All Kinds of News for December 09, 2020
Shortridge Academy Clinical Director Christina Smalley, LMHC will be shifting responsibilities to better balance the care of her family due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Shortridge Academy was founded 18 years ago and for the past 15 years, Smalley has been an instrumental part of the Clinical Team. Now continuing to work closely with the Clinical and Admissions teams in her new position as Clinical Specialist, Smalley will focus her keen eye on the school's culture and clinical fit to help shape the community of incoming students.
“This was not at all an easy decision, but I believe leaders do what is best for their teams, and in that way, the decision made itself. I have a fantastic team of therapists and an outstanding leadership team here at Shortridge Academy,” said Smalley, LMHC. She went on to say, “I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue working with our excellent staff and students in a different capacity, and am looking forward to a new chapter in my career. I’m excited to have a fresh perspective from a new Clinical Director as well!” Smalley will continue to be involved in training, supervision, and other campus events, and will be on campus one day a week. She will also continue to work with the Student Leadership Team and Management Team.
“We are excited that in her new role, Christina’s clinical expertise and experience with our Positive Youth Development philosophy will serve to strengthen the admissions process for families as well as enhance our school’s clinical milieu,” Adam Rainer Founder & CEO.
Shortridge Academy is the most normalized and progressive therapeutic boarding school in the country. Its strength-based, authoritative approach supports well those students struggling with anxiety, depression, family dysfunction, and learning disabilities. Shortridge prepares students to return to traditional academic settings by practicing skills through access to technology, frequent home visits, off-campus trips, and work-study opportunities.
Shortridge Academy is actively interviewing to find an experienced and dynamic Clinical Director to join the leadership team. If you would like more information please contact Head of School, Mik Oyler, at email@example.com, call (866) 828-9243, or visit our new website ShortridgeAcademy.com
About Shortridge Academy
Shortridge Academy is a private co-ed Therapeutic Boarding School, founded in 2002, emphasizing challenging yet supportive college prep academics within a therapeutic community. Located in southeastern New Hampshire with close proximity to both the seacoast and the mountains, Shortridge’s setting and Positive Youth Development model provides students with an ideal environment to further develop their sense of self and strengthen family relationships in an intellectually stimulating learning environment reflective of a traditional boarding school.
Teen suicide, depression, and anxiety rates are on the rise, and remote schooling and social isolation only exacerbate these issues. More teens are desperately in need of treatment, along with academic support that allows them to progress toward their educational goals while addressing their mental health issues.
Newport Academy partners with schools to optimize success for clients in their outpatient mental health treatment programs. Teens in the partial hospitalization program (PHP) at locations around the country spend time in the classroom and with specialized tutors each day, exploring their strengths and passions while continuing to make progress in tandem with their grade level requirements. As patients make strides in their treatment, Newport Academy works with their schools to gradually reintegrate them in a way that creates the highest potential for success.
Each client receives an in-depth assessment that informs a tailored treatment plan that includes clinical, experiential, and academic/life skills modalities — from individual therapy and group sessions to yoga and Adventure Therapy. Unlike most other providers, Newport Academy take an integrated approach that focuses on strengthening family relationships and providing additional support for parents, which is a key part of achieving sustainable healing.
Teens’ individualized academic plans vary depending on their needs, and include accredited curriculums, SAT and ACT prep, individual academic plans, tutoring, and college application support. Along with advancing in their learning goals, teens also learn executive functioning and self-regulation skills that will serve them throughout their lives. The Newport Academy approach to academics is designed support adolescents’ capacity to embrace and learn from setbacks while improving their critical thinking and their ability to advocate for themselves as empowered young people.
Moreover, when circumstances such COVID-19 require a shift to virtual programming, Newport Academy is able to offer a complete PHP or IOP (intensive outpatient) experience, including academics; their remote programming ensures that current clients continue progressing in their treatment goals and maintain a sense of community and belonging in their daily lives while Newport Academy assists them in their schooling. In addition, teens can enroll who otherwise would not have access to comprehensive care, due to their geographical distance from Newport's outpatient locations.
Find out more about outpatient treatment at Newport Academy.
About Newport Academy
Newport Academy is a series of evidence-based healing centers for adolescents and families struggling with mental health issues, eating disorders, and substance abuse. With locations across the United States, Newport Academy offers a family-systems approach, providing gender-specific, individualized, and comprehensive holistic programs that encompass clinical therapy, academic support, and experiential practices. Offerings include residential treatment centers, Partial Hospitalization Programs, Intensive Outpatient Programs, and Therapeutic Day Schools. Newport Academy nurtures the physical, psychological, social, educational, and spiritual needs of adolescents and their families, from a foundation of compassionate care, clinical expertise, and unconditional love. Our primary mission is to empower teens and restore families. Experts include MDs, psychiatrists, therapists, registered dieticians, nurses, licensed social workers, teachers, and more.
A CDC survey released in June 2020 included a deeply troubling statistic: 25 percent of young adults ages 18–24 have seriously considered suicide as a result of pandemic-related trauma and stress. As researchers dug deeper into the data, they found that social isolation is among the top stressors for this demographic. Many young people are attending college remotely, have lost their jobs or are working from home, or have returned to their childhood homes for economic reasons. The resulting loneliness is catalyzing significant increases in anxiety and depression among this age group.
However, current circumstances aren’t the only catalyst for the sense of disconnection that underlies young adult mental health challenges. Childhood trauma, particularly trauma involving parental neglect or abuse, often results in difficulty maintaining positive and nurturing relationships. Young adults with a history of trauma may struggle with boundary issues, lack of trust, and difficulty revealing their true selves.
Comprehensive, integrated treatment can address these issues by helping young adults to create authentic connections. Rather than addressing the symptoms of mental health and co-occurring disorders, young adult treatment at Newport heals these underlying issues by fostering connection with self and others.
Tools for Building Connection with Self
Newport’s clinical model of care is based on the understanding that the most important connection is the connection with self. Newport Institute nurtures this connection through:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, EFT, and other trauma-focused approaches to heal relational, chronic, or acute trauma that has created separation from self
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy to help clients reexamine negative beliefs and self concepts, and reframe black-and-white thinking
- Adventure Therapy to enhance self-esteem, confidence, and skill mastery
- Creative arts therapy and journaling to encourage self-expression and uncover personal passions
- Strengths-based academics and life skills training to develop natural talents and interests
- Self-care through exercise, mindfulness, and using the “meal as medicine.”
Authentic Connection with Others
Studies show that developing supportive relationships in emerging adulthood promotes resilience and thriving. In addition, supportive relationships cultivate compassion for others as well as self-compassion, which has proven to be strongly associated with well-being in young adults.
- Family therapy guides emerging adults in building honest and supportive relationships with parents — while maintaining autonomy and a separate sense of self.
- Group sessions with peers foster bonding and decrease the sense of isolation that can accompany mental health disorders.
- Experiential modalities such as Adventure Therapy and music therapy bring young adults together in a shared process of healing.
Connection = Thriving
Young adults thrive when they have the opportunity to process past trauma and related mental health disorders; and have gained the skills to navigate triggers, self-regulate emotions, and connect deeply with others. From this foundation of balance and support, they are poised to create a life filled with purpose and meaning. With effective treatment and tools to thrive, young adults can move into the next phase of their lives with confidence, optimism, and hope.
About Newport Institute
Newport Institute is a series of evidence-based healing centers providing mental health–primary care for young adults from a foundation of compassion, clinical expertise, and unconditional love. With locations across the United States, Newport Institute offers gender-specific, individualized, and comprehensive treatment programs that encompass clinical therapy, experiential modalities, life skills programming, and academic excellence. Driven by research and outcomes, Newport Institute achieves long-term results through statistically significant improvement in levels of depression, anxiety, and overall well-being. Newport Institute’s primary mission is to empower minds and restore families.
Burlington, VT — For years, Rock Point School has admitted students when they are ready. This can be after they finish wilderness or other therapeutic programs, or when they find the school they are in just isn't the right fit. Enabling students to start at many different times throughout the year (called “rolling admissions”) is yet one more practice in education potentially jeopardized by the pandemic. Rock Point School has announced new Covid-19 safety protocols to maintain a flexible opportunity for new students to join its learning community without compromising the health of those already living at the School.
Rock Point School provides mini-orientations for students who join the school mid-year. The orientation includes one-on-one time with each teacher, meetings with administration team members, and time in the evening with a small group of students and Residential Staff to learn about the dorm program. With added COVID safety protocols, RPS will be able to continue rolling admissions to serve students and families who need a new school at a non-traditional time.
A new student noted recently: "I had the chance to go home after being at a wilderness program to see if I could manage my schoolwork. But I fell back into some old patterns. When I did poorly in one of my classes, it impacted how I did in the other classes. I knew I needed more support. It was helpful that there was rolling admission so I could come to Rock Point School. "
Rock Point School added these new COVID-19 protocols to the existing rolling admissions protocols:
- Students traveling by car from out of state should quarantine at home before their arrival and receive a negative COVID test before they leave. If they are traveling through and stopping in areas with high rates of infection, they will be required to restart their quarantine and take another COVID test once they arrive in Vermont. Students can join school once they have tested negative. If they are not stopping in areas with a high infection rate and quarantined and tested negative before departure, they can come straight to campus when they arrive.
- Students who travel by air are required to quarantine in Vermont for seven days, take a COVID test, and receive a negative result before moving into the school. The School offers a location on the lakeside campus where students may stay during their quarantine.
The latest information about quarantine and travel to Vermont can be found here https://www.healthvermont.gov/response/coronavirus-covid-19/traveling-vermont.
About Rock Point School
Rock Point School is an intentionally small, independent, co-ed boarding high school in Burlington, Vermont on the shores of Lake Champlain. The school was founded in 1928 with a mission to serve young people that remains strong to this day. Rock Point School is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) and is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
The Goodale School and Recovery Community, a therapeutic residential boarding school for boys ages 14 to 17 with substance use and co-occurring disorders, is opening its doors in Asheville, North Carolina. Currently accepting applications, the program combines comprehensive clinical support for substance use and co-occurring disorders with an accredited academic program, family support, and a variety of health, wellness, and recreational activities to create an individualized recovery experience.
The Goodale School provides young men with a safe, caring, clinically-sound pathway to recovery, while providing their families with peace of mind. The program uses person-centered, evidence-based practices to directly address substance use disorders and co-occurring disorders such as anxiety, depression, trauma, and grief, which often impact recovery. The clinical program incorporates a real-life recovery model, which supports the development of coping, communication, decision-making, and life skills as a foundation for lifelong recovery. Students gain self-confidence, self-awareness, and resilience to navigate post-treatment challenges as they hone these skills with the support of program staff and peers.
During a 10- to 12-month stay at The Goodale School, students also participate in a fully accredited academic program, which allows them to continue making academic progress while on the path to recovery. Through hands-on, experiential learning in small class settings, students explore their interests and receive transferrable academic credits.
“We know that young men have the best chance at successful recovery when they can commit to a program for a significant length of time,” said Philip Cummings, executive director. “But recovery does not have to come at the expense of academic progress. At The Goodale School, we have created a place where young men can focus on both their recovery and academics. Each plays an important part in their long-term health, wellness and success in life.”
The Goodale School and Recovery Community is currently accepting applications for enrollment. The program is open to high-school-aged boys who have had initial substance use disorder treatment, typically through either residential treatment or a therapeutic wilderness program. For admissions information, contact Philip Cummings, M.Ed., executive director, at (828) 229-7757 or visit GoodaleSchool.org.
The Goodale School and Recovery Community is named in honor of Bob Goodale, a dedicated and visionary leader of the program and a passionate advocate for substance use disorder and recovery services. Goodale is a former chief executive officer of Harris Teeter, a grocery store chain operating in several South Atlantic states and the District of Columbia, and the former Deputy Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Commerce. He has served non-profit organizations in communities across the United States and been recognized for his lifelong commitment to the recovery community.
The Goodale School and Recovery Community is affiliated with Monarch, a leading statewide provider of mental health and substance use disorder services in North Carolina. Accredited by The Joint Commission, Monarch serves more than 30,000 people each year through comprehensive behavioral health services.
About the Goodale School
The Goodale School, located in Asheville, N.C., is a therapeutic residential boarding school for boys ages 14 to 17 with substance use and co-occurring disorders. The program empowers adolescent boys and their families to embrace recovery and gain the life skills needed to achieve their dreams. For more information visit, www.GoodaleSchool.org or call (828) 229-7757.
The Goodale School is affiliated with Monarch, a leading statewide provider of services to thousands of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, mental illness and substance use disorders in North Carolina. The organization is nationally accredited by The Joint Commission. To learn more about Monarch, please visit www.MonarchNC.org.
Media Contact: Laurie Weaver, Vice President of Marketing and Philanthropy, Monarch, (704) 986-1536 or Laurie.Weaver@monarchnc.org.
Santa Clarita, CA, November 16 – Ascend Healthcare, premier provider of residential treatment for teens suffering from mental health and substance use disorders, has opened a third residential treatment center located in Santa Clarita Valley of Los Angeles county.
This newest facility provides a holistic healing environment that is meant to fill a national gap where Ascend feels there is an entire group of under-served teens. Canyons will serve girls between the ages of 12 and 17 who are impacted by trauma and/or anxiety-related disorders. Treating the underlying conditions in a gender identity-affirming, all-girls setting will help clients make the most of Ascend’s 60-90 day program for primary mental health (with or without resultant secondary substance use).
“We’ve sadly seen a steady stream of girls who have experienced complex trauma here at Ascend, and we weren’t able to keep up with the overwhelming need for more residential treatment space to help them heal. Now, we’re devoting an entire center to it,” said Effie Goldberg, owner and Managing Director. “What these kids have been through is staggering, but we’re here to remind them how incredibly resilient they are and to help them learn how to begin to show up for themselves again. It’s really powerful and humbling.”
With access to the Angeles National Forest and a modest farm to explore, Ascend believes reconnecting with nature in a highly clinical setting allows adolescents to discover a new path towards healing. Recent research has found that animals provide the calming, unqualified attention and love that are needed to help some clients flourish, moving away from illness and toward health. In this new program, clients will be assigned an animal to care for throughout the length of their stay. In accord with the holistic nature of the program, there will also be more of an emphasis on plant-based eating.
Under the guidance of Program Director Melissa Argueta, LMFT, the program at Canyons provides a gentle clinical approach that ensures clients learn how to show up for themselves, how to take responsibility for their lives, and how to care for others.
Ascend Healthcare is an 18-bed residential treatment center located the suburbs of Los Angeles. Ascend offers a 45-90 day program of treatment for mental health and substance use disorders, covered by health insurance. The treatment center’s program is designed to treat the entire family system and help teach teens to emotionally self-regulate in a healthy manner, helping families evolve into safe and supportive units. If you would like more information, please call Seamus at 617-869-6552 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunrise is pleased to announce that Tracey Gerlach has joined the Sunrise team as Director of Professional and Business Development. Tracey has a masters degree in applied positive psychology, is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, and has more than 10 years of diverse experience working in residential treatment.
Tracey is no stranger to Sunrise. In 2015-2017, she was a Business Development Manager for InnerChange, working closely with the Sunrise’s leadership team in outreach. During this time, she became familiar with Sunrise RTC’s extensive dialectical behavioral therapy model, community involvement, and relational approach to a feedback-informed style of treatment.
Tracey will be working closely with Sunrise’s admissions team in marketing and outreach. She feels passionately about sharing knowledge and insight with other professionals for the purpose of elevating mental health services as a whole. She is excited to attend and host educational events, connect with old and new professional friends, and spread the word about Sunrise’s services and resources.
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.
(PORTLAND, Maine, November 10th, 2020) – Foundation House has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for Behavioral Healthcare Accreditation by demonstrating continuous compliance with its performance standards. The Gold Seal is a symbol of quality that reflects a health care organization’s commitment to providing safe and quality patient care.
Foundation House underwent a rigorous 5-day onsite review on October 19th, 2020. During the visit, Joint Commission reviewers evaluated compliance with Behavioral Healthcare standards spanning several areas, including the environment of care, infection prevention and control, leadership, and medication management. Foundation House’s accreditation applies to each of its eight locations, including its newest 120-acre ranch located in Bethel, ME.
The Joint Commission’s standards are developed in consultation with health care experts and providers, measurement experts, and patients. They are informed by scientific literature and expert consensus to help health care organizations measure, assess, and improve performance. The surveyors also conducted onsite observations and interviews.
“As a private accreditor, The Joint Commission surveys health care organizations to protect the public by identifying deficiencies in care and working with those organizations to correct them as quickly and sustainably as possible,” says Mark Pelletier, RN, MS, chief operating officer, Accreditation and Certification Operations, and chief nursing executive, The Joint Commission. “We commend Foundation House for its continuous quality improvement efforts in patient safety and quality of care.”
“Foundation House has been at the forefront of treatment for some time, as a provider of an unparalleled recovery experience for the past 18 years,” added Will Hutchinson, General Manager of Foundation House’s operations. “When deciding to pursue accreditation, the Joint Commission was our obvious choice considering their historical record of rigorous transparency and accountability, two values we at Foundation House hold to be of the utmost importance. We’re pleased to be granted the status of accredited following our initial survey, and we look forward to working closely with the Joint Commission for years to come.”
Foundation House’s initial survey took place during an unprecedentedly difficult time for treatment facilities across the world. With the COVID-19 pandemic gearing up across the United States for what appears to be a grim second wave, the infection control protocols at Foundation House have been successful in thwarting the presence of even a single case of COVID-19 in its staff or residents. “This has been a very challenging year, and it’s certainly not over yet,” Will continued. “We were grateful to have such a rigorous review of our infection control protocols during this time of increased health risk, and we are pleased to know our efforts are in line with the Joint Commission’s demanding standards.”
Over the next several years, Foundation House will be developing additional program offerings at their ranch property in Bethel, ME. “All of our new facilities and programs will seek similar accreditations with the Joint Commission,” Will concluded.
For more information, please visit the Joint Commission website or the Foundation House website.
About Foundation House:
Since its inception in 2002, Foundation House has been a pioneer in the fields of substance abuse and mental health treatment. A program dedicated to the long-term success of its residents, Foundation House consistently offers progressive clinical care in place of tired treatment methods, favoring an approach that empowers its residents and removes the impediments of institutionalization. Throughout the Foundation House program, residents are offered a dynamic selection of therapies and activities, including outdoor adventure, intramural sports leagues, educational tutoring, service missions, money management, acupuncture, surfing, reiki, yoga, cooking lessons, alumni engagement, painting classes, professional music studio time and international expeditions. For more information regarding Foundation House or the above press release, visit www.foundationhouse.com or call 207-791-2000.
(Boulder, CO) – When the nationwide lockdown began, AIM House closed its doors for two short weeks – and for the first time in its 21-year history. Co-founded in 1999 by Danny Conroy and Mae Martin, AIM House is an individualized, live-in mentoring program for adults ages 18 and older who are having difficulty with the transition to adulthood. Participants receive a personalized program that includes individual and group therapy, mentorship, life skills coaching, vocational internships, academic coaching, health and wellness instruction, peer support, and family therapy and workshops. In all of AIM House’s years of operation in Boulder, shutting its doors to residents was completely unprecedented.
Upon reopening with state-wide precautious and a plan of action in place, participants began returning to “The Castle”- AIM House’s striking residential building that was built in 1928 and previously a sorority house. As the program for young adults resumed, the leadership team knew the Parent and Family workshop could no longer take place in person.
Danny Conroy decided to start an online Parent Support Group, meeting three afternoons a week. It would allow parents to experience ongoing connection and support multiple days a week rather than just a few weekends a year. As there is no obligation for parents to attend, Danny had no idea how many people would join - and no idea just how valuable it would become to parents of participants.
Since starting the Parent Support Group, parents have called it a lifeline, a place of comfort, and a place to realize they are not alone. In the midst of the pandemic, the AIM House team realized they were now filling a need for caregivers that the program didn’t realize was missing.
“One of the biggest lessons I learned from our experience with Covid is the power of community,” noted Matt Sullivan, the Residential Program Director. “I knew how important it was for our Participants to feel like they were a part of something greater than themselves. We know that connection and community have the power to heal and that most learning happens in community and relationship. The blind spot that I now see was how critical it is for Parents and Caregivers to have that support as well. That was part of why we launched our Parent Support Group, which is held via Zoom, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 1pm MST. This group is designed to connect parents with other parents so they can have a parallel experience to their adult children. So often society places a stigma on mental health, and I’ve heard from multiple parents how impactful it was to know that there was a group of parents out there going through the same thing.”
This sentiment has been echoed by AIM House parents. “The Parent Support Group has been a lifeline of support and connection with other Aim House parents, Aim House professionals, and alumni,” one parent shared. “It has given me a deeper and more personal understanding of the AIM House philosophy and programming. Having the opportunity to get to know Danny, Matt, and fellow parents who are struggling with similar issues has been an unexpected gift of relationship that has fostered a feeling of understanding, compassion and companionship. It is the best thing that has come out of the pandemic for me!”
For any parent new to the world of wilderness therapy, treatment centers, and aftercare, the process can be overwhelming. The Parent Support Group hopes to bring community and normalcy to the logistical and emotional challenges for parents as they share their experience.
“When I first learned of my son’s struggles, I felt helpless and alone. And, in a certain way, I was and still am helpless; however, my perspective on helplessness has changed due to my participation in AIM’s Parent Support Group. I am no longer alone. This group has helped me accept the fact that I am not able to “fix” or help my son. He has to help himself. The challenge of disentangling my happiness and stability from his happiness and stability is still real, but it is somehow less bleak and daunting when I know I’ll be logging on to see a Zoom-ful of familiar faces that relate to my struggles,” another parent shared.
An AIM House mom shared that, “At a time in a young man’s life when other kids may be able to progress through many of life’s milestones with joy and without major distress, it was hard for me to relate honestly to other parents in my real life community. The online Parent Support Group at AIM House has been a special place of comfort and understanding for me. I learned there is no judgment in this group. Hearing about other families/kids’ histories and challenges, which significantly overlap ours, has helped me feel less alone and very much supported. What AIM House has done for my son, and what the parent support group has done for me... have helped me relate to my son as someone who is much more than just his struggles.”
In the midst of increased social distancing and isolation, an online support group for parents couldn’t be more timely. While the process of closing its doors for two weeks was daunting back in March, an increased sense of community and support is undoubtedly the silver lining. “The pandemic has helped clarify what’s most important for a lot of us,” said Kelly Corn, Executive Director. “And as we support our participants, we are always seeking to find ways to include the community and families in the healing process. The Parent Support Group has allowed us to do just that.”
Find out more about AIM House at their website: www.aimhouse.com.
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.
Turn-About Ranch has had many parents inquire about what to do for teens struggling with technology addictions. This is an especially important issue in 2020 and going into 2021, as students are spending less time in a physical school environment due to COVID-19 — giving them more time to play video games and be on social media. Many students are even finding themselves doing online school which inherently increases the number of hours they spend in front of a screen.
To help parents test whether or not their teens are addicted to electronics, Turn-About Ranch published a quiz blog in November. The quiz is only 12 questions long, but it’s designed to help assess the level of addiction. Parents are also taken through why teens get addicted to electronics. The blog talks about potential reasons being overexposure, depression, and anxiety. It also says, “There is almost always a root cause to digital addiction, and that is what needs to be addressed more than anything.”
Furthermore, the blog gives four key suggestions for ways parents can help their teens:
- Have a charging station where electronics can be placed when not in use.
- Set a rule for when electronics have to be turned in.
- Block usage on your router for certain times.
- Restrict data usage.
While electronics addictions aren’t always diagnosed, they can be treated. It is important to set boundaries and to learn better habits when it comes to technology usage, but it’s also important to dive into the issues that may have caused the addiction. Turn-About Ranch specializes in treating youth struggling with various types of addictions, anger management, and a variety of issues that impact family life. If you have a client or a teen who needs help, please call Turn-About Ranch at (800) 842-1165.
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. If you have any questions about Turn-About Ranch, please call their admissions office at (800) 842-1165 between the hours of 8am and 6pm Mountain Standard Time.
Havenwood Academy is thrilled to introduce a wide-spread collection of data across its program. The use of digital dashboards, algorithms, and automation has helped Havenwood move the needle and create more effective treatment for their clients. Havenwood is now constantly collecting data in its academics, program safety, employee retention, and more.
Havenwood has made strong use of its data by creating digital dashboards across its departments. These dashboards give real time feedback on the most important elements of each department. Where Havenwood has really innovated is with the use of algorithms and bots. Algorithms can turn qualitative data into quantitative, and trigger an array of automations. These automations trigger action within the program to be able to provide better treatment and service.
Brandon Payne, Havenwood's Marketing Analyst, has headed the cross-department effort in becoming a more data oriented program. "The goal was to accurately see where we were doing well and where we could be doing better. Our variety of digital dashboards give us an easy glance to understand exactly that. We've been able to identify and fix problems in our program, academics, marketing, employee satisfaction and retention, and much more. The move towards data has been hugely impactful for our program." - Josh Gardner, CFO
About the Havenwood Academy
Havenwood Academy is a joint commission accredited program focusing on helping teen girls with trauma and attachment-related issues. In the last six years of operation, Havenwood Academy has helped hundreds of teen girls understand and work through their trauma so they can move on to lead happier and more successful lives.
The nomadic model encourages students at Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness (BRTW) to welcome their environment as an unwavering component of their therapeutic journey. Adolescent and young adult clients at Blue Ridge live in the wilderness with their group and field staff for the entirety of their stay in the program: frequent hiking, cooking over a fire, building sturdy shelters and working together as a team are all essential to this framework, which integrates a genuine backcountry experience with weekly therapy sessions and 24/7 access to wilderness professionals. The seamlessness of the nomadic wilderness experience influences students to develop resiliency as they learn to create “home” wherever they go - not just in the sunshine, but in whatever weather they encounter.
Nomadic wilderness therapy limits students' exposure to activities and material items which may have been problematic before their enrollment in the program. Devices and distractions are replaced with the sounds and sights of nature; this enables clients to get back in touch with themselves, their emotions and their physical bodies. The removal of personal attire (BRTW provides all students' clothing and gear) also contributes to eliminating distractions - and it keeps their belongings safe while students live and hike in the wilderness for (an average of) 9 weeks.
While some discomfort is intentional and crucial to the therapeutic process, Blue Ridge works to provide high-quality gear, nourishment and overall care to all clients by taking into account the specific needs of each individual. This emphasis on care is something that owner Dan McDougal believed was missing from many wilderness programs. Along with implementing the nomadic model, Dan and the rest of the BRTW staff are committed to providing what is necessary for students to be able to fully embrace their therapeutic experience.
Nomadic wilderness therapy is where consistency and natural consequences combine to create pivotal, life-changing lessons and opportunities for growth. At home or in base camp models, distractions can be more difficult (or impossible) to control. Unless it’s necessary, students at BRTW remain in the wilderness until it’s time to transition to their next steps. The only vehicles around are the trucks that bring resupply, field instructors, and therapists. Each student’s group, field instructors, therapists, transport staff and nurses are the only people with whom they interact. Students live out structured days with Wilderness First Responders (WFRs) eating nutritious foods, drinking clean, filtered water and working towards increasing their physical and emotional resiliency. In this setting, students often learn that they are capable of so much more than they thought- and this is made possible by the seamless and consistent nomadic wilderness experience provided at Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness.
With an integrated approach, BRTW combines assessment and wilderness-based therapeutic interventions to teach students and their families skills necessary to understand themselves, their families and how to connect in meaningful ways. For more information about Blue Ridge, visit www.blueridgewilderness.com or contact an admissions counselor today at 888-914-1040.
To reflect the change in focus over the last two years from Primary Addiction Treatment to Primary Mental Health Treatment, Corner Canyon Recovery is changing to Corner Canyon Health Centers. They have found that their clients more frequently present with mental health concerns as a primary diagnosis. They have adapted their programing to meet the needs of these clients and are changing their name to more accurately describe provided services. To accommodate growth and clientele needs, they have welcomed four new team members.
Draper, Utah: Corner Canyon Health Centers believe that successful mental health and addiction treatment requires diagnosis and treatment of multiple underlying biochemical disorders in addition to sophisticated clinical intervention and supportive, caring personnel. When clients present with both diagnoses research indicates that treating them concurrently is important and necessary, and they have maintained strong addiction treatment components to most effectively help clients.
“Corner Canyon Health conducts a thorough Assessment of all measurable variables when clients enroll to direct treatment. We can correct many underlying problems within our facility, referring to other professionals when indicated. Corner Canyon Health Centers is innovative, seeking and using the most current research-validated effective treatment options available for the individual needs of our clients.“, says Cheryl Kehl, CEO at Corner Canyon Health Centers.
Along with the evolution of the name of the treatment center, four new members have been added to the team. Chris Black Outreach Director, and Christina Ward Admissions Counselor, have joined the Marketing Team. Sara Sorensen, LCMHC and Nicholas Baum, CMHC join the clinical team.
Chris Black, Outreach Director, has a wealth of experience working in the industry in many capacities, including Admissions and Outreach, Residential care, Nursing, and Wilderness. In addition to working with Corner Canyon he is also continuing work towards a doctorate in Psychiatric Nursing.
Christina Ward, Admissions Counselor, worked for 7 years at a prominent wilderness therapy program as a mentor level field staff, logistics coordinator, and as a clinical assistant. During these years Christina's love for the mental health field continued to grow and she decided to pursue her master's in Clinical Psychology. Christina also worked as a Clinical Research Coordinator for a year before joining the Corner Canyon Recovery team. She was the lead coordinator on trials investigating medication for treatment of Borderline Personality disorder, major depressive disorder, and weight gain reversal in patients diagnosed with Schizophrenia.
Sara Sorenson, CMHC, is the new Clinical Director, she brings a strong Mental Health background to complement and lead the clinical personnel. She is EMDR certified and also has experience with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Art Therapy.
Nicholas Baum, CMHC, has 7 plus years of working with adolescents and their families. He has worked with depression, RAD, anxiety, autism, addiction, and trauma and is experienced in DBT, art therapy, and equine therapy.
About Corner Canyon Health Centers
Corner Canyon Health Centers is an inpatient mental health and addiction recovery center, providing evidence-based and compassion driven treatment for mixed-gender adult clients in a comfortable, healthy environment with caring personnel. Corner Canyon Recovery is innovative and provides our adult clients with the most effective treatment options available for their individual concerns. Our inpatient program strives to improve and change lives in ways that other treatment programs can’t. Features and benefits at Corner Canyon Health Centers Inpatient mental health and addiction treatment, comprehensive diagnostic assessment Trauma-Focused treatment, and with innovative research-validated therapeutic methods.
NARRAGANSETT, Rhode Island--Middlebridge School, a boarding school for students with learning differences, successfully completed their fall semester while maneuvering the uncharted territories of COVID-19. Assistant Head of School, Dan Leventhal, shared the program’s approach, “The most important factor we considered was whether or not we could deliver the mission of our program safely. After intense planning and research, we determined that we were able to serve the mission and our students, with safe face-to-face instruction.”
Middlebridge specializes in working with students with learning differences, especially those with attentional differences. Roughly 90% of the student population at Middlebridge is diagnosed with either ADD or ADHD. “Our faculty did a phenomenal job of planning for and pivoting to distance learning last spring,” Sara Callahan, Director of Academics, noted. “But research is just beginning to explore how Zoom and Google Classroom effect students with different levels of attentional focus.” (Hamilton, NPR)
So, Middlebridge prioritized a safe return to campus. The school followed data-driven and medically reviewed protocols in order to keep the campus safe. The COVID response team created a new school calendar to reduce back and forth travel and asked students and parents to commit to their child remaining on campus for the duration of the fall semester. The school welcomed students back based on their assessed risk level - their location of origin and their method of travel to campus - with assigned, staggered, arrival dates to allow for quarantine windows. All students and faculty completed at home COVID PCR testing, twice, and were required to submit those negative results prior to arrival. Following the return to campus, all staff and students -150 community members - participated in weekly COVID-19 PCR saliva tests. This weekly testing gave the school the opportunity to assess community health each week and assist in maintaining a safe environment for community members.
“To plan effectively for COVID, you have to know boarding school culture from the inside out,” Head of School John J. Kaufman noted. “Once school starts, we’re all essentially ‘living’ on campus together. We knew that testing was going to be the key to proactive quarantine response and to keeping everyone safe.”
Middlebridge students and staff followed the mantra, “Care for the self is care for the community as a whole.” Donning masks and following CDC endorsed safety precautions, the community prioritized this idea of self and community care. Students were able to learn and integrate mindfulness, empathy, and self-care into their daily lives by learning more about how the “self” correlates and ties into the health of the overall community. Hosting multiple staff Town Halls and COVID education sessions, and creating community agreements also helped to create a shared staff and student culture. And despite all precautions, Middlebridge School planned for the day that COVID would touch its campus and was prepared for a multitude of quarantine scenarios, all tying back into students, staff, and families being committed to following through on preset, agreed-upon protocols.
“You can’t have this level of safety, commitment, and success without the support of every member of our community,” John stated. “I especially credit our faculty for upholding a culture of creativity and calm, and for balancing continued academic excellence with innovation. We’ve taken advantage of the ‘outdoor classroom’ our 38 acres offers us every single day, but we’ve still had to navigate all the usual milestones like SAT prep and college applications, all while navigating the added emotional and social stressors that COVID uncertainty can present and support our diverse learners both in and out of the classroom. Our faculty are truly exceptional.”
Middlebridge School is grateful for its students and staff who worked together and supported each other this fall and is looking forward to a safe face-to-face return in the New Year.
Resources: Hamilton, Jon. “Remote Learning’s Distractions Put Extra Pressure on Students with ADHD.” NPR, September 1, 2020
Middlebridge School is a nonprofit, co-educational, boarding, and day high school program for students ages 13-19 with learning differences. Founded in 2008, the school sits on 38+ acres across from beautiful Narragansett Bay. In addition to creating an environment of academic excellence for complicated learners, Middlebridge focuses on emotional intelligence, leadership, community engagement and service-learning, and outdoor and immersive hands-on education, to prepare graduates to thrive at college and beyond.
Asheville, NC. Beacon Transitions, a residential program for clients diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other Learning Disabilities, has significantly expanded their service and coalition to better serve their clients. As a full step-down Independent Living Program, Beacon Transitions' mission is to transition male-identifying young adults from assessment programs like Wilderness Therapy programs, other residential treatment programs, or when appropriate directly from their home, to create an autonomous life. Beacon has partnered with Life Tutors of Asheville, NC to assist with transitioning back into the community. Led by JD Daubs, Andrea Morris, and Brian Nolan, Life Tutors assist with the final stage of the Independence that Beacon's Young Men have worked for, helping them assimilate into the community and beyond. Life Tutors defines itself as a goal-oriented and outcome-driven coaching support program.
Beacon Transitions, while expanding partnerships, is also expanding the team, adding Jake Harris as Director of Business Development and Admissions. Jake began his career in wilderness therapy. After four years in the North Georgia woods, Jake took an Administrative Role with a therapeutic boarding school in South Carolina. Jake's experience in the field of mental health treatment is focused on fostering relationships with clinicians and referring professionals, as well as facilitating professional development in staff teams. Jake excels at strength-based mentoring, and empowering teams to function cohesively.
About Beacon Transitions
With over eight years of serving Young Adult men on the Autism Spectrum, Beacon Transitions, located south of Asheville, NC brings a novel, collaborative approach to helping their clients achieve targeted milestones of achievement. Using a community method, Beacon, with their licensed staff and coalition of Mental Health Treatment Providers, Local Business Leaders, and Educational/Vocational professionals understand and support their clients in a way they often haven’t experienced their entire lives.
With more than 15 years of dedicated experience in the field of helping young adults and their families, Louise Slater founded LifeTutors to fill a gap in the necessary continuum of care. Often young adults enter treatment in a residential or intensive transition program and do well while there. However, when they finish formal treatment, they often need additional structure and support outside of treatment walls. LifeTutors is a clinically guided coaching and mentoring program supporting young adults along their journey to independence and personal effectiveness. We work one-on-one with young adults, creating lasting change by teaching and modeling adult daily living tasks and concepts such as budgeting, medication and/or treatment adherence, self-discovery and inner-dependence, collegiate and career preparation, healthy community engagement and integrity-driven personal autonomy. We walk beside and support positive forward movement of our young adults in their world where life gets real and independence is forged.
ASHEVILLE, N.C. — CooperRiis at Asheville is pleased to announce that Jennifer Meehan, LCSW has joined their team as Admissions Manager. Jennifer previously worked in a residential program for adolescents in New York and managed intake for a behavioral health program in Aurora, Colorado, and Walterboro SC; both were HCA Healthcare. For the last five years, Jennifer has worked in an Emergency Department in Colorado. Jennifer earned her BA from the University of Rochester, NY, and her MSW from State University of NY at Buffalo, NY.
“It’s an honor to be a part of such a holistic program that is truly providing quality treatment. There seems to be a continued and increasing interest from our callers seeking the care we provide. Regarding the development of this program, there was a need and we filled it.” CooperRiis is thrilled to have Jennifer’s experience and clinical expertise guide the program’s admissions and get people into our care to jump-start their recovery journey.
CooperRiis at Asheville program opened in early September of 2020 and has been well received by referral sources and families seeking treatment for loved ones. The program is short-term, 30-90 days and focuses on mental health stabilization. It is designed to develop a foundation for a potential next step into CooperRiis’ longer-term residential program at the Farm in Mill Spring, into its Asheville Community Program, or into another treatment program. The CooperRiis at Asheville program accepts adults 18 and over who experience mental health diagnoses such as anxiety, major depression, PTSD, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, personality disorders, and any co-occurring condition related to addiction (dual diagnosis).
The CooperRiis at Asheville Program offers psychiatry, psychotherapy, 24/7 nursing, medication management, clinical group therapy, experiential group therapy, life skills curriculum, functional recovery programming, psychoeducation, and wellness activities and education. Evidenced-based group modalities such as Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Expressive Arts Therapy, Relapse Prevention, and Psychosis Support are part of the program.
The recovery program benefits individuals in early recovery and individuals experiencing setbacks or recurrent mental health and substance use challenges, and persons whose mental health has been exacerbated by the COVID 19.
About CooperRiis Healing Community
Founded by Donald R. Cooper and Lisbeth Riis Cooper, CooperRiis is a non-profit organization accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). CooperRiis residential healing community in Western North Carolina has a rural campus on a 94-acre farm and an urban campus in Asheville. Since 2003, CooperRiis has been helping adults living with mental health challenges achieve their highest levels of functioning and fulfillment. A personalized recovery approach, CooperRiis combines trusted clinical therapies, community work & service, education, and integrative wellness practices. Visit https://www.cooperriis.org/, call 844-522-1234, or email AshevilleAdmissions@CooperRiis.org Contact National Outreach Coordinator Kim Nelson Kim.Nelson@CooperRiis.org for more information or call 828-817-3783.
Greenbrier Academy is excited to announce the addition of Ginger Dahl, MACE, MAMFC, LPC to the clinical team. Ginger brings over three decades of experience working with youth and their families in various residential facilities, public service agencies, public-school settings, and private practice. Throughout her career, her focus on relationships and emotional healing has underlined her passion for those who have experienced early childhood trauma, disrupted attachment, PTSD, and family conflict.
“Over the years, it has been my honor to help families repair broken relationships,” Ginger says. “The reward of seeing a family’s new beliefs set in or a student break free from past trauma that had defined them is what I love most about what I do.”
Ginger’s preference for a holistic approach to therapy eventually attracted her to Greenbrier. “I love having the support of a treatment team and using multiple modalities and interventions to help a student breakthrough,” says Ginger. “It’s much more effective than just one-on-one therapy alone.”
Ginger was trained by Dr. Bruce Perry and is certified in the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics (NMT). She is also certified in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and Equine Assisted Therapies (EAGALA) and is in the final phase of her certification to be a Registered Play Therapist. She holds a Masters in Christian Education and a Masters in Marriage and Family Counseling from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas as well as a Bachelor's in Psychology from Athens State University in Athens, Alabama.
Originally from northern Alabama, Ginger has lived and worked in Texas, Florida, and Oklahoma before moving to West Virginia to be closer to family and join Greenbrier Academy. Ginger is the proud mother of 5 children aged 18-25.
“We are thrilled to have Ginger as part of our Greenbrier team,” says Rachel Call, Greenbrier’s Executive Director/CEO. “Aside from her vast experience as a clinician, she has jumped right into our community and therapeutic model with an enthusiasm that’s hard to find.”
Greenbrier Academy is a therapeutic boarding school for girls aged 14-18 located on 140 acres of woodland in Pence Springs, WV. We offer an immersive therapeutic program specifically designed to reestablish core beliefs. This is done through the collaborative effort of our signature programs, therapy and college-prep academics within a supportive community of sisterhood.
TechieForLife (TFL) student Will led his team of four to a first-place win at the recent Dixie State University-sponsored Southern Utah Code Camp. This year’s 24-hour programming, design, and entrepreneurship contest with teams competing to build the best web or mobile app was held virtually due to Covid-19 on November 13th & 14th, 2020. The winners demonstrated their projects at the Silicon Slopes monthly lunch meetup, a gathering of Southern Utah startup and tech community insiders.
Will’s team, Ru$$el Hu$$el, in the collegiate Intermediate Division, created an app they called Lyrical. It connects to the music app Spotify through its API and displays the lyrics of songs as they play. Will said during their demonstration, “The hardest part was coming up with an idea. Building the app wasn’t that hard after we got permissions for the API."
Each November, TechieForLife sends students to compete at this all-nighter challenge that tests their skills to create and complete a project in a short amount of time. The yearly event gives participants like TechieForLife’s student, Will, the opportunity to make friendships, build relationships, find jobs or business partners, network, and even launch successful businesses.
To learn more about how TechieForLife mentors students like Will, please visit TechieForLife.com. For information about Code Camp go to SouthernUtahCodeCamp.com
TechieForLife (TFL) is a co-ed, residential postsecondary school with a wrap-around career support program in beautiful St. George, Utah. Students with neurodiverse social, emotional, and academic challenges such as autism receive mentoring at TFL 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.
Juniper Canyon Recovery Center for Women and brother program Legacy Outdoor Adventures for Men are thrilled to announce that Mallorie Stanely, MSW, will be joining the clinical team in the New Year.
Mallorie has been working with the programs since Summer 2020, when she arrived on campus to complete her graduate school internship. The whole team was immediately impressed with her willingness to dive headfirst into work during unprecedented times, her team spirit, and her ability to connect with clients and staff alike.
“Mallorie brings experiential application, enthusiasm, insight, and a bright willingness to our programs. She was able to step into our milieu and look at things with new eyes and has the confidence to express her observations, which helps with the dynamic nature of wilderness therapy and enhances our core value to always find ways to better serve our clients. She is a great addition to Legacy and Juniper Canyon and we are excited that she has decided to stay with us and strengthen our clinical team,” says Maddy Liebing, Ph.D., Clinical Director for Legacy Treatment Center.
Mallorie earned a BS in Behavioral Neuroscience from Northeastern University in 2015, and an MSW and MS in Outdoor Education from the University of New Hampshire in 2020. She has worked as a direct care counselor at an inpatient psychiatric hospital, a community-based counselor for children and adolescents, a therapeutic adventure group facilitator, a wilderness therapy program field guide, and was a therapist intern at Legacy Outdoor Adventures and Juniper Canyon Recovery Center.
Mallorie will be moving to Utah from New Hampshire. Her hobbies include hiking, running, surfing & snowboarding. At least she can do three out of four in her new home!
About Juniper Canyon Recovery Center for Women and brother program Legacy Outdoor Adventures
Juniper Canyon Recovery Center for Women and brother program Legacy Outdoor Adventures are located in Loa, UT, and made up of two, gender-specific programs. Legacy Outdoor Adventures for Men is an adventure therapy program for young men ages 18 and up. Juniper Canyon Recovery Center for Women is the premier wilderness recovery program for young adult women 18 and up. Both Legacy programs are licensed as Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Programs. Additionally, Legacy programs are licensed by the state of Utah as Residential Treatment Centers. They are Joint Commission Accredited and treat addiction, trauma, depression, anxiety, and dual diagnosis clients.
A good principle will apply effectively and succesfully across a broad spectrum of cicumstances. The leadership and staff of Q&A Associates understands and employes this principle. "We apply the principle of "this client", approaching each young adult as an individual rather than creating one program track and expecting all the individuals to be successful on that track," said Keith Bishop, COO and Equine Professional. With the small size of all three programs (Applewood Transitions for Young Women, Journey Transitions for Young Men and Cabin Mountain Living Center), the staff have the flexibility to truly individualize programming for "this client."
This principle has been learned and mastered by working with the horses of Saddles & Smiles (S&S). "Most of the horses are rescues, so there is no way for us to really know their backgrounds or predict where they will be successful in our programming," continued Bishop. By working with "this horse", each rescued equine finds a path to trusting relationships and meaningful work within the program. While the horses share a lot of common traits, they will not successfully grow and perform unless their individual needs are taken into account.
The same principle is true for the young adult clients of Q&A. While they share lots of common diagnoses, past experiences, failed attempts at independence, and family traumas, the only way for them to achieve their highest levels of independence is to have their individual needs addressed. It takes a great team of dedicated and flexible staff to execute this individual approach. Staff must be fluid enough to allow clients to try different approaches to life, to fail successfully, and continue to move forward. By applying the principle of "this client", the Q&A team can coach and challenge the young adults on their journeys to independence rather than setting them on a path of contrived outcomes that are not based on internal motivation or real life consequences. "We strive to help each client become a creator in his or her life," said Bishop, "If they always see themselves as victims of their diagnoses or personal circumstances, they will not see the world of possibilities in front of them or achieve personal success."
Whether working with "this horse" or "this client," the individualized approach is proving to be the most effective path to personal success.
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.
One of the most fulfilling parts of the programming at Foothills at Red Oak Recovery is having clients involved in animal caretaking on their expansive 94-acre working farm and campus. These animal relationships allow clients to experience the unconditional love and acceptance that we all know animals offer as well as assist with the development of relationships, skills, and positive emotional well-being.
Unique to Foothills is a calf weaning program, which allows clients to develop a special relationship with individual calves that need support as they separate from their mother. Clients nurture and care for the calves from the very beginning of their time at Foothills until they are essentially ready to be on their own – this daily care includes bottle-feeding, socialization, time in the pasture, and stall cleaning. Eventually, calves will wean off of the bottle and begin to be able to take care of themselves as they grow more and more independent, much like a client’s journey during their time at Foothills.
This critical developmental period lasts between 60-90 days, which aligns well with the time that clients are at Foothills. It provides a rewarding opportunity for clients to get involved on a day-to-day basis with the animals on campus, while they also develop a sense of ownership and responsibility in the care of the calves.
“Many adolescents connect to the non-judgmental and consistent nature of animals that provide safe, comfortable, and stable interactions. The calf program at Foothills provides the opportunity for clients to engage with their softer side, nurturing the growth and development of new life which is parallel to the clients’ processes. For some, this will be the first time he is depended upon in a way that fosters a sense of ownership, responsibility, and connection to something outside of himself,” explains Angel Mayes, LCSW, Clinical Director at Foothills at Red Oak Recovery. “Over the course of time, clients will observe growth directly related to their care and efforts. Clients can feel a sense of pride and accomplishment and begin to make connections to their own lives which leads to improved self-concept and healthier emotional, social and behavioral functioning.”
Foothills at Red Oak Recovery has a robust animal care-taking program on campus, which include calves, horses, a sheep, a donkey, and even a pig!
Red Oak Recovery® programs are located throughout Western North Carolina and include clinically-driven and gender separate trauma focused mental health and substance abuse treatment for young adult men (www.redoakrecovery.com), young adult women (www.thewillowsatredoak.com), and adolescent boys (www.foothillsatredoak.com).
Seven Stars, a residential treatment center and assessment center for teens ages 13-17 who struggle with neurodevelopmental issues, is excited to kick off the holiday season with a variety of festive activities on campus and within the local community. “We’ve put up our holiday tree and students are working on their own crafty decorations to hang,” says Founder and Executive Clinical Director Dr. Gordon Day. “Some of these crafts include specially carved snowflakes and holiday ornaments that will be gifted to parents. Since everyone loves a cool science experiment, we will be making our very own version of snow.”
During the first night of Hanukkah, students will be playing games with dreidels and snacking on latkes, also known as potato pancakes for a special Jewish tradition. To celebrate the last day of Hanukkah, students will get to enjoy a sufganiyot, otherwise known as a jelly doughnut.
On December 12th, students will be celebrating National Gingerbread House day by building and decorating gingerbread houses. Following that, students will take part in a holiday light tour. “Students will load up in the vans and take a trip around the town to look at the lights and sip on hot chocolate,” says Dr. Day. “On Christmas Eve, everyone will gather for pizza and enjoy a Christmas-themed movie. We will end the night together by reading ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas'. On Christmas day, the kiddos will wake up and enjoy Christmas tree pancakes and sausage. To really capture the holiday vibes, they will open gifts in front of the Netflix fire.”
Students will wrap up the holiday season with New Year’s Eve celebrations.
“We’re celebrating the ending to a year like no other with a Just Dance tournament, game night, and special treats,” comments Dr. Day. “There is much in store for our kiddos at Seven Stars. We are eager to welcome the holiday season!”
About Seven Stars
Seven Stars is a leading assessment program and residential treatment center for teens ages 13-17 who struggle with neurodevelopmental disorders such as Autism Spectrum Disorder and ADHD. For more information about programming at Seven Stars, please visit http://www.discoversevenstars.com/ or call 844-601-1167.
Portland, ME. - In November, Onward Transitions, a community-based therapeutic program, purchased a 4,600 square foot building to better serve its emerging adult clients. The new property includes a commercial kitchen space and large dining area, 1,400 square foot multi-purpose room, large therapy offices, green and private outdoor space, accessibility to bus routes and bike paths, and ample off-street parking. “It really checked all the boxes we had been looking for in our search before the pandemic,” stated co-founder and lead clinician Darrell Fraize, M.Ed., LCPC, LADC. “But more specifically, this building should give us the best opportunity to continue mask-to-mask services as we head into this very difficult winter,” he added. Fraize cited the three separate HVAC systems and 32 windows “naturally arranged for cross-ventilation” as instrumental to the decision to buy the property. “The social distance we can create in both the huge group room and individual therapy offices was incredibly important to us as we made the final decision.”
The building, across the Fore River and looking at Portland’s downtown, on Main Street in South Portland, was formerly home to Mad Science (an afterschool and summer camp program) and the USDA. Onward Transitions staff and private contractors will be making minor cosmetic renovations to the building, and hope to move in shortly after the start of the New Year. Fraize reported that when he discussed this change with clients (referred to as “members” at the program) “after the initial grieving of moving on from our current spaces they were like ‘Can we help?’ They quickly wanted to get involved in laying down flooring, and painting walls, and even in moving furniture. We hope to incorporate that energy into our moving process.”
For members without cars, Fraize reported that the program has outfitted their vehicles with plastic barriers, HEPA air purifiers, and the removal of middle row seating, all to aid with safer “in-house” shuttles as opposed to public transportation options. “Originally, we thought we could take our time to prepare and transition into this new space. Given the reality of the COVID pandemic, those plans have obviously changed and we are moving forward much more quickly.”
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.
Skyland Trail began offering evidence-based psychiatric treatment programs for adolescents in October 2019 with the opening of the J. Rex Fuqua Campus. In just over one year since opening the program, they’ve reached several important milestones. Check out a few highlights of the first year of adolescent treatment at Skyland Trail below.
Teen Clients Receive Care
Skyland Trail began admitting adolescent clients to the residential treatment program in November 2019. The program specializes in treating teens ages 14 to 17 with mood and anxiety disorders.
Clients Admitted: 52 (as of November 2020)
A parent of a Skyland Trail adolescent program graduate says, “Skyland is an organization that truly cares. Always professional and caring, the people at Skyland go above and beyond to help families get back to firm footing.”
While 60 percent of admissions have been from Georgia, families from across the Southeast have benefited from the multidisciplinary, evidence-based program at Skyland Trail.
One Family’s Story
Mac and Anne’s daughter, Laura, graduated from the adolescent residential treatment program at Skyland Trail in 2020. The adolescent residential program treats teens ages 14 to 17 with mood and anxiety disorders. Watch the video here.
In Her Own Words
Skyland Trail adolescent program graduate Laura describes how Skyland Trail helped her learn skills and shift her perspective to find peace and pursue her goals. Learn about Laura's story.
New Insurance Contracts Expand Access
The Skyland Trail adolescent program is a private pay only program. To help families access treatment, the patient billing team worked with many families to file out-of-network benefits. After earning Joint Commission accreditation for the adolescent program and licensure with the State of Georgia, Skyland Trail applied for contracts with several private insurance carriers.
The Skyland Trail adolescent treatment program now is in-network with most plans offered by Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, and Cigna. Contracted insurance agreements, often combined with the Skyland Trail financial aid program, allow many families to access residential treatment for their teens.
Financial Aid Awarded: > $280,000
J. Rex Fuqua Campus Receives Recognition
The J. Rex Fuqua Campus received a Health Care Award of Merit from Engineering News Record Southeast and first place in the 2020 Build Georgia Awards from the Association of General Contractors Georgia.
About Skyland Trail
Located in Atlanta, Skyland Trail is a nationally recognized nonprofit mental health treatment organization serving adults and adolescents 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.
Over the Thanksgiving weekend, Foundation Asheville’s young adults headed out to Navitat for a fun day of ziplining. Located just outside of Asheville, North Carolina, Navitat offers tree-based canopy adventures and ziplining tours that are engaging and safe. “We were really impressed by their COVID safety measures,” says Adam Ray, Director of Business Development & Programming at Foundations. “All students wore masks and went through Navitat’s screening process before entering the park.”
Over the past few months, the Foundations Asheville team has been making efforts to find COVID-safe activities for students to participate in. This has been really helpful for morale and has helped their students continue to build hobbies, interests, and community.
“The Navitat trip was a great hit amongst our students,” says Adam. “It has been so important for our young adults to spend time in nature and engage in activities that help them feel stimulated during the pandemic. We are really looking forward to our next excursions and will definitely continue to prioritize this type of programming for our students.”
Foundations Asheville is a program for young adults of all genders ages 18-24 who are struggling to find the motivation to launch into adulthood. Many of their students struggle with anxiety, depression, social skills, and learning difficulties. This program is committed to helping young adults develop and sharpen the skills they need to be successful in the real world. There is a focus on teaching students how to enter the workforce, develop vocational trades, and functional living skills. Located in Asheville, North Carolina, Foundations Asheville gives young adults the opportunity to gain confidence, find their purpose, and learn useful skills that will help them navigate through the adult years.
Focus Collegiate recently launched College UnBound, a weekly podcast dedicated to diverse learning in the college environment. The podcast will discuss philosophy, tactics, strategies, and all things college for diverse learners. Focus Collegiate is a provider of comprehensive support services to students on campus and those studying virtually, It also provides support services for parents who have young adults in college or attending classes virtually.
“Because it is not in a parent’s job description to see their kid fail, parents can over function which can result in diminished volition on behalf of the student,” explains Focus Collegiate founder Grant Leibersberger, MEd, MBA, “The podcast is one of the many ways we help parents start to let go. The transition to college is new territory for everyone— including parents, maybe especially parents. College UnBound answers their questions and hopefully allays some of their fears.”
Delivered in a casual interview format, the College UnBound podcast explores the challenges diverse learners (and their parents) face as they strive toward independent living on campus and in life. The podcast delves into Focus Collegiate’s philosophy, tactics, strategies, and all things college for diverse learners.
About Focus Collegiate
Through its Collegiate Virtual, Summer Cohort, and academic-year services Focus Collegiate provides dynamic, individualized support for college students with learning differences. Working on campus and virtually in the skill areas of academics, executive functioning, life-skills, and social integration, Focus Collegiate guides students as they transition to independence using the college experience as a launching pad to success in the classroom and in life. The team at Focus Collegiate, comprised of clinical social workers, therapists, counselors, learning specialists, and advocates, has collectively more than eight decades of experience working with young people in transition.
At Solstice West RTC, a residential treatment center for teen girls ages 14-18, clinicians and therapeutic staff have been working to increase their knowledge of their therapeutic modalities in order to better serve students. The clinical team continues to gain more understanding of modalities like Brainspotting, EMDR, and others through additional training and certifications.
Solstice West utilizes a holistic approach to treatment to help teens recover from trauma, loss, and attachment issues. This often includes cutting edge treatment methods such as Brainspotting, EMDR, Radically Open Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (RO DBT), and others. These methods combined with traditional therapies and a safe, supportive environment helps students recover from issues related to trauma.
In addition to the newer methodologies, various clinical team members have also recently been trained in the Physiology of Trauma: Toxic Stress and Tetratogens Impact on the Body and Nervous System, Mounted or Equine Connected EMDR, and The Dangers of Vaping: Understanding Substance-Related/Addictive Disorders.
“We believe that ongoing trauma training helps us provide the best possible treatment for our students,” said Clinical Director and Primary Therapist Jaime Palmer, MSW, LCSW. “It’s important for our team to never stop learning or growing so that we can best support our students.”
The clinical team works closely with residential staff to implement the teachings they have learned in all facets of a student’s treatment plan. This helps create lasting positive outcomes for our students. The team at Solstice West will continue to work toward additional certifications to support students and their families.
About Solstice West 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.
Lake Tahoe Preparatory School is currently accepting students for the Spring 2021 semester. Lake Tahoe Preparatory School provides a safe learning environment, along with a peer group/community so students continue to feel connected and have social interaction. Intense precautions have been taken to ensure students and staff stay healthy and engaged in spite of the current COVID-19 global pandemic health crisis.
Lake Tahoe Preparatory School also offers counseling support services to students whether there is a defined diagnostic need, or if this service would benefit them due to the current health situation. Head of School Bill Grant said, “Lake Tahoe Prep is mindful of this crucial time and we have made the decision to offer a discounted tuition for the upcoming spring semester and will continue to offer a financial break through the summer 2021 session. The wellbeing of our students and staff is paramount at all times and we’re pleased to be able to offer our student body a supportive, self-contained environment while normalizing the boarding environment and promoting physical activity both on and off-campus.”
About Lake Tahoe Preparatory School
Lake Tahoe Preparatory School, located in the beautiful Lake Tahoe area of California, provides a co-ed college preparatory education to students in grades 9-12. A rigorous curriculum, learning center, and numerous physical/experiential activities and sports provide the opportunity for students to maintain their academic, social, and emotional growth. Lake Tahoe Preparatory School is SEVIS approved, accredited by NIPSA, COGNIA, Middle States Association, and is an affiliate member of NATSAP. LTPS graduates maintain 100% college acceptance rate.
First Light Wilderness Therapy, a New Vision Wilderness program located in northern Georgia, is pleased to announce that it will offer an eight-week virtual education series starting on Thursday, January 7th. Professionals from the Family Choice Behavioral Healthcare industry are invited to register and join the clinical and leadership teams of First Light, in partnership with Therapeutic Consultants, Parent Coaches, and Clinical professionals to address topics surrounding the mental health and treatment of adolescents.
To kick off the series, First Light primary clinicians Victoria Nolen, LPC, E-RYT, YF-A, and Emily Smith, MSW, will offer an interactive event on Wednesday, December 30th at 7p ET focused on “Creating your new vision for 2021: The Power of Intention.” This event will require creative engagement on the part of all participants, and pre-registration is required.
Starting in January, educational events will take place on Thursdays at 7 pm Eastern Time. The First Light Team, in partnership with industry professionals, will cover topics ranging from “The CASA Model in Action at Home and in the Woods,” “How Does Trauma-Sensitive Yoga Differ from Traditional Yoga Practices,” and “How to Get Parents to Stop Googling and Start Engaging in Real Treatment,” among others. The First Light Wilderness team is excited about the collaboration with seasoned professionals in the private pay therapeutic program industry to offer well-rounded perspectives on topics affecting mental health treatment of adolescents and families.
Treatment programs, like many other businesses, have had to adapt and change in creative ways during the pandemic, and the opportunities for educational programming and collaboration have only become more widely available as virtual connections have become the norm. The team at First Light Wilderness Therapy is eager to create an engaging forum in which a variety of mental health topics can be richly explored, with the hope of fostering discussions that will help all participants broaden and deepen perspectives on the treatment of adolescents and families during this challenging and unprecedented time.
About First Light Wilderness Therapy
First Light Wilderness Therapy, a New Vision program, is located in northern Georgia and provides high impact, evidence-based outdoor behavioral healthcare. First Light Wilderness prides itself on offering wilderness treatment with impeccable safety standards; trauma-focused, outcome-driven treatment modalities; highly experiential, mastery-focused adventure programming; and a program culture focused on empathy, healing, connection, and joy. For more information about First Light Wilderness, contact 866-489-9277 or visit www.nvwild.com/First-Light-Wilderness-Therapy.com.
Ashcreek Academy (UT) added to their outdoor adventure program over the last few months in order to strengthen it. The students are participating in Experiential/Adventure Groups Monday through Thursday every afternoon for 2-3 hours. The Experiential Department works in tandem with the Clinical Team to come up with themes that are needed in the milieu each week. Examples of these themes are Communication, Self Identity, Leadership, Positivity, Anxiety Management, DBT, etc.
The students participate in a variety of activities including:
- Mountain Biking
- Rock Climbing
- Water Sports
- Winter Sports
- Annual "Grit" Hike
These activities revolve around Ashcreek's focus on the three C’s: Character, Challenge, and Community. As always, the main focus behind the Therapeutic approach is based on the four pursuits that the students use throughout the program: Structure, Engagement, Nurture, and Challenge.
The Ashcreek team is passionate about helping the students develop new skills through adventure and experiential techniques, but also wants to help the students build a positive identity and resume, through developing new skills. Students may have the opportunity to add some of these things to their resumes:
- Canyoneering Certification
- First Aid/CPR Certification
- Food Handlers Permit
- Mountain Biking Certification
- Small Motors Training
- Music Production Training
- Horsemanship Training
- Lifeguard Training
Professionals who assist with the Ashcreek Adventure Team:
- Josh Blade- Experiential Director
- Darren Prince- Life Skills Director
- Stephanie Grothaus- Program Director
- Kera Tasker- Experiential Teacher
- Dave Archer- Clinical Director
Ashcreek Academy cares deeply for their students and wants to set them up for success, and has seen great success in students participating in this Adventure and Experiential Programming.
About Ashcreek Academy
Ashcreek Academy is a home-like residential treatment center that works with male students ages 13 - 18. Ashcreek Academy focuses on the three C’s: Character, Challenge, and Community. Ashcreek Academy is located in beautiful Southern Utah and helps provide trauma-informed care through experiential modalities. Ashcreek works with the student to rebuild relationships with family and friends while carving a path for success individually. It is licensed by the State of Utah and holds a Joint Commission accreditation. For more information, please call 1-435-841-0704
Colorado Recovery Psychiatric Services expands access to care for people with mental health challenges through a mobile team.
Bridge to You is an innovative program designed to make psychiatric care more accessible and accommodating. Colorado Recovery developed this program using evidence-based principles of Assertive Community Treatment.
“There are a number of people who are homebound because of age, but also people who have a hard time coming into an office setting because part of their illness might be fear or paranoia about being around other people,” said program Director Joseph Schultz. A full range of mental health professionals can meet participants at home or in a residential facility. "We hope to help people stay stable and get care when there are barriers to care such as lack of mobility or resistance to treatment. Our team includes psychiatrists, RNs, therapists, medication administrators and case managers."
“Bridge to You aims to help those people before their symptoms worsen to the point of needing to be admitted to the hospital,” says Dr. Kate Daly, Medical Director. "We are finding this program is helpful for aging adults, people with physical disabilities, or young adults with mental health conditions that make it hard to engage in traditional treatment options."
It’s what loving parents do - holding space for their student, without trying to fix or impact the outcome. It means walking alongside in unconditional support and includes:
- Allowing a student to make a poor decision
- Restraining from giving unsolicited advice.
A complex practice that cannot be mastered overnight, but rather evolved through experience, it is unique to each parent, student and situation. It can be difficult to navigate, especially when parents’ perspectives for the student overlook what the student thinks they need.
One of the main purposes of EDGE coaching is to help students build a better narrative identity. In recent years, psychologists Dan McAdams and Kate McLean developed the concept: “Narrative identity is a person’s internalized and evolving life story, integrating the reconstructed past and imagined future to provide life with some degree of unity and purpose.” EDGE staff partner with parents to help them navigate their student’s evolving life story by not only providing coaching to their students, but to parents as well. EDGE parent coaching has an inward focus, guiding parents to examine the messages and motives inadvertently projected onto their student. Asking parents to reflect on: “Am I communicating wisdom or worry?” or “Am I communicating advice or anger?”
EDGE parent coaching is more than just answering the “What should I do?” questions and instead focusing on providing parents with the tools and pathways to discover their own answers. Brian McKenna, founding member of EDGE Learning and Wellness Collegiate Community, is currently serving as the EDGE Parent Coach. Brian inspires and motivates parents to become healthier, happier and more connected in their relationships. With over 27 years in the field, he possesses extensive knowledge and experience in helping others endure challenges and achieve their life goals. Brian is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor with an Adolescent Treatment Endorsement in the State of Illinois.
Sometimes parents get discouraged because their student seems to resist their attempts to parent them. Other times, parents do not seem to have it in them to emotionally engage their student because it is exhausting. McKenna says, “It can be hurtful to experience rejection and exhausting to repeatedly rescue a loved one, but it is critical to hold space for the student’s negative reaction or to resist requests to rescue them.” Loving parents learn how to hold space for their student’s unpleasant emotion (i.e., unhappiness, anxiety, anger, etc.) and sit in the uncomfortable feelings, without reacting or rescuing.
There’s tremendous value in finding a different way to demonstrate love, allowing their student to feel everything, not just what parents want them to feel. Supporting a student in their own growth and transformation requires not fixing their problems or overwhelming them with advice before they are ready. McKenna describes, “I often tell our parents to picture themselves taking a walk with their student, looking forward to what’s ahead instead of getting tripped up by the past. Allow the student to lead the journey and make their own choices, only giving gentle guidance when solicited, and making them feel safe even when they make mistakes.” In the words of Joseph Campbell, “We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to find the life that is waiting for us.”
About EDGE Advance
EDGE Advance is a transitional program for neurodiverse (Autism Spectrum Disorders - ASD) young adults. Utilizing a clinically integrated coaching model, the goal of EDGE Advance is to create a path for emerging young adults to develop the habits and skills necessary to lead autonomous lives of purpose.
63 East Lake Street, Suite 310
Chicago, IL 60601
On Wednesday, December 30, 2020, Josh and Maureen White, founders of Red Mountain Programs, will host a Live episode of the Mindful Moments video series. This series was created in the Spring of 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the growing political and social unrest nationwide.
To date, the husband and wife mindfulness and meditation experts have recorded 35 episodes which air weekly on the Red Mountain Sedona YouTube channel. The videos are designed to provide new perspectives on challenging aspects of the human condition and help those interested in meditation to cultivate a sustainable home practice.
In the Live episode later this month, Josh and Maureen will deliver a message that will gently guide viewers into the New Year while mindfully acknowledging the incredible impact of 2020. Josh and Maureen both stress the importance of intentional transitions as directors of mindfulness-based mental health programs for adolescents and young adults. This Live event will present some of these ideals and will allow viewers the chance to ask questions about meditation.
Josh and Maureen are both sanctioned meditation teachers in the Zen and Tibetan traditions respectively and are excited to share their wisdom and experience with others. The event is open to the public and requires advance registration.
Click here to register for the Zoom Event or contact Deara Ball at email@example.com for more information.
About Red Mountain Sedona
Red Mountain Sedona is a mindfulness-based, trauma-informed young adult "Launch" program, located in beautiful Sedona, Arizona. Red Mountain specializes in helping young adults between the ages of 18-28, address the social, emotional, and behavioral issues holding them back from successfully transitioning into adulthood. Through a truly holistic program that provides structure, individual, group, and family therapy, life skills training, recovery support and mindfulness-meditation, yoga, and martial arts instruction, Red Mountain Sedona helps students gain the stability and maturity needed to move forward in life. For more information on Red Mountain Sedona call (855) 998-5272.
As the year comes to a close, Trails Momentum, a young adult wilderness therapy program, announces the completion of exit surveys highlighting student progress. One result found that 87% of students that graduate from Momentum feel more confident in themselves and less depressed. A new student testimonial video highlighting a graduate’s experience has just been released in addition to the exit surveys. The graduate, Emily, discusses what brought her to the program, her favorite elements, and how it has helped her.
Emily and her parents decided on Trails Momentum after her anxiety became so overwhelming that she could not leave the house. “I decided it was time and I needed to go work on myself,” Emily said.
Emily enjoys the physical and mental challenges that Trails Momentum provides. Students spend 3-4 days a week at basecamp and then the rest of the week doing off-campus wilderness excursions. The combination of basecamp and wilderness living gives students the opportunity to practice the skills they are learning in therapy in real-life scenarios.
Emily believes that her therapist, Jordan Siegel MSW, LCSW, was the perfect match for her. Jordan has helped her identify why she does many of the things she does, and has provided tools for Emily to move forward in life. “I don’t understand how [Jordan] does it,” Emily said. “She just knows exactly what to say and what I need to work on and just gives me the best way to work on them and improve.”
Reflecting on how therapists like Jordan have helped students like Emily this year, Trails Momentum has announced the completion of an exit survey highlighting the positive outcomes of their program in helping young adults. One result stated that 93% of students left Momentum feeling that they are now better at communicating their feelings to others as well as better at setting goals and accomplishing them.
Trails Momentum continues to help students like Emily learn the tools they need to launch into adulthood. Whether dealing with anxiety, depression, or other mental health challenges, Trails Momentum can help young adults gain confidence in themselves and prepare for the journey ahead.
About Trails Momentum
Trails Momentum is an adventure-based outdoor program for young adults ages 18-25 who are struggling to launch themselves into adulthood. Students 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.
Last month, after broadcasting more than 350 episodes spanning four years, Finding You: An Evoke Therapy Programs Podcast reached the milestone of its one millionth listen.
The podcast sprang from Evoke’s weekly webinars, which the company has been offering to its current and alumni families since December 2007 (and which it opened to the public as well, in early 2020). Led by Dr. Brad Reedy, founder and executive clinical director of Evoke, the webinars became places for people to congregate and learn new ways of thinking about themselves and the people around them. As the podcast medium took off, Reedy saw it as a way to reach and help even more people.
“Our goal was simple,” says Reedy, “we wanted to give more people simple and easy access to therapeutic ideas for themselves and their family relationships regardless of whether or not they are/were an Evoke client.” Additionally, Reedy wanted to share the driving force behind Evoke’s therapeutic philosophy. “We are passionate about Attachment-based therapy and thought this was also a great way to introduce a broader range of people to how it works and how life-changing it can be.”
Since then, the podcast has covered topics such as parenting and co-parenting, couplehood and relationships, self-love and acceptance, healthy boundaries, and how to choose a therapist that is right for you. But Reedy doesn’t ignore more difficult topics either; codependency, addiction, personality disorders, suicidality and self-harm, eating disorders, and many others have been on the roster. In fact, the most popular broadcast so far, has been one on Narcissism.
Recently, the podcast has been welcoming therapists, authors, and speakers such as Krissy Pozatek, Harriet Lerner, and J.D. Gill to share their perspectives. Reedy says this will continue to be a trend in 2021. “We are looking to expand our horizons and welcome more guests from the therapeutic world and beyond,” he says.
Finding You: An Evoke Therapy Programs Podcast is available for listens and subscriptions on SoundCloud and iTunes.
About Evoke Therapy Programs
Evoke Therapy Programs provides both outdoor-based therapeutic programs for adolescents, young adults, and families and Intensive therapy programs for individuals, families, and couples. Evoke is accredited by the AEE/OBH and is a NATSAP Research Designated Program. Evoke’s outdoor programs are based in Bend, Oregon and in Saint George, Utah. Evoke’s Intensive Therapy programs are in northern Utah.
Large gatherings have fallen out of favor recently, but Oliverian School, a hybrid boarding school based in New Hampshire, was able to celebrate a good old-fashioned Thanksgiving this year. And they have COVID to thank for it! The school’s COVID protocol required faculty and students to stay on campus during the holiday break -- so they decided to make the most of it. Students and faculty were invited to Head of School Will Laughlin’s house for a huge feast and lots of fun.
The diligent efforts of faculty, students, and parents have allowed Oliverian to create and maintain the COVID-free bubble of safety that allowed their normal-ish Thanksgiving feast. The entire Oliverian faculty sacrificed a week of vacation and a day with their own families to keep the students safe and nurtured during the holiday. Sharon McCallie-Steller, Dean of Counseling, raised five turkeys on her local farm for dinner (two turkeys were pardoned). The entire staff created a seamless experience for the students, complete with mud football, a Macy's Day Parade, lazy football viewing, holiday arts and crafts, and dessert baking.
Students also worked hard to make the day successful. For the entire semester, they have committed to wearing masks, keeping their distance, washing their hands, following inconvenient quarantine requirements, and allowing the Oliverian nurse to periodically COVID test them. The students’ efforts have been the most critical for keeping Oliverian 100% COVID free, which is a rarity among boarding schools and programs. When one Oliverian student who was initially reluctant to wear a mask was lauded for his unprompted mask-wearing, he said, "I am putting aside my personal convictions for the greater good." It is that kind of other-mindedness that has made this extraordinary year work so well at Oliverian.
Will Laughlin, Head of School, is proud of the entire community, stating “It is reassuring to see how the collective suffering of the day is, perhaps, chasing us out of ourselves and toward each other. You might not see evidence of that on whatever cable news channel you watch, but I see it here everyday. My faculty and, with greater and greater frequency, our students, set aside their personal comfort, wants, and wishes for the good of each other.”
About the Oliverian School
Oliverian School, located in Pike, New Hampshire, is a non-profit all gender boarding school with college prep academics and an average class size of five and a one to one faculty to student ratio, including three full-time licensed therapists. Our campus is contiguous with 2000 acres of recreational preserve land. Oliverian is licensed by the state of New Hampshire and accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. For more information please contact our Admissions Department at 888.922.5565
Aspiro Adventure is excited to welcome Chris Tarver to the clinical team. Chris is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who brings with him over 15 years of experience in the behavioral health industry. He has vast experience and has worked with adults, adolescents, and children in various settings such as wilderness therapy, mental health hospitals, intensive outpatient programs, and residential addiction programs. In addition to working as a therapist, Chris has a background in leadership roles such as Clinical Director and Program Director.
Given his wide range of experience and clinical skills, Chris is able to effectively work with a broad range of clientele with various psychological, emotional, behavioral, and addiction issues. Some of his areas of focus include but aren't limited to oppositional behavior, anxiety, depression, grief, codependency, family dynamics, and addiction. Chris uses a holistic approach when treating his clients. He focuses his work on helping clients accept their emotions and encourage them to live the healthy life they deserve. Chris has a love of nature and respects its healing power and balancing influence in his own life.
He is a family man at heart and enjoys spending time with his wife and kids. Together they enjoy fishing, hunting, hiking, and camping. Chris also coaches youth sports teams and serves in different capacities in his community and church. We are excited to welcome Chris Tarver to the Aspiro Adventure Clinical Team and expect many great things to follow
About Aspiro Adventure
Aspiro Adventure is a short-term wilderness therapy program located in Utah, serving adolescents ages 13-17 and young adults ages 18-26 with varying degrees of social, emotional, and behavioral challenges. Aspiro is accredited by the AEE/OBH and is a NATSAP Research Designated Program. For more information about Aspiro, contact us at (801) 349-2740.
Trails Carolina, a wilderness therapy program for teens ages 10-17, recently released a video on their YouTube channel that provides information and a visual tour of the various sleeping accommodations for students. The video tour can help parents better understand the program and the day to day of their childrens' experience across campus.
The video highlights each of the three main sleeping accommodations for students: cabins, tents, and yurts. Each sleeping style teaches students a different skill and aligns with the transitional model of the program. Cabin living helps students learn how to live in shared spaces while respecting boundaries and schedules. Tents and yurts provide a setting where students can build confidence in their primitive living skills and helps instill a sense of independence.
“This video will help families visualize where their child will be staying as we head into the winter months,” says Jeremy Whitworth, Program Director at Trails Carolina. “Families who are looking to place their child at Trails Carolina find it extremely valuable to have a better understanding of the setting that their child will be throughout their time at the program.”
Trails’ transitional model provides unique opportunities for students to adjust to changes in their lives. By alternating sleeping arrangements and settings throughout their stay, students learn to navigate the personal and social dynamics of these changes. Varied environments throughout their stay helps students transitioning out of wilderness therapy maintain the progress they have made while in treatment. Therapists work with students and their families to develop a practical and detailed plan for their transition home. Students graduate Trails Carolina with confidence in their skillset and the ability to successfully adapt to each new stage in their lives.
Watch the new video, featured on their transitions model page, to learn more about how varied sleeping accommodations helps support their unique transitional model.
For more information about Trails Carolina, please call the admissions team toll-free at 800-975-7303.
About Trails Carolina
Trails Carolina is a wilderness therapy for pre-teens and adolescents ages 10-17. The clinically sophisticated and time-tested program engages students through wilderness therapy, mindfulness and yoga, equine-assisted therapy, intentional transitions, and academic engagement. Recent outcome research demonstrates efficacy. Trails Carolina was created to help families reconnect and heal. For additional information about Trails Carolina, located just outside of Asheville, North Carolina, please call 800-975-7303.
This November Kurt Fairbank, LCPC, LAC, Director/Owner of Building Bridges attended a training in order to become certified in TF-CBT. In August, he also attended the EAGALA Model training to get certified.
Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) is an evidence-based treatment for children and adolescents who are experiencing negative impacts following any type of traumatic event. The federal government’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has recognized TF-CBT as a Model Program due to the extensive outcome data from randomized controlled trials that support its effectiveness in improving a variety of problems. The training, through the official TF-CBT National Therapist Certification Program, has therapists learn how to implement the model with fidelity, how to assess for and identify trauma related symptoms, and how to know who is appropriate for this treatment. The training included the required basic training in TF-CBT through virtual training adaptation along with 12 small group consultation calls. (Participation required a masters degree or above in psychology, social work, counseling, or a related field as well as a prerequisite online training.)
The Fundamentals of the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association Model Training provides interactive and hands-on learning experiences so that participants leave with an understanding and application of the model. The EAGALA Model is a model of standards and clinically supported skillsets which effectively incorporate horses experientially in mental health and personal development sessions. The model involves a team approach of credentialed mental health professional, qualified equine specialist, horses and clients collaboratively working towards treatment or learning goals. The five-day training had four “steps” that needed to be completed in order to be certified. It included a pre-training online webinar, development portfolio, learning the fundamentals of the EAGALA Model Training and passing a post-training online assessment.
Building Bridges is a licensed Chemical Dependency Treatment Center with the structure of a Therapeutic Boarding School. Located in Thompson Falls, MT Building Bridges is for boys 13-18 with substance and behavioral issues. The team's passion is creating a structure that mirrors real life. Students are involved in the community and it is our goal to have each student eventually attend public school. Building Bridges seeks to bring real life to treatment through redirection and empowerment. We strive to educate our students to see how substance use has created patterns of unhealthy coping which have gotten in the way of pursuing their life in healthy ways. By providing students the tools to increase their self-confidence and create a more positive outlook they can generate growth in a normalized safe environment that will transfer on in their lives.
New Focus Academy, a therapeutic residential program and specialized school for adolescent boys ages 12-18, is excited to announce a new addition to their admissions team - Tasha Cedarstrom. Tasha joined New Focus Academy in the spring of 2020. She was hired as a Coach and was recently promoted to the role of Admissions Coordinator. “Tasha has been such a wonderful addition to our team,” says Marisa Davis, Admissions Director at New Focus. “We couldn’t be more excited to have her working more closely with families and industry professionals.”
A Heber City native, Tasha developed a passion for working with children on the Autism Spectrum early on in life, starting working as a teacher’s aide in a classroom for students with special needs from a very young age. Since then, she has accrued valuable experience in customer service that will be a great asset to her admissions work.
“I always knew that I wanted to work with children with special needs and that is what drew me to New Focus Academy,” says Tasha. “Seeing the students’ growth throughout their stay at our program has been incredibly rewarding, and I am very excited to have the opportunity to work more closely with the New Focus families in this new role.”
Tasha will be assisting Marisa in a variety of tasks related to admissions. She looks forward to connecting with other industry professionals as she continues to grow in this role.
New Focus Academy is a therapeutic residential treatment program for adolescents ages 12-18 with neurodevelopmental challenges. Located in Heber City, Utah, just outside of Salt Lake City, New Focus Academy prepares struggling teens 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.
Wingate Expanse is excited to announce the launch of the Greenwood Career Assessment. This addition adds another layer of programming important to the growth of the young adult population. The addition of the career assessment gives students the ability to take part in another tool during their journey that can potentially help shine a light on the path ahead. Clinical Director John Cohen feels that this tool “is yet another step towards independence that young adults are needing to take at this juncture.” He goes on to share “Empowering our students with this information allows them to engage in their process of learning in a way that can inform the transition after Expanse.”
While in the field the students will take time to complete the necessary assessments and receive the full packet of information once the results are formulated. The combination of a true wilderness experience, integrated life coaching, and now the addition of a career assessment brings a depth and richness to programming that Expanse is honored to offer clients.
About WinGate Wilderness Therapy
WinGate is a therapeutic wilderness program located in southern Utah, in the Grand Staircase National Monument. The program provides personalized treatment for teens, ages 14-17; and young adults, ages 18 and over. WinGate passionately provides the best clinical service and highest quality of care in treating those who are struggling and need support. WinGate specializes in treating a range of issues, including (but not limited to): depression, anxiety, trauma, attachment, failure to launch, substance abuse, and mal-coping mechanisms. WinGate believes that establishing a respectful, and caring relationship with clients, allows for dynamic and lasting growth.
blueFire Wilderness Therapy is proud to offer highly individualized trauma treatment to the adolescents and young adults at their program. Their clinical team is experienced and trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), trauma-informed Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Equine Therapy, Brainspotting, and Hypnotherapy. Three of blueFire’s primary therapists, Charles Hancock, Lindsay Myrick, and Jake Tucker, are also trained in Somatic Experiencing from the Trauma Resource Institute.
“Trauma work is such a big part of what we do here at blueFire,” says Lindsay Myrick, LCPC. “Every client is different so we make sure to customize their treatment plan to best suit their needs. That’s why it is so important to us that our clinical team is trained in a wide range of modalities.”
Trauma treatment at blueFire is approached from a mindfulness-based lens. Clients practice yoga, meditation, and mindfulness every day in order to work on self-awareness and self-regulation. “Before we start trauma work, we want to make sure that our clients have a strong mindfulness base,” says Lindsay. “We want them to have the confidence that they can handle difficult things. Mindfulness teaches our clients to respond to thoughts, emotions, stressors, instead of reacting to them. That is key to their trauma work and healing.”
blueFire is dedicated to offering the best level of care for clients and will continue to explore and expand its research-based trauma treatment offerings.
blueFire Wilderness Therapy is a state-licensed & comprehensive adventure-based intervention for pre-teens, teens & young adults who are struggling in their current home or education setting. They provide state-of-the-art, unprecedented treatment approaches by incorporating a multidisciplinary treatment team to provide the most robust treatment planning and implementation for every child and family who enrolls.
Elements Wilderness Therapy program is pleased to announce that Tara Stireman, LCSW has accepted the role of Associate Clinical Director, joining ranks with Neal Christensen, Ph.D. in managing the Elements Clinical Department. As Associate Clinical Director, Tara will support the clinical department in an executive decision-making role, while Neal will continue to provide individual development and supervision to each clinician as the Clinical Director. Tara now serves as an integral part of the Elements Senior Management Team and is also working closely with the Admissions Department in its duty to thoroughly vet each incoming client. Both clinicians cite this new leadership approach as a more consistent way to support the forward direction of the program while continuing their high level of dedication to their individual client caseloads.
Elements Wilderness Program’s Ownership and Management teams expressed enthusiasm about Tara’s promotion. “Tara has always been a consistent source of strength and inspiration for all of us on the Elements clinical team,” said Dr. Christensen. “I am happy to now formally join efforts with her in managing all the clinical aspects of the program. I couldn’t ask for a more professional and capable person to share this responsibility with me.”
Tara carries the distinction of being among Elements’ first employees. Already a seasoned wilderness therapy veteran when Elements Wilderness Program was founded in 2008, Tara served as one of the first group leads while finishing her clinical hours towards licensure. In the intervening 12 years, she has since gone on to anchor a key group in Elements’ program, while developing its clinical approach in critical ways such as writing the Seven Challenges journals for internet and electronic overuse. “From the start, Elements and our approach to working with students and families has been a natural fit for me,” said Tara. “I love the active, skills-based model and the focus on training our field mentors. I am excited for the opportunity to grow professionally while being able to continue to work alongside such a skilled group of clinicians here at Elements.” Tara formally assumed these responsibilities in late November.
About Elements Wilderness
Since 2008, Elements Wilderness has been providing a specialized therapeutic intervention for adolescent boys aged 13-17. We at Elements envision a world in which everyone has the skills and support necessary to live a full and healthy life. Through innovative therapeutic and psychiatric intervention, a comprehensive outdoor living experience complete with expeditionary backpacking and adventure programming, a robust family program involving the family at every step, and evidence-based substance abuse treatment, we strive to provide our clients with intervention, treatment, and assessment. Elements is licensed and supervised by the State of Utah Department of Human Services and accredited through the Outdoor Behavioral Health Council and the Association for Experiential Education.
Orem, UT: STRīV is a transitional living and social/emotional/academic support program for young adults navigating the challenging landscape of independent living. Launching into adulthood can be a struggle, even for some of the brightest emerging adults. In the midst of a global pandemic and social/political unrest, and the road toward independence gets extra bumpy. At STRīV, efforts are made to help students “step outside themselves” to find solid ground through helping others.
This year has been like none other. No explanation is needed. Entering into this holiday season, STRīV’s commitment to their annual coat drive – one of the ways they live their principle of Meaningful Service – was even stronger. Once again, the STRīV team has partnered with One Warm Coat (http://onewarmcoat.org) to help provide winter coats to those in need. It’s a tradition that STRīV looks forward to each year. According to Executive Director Dr. Clark Hammond, “This is a no-brainer. People within our community and in the world at large are suffering. For some, it’s hard enough to feed their families, to pay their rent, to keep their jobs. But when the weather turns cold, there’s a whole new dimension of struggle. Obviously, we can’t alleviate all of these challenges, but we can provide a warm coat. I guess we see it as two-fold: a physical insulator from the cold weather, as well as a symbolic warm hug of emotional support.”
STRīV encourages others, if they can, to contribute to One Warm Coat, or to any other cause of organization that can provide a little hope for others this holiday season. Especially this season.
STRiV (Strive Forward, LLC) is a transitional living and college support program for young adults who have struggled on their journey toward independence. STRiV provides social/emotional/academic support and life-skills development through one-on-one mentoring, Executive Skills coaching, and individual & group therapy within a semi-independent living environment. Located at the base of the Wasatch Mountains in Utah County, STRiV provides supported access to Utah Valley University, myriad vocational programs, unmatched outdoor recreation, and a wide variety of community-based entertainment.
Puppies make everything better. Boulder Creek Academy, a therapeutic boarding school located in beautiful North Idaho, has been the lucky recipients of their 3rd litter of puppies to foster since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Boulder Creek Academy is helping Second Chance K-9 Ranch, a non-profit local animal shelter, socialize and train pets that were not adoptable. Animal programs manager, at Boulder Creek, Troi Morris works closely with the shelter to choose dogs that would be appropriate for the students at the therapeutic boarding school.
The students interested in being a part of this program are enrolled in the dog program for the semester. They go through a specific curriculum designed to teach the dog and the student how to read social cues, and learn to trust each other. By students taking on the responsibility of caring for, training, socializing and helping to find the dogs their forever families and homes. It’s a win-win for both the dogs and the students.
Troi shares about how this puppy opportunity came to be. “Everyone was adopting pets during this time that people were being asked to stay home, but the dogs that were about to have puppies were not able to be taken due to the rules for spaying and neutering, this is where we came in!”
Boulder Creek Academy had the physical space to help the mommas have their puppies in a safe environment. The students got to learn about health care of the dogs and see first-hand why the Spay and Neuter program is so important. “Puppy wranglers” as Troi called them, learned the proper way to handle the individual puppies and would help with the visitation of the puppies by others on campus. Students, faculty, and staff all enjoyed the interactions of the puppies, whether it was up at the kennel, or puppies being brought into someone’s office. Puppies made it better!
“The puppy experience brought a bright window of joy to the entire campus!” Many thanks to Troi for helping to facilitate this amazing opportunity.
About Boulder Creek Academy
At Boulder Creek Academy, students rediscover their academic and social confidence. The key to our success is that we reignite our students’ belief in themselves by utilizing time-tested and proven methods. Students begin to experience academic achievement, regain self-esteem, learn to embrace their uniqueness and become capable learners who are confident in themselves. Each day at Boulder Creek Academy is purposefully designed to maximize experiences that allow students to practice social skills, improve self-worth, and develop a healthy identity, benefit from therapeutic learning and to have fun.
Boulder Creek Academy has been creating a therapeutic learning environment for high school students ages 14-18 with anxiety, depression, untapped academic potential, interpersonal relationship difficulties, limited executive function skills and overlooked strengths and talents for more than 25 years.