All Kinds of News for July 15, 2020
Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness announced that Heather Harvie has been promoted to Field Director of their organization. Heather, previously a Senior Field Instructor and Field Coordinator for Emerald Arrow’s Young Adult Program, has played an enduring role in the Blue Ridge family since 2009. Blue Ridge is a nomadic wilderness therapy program nestled in the mountains of Georgia and North Carolina. At Blue Ridge, teens and young adults receive the assessment and support they need while rediscovering their voice and power within a group of peers, field instructors, and licensed therapists. Heather is transitioning from her most recent role as Emerald Arrow Field Coordinator, where she worked to support and enrich Blue Ridge’s Young Adult program.
Blue Ridge is thrilled to welcome Heather into the Field Director position. Heather has a wide breadth of experience in wilderness therapy, from guiding trips to working with families in the Parent Coordinator role, including over eight years with Blue Ridge itself. The Field Directors at Blue Ridge manage all components of the field and field staff, as well as working closely with all other departments. Heather will join her co-Field Director Jason Clemares, as they continue to role model and build strong relationships with field staff, spend time visiting groups, and hold field guides to a high standard, offering support, feedback and guidance.
In this process, Blue Ridge also wishes to thank previous Field Director Abi Miner for her many years of service, grace, support, hard work, and dedication to responding to all she encountered with constructiveness and positivity.
Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness offers clinically driven wilderness therapy programs encompassing advanced therapeutic skill, a highly flexible nomadic wilderness therapy model, licensed wilderness therapy assessment and multiple treatment options for struggling teens ages 13-18 as well as young adults ages 18-30 in their Emerald Arrow program. Their individualized approach, family support and commitment to service translate to an unparalleled experience and better outcomes for adolescents and families.
About Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness
Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness (BRTW) founded in 2002 as a licensed wilderness therapy program that offers clinically driven wilderness therapy programs encompassing advanced therapeutic skills, a highly flexible nomadic wilderness therapy model, licensed wilderness therapy assessment and multiple treatment options for struggling teens ages 13-18 as well as young adults ages 18-30 in their Emerald Arrow program. Their individualized approach, family support, and commitment to service translate to an unparalleled experience and better outcomes for adolescents and families.
ViewPoint Center, an assessment center and mental health hospital for teens ages 12-17, recently released a new video in their “Whiteboard Wisdom” YouTube series featuring Dr. Jordan Rigby, Assessment Director at ViewPoint Center and Primary Therapist Jessica Walker. This video provides insight into ways teens and their families can build resiliency skills and manage stress in a healthier way.
“At Viewpoint Center, we empower families to develop a different perspective when it comes to honoring stressful emotions and help them work towards a sense of mastery and resilience,” says Dr. Jordan Rigby. “Adversity, discomfort, distress, and loss are all part of the human experience. But for teenagers, coming to terms with these experiences for the first time, it can feel earth-shattering and can completely strip away any strategies they’ve developed to cope. There are different aspects of resilience that can help us when the rain starts pouring because we know that it is going to. We have the capacity to build that umbrella out and protect ourselves from the rain.”
Families can find this video along with others in the Whiteboard Wisdom video series, by visiting https://www.viewpointcenter.com/whiteboard-wisdom. The Whiteboard Wisdom video series focuses on a variety of topics such as trauma responses in adolescents, resources for anxious families, and the mind-body connection.
About ViewPoint Center
ViewPoint Center, a teen mental health hospital for teens ages 12-17, is located just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. With a program lasting 8-weeks, ViewPoint Center provides superior assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and stabilization for teens struggling with mental and behavioral issues such as suicidal ideation, anxiety disorders, and eating disorders. In a safe, personalized environment, ViewPoint helps teens focus on the healing process. For more information about ViewPoint Center, please call 855-290-9682.
Redlands, CA - As summer heats up in Southern California, clients and their families are already looking forward to participating in the Benchmark Transitions integrated academic and vocational semester for Fall, 2020. As a licensed and certified residential treatment and supportive transitional living center, Benchmark has included an on-site academic and vocational track for over 26 years. Benchmark holds a Private School Affidavit through the State of California and is Academically Accredited, as well. Benchmark partners with the local high school district to facilitated the standardized State of California high school curriculum for young adults who need to complete high school. Additionall, Benchmark's Master's level credentialed teacher, Ben Madison, M.A.T., can coordiante with home schools and colleges to continue with distrance and on-line learning, while the young adult is simultaneously engaging in treatment and transitional living.
Benchmark's Education and Careers Department features:
- Year around rolling admissions
- Private School Affidavit
- WASC-accredited high school diploma via partnership with Redlands Unified School District/Redlands Adult School
- College classes (based upon home school online platform access and local community college availability)
- On-site learning and career development center
- Low staff to student ratio during class hours
- Master's level credentialed teacher
- Academic assessments/transcript review
- College and vocational program placement
- Career development/vocational schools and Regional Occupational Programs
- Comprehensive Career Assessment - The Greenwood Assessment
- Tutoring and study skills
- IEP and 504 support
"When I founded Benchmark Transitions in 1993, my goal was to provide a safe and nurturing environment for young adults to gain healthy coping skills and prepare them for the world or work," states Founder/CEO Jayne Longnecker-Harper, M.Ed. "We're pleased to conintue to provide that option, especially with the uncertainty of education and careers during this national pandemic," she concludes. Benchmark Transitions is an essential health care provider and adheres to CDC, state and local guidelines regareding the COVID-19 safety protocols.
Benchmark Transitions is a comprehensive, multi-disclipinary approach to residential treatment and transitional living for young adult men and women, ages 18-28. Benchmark provides evidence-based treatment for mental health and co-occurring substance use disorders, highly structured supportive transitional living, education and career development and indepenedent living life skills.
Benchmark accepts most PPO insurance policies and is in network with Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross (accepting most Blue Card BCBS members), First Health, Kaiser Permanente of Southern Californa, MHN, Tri-Care and Quantum Health. Families will receive an estimated payment plan so that they can accurately understand their out of pocket costs.
For more information, please contact Benchmark Transitions at 800-474-4848 x1 or email@example.com or visit us online at benchmarktransitions.com
Redlands, CA - Benchmark Transitions is pleased to host an after-hours virtual event at the IECA Spring into Summer Virtual Conference. As a Bronze Sponsor of the IECA conference, Benchmark' is holding a hosted event, "Not Just Horsin' Around," which will be held Thursday, July 16, 2020 after the Therapeutic Information Swap, at 6:30 p.m. ET. Conference participants will be able to video chat with Benchmark representatives, as well as enjoy the hosted event. Benchmark's hosted event will feature an introduction to the Equine Therapy, Animal Care and Horsemanship Occupational program, as well as learn about the purpose of Benchmark's animal care curiculum. Some of the features includes how to halter and lead, grooming, nutrition, tacking up and riding the horses.
About Benchmark Transitions
Benchmark Transitions is a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary approach to residential treatment and supportive transitional living for young adult men and women, ages 18-28. Benchmark provides evidence based and compassionate treatment for mental health and co-occurring substance use disorders, community based supportive transitional living, education and career development and independent living life skills.
Benchmark accepts most PPO insurance policies and is in network with Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross (accepting most Blue Card BCBS members), First Health, Kaiser Permanente of Southern California, MHN, Tri-Care and Quantum Health. For more information please contact admissions at 800-474-4848 x1 or website benchmarktransitions.com.
Trails Momentum, a leading adventure-based therapeutic program for young adults, offers cutting-edge nutrition and culinary education and experience while in an outdoor therapy environment. Trails Momentum takes healthy living practices and holistic therapy to the next level through culinary instruction, gardening lessons, and nutritional guidance. This summer, Trails Momentum is excited to announce a partnership with a local farm, Crab Creek Produce, to source local produce for their students and participate in a community service project to give back to the community.
“Our gardening program uses a lot of resources that we have available on-campus and in the local community -- including building rich soil out of compost, using our stream to water produce, reclaiming wood for raised garden beds, and mulching the garden with fallen pine needles,” explains Nutrition and Wellness Specialist Charlotte Christensen, MS. “We also support local businesses by using seeds and produce from local vendors as a way to build relationships within the community.”
On campus, Trails Momentum has three primary gardens where students get hands-on by weeding and watering the food they grow -- the Herb Garden, the Cowboy Garden, and the Keyhole Garden, where students experiment with permaculture techniques. There is also an educational garden utilized as a part of the Environmental Education program.
Healthy Living Seminars at Trails Momentum give students the tools that they need to make empowered decisions about their diet and lifestyle once they leave the program. This summer, these classes have been focused on gardening, food sources, and environmental consequences. Momentum's base camp model gives students a unique opportunity to utilize fresh ingredients more than many traditional wilderness therapy programs which tend to use more processed, packaged, and dehydrated foods.
Charlotte believes that ”as a mental health program, sourcing homegrown and local produce is key because mental health is not necessarily separate from physical health. It is important to support our student's brains and bodies with healthfully prepared, nutrient-dense foods packed with the micro and macronutrients supporting a balanced and fulfilling life in a sustainable way.”
Recently, graduates of the program put together a cookbook based on recipes learned during culinary skills classes as part of their Legacy Project.
“During our culinary lessons, we use every opportunity to create teachable moments. Culinary skills classes help students develop essential life skills and redefine the relationship that they have with food and their bodies” describes Charlotte. “We teach students how to prepare homestyle meals, like sloppy joe, spaghetti, and meatballs, and stir-frys, that are healthfully prepared from scratch in a way that these recipes and skills can be carried with them wherever their journey takes them”
Learn more about the life skills development at 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.
Trails Carolina, a wilderness therapy program for pre-teens and adolescents ages 10-17, is now offering a weekly mindfulness class to parents of students. Each Friday morning over Zoom, parents will practice mindfulness skills guided by Stress Management Specialist, Francie Blair.
“With the mindfulness skills gained during this new weekly class, parents will get the chance to relax their mind and body, learn how to manage stress and anxiety, and increase their awareness and presence,” says Francie Blair. “It’s also a wonderful opportunity for establishing a self-care routine. The new mindfulness class will teach parents the same techniques that students are learning in our Trails to Wellness programming.” (In the Trails to Wellness program, students take part in a mindfulness curriculum designed to expand their capacity to self regulate and manage stress in a healthy way.)
The first mindfulness class for parents was held a couple of weeks ago. During the class, parents participated in journaling about how they were feeling and discussed how stress showed up in their bodies.
“The new parent mindfulness class is an exciting new addition to family programming at Trails,” says Blair. “Feedback from parents has emphasized the need and value of this class for current families. As parents learn mindfulness skills at the same time as their child, they have a common experience that helps to strengthen their relationship with their child and promote healthy communication.”
For more information about mindfulness programming at Trails, please visit https://trailscarolina.com/trails-to-wellness/ or call 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.
Throughout the country mental health issues are rising: Isolation, anxiety, uncertainty and cultural stressors are impacting families. Adolescents are now faced with limited academic engagement, virtual relationships and emotionally heightened family systems. Parents are facing difficult decisions about their children’s education and mental health treatment. The decision to place a child in residential care is difficult enough without COVID-19.
Safety is foundational in providing excellence in residential care. When risk is mitigated with high standards, clients are able to engage in robust programming, which leads to healing. This type of engagement is offered through the educational, recreational and therapeutic services at Spring Ridge Academy.
The staff at Spring Ridge are dedicated to campus safety by observing CDC guidelines off campus and best practices exceeding CDC guidelines on campus.
Spring Ridge Academy’s campus consists of 26 acres nestled in a more remote area of Yavapai County Arizona. Although everyone is vulnerable to COVID-19, Yavapai County cases are lower than Arizona metropolitan counties, like Maricopa and Pima, and border counties, like Yuma. Hospitals in Yavapai County, while tending to COVID-19 patients, are not facing a surge of patients for ICU treatment. COVID-19 testing is and will continue to be readily available to Spring Ridge Academy, students, staff, and families, through a private relationship with a local medical provider.
Risk can be mitigated when safety protocols evolve and inform creative and adaptive programming. Holding graduations, family workshops, recovery programming, and family communication virtually has proven to be effective. Allowing students to continue family visits -- an essential part of treatment — by providing the opportunity to receive virtual services has allowed students to build their lives and relationships at home while engaging in the supportive services of Spring Ridge Academy.
About Spring Ridge Academy
Spring Ridge Academy, located 1.5 hours outside Phoenix, Arizona, serves young women ages 13-17. Founded in 1997 as a female and family-owned Residential Treatment Center. It is licensed by the State of Arizona. The academic program/school is accredited by AdvancED. Utilizing evidence-based clinical modalities with a traditional rigorous college-prep curriculum, including fine and expressive arts and team sports, Spring Ridge has created a relationship-based setting that allows the students’ emotional, relational, spiritual, intellectual, and physical to grow.
Kanab, UT – WinGate, a wilderness therapy program for struggling youth and young adults, is excited to announce that John Cohen, LCPC, will be joining WinGate as the Clinical Director, and Primary Therapist for the young adult program, WinGate Expanse. John is returning to WinGate, where he was a Primary Therapist from 2010 – 2013. During that time, he also served as Assistant Clinical Director and Clinical Director.
“We are excited to have John rejoin the WinGate team,” says Sheri Gallagher, Operations Director and Co-founder. “He has learned a lot by being at other programs and is bringing an energetic, and vibrant vision to our young adult program.”
As Clinical Director, John will oversee the therapeutic direction of WinGate’s young adult program. He will ensure the highest quality of care is provided, and train and oversee other young adult clinicians. On his new role as WinGate’s Expanse Clinical Director, John said, “I believe I am a good leader and program developer. I also learn a lot from, and enjoy mentoring younger therapists.”
As a Primary Therapist, John will assess each client’s needs, provide personalized therapeutic treatment plans, and facilitate weekly one-on-one sessions with clients. He will also provide family support and communication, ensuring congruent growth within the family relational dynamic. WinGate runs groups year-round, with an average of six to ten clients. Intentionally keeping group numbers within this range, WinGate makes sure each client’s therapeutic needs are met.
Additionally, John’s experiences that will benefit WinGate moving forward include:
- Previous tenure at WinGate as a therapist
- Previous experience in starting two young adult wilderness therapy programs
- Providing therapeutic services for several divergent populations
- Knowledge and expertise in different clinical approaches and modalities
“I’m excited to return to the program where I came into my own as a wilderness therapist,” says John. “I’m returning because I believe in the model, and love the people who make up Wingate. It feels like I’m coming home.”
“We loved having John on our team before,” says Shayne Gallagher, WinGate’s Executive Director and Co-founder. “We are very happy to have him on our team again! He has returned home!”
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.
ASHEVILLE, N.C. — CooperRiis residential mental health treatment and healing community in Western North Carolina is pleased to introduce their new clinically intensive and insurance-driven CooperRiis at Asheville Program. The CooperRiis at Asheville Program offers short-term treatment; 30-90 days, designed to promote stabilization and develop a foundation for a potential next step into its longer-term residential program on The CooperRiis Farm in Mill Spring.
The CooperRiis at Asheville Program integrates intensive clinical services through psychiatry, individual and group therapy, and independent skill and functional recovery programming. The intensive recovery program will benefit individuals in early recovery and individuals experiencing setbacks or recurrent mental health and substance use challenges.
The CooperRiis at Asheville Program treats 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 provides intensive clinical services that will include psychotherapy, psychiatry, experiential group therapy, optimized medication use, psychoeducation, and 24-hour nursing. Evidenced-based group modalities are offered, such as Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Expressive Arts Therapy, and Psychosis Support, among others.
The introduction of this new program is especially relevant today, as the COVID-19's emerging impact on society's mental health has been profound. The CooperRiis commitment to the principles of recovery provides an essential service for people whose emotional well-being has been further compromised by the pandemic. "CooperRiis believes that with its focused attention, this program can help address the emerging societal complexity of the virus epidemic with this vulnerable population," Eric A. Levine, Ed.D, President and CEO.
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 is a residential healing community in Western North Carolina, with a rural campus on a 94-acre farm and an urban campus in the heart of Asheville. Since 2003, CooperRiis has been helping adults living with mental health challenges, including anxiety, major depression, PTSD, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, personality disorders, and any co-occurring condition related to addiction (dual diagnosis) 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 or call 828.894.7140 for more about CooperRiis Healing Community and its approach to mental health treatment.
The Therapeutic Consulting Association (TCA) Board has met regularly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to discuss the needs of their over 50 members. Though gathering as a board in-person, at a major conference, has always been a highlight of the organization, they have decided to not hold an in-person conference in 2020. Mike Balotti, Board Member based out of Philadelphia said, "The lack of clarity around what this coming year will look like for travel, and need for a vaccine to really feel comfortable coming together in ways we have in the past, means that it is in all of our best interest to put resources elsewhere for 2020."
In lieu of a conference for 2020, the TCA board and the training committee led by Joanna Lilley, MA, and Meg Lahey, MA, have been working to put together weekly "business of the business" trainings. These upcoming trainings will be held through the summer and into the fall, complementing the Association's continued 'virtual tour' and twice-weekly membership consultant check-in Zoom calls to collaborate on COVID-19's effects on the industry.
Board Chair Jennifer Taylor shared, "while we are disappointed to not be gathering in person, we feel that this is the best possible decision we can make at this time." TCA is continuing to have Virtual Tours with the members to continue to educate the membership on changes to treatment programs around the country. Reach out to Board Secretary Shayna Abraham, if your treatment program, Gap Year option or therapeutic school is interested in scheduling a tour. It is important that TCA continues to focus on the values on which it was founded, always being client-focused, children and families come first. Therefore, keeping up to date on trends and changes is a key part of what a TCA Consultant and Interventionist offer.
About Therapeutic Consulting Association (TCA)
Therapeutic Consulting Association (TCA) is a non-profit association founded in 2015 by interventionists and educational consultants. A professional association for therapeutic placement consultants and other referring professionals, dedicated to advancing the field of therapeutic consulting through collaboration, training and education, outcome-based research, support of ethical standards, and an ongoing review of best practices.
“Compassion, love, and care for our clients and families are what link us. In these trying times, let’s be there for each other with open-mindedness, support, and love in your hearts.” -Sean M Rose, Founder and Owner of Point School Puerto Rico. During this polarizing time in the United States, there is no better way to find empathy and understanding for one another than to experience life outside your comfort zone. According to the 2015 National Alumni Survey hosted by the Gap Year Association, 94% of students report their gap year experience to have positively impacted the way they interact with people from different backgrounds than their own.
Travel is necessary for a gap year experience though, which is no slight decision during a global pandemic. Puerto Rico had one of the earliest and strictest responses to coronavirus. Due to fast action and restrictions on communal places, Puerto Rico remains low in active COVID-19 cases. Now, after three months, the governor of Puerto Rico has lifted lockdown policies, and we are proceeding cautiously with continued social distancing and the wearing of masks. Traveling cautiously and abiding by health regulations can now make taking a gap year a very achievable option.
Point School Puerto Rico is a cultural immersion experience that allows young men to become part of the community of Isabela, PR. They learn basic Spanish. They celebrate the local holidays. They get to know the cuisine, music, and lifestyle. Most importantly, they learn the names and faces of their neighbors thus finding a community very unlike their own, but full of love and acceptance. “When we run into friends in the community, they call our guys by name and shake their hands. Community members ask the guys how they are doing, if they’re liking Puerto Rico, if they’ve stood up on a surfboard yet, and if they’ve had the fish tacos at Ola Lola’s.” -Tracey Gerlach, Director of PSPR. If you’re looking for a safe and accepting community to step outside your comfort zone within, Point School Puerto Rico can offer just that.
About Point School Puerto Rico
Point School Puerto Rico is a hybrid gap year program for young adult men, ages 18-22 that integrates cultural immersion, experiential and service learning with positive self-discovery. Each young man at PSPR has the opportunity to build positive self-identity through career, interest and personal exploration based on individual strengths.
Aspiro is pleased to announce Dr. Adam Balls, M.D. and Meagan Taylor, FNP-C as its new Medical Director and Associate Medical Director. Dr. Balls brings vast experience to the Aspiro medical team from his time serving in the United States Air Force as an EM physician and Team Leader for Critical Care Aeromedical Transportation on deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Germany. In addition to his work with Aspiro, Dr. Balls currently serves as Medical Director at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, UT, a level-1 trauma center with the state's largest emergency department. Meagan Taylor is a certified family nurse practitioner (FNP-C) with previous experience working in wilderness therapy. She brings a uniquely relevant skill set to the Aspiro medical team and can assess, diagnose, write prescriptions, and implement treatments for Aspiro students. Further, she meets face to face with students weekly and is regularly in contact with field guides to provide medical direction. In their roles, Dr. Adam Balls and Meagan Taylor direct and provide the highest quality of medical and preventive care to all Aspiro students.
With Covid-19 presenting new challenges to the wilderness therapy programs, Aspiro has taken extraordinary measures to ensure staff and students' health and safety. Aspiro ensures that each medical team member has the most current information on students through regular communication with therapists and the field team. This communication provides an awareness of evolving treatment goals, provides familiarity with any challenges faced by students, information on psychological concerns, and especially knowledge of the physical condition and needs of each student. Furthermore, each student participates in an in-person weekly medical assessment by a member of the medical team to assess their ongoing health.
Aspiro's medical team is available 24/7 and has direct contact with each group's field guides at least twice a day. They coordinate with field guides on all medical decisions and ensure that students receive the highest quality care. The Aspiro medical team has the knowledge and experience to provide the best possible care, thus allowing students and families to focus on the healing process. Click here to visit Aspiro's medical page and learn more.
Aspiro Adventure is an outdoor mental/behavioral health treatment center located in Utah with a clinical model based around 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. The Aspiro program is designed to be an intensive program to promote long-lasting change for adolescents and young adults.
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.
Managing a long term care program for young adults is a challenge in and of itself, but when a global pandemic hits, those challenges are magnified. However, the clients of Cabin Mountain Living Center have continued in their daily living activities with minimal disruption. This has been achieved by the creative leadership of Kelly Pennington, Director, and Donna Fridley, Assistant Director, along with the hard working and dedicated mentors of Cabin Mountain.
"We are blessed to live in an area that provides lots of outdoor and nature-based opportunites," said Pennington, "and we take advantage of that as often as possible." Cabin Mountain Living Center, a member of the Q&A family of programs, is located on a 15 acre farm that includes gardens, an orchard, a pasture and barn where goats are kept, and lots of space for taking mindful walks. The property is next to the Dry Fork River, which is one of the premier trout fishing streams in WV. Several of the clients spend time fishing for the native WV brook trout. They also enjoy an afternoon swim on hot days. All of these activities are available without the clients leaving the property or risking exposure to the virus.
In addition to the farm where the program is located, the North Central area of West Virginia is rich with outdoor adventures. The Monongahela National Forest, Dolly Sods Wilderness Area, Spruce Knob Wilderness Area, and Canaan Valley Wildlife Refuge provide a myriad of opportunities for naturally social-distanced activites. The staff of Cabin Mountain ensure the clients have access to these areas weekly. "The young adults are learning the history of the area while also getting exercise and benefitting from nature connection," said Fridley.
The communities that surround Cabin Mountain are assets to the programming. Store managers and shop keepers continue to go above and beyond to ensure the clients of Cabin Mountain have everything they need with minimal exposure. For example, the manager of Shop n Save Express, a local grocery store, provides opportunity and support for the leadership of Cabin Mountain to shop for client groceries and personal needs each week. Two staff shop for all clients and then create a "store" on the property to allow each client to experience purchasing his or her own groceries without leaving the property and risking additional exposure.
To serve their community, the staff and clients of Cabin Mountain have created weekly Meals on Wheels program. Each Thursday, lunch is provided for each staff member working in any Q&A program location. The staff and clients prepare the meal together and then travel to deliver the lunches. Every week, the clients choose one community business to include in the Meals on Wheels. Some of the businesses that have received meals include Grant County Bank, the BFS convenience store and gas station, Harman Health Center, and Black Bear Resort. "The clients and staff look forward to this activity each week," said Pennington; "it gives them an opportunity to give back to the commnity that supports them," she continued.
As the world adjusts to the reality that includes Covid-19, long term care programs and facilities must also adjust. Many of these clients have chronic health challenges, making them a high-risk population. "We can no longer depend on community-based instructional programming, but our clients have the same needs," said Angie Shockley, Founder and CEO of Q&A Associates, "to meet those needs, we must be creative and think outside the box, and that is exactly what the leadership of Cabin Mountain Living Center continues to do."
About Q&A Family of Programs
Q&A Family of Programs offers three different residential options that 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.
In light of current events exemplifying racial injustice, the faculty of Solstice East, an RTC serving females ages 14-18 in Western North Carolina, recently curated and completed a series of unique educational programming for students and staff. This month, the milieu and faculty of Solstice East, and sister step-down program Journey Home East, participated in weekly special instructional programming that encompassed past and current events concerning racial equity, media literacy, and social injustice. These sessions not only provided a useful tool to educate students about current events, but also supplied a safe platform for them to discuss topics of concern regarding equity, equality, and privilege.
A session highlight from the past month of unique educational programming included a visit from racial equity guest speaker Leslie Council Lake. Leslie, a leader in Asheville's Black community, is the founder of My Sistah Taught Me That - an organization that strives to educate and empower minority young women ages 11-19. She spoke to students and staff about the history of racial injustice and supplied her audience with tools and tips on ways to be a white ally. Her presentation and thoughtfully-led open dialogue with students and staff inspired all who attended. Additional clinically-minded programmings during the month included a "Privilege Walk" led by select Solstice East teachers; a presentation from a current Solstice East student on the book "The New Jim Crow"; instruction on the history of racial relations in America; an overview of the current events that influenced the recent Black Lives Matter-led large protest movement, and how to evaluate the validity of media news sources. After one educational session, students were encouraged to pen letters to their home state government officials. A viewing of the acclaimed motion picture Just Mercy, followed by a clinically-led group discussion, capped this month of special programming.
The mental health of Solstice East's milieu was at the forefront in curating each event. When organizing each lesson, academic faculty and clinical staff considered the disjointed information that students may have gathered and shared from social calls with family and friends. In a controlled setting, the team of Solstice East was able to present mainstream information and historical facts while mindfully addressing any conflicts or concerns. As a program that values diversity and creating an inclusive environment for students and staff, Solstice East is proud of the strides taken by its leadership team to encourage informed awareness, positive change, and acceptance among its milieu and beyond.
About Solstice East
Solstice East is a residential treatment center for young women ages 14-17 nestled in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains just outside of Asheville, North Carolina. Solstice East is committed to treating each student through a combination of individual, family, equine, and adventure therapies as well as treating and diagnosing a range of issues including (but not limited to) trauma, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, substance abuse, suicidal ideation, self-harming behaviors, attachment, and identity issues. Solstice East assists adolescents and their families in developing excellence in relationships, influence, character, and health throughout their life journey. Our holistic approach acknowledges that mental health diagnoses are only one piece of the puzzle; we strive to help young women succeed in multiple areas of their lives.
Equinox RTC, a residential treatment center for boys ages 14-18, is excited to announce that Casey Dewar will be joining the clinical team as a primary therapist. Equinox RTC takes an experiential approach to helping teens with trauma, loss, attachment, and process addictions, which aligns with Casey’s experience in the wilderness therapy field.
Casey has been working with teens and young adults for over a decade. He got his start in outdoor recreation as an educator, administrator, and activity leader, and later moved into mental health, leveraging his love for the outdoors as a wilderness therapy guide. He has since worked as a therapist in wilderness therapy, residential, and outpatient community settings.
Casey earned a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Parks, Recreation, and Leisure Studies from Central Michigan University, and a master’s degree in Counseling from Lenoir-Rhyne University. He is a Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialist and a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor.
“I walked into the sobriety and recovery work by chance and immediately fell in love with it,” Casey said. “People who are committed to recovery have a high motivation for change. They’ve realized their choices are no longer serving them. I’m excited to expand the substance use and recovery programming here at Equinox.”
He specializes in mindfulness-based approaches to therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, motivational interviewing, and family systems work. Clinical Director Dan Keith noted “We are very excited to add Casey to our team. He is affording Equinox the opportunity to strengthen our Clinical Department, and in particular, enrich our offerings for young men struggling with chemical dependency and abuse issues. It is common for our students to attempt to manage their profound anxiety, trauma, and depression through substance abuse. Casey provides another resource for supporting their healing journey.”
Casey is looking forward to working within the relational approach that’s at the core of Equinox’s programming. “Adolescent boys and young men are so hard-wired to seek connection and approval from their peers,” says Casey. “This creates a rich dynamic in an RTC, as they are beginning to discover who they are and what they value. The relational nature of it all helps them connect to their peers and their mentors and really becomes a place to impact lasting change.”
When not working, Casey appreciates spending time with his black lab, Ava, gardening, hiking, paddling, and exploring the wonder that is Western North Carolina.
About Equinox RTC
Equinox RTC is a leading residential treatment center for boys ages 14-18. Equinox is unique in its focus on Trauma, Loss, and Attachment, providing clinically intensive treatment for boys struggling with anxiety, depression, OCD, ASD, learning disabilities, and other emotional and behavioral needs. Equinox offers a combination of clinically sophisticated support with a whole-person approach including adventure therapy, integrated Crossfit program, and a whole foods diet. Equinox provides a fully accredited school, with broad course selections taught by licensed teachers in a college-preparatory environment.
ReSTART’s year-long program utilizes an advanced ed certified school curriculum and is a private school approved by the Office of Public Instruction (OSPI) in the State of Washington. While enrolled at ReSTART, students will get individualized attention from Love and Logic trained teachers. Many students coming into ReSTART have shown a decline in grades due to their excessive tech use, or maybe they are refusing to go to school at all. This failure to complete assignments or focus on schooling is in no way related to their intelligence and/or their abilities. These struggles are therapeutic in nature and require the strong relationships, flexibility, and creativity of ReSTART’s staff, as well as the heavy involvement and accessibility of the student’s therapist, to create the long lasting and sustainable change, which will allow them to be successful when they leave reSTART, return to school, or transition to college.
ReSTART is the national leader in mental health treatment focused on internet and gaming addiction. They have been targeting this specific population and treating the anxiety, depression, ADHD, and other underlying issues that accompany internet and video game addiction for almost 11 years. By using their successful treatment model and philosophy, ReSTART has been able to recognize the impact that technology is having on the development of our young people and has established a program that helps their students create a healthy identity for themselves, allowing them to make long lasting change in a short period of time.
This has been a unique time in everyone’s lives as we all deal with a global pandemic which has restricted people’s ability to do many activities and has raised mental health struggles across the country. ReSTART hopes that their adolescent program, which is on a beautiful 32 acre, can offer an opportunity for all students to rediscover who they are and get them connected to life, nature, relationships and themselves. As the world becomes more and more reliant on technology, the need for young people to establish a healthy balance has never been more important.
Headquartered in Fall City, Washington, reSTART is a leading advocate of healthy sustainable digital media use (internet, VR, and video games for people and the planet. ReSTART offers staffed residential care for youth (13-17) and life sharing retreats for adults (ages 18-30), along with independent living support.
Seven Stars, an assessment center and residential treatment center for teens with neurodevelopmental challenges ages 13-17, is excited to announce that Mackenzie Koehn, MSW, has joined their leadership team as Director of Business Development and Marketing. Prior to joining Seven Stars, Mackenzie was the Director of Admissions and Marketing at a residential treatment center in Alabama. She has also held therapist positions in hospital and residential treatment settings, working with children and adolescents struggling with issues such as depression, anxiety, and ADHD.
“We are thrilled to have Mackenzie join the team at Seven Stars,” says Dr. Gordon Day, Executive Clinical Director and Founder of Seven Stars. “In our small, specialized program, her unique background and passion for helping others make her a very valuable member of our team.”
Mackenzie holds a Master’s in Social Work from New York University along with an undergraduate degree in Family Studies from Mississippi State University. “I am extremely passionate about helping teens heal and begin to thrive,” comments Mackenzie. “As the Director of Business Development and Marketing at Seven Stars, I will be wearing many hats. I will be overseeing business development and marketing as well as taking on a caseload of students as a clinician.”
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.
Last month, Deara Ball, Director of Outreach for Red Mountain Sedona young adult program, Kelly Dunbar, Director of Business Development for SUWS of the Carolinas adolescent wilderness therapy program, and Shaler Cooper, Senior Director of Admissions & Marketing for Cherokee Creek Boys School, hosted three virtual shopping events with the goal of connecting members of the Family Choice Behavioral Healthcare Industry while raising money for two great causes.
For over six years Ball, Dunbar, and Cooper have hosted annual Sip & Shop events at the Independent Educational Consultant Association (IECA) Conferences around the country. These networking receptions have historically taken place in-person, however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic the organizers, along with Marilee Emerson, Independent cabi Stylist, moved the event to a virtual platform in June, ahead of the Spring IECA Conference.
All four women felt it was important to continue the tradition despite the global health crisis, and they recognized the opportunity to use the event to support the #BlackLivesMatter movement as well as national COVID relief efforts. Funded by their respective programs, Ball, Dunbar, and Cooper raised $1000.00 over the course of three days. The donation was split between two organizations, the Heart of cabi Foundation and The National Urban League.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Heart of cabi Foundation is partnering with World Vision® to provide Family Emergency Kits filled with food, sanitizing items, and other supplies for those in need across the United States. The National Urban League, founded in 1910, is a nonpartisan historic civil rights organization that advocates on behalf of economic and social justice for African Americans and against racial discrimination.
Despite not being able to host an in-person event this Spring, Red Mountain Sedona, SUWS of the Carolinas and Cherokee Creek Boys School were proud to highlight and support two organizations that are helping the nation during this historic moment. The organizers plan to host a second virtual Sip & Shop series September 23-25,2020, which will showcase the cabi Fall line and support other social justice efforts.
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.
The Virtual Alt Fair Series, cohosted by Lilley Consulting, Prepare to Bloom, Fusion Academy, and Holden High School, wrapped up on July 7 after a six-week run! The series consisted of 11 recorded webinars, with 43 programs that participated. You can find all recordings available and downloadable on YouTube.
The original event, modeled after a traditional college fair, was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. What was then a virtual fair, evolved into a series of online resources for young adults and families exploring alternatives to college. Programs that participated identify themselves as young adult transitional programs, gap year programs, failure to launch programs, recovery programs, wilderness therapy programs, vocational programs, virtual programs, and technical colleges. Each program has its own client or participant profile. Common themes for who is ideal for these programs include: Autism Spectrum Disorder, Failure to Launch, Anxiety, Depression, Family Conflict, Lack of Motivation, Educational/Academic Failures, and needing to learn social and independent life skills.
“We wanted families to know that there are a lot of options out there other than a) going to college, b) participating in a gap year, and c) just staying at home and working,” said Lilley, “and we think we really started to raise awareness of those options through this series.” All the programs that participated are unique, amazing, and it can be overwhelming for a family to understand which one to choose from. If you or anyone you know is struggling to find a good fit for gap year opportunities, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or Shayna@PrepareToBloom.com.
About Lilley Consulting and Prepare to Bloom
Since 2016, Lilley Consulting has been helping families and young adults find treatment options during a time of transition or crisis. Joanna dedicates herself to working solely with emerging adults who unravel before going to college, when they land on a college campus, or right after college graduation. Young Adulthood can be messy, but it doesn’t have to be if you find the best treatment resources at the time that you need them.
Prepare To Bloom is a San Francisco Bay Area-based therapeutic and educational consulting firm devoted to helping families make sound therapeutic and educational choices, assisting families and their children to find treatment options regionally or out of the home. Founded in the spring of 2011, by Shayna Abraham, MA, CEP, Prepare to Bloom consultants visit over 50 different treatment programs per year. The team works with families around the United States and around the globe.
Evangelhouse Christian Academy, in its endeavor to "provide treatment excellence in a Christian environment for teen girls"™, has maintained an environment of emotional stability and academic advancement for its students throughout the pandemic. Operations have not been interrupted, and safe classroom instruction has continued due to Evangelhouse’s limited enrollment and individualized education planning environment.
Karen Barrentine, Evangelhouse Christian Academy’s academic director, recently stated “our year-round, individualized academic model has strategic advantages for teens with social and emotional challenges during the pandemic.” Nothing can validate this assertion more than reviewing objective, standardized test scores of students enrolled at Evangelhouse. The IOWA standardized test scores for students enrolled in April 2020 show that over 50% of students advanced two or more grade levels in reading comprehension, compared to scores from the same test administered in April 2019.
The Evangelhouse Christian Academy treatment model asserts that academic success is crucial for the wellness and recovery of troubled teens. The student’s academic advancement will significantly add to the clinical team’s ability to treat the underlying causes of high-risk behaviors for teen girls.
About Evangelhouse Christian Academy
Evangelhouse® Christian Academy is a boutique, fourteen-bed therapeutic boarding school for girls ages 12-18 in St. Martinville, LA. The academy offers a unique integration of licensed clinical therapy in a non-denominational Christian environment.
Since April, “Shortridge Online” and the innovative “Remote Personal Device Management” platform have been successfully supporting students and families faced with unique pandemic-related challenges and circumstances. Therefore, Shortridge Academy is expanding its virtual and on-campus enrollment options including flexible lengths of stay.
By making Shortridge Online a continuing part of its offerings, new students can enroll virtually now and participate in NEASC-accredited academics and therapeutic services online. Students can remain enrolled virtually or they can transition onto the Shortridge campus at a later date. Students and families may want to use “Shortridge Online” as a “bridge” to more traditional schools. Conversely, a family may choose to use Shortridge Online for transition home purposes during the final term of a student’s stay.
Whether on campus or remote, students are well-challenged and supported by the “hybrid” campus. Currently, there are students engaged on campus and at home virtually who are making positive progress toward their academic and therapeutic goals. Families have used “Shortridge Online” in all of the above ways, and their feedback has been very positive.
“Just got off a Zoom call with parents like us – several other Shortridge parents were involved. Some are struggling with the pandemic and lack of structure. I must say I am impressed with how the therapists and the teachers are working so hard. I just want to say to everyone…Thank you. Our son is doing very well. We are waiting and hoping he gets into one of two private schools locally. Just wanted to tell you that. We parents appreciate it. This is hard on all of us and harder when kids are struggling,” shared a parent of a virtual student who then came to campus, and will graduate summer 2020.
In its 18th year of operation, Shortridge is considered the most normalized and progressive therapeutic boarding school in the country whose strengths-based and authoritative approach supports well those students struggling with anxiety, depression, family dysfunction, and learning challenges.
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. If you would like more information about Shortridge Academy, please contact Admissions Director, Katie Rainer at email@example.com or Head of School & COO Mik Oyler firstname.lastname@example.org
This June, Legacy Outdoor Adventures for Men, Juniper Canyon Recovery Center for Women and the 2020 Cityscape Adventure Series National Sponsors launched the #RXoffthecouch Summer Challenge. The mission of the Cityscape Adventure Series is to bring together the public, mental health and addiction treatment programs, and professionals from around the world to experience first-hand the power of Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare, by which they mean staying connected to nature, community and adventure.
Together, the programs recognize the significance of the moment: mental health services are vital for helping communities recover, including first responders, healthcare workers and those essential to fighting COVID-19. Program professionals, consultants, counselors, organizations and individuals alike in the treatment industry are crucial in helping our clients process and understand the importance of the racial justice movement. Now more than ever, mental healthcare is critical.
In order to keep the momentum going towards positive gains in mental healthcare, the Cityscape Adventure Series is proud to introduce the #RXoffhecouch Summer Challenge. John Conway from EDGE Learning Community is a national sponsor of the 2020 Cityscape Adventure Series: “Right now we’re missing spending time with one another at conferences, networking events, and meetings. While we’re looking forward to in-person Cityscape Adventures when it’s safe to resume them, in the meantime let’s encourage one another to bring adventure and nature into our lives and our work at home!"
"Whether you’re taking a walk in the park with your family, hiking into the backcountry, or surfing on a beach, the Cityscape team wants to see how you’re practicing 'RX Off The Couch' in your personal or professional life. Your participation will help us to spread the message to our clients and the public: in addition to the therapeutic work programs and individuals already do, getting outside will help everyone stay positive."
CityScape sponsors ask participants to send submissions in the form of 30-second videos or photos to email@example.com. All those who contribute will get their own #RXoffthecouch shirt! For every submission that is received, the Cityscape Adventures Series will be making a donation directly to Outdoor Afro, a non-profit that supports and encourages black leadership in the outdoors.
Derek Daley explains, “We’ll compile submissions into a final video presentation, which we will use to raise awareness about our movement. We want to encourage others to spend time connecting to nature or finding adventure. Feel free to get creative and invite your family, your neighbors or even your dog involved- we’re all in this together!”
About Legacy Outdoor Adventures for Men & Juniper Canyon Recovery Center 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. Legacy is licensed as both an Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Program and a Residential Treatment Center. Together with the women’s program, Juniper Canyon Recovery Center for Women, Legacy is the premier wilderness recovery program for adults.
PROVO, UTAH, JULY 6, 2020 -- AutCon, an annual convention by autistic adults for autistic adults, has traditionally been a space where adults on the autism spectrum could be with and learn from their autistic peers. Volunteers from the ScenicView community put time, energy, and resources into hosting the event, so when the COVID-19 virus prohibited gathering, ScenicView took AutCon online.
For more than 19 years, ScenicView Academy has been a community dedicated to empowering individuals on the autism spectrum, but as a support program it can be easy to forget that empowerment is not one-directional. Empowerment also involves listening to the experiences of autistic people, amplifying autistic voices, validating autistic ways of life, honoring the skills and contributions of autistic people, and providing a community of support for our autistic friends and associates. “That’s why AutCon is so important,” says Program Director Jared Stewart, “the best way to learn about autism is to listen to the experts -- those who live the autistic experience every day.”
The change of format was challenging for many of the presenters, who were asked to record presentations in advance, rather than present in real time to an audience. But the result is a website loaded with resources and content from the autistic perspective on numerous topics that influence and intersect with autism including:
- Navigating the social world of the workplace
- Nonverbal communication
- Mental health and self-care
- Healthy Sexuality
- How to live on a fixed income
- Autism and the healthcare system
- Receiving an adult diagnosis
- Using your autism to improve your health
The online format has also allowed ScenicView to share AutCon with programs nationwide, for no charge. You can find AutCon at svacademy.org/AutCon
ScenicView Academy, founded in 2001 in Provo, UT, is a nationally recognized nonprofit school for young adults with autism spectrum disorders, neurodiversities or learning disabilities. Through our residential programming, we empower our students to reach their potential and gain skills to live independently. Scholarships are available based on financial need. SVA is accredited by National Commission for the Accreditation of Special Education Services (NCASES).
Portland, ME: Patrick Babcock, Founder and CEO of Foundation House, an extended care mental health and addiction treatment center, announced today that Shay Butts will be joining Foundation House as Chief Marketing Officer.
Shay Butts is joining after being an owner in a successful private consulting firm, where she was a Therapeutic and Educational Consultant. Shay is bringing her lifetime of experience in young adult behavioral healthcare to Foundation House to continue to grow and lead the field in young adult treatment. Shay has an extensive background in admissions, program leadership and program development. She has founded and served in Executive Leadership roles for some of the nation’s most cutting-edge treatment programs, bringing quality programming and evidence-based treatment to the forefront of young adult transitional living programs.
“After being both a fellow program owner and a referral source to the incredible work that happens at Foundation House, I couldn’t be more thrilled to join such a spectacular team of professionals. I have witnessed firsthand the life-changing experience provided to these young men… It is truly an honor to work with Patrick and this team.” says Shay. “I’m returning to my first love of sorts, working with a program full of integrity, branded with excellence.”
Patrick Babcock adds “Shay is playing an instrumental role in our future growth and success. This was a no brainer for me. It just made too much sense. Not only does she understand program development, working with families, and admissions, but she understands our referral partners in a way that I do not, because she has been one for so long. Even better, she understands me, and what I’ve set out to build here at Foundation House, in a way that many do not. Shay and I are already good friends, now we are an amazing team. We are beyond thrilled to have her to carry the message of the Foxhole.”
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 frequently pushes the envelope of historical treatment methods, favoring an approach that empowers its residents and removes the impediments of institutionalization. For more information regarding Foundation House or the above press release, visit www.foundationhouse.com or call 207-791-2000.
First Light Wilderness Therapy, a New Vision program, is excited to announce its expansion of services to include an Adolescent Boys Program as of July 1, 2020. First Light Wilderness Therapy launched earlier this year in the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains of northern Georgia, and provides outdoor behavioral healthcare services with a trauma-informed, attachment model to adolescents and young adults. With First Light’s recent expansion of its Outdoor Child Caring Program license through the state of Georgia’s Department of Human Services, the program is ready to increase access to its services through inclusion of treatment to adolescent boys.
Led by a seasoned team of experts with a diverse range of skills, background, and experience, First Light Wilderness Therapy provides an integrative family treatment model that is rooted in the principles of neurobiology, developmental reintegration, generational empowerment, and relational immersion. The program espouses a keen attunement to practices that foster the healing of individuals and family systems.
Given that adolescence is a time to cultivate a greater understanding of identity and inner-direction, First Light Wilderness Therapy aims to create successive opportunities for young men to build self-awareness, self-efficacy, self-expression, and self-mastery through creative challenges and measured adversity. Towards this aim, there is a strong focus on aiding students’ capacity to intentionally connect to their individual passions, values, and interests through what is known as the Mastery Program. This aspect of First Light’s program helps students identify, learn, and ultimately teach an aspect or skill that is unique to them, and one which they may continue pursuing as a healthy means of recreation as well as service in the communities into which they transition. Students at First Light also take active roles in planning, organizing, and scheduling their expeditions in collaboration with their guide team. As they build their capacities for leadership, cooperation, interdependence, and accountability, they learn skills that are transferable and beneficial well outside of the context of wilderness.
As with all New Vision Wilderness Programs, First Light guides students to a more holistic and integrative understanding of their nervous systems, their socio-somatic functioning, and how they may express greater influence and impact over their long-term psychological and physiological health. Brainspotting and Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) are evidence-based practices that are utilized to support increased self-awareness of the nervous system and to address pre-verbal trauma. The context of nature helps this process exponentially, as students' biological systems are gradually reset through daily exercise, healthy diet, mindfulness practices, and, of course, the much-needed medicine of rest.
As Lead Therapist for the adolescent boys group, Dr. Elnur Gajiev notes, “We know—empirically and anecdotally—that truly meaningful and lasting change occurs within the context of secure, attuned relationships, and so, we strive to infuse the importance of that into every fiber of our culture, from the moments we share with our students, our families, our colleagues, and beyond.”
Lastly, and perhaps most critically, First Light Wilderness recognizes that truly sustainable therapeutic change with teens and adolescents requires addressing the needs of the entire family system. First Light’s treatment model is built around intensive and comprehensive family therapy, focusing on the need for healing across generations to empower each family and each student to grow healthier relationships together. This is achieved through providing three unique touchpoints per week for each family, as well as a 3-day First Light family intensive experience, which entails multi-family experiential workshops aimed at addressing pertinent family system issues, resolving intergenerational trauma, practicing more effective communication styles and skills, and re-establishing a healthy foundation for long-term connection and caregiving moving forward.
About First Light Wilderness Therapy
A New Vision Program First Light Wilderness Therapy provides the highest impact, evidence-based outdoor behavioral healthcare. New Vision prides itself on offering wilderness treatment with impeccable safety standards; trauma-focused, outcome-driven treatment models; highly experiential, mastery-focused adventure programming; and a program culture focused on empathy, healing, connection, and joy. For more information, inquiries be directed to 855-689-8326 or its website, www.nvwild.com/First-Light-Wilderness-Therapy.com.
The Red Mountain Programs are excited to announce that Kera Miller, MA, LPC has joined the Red Mountain Programs as Executive Director of the Colorado program for adolescent boys ages 14-17 years.
“Kera’s philosophies are aligned with my own and we feel very lucky to have found such an astute and seasoned clinician to lead our team in Colorado as they provide mindfulness-based, residential treatment program for adolescent boys 14 - 17 years of age,” says Founder and Operating Partner Josh White, MA, LPC, LCMHC, CGP, WPA.
Kera has worked in the field of mental health since 1998 and has been a clinician since 2005. She has worked with adolescents and young adults in residential, inpatient, day treatment, and outpatient/community-based settings, including 14 years with Vive Family Support Program as a direct care mentor, then Colorado Regional Director, and eventually the National Clinical Director.
Kera’s philosophy in working with young people is based on recognizing the basic goodness within every individual; believing that individuals do the best they can with what they know, what they have available to them, and what their circumstances are. She believes that effective therapy includes building a relationship, involving the family unit, and seeking to understand the motivation for growth and change. Additionally, she believes it involves working through the thoughts and feelings that may impede that growth.
As a graduate of Naropa University, Kera is well prepared to align with the mindfulness-based treatment approach pioneered at Red Mountain Sedona, and she is eager to guide the Colorado program as it follows suit with mindfulness-based clinical treatment for adolescents. In addition to her background as a therapist, Kera also brings exceptional leadership and organizational skills to the Red Mountain Colorado team. She possesses a deep enthusiasm and dedication to bringing the clinically sophisticated, mindfulness-based services that have been proven to work successfully for the young adults at the Sedona program to adolescents in Colorado ages 14 to 17.
In addition to DBT, CBT, EMDR, NeuroAffective Relational Model, Somatic Experiencing, and Trauma-Informed care, Red Mountain Colorado also supports students who are experiencing challenges with substance use and co-occurring mental health disorders with two full days of Adventure Therapy in the mountains of the Colorado front range.
Josh White, along with his wife and business partner Maureen White, MA, founded the Red Mountain Programs with the belief that mindfulness-based treatment, combined with clinically sophisticated therapy, recreation, 12-step work, and other modalities, offers students the opportunity to develop lasting change in their thoughts and actions. Since its inception in 2014, the flagship Sedona site has helped hundreds of young adult students achieve their goals with this model. Both the Red Mountain Sedona and Red Mountain Colorado programs share the core values of Mindfulness, Safety, Confidence, Compassion, and Growth.
Josh continues to be strongly involved with the operations of Red Mountain Colorado, averaging 8-10 days per month on campus, and is highly involved in the students’ lives as a meditation instructor and recovery resource. In hiring Kera, he says, “We now have a day to day presence who can carry forth the Red Mountain vision and bring excellence to our clinical oversight regardless of which campus I am on in a given day. Kera and I are in constant contact and it’s my pleasure to support her and partner with her in bringing our program to the next level.”
About Red Mountain Colorado
Red Mountain Colorado, located just north of Denver, provides an ideal location for adolescents who would benefit from a mindfulness-based residential treatment program. Red Mountain helps teens heal by working 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.
Fulshear has a lot of diversity, but recently, Fulshear has been very intentional in practicing inclusivity. Inclusivity, according to Oxford Dictionary, is the practice or policy of including people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized, such as those who have physical or mental disabilities and members of minority groups. Inclusivity must be practiced and be intentional; on June 19th, 2020, Fulshear celebrated its first annual Juneteenth Celebration as the kickstart to practicing inclusivity.
In 1865, on June 19th, the last African American that was enslaved in Texas was released from bondage after General Gordon Granger made his way to Galveston, Texas to demand that Texas release those they were keeping in captivity - two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed that released slaves. Texas had a minimal presence of Union soldiers and therefore, they were unable to enforce what the Emancipation Proclamation declared. 1865 represents a small step forward in the fight for basic human rights that continues in 2020. Fulshear had a celebration for this day in history for the first of many times.
On June 26th, 2020, Fulshear then had its own Pride celebration, to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community, talk about personal experiences, and delve into ways to continue to move forward in including and celebrating rights.
The goal at Fulshear is to see each client as human, appreciate their differences, and assist them in finding their personal power to advocate for their needs and live a life that brings them meaning. The Black Lives Matter Movement, the fight for LGBTQIA+ rights, improved systems for those with disabilities, and ending the stigma around mental health, are all about groups of individuals fighting to be seen as human and be seen as equals, as opposed to being viewed or treated as inferior. Inclusivity must be practiced and be intentional.
This perspective has many parallels to the work that is done at Fulshear through the Integrated Attachment Model. Individuals will do what is necessary to get their needs met. Every individual desires belonging, acceptance, and the ability to be congruent and transparent with his or her emotions. Everyone needs this to feel secure and safe in this world, despite their differences. The fate of the world depends on each person’s ability to find the best intention and deepest need of those around them. Fulshear will continue to strive to practice inclusivity and stand up for what is right to help dismantle and change inequality in this world.
About Fulshear Treatment to Transition
Fulshear Treatment to Transition, founded in 2003 and accredited by the Joint Commission, is located right outside of Houston in Needville, TX and Stafford, TX. Fulshear works with young women ages 18-24 struggling with mental health issues along with accompanying co-occurring disorders, and is known for its development of the Fulshear Adult Attachment Model.
Boise, ID: Northwest College Support- a life skills and academic support program for college students based in Coeur d Alene, Idaho- is expanding services into Boise, Idaho with the launch of the Gemba Gap Program. Gemba provides individual therapy, academic support, mentorship, housing, and other supportive services to young adults ages 18-25. In Japanese, the term “gemba” means “the actual place” as well as “a place where value is created.” The Gemba Gap Program aims to help young adults who are needing time, space, and structure in order to find direction in life.
Program Director Bernie Zimmerman MA, LCPC, says “The Gemba team operates on agreements and relationships with clients who choose to work with us. These agreements include an emphasis on doing our best, treating others with respect and kindness, maintaining an awareness of our impact on others, and being thankful. These agreements are important as we navigate our various interests, and meet challenges while exploring our independent paths.” Given the difficulty of transitioning into adulthood, Gemba Gap Program is designed for young adults who feel unsure about their direction in life. The program provides opportunities for young adults to find passions and career or academic interests through mentorship, and both group and individual therapy.
Young Adults enrolled in the Gemba Gap Program can live in either the Gemba House or nearby apartments (both within the city of Boise). During their stay, the support team helps clients assess and discover their personality traits, motivations, and values. This assessment ultimately leads to collaboration on an “action plan” individualized for the client. In conjunction, clients may enroll in courses at Boise State University, University of Idaho extension campus, or a number of community colleges and vocational trade schools. Online coursework is also available. The dynamic city of Boise is also rich in employment opportunities and provides a unique setting for ample outdoor recreation.
About Northwest College Support and Gemba Gap Program
Since 2012, Northwest College Support has operated a program for college students needing support with learning disabilities, life skills, and mental health. The Coeur d'Alene-based company now also provides services in Boise, Idaho with the Gemba Gap Program. Both locations offer dorm-style living, life skills coaching, education coaching, counseling, and other wrap-around services to clients as they attend college or vocational paths in the Spokane- Coeur d Alene, or Boise area.
BOULDER, COLO. [July 13, 2020] – Choice House, a residential and transitional program for men struggling with substance use, co-occurring mental health and trauma, recently increased its occupancy maximum in response to growing demand.
The uncertainty and isolation associated with the COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult for many, driving a heightened need for therapists and counseling programs and resulting in a three-month waitlist for the transitional program at Choice House. By adding three beds, Choice House may host up to 30 residents at one time.
“We could not be more happy to increase our ability to assist more young men on their journey to recovery and purpose,” said Jordan Hamilton, Executive Director and co-owner of Choice House. “During these trying times, our core values of community and connection are needed more than ever.”
Choice House strives to make addiction treatment as accessible as possible, integrating the ability to work with insurance carriers for its 90-day residential treatment and intensive outpatient programs, which can significantly reduce treatment cost while helping to ensure the comprehensive support needed to achieve lasting sobriety. Men with substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health disorders may choose from several treatment options, including a 90-day residential treatment program, intensive outpatient program, and a structured sober living community.
About Choice House
Colorado-based Choice House is Colorado’s premier provider of 90-day residential treatment, long-term structured sober living, and intensive outpatient services (IOP). The treatment center helps support those on their road to lasting recovery with a strong focus on the beautiful Colorado outdoors.
New Vision Wilderness Northwoods announces Milestones, an intentionally designed, adventure-based wilderness experience that promotes self-awareness, resiliency, mindfulness, and the development of healthy future goals.
Teens and young adults who may be feeling stuck, lost, or have a need to disconnect from their daily lives while reconnecting with themselves will benefit from this 28-day program.
Participants can expect:
- Backpacking adventure in the Chequamegon National Forest
- 8-day canoe expedition
- Daily mindfulness and goal setting
- Weekly group therapy with a master’s level therapist
- Daily therapeutic groups led by specially trained outdoor guides
- Trauma sensitive yoga
- HeartMath stress/anxiety regulation
- Increased resiliency and problem-solving skills
- Certified Community Service hours
- Certification in First Aid, CPR, and ACA Canoe Skills
Applications are being accepted now for an expedition in late July or early August. For more information, please contact Patrick McAvoy, Admissions Director at 518-524-7676 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About New Vision Wilderness
New Vision Wilderness Northwoods is an innovative wilderness therapy program for clients who require immediate intervention and intensive mental health treatment. Our programs specialize in treating struggles associated with adoption, developmental trauma, anxiety, depression, and addiction. We serve pre-teens and adolescents, and their parents, in the beautiful Northwoods of Wisconsin. New Vision comes from a trauma-informed lens and a relationship-based model permeating our culture of leaders, clinicians, and employees. The wilderness is our catalyst for change and healing.
Sunrise Residential Treatment Center held its first adventure-based family event in June. For almost 20 years, Adventure Therapy has been an integral piece of the Sunrise student programming and this year the families were included. Adventure Therapy is one of the most popular forms of therapy due to the positive outcomes of nature exposure and activities in preventing, delaying or alleviating mental health issues. “Interaction with nature can increase self-esteem and mood, reduce anger and improve general psychological well-being with positive effects on emotions and behaviour,” concluded researchers in a 2013 article published by The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. Sunrise Residential Treatment Center held its Summer Adventure Family Retreat at Ponderosa Ranch near Zion National Park. For three days, small groups of families participated in various recreational activities led by a team from Adventure Therapy Guides and supported by Sunrise staff. The purpose of this retreat was to create an opportunity for families to connect with one another outside of the larger therapeutic groups normally held at Sunrise's quarterly family events. This allowed the participants to follow CDC guidelines, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, while providing the intense therapeutic environment these families needed. Activities included daily mindfulness, goal setting, family sculpting, canyoneering, and other various communication activities.
A father who participated with his 16 year old daughter commented, "The canyoneering retreat was an experience we’ll never forget. With no home visits allowed due to the COVID-19 restrictions in place, it was a great way to spend some memorable time with our daughter and to see her growth. For us, we found many parallels between the canyoneering rappels, our Sunrise experience, and life in general." He goes on to say that his family was able to appreciate that just like the adventure guides provided them knowledge and the tools to be successful on the rappels, the Sunrise Team has been able to share their experience and expertise in their field to help his family rebuild their relationship. His family learned to trust the process, and the more they trusted, the more successful and fulfilling it was. "Being able to share this with our daughter and watch her confidence and effort was a boost for us. She’s learned so much and it was on display during our stay."
Sunrise Residential Treatment Center understands the importance and effectiveness of getting its girls out in nature to helping them build a life worth living. "It is such a special experience to get to know these families outside of the typical therapy setting," says Jaci Nelson, IMFT-S, Clinical Director of the Fields Campus at Sunrise. "This retreat gave space for the families to recommit to each other. They learned how to challenge themselves individually, struggle together, and eventually come out the other side with new ways to support each other. It was so impactful." To learn more about the work Sunrise does with families or the daily activities the students are doing check out www.SunriseRTC.com.
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.
The challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic add to tough times for families whose adolescents are already struggling. The Bertram Group is tracking how the novel coronavirus is affecting access to behavioral healthcare and continues to be a resource to help struggling young adults find the residential treatment centers, outdoor programs, and specialized schools needed to establish a healthy equilibrium.
The landscape of daily and weekly behavioral health care has shifted. One of the most immediate effects in this arena is that conversations that previously took place at a provider’s office are now being administered through teletherapy. The filter of a screen, however, presents myriad challenges. Human beings crave connectedness, and as we are all discovering these days, people often interact differently through digital formats. Being physically present in a space dedicated to a specific activity encourages intimacy and efficiency in communication. Teens who are less than enthusiastic participants in this process may be more difficult to motivate through teletherapy. Imagine trying to coax a disinterested teen to sit down at a computer to engage in some of the hardest self-reflection they will encounter during their entire lifetime. At home, avoiding questions can be as easy as closing the laptop and taking refuge behind slammed doors.
In addition, families may encounter scenarios in which hospitals and emergency rooms are increasingly focused on COVID-19 patients. Patients seeking stabilization for crises relating to mental health, substance abuse, and other behavioral health issues may be redirected to residential centers, outdoor behavioral programs, or short-term stabilization units. The follow-up work, which often involves patients coming to a hospital for several hours each day for intense therapy, maybe now delivered through teletherapy. This is likely to be less effective because the culture of being with others in similar situations often contributes to heightened awareness and desire for change.
Families who seek help for struggling teens most often start by looking for the closest resources, which they can blend into daily life with the goal of building healthy new routines. Unfortunately, all of these options are currently online. Sometimes a residential program is the key to helping teens hit the reset button. Residential and outdoor behavioral health programs have the benefit of focusing participant attention solely on a culture of accountability and making healthy choices. They also can give overstressed young adults and parents a productive respite and the opportunity to make a fresh start. This may be particularly beneficial if anxiety about larger world events is exacerbating an adolescent’s difficulties. Given the current limitations of teletherapy, families may increasingly turn to residential and emotional growth programs to give their children the community experience they need to refocus on their health and future. Families may also be more open to considering programs that are farther afield.
The Bertram Group has a deep knowledge of the many opportunities—locally and nationally—that may de-escalate the stresses of this complex time. They continue to follow developments in this field closely, and are always available to assist you in finding the best available resources to help your teens and young adults regain health, a strong sense of self, and get their educations back on track.
Jeremy McGeorge specializes in serving families whose children need nontraditional services as part of their educational plan. He can be reached at email@example.com
Focus Collegiate is pleased to announce the expansion of its support services for college students with complex learning profiles into Summer with a four-week college-readiness experience July 18-August 15. In-person in Boston and virtually across the country, the Summer Cohort addresses the academic, life, digital literacy, and independent living skills necessary for a smooth transition to college.
Student-defined goals create the framework for student success at Focus Collegiate. As Summer Cohort Student Skills Specialist Shawna Graichen describes the approach, “Supporting individual self-determination is the core of the Summer Cohort and of all of our work at Focus Collegiate. We get a sense of what students want for themselves and help them get there. It’s a unique process for each person.”
In the Summer Cohort, students participate in classes designed to assess and enrich their existing skills. Interdisciplinary coursework includes study skills, test-taking strategies, note-taking and research methods, and the mastery of course management systems, digital literacy, and self-directed learning environments. Cohort Activities include simulated group projects, group and individual class participation practice. Students learn peer editing techniques, how to do a presentation, and lecture survival strategies. Together students explore and strengthen self-care practices including budgeting, shopping for, and preparing healthy meals.
As they build strengths, students gain self-awareness, make new friends, and develop the self-advocacy necessary to maintain the healthy routines required for the rigor of college life and beyond.
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.
Ashcreek Academy’s Experiential Education and Therapy programming is an important part of the day to day structure and Master Treatment Plans. The students at Ashcreek enjoy Experiential Therapy 4-5 times a week, participating in activities that are experiential in nature. The therapeutic approach is through drawing parallels to their every day lives and the behaviors that come up during these activities.
Because this programming is a robust component in the students' overall Master Treatment Plans, Ashcreek has hired an Experiential Director, who will be under the direction of the Clinical Director, Dave Archer.
Jared Miller joined the Ashcreek team earlier this year. He has experience working in Addiction Recovery and in public schools. Jared has a degree in Human Performance and Health Promotion and has taught Physical Education. Jared also does Motivational Speaking with his group, the Miller Motivation Group, when not working at Ashcreek. Jared has a passion for Addiction Recovery and helps work with the boys at Ashcreek, under the direction of the Substance Director, Greg Ostler.
Jared is excited to move into this position, as he has seen the power of healing in his time at Ashcreek. “I’m excited for this role, to help the guys get their emotions out through movement. Giving opportunities to express emotions but through physical activities like mountain biking, hiking, sports, etc. and relaying the lessons learned is an important task. Through my trials in life, I have realized the opposite of addiction and mental health issues is connection. Through recreational activities, we are able to develop relationships with each other. Staff to student and student to student. This will help them to develop healthy relationships through the rest of their lives. My main focus will be personal development; setting goals, making future plans, and setting them up for success for when they leave the program.”
Jared will work in tandem with the clinical team, developing different interventions for each boy - based on their Master Treatment Plan Goals or personal goals and life coaching interventions. This will involve things like team building exercises with other students, recovery meetings, sports teams, and other healthy activities/goals identified by the student and therapist that would enhance a student’s journey at Ashcreek.
Jared feels passionate about the work he will be doing with the young men at Ashcreek. “One thing I love about Ashcreek is being able to interact with the kids and watch them grow - from the time they enter our program and to the time I get to watch them leave. The growth of the students and the transformation that happens while they are at our school is worth more than any monetary value could hold.”
Ashcreek 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