults 18-30 on a journey of personal exploration, health, and independence. Dragonfly is designed with progressive phases, college and vocational options, recreation, therapeutic support, and a variety of living environments located in southern Oregon. Students are provided opportunities for hands on experience in a supportive environment where they can flourish.
Trails Carolina, a wilderness therapy program for teens ages 10-17, helps students dealing with a variety of emotional and behavioral issues. Now that winter has begun, many students struggle with seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, a type of depression that only appears at a certain time of the year. The most common form of seasonal affective disorder is the one that appears around winter time. It’s more than just the “winter blues”; it’s something that should be taken as seriously as depression. Teens with seasonal affective disorder experience a shift in mood for at least two weeks out of the year. Young people with SAD struggle with feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness. They may sleep excessively and feel unfocused during the winter months.
A wilderness therapy environment such as Trails Carolina can be an ideal setting for individuals struggling with seasonal affective disorder. Being out in nature and keeping active can help lower the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder.
Seasonal affective disorder is thought to be caused, in part, by a decreased exposure to sunlight. Spending more time outside and exercising can make a huge difference for individuals who suffer with SAD.
Learn more about seasonal affective disorder in Trails Carolina’s 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. For additional information about Trails Carolina, please call 800-975-7303.
Trails Momentum, an outdoor adventure-based therapy program for young adults, offers options for young adults who are struggling to succeed in, have recently withdrawn from, or are considering dropping out of college.
The month of January is when many of these particular young adults are considering their next steps. For young adults who find themselves feeling directionless as they enter 2019, Trails Momentum might be a positive option.
At Trails Momentum, young adults can develop the maturity, confidence, and self regulation to take on young adulthood feeling prepared for success.
“During their time at our program, young adults have the opportunity to build the skills they need to move forward in life, whether that be by going back to college or entering a career,” says Director of Student Development Sarah Parlier. “We provide the chance for students to earn college credit while they are at our program. Students build connections with their peers and push themselves outside of their comfort zones by taking part in outdoor adventure activities.”
About Trails Momentum
Trails Momentum is an adventure-based wilderness therapy program for young adults ages 18-25 struggling to launch themselves into adulthood. Young adults are guided on a journey of self-discovery where they develop self-concept and are empowered to make the transition into independence. Adventure programming, clinical services, family involvement, college coursework, and social skill development are seamlessly interwoven to maximize the transference of important life skills and address clinical and behavioral challenges.
Calo Teens in Lake Ozark, Missouri is proud to announce that Debby Black, MA, LPC, TAC is celebrating four years of employment in the girl’s teen program. According to Girls Clinical Director, Heidi Stanfield, “Debby is an extraordinary talent, a gifted clinician and someone who extends herself to our families like no other. She has been a tremendous influence on the clinical team and what it means to facilitate a true relational model with kids who have experienced early life trauma or been through an adoption experience.”
Debby earned a bachelor’s degrees in psychology and sociology, from Drury University and a master’s degree in counseling from the Assembly of God Theological Seminary. She is a licensed Professional Counselor who has specialized competency training in Adoption.
Debby was born and raised in Missouri, loves to travel and experience different cultures, likes to learn, is interested in studying politics and repurposing old pieces of furniture.
She has two adult children, her son Michael (33), daughter Jessica (34), a son-in-law Jason, five grandkids, four boys (18, 14, 12 and 11) and one granddaughter (16) who is Debby’s princess! Debby’s children and grandchildren live near Lebanon, Missouri. Debby’s mother (88 years old) and step-father (88 years old) both live in Buffalo, Missouri. Debby’s dad passed away when she was 12.
Debby’s family vacationed at Lake of the Ozarks a lot when she was a kid and she always wanted to live/retire here. That dream became a reality when she retired from the Department of Social Services, moved to Osage Beach, and found Calo four years ago. Please join Calo Teens in celebrating four great years of service with Debby.
About Calo Programs
Calo (“kay-low”) Programs is a behavioral and mental health provider specialized in healing the effects of complex developmental trauma. Calo is comprised of Calo Teens and Calo Preteens – both residential programs located in Lake Ozark, MO predominately serving adoptive families, Calo Young Adults – transitional living program for young adults in Virginia, Fulshear- a treatment to transition program for women in their late teens and early twenties (18-24) located in Needville Texas and Lake House Academy a private therapeutic boarding school for girls located in Flat Rock, North Carolina. The school enrolls girls ages 9 through 16 in grades 5 to 10. For more information about Calo Programs contact Nicole Fuglsang at 573-746-7362.
The fourth annual GEMS (Gender Education & DeMystification Symposium) Symposium will be held in Atlanta, February 17-19th, 2019. The Save the Date announcement went out in mid-December and registration is now open. The event is designed to offer a clinical and educational perspective regarding gender identity for the Family Choice Behavioral Healthcare Industry.
The three-day event begins with a pre-conference workshop being put on by Beck Gee-Cohen, consultant and trainer specializing in the intersections of gender, sexuality, addiction and trauma, February 17th. The conference will begin the next day with a keynote presentation from Aydin and Johanna Olson-Kennedy. Aydin is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and the Executive Director of the Los Angeles Gender Center. Johanna is a Board-certified Adolescent Medicine physician, specializing in the care of gender non-conforming children and transgender youth. She is an Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at USC, and the Medical Director of the Center for Transyouth Health and Development at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
This three day conference has thought leaders in the treatment, research and life of Transgender youth, adolescents and adults. This year’s conference is being held in the Southeast and builds upon previous conference information with many new speakers. Speakers include Skyler Jay, from Season 2 of Queer Eye. Skyler is a vivacious transgender activist from the South East. He has worked within, and outside of the LGBTQIA+ community for over a decade to increase visibility, growth, and opportunity for the Transgender community. Niki Khanna MA, AMFT is a therapist and educator. Her focus is working within the Queer, Trans and Intersex communities. She is also a certified Sexual Health Educator and has spent over 20 years working in Sex Education, Sexual Assault and Rape Prevention Education as well as Intimate Partner Violence Prevention Education. Additional speakers include S. Bear Bergman, a multiple-award winning writer, storyteller, educator, activist and the founder and publisher of children’s book publisher Flamingo Rampant, which makes feminist, culturally-diverse children’s picture books about LGBTQ+ kids and families., and Dr. Ray Kotwicki, the Charles B. West Chief Medical Officer at Skyland Trail (a nationally acclaimed private, nonprofit residential and day treatment organization for adults with mental illnesses in Atlanta, Georgia). For the most up-to-date conference schedule, please visit the GEMS website.
The symposium will offer CEUs through the NBCC this year. Click here to register. If there are any questions, please reach out to any of the GEMS committee Judi Jacques, John Singleton, Daniel Fishburn, Rick Pollard, Beck Gee-Cohen, Shayna Abraham, or Sharon Findlay or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Gender Education and DeMystification Symposium (GEMS) is an annual event designed to offer a clinical and educational perspective regarding gender identity. GEMS is a 501(c)(3) in the state of Georgia. This symposium began in 2016.
Greenbrier Academy is an all girls therapeutic boarding school and licensed non-acute residential treatment center serving young women ages 14-18 in Pence Springs, WV. The Greenbrier team is proud to welcome Carol A. Lewis, MA, LPC, LSW to our clinical team. Carol not only comes to Greenbrier as a therapist, but will also serve as clinical oversight to our equine therapy program.
For 12 years, Carol worked with individuals with developmental disabilities as a social worker, developing and directing a therapeutic riding program as a certified PATH Instructor. Carol writes “My passion is in being able to combine my avocation and my love of horses with my vocation of being of service to others. I believe that the very principles that guide true horsemanship skills are also the premise of virtuous life skills. When someone has experienced trauma of adversity in their past relationships with others, it may be easier for them to develop a relationship with a horse; who relates to them in the present moment. Experiential activities with horses help the individual to move beyond the limiting belief system that they may have about themselves and their place in the world. Equine therapy naturally supports the relationality model that is embraced by Greenbrier Academy.”
Carol comes to Greenbrier with a BA in Sociology from the University of New Hampshire, and a Masters in Counseling from Marshall University Graduate College in WV. With her professional and educational background, Greenbrier is thrilled to have Carol as an integral part of their equine therapy program and clinical team.
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.
Aspiro is excited to have therapist Jamie Ahern return to the clinical team. After time as both a guide and a therapist at Aspiro, Jamie was compelled to work as a clinician at a community mental health organization working with underserved populations. Jamie states that this experience greatly expanded his horizons as a clinician and provided comprehensive experience in trauma and family systems work. Through his time there, he also gained a great desire to continually strive to challenge himself professionally in order to effectively serve clients with a variety of different needs.
Jamie's true passion, in addition to his clinical work, is being outdoors, which is what led him back to the wilderness therapy world. He is an avid skier, mountain biker, fisherman, and more. He states that he finds great healing power in nature and that through his outdoor adventures he has learned to push himself to do hard things. He shares that this has been of great importance to him not only physically, but also has led him to personal emotional growth.
Executive Director Ryan Coley states, "It was a pleasure to work with Jamie and I always admired his warm and inviting approach, as well as his dedication to his students and families. We are excited to have him back on our team."
With treatment-specific programs located in Utah and Costa Rica, Aspiro’s mission is to be the most clinically-advanced outdoor behavioral healthcare 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.
On the longest night of the year under a bright moon, the Aspiro girls joined in a reflective and joyous celebration of the Winter Solstice. This day is a special time to bring the light inside of us to meet the darkness of the longest night of the year. The Solstice can remind us that from our personal darkness, with intention and healing, there will come the brightest light. It is a time to contemplate our life, future hopes, aspirations and dreams; a time to embrace positive intentions and release past burdens.
Our girls' group embraced the spirit of the Solstice with an empowering and joyous celebration. They let the spirit of the night sky fill them as they wore bright flower crowns, danced to music, and played on drums. They also feasted on a colorful and healthy meal that they cooked together, bringing in a holistic wellness component to the evening. Wellness was then further discussed on an emotional level as they expressed the burdens they wanted to release and the positive intentions they wanted to bring in. This ceremony was particularly beautiful as they included their parents, who also had written letters reflecting on their own burdens and intentions for the year. A highlight of the evening was when each girl lit and released glowing lanterns into the night sky. Together, the group, therapists, and staff drew strong threads of commonality and connection through this experience.
Aspiro is grateful for the beauty that nature provides enabling this kind of meaningful and joyous celebration. We invite you to find your own way to participate in the magic and the meaning of the Winter Solstice through reflection, letting go of past burdens, and inviting in positive intentions for the new year, as our girls did. Happy New Year!
See images from the Winter Solstice Celebration here: https://www.facebook.com/AspiroGroup/videos/316987235578968/
With treatment-specific programs located in Utah and Costa Rica, Aspiro’s mission is to be the most clinically-advanced outdoor behavioral healthcare 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.
Q&A Associates is pleased to announce that Kim Mlinarik, LCPC, LMHC, has joined the team as dedicated parent coach. For the past three years, Kim has been traveling to Davis, WV, to co-facilitate Parent Retreats along with Angie Shockley, MA, CSP. The retreats lead parents and families on a journey of becoming empowered to live their own lives. As the young adults participating in the Q&A Family of Programs are learning and practicing the necessary life skills to reach their highest potential, parents and family members must also step into new roles in the family dynamic. The retreats and direct coaching provide the parents and family members with the opportunities to explore these new roles and rediscover some of their own passions that may have taken a back seat to crisis management, as their children needed their full attention and advocacy.
Kim holds a Masters of Science Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. She is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and a Licensed Mental Heath Counselor. She is also a Certified Energy Medicine Practitioner and graduate of The Four Winds Society. She began her career of helping others very young as a sports coach and summer camp counselor. She has also been a case manager, home-based therapist, Head Start consultant and a facilitator of an emotional growth curriculum in a vocational school. Kim eventually found her way to Utah and became the clinical director at a wilderness treatment program. The next stop on her journey took her to Idaho where she worked as a therapist and partner, running a young adult transitional living program. After ten years in this position, she left to pursue her dream of creating emotional and spiritual growth adventures abroad. Along with her husband, Eric Fulgenzi, Kim created Alchemy Adventures. Each year, Kim and Eric lead several trips abroad to amazing destinations such as Italy, Ireland, and Croatia, to provide participants with magical and transformative experiences. Each trip includes creative and meaningful individual and group experiences that support reflection and self-exploration. They also assist each participant to integrate the wisdom and meaning from the adventure into daily life.
In 2017, Kim and Angie established the first Trails of Tuscany, an adventure through the Italian countryside for parents of teens and young adults. This trip is an opportunity for parents to turn their energy back to themselves and rediscover what has heart and meaning for them, becoming empowered to live their own lives. The next Trails of Tuscany trip is scheduled for October 4-12, 2019. (More information can be found by visiting www.alchemyadventures.com/trails.)
“After knowing Kim as a colleague in the therapeutic industry for 15 years and working together for the past three years to host our parent retreats and a trip abroad, it made sense to bring her in to lead the parent coaching portion of our programming,” said Shockley. “Kim is an incredibly talented therapist, facilitator and coach, using her intuition and training to assist parents as they embark on the journey of allowing their young adult children to achieve independence,” she continued, “I couldn’t be more thrilled!”
“I am passionate about working with the parents and families of young adults and excited to expand my role within Q&A Associates,” said Mlinarik. Kim makes her home in beautiful Sandpoint, ID, with her husband Eric and their magical dog Mago.
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.
An integral component of Valley View School is providing opportunities for students to develop a positive work ethic. Providing students with work experiences allows for teachable moments in collaberating with others, taking responsibility for quality of work, instilling a sense of pride, and enhancing character and self-esteem.
Students are able to apply for jobs on campus, such as waiting tables, clearing tables after meals, kitchen tasks, recycling, and light yardwork or maintenance. All work is supervised, and students earn money that is deposited into their individual work accounts. Student earnings can be used for a variety of off-campus activities and purchases. It is an important lesson for boys to connect their work effort to earning and saving money for their personal use. It also should be noted that many Valley View students donate their time and effort within the context of a vibrant community service program. Thus, the value of donating one's work for the greater good is reinforced.
Dr. Thomas Nowak, Valley View's Executive Director, states, "Some of our boys are surprised and proud to learn that they have developed into very good workers. They begin to take pride in their work and model a work ethic that other students seek to emulate. Being a conscientious, responsible worker develops skills and a work ethic that is transferable and benefits them for the rest of their lives."
Valley View staff strive to model a strong work ethic for students by often working alongside them. This fall, Valley View held a work day devoted to various projects on campus. Teachers, residential counselors, clinical staff and administrators joined the students in tackling a variety of projects on campus, such as painting a small bridge, removing brush, spreading loam and raking. Everyone experienced the fundamental joy that comes from working well with others on projects that benefit the campus community. As Theodore Roosevelt once said, "Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing."
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.
In the New Year, the staff at Onward Transitions will be employing more Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), after the four therapists of the clinical team spent the final quarter of 2018 training in the model. “While ACT serves as our overarching model, our clinical approach remains relationship and process-based, and we continue to utilize other therapeutic techniques, including Solution Focused, CBT, DBT strategies, and Family Systems, to name a few,” according to Clinical Director Andy Derstine, LCSW. Derstine sees a natural fit between the ACT model and emerging adults due to the focus on values to help drive goal-directed actions.
Additionally, Onward Transitions will have enhanced group offerings in the New Year. Derstine reported that Onward Transitions’ members structure their weekly schedules of school, work and service to be able to participate in group counseling on Thursday afternoons. Since many of these members were finding that they were taking the whole day off from other activities, they asked about the potential for staff to create more group opportunities to cover some of the topics that members were addressing individually.
“In response to our members’ requests, we will now conduct three separate groups on Thursdays,” said Derstine. “A morning independent living workshop focused from the categories of health and wellness, personal finances, employability qualities, and academic planning skills will be led by one of our milieu coordinators and co-facilitated by the clinical team.” Derstine went on to say that after a lunch break, “this will be followed by our continued, mid-day process-oriented therapy group, facilitated by our therapists, where members share their progress and challenges in staying true to their values and meeting goals.” He added, “Finally, later afternoon Experiential Exposure Groups will include a rotation of staff-led community service projects, town hall styled community meetings, psychoeducation and mindfulness group, and a developmental mastery as it relates to emerging adulthood group.” At the end of this extended group day, members will have the opportunity to join staff and decompress over dinner at one of Portland, Maine’s noted restaurants.
About Onward Transitions
Onward Transitions (OT) in Portland, ME is a small, independent, owner-operated program for bright, motivated, emerging adults in the final stages of learning to live on their own. OT supports actual sustainable independent living and autonomy from two city locations. Participants (members) ages 18-29 never live with us; they live in their own apartments, scattered throughout the city. Members' challenges include anxiety, depression and executive functioning.
EDGE Learning and Wellness Collegiate Community rang in the new year with several holiday festivities this past month, bringing together EDGE staff, students and alumni. Whether celebrating traditions old or new, the community reveled in the spirit of the season and spread holiday cheer to others as well.
The program kicked off a new tradition with its first annual Holiday Potluck to celebrate its students’ successes over the past fall. Students and EDGE Team Members signed up for specific food categories such as appetizers, entrees and desserts. They worked with EDGE Operations Lead Dorian Hawkins and EDGE Dietitian and Personal Trainer Jennifer Ventrelle, MS, RDN, CPT, to plan or create their dishes. The result was everything savory and sweet from tomato and mozzarella salad, tabbouleh, and stuffed mushrooms to brownies, fruit platters and cake.
After eating, everyone shared laughs while playing fun and interactive group games, including one that involved unraveling presents covered in saran wrap while wearing oven mitts. The EDGE Coaching Team also provided additional small gifts and awards for all students throughout the night. To wrap up, students helped clean and took photos next to the EDGE Christmas tree, including two EDGE Alumni who also joined the potluck.
"I love the community and culture built at EDGE and had a great time getting to know others better,” said one EDGE Alumnus. “I haven't laughed this hard in a long time."
The fun didn’t stop at the potluck, though. Students recently enjoyed an outing to the Maggie Daley Ice Skating Ribbon. The Ribbon is located in the heart of downtown Chicago and provides an untraditional ice skating experience. It winds through a rolling landscape, and individuals can skate while enjoying the city’s beautiful skyline. Two EDGE Students had never ice skated before and loved gliding through The Ribbon, and several others have since gone back and look forward to using the space throughout the winter.
For the second year in a row, EDGE students also participated in an activity that involved decorating and donating ornaments to A Safe Place, a domestic violence shelter. Guided by EDGE Collaborator and Art Instructor Vickie Marasco, students painted festive images on ornaments, choosing the designs themselves after deciding what would best help mothers and children at A Safe Place get in the holiday spirit. EDGE was grateful for the opportunity to give back to a local organization that provides such crucial community support.
As always, EDGE plans all of its activities using the seven dimensions of wellness; the program designed this year’s holiday festivities keeping the physical, social and spiritual dimensions particularly in mind.
With these festive activities, EDGE helps its students recognize that giving and spending quality time with others is not only an essential part of the holiday season, but also are acts that are important to prioritize all year round.
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.
Dr. Will White, co-founder and Outreach Director of Summit Achievement, has just released a podcast series, “Stories from the Field: Demystifying Wilderness Therapy” which is available on iTunes, Google Play, Soundcloud and most podcast platforms. In the podcast series, Will interviews various wilderness therapy researchers, program founders, writers, Executive Directors, educational consultants, field guides and many others. The purpose of the series is to educate the listener to the long history of the wilderness therapy field, the people who work in the field and the different trends related to this evolving treatment option.
Recently released interviews include Dr. Anita Tucker (co-director of the Outdoor Behavior Research Center), Jenney Wilder (founder of All Kinds of Therapy), Nichol Ernst (Executive Director of Summit Achievement), Drew Hornbeck (founder of New Visions Wilderness), Leah Madamba (Director of Vive Family Support), Krissy Pozatek (author of “The Parallel Process”), Shayne Gallagher (founder of Wingate Wilderness Therapy), Nathan Olsen (founder of Bestnotes) and there are may more in the cue. "This has been a fun process of learning more about friends and colleagues in a differernt way. I hope that is what people are hearing when they listen" said Will White.
Will has worked in the wilderness therapy field for over 30 years and co-founded Summit Achievement in 1996. His doctoral dissertation, published in 2011, focused on the history of the field and is titled, “Stories from the Elders: Chronicles and Narratives from the Early Years of Wilderness Therapy” (free for download just search title in web browser). He wrote the book, “Stories from the Field: A History of Wilderness Therapy” (available at Amazon) in 2015 and is a tireless advocate of promoting wilderness therapy as a therapeutic intervention.
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.
There’s something distinctly womanly about nature- her ability to create, her resilience, her strength, her fury, and her incomprehensible depths of breathtaking beauty. Mother Nature has something to teach everyone, from her microorganisms to her towering mountains. For women, a connection to Mother Nature is of special importance, especially during times of great need. Through wilderness programming, women have the chance to rediscover their inherent selves: women of nature, mother nature. By rediscovering ourselves as women, we rediscover our deep yearning to live life in its most natural forms with our most natural selves. Nature teaches us how to live, connects us with our powerful position of creation as women, and ultimately, nature heals us from the inside out.
Nature Teaches Women How To Live
One of the more common misconceptions about a wilderness-based program for addiction and mental health is that the program exclusively teaches skills of survival as a means of therapy. Through the experiential learning of survival skills, confidence is increased, perspectives are reset on the world, and women leave feeling a little wilder. Partially, this is true. Wilderness-based programs do accomplish all of these things, but they also accomplish so much more.
Only women who have lived through the true wild of addiction and mental health issues can understand the difference between survival and living.
Addiction, the state of living chemically-dependent upon drugs and alcohol, is survival. Living in the untreated symptoms of mental illness is survival. Being a woman in a male-dominated world is survival. Wilderness programs show us that connection to nature is a connection to the ability to thrive outside of the needs for survival in the succinctly described “man-made” world. When women are surviving, they are not truly living. Once women learn how to live, in full connection with themselves, they are an unstoppable force of nature in their own right. Making the decision to choose recovery, particularly through the path of a wilderness program, takes immense bravery and a willingness to learn more about oneself than ever before.
Nature Connects Women To Creation
Women are, by their very own nature, created for creating - put more simply, women are genetically designed to give birth to other humans, to create human life. The immense profundity of the nature of being a woman is at times burdensome, evidenced no further than the tremendous amount of trauma women have to face simply because of their sexual organs, their sexual nature, and the fact that they are women, holding the key to creation. Spending time with Mother Nature reminds women of their critical place in the world. Women are the creators, the life-givers, the birthers of what is most unique to existence on Planet Earth: human life. When women immerse themselves in the wild, they immerse themselves into the very facets of who they are. Our domesticated, civilized, socialized, programmed selves are not the definition of who we are, nor are our experiences. We are not who society has told us to be, formed us to be, or expects us to be. We are as strong, as vast and as varied as the many landscapes which cover this Earth. Connecting with creation in its purest form through nature reminds us what we are truly made of, who we truly are, and our true power as women, creators of nature.
Radical feminist philosopher Susan Griffin once explained that knowing ourselves in the lens of nature helps us see ourselves as nature. “We know ourselves to be made from this earth. We know this earth is made from our bodies. For we see ourselves and we are nature. We are nature, seeing nature. Nature weeping. Nature speaking of nature to nature.”
Wilderness and time in the wilderness are not so much connecting as reconnecting. As Susan Griffin points out, we are nature. Out on adventurous excursions or even in the embrace of a garden, we are nature, standing there, like nature, seeing nature. We are reconnected, we are returned to our sense of our natural selves- that pure, raw, uninhibited, humbled, powerful, beautiful natural self which trauma, addiction, and other mental health issues cunningly help us to forget, if not abandon almost entirely.
Nature Heals Women From The Inside Out
Rachel Carson is credited as being one of the first women who truly advocated for the health and wellness of Earth. A marine biologist and author, Carlson’s works like Silent Spring and The Sea Around Us, as well as The Sense Of Wonder, inspired millions to take a greater interest in the environment. Through her compelling descriptions of nature, Carson taught people that a relationship with the environment is a mutual one. Choosing to participate fully in our world is beneficial. As a result of our participation, our world benefits; as a result of participating in the world, we benefit. For women seeking recovery through wilderness immersion, the mutual benefit is the same. More time in nature inspires a deeper sense of conservationism both for the planet and for the self. Realizing the tender, mindful, considerate care the earth needs to remain pure, women realize the same about themselves - to abstain from addiction, to live in peace with mental illness symptoms, requires tender, mindful, considerate care and ultimately conservation. Recovery is a conservation effort in which a woman seeks to heal herself inside and out. Carson explained in Silent Spring that the relationship with nature strengthens the relationship with self. “Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature -- the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”
The dawn of recovery will come after even the darkest nights of addiction. Your life has yet to bloom.
About RedCliff Ascent
RedCliff Ascent offers the only women’s wilderness treatment program designed by women, for women, to promote a healthy relationship with the self and the world around her. Serving young adult women between the ages of 18 to 30, the RedCliff Ascent recovery program helps women become more in tune with their most basic needs while developing the foundational skills necessary for living a successful life in recovery. For more information on our women’s wilderness recovery program, visit us at www.redcliffrecovery.com.
Salt Lake City, UT: Eva Carlston Academy, a residential treatment center for adolescent girls, has renewed their season tickets to local venues and reasserted their committment to volunteering in the community. Since their beginning, Eva Carlston has supported local businesses, agencies, and groups both by volunteering their time and by being patrons.
As a part of the city, they find that community engagement and community partnerships not only increase the quality of the program they provide, but also becomes essential to the therapeutic process. Noel Koons, a therapist at Eva Carlston, said, “I've seen it many times: these girls are uplifted and inspired as they engage in sporting and art events. They especially find benefit through service to others. These community events the girls go to nudge them toward increased insight, greater calm, and clearer life perspective.”
Recently, Eva Carlston renewed their season tickets to three groups: Utah Royals FC (Utah’s professional women’s soccer team), Pioneer Theater Company (one of the professional theatre companies in Utah), and Utah Symphony and Opera. They are looking forward to great seasons for all three. In addition to the more long term seasons listed above, Eva Carlston has made plans to return to the Sundance Film Festival, the Tumbleweeds Film Festival, and the Utah Shakespeare Festival in the coming year - all of which have been student favorites in past years.
Within the community, Eva Carlston will continue to volunteer regularly with the Tracy Aviary, This is the Place Heritage Park, the Waste Wise Program (at the Downtown Farmers Market), UMOCA, the Utah Arts Festival, the Utah Film Center, and various other agencies and businesses.
These partnerships, patronages, and volunteerism provide invaluable experiences for Eva Carlston’s clients and help them to increase awareness and discover interests. Eva Carlston looks forward to many more years of being involved in and supporting the community.
About Eva Carlston Academy
Eva Carlston Academy (UT) is a licensed residential treatment center located near the urban center of Salt Lake City. The program serves young women between the ages of 12 and 18 in a clinically intense, family-style program which focuses upon creating opportunities for students to explore the arts while working toward continued growth and healing.
Pacia Life is thrilled to announce the hiring of Jason L. Capel, LCSW as Director of Clinical Services for all Pacia Life locations, worldwide.
Jason completed his undergraduate work at the University of Utah with bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and Physiology in 1989.While there, he worked as a research assistant in studies of human sexuality and memory, working with both human and animal subjects. Before attending graduate school, Jason worked in psychiatric inpatient and intensive outpatient settings with both adults and adolescents with a wide variety of presenting problems. He completed his Master of Social Work degree in 1995 at the University of Utah with special emphasis on child, adolescent and family behavioral health. He completed a social work residency at Primary Children's Medical Center working with both victims of sexual abuse and sexually reactive children. Jason spent the next two years working with at-risk children and adolescents in foster care and group home settings. Jason spent the next ten years working with adolescents and their families in residential treatment settings, which provided rich opportunities to learn and grow as a clinician treating the dynamic and complex problems children experience today. He has been intensively trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and has developed adolescent DBT programs in residential treatment centers and wilderness settings before coming to Pacia. He has specialized in the treatment of self-injurious behavior, eating disorders, mood disorders, and substance abuse.
Jason has held positions as a Clinical Director where he has innovated programs and served students finding their way in this life. He combines this with his many years of experience in working with adolescents, young adults, and their families to become a very strong asset to Pacia Life and its mission to assist young adults, using their passion to reach success. Along with his enthusiasm, he has a wonderful ability as an experienced clinician to be able to assess what’s left out and intervene in ways that remove barriers to success and assist students reaching their true potential.
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.
ATLANTA – Skyland Trail announced that the campus for its new residential treatment program for teens ages 14 to 17 will be named the J. Rex Fuqua Campus in honor of Rex Fuqua, who has served on the Skyland Trail Advisory Board since 1990 and the Board of Directors since 2001. The new campus, which broke ground in May of 2018 and is slated to be completed in the fall of 2019, will include a treatment facility, residential hall, and therapeutic outdoor spaces. The J. Rex Fuqua Campus and adolescent treatment program will expand the Skyland Trail continuum of care which currently includes psychiatric residential, day treatment, and outpatient programs for adults ages 18 and older.
“Rex has been the heart and soul of the campaign to develop this adolescent campus," said Beth Finnerty, president and CEO of Skyland Trail. "Rex sat across the table from funders and described in his own words the intense and immediate need for this program in Atlanta. Donors listened.”
“One of the biggest gaps we have in the treatment of mental illness in Atlanta was the treatment of adolescents,” said Rex Fuqua. “There has been a tremendous increase in the rates of anxiety, depression, and suicide in this age group. I’m grateful to all the foundations and individuals who are making this important project possible.”
In addition to his work on the adolescent campus, which included raising more than 21 million dollars to fund its construction and development, the J.B. Fuqua Foundation helped raise funds in 2015 to build a residential treatment center for young adults between the ages of 18 to 25. Fuqua has also financially supported the community mental health education initiative The Dorothy C. Fuqua Lecture Series, named after his mother.
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.
TechieForLife (TFL) and the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP) are excited to announce the launch of NATSAP Connect, an app for educational consultants and NATSAP affiliated schools and programs to access NATSAP resources. TFL students have been building this service for the last 20 months and are looking forward to seeing it launched at the upcoming NATSAP 2019 Annual Conference in San Antonio, TX.
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
TFL students will be available to assist in getting started with the app at the upcoming 2019 Annual NATSAP Conference, January 30- February 1, in San Antonio, Texas. This mobile app project under the supervision of Erik Bylund, TFL Lead Tech Coach, is intended to increase accessability to NATSAP’s current directory system. Students in TFL’s in-house tech program have put their “skills, expertise and hearts into this exciting project,” said TFL’s Executive Director Jason Grygla, “They have worked hard to build this app from the ground up and learned so much in the process.” TFL student Dylan Matthews shared, “Having the opportunity to communicate with a client and deliver their desired product is invaluable career preparation.”
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 thrilled to announce the addition of Kimberly England, MBA, MS, CMHC.
For the past 15 years, Kim has worked with a diverse population in both inpatient and outpatient therapeutic settings giving her a vast array of experience. Kim specializes in the treatment of anxiety, attachment, trauma, depression, LGBTQ issues, and relationship struggles. Kim is certified in and utilizes Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and finds the approach to be very effective as it allows the element of choice as well as the availability of insight not often found in traditional therapeutic approaches. Kim also has a strong background and training in Trauma Focused Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (TF-EAP), as well as in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT).
Kim began working for Solstice West RTC as a Mentor in 2008 while continuing on with her education and developing her frontline experience. Kim graduated from the University of Utah in 2004 with a Bachelor’s Degree in both History and Political Science. She graduated from the University of Phoenix with a Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health. This past year, she completed a second Master’s Degree in Business Administration from The University of Nevada.
The Solstice West RTC team is immensely excited to welcome Kim to the clinical team. With Kim’s many years providing guidance and therapeutic expertise for young adults struggling with mental health challenges, her passion is invaluable to students and families at Solstice West RTC.
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.
Solstice East, a leading residential treatment center for young adults ages 14 – 18 located in western North Carolina, is excited to welcome a new set of animals on campus -- pigs! The two new additions to the Solstice family are 5 month-old pigs named Cinnamon and Bitterpig. They will join the other animals on campus, including horses and chickens, and will make great additions to their barn community.
The new campus pigs are friendly and social, and will greet anyone who comes around the barn area - especially if there is food involved. Their positive personalities on campus are already bringing smiles to all who encounter them on their visit to campus.
The animals on campus at Solstice East provide opportunities for students to partake in learning about and caring for animals of all kinds. It helps students develop relationships and bonds, practice communication skills, time management and life skills, while building their self esteem as they take time to care for the animals.
Solstice East has a number of animals on campus, and also uses the EAGALA (equine assisted growth and learning association) and TFEAP (trauma-focused equine-assisted psychotherapy) equine therapy models with students to help work on relationships and trauma. The horses, much like all of the other campus animals, provide a powerful mirror for our students – reflecting their moods as well as verbal and nonverbal communication from students.
About Solstice East
Solstice East is a residential treatment center for adolescents ages 14-18 located just outside of Asheville, NC. Solstice East has helped hundreds of students and their families with issues ranging from depression and anxiety to trauma and behavioral problems. Solstice East is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), and academically accredited by AdvancED and the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). Additionally, Solstice East is licensed by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
Naturopathic psychiatry (AKA integrative psychiatry) incorporates counseling, nutrition, exercise/sports medicine, biofeedback, hydrotherapy/physical medicine, mindfulness, herbal medicine, nutraceuticals, pharmaceutical management, and genetic testing as needed to establish a client's baseline physical and mental health. At reSTART, services will include the coordination of care with health care providers and families, one-on-one in-house appointments, medical direction regarding food, exercise, and programming for residents, fielding client's medical questions, triage, referrals, assessments for emergent illness/injury, and more.
Dr. Samantha Desmond ND, LMHCA, MHA, EMT will be leading this incredible new change at ReSTART. Dr. Sam feels that “To help clients bring about real, profound, and lasting change in their lives means meeting the clients on all levels and across all realms. To provide the opportunity for clients to re-integrate their lives after they leave the program, any baseline physical causes must be addressed in conjunction with their psychological and spiritual concerns. A table needs at least three legs to stand, and human health really isn't that much different.”
By including naturopathic psychiatry into their treatment model, reSTART continues to be at the forefront of treating Internet and video game addiction. Using experiential, creative methods and out of the box thinking, reSTART focuses on what works for the whole person.
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.
Seven Stars, a residential treatment and assessment program for teens ages 13-17 who struggle with neurodevelopmental issues such as autism, is excited to add Manny Slack APRN-DP and Sherlene Dean APRN to their team.
Sherlene and Manny have years of experience working with adolescents in residential settings like Seven Stars.
Manny holds a doctorate degree in psychological health from the University of Utah and has worked in a variety of specializations during his career span including autism, addiction, forensics, and pediatric oncology. He is also trained to work with individuals struggling with PTSD and personality disorders.
Sherlene has twenty years experience working with children and adolescents in outpatient programs providing medication evaluations and management and psychotherapy at Primary Children’s Center for Counseling, University of Utah Child and Adolescent Specialty Clinic and most recently at the UNI HOME Program.
“We are thrilled to have Manny and Sherlene on our team,” says Dr. Gordon Day, Executive Clinical Director and Founder of Seven Stars. “With their years of experience helping young people and their families, we are lucky to have them join the Seven Stars family.”
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.
Vive is thrilled to announce the addition of Julie Foley, LMFT as California Regional Director. Julie comes to Vive with over 18 years of experience as a clinican. The majority of her focus has been working with adolescents and their families and she is passionate about helping young people develop and grow into healthy adults. Julie places strong emphasis on helping families to overcome their challenges and to function in a healthier capacity. Julie realizes that the relationship with families is instrumental to change. Julie has built a reputation for being able to build a strong therapeutic relationships with her clients that allows for effective growth and change.
Julie has experience in various clinical settings including community counseling, outpatient therapy, intensive outpatient programming, and both short and long term residential programs. She is highly skilled in treating anxiety, depression, self-harm, substance abuse, trauma and parent education and family systems work. “I am thrilled that Julie Foley chose to join the Vive Family Support Program team! Her clinical experience coupled with her long tenure in this field make her an excellent fit for our organization,“ said Leah Madomba, MS, NCC, LPC, National Director of Vive Family Support Program. She went on to say, "I am confident that with Julie in this role on the ground in our California markets, this allows us greater potential to serve more families.”
Julie also brings her own perspective to the table as a mom of two adult daughters. Over the next month, Julie will be in Los Angeles and San Francisco. over the next month as she hits the ground running and comes to meet referral partners and colleagues.
About Vive Family Support Program
Vive Family Support Program is a relational and experiential therapeutic support service for pre-teens, adolescents, young adults and their families. With our unique approach and roots in the community, Vive works closely with families, to offer insight, implement coping skills and rebuild trust within the family system. Our goal is to ensure lasting positive change for our clients and their families. Offering services in Boston, New York (tri-state), Washington, DC metro, Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Denver/Boulder.
While Sunrise Residential Treatment Center is known for being a fully integrated and adherent relational Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) program, providing a common language for students, residential mentors, therapist, and teachers, Sunrise views its clinical approach much like a tree with family systems theory as the roots, DBT as the trunk, and all other modalities to meet students' needs as the branches and leaves. It's coupling the relational DBT approach with other modalities of therapy that allows Sunrise to meet students' needs, whatever they may be. This is why they take such care and pride in choosing the clinical team that works with each student. Sunrise looks for clinicians who not only understand the importance of building healthy relationships with their students but also have experience in many other modalities of therapy. One of these clinicians is Jaci Nelson, IMFT-S, Sunrise's Clinical Director at the Fields Campus.
Jaci came to Sunrise with many years of experience providing individual and family therapy, most recently with children and families impacted by poverty, homelessness, and trauma. She specializes in mood disorders, attentional disorders, and trauma and believes that strong and healthy family systems equates to a strong and healthy community. "I am so excited to be a part of the Sunrise team!", says Jaci. "The work the girls do here, with the support of family and staff, will have lifelong impacts. Being a part of something that values the individual for who they are while encouraging growth makes this an ideal experience. I have a love for working with kids and fostering healthy families."
"Jaci's personality is contagious," says Amanda McNatt, Senior Residential Director. "She is so fun, but more importantly knows how to have fun while creating a safe and vulnerable environment for our students and families to have the space to be their true selves." Sunrise is grateful for the work Jaci does to lead the clinical team at the Fields campus and feels blessed to have her experience and passion as they strive to help families make real, life change.
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.
New Haven is excited to welcome John Stewart, LCSW back to our administrative team as our CEO. John started at New Haven in 1999, and has served in several positions including Clinical Director and Executive Director. In 2017 he accepted a marketing position with the InnerChange Legacy Team. In addition to providing InnerChange program support and expertise, he continued to stay connected with New Haven through carrying a small caseload and leading several Recovery Groups.
In his new role at New Haven, John shared, “I love the sacred work in healing families; being a part of their journey in repairing their relationships and overcoming traumatic pasts is such an honor.” John adds “It’s home and I love what I get to do in being with the families and employees.”
Many have joined New Haven in congratulating John for his recent opportunity rejoining the leadership team at New Haven.
Thank you for your support of New Haven as it continues to heal families.
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.
In December, 10 Shortridge Academy students participated in the NH Prep School Polar Plunge, and jumped into the frigid water of Lake Winnipesaukee in Wolfeboro, NH to raise money for the Special Olympics. Shelly Ispan-Laing, Counselor at Shortridge, assisted the Shortridge students, raising a grand total of $8,530, Out of the 5 schools that participated, Shortridge was the top fundraising team of 2018.
Funds from the Prep School Plunge benefit Special Olympics of New Hampshire, which provides year round sports training and athletic competition for more than 3,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities in 16 sports year round. Fundraising efforts like those of Shortridge Academy students change attitudes and lives for the better.
“Community-based and philanthropic activities are regular opportunities for students at Shortridge Academy. Our Positive Youth Development philosophy promotes students to be at the forefront of identifying, planning and facilitating these activities as an active, rather than passive, participant. We believe that this approach helps our students develop life skills and independence, and better prepares them for transitions to traditional educational environments,” said Mik Oyler, COO. Brewster Academy created a slide show of the event ((click here).
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.
Polaris Teen Center, a residential mental health treatment center for adolescents, is pleased to announce the opening of a new 6-bed treatment home in Tarzana, Los Angeles.
The goal of this home is to provide the same level of comfort and safety one expects from Polaris. Replacing the original Encino property and just minutes away from their other Tarzana home, this new location is similarly central to Los Angeles and situated on a quiet hillside with gated entry. Spacious interior common areas, bedrooms and clinical offices are found throughout the home. Outdoor amenities include a private terrace, swimming pool, courtyard, private walking paths and fire pit.
“As we enter our fifth year, we are excited to provide teens, families and our staff with a new space that we believe enhances the Polaris experience.” Dr. Michelle Butler, Polaris COO continues, “Prior to launching this location, we put much thought into what the new home should include. We have always understood that the physical environment of our homes have a great therapeutic value and our new location further extends this philosophy. We look forward to sharing it with families.”
About Polaris Teen Center
Polaris Teen Center is a residential mental health treatment center for adolescents and teens in Los Angeles, California. The Polaris treatment team is committed to providing sophisticated, innovative, and compassionate treatment of major depression, bipolar, anxiety and trauma, gender dysphoria, co-occurring substance abuse and eating disorders, attachment disorders, autism spectrum disorders and self harm.
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.
Founder and Executive Director Dr. Brandon Park has over a decade of experience working with students with neurodevelopmental disorders and their families. As a neuropsychologist, Dr. Park is passionate about the importance of using assessment to make changes in the lives of the people he works with, and using those skills to understand the barriers and limitations of the students under his care, as well as predict the heights of their potential.
Dr. Park obtained his Bachelor Degree from the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) in Psychology graduating with Honors. He then continued on at UNLV for his masters and doctoral degrees. During his studies, he was drawn to the significance of the brain and cognitive processes, leading to studying neuropsychology for his Doctoral Degree.
During his internship and post-doctoral studies, Dr. Park worked with a wide array of clients suffering from traumatic brain damage, severe mental illness, fetal alcohol exposure, congenital/developmental disorders, anoxia, and stroke. Through this process and vast amount of experiences, he learned about the power of cognitive rehabilitation, a dynamic field of looking at how to improve brain function, and from this background, Dr. Park went on to create a cognitive training program for 1200 patients at a state hospital.
Through many great opportunities, Dr. Park has developed positive interactive approaches using an understanding of the brain-behavior relationship leading to significant improvements in the students that New Focus Academy works with.
As Dr. Brandon Park states, “The idea for New Focus Academy started almost five years ago while helping a young man with a wonderfully unique brain to understand how great he truly was. His diverse mind saw the world quite differently from most of his peers. As a result, he became entrenched in electronics and video games to avoid dealing with the world and to manage his anxiety. This anxiety wrapped him up throughout his school day as he tried to manage a complex social world, but when he came home the people he trusted the most got the brunt of all of his day’s frustration. His parents truly cared about him but were unable to help this wonderful young man, their child, to find peace and work towards becoming a confident independent person.”
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.
Saint George, Utah: Along Their Way announces their fall Restoration through the Rocks Retreat to take place at the Red Mountain Resort in Ivins, Utah from September 22-26, 2019. Created to bring together parents/caregivers of struggling teens and young adults, this retreat will be an opportunity to step away from the challenges of home, share experiences, and renew body and mind. The retreat is limited to 12 people, including mothers, fathers, couples and other caregivers.
Jamie Blume, founder and CEO of Along Their Way, was herself a parent of a struggling teen. She holds advanced degrees in nutrition, holistic wellness coaching and public health. She is a certified yoga instructor. As Jamie explains, “I believe in the healing qualities of connection, nature and movement. I designed this retreat to capture these restorative elements alongside fun, adventure, and laughter.”
Participants attending this retreat can expect 3 full days of planned activities to recharge their spirit and connect with others, along with free time each day for reflection. Several of these activities will include:
- A private pre-retreat coaching session with Jamie
- Daily guided meditations lead by Jamie and other local practitioners
- Choice of 50-minute therapeutic spa service at award-winning Sagestone Spa
- Guided hikes through spectacular red rock canyons and cliffs
- Group discussions on staying calm amidst the chaos, accepting a new path, living with the “what is,” and the importance of holistic healthy living on mental health
- Evening group heart circles and fire ceremonies
- Take home toolbox of healthy-living and anti-stress strategies, gratitude journal for home-use, and long-lasting friendships
Participants will have many opportunities through guided discussions, as well as during excursions and free time, to share their own stories and hear the accounts of others. Jamie acknowledges, “For some caregivers, this may be the first time they tell another soul about their experiences. Believing you are not alone, sharing your wisdom, finding your voice, and strengthening your resolve all leads to a greater sense of peace and hopefulness.“
If you have any questions or are interested in signing up for the retreat please contact Jamie Blume at Along Their Way, LLC 303-506-5776 email@example.com
About Along Their Way
Along Their Way, LLC, is dedicated to helping parents nationwide navigate their way down, around, and through the circuitous path associated with a teen or young adult in crisis. Based in Denver, Colorado, Along Their Way offers parents nationwide mentoring and wellness coaching support. Jamie mentors parents by phone, Skype, or in person to help navigate the daily challenges, assignments and expectations associated with having a child in treatment. She also supports clients on their own path to better self-care, self-discovery, and self-acceptance through her holistic coaching program.
Photo taken by Red Mountain Resort
Cirque Lodge, Ascend Recovery, and Willow Tree Recovery are sponsoring a CEU workshop on January 16, 2019 at Cirque Lodge's Studio, located in Orem, UT. This 180 minute workshop will combine lecture, experiential, action and collaborative work surrounding the need to address understanding and sensitivity to LGBTQ+ communities. It will shed the umbrella of LGBTQ+ in order to look at specific traumas of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer communities as individual subcultures. Professionals who will benefit from this workshop are clinicians, direct care staff or referring professionals who may work with LGBTQ clients in any setting.
Starting with an overview and refreshment of terminology, the course will create a path of understanding and exploring deeper understanding of the LGBTQ+ communities. Participants will engage in didactic dialogue, and collaborative efforts in order to best address specific struggles for their LGBTQ+ clients.
- Obtain and refresh information surrounding LGBTQ terminology
- Explore and understand implications within each specific LGBTQ subculture.
- Understanding the LGBTQ specific intersections of trauma with health, spirituality, mental health and maladaptive coping skills
Wednesday, January 16, 2019
8:30am - 1:00pm (Lunch Provided)
Cirque Lodge Studio
777 North Palisade Drive, Orem UT
Register Here or call Beck at 651-900-3404 for questions.
About Beck Gee-Cohen
Beck Gee-Cohen resides in Los Angeles, CA. Beck completed undergraduate work with a degree in Sociology with a focus on Gender, Sexuality, and Addiction from Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana. His undergraduate thesis was a study on addiction in LGBTQ+ rural communities. Beck’s master’s degree is in Addiction Studies from Hazelden. Beck received an Excellence in Writing Award from Hazelden graduate program; the paper focused on training addiction counselors to give better treatment to LGBTQ+ clients. Beck has facilitated trainings and given lectures around the world at conferences, prisons, schools, treatment centers focusing on LGBTQ+ communities and addiction. Beck is very passionate about the Transgender community and the effects of addiction and stigma within the Trans/LGBQ+ populations. He continues to train clinicians and facility staff on LGBTQ+ issues, help facilities establish LGBTQ+ inclusive policies, and provide program development for facilities that want to expand their services to LGBTQ+ populations. Beck currently the owner & lead consultant at BGC Consulting. A consulting agency helping to train and change the culture of mental health and addiction treatment in better serving LGBTQ+ populations. He is an associate consultant & mentor with The Romeyn Collective, working specifically with LGBTQ adolescents, young people and their families.
New Vision Wilderness’ Co-Founder Steve Sawyer, LCSW, CSAC was honored for upholding a fundamental company value of service by providing pro bono training to help victims overcome traumatic fires. Steve, along with 14 other brainspotting trainers, partnered with the Pacific Trauma Center in Chico, CA to provide pro bono brainspotting training to 110 therapists helping victims overcome the devasting fires in California, including the Camp Fire, where over 153,000 acres were burned, 18,793 structured were damaged and 85 lives were lost. The November fire has been the most destructive fire in California history. With this scope of devastation, it is estimated that over 9000 individuals are left traumatized and homeless.
Brainspotting is a powerful, brain-based trauma therapy that accesses the deepest regions of the brain where individuals store traumatic experiences and survival terror. The symptoms of unprocessed trauma include emotional and body pain, dissociations, anxiety, insomnia, flashbacks, numbing, addiction, disconnection and other challenging symptoms. Verbal engagement does not reach the deep regions of the brain where the traumatic experiences are held, making it difficult to overcome traumatic events. So does it work? after a five-year study comparing over 25 therapeutic modalities, brainspotting was voted the most effective trauma treatment by the parents and survivors of the Sandy Hook massacre. Obviously, this tool can be very effective to help the California fire victims, first responders and community overcome this horrible tragedy.
Steve Sawyer says “I am so deeply honored to be involved in this massive humanitarian event. My heart is filled with hope for the Chico, CA community based on this training and the feedback from 2 victims who experienced brainspotting during the training. Brainspotting provides local clinicians a tool to help survivors process through the trauma that was experienced and prevent future emotional distress. This collaboration represents hope to communities across the world that have witnessed traumatic situations such as natural disasters and shootings. I have also done direct work with the Los Angeles community with miraculous results for shooting survivors.” Brainspotting is offering hope for healing to the world during these troubling events and difficult times.
About New Vision Wilderness
New Vision Wilderness Therapy (NVW) serves preteens, teens, young adults and families in three U.S. locations: the beautiful Northwoods of Wisconsin, the majestic Cascade mountain range of Central Oregon and the lush Nantahala National Forest of North Carolina. NVW is a specialty wilderness therapy treatment program that is clinically intensive, highly specialized and trauma-informed. To learn more, go to www.newvisionwilderness.com or contact our Admissions team at 855-689-8326.