All Kinds of News for March 09, 2022
Sunrise Residential Treatment Center has a long history of utilizing feedback-informed treatment to evaluate best practices and ensure long-term, positive outcomes. Dr. Brad Simpson, DSW, Director of Research and Development, recently analyzed data collected over the past five years. Clinical data is collected from the student and family unit throughout the treatment process at Sunrise, as well as the two years post-discharge, allowing for an inclusive measure of the student’s mental health and the overall health of the family unit.
For example, Sunrise found that students report significant improvement in impulse control difficulties, emotional awareness, and the ability to utilize emotional regulation strategies six months after admitting. However, the long-lasting positive outcomes are measured by how successful the student and the family will be when they return home. For example, of the more than 50% of students who display self-harming behaviors upon admission to Sunrise, 97% still no longer self-harm two years later.
Dr Brad Simpson states, "Sunrise is a fully integrated DBT program utilizing evidence-based practice. Many programs use evidence-based practice, however, it is just as important to be sure we have practice-based evidence. This means we are achieving the expected outcomes of the evidence base in our context, level of care, and application of the evidence base. This is a critical component to the health of our program, families, and individual students. Just as is knowing the evidence tells me I will feel better when I exercise for 30 minutes each day. As I apply this in my own life and have a positive impact, I personally reap the benefits. We want this for all of our families and students to reap the benefits of quality and proven treatment."
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.
Along with their pride in opening of Pure Life Adventure’s new adolescent programming in 2022, Pure Life is also pleased to announce the addition of a new therapist to their team. Brook Jackson has spent the last 17 years supporting young people in various settings and Brook will be joining Pure Life Adventure as a program therapist for all gender adolescents ages 15-17 years old.
Brook began his counseling career in 2005 and spent his time learning how wilderness environments can help facilitate change for individuals. He has experience as a professional guide and is a certified drug and alcohol counselor in wilderness therapy. As part of his experience in wilderness therapy, Brook supported teens who struggled with mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, trauma, and substance abuse. As Brook continued his work as a chemical dependency counselor in a residential treatment center, he made a distinct choice for his career path. Brook attended Oregon State University where he earned his Master of Science in Counseling with a dual focus in clinical mental health and school counseling for middle and high school-aged students. This particular focus and age group made Brook an ideal choice to care for youth within Pure Life’s adolescent program.
Brook’s focus on adolescent-age youth has provided him with essential experiences that built an important understanding unique to this age group. He is well versed in the impacts of screen addiction, social media, chronic stress, and bullying on adolescents’ self-esteem and emotional wellbeing.
Pure Life Adventure knows that the success Brook has already had in his career with wilderness therapy and adolescents will be a great benefit to students who join their program. They look forward to seeing the impact Brook’s approach to expanding awareness of thoughts, emotions, and relationships will have for Pure Life’s students. Brook’s philosophy is to foster a genuine and trusting therapeutic relationship while using a combination of motivational interviewing, solution-focused, cognitive-behavioral, and strength-based therapeutic techniques that will inevitably create lasting and positive change for his students.
Outside of his professional career, Brook has a love for getting outdoors, with a special emphasis on adventures with his wife and their dog. During his own time, Brook enjoys soccer, skiing, whitewater rafting, running, backpacking, and exploring nature. He seeks peace and freedom through his time in the wilderness. Brook grew up in Portland, Oregon, and completed his undergraduate degree at the College of Charleston in South Carolina.
Pure Life Adventure can’t wait to begin this new adventure with its adolescent program under the thoughtful and experienced care of Brook Jackson.
About Pure Life Adventure
Pure Life Adventure uses researched-based techniques with integrated therapeutic models throughout its adventure therapy program. Pure Life’s adventure therapy program, based in Costa Rica, works with struggling young people to build self-efficacy, teach healthy coping strategies, behavioral and emotional regulation, leadership skills, and life skills that will allow participants to become independent, productive, and successful adults. For more information about Pure Life’s adventure therapy model and admission process, please visit http://www.purelifeadventure.com
SUWS of the Carolinas welcomed Leyla El-Baba, MSW, LCSW-A, into the professional and compassionate clinical team in the role of primary therapist for adolescent girls ages 14 - 17. With the addition of Leyla El-Baba to the clinical team, SUWS has immediate openings for 14 to 17-year-old females.
Leyla is excited to bring her clinical experience and passion to SUWS to help adolescent girls gain insight and understanding into their past, present, and future selves while empowering girls to discover and learn to use their voice and supporting them as they connect with their embodied wisdom and most authentic self.
A graduate of Warren Wilson College (NC), Leyla earned her Bachelor’s in Psychology with a minor in outdoor leadership. In 2020, she received her master’s degree in social work with a specialization in integrated healthcare from Western Carolina University. Since 2015, Leyla served in the mental health field in residential treatment, wilderness therapy, outpatient therapy, substance use treatment, and crisis stabilization, serving adolescents, children, adults, and families.
During Leyla’s initial caseload development, she will receive supervision from Clinical Director Erica Thiessen, LCMHCS, NCC. "Leyla brings a unique combination of dynamic clinical experience in residential and community settings, along with a sense of adventure and creativity in her personal accomplishment of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail," said Erica Thiessen, SUWS Clinical Director. "These are fantastic ingredients to bring into her work with our SUWS students in the beautiful Pisgah National Forest.”
About Suws of the Carolinas
SUWS of the Carolinas and Phoenix Outdoor is a licensed, CARF International-accredited mental health facility, committed to helping families rediscover their strengths and fostering growth for young people. Operating in the Pisgah National Forest outside of Asheville, SUWS delivers wilderness based therapeutic interventions for 10-17 year old boys and girls with compassion and excellence.
Denver, Colorado: Wonder – A Confident Living Company announces a new program to support more families nationwide. Wonderland National Program is geared to reach families not located in Wonder's home regions. This hybrid program utilizes a relationship-focused and family systems approach when working with youth and parents and offers support virtually as well as in person. Coaches will travel to support families in person with activities that shift long-standing patterns and struggles to bring about healing. When working virtually, coaches will incorporate the use of an activity to keep youth engaged in the work. Activities may include art, music, movement in combination with more in-depth emotional exploration.
“Our hope is to continually reach and support more families. We developed Wonderland National because our relational approach has been helpful for clients virtually and in person. We’ve hired a skilled team of masters-level therapeutic coaches and parent coaches with years of experience under their belts, specifically to travel and support youth and families when needed and also be creative virtually.” says Dave Herz, M.S.Ed., Founder at Wonder.
Wonderland layers of support may include Virtual Youth sessions, Virtual Parent coaching, Family session monthly, In-person visits, In between session support via text or phone. Wonder currently has individual and parent coaches available to meet with families, parents, and youth without a waitlist.
For more information and to find out about Wonderland and the regional options, call 720-295-8440.
Wonder, a Confident Living Company, is a national counseling organization dedicated to providing modern, dynamic therapy and coaching to distressed families, teens, and young adults. Wonder provides a continuum of care from early intervention to helping support transition home from an inpatient level of care including wilderness therapy programs in home regions that include: Denver & Boulder, CO, Chicago, IL, Atlanta, GA, Bay Area, CA, Orange County, CA, Dallas, TX, and NY, NY. For more information, about the home regions or national program, visit http://www.TeamWonder.org.
Hillsboro, NH (3/7/22) — Wediko announced today that it is opening four additional cabin groups and is now accepting applications for Camp Wediko, its six-week residential summer camp for all genders, ages 9-18, struggling with social, emotional, and behavioral challenges. The 44-day therapeutic and academic program for boys and girls specializes in working with children with ADHD, anxiety, Asperger’s, and mood disorders. The camp was closed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and opened at limited capacity in 2021. This year, the camp will open an additional four cabins, increasing its capacity to approximately 70 kids.
“Camp Wediko is designed to provide a summer camp experience for kids who may face challenges in a traditional camp,” said Jessica Luddy, LICSW, Director of Camp Wediko. “Camp Wediko looks and feels much like a traditional summer camp but with the added support of Wediko’s 85+ years of experience working with students with a wide variety of mental health struggles. We are excited to be able to provide this safe, fun, and engaging camp experience to even more students this year.”
Campers live with groups of 6-8 peers (plus staff) in cabins nestled throughout the 450-acre lakefront campus, eat in a dining hall, and spend their days in constant motion. A typical day includes multiple structured activity periods such as: swimming, canoeing, art, archery, dance, athletics, brain games, theater, yoga, and mountain biking. Daily activities also include a literacy and math/science academic curriculum to help campers practice translating the social and emotional skills they are learning at Camp Wediko into the classroom environment.
Wediko’s therapeutic milieu is the primary intervention, where staff and clinicians develop strong relationships with each camper, focus on the camper’s strengths, and help them make social and emotional gains. The staff to camper ratio is 1:2, which allows Camp Wediko to provide active, intensive supports to campers and to challenge each camper individually.
Clinicians live on campus so they can work with campers every day and in-the-moment, within the context of the program. Clinicians also facilitate daily group therapy and develop individual and group interventions to support each camper.
While admissions decisions are rolling throughout the spring, Camp Wediko encourages families to submit completed applications by May 1 for the best chance of availability. Learn more and apply here: https://thewedikoschool.org/camp-wediko/.
About The Wediko School
The Wediko School is a residential treatment center offering therapeutic and educational services for middle- and high-school-aged boys experiencing significant social-emotional, behavioral, and educational challenges. A program of The Home for Little Wanderers, The Wediko School’s social workers, psychologists, and special education teachers guide students through an intensive milieu of academics and therapy. For more information, visit thewedikoschool.org.
New Focus Academy, a co-ed residential program for neurodiverse teenagers, welcomes two new therapists to their program. Samantha 'Sam' Klebe and Meagan Grasley have joined the amazing team at New Focus Academy as Primary Therapists. They will be working extensively with the students to help them utilize their strengths, address their challenges, and build confidence and motivation to continue with their growing process.
Sam is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor and specializes in working with adolescents and young adults, helping them to navigate the challenges and find joy in the journey. By demonstrating compassion, empathy, and unconditional positive regard, Sam is easily able to develop therapeutic rapport and establish a safe space where her clients feel free to be themselves. Sam’s experience also includes assessment and appraisal of children and adolescents with a variety of neurodiverse differential diagnoses.
Meagan’s passion for working in the field of behavior analysis therapy began in her undergraduate degree where she spent time volunteering with people with various disabilities. She has been working continuously in this field with a Master's in Education working as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) before joining New Focus Academy as a Primary Therapist and ABA Specialist. She uses her various experiences, along with other evidence-based practices, to help her clients better handle the variability of life and learn other essential life skills.
The students and staff at New Focus Academy are thrilled to have Sam and Meagan joining their team. Thanks to decades of experience and proven methods, immersive experiential activities, quality therapists and staff, and a small, close-knit community, the students of New Focus Academy have the time to grow emotionally and socially while learning and applying valuable life skills.
Learn more about New Focus Academy’s program and how it can help your child. Visit https://newfocusacademy.com or call (435) 383-4369.
New Focus Academy is a therapeutic residential treatment program for adolescents ages 12-18 with neurodevelopmental challenges. Located in Heber City, Utah, just outside of Salt Lake City, New Focus Academy prepares struggling teens for a purpose-filled, independent life. New Focus Academy creates an environment of success using a positive reinforcement approach and empowering students to take small steps leading to big changes and overall wellness.
Passages Alaska believes in real-time family therapy work even when the student is out in the field. Granted, letter writing is one very important communication tool but to family dialogue, Passages Alaska adds the Marco Polo phone application, a video messaging and video hosting service. letting the teens and their families see each other’s emotional responses and bringing family therapy to a higher level. This technology allows a student's family to video record themselves on a preassigned topic. When the student's therapist goes out to the field, they bring the video and the student can more holistically experience their family speaking about the assignment. The student can then respond to their family with honest reactions while working through their issues with their therapist.
This form of communication allows for more rapid growth. By the time the students have been with Passages Alaska around six weeks, they are used to “speaking” with their family. This creates the flow of movement in a positive direction in their relationship and towards using Zoom conferences in real-time. Even though the operating area is extremely remote, there are certain areas of cell service, so the student doesn’t have to come out of the field to make the call.
Weekly individual calls between the families from the therapist help with understanding and learning about the work everybody needs to do. Passages Alaska felt that wasn’t enough and so has created a weekly support group for families with the therapists on a Zoom teleconference. Since wilderness is generally the beginning of the journey supporting this form of intervention, the evening support group gives the families a chance to express their feelings of the new experience. And then amilies who are farther down the road can support the newer families. It also allows the therapist time to teach more of the process and what it encompasses.
About Passages Alaska
Passages Alaska is a unique wilderness therapy program in Southeast Alaska serving adolescent males and young adults aged 18-28 in gender-specific groups. As participants come into the Alaskan Wilderness the coastal waters offer a fresh perspective and a new path. Hands-on therapeutic interventions include paddling, whale watching, fishing, primitive skill-building, and service to others. Extensive therapy and coaching is built in for those with anxiety, depression, ADHD, and failure to thrive.
Solstice East, a residential treatment center in North Carolina for 14- to 17- year old students (female, transgender, and non-binary) is excited to announce the return of Stacy Barnard as the new Director of Marketing and Business Development.
Stacy first began her career in mental health at Solstice East as one of the first direct-care staff in 2012. She devoted 6 years to the program, working on both the residential and administrative teams and ultimately finding her passion in admissions and marketing. In recent years, Stacy has worked as the Admissions Director in a variety of settings including a young adult wilderness therapy program, transitional living program, and most recently a therapeutic boarding school. She is excited to be returning to Solstice and to have the chance to apply these experiences in her new role:
“I believe most people who work in this field have one program that feels like home. Solstice East has always been that for me,” Stacy explains. “I know the caliber of this program through and through and it is one that is hard to come by. I am thrilled to be a part of this new leadership team and am looking forward to shining a spotlight on the incredible work and new developments that are taking place here.”
On Stacy rejoining the team, Danielle Andrews, MA, LCMHC, CFTP, Executive Director, says “Having the Marketing Director know your program at the core is invaluable. We know Stacy; the level of integrity and authenticity that she brings to her work aligns perfectly with our values here at Solstice East. We are beyond excited to have her back on the team.”
Solstice East utilizes a trauma-informed model to promote long-term growth and healing. Each week, students receive a combination of individual, family, and group therapy sessions including trauma recovery, equine therapy, social communication, grief counseling, addictive processing, experiential DBT, identity development, and body image & self-esteem.
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.
Journey Home East, a transitional living program for females ages 16-21 in Asheville, NC, is excited to welcome Primary Therapist Emily Smith, MSW, LMSW, LCSWA. Emily graduated with her Master of Social Work degree from Aurora University in Aurora, Illinois. She moved from this midwestern state to the beautiful mountains of North Carolina after a long-time passion for supporting young people on their journeys of self-discovery in natural healing spaces. She gained her tenure in this work from working in wilderness therapy treatment settings, proudly embodying a number of roles throughout her time. As she climbed the professional ladder, Emily began to hone her work with young people toward a focus on identity development and complex trauma. She realized that the self-discovery journey for young people is plagued with experiences of both systemic and episodic trauma and drew from her experience with unique and expressive modalities to “get to the roots” of the young people she was working with. Thinking “outside the box” is something that Emily enjoys and feels is essential in effectively collaborating with young people to achieve their goals.
“We are thrilled to have Emily join our Journey Home East clinical team,” says Executive Director Danielle Andrews, “she’s a visionary and an absolutely brilliant clinician who exemplifies an empowered strength, grit, and groundedness. I’m confident that our residents will continue to heal and ultimately elevate in her care.”
Emily utilizes a variety of experiential modalities such as expressive arts therapy, Brainspotting, somatic experiencing, and Trauma Centered Trauma Sensitive Yoga to name a few. Emily believes that the key to a healthier future is healthier relationships. She focuses on conflict resolution, trust-based relational interventions, and the value of a felt sense of safety in allowing the relationship to guide the work.
When she isn’t on the job, Emily is often found doing something creative, whether it’s being in the outdoors with her family and animals, tending to her garden, working on her latest home renovation project, or baking a pie.
To learn more about the program please visit: https://journeyhomeeast.com/
About Journey Home East
Journey Home East is a transitional living program serving females ages 16-21 in the artistic semi-urban community of downtown Asheville, NC. We provide around-the-clock structure and support for young women learning everyday skills in preparation for real-world living. Our residential program, led by a team of experienced and compassionate professionals, assists residents with all aspects of daily life including budgeting and financial planning; managing free time and electronic device consumption; relationship building and growing boundaries; health, hygiene, and personal safety; applying for jobs; school studies; shopping for groceries and cooking meals; and more. Clients enrolling at Journey Home East have had previous therapeutic placement and require transitional housing prior to independence. We provide all residents with continued therapeutic support to assist them on their life journey.
Equinox RTC, a residential treatment center for teen boys ages 14-18, is excited to welcome Primary Therapist Ben O’Brien.
Ben is a North Carolina Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Associate (LCMHCA) dedicated to working with clients to address and improve mental health concerns. He received a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of North Carolina Wilmington and a Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Western Carolina University.
“We are thrilled to welcome Ben to our clinical team,” says Executive Director John Moore. “He is a perfect fit for Equinox and has a unique approach to working with students on Relational Trauma. I know he’ll be a great addition!”
With a passion for understanding and helping others, Ben’s career in the behavioral health field began as a clinical research assistant at the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC. While at Duke, Ben co-authored several published articles on ADHD and Substance Use Disorders.
Prior to Equinox, Ben served as an outpatient clinician for adolescents and adults with significant behavioral health challenges. Ben welcomes and affirms all expressions of identity and True to the Equinox relational model, Ben uses a variety of evidence-based practices that are specially tailored for each individual’s experience, gifts, and challenges. These approaches include but are not limited to cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, mindfulness, solution-focused, acceptance, and commitment therapy. Ben believes in creative collaboration to allow clients space for developing new coping strategies and better problem-solving skills.
In his free time, Ben enjoys backpacking, running with his dog, and spending time with family and friends.
About Equinox RTC
Equinox RTC is a leading residential treatment center for boys ages 14-18. Equinox is unique in its focus on Relational Trauma, which includes grief, loss, and attachment. Trauma, Loss, and Attachment, providing clinically intensive treatment for boys struggling with anxiety, depression, substance use and abuse, learning disabilities, and other emotional and behavioral needs. Equinox offers a combination of clinically sophisticated support with a whole-person approach including adventure therapy, a health and fitness 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.
Crossroads is proud to announce that for the third time in a row, it has earned a three-year accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), the highest accreditation possible. According to CARF, “This achievement is an indication of the organization’s dedication and commitment to improving the quality of the lives of the persons served.” Crossroads maintains compliance with high standards and is dedicated to continuous improvement to support its clients and staff.
Shannon Trainor, CEO of Crossroads, said, “This is our third 3-year accreditation and I’m so proud to be part of an amazing organization like Crossroads. I thank my incredibly dedicated staff for all the hard work they do day in and day out to assist our clients and the organization.”
The organization received accreditation for all of its programs including residential treatment for both substance use disorders and eating disorders, as well as intensive outpatient treatment (IOP) and outpatient treatment. One of the areas Crossroads was specifically praised for was upholding an elevated level of transparency and communication when it comes to clinical care issues. There is a significant collaboration and teamwork between clinical and administrative staff to improve client care.
Crossroads was also recognized for its ongoing commitment to process improvement. The organization’s strategic plan clearly outlines the overall vision, mission, and objectives and puts in place feasible plans to overcome barriers and achieve results. Data is used to drive sound decision-making and identify areas of strength and opportunities for improvement.
About Crossroads, located in Maine
Crossroads, a nonprofit in Maine, is a fully accredited addiction and behavioral health treatment center located in Scarborough, Maine. It is a member of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers and accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) since 2016. Clients engage in evidence-based, gender-responsive treatment to build the skills and strategies necessary to support long-term recovery. In addition to treating co-occurring substance use disorders, the facility also addresses mental health and eating disorders for more comprehensive and individualized care. Specialized programs are available for pregnant women and new mothers, as well as family and friends. Crossroads supports clients in remembering who they wanted to be and getting a fresh start through a substance-free lifestyle.
Red Oak Recovery® programs are thrilled to announce that they have received their three-year re-accreditation by CARF International, an independent, nonprofit accreditor of health and human services. The Red Oak Recovery® family of programs includes Red Oak Recovery® (for young adult men ages 18-30), The Willows at Red Oak Recovery® (for young adult women ages 18-35), and Foothills at Red Oak Recovery (for adolescent boys ages 14-17). Each of these programs provides gender-separate, developmentally specific, evidence-based clinical care for clients and their families. CARF (the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) International promotes and supports quality services through their consultative accreditation process that centers on enhancing the lives of persons served (carf.org).
There were many areas that the CARF survey team praised the Red Oak Recovery® programs for. In their official report, they specifically applauded the program for its “dedication and commitment to improving the lives of the persons served.” They also noted that clients were especially complimentary of the programs, praising staff for genuinely caring about clients. “Staff members demonstrate the qualities of empathy, advocacy, respect, teamwork, and professionalism” and “they extend themselves beyond the typical expectations of their positions.” CARF surveyors also mentioned how professional, cohesive, and dedicated the Red Oak Recovery® team is to their clients.
“We are very pleased about the re-accreditation by CARF as confirmation of the outstanding services we provide to our clients and their families,” says Jack Kline, MS, LCMHCS, LCAS, CCS, CTT-2, MAC, Founder and President. “This highlights the hard work and commitment of each and every employee at our programs and their desire to strive for excellence.”
Red Oak Recovery® programs
Red Oak Recovery® programs are located throughout Western North Carolina and include clinically-driven and gender-separate trauma-focused mental health and substance use treatment for young adult men ages 18-30 (www.redoakrecovery.com), young adult women ages 18-35 (www.thewillowsatredoak.com), and adolescent boys ages 14-17 (www.foothillsatredoak.com).
Building Bridges has two family workshops per year. One is at the end of the Summer Adventure Program in August and the other in March. This year’s March workshop will take place the week of March 8th. Families travel to Thompson Falls for several days to take a look at their family systems: see what role they have in it, to learn how the program is working to make the system with their loved one’s relationship and lifestyle a healthier one, and spend time with their student making positive connections.
The first two days are for the adults only. They spend the first morning as a group learning about the issues of substance use. In the afternoon there are breakout sessions that have topics spanning from self-care to boundaries to relapse. The second day starts with an AL-ANON meeting and is followed by discussions throughout the day about Academics, Crisis Management, and in the afternoon there is a summary of the workshop. The family portion ends with role-playing for the families whose student will be continuing on at Building Bridges, and a meeting with the clinical director regarding transition for the students graduating in May.
The day following the workshop is for individual family work between the students and their relatives. They have family sessions with their therapists throughout the morning. Once the family sessions are over, visits begin! The students and their families head off campus to spend time practicing what they have learned in the workshop in a real-life setting.
About Building Bridges
Building Bridges is a Therapeutic Boarding School in Thompson Falls, MT for boys 14-18 with substance and behavioral issues. The passion is creating a structure that mirrors real life with the goal to have the boys attend public school. Building Bridges seeks to bring real life to treatment through redirection and empowerment. They strive to teach the young men to see how substance has created behaviors that have gotten in their way of pursing their passions. By teaching them how to have self-confidence and create a more positive manner they are able to see their growth through using what they learn in a normalized safe environment that will transfer to wherever their next step is.
Meristem announces an 8-week Summer Program June 6th – July 29th, for young adults (aged 18 -28 years) on the autism spectrum, with options to live full-time on campus in dorms through the Independent Living Skills Program or to attend the Day Program.
Like the year-round program, the Summer Program offers a wide variety of special opportunities for students, such as:
- Culinary Arts Internship
- California Conservation Corps Internship
- Circus Arts
- Work Skills Vocational Training in Meristem Café
- Work Skills Vocational Training at Effie Yeaw Nature Center
- Work Skills Vocational Training at Mission Oaks
- Farm-to-Fork Culinary Arts with Fieldtrips to farms
- Food Safety Certification
- Herbal Arts and Land Management collaboration building a new herbal arts garden on Meristem’s campus
For more information about Meristem, visit their table at the 'Alternative to College Fair,' on March 18th and 19th in Walnut Creek, Mariott. This fair is free to attendees. If you want to tour the campus, call and schedule a tour with the Director of Admissions, Mariann Eitzmann (916) 963-1173. Meristem has an inviting 13- acre campus in Fair Oaks, CA. It is there that you can learn about how the summer program and year-round programming are helping young adults with autism transition to higher education, employment, and/or more independent life.
Meristem, a non-profit 501c3, founded in 2015 is a unique program dedicated to preparing young adults on the autism spectrum for a life of greater independence and fulfillment. Meristem's multi-year program serves students ages 18–28. Our residential students come from across the United States. Our day students commute from homes throughout the Sacramento region.
February 2022, EDGE Learning and Wellness expanded its team and welcomed Yonne Houston, MA to the program. Houston is one of EDGE’s two Therapeutic Life Coaches. At EDGE, Therapeutic Life Coaches work one-on-one with students to help them set goals, make action plans, and get in touch with their thoughts and feelings. With the addition of a second Therapeutic Life Coach, EDGE is now able to offer expertise in new areas and provide students with more one-on-one time.
Houston is thrilled to join the team and is looking forward to helping students on their journeys to independence. Her experience working as a transitional living liaison, along with growing up in Chicago, gives her a special insight into the EDGE student experience. “I’m Chicago raised and I’m really proud of it.” Houston replied when asked about living in Chicago. “Everything I’ve learned about how to take on life has come from this city, especially the neighborhood I grew up in.”
Since earning her master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health from the University of Illinois Springfield, Houston has served in cities all across the country, helping people heal and grow by demonstrating radical self-care and emphasizing the connection between mind, body, and spirit.
Houston also has a special interest in using sound to help people heal. “I don’t think there’s one person on the planet that doesn’t connect with music.” Houston explained. “Music lets you express the things you don’t know how to say. Expressing with music doesn’t interrupt you and doesn’t give you rules or regulations. It’s universal and everyone can tap into it.” Houston has already spotted some EDGE students with hidden talents and is looking forward to the next EDGE karaoke night.
As EDGE Learning and Wellness Collegiate Community continues to expand, they look forward to bringing on additional experts and team members to help EDGE students grow and reach their fullest potential.
About EDGE Learning and Wellness Collegiate Community
EDGE Learning and Wellness Collegiate Community is an accredited transitional living program located in Chicago, IL. EDGE offers therapeutically supported residential and non-residential options for post-treatment young adults. The participants, ages 18 -24, are striving to excel academically while creating a life of balance, joy, and wellness.
Evoke Therapy Programs has recently released its latest Summer Pursuits offerings. Pursuits are adventures designed for high-functioning adolescents, young adults, or families looking for an exciting bonding experience and healthy adventure. The trips are designed to inspire and foster participants' greater personal vision and life-long goals.
“There are many people for whom these trips would be appropriate,” says Pursuits program director Sara Carroll. “Our most common participants are families whose children are transitioning from one program to another — or even to home. These trips give them a chance to reconnect before the next stage in their therapeutic journeys.” She points out that folks looking to pursue personal growth, youth on spring break, and families needing to recharge are also fans of Pursuits.
While Evoke plans custom Pursuits for individuals and families from three to 30 days that can take them all over the globe, the company has also created two stock excursions for this summer: a three-day backpacking trip and a weeklong basecamp adventure.
The backpacking trip is a hiking-focused trip in Southern Utah, where along with seeing breathtaking nature, participants also learn technical skills like wilderness navigation and backcountry cooking. The basecamp adventure is a multi-sport trip filled with hiking, biking, and fishing (among other activities) where participants spend days in the outdoors, then retire to the comforts of a single-family home — and comfy beds — at night.
All Evoke Pursuits are led and staffed by extensively trained and experienced outdoor guides, as well as therapeutic mentors and teachers. Lead Pursuits guides have at least four years of experience in group facilitation and leading adventure trips. All Evoke guides maintain certification as Wilderness First Responders, and training in wilderness risk management, Leave No Trace ethics, communication skills, therapeutic mentoring, and group facilitation.
"In a world where humans spend more time on screens and less time outdoors, Evoke Therapy Programs saw a need to bring together families and provide skills to young people,” says Carroll. “Research has shown again and again that outdoor education and adventure inherently fosters positive mental health in individuals. Our Pursuits programs have been developed in a way that allows each individual in the program to develop skills of confidence, self-discovery, and social development during a relatively short time frame. Our participants are outside backpacking, rock climbing, or fishing, but they are also looking inside themselves through guide-led activities such as journaling, mindfulness, and yoga."
About Evoke Therapy Programs
Evoke Therapy Programs provides both outdoor-based therapeutic programs for adolescents, young adults, and families and Intensive therapy programs for individuals, families, and couples. Evoke is accredited by the AEE/OBH and is a NATSAP Research Designated Program. Evoke’s outdoor programs are based in Saint George, Utah. Evoke Therapy Intensives are based in northern Utah.
Red Mountain Colorado is thrilled to announce the addition of Liz Villanueva, Academic Director, to the team. Liz joined RMC in January and brings a wealth of enthusiasm, experience, and expertise in working with students with learning differences, emotional struggles, and behavioral challenges.
As a Certified Special Education Teacher, Liz was drawn to Red Mountain Colorado because of the focus on mindfulness, mental health, and overall well-being.
Though Liz is pursuing a Masters in Organizational Leadership and had previously left the classroom to work in human resources, she realized that she missed working with adolescent students. When she found Red Mountain Colorado, she immediately knew it was a good fit. “After my first day, I was like, this is my dream job!” Liz said.
While her role is helping students regain momentum in school, Liz’s priority is helping students feel safe and comfortable in the classroom. “My biggest thing is always relationship building,” she said. “When I worked in public schools, I always had the ‘problem’ students sent to work with me. But I never had any issues with disrespect, because I built relationships first.”
Liz, also a mother of two young children, works as a mentor at RMC in the morning before school and stays after school to tutor individuals who need extra help or those who want to work ahead. She also spends time getting to know students during lunch.
Recently Liz, who is fluent in Spanish, has been connecting with a few students around the topic of racial diversity. She values learning about everyone and seeing how they view the world and the issues that brought them to RMC. “I love having conversations with them,” she said. “They have so much to say.”
In addition to her ability to connect with students, Liz is passionate about photography, world travel, and education. In her previous schools, Liz taught or co-taught every subject and is skilled at helping students with executive functioning deficits find success in academics. She loves working individually to help students fill the gaps in their understanding and is used to getting creative when working with her students.
“It’s about finding what works for every student,” Liz said. “They are not made with cookie cutters.”
About Red Mountain Colorado:
Red Mountain Colorado, located just north of Denver, provides an ideal location for adolescent males and nonbinary individuals, who would benefit from a mindfulness-based residential treatment program. Red Mountain helps teens with co-occurring disorders heal by working with the mind, body, and spirit using various forms of meditation, mindfulness, yoga, martial arts, life skills education, and evidence-based therapies including CBT, DBT, EMDR, and Brainspotting.
Emerging adults are often in a stage of inquiry related to identity, purpose, and meaning. Emerald Arrow, a Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness program, is specifically designed to address the challenges young adults ages 18-29 face. Primary Therapist Anne Wilzbacher, LCMHC, and the Emerald Arrow team work to provide meaningful opportunities for students to engage in formative opportunities for creativity, education, skill-building, and connection.
Emerald Arrow’s weekly creative intensives and skill-building workshops offer students exposure to various forms of creative expression and exploration of interests. Creative intensives range from painting and drawing to making pottery, writing, playing music, bookbinding and more. Skill-building workshops are centered on life skills essential to fostering confidence and competence in areas such as nutrition, meal preparation, budgeting, first aid, career and interview skills, communication skills, volunteering, and overall health and wellness. These experiences are designed to serve as tools to support emotional regulation, authentic self-expression and exploration of one’s passions.
Students in Emerald Arrow are also presented with opportunities to connect with others who have overcome adversity, want to share about their career field, or who work with young adults in other contexts. By exposing students to a variety of shared stories, the Professional Speaker Series provides inspiration for the future and illustrates how every individual’s journey is unique. Twice monthly, professional guests visit Emerald Arrow and spend time alongside students, sharing experiences and stories, teaching a variety of skills and participating in group discussions and activities.
An alumni student recounts her experience in the program: “Emerald Arrow allowed me to rebuild myself and rebuild the relationships around me in the process. I conquered mental and physical challenges I never thought I was capable of… I could never thank the staff and the nature I was surrounded with enough. I would recommend this program to anyone who needs a real change in their life. It is an experience I will never forget and never regret.”
Designed to serve young adults long after graduation, the unique program elements in Emerald Arrow, combined with the overarching therapeutic structure, offer insight to young adults’ passions, capabilities, and goals, and serve as practical resources which they can access for life.
Emerald Arrow: A Bold Path is a Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness program for young adults. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, Emerald Arrow provides a safe, holistic, and clinically sophisticated environment for struggling young adults to reflect upon themselves, their family systems and their futures, and to work through challenges in an immersive wilderness environment.
This is the first time since the newsletter launched in 2015 the newsletter deadline is changing for April. The new April deadline is Friday,1st, 2022 - 11 AM PT | Noon MT | 2 PM ET.
"I find that life is funny enough and stranger than fiction to be clever enough to joke with advertisers who support the platform with their news," said Jenney Wilder producer of allkindsoftherapy.com.
If you have any questions, feedback, or an opinion when the news should be released Tuesday vs. Wednesday,
please feel free to reach out to the main number at 202-630-2563 or email email@example.com.
blueFire Wilderness, an innovative and comprehensive wilderness and adventure-based program for children and young adults, is opening another Embers Group to accommodate pre-adolescent boys aged 11-15. This new group is slated to open this month and enrollments are already filling up.
Young boys are struggling in this current world of perceived uncertainty. The lockdowns and isolation of the COVID pandemic is causing a myriad of trauma in the younger generation. The increase of screen time for both pleasure and schooling has caused damage to children’s social skills, anxiety, depression, parent and child relationships, and mood regulation among a plethora of other issues. This second Embers group provides a safe place for these young boys to step away from their current environments and gain perspective.
The Embers program removes these young boys from their fast-paced lives and away from distractions, thus they are better able to engage and reflect on their own behaviors and the way these behaviors impact the world around them. Embers group Primary Therapists Mark Ellis and Ted Bost work with these pre-adolescent boys to give them healthy coping, communication, and organizational skills through such programming as individual and group therapy, weekly equine therapy, exercise, adventure activities, quality food and good sleep, no screens, fresh air, leadership roles, and self-esteem building exercises.
Throughout the program, blueFire focuses on teaching and developing skills that will be transferable to the real world and support these young boys as they continue to grow into successful adults.
To learn more about blueFire Wilderness and the Embers Program please visit https://bluefirewilderness.com or call (844) 413-1999 for more information.
BlueFire Wilderness is a wilderness therapy program based just outside of Boise, Idaho that offers teens ages 11-17 a comprehensive adventure experience. BlueFire Wilderness combines clinical expertise, academic assessments, and a family systems approach to help teens struggling with emotional, behavioral and social challenges.
Two of the major goals at Foundations Asheville are to help students develop skills they need to be an adult by building confidence and understanding. and to successfully transition to living independently. Part of that process is experiencing new places and the self-guided opportunities that come from those experiences. So when a Foundations Asheville student expressed an interest in visiting the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, the staff was eager to support the idea, as well as allowing it to grow into a community collaboration of planning an epic group road trip to one of the southeast’s largest cities.
So what do a road trip and a young adult transitional community have in common? Lots! From problem-solving when schedules overlapped and working together as a group on the planning process to practicing time management and independence during free times, this road trip was a great lesson of navigating what students will face in the real world once they transition out of Foundations Asheville. Other life lessons included budgeting, cooking group meals, and compatibility with others when traveling for long periods of time.
In just 36 hours, Foundations Asheville students explored the Five Points neighborhood, toured the World Of Coke, saw Romeo & Juliet, visited the Georgia Aquarium, and even caught an Atlanta United soccer game. After such a successful trip, the students are eager to utilize their updated planning and time management skills for their next adventures.
About Foundations Asheville
Foundations Asheville is a young adult transition community located in the mountains of North Carolina. The program serves young adults ages 18-24 who are looking to acquire the tools to make the transition from adolescence to life as independent adults. Foundations help young adults aspire to find meaning, direction, relationships, and self-reliance in their lives. At Foundations, we strive to create a full and rewarding life through an individualized combination of education, vocation training, community service, healthy lifestyle skills, relationship building, and participation in a genuine community of peers.
Trails Carolina’s transitional programming has helped meet families and students where they are to create lasting change. In continuing with this tradition Trails Carolina has further developed their “Home Simulator” experience at their Winding Gap campus.
Traditionally students at Trails Carolina rotate between three distinctive campuses and wilderness expeditions. Each experience is tailored to test the work students are doing while in the program. This month the main campus continues to be further delineated from the wilderness component, where students now will be making their beds, become more responsible for their daily schedule and experience, and have even more hands-on participation in the preparation and planning for their coming expedition. In this environment, students will manage their own time with clocks in common areas and cabins, take care of their personal areas that more closely resemble a “dorm room”, and operate within a day that even further parallels life at home or in a residential setting.
“This creates an opportunity not just to test the work we do at Trails, but to prepare students for life after Trails.” Luke Johnson, Youth Field Director, shares. “It strengthens our transition from wilderness to home or the next stage. While providing even more of the staples of home this also allows them to become more responsible for themselves.”
This next step will continue to prepare students at Trails Carolina for life after wilderness. To learn more about these transitions please visit trailscarolina.com 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.
The Dorm, an integrated young adult treatment community, is thrilled to formally introduce Robert, L. Johnson, MC, MCAP, CMHP, CST as the new Assistant Director of The Dorm's Washington, D.C., Dupont Circle location.
Robert brings with him an impressive, decades-long career working as a Family and Special Services Director, Clinical Director, primary clinician, and educator. He is a certified trauma therapist (C.T.T), a board-certified expert in post-traumatic stress, a board-certified sex therapist (CST), and has extensive training in psychotherapy, psychodrama therapy, and related modalities.
Robert is passionate about making a difference in the lives of young adults with a focus on care for the entire family system. "I see a family member’s recovery process as being parallel to the identified client’s", shares Robert. "A therapist or team of therapists can often make more progress when they know the comprehensive inner workings of the complete system."
Working alongside Site Director Sarah Harte, LICSW, Robert will be focused on continuing to grow the site's clinical services, training the staff in exiting new treatment modalities, and supporting The Dorm, D.C.'s move to a brand new space next month. "We're looking forward to leaving a bigger clinical footprint in the community and expanding our mission of promoting diversity, openness, and safely for all clients seeking care!" says Robert.
To learn more about Robert and details about what drew him to work at The Dorm and what excites him most about supporting their community mission, please read this exclusive interview: https://thedorm.com/introducing-robert-l-johnson-assistant-director
About The Dorm
Since 2009, our mission at The Dorm has been to guide young adults towards independence through evidence-based clinical therapies, community support and practical skill-building. As a full-service treatment community with locations in New York City, NY, and Washington, D.C., we offer a unique approach to caring for young adults that is both therapeutic and holistic. This includes comprehensive day and evening services with individual and group therapy, wrap-around academic support, independent living opportunities and individualized life skills training. Our holistic health and wellness services include weekly mindfulness, meditation, yoga, nutrition and fitness training. The Dorm’s expert therapists and practitioners support the community with tailor-made treatment plans that meet them where they are today - virtually, at home, at school, or out in the community.
Stillwater Academy is pleased to announce Scott Jones, CMHC as its new Executive Director and Owner.
Scott Jones has a long history with Stillwater Academy and has been instrumental in the growth and innovation of Stillwater Academy over the past two decades. Until recently, Scott worked as a Primary Therapist at Outback Therapeutic Expeditions, a wilderness therapy program located in Utah after having worked as a Primary Therapist, Family Therapist, and Program Director at Stillwater Academy. With this varied and vast background, Scott takes a strength-based, relational approach to therapy and loves guiding students and staff in the discovery of their unique strengths, to “see” their inherent value.
When asked about his career, Scott says, “I have great reverence for the process of change and growth that students and their families go through while at Stillwater Academy. I approach therapy as a humble participant in that change process. I embrace the power of relationships in inviting change, I understand that change requires risk and healing can only happen in a safe and nurturing environment. I believe that students "would if they could" and often their self-destructive behaviors come from a shame-based view of themselves. When working with a student or parent, my mantra is "don't get stuck in the thick of thin things". Often students and parents are so focused on the immediate "problems" that it is difficult for them to recognize a way out of the challenges they face. I take a strength-based, relational approach to therapy and love helping students discover their unique strengths and "see" their inherent value, often for the first time. I have a passion for working with adolescents and their families and am grateful for the chance to be involved in the miracles that happen every day at Stillwater Academy.”
Lee Caldwell is the previous Executive Director/Owner and heart and soul of Stillwater Academy for over 30 years. Lee will continue to play the invaluable role of Director of Admissions and can be reached at 385-352-3371.
About Stillwater Academy
Stillwater Academy since 1988 is a one-of-a-kind clinical treatment program and accredited school that helps teens and families who have experienced profound family disruptions find healing and re-connection. Through our unique approach, we help students (age 13-17) LEARN new ways of addressing their challenges; LIVE the skills they are developing in a family setting that provides warmth, support, and consistency; and LEAD others as they prepare for a transition. Founded in 1988, Stillwater Academy has over 30 years of experience in helping students struggling with challenges like anxiety, depression, trauma, addiction (substance, electronic, and gaming), family conflict, neurodiversity, ASD Level 1, and more. Always maximizing insurance benefits to offset the high cost of treatment for families because we are licensed to provide Residential Support, Day Treatment, and Outpatient Treatment. Our clinical approach includes weekly individual, family, group, and equine-assisted therapy; inspired, classroom-based education by State licensed teachers; and engaging recreation activities with a purpose; all directed at strengthening family relationships and preparing our students to achieve long-term success post-treatment.