All Kinds of News for January 08, 2020
New Roads Behaviorial Health is excited to provide 10 day Intensive DBT training opportunty for practicing therapists. New Roads Behaviorial Health primarily serves clients with severe, persistent mental illness, addiction, and personality disorders. "Every great therapist knows they need to develop and refine many skills to help their clients get better. Come interactively learn the foundations, the skills, structures, and the strategies of DBT (Dialectical Behavorial Therapy)," said Eric Schmidt, CEO of New Roads. This training is provided by intensively-trained DBT practitioners in Cottonwood Heights, Utah.
The training will be led by Eric Schmidt, LCSW, MBA. Eric has worked in the behavioral health and substance abuse field for the past 30 years. He co-owns and serves as the CEO of New Roads Behavioral Health, which he founded. He is also an adjunct Professor at the University of Utah School of Social Work and Founder and past President of the Utah Association of Addiction Treatment Providers. Jordan Harmon received his MSW in 2008 and is currently a therapist and Program Director of the Women's Program at New Roads (W.R.T.H. – Women’s Roads to Healing). Supporting the training are Nicole Manwaring, the Residential Program Manager at W.R.T.H. and Nicole Shaw, LCSW and Director of the Outpatient Program.
The dates of the training are:
January 13th -17th 2020 & April 20th -24th, 2020
Monday - Thursday: 8:30am-4:00pm Friday: 8:30am-Noon
Cost: $500 per week
New Roads Behavioral Health is located at 2450 E Ft. Union Blvd Cottonwood Heights, UT 84020
About New Roads Behaviorial Health Care
New Roads Behavioral Health's family of treatment programs are based upon a holistic, community-focused treatment approach, with a foundation in research and results. New Roads has residential treatment, transitional living, and outpatient options for their clients. There are three distinct and completely separate programs within the residential and transitional living focus: Pathways to Healing (PATH), Women’s Road to Healing (WoRTH), and New Roads to Healing (NoRTH). PaTH is a dual-diagnosis treatment program for young men between the ages of 18-28 struggling with substance abuse and mental health concerns. WoRTH is a program designed specifically for young women that focuses on both substance abuse and mental health disorders (including borderline personality disorder) with a strong emphasis on Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). NoRTH is designed to assist clients with severe mental health disorders in achieving independence by teaching them how to successfully live a life with their diagnoses.
Tara Stireman, LCSW, and Neal Christensen, PhD, joined forces with the Seven Challenges to develop programming specific to digital media and screen abuse. Tara and Neal will be redesigning journals to complement the existing literature and approach, allowing clients at Seven Challenges-certified programs to further explore their digital media use. The Seven Challenges is designed to motivate clients to evaluate their lives, consider change and implement desired changes. Research supporting Seven Challenges demonstrates its effectiveness to improve overall mental health status while developing insight around maladaptive coping behaviors and exploring healthy alternatives.
“The Seven Challenges provide evidence-based programming around substance abuse, and we have always seen it as an excellent model for helping our clients open up about co-occurring problems and have more power in their life. It was a natural extension for us to develop programming to allow our clients to dive into greater insights around their relationship with digital media,” said Tara Stireman, Clinical Program Manager at Elements Wilderness Program.
Elements Wilderness Program has long partnered with the Seven Challenges to provide evidence-based substance abuse counseling for adolescents. It is specifically designed to meet students where they are at whether it is experimentation or a more serious substance abuse disorder. The Seven Challenges utilizes Motivational Interviewing to help clients better understand their relationship with maladaptive coping skills in a non-judgmental setting promoting honesty and authenticity above all else.
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 interventions, 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 provide every client and family with excellence in assessment and treatment. 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.
Spring Ridge Academy welcomes Desiree Lewis, MPC to the clinical team. Desiree brings over sixteen years of clinical practice and a breadth of therapeutic modalities. Her philosophy is that people must be healthy in mind, body, and spirit to live up to their full potential. She shares in Spring Ridge Academy’s emphasis on being grounded in one’s body and using visual and expressive arts to heal and build resilience. Desiree has been working in in-patient treatment using a holistic approach to help clients heal from addiction, trauma, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and chronic pain.
Desiree grew up in New York City, where she developed a passion for dance and fine arts. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts and Sciences from Arizona State University. Desiree was always moving and teaching others how to connect with their bodies. She opened one of the first yoga studios in the Phoenix Metro Area. Through teaching yoga, Desiree grew more aware of the mind-body connection and how connecting with the breath and releasing tension from the body released emotions. Desiree wanted to learn more about the “yoga” union of the mind, body, and spirit and decided to pursue her Master’s Degree in Professional Counseling at the Arizona School of Professional Psychology. She went on to obtain a Mind-Body Practitioner Certification from the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts and a graduate certificate in Health Psychology from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix. Desiree leads by example and brings grounding energy to her clients.
About Spring Ridge Academy
Spring Ridge combines a clinically sophisticated therapeutic approach and rigorous college-prep academics. Not only are students immersed in an environment dedicated to fostering maturity and confidence, but the entire family is also included in the process. SRA students are bright, creative, unique individuals who are struggling to manage their lives. Often these young women are involved in a variety of destructive or avoidant behaviors and are in danger of sabotaging their relationships and academic careers. The SRA student is capable and talented but lacks the self-esteem and self-discipline necessary to succeed. Many of the young women who come to SRA may be struggling with one or more of the following: Trauma, anxiety, depression, ADD/ADHD, family conflict, defiance, entitlement, isolation, grief and loss, negative peer group, technology abuse, academic underachievement, substance abuse, attachment/adoption issues, and managing relationships. Families who are appropriate for Spring Ridge Academy are willing and able to see the important role family systems play in the change process and follow treatment recommendations.
Our therapeutic approach utilizes a combination of family systems and developmental models to create a comprehensive scope of treatment and preparation to return to the demands of life after treatment in an atmosphere of change, collaboration, and hope.
Behavioral Tech, a leading research group for Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) has conducted randomized clinical trials on teens with repeated suicidal and self-harming behaviors, as well as other depressive symptoms (https://behavioraltech.org/research/how-dbt-helps/). These studies have found DBT for adolescents superior to reducing self-harm, suicidal ideation, depression and anxiety and demonstrated strong results for suicidal college students. In addition to the research conducted by Behavioral Tech, Sunrise RTC has conducted its own outcome data collection with its students throughout their time at Sunrise and up to two years after program graduation and found that 88% of its students who have completed the program no longer have clinically significant levels of depression, while 84% of the students, 18 months after program completion, are still able to effectively communicate, build and repair relationships, and hold appropriate boundaries, never needing an additional higher level of care.
Depression and anxiety coupled with a lack of emotional regulation skills can be a cause of life-threatening behaviors. These behaviors can present in a number of ways, such as self-harm, substance abuse, eating disorders, school refusal, sexual promiscuity, impulsivity, low self-worth, etc. According to Behavioral Tech at least 135 million people worldwide will suffer from severe problems with emotion regulation in their lifetime and need Dialectical Behavior Therapy. “This is why we take our Outcomes research so seriously,” says Brad Simpson, Executive Director of Sunrise RTC. “It’s like we have the FitBit for treatment; I might feel like I ran 5 miles this morning, but if my FitBit reads I only ran two, then I only ran two. We apply this same idea to collecting data about the accuracy of our treatment approach. We want to make sure we are providing the quality level of care for our students that we say we are. The research shows that DBT is effective for adolescents in managing depression and anxiety and our Outcomes data reflects that. We collect this data monthly from our students and their families so that we can have quality assurance, and make adjustments if needed, in meeting the needs of each individual family.”
A fully adherent (also known as fully integrated) DBT program offers standard DBT groups for clients, and then goes above and beyond. Dialectical behavior therapy is integrated into activities, academics, therapy sessions, and relationships. Sunrise Residential Treatment Center is one of the only full adherent residential DBT programs for teen girls. By maintaining the four pillars of DBT- Skills, Consultation, Phone Coaching, and Individual Therapy - Sunrise students are able to decrease life-threatening behaviors, leading to a decrease in therapy-interfering behaviors, actions that interfere with their quality of life, and an increase of skills acquisition to replace negative coping skills.
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 is a fully integrated DBT treatment program and licensed by the State of Utah. 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.
On December 6th, 2019 Calo Teens and Calo Preteens hosted their Annual Calo Holiday Party where the Calo Culture Awards are presented to multiple staff in the areas of empathy, service, trusting relationships, growth and results. The Calo Star is the highest annual award and recognizes a Calo employee who represents the best of Calo, and lives and models a combination of all of Calo’s Core Values. Calo named Residential Manager Zach Vogus the winner of the prestigious Calo Star Award.
“The Calo Star award is the highest honor for a Calo staff and is given to a staff member who is the embodiment of the Calo Core Values of empathy, service, trusting relationships, growth and ultimately results for the families we serve,” says Nicole Fuglsang, CEO and Co-Founder of Calo Programs. “Zach’s contribution to the Calo community always goes above and beyond what is asked, and he exemplifies all of our core values making him our 2019 Calo Star. Zach is a humble worker, yet hungry for chances to learn and grow. The Calo culture is greatly shaped by his example and his encouragement to others.”
In addition to Zach’s Calo Star Award, see below for more winners. All winners are nominated by their peers and selected by campus leadership.
- Empathy Award: Therapist, Tom Belshe, for his heart of peace and empathetic nature.
- Roger Turner Service Award: Maintenance Staff, Seth Rechenbacher, for his heart of service and willingness to always jump in the mud with students.
- Red Wall Award: Team Lead, Brett Marz, for being the stabilizing red wall that unifies the team with unwavering support and dedication.
- Trusting Relationships Award: Animal Assisted Therapy Staff Hope Glenn for her gift of providing security and acceptance.
- Growth Award: Shift Lead Devin Surface for always embracing challenges as opportunities.
- Silent Service Award: Overnight Coach Ryan Dredge for providing students with comfort and safety through the night.
About Calo Programs
Calo Programs (www.caloprograms.com) is a unique organization comprised of an extraordinary family of programs, all dedicated to healing the effects of early trauma. Calo is a leading network of clinical and therapeutic programs that offers a comprehensive set of services focused on cutting edge, trauma-based interventions.
All Calo programs implement a unique and truly relational treatment model based on the science of neurobiology and evidence-based attachment and trauma treatment research. Calo’s proprietary Developmental Trauma CASA Treatment Model and Clinical Structure is pervasive throughout the programs. The unique model facilitates establishing, deepening and maintaining healthy and safe relationships that ultimately lead to co-regulation and joy.
ReSTART is excited to announce the roll out of a brand new curriculum for their adolescent treatment and recovery program. This curriculum, created by ReSTART’s very own Dr. Sam, taps into the gamer’s thought process, captures their interest, and engages the students in the treatment process. ReSTART students will be attached to a fictional character and that character will be on their own journey or quest. The student’s struggles and progress mimics their character’s, allowing them to become motivated, engaged, and invested in their character's journey as well as their own. The curriculum involves groups focused on anxiety, depression, life skills, neurobiology, and addiction, just to name a few. The Director of Admissions, Johnny Tock, feels "this curriculum is unlike anything in the world. You are essentially turning your treatment into a Choose Your Own Adventure hero's journey. This curriculum has over 1000 pages of possibilities!"
ReSTART is the premier adolescent and young adult treatment program focused on internet and videogame addiction. ReSTART focuses on supporting this population of students struggling with tech addiction by addressing their tech addiction and also working through their underlying issues of anxiety and depression and improving their ability to connect with relationships and life.
This new curriculum is another example of how ReSTART continues to be at the forefront of treatment focused on internet and video game addiction, allowing their students' experiences to be unique and appealing. Through recognizing their specialized treatment population demands different treatment options and experiences than other addiction treatment models, reStart has been able to meet their students' specific needs and support them in the best way possible.
Headquartered in Fall City, Washington, reSTART is a leading advocate of healthy sustainable digital media use (internet, VR, and videogames) for people and the planet. ReSTART offers staffed residential care for youth (13-17) and life sharing retreats for adults (ages 18-30), along with independent living support.
Summit Achievement is happy to announce that Tighe Blackadar, L.C.S.W., has joined the clinical team as of January 2, 2020. Summit’s Clinical Director, Caitlyn Cook, L.C.P.C., in announcing the new hire, said, “We are excited to be expanding our team and are confident that Tighe’s enthusiasm, energy, and experience will be a wonderful addition to the Summit community.” Tighe joins the Summit Achievement Clinical Team, not to replace a clinician but to expand Summit’s capacity to provide services to the students and families that we serve.
Tighe achieved his Bachelor of Arts in English and Outdoor Education at the University of New Hampshire (U.N.H.) in 2011 and his Masters of Social Work (M.S.W.) in 2015 at University of New Hampshire and his independent license as a Clinical Social Worker in 2017. He has worked with youth since 2012 in a variety of settings, including being an Adolescent Mental Health Clinician at the Center for Life Management in New Hampshire, Clinical Social Worker at Adventurelore, LLC in New Hampshire as well as the Outdoor Teen Leadership Program Coordinator at Peabody Outdoor Adventures in Massachusetts. Most recently, Tighe has worked as a Clinical Social Worker at Marshwood High School in South Berwick, Maine.
Tighe's approach to therapy pulls from a variety of evidence-based treatments, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Motivational Interviewing, and Family Systems Social Work. He is licensed as an independent clinical social worker in Maine and New Hampshire and certified in Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths Assessment (CANS) by The Praed Foundation. He believes in the effectiveness of family work and the power of interpersonal relationships. He enjoys traveling and spending as much time in the backcountry as he can.
About Summit Achievement
Summit Achievement is, and always has been, guided by positive reinforcement and the power of choice. Our outcome-focused program employs effective therapeutic and educational principles. Through the process of engaging therapy, classroom academics and exciting wilderness expeditions, students experience the therapeutic benefits of outdoor adventure-based activities while learning to manage the demands of a more traditional environment. As an intentionally small, owner-operated wilderness therapy program, we serve adolescent boys and girls, ages 13-20, from around the world.
2020 marks Q&A Associates celebrating ten years of providing transitional living services and opportunities to young adults and their families. Beginning with one transitional program in October 2010, Journey to Authentic Self, the company has now grown to three destinct transitional living programs, Applewood Transitions for Young Women, The Journey Transitions for Young Men, and Cabin Mountain Living Center. “It’s humbling to look back and see the amount of growth and development we have experienced serving over 160 clients since our founding,” said Angie Shockley, Owner and CEO of Q&A.
The team at Q&A, throughout the year, is reflecting on the last ten years as well as dedicating time and effort to continued growth and implementation of new services and opportunities for young adult clients and their families. The three main areas of focus include continued implementation of neuro-feedback services for each client, fully integrating animal-assisted learning services, and further development of parent education, coaching, and growth opportunities.
Q&A Associates is partnered with Symmetry Neuro-Pathway Training (NPT) to provide neurofeedback services to all clients. Q&A has two fully equipped NPT locations with seven staff members certified to provide NPT sessions to clients. Four additional staff members are currently enrolled in the NPT certification training. Q&A is also partnering with Symmetry NPT and a doctoral student to collect the data necessary to document progress achieved by the young adult clients who are benefiting from this service.
The clients of the Q&A Associates family of programs have always participated in animal connection, specifically equine-assisted learning. Over the past five years, Q&A has been in close partnership with Saddles & Smiles (S&S), a 501c3 nonprofit focusing on providing equine-assisted learning and therapy opportunities to children and adolescents facing emotional, physical, and mental challenges. The young adult clients of Q&A not only benefit from the services provided by S&S, but they also volunteer for the organization, assisting in all areas of operation including service delivery, animal care and management, fundraising, event planning, and family support services. The principles of Natural Lifesmanship, focusing on connection and awareness, have been fully implemented. The animal connection work of Q&A has grown to include two farms featuring goats, cattle, pigs, chickens and turkeys. The leadership team at Q&A is dedicated to continued to grow this area of service delivery, providing more opportunities for the young adults and their families as well as ongoing training for staff in the Natural Lifesmanship principles.
Working with the parents and families of the young adult clients has always been a focus of the Q&A programs. For the past four years, parents have been invited to attend two annual Parent Retreats facilitated by Shockley and Kim Mlinarik, LCPC, focusing on providing opportunities for parents to step into new roles in their lives - parents of young adult children rather than of adolescent children. This is a tough transition time for all parents to make, and it becomes even more difficult when a child is moving into young adulthood with significant challenges. Providing parents with appropriate coaching and opportunities for their own growth becomes critical to the overall success of the family.
In 2017, Q&A partnered with Alchemy Adventures to host the inaugural Trails of Tuscany Parent Trip to Italy (alchemyadventures.com). This trip, scheduled for Oct. 3-11, 2020, provides parents with opportunities to turn some energy back to themselves, rediscovering their own passions and sparking new interests as they step into the next chapter of their parenting lives. In addition to co-facilitating the Parent Retreats and Parent Trip, Mlinarik provides individual parent coaching services to each family with a young adult enrolled in a Q&A program. “We are excited to see our parent services grow in the coming years;” said Shockley, “the more the parents are able to grow and develop as parents of young adults, the easier it is for our clients to step into their new identities as empowered and independent young adults.”
Q&A Associates serve over 160 clients and staff growing from five to 24; “While we have seen significant intentional growth, we continue to focus on working with small numbers of clients where true relationships can be built and a family atmosphere is maintained,” said Shockley. “I believe that is the cornerstone of our success, and as we grow our services, we will not deviate from our dedication to that personal relationship with each client and family,” she continued.
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.
Aspiro Adventure is happy to welcome Yoga Instructor, Madlyn Edwards. Madlyn is a Utah native and a professional yoga instructor with experience teaching in-depth meditation classes. At Aspiro Madlyn conducts yoga, mindfulness and meditation sessions with students and parents, as well as facilitates training sessions on these things for guides. The mindfulness and meditation sessions are intended to promote both internal and external awareness; anxiety and stress reduction, deep reflection, and an increase in focus. Aspiro places great value on the impact that mindfulness can have on a variety of mental health struggles and is committed to teaching these techniques to clients.
Aspiro Adventure is an outdoor mental/behavioral health treatment center with a clinical model based on adventure therapy. This model focuses on introducing clients to high adventure activities in concert with an individualized clinical treatment plan. Adventure activities include skiing, rock climbing, mountain biking, and canyoneering and are paired with treatment plans drawn up by licensed mental health professionals. Included in these treatment plans, Aspiro incorporates a variety of mindfulness techniques including yoga and meditation.
Outside of the structured classes that are led by Madlyn, mindfulness is a part of each student’s daily routine. Mindfulness is inherently a personal pursuit and can take a variety of forms. Examples range from breathing exercises designed to combat anxiety to structured lessons on the subject intended to engage the body and mind. Aspiro continues to integrate mindfulness as a key component of its programming and as part of its overall mission, to break through boundaries, build awareness, and establish healthier behavioral patterns. As Aspiro’s on-staff yoga instructor, Madlyn is a key part of this process.
Click here to learn more from her about yoga and mindfulness at Aspiro.
Asprio Adventure has treatment-specific programs located in Utah and Costa Rica, Aspiro’s mission is to be the most clinically-advanced outdoor behavioral healthcare program in the world, providing safe, dynamic, highly effective treatment modalities that are backed by empirical research. Aspiro Wilderness Adventure Therapy is a short-term wilderness program serving adolescents ages 13-17 and young adults ages 18-28 with varying degrees of social, emotional and behavioral challenges.
Trails Momentum, an outdoor adventure-based therapy program for young adults ages 18-25, is excited to announce that Josh Rood, M.Ed, has joined Sarah Parlier, Ph.D., as an educator of the on-campus Academic Seminars. Together, they continue to design and develop the educational programming to meet the needs of this specific population and age group.
At Trails Momentum, every student participates in two academic seminars, Principles of Outdoor Recreation and Introduction to Communication and Leadership. Through a partnership with Western Colorado University, students can earn up to 6 college credit hours by completing additional coursework in each class. In the Principles of Outdoor Recreation seminar, Josh invites students to learn and master skills such as Leave No Trace principles, Backcountry Navigation and Expedition Planning.
Working professionally in Outdoor Education since 2001, with students of all ages, Josh received his BA in Psychology from the University of California Santa Cruz and his M.Ed. from the University of Georgia in Recreation and Leisure studies. Most recently, he has been a professor of Environmental Science at Brevard College, engaging student minds about ecosystems, environmental impacts and sustainable practices.
“Having been the director of an outdoor education center as well as a summer camp director, I can attest to the healing power of nature and the connections made between the natural world and human potential for resilience, self-reflection and discovery,” describes Josh. “I have always been an outdoor enthusiast, so I am excited to share my passion and experience of water and the woods with the students at Trails Momentum.”
In his spare time, Josh enjoys backpacking and storytelling with his wife and son in the Western North Carolina mountains they call home.
Trails Momentum is a wilderness-alternative for young adults ages 18-25 struggling to launch themselves into adulthood. Young adults are guided on a journey of self-discovery where they develop self-concept and are empowered to make the transition into independence. Adventure programming, clinical services, family involvement, college coursework, and social and life skills development are seamlessly interwoven to maximize the transference of important life skills and address clinical and behavioral challenges.
Atlanta, GA – Analysis of a study on the effectiveness of cognitive training in psychiatric treatment for thought disorders conducted by the Skyland Trail Research and Outcomes Department appears in the March 2020 issue of Schizophrenia Research: Cognition. The study specifically examines the significance of the impact of computer cognitive training on cognitive impairment. Individuals with severe mental illness, particularly individuals diagnosed with thought disorders or experiencing psychosis, are at risk for cognitive impairment, which can involve problems with memory, language, thinking and judgement. The goal of this study was to look for factors associated with cognitive improvement in patients who were referred to computerized cognitive training (CCT), due to low baseline cognitive scores.
The study followed patients in Skyland Trail’s residential psychiatric treatment program for adults ages 18 and older. The study determined that the lower a patient’s cognitive score before treatment, and the higher their training engagement in CCT during treatment, the greater their cognitive gains by the end of treatment. Results of the study have important treatment implications, including
- the importance of immediately assessing patients for cognitive impairment at the beginning of treatment and, if indicated by results of the assessment, referring patients to a cognitive training intervention as quickly as possible
- the importance of monitoring patients’ engagement in CCT interventions to ensure patients participate at adequate levels for the best results
The full article titled “Training Engagement, Baseline Cognitive Functioning, and Cognitive Gains with Computer Cognitive Training: A Cross-Diagnostic Study,” appears in the March 2020 issue (volume 19) of Schizophrenia Research: Cognition.
Cognitive training is a computer-based cognitive rehabilitation training program. A growing body of research shows that, in concert with therapy and medications, cognitive training may be effective not only in stopping cognitive decline for individuals with schizophrenia and other thought disorders, but even in reversing it in some situations.
Results are especially promising when cognitive training is started early in the course of a person’s mental illness, making it particularly important for first episode psychosis and young adults who are newly diagnosed.
Skyland Trail patients in the residential mental health treatment program participate in cognitive training groups weekly. Counselors can customize settings for each client to maximize his or her engagement and benefit. As clients progress, the software adapts to their new skill level so that they are always at the right level to continue making improvements.
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. Learn more at www.skylandtrail.org.
Trails Carolina, a wilderness therapy program for young people ages 10-17, is excited to share that findings from their ongoing outcomes study were added to their website at the end of December. These findings are presented in an interactive graphic that displays both parent and student outcomes data. It shows the change in students’ reported symptoms and challenges between admissions at Trails, at graduation from Trails, and 12 months post-graduation.
“Since 2014, we have been working in partnership with the Center for Research, Assessment, and Treatment Efficacy (CReATE) and the Arkansas Institute of Developmental Science in carrying out an outcomes study that explores the therapeutic effectiveness of wilderness therapy,” says Graham Shannonhouse, Trails Carolina Executive Director and Founder. “In 2019, we began to release some of the results of this study. We are now proud to share a compilation of the data on our website.”
Overall, the data shows significant therapeutic and academic growth for the majority of students involved in the outcomes study. For example, 47% percent of adolescents, between the ages of 14-17, struggled with significant issues related to school upon their arrival at Trails Carolina. Examples of these challenges included truancy or performing poorly. At graduation and one year following graduation from Trails, the majority of adolescents’ symptoms had improved. At the 12-month follow-up, only 6% of students continued to report school-related issues.
Outcomes data on the website will continue to be updated as the outcomes study progresses. The outcomes information can be found by visiting: https://trailscarolina.com/does-wilderness-therapy-work/.
About Trails Carolina
Trails Carolina is a wilderness therapy program based just outside of Asheville, North Carolina that offers a multi-dimensional wilderness therapy model to troubled adolescents, ages 10-17. Trails capitalizes upon the profound effects of a student’s wilderness experience, and then combines that experience with strong clinical assessments and therapy. For additional information about Trails Carolina, please call 800-975-7303.
On December 13th, Legacy Outdoor Adventures / Juniper Canyon Recovery Center founder Derek Daley joined representatives from other wilderness programs, as well as researchers from the University of New Hampshire, to present about Outdoor Behavioral Health (OBH) in Manchester, New Hampshire. The event was hosted by Network 4 Health. It provided an opportunity for local clinicians and mental health professionals to learn about OBH programs and their efficacy. It was one of many ventures by Daley and others to spread the word about wilderness therapy and its tremendous sucsess in treating mental health and addiction.
Derek, as well as the whole team at Legacy and Juniper Canyon, is thrilled to be able to support the efforts of Drs. Mike Gass and Anita Tucker- as well as other researchers and current students- who help to spread the word about outdoor behavioral healthcare and its efficacy.
In the year ahead, Legacy and Juniper Canyon look forward to hosting the Cityscape Adventure Series in cities nationwide (as well as in some international locations). Along with national sponsor programs and countless professionals who support the wilderness and OBH programs, the Legacy/Juniper Canyon team is on a mission to connect people to the healing power of nature and demystify wilderness therapy by educating on current research and trends.
About Juniper Canyon Recovery and Legacy Outdoor Adventures
Juniper Canyon Recovery Center for Women is located in Loa, UT. Juniper Canyon - A BRAVE SPACE - is designed to help women recover from substance abuse, trauma, and mental health issues. Licensed as an Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Program and a Residential Treatment Center, Juniper Canyon leverages the best of both worlds to provide a “one of a kind” experience for women.
Legacy Outdoor Adventures is located in Loa, UT. Legacy Outdoor Adventures is an adventure therapy program for young men ages 18 and up. LOA is licensed as both an Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Program and a Residential Treatment Center.
TechieForLife (TFL) student Amit is using a cutting-edge algorithm he patented to build an app for his internship with the St. George, Utah based biotech company SoftCell. Notably, Amit is overcoming personal challenges with the mentoring and support he is receiving at TFL, making it possible for him to continue work that's showing great potential to improve health care. Dr. Eric Pedersen, TechieForLife founding partner and the Dean of Science, Engineering and Technology at Dixie State University, is finding some of his brightest students are neurodiverse, like those with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and greatly benefit from more specialized social support and mentoring.
Dr. Pedersen explained, "I knew I wanted to be a part of what TechieForLife is doing because I see the needs of these students." After meeting with Amit, Dr. Pedersen helped line up the internship with SoftCell, enabling Amit to test his algorithm and show proof of concept for even broader applications.
The opportunity overlap with this internship is enticing for Amit. SoftCell Biological has developed a patent-pending protocol to culture and examine hidden bacteria in the bloodstream to find strains conventional tests miss. "I'm interested in doing things that have never been done before. There's a possibility to completely change how it's being done in the next ten years," said Amit. Using techniques from his own patent, Amit is creating hyper-parameters to define the structure of the neuro network, optimizing it to be 10-100 times faster. "It's like going from a model T to a Ferrari,” explains Amit in layman's terms.
To learn more about TechieForLife's innovative program and how they're helping neurodiverse young adults, like Amit to succeed, please visit techieforlife.com.
TechieForLife (TFL) is a co-ed, residential postsecondary school with a wrap-around career support program in beautiful St. George, Utah. Students with neurodiverse social, emotional and academic challenges such as autism receive mentoring 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.
blueFire Wilderness Therapy, a wilderness program for teens ages 11-17, recently welcomed David Shade to the team. As Adventure Director, David plans, organizes and helps lead outdoor adventure trips for groups of students. David focuses on building rapport with clients to foster therapeutic relationships in order to facilitate safe, effective, challenging, and fun adventure activities.
David’s 20-year professional background includes work in wilderness therapy, adventure therapy, outdoor leadership, and youth homes. He holds multiple guide licenses in Idaho to provide the following activities: cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, rock climbing, and mountain bike riding. He is also a trained Wilderness First Responder, Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), and Wilderness EMT.
“The goal of adventure-based wilderness therapy is to offer fun experiences, challenge ourselves (and gauge reactions to these challenges and, perhaps, moments of frustration) and to create experiences where reflection, self-awareness, and discovery can occur,” explains Shade. “Participating in these activities can be really empowering for teens who are beginning to explore who they are and what they want in life.”
Prior to joining blueFire Wilderness, David has led and co-led expeditions in Alaska, Patagonia, The Cascades, and The Wind River Range, which have helped him develop strong leadership skills and an intimate understanding of different outdoor environments. At blueFire, he provides comprehensive training and supervision to his adventure team and field instructors and provides an atmosphere of collaboration and teamwork- all in efforts to provide high-quality program activities for clients.
“Dave’s decades of experience working in the field will make him a powerful addition to our Adventure Therapy team,” describes Kathy Rex, Executive Director and Co-founder. “I am looking forward to seeing the impact he has on the program!”
For more information, please call 1 (844) 413-1999 or visit the website at https://bluefirewilderness.com.
About blueFire Wilderness Therapy
blueFire Wilderness is a wilderness therapy program based just outside of Boise, Idaho that offers teens ages 11-17 a comprehensive adventure experience. BlueFire Wilderness combines clinical expertise, academic assessments, and a family systems approach to help teens struggling with emotional, behavioral and social challenges.
New Focus Academy is celebrating one year since enrolling their first student. The team at New Focus is dedicated to helping teens increase their autonomy and quality of life using elements of positive psychology and The Autonomy Development Model.
New Focus Academy is a residential treatment center for boys 12-18 years old with autism and other neurodiversities, including ADHD, traumatic brain injuries, and executive functioning issues.
Highlights of the Program:
- Academics: Their strong academic program is dedicated to helping students move past school refusal and helping students find joy in learning.
- Recreation Activities: The recreation department pairs with The National Abilities Center, which allows students to participate in many fun, challenging activities helping them achieve success and resiliency.
- Family Involvement: New Focus hosted their first successful parent retreat where families were able to share many impactful experiences together through group and experiential therapy.
Over the past year, New Focus Academy has expanded from 10 employees to 37 employees, including 4 teachers and 2 full-time therapists. The program won "Best Employee Satisfaction" award out of a large collection of established connected programs. The clinical team participates in additional training to stay up-to-date on the most cutting-edge research.
Neuropsychologist and founder of New Focus Academy Brandon Park partnered with his Admissions Director Marisa Davis, to launch a podcast called Neurodiversity University, exploring various topics related to the field of working with people with neurodiversities. There are currently five podcasts available for streaming on all major platforms, including Spotify and Apple Music. Park hopes to expand the podcast to include several experts in the neurodiversity field to review new research and share a variety of resources with their audience.
The program aims to help students learn independent living skills that they can apply in the community. Currently, five students are employed in the Heber Valley area. This fall, New Focus opened Autonomy House for students who have made significant progress in residential treatment and are taking steps towards independence, but benefit from continued structure. In the next year, they plan to open a female house and female Autonomy House as part of their goals of expansion
“I feel grateful to work with so many incredible teens and their families, helping them recognize their unique strengths and personal goals make me love to wake up every day and go to work..” says Admissions Director Marisa Davis. “We are proud that we have become a thriving program with active plans for growth in the upcoming year.”
New Focus Academy is a therapeutic residential treatment program for adolescent boys ages 12-18 with neurodevelopmental disorders. Located in Heber City, Utah, just outside of Salt Lake City, New Focus Academy prepares struggling teen boys for a purpose-filled, independent life. New Focus Academy creates an environment of success using a positive reinforcement approach and empowering students to take small steps leading to big changes and overall wellness.
To learn more about New Focus Academy, visit https://newfocusacademy.com/our-approach or call the program at (844) 313-6749.
Spanish Fork UT- New Haven RTC is excited to celebrate its 25th year in 2020 continuing to be the leader in all female treatment and recovery for teenage girls and their family. New Haven’s original campus began as a single house in Spanish Fork, Utah with the founders Kathy and Mark McGregor. The McGregors made incredibly personal sacrifices in order to create a treatment center that was vastly different from the models being used at the time. As the 25th year of operation unfolds, New Haven RTC is still doing this important work with a focus on helping girls in partnership with their families to become post-traumatic growth experts.
Over the past 25 years, this model has grown across two campuses and six different homes with 16 girls in each home. As the program has physically grown and adapted to the needs of current female clients and families, the core principle of family healing, with a relational approach to helping students change has remained true and intact. New Haven’s CEO John Stewart says “The legacy that the McGregors started twenty five years ago has evolved into a program committed to each family healing through experiences together. No other program is creating meaningful connections with families through family weekends and yearly camping trips as a program to Moab and Green River. Throughout the years New Haven has become a leader in a College Prep Academic model and continues to focus on the importance of experiential clinical work in individual, group and family therapy.”
About New Haven
New Haven continues to be a leader in female treatment and in providing specialized services to over 2000 female clients and their families in the past 25 years! The research initiatives done throughout the years illustrate the effectiveness of a relational based approach and continue to be apart of weekly interventions used on current students. New Haven looks forward to celebrating 25 years with students, families, alumni, past and current employees and friends.
On December 6th, 2019, a group of Red Mountain Colorado students returned from their quarterly service trip travel to Guatemala. Red Mountain Colorado, the premier mindfulness-based treatment program for adolescents with co-occurring disorders, offers students this unique opportunity to participate in service trips to Guatemala, in partnership with the non-profit organization Cultiva International. This service trip allows students the opportunity to practice all of Red Mountain’s core values, Mindfulness, Safety Compassion, Confidence and Growth.
Guatemala’s population suffers from the fourth-highest rate of chronic malnutrition in the world. To combat this health crisis, Cultiva International creates sustainable nutrition and health by teaching rural Guatemalan villagers how to cultivate their own vegetable garden. Cultiva International works to improve the lives of the impoverished rural Guatemalans by teaching sustainable living – fostering independence, not dependence.
Cultiva puts student volunteers to work building Garden Boxes alongside native Guatemalans. The Guatemalan villagers first practice at Cultiva’s training centers, learning how to garden in a classroom-like facility. When they’re ready, they partner with Cultiva’s volunteers to build garden boxes at their own home. Over time, these garden boxes overflow, providing sustainable nutrition not only for the owner of the box, but their neighbors as well. These sustainable, agricultural opportunities empower individuals with the skills needed to take care of their own families — giving them the confidence to create a healthier life. As they share their newfound knowledge and skills with those around them, they begin breaking the cycle of poverty for future generations.
“This amazing opportunity allows our students to gain international experience, broaden their horizons, and most importantly learn the joy of service.” says Josh White, MA, LPC, LCMHC, CGP, WPA, Executive Director of the Red Mountain Programs. “As students give of their efforts and time to the villagers, they receive the gift of increased gratitude for what they have in life and build the awareness that their contributions can impact the lives of others.”
Many of the students were rewarded with experiencing service work for the first time, while a few individuals were returning to Guatemala for a second time and were able to see the positive change and growth that had occurred from their work volunteering on the previous trip. The amazing impact that this service work opportunity has had on the adolescents at Red Mountain Colorado has inspired the Red Mountain Programs to expand the service trip, offering this to the young adult clients at Red Mountain Sedona as well. The trips will alternate between the two programs and will occur about every other month.
About Red Mountain Sedona
The Red Mountain Programs are the leading mindfulness-based, therapeutic programs for adolescents and young adults. We work with the mind, body and spirit using various forms of meditation, mindfulness, yoga, martial arts, life skills education, and multi-modal therapies, including CBT, DBT, EMDR and Brainspotting. Red Mountain Sedona is based in Arizona and serves young adults who need assistance launching into adulthood. Red Mountain Colorado, located just north of Denver, provides an ideal location for adolescents needing adventure-based residential treatment.
For more information about Red Mountain Colorado contact Aleshka Szypulski, Director of Admissions and Marketing at 828-774-9405
Red Mountain Colorado Admissions Line 877-210-0211
Several times a year, Boulder Creek Academy offers the opportunity for a one week Native American experience to their students, and most recently the opportunity for students and their parents to be involved for a one-day event. BCA students, parents and staff take a journey with Gray Wolf, a historian who has spent the last 20 years sharing his knowledge and experience of Native American culture with groups of all ages.
The focus of the experience is the chance for BCA students to learn about the 7 Gifts. According to Cheyenne culture, these gifts are to help guide one's life to be a better person. The 7 Gifts are Humility, Love, Respect, Courage, Generosity, Wisdom, and Truth. The first activity has the students share their personal definition of these gifts and what the value means to them. When speaking with Troi Morris, the special projects coordinator at Boulder Creek, she shares that, “Everyone can have a definition, but if it doesn’t mean something to them personally, then it isn’t relevant. Getting to know the student’s views is important to see what life looks like from their perspective. It also helps to make the experience real and relevant for them.”
Troi goes on to say that, “Respect is taught first. Respect is given this position because it is important for the students to see the need to respect themselves and others. Courage and Love are taught together, because courage is necessary in order to be able to love first themselves and ultimately be able to love others.”
In working with Gray Wolf on many of these week long experiences, the consensus has been that Humility is the hardest one, very few kids have a definition for this. It is not generally taught. When making it relevant to the students, humility is described as being open to being teachable; it includes helping the student to realize that they don’t know everything, and it is okay for someone who needs to be shown the way. According to the Cheyenne culture, it’s the basis for all the other gifts; they revolve around humility.
During the week long experience students get to sleep in an authentic tipi. In addition, they learn and are given opportunities to practice the Seven Gifts. Meanwhile, they engage in a lesson or two in the skill of archery and tomahawk throwing. They spend time creating various projects with leatherworkings, and keep these items as tangible memories to reflect back on the experience. After learning about the many symbolic representations of the 7 Gifts found in nature, these values are discussed in a circle fashion including an authentic talking stick around a campfire. This connection of sharing stories with Gray Wolf makes a powerful memory that is cherished time and time again. This adventure will conclude with a real Native American sweat lodge, which solidifies their weeklong experience.
An authentic sweat also gives the students the opportunity to address their past, and to give them the place to heal. They have the opportunity to identify the things they want to let go of in life. Once they do that, they write such item(s) on a piece of paper. At the end of the first phase of the sweat, they get the opportunity to burn that paper in the ceremonial fire, and the smoke takes this item from them and allows then to focus in a different direction. Once again this powerful act leaves a lasting impression for all.
According to Lisa Hester, Executive Director of Boulder Creek Academy, “The purpose of these experiences is to provide a foundation for building skills that will benefit the students for a lifetime.”
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 healthy identity, benefit from therapeutic learning and to have fun.