Equinox Counseling & Wellness Center

Gina Thorne:   Hi everyone, welcome to the Harmony Foundation video podcast series. I’m pleased today to be joined with Jordan Leffel with Equinox Counseling. It’s good to have you here today.

Jordan Leffel:  Thank you for having me.

Gina Thorne:   I’m looking forward to talking with you a little bit about Equinox Counseling and Wellness. But before we do that, let’s learn a little bit more about your background and how you got into the field.

Jordan Leffel:   Absolutely. My background is actually in advertising, consulting, as well as restaurant ownership and management. About eight years ago I moved to Denver, and was looking for a lifestyle change, change of pace, change of careers, and I found myself serendipitously working at Denver Health in a therapy capacity. I assisted physical therapists and occupational therapists primarily in the surgical ICU at Denver Health. I worked with a lot of spinal cord injuries, a lot of trauma, a lot of TBIs, helping mobilize patients after a severe trauma. I fell in love with it, and it inspired me to go back to school to get a degree in healthcare. I attended Metropolitan State University in Denver and discovered their integrative healthcare program. Their degree in integrative therapeutic practices, which is a Bachelor’s of Science, is what I finished my degree in. Upon graduation, I was looking for firms that we’re delivering healthcare in a progressive integrative type of model, and I came across Equinox. Fell in love with what they were doing, their kind of hybrid model of therapy, including wilderness, adventure and experiential components with more traditional didactic and processing pieces of therapy as well. So I bothered them enough to get an interview, and here I am as their outreach coordinator today.

Gina Thorne:   That’s great. Well, so I’m interested in hearing more about Equinox. Here’s what I pulled from your website. Be extraordinary, take risks, don’t be reckless. Make your life a masterpiece. These are motives and beliefs and values from the Equinox manifesto that’s on your site. Can you describe how this approach works with teens and families when they’re treating your clients?

Jordan Leffel:   Absolutely. I think those components of our program really speak to how we promote personal agency with our clients and their families, and really help them understand that life is not about the things that happened to you, it’s about what you do with those things, and the choices that you make. So really empowering people to make better decisions and take charge of their own lives, and providing them with the tools and the models and support to make those better choices, and to make mistakes and have a team of support around you to help overcome those obstacles. I think personal agency is a really important key piece of the healthcare that we’re delivering.

Gina Thorne:   You have an integrated model, so tell me a little bit more about what that means when you say that?

Jordan Leffel:   Yeah, absolutely. Our approach is more of a hybrid approach. Our founders have backgrounds in wilderness therapy programs, as well as residential therapy programs or residential treatment centers. They saw a lot of great work that was being done there and they wanted to create a center that was delivering similar work in an outpatient environment in order to keep a family system together. What we did was we drew some components of wilderness therapy, some components from residential treatment centers, and brought those all under one roof, and so we do wilderness intensives with our clients when it’s clinically indicated.

We also run a milieu in an outpatient setting, which is something unique that I haven’t seen at another treatment center. During that milieu time in an outpatient setting, we’re working on one of four activities, and that’s a very structured social environment for our clients, and they’re either working on homework or vocational work. They might be working on treatment work or assignments that they’ve gotten from their therapists. They might be doing some type of social activity with our therapeutic care specialists, that could look like scrabble, that could look like Frisbee, or they might be working on some type of health and wellness initiative.

Part of our milieu programming is really designed to help our clients answer the question, how do I take care of my whole self? We are participating in workouts together daily, we cook meals, we prepare meals together, and really help build those life skills while we’re also working in conjunction on some mental health components as well.

Gina Thorne:   A very unique model, I love it. Sounds great.

Jordan Leffel:   Thanks.

Gina Thorne:   Learning a little bit more about you specifically, in the last five years, what have you become better at saying no to, whether it’s distractions or invitations?

Jordan Leffel:   Personally, I think I’ve been able to say no to more social situations that I can already judge the outcome of, and I know that they are going to lead down a path of probably poor decisions that I’ve made in the past. So I have a much easier time since really gaining a broader perspective of health and wellness with the degree that I got. I think saying no to certain social situations that I used to think were fun, which are no longer fun, and they probably weren’t fun in the beginning anyway, so it was more fooling myself. I think I spend a lot more time with myself and doing personal development, than I do socializing anymore, and I’m okay saying no to that.

Gina Thorne:   That’s great. You’re always going to find new opportunities from doing that too.

Jordan Leffel:   Yes.

Gina Thorne:    That’s great.

Jordan Leffel:   Absolutely.

Gina Thorne:   Playing off the idea of the word harmony, what do you think it means to live a life in harmony?

Jordan Leffel:   I think to live a life in harmony, it really means recognizing duality in life, in nature, in relationships, and recognizing that there’s good and bad. There’s light and there’s dark, and you can’t have all light without dark, you can’t have all good without some bad or there’s no frame of reference. I think living in harmony means to recognize that, and recognize that spectrum, that duality, and operate within it and make the choices that are going to keep you balanced instead of … Life isn’t black and white, and we have to look at situations on an individualized basis, and we have to make the best choices for ourselves, and I think living in harmony means making those best choices for ourselves, our environment, our relationships, and our whole sphere of influence, I think.

Gina Thorne:   That’s wonderful. Great answer. We’re really looking forward to connecting with Equinox Counseling and Wellness with our clients. If others who are listening today and watching today would want to get more involved, how could they get in touch with you?

Jordan Leffel:   The best place to check out is our website, that’s equinoxcounseling.com. It is currently being retooled a little bit, but all the information about our programming is on there, and it describes what our assessment process looks like, what our programming looks like, and who we do our best work with as well.

Gina Thorne:   That’s great. Well, thank you so much, Jordan, it was great having you on campus.

Jordan Leffel:   Thank you.

For more information about Equinox Counseling and Wellness Center:


Mirroring in Relationships: Manifesting and Maintaining Connection


by Khara Croswaite Brindle

What does it mean to feel connection with another person? How do you know when you are building rapport in your interactions with others? For many of us, connection starts with body language and conversation when determining relatability and ongoing engagement. Engagement can lead to belongingness and belongingness is a crucial element of positive mental health and overall wellness. So why wouldn’t we want to pursue belongingness and connection in our relationships and throughout our lives in support of optimal wellbeing?

Monkey See Monkey Do

Connection can be measured externally in how we interact with one another, but also internally through brain activity. Mimicking one another, often described as mirroring, was first discovered by Giacomo Rizzolatti, MD and his colleagues when studying monkeys.  Rizzolatti recognized that there was similar, observable brain activity indicating pleasure when a monkey consumed a banana as when the monkey observed a researcher consuming a banana. This brain activity involving neurons, called Mirror Neurons, provided implications that our brain activity responds in relation to others, thus encouraging development of an empathetic response. A more recent article was published in the UK on research involving infants and their mothers. With eye contact, the brain waves in the infant responded and attempted to synchronize with their mother, implying efforts at deeper connection and communication, according to scientists at the University of Cambridge.

Bonding in Business

Mirror neurons are important for close relationships; however, they can be influential in working relationships as well. Business gurus have developed interpersonal programs to support connection and reciprocity in business interactions, including awareness of body language, eye contact, and mannerisms. These programs can teach a person to be more aware of cues in social interactions and introduce subtle mirroring behaviors to increase engagement, likeability, and reciprocity.

Mirroring behavior in conversations is adaptive, such as noticing when one party begins to unconsciously mimic the other in their posture, speech, and/or gestures during an interaction. As you can see from the picture we’ve chosen above, several members of the group are mirroring one another in their hand gestures, indicating connection or attempted connection in the moment. When learning these interpersonal skills for yourself, you may experiment with subtly shifting your posture to mimic the other party, exploring any observable differences in the interaction, including how you each feel towards one another. Mirroring research shows that when you make subtle attempts to mirror another person, they will find you more approachable, likeable, and connected, all which can be valuable when conducting working interactions or achieving rapport.

Generational Gaps

Engagement in working and personal relationships can support successful interactions, and it can also change how a person feels about themselves, including shifts in self-confidence and self-worth. Jean Twenge, a Psychologist researching generational differences including mental health, substance use, technology, and social engagement, speaks of this in depth in her book iGen. Her book highlights the dramatic shift in social interaction away from face to face contact to more technology-based connection. Her book also highlights a possible correlation between technology and lack of belongingness, even when those surveyed reported, on average, more than three hours per day of technology use including social media. Twenge’s research identifies some concerns about connection, including individuals reporting minimal person to person engagement, low self-confidence or preparedness in social situations, and thus identifies questions needing to be answered around technology and mental health.

Regardless of how we measure it, connection is important. One way of encouraging connection is getting out in the world and finding people who have things in common. This can be a pleasant opportunity to engage over shared interests and build relationships. Identifying activities you enjoy can be a starting point to engaging others around shared interests, with organizations like Meetup.com bringing groups of people together around enjoyable experiences. Pushing yourself to get out and meet people can have a positive result, as belongingness and social interaction continue to be vital parts of what it means to be human.

You’re imperfect, and you’re wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.”  Brene Brown

Khara Croswaite Brindle, MA, LPC, ACS, is the owner of Catalyst Counseling, PLLC and is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the Lowry Neighborhood of Denver, Colorado. She received her Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology from the University of Denver with a focus on community based mental health. Khara has experience working with at-risk youth and families, including collaboration with detention, probation, and the Department of Human Services. Khara enjoys working with young adults experiencing anxiety, depression, trauma, relational conflict, self-esteem challenges, and life transitions.

For More Information, Please visit:

Queer Asterisk

Gina Thorne: Hi everyone, welcome to the Harmony Foundation podcast series. I’m pleased today to be joined with Luca Pax and Sorin Thomas with Queer Asterisk, out of Boulder, Colorado. Welcome.

Sorin Thomas: Thank you.

Luca Pax: Welcome, thanks for having us.

Gina Thorne: It’s really good to have you here. Before we get into specifics around Queer Asterisk, lets talk a little bit about what got you into the field of addiction treatment, Sorin?

Sorin Thomas: So let’s see, I grew up in Europe where there was a very different culture around drinking, and started drinking young. So, before I had come to the States I was already sober at 17 years old. It was just I think right time, right place so that played into it for sure. But I got to the University of Notre Dame, and the first person I met and really felt a mentorship vibe with was the Director of Alcohol and Drug Treatment Center. So I became a peer mentor, and just got more and more involved, and did that for years. So I started at the University of Notre Dame and I continued to peer mentorship program at Naropa University. Then I went on to do my [kak 00:01:12] classes and get my LAC.

Gina Thorne: Is there something that you feel pulled to in working with people with addiction, and helping them with their recovery?

Sorin Thomas: You know I think that what draws me the most, and now I’m realizing this more as I understand my queer and trans identity. I think the pull is the misunderstood community. I really resonant with the stigma of what addicts have to deal with, it’s similar to mental health and it’s similar to prejudice that marginalized groups deal with.

Gina Thorne: That seems very appropriate. Seems very appropriate.

Sorin Thomas: Yeah.

Gina Thorne: So Luca, Queer Asterisk is a therapeutic program and it provides services to LGBTQPIA, can you describe the type of services you offer and what a client would expect when they come to your program?

Luca Pax: Yeah, so … Yeah you know we have a lot of different ways to get involved with Queer Asterisk, so one thing we’re most known for is our team of, right now it’s six, queer and trans identified therapists who work with individuals or couples, or families. Also, run group sometimes. So that’s the clinical side of things, and with that we have also added a peer mentorship program. So that’s more affordable, either supplement or alternative to folks who are looking for therapy. Our peer mentors have all sorts of different specialties and interests, so it can be really tailored for folks who are looking for a companion or a buddy to go into the world with, or to talk through things with in a more friendly and supportive way.

Luca Pax: Then we have our programming, so it’s all either low cost or donation based groups that happen every week, or twice a month. We have a group called The Queer Conversation, where folks are able to talk about anything related to queerness, or their experience with that. We have a writing group, we have different workshops that happen periodically, everything from an herbalism workshop, to acupuncture. We have folks who are working with … We had a creating style group where folks were doing fashion design. So it’s really broad and open to what members of the community are wanting to see happen, and how they’re wanting to share their skill sets, or passions. We have lots of different community partnerships. So a lot of our events are in relation with other organizations.

Luca Pax: We do queer nights, we had one at Frequent Flyers Aerial Dance, we had one at Buffalo Exchange Clothing store. So again, really focusing on therapeutic ways that we can be in community with each other and really they tend to have like a pretty celebratory theme of not just the sort of resilience. But really what does it look like to thrive as queer and trans people, and do that in community with each other, and supporting each other. Yeah, so those are some of the main avenues of getting connected.

Luca Pax: As far as what people would expect by seeing from our staff, Sorin can speak more to the clinical side. But a lot of our facilitators have a mindfulness approach to holding spaces. So sometimes that looks like being comfortable with discomfort. Holding some pauses, there’s a slightly different feel than a lot of support groups. We don’t segregate based on gender identity or expression. So we get a lot of people in spaces who may have really different experiences of what it means to be queer and or trans. But it ends up being a really unique space where we’re able to connect in a lot of, sometimes, unexpected ways. To acknowledge how many tensions and differences there are within our community. But to be more yeah, more committed to leaning into that instead of just parceling ourselves into smaller and smaller groups.

Gina Thorne: Also, you know going back to what you said Sorin, is also looking at how do you help people understand? How do you help create a safe space? How do you address the stigma that often comes along with that? So it sounds like you all are creating something that’s responding to those issues.

Sorin Thomas: Yeah we do that and we also do it with our community partnerships. That’s why the educational branch of what we do is so important, when we look at the whole of all the aspects of what we do. So that’s going into there, so many organizations who are realizing that they would benefit from a little bit more comfortability with inclusivity and diversity. So then they reach out to organizations like ours and say, hey could you give an all staff training? Or could you look at our materials and make sure that our languaging is inclusive? We really want to have our whole organization behind this, and be able to hold queer and trans clients the way that we hold our other clients. We’re missing some skills.

Gina Thorne: You all are definitely creating a very unique service that is much needed for sure. So I’m going to ask both of you this question because it’s not just about learning about Queer Asterisk, it’s about learning about the people behind it. So we’re going to ask a little bit about your thoughts around this idea, and I’ll start with you first Luca. If you could have a giant billboard anywhere, with anything on it, metaphorically speaking, getting a message out to millions or billions, what would it say? And why?

Luca Pax: First thing that comes is just a simple statement for anyone, ’cause I believe it applies to anyone. You are valid and you are worthy. I think that for so many people, with so many different identities, within and without of queer communities, that is something that’s incredibly lost in many societies. But I’m speaking specifically to a dominant society here in the US. Like really that’s seems like kind of about the core of a lot of what I care about is this like, sometimes radical notion that we are actually all worthy of love and respect. In light of all of our different experiences of the world and ourselves. Yeah.

Gina Thorne: I really like that, a lot. Let me steal that, I really like that.

Luca Pax: It’s free.

Gina Thorne: It’s true. How about you Sorin?

Sorin Thomas: Yeah, I would say to go off of that I think I would probably say something along the lines of, claim your gifts please, the world needs you. I truly believe, and it’s a value at our organization that everyone has inherent, innate gifts. Sometimes we can get so distracted, especially marginalized people by surviving in this world and fitting in. Proving our worth and our value, that we forget that we also have something to give. So that’s part of, like that’s a huge reason why this organization started with queer and trans folks. Looking around there are enough of us who are professionals, who are capable and competent to bring our gifts to the world. We don’t need to rely on allies. Allies are wonderful, but there was so much gate keeping that was happening and it just perpetuates the sense that queer and trans people are less than. We need to go SIS straight people for our psycho therapy, for our medical examines, yeah.

Gina Thorne: It’s great, I love the messages. Those are significant, I think they’re the best ones I’ve heard so far. Best ones I’ve heard so far. So Sorin playing off the idea of word harmony, what do you think it means to live in harmony?

Sorin Thomas: Yeah, for me when I think of harmony I think of balance and alignment of course. I also think immediately, I mean in this environment that we’re in right now, balance in ourselves, in our relationships, and also our relationships with the non human world. What is it like for humans to truly live, tread lightly and live in harmony with the rest of the beings around us. Then intra personally I think of having a balance of these are things that I’m working on. Things that I can always do better, and then also saying at a certain point, it’s good enough. I also have these gifts, yeah.

Gina Thorne: Like it.

Sorin Thomas: So not going too far into the light, or too far into the dark.

Gina Thorne: Yeah.

Luca Pax: It really makes me think of integrity too, and when we’re looking at the journey of a queer and trans person like, really what does it mean to live in integrity with who you are? What does it mean to have that alignment seen as valid and real? Like have that be reflected in your communities and in your families. Just so much possibility is grown from that place of getting to be in harmony with one’s self, and with one’s purpose and gifts. Yeah, and to have that be supported.

Gina Thorne: Having that tribe of people.

Luca Pax: Yeah true.

Gina Thorne: I agree, makes sense. Makes a lot of sense.

Luca Pax: Yeah community.

Gina Thorne: Yup, so Luca if someone wanted to access services at Queer Asterisk how could they get in touch with you?

Luca Pax: Yeah, so have a website, which is www.queerasterisk.com and that’s A-S-T-E-R-I-S-K, like the punctuation. We have Facebook, which is Facebook.com/queerasterisk. You can also follow us on Instagram, but to reach our clinical director who’s Sorin, you can email info I-N-F-O @queerasterisk.com to get in touch with a therapist. With whom you can do a free 20 minute consultation. Or you can call us anytime at 720-507-6161

Gina Thorne: Outstanding. Well it was a pleasure to have both of you here today at Harmony.

Luca Pax: Thanks so much Gina.

Gina Thorne: Really great.

Sorin Thomas: Yeah, thank you.

Visit them at: www.queerasterisk.com


The Raleigh House

Gina Thorne:      Hi everyone. Welcome to the Harmony Foundation Podcast Series. I’m pleased today to be joined with Joey Holub with The Raleigh House in Arvada, Colorado. Welcome Joey.

Joey Holub:         Hey, thanks.

Gina Thorne:      It’s good to have you here.

Joey Holub:         Good to be here.

Gina Thorne:      Before we get into learning a little bit more about Raleigh House, let’s talk a little bit about you. What got you into the field of addiction treatment?

Joey Holub:         The field of addiction treatment and I … I would say my life experience led me to the doorway, led me to the doorstep of the business and I chose to go inside. My life experience pointed me at this field with my own process and actually, my own recovery. It was the next right thing, as well as right in front of me. I said, “Yes.” It took a job, driving a white van to taking people to meetings and plowing some roads for a residential treatment center and stuck it out.

Gina Thorne:      Good.

Joey Holub:         Yeah.

Gina Thorne:      It kept you connected. You were in Taos, New Mexico and you worked for a program there and then you moved over here to Colorado and-

Joey Holub:         I did.

Gina Thorne:      Okay.

Joey Holub:         I did.

Gina Thorne:      Good. Were you with Raleigh House now before you were with the other place or did you have any kind of work that you were doing in between that?

Joey Holub:         I left after ending my time with that last facility. I took about six weeks at another job in a different industry. I left the industry altogether. I needed a break.

Gina Thorne:      Yes.

Joey Holub:         “I am done with this. I need to go experience something different,” because I put 10 years into my previous job. Within six weeks at the new job, I was confident that I was ready to reinvest in the process and reinvest in my career in this field.

Gina Thorne:      I think it’s important that we take those breaks. Don’t you think?

Joey Holub:         It was very important. For me, it wasn’t as much learning that I didn’t want to do something else. It was solely refocusing on what I wanted to do all along. I needed to zoom out a little bit.

Gina Thorne:      Yeah, get some perspective.

Joey Holub:         Yup.

Gina Thorne:    I think that’s so healthy and also a very big part of recovery. I think sometimes we just step right in and we don’t even realize. Sometimes we need that physical … that 30,000 foot level, I like to call it.

Joey Holub:         Sure. You can’t tell the good news from the bad news when we’re in the news.

Gina Thorne:    That’s good. I like that. I like that. Raleigh House is a substance abuse treatment program. It addresses co-occurring disorders. Could you describe what a client would experience when they come to Raleigh House?

Joey Holub:         Sure. When a client gets to The Raleigh House, when we bring on our guest to The Raleigh House, we take the mind, body and spirit approach. I think the most simple way to explain that is with the mind, body and spirit, we’re going to meet our guest where they invite us to at the beginning of care. We’ll take a look at the different areas of their life with them and wherever they want to begin, that’s where we’re going to start. I think it’s important, all of us at The Raleigh House believe that it’s very important to meet our guest where they are and to have them invite us into their process, not the other way around. I think that the relationship building and the rapport that takes place is more appropriately done that way. When our guest is inviting us into their recovery and their treatment, it can establish the preconditions for a more effective outcome.

Gina Thorne:      Clinically, what kind of program are you offering for your clients and what levels of care do you all offer?

Joey Holub:         As of right now, we have the extended care and the outpatient care in Arvada. We are going to be bringing in residential treatment and the medical detox online out in Watkins in September. That facility is also going to have horses. So we’ll have a fully functional equine program. We’ve actually already started the equine program. That’s happening with our guests as we speak but the build out is taking place right now in Watkins and we will be ready to go in September.

Gina Thorne:      I think I’ve seen pictures on Facebook and you guys have sheep or goats too or?

Joey Holub:         No. Those were the dogs.

Gina Thorne:      Oh, those are dogs. Okay. I’m sure that’s probably what I saw. Okay. So, you have horses and you have dogs?

Joey Holub:         Nope, dogs.

Gina Thorne:      Okay, good. Nobody’s shaving them down for wool or anything.

Joey Holub:         Correct.

Gina Thorne:      That’s good. Great. Let’s talk a little bit about you. I always like to learn a little bit more about the people that come to Harmony as well. I’m going to throw out a couple of questions for you for you to think through.

Joey Holub:         Cool.

Gina Thorne:      In the last five years, what new belief behavior or habit has most improved your life?

Joey Holub:         In the last five years, I would say confidently that learning how to have patience in a different way is far and away. That’s been the largest learning experience for me.

Gina Thorne:      What does that mean when you say that?

Joey Holub:         Not being as here and now focused and being able to, I would say, have patience for the trajectory that I’m moving towards. Beginning with the end in mind, so to speak, and having more long-term goals. It was easy for me when I was younger. In my early to mid-20s and working in treatment, it’s like, “Yeah, I get to go to my job,” and it was all very right here and now. In the last five years, that’s changed since I moved up to Colorado and have had different experiences with different people, I would attribute that to really good clinical supervision and working around people that can model some life behaviors that are like, “Okay, I get that and I want that.” So, patience.

Gina Thorne:      That’s good. I like that. It’s true though. We all have to learn how to do more of that. If was to ask you to play off the idea of the word harmony, what do you think it means to live a life in harmony?

Joey Holub:         What do I think it means to live a life in harmony? When I think about what harmony is or defined as, I would define harmony as, I would say, a cohesive and happy wholeness. What I think living life in harmony is in general, is having cohesion in one’s life and being happy with that. I would also add the word, accepting.

Gina Thorne:      Good.

Joey Holub:         Because there’s a difference between being accepting of your life and happy about it.

Gina Thorne:      Yes, there is that. Yes, I agree with you. Yeah. Well, good.

Joey Holub:         Yeah. Yeah, I think that harmony brings it all together. It becomes cohesive.

Gina Thorne:      Yeah, it’s like synergy. I like that.

Joey Holub:         Indeed.

Gina Thorne:      That’s cool. If someone wanted to access services at Raleigh House, how could they get in touch with you?

Joey Holub:         They connect with me. There’s a couple of ways. First way to get in touch with all of us is through www.theraleighhouse.com. There’s an admissions number on there. The website is comprehensive and speaking to what we offer at The Raleigh House. My direct number is 720-808-2150. That’s a good number to get to for anyone that’s looking for help and candidly, I prefer that because the first call is the most important call. The rapport and the relationship begins at that moment. If I can feel that first call and then hand it to one of our admissions representatives, they can carry the process through for our guests. That’s what we prefer.

Gina Thorne:      Great. That’s great. Well, thank you so much for taking the time to visit with us.

Joey Holub:         Of course. Thanks for having me.

Gina Thorne:      Yeah. We look forward to hearing great things with your new program that’s launching and for those of you that are listening, if you’re in the Arvada area, check out Raleigh House. Thanks.

The Place for Spirituality in Recovery by Mike Lewis, M.A.

Spirituality is the calling to look more deeply into our lives – into ourselves, our relationships, our communities, and our relationships with the ecological and universal realms. As the Dalai Lama has said many times, “All beings want happiness and freedom from suffering.” We all want to love, be loved, feel peace, be creative, feel connected, and feel fulfilled with our lives. Treading the labyrinth of humanity’s misguided attempts toward achieving these deeper desires leads us down disastrous roads, dead ends, and into pits of confusion and despair. For a while, tasty foods, expensive material items, and prideful accomplishments can trigger the pleasurable neurotransmitters in our brains. Working much like a drug or alcohol, the external stimuli lose their power and we develop dependence and tolerance, needing more and more to get our happiness high. Finally, we are left strung out and unhappier than we were in the beginning. On the path of recovery, we bring spirituality into our lives to help us reconnect in a more sustainable and healthy way – a way that fills our core with contented pleasure and without as much dependence on things outside of ourselves. A quiet walk, taking time to chop the vegetables with precision, prayer, meditation, snuggling with our pets, gazing into the eyes of our loves ones, singing, painting, self-help workshops, religion, planting vegetables, reading, eating slowly and tasting every bite, fellowship, listening to soothing music, and donating time and resources for another’s benefit – these are common examples of how healthy people let go of their frantic pursuits of the insatiable highs and slow down to appreciate this fragile, fleeting, yet incredibly wonderful human life. Take a moment for spiritualty today. Breathe and appreciate this body, this life. Smell the roses – they are all around us if we can learn to see them.

Stop and Smell the Roses; Psychology Todayhttps://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/understand-other-people/201710/stop-and-smell-the-roses
Identify Your True Source of Happiness; Choprahttps://chopra.com/free-programs/awaken-to-happiness/week-1-identify-your-true-source-of-happiness
11 Ways to Appreciate Your Life a Little More; Mind Body Greenhttps://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-16408/11-ways-to-appreciate-your-life-a-little-more.html

Mike Lewis is a Spiritual Advisor and Detox Counselor at Harmony Foundation
Mike Lewis Bio

Podcast Series: Reflections Recovery Center

Gina Thorne:      Hi everyone. Welcome to the Harmony Foundation Podcast Series and I’m pleased today to be joined with Chailey Coyle with Reflections Recovery Center out of Prescott, Arizona. Welcome.

Chailey:                Thank you. It’s so great to be here.

Gina Thorne:      Yeah. Well, we’ve had a great time today in learning about your program and we want to share that program with others. Before we get into the details about Reflections, let’s learn a little bit about you. What brought you into the field of addiction treatment?

Chailey:                I actually am a recovering addict alcoholic. I have been sober. I will be celebrating, God willing, six years this year May 7. When I got sober, I knew that I wanted to help other people that were struggling from what I struggled with and I just knew that there were so many good programs out there. To be able to work in this field has just been such a blessing.

Gina Thorne:      Yeah. Well, I’ve really enjoyed getting to know you. You sound like you’ve got the great passion of recovery behind you which is great.

Chailey:                Well, thank you.

Gina Thorne:      You have this amazing program that works with men only. It’s not just men under 35. It sounds like you can treat men across the entire age spectrum. Can you describe a little bit about the program and what people would come to expect if they came there.

Chailey:                Yeah. Reflections is a four month extended care program with an option to do our alumni afterwards, which kind of just gives them a little bit of an extra padding of accountability. They can come back for after care counseling. All of that. During that first four months, they’re going to get the highest level of care for the first month. They’re going to be doing two group therapy sessions a day, meeting with their individual counselor once to two times a week depending on if they opt to do trauma therapy. We do have an EMDR trauma therapist and a somatic experienced therapist on staff, which is super awesome. Some people start it right away. Some wait a little bit.

Chailey:                After that first month, they come into sort of a lower level of care. They’re still doing one group a day, meeting with their therapist once a week still. Still meeting with our psychiatrist on board to tackle any co-occurring disorders that may be going on. This is where they’ll be able to start getting integrated back into the community. They will look for a job. They will start to participate in a lot of our activities that we do to promote unity. Lots of hiking, camping. They go to basketball games, NFL games. That kind of stuff.

Chailey:                Really, our goal is by the end of four months we want to step them down to where they’re ready to be acclimated completely back into the community with a solid support, 12 step recovery and therapy.

Gina Thorne:      That’s great. It sounds like a wonderful opportunity for people who are moving through the recovery continuum.

Gina Thorne:      We’re going to shift gears a little bit and learn a little bit about you specifically. What is the book or books you’ve given most as a gift and why?

Chailey:                I’ve actually given a Return to Love by Marianne Williamson. Have you heard of that book?

Gina Thorne:      I do. Yeah.

Chailey:                I’ve given that to almost every single person in my family.

Gina Thorne:      What’s that about? Why do you do that?

Chailey:                A Return to Love is how I actually came to really find my spirituality. When I got sober and I worked a 12 step program, I was introduced to the concept of a higher power and God. I didn’t really know what I believed in before. The 12 step program really propelled me into starting a spiritual journey. Then, reading A Return to Love just solidified everything for me. Really, it’s about love essentially being a higher power and everything being based out of love or fear and how to choose love in your life rather than fear. I’ve lent my book to clients that we have. I’ve, like I said, gotten it for my family members. It’s just an awesome, awesome book.

Gina Thorne:      Marianne Williamson is so well-known. She does A Course of Miracles as well. So, yeah.

Chailey:                This is based off of A Course in Miracles.

Gina Thorne:      Miracles. Is it?

Chailey:                Yeah.

Gina Thorne:      That’s great. Great book. Great recommendation. Playing off the idea of the word harmony. What does that mean to you?

Chailey:                The first thing that came to my mind was balance. I think about harmony, and I think about how in order to be a happy individual, and live a happy life, and be filled, and have purpose, I think about balance. That’s what harmony means to me. We’ve got to have balance in our work life. We have to have balance in our spirituality, whatever that might look like, with our friends, with our family. I think when we achieve that balance, that’s when we have harmony.

Gina Thorne:      I love it. That’s a great answer. If someone were trying to access services at Reflections, how could they get in touch with you?

Chailey:                They can reach our website by going to www.reflectionsrehab.com and then they can contact me directly. My phone number is 928-277-3465.

Gina Thorne:      Great. It’s so nice to meet you Chailey. Thank you so much for coming to Harmony and to Colorado and we look forward to working with you.

Chailey:                Thank you so much for having me.


Podcast Series: Highlands Behavioral Health System

Gina Thorne:                  Hi, everyone. Welcome to the Harmony Foundation Podcast Series, and I’m pleased today be joined with Brittany Dekoch?

Brittany DeKoch:           Decook.

Gina Thorne:                   Decook? Nice to have you here, with Highlands Behavioral Health. We also have Claire here who’s the Director of Intake, but she says she’s not going to speak very much today.

Claire:                               It’s [inaudible 00:00:15]

Gina Thorne:                   She’s going to keep herself kind of quiet. I have a feeling we’re going to get something out of you today. Both are representing Highlands Behavioral Health System, and it’s really great to have you both here today. Before we get into talking about Highlands, let’s talk for a few minutes about your backgrounds and how you got into the field of behavioral health.

Brittany DeKoch:           Absolutely. This is Brittany. I think even from a very early age I spent a lot of time trying to make sense of the world around me and I’ve always been very fascinated in human behavior and why we do the things that we do. I think that it goes … it’s sort of not a surprise that then when I went to college, my degree is in psychology, and I went on to get my master’s in counseling. Before I moved to Colorado, my background’s in youth homeless and runaway services. I did a lot of therapy with those individuals and their families. I’ve also worked in community mental health, and then most recently I’ve been a crisis assessment clinician in the emergency room.

Brittany DeKoch:           Stepping into my role as a community liaison for Highlands … obviously, no longer in direct care … but I really welcomed the new opportunity to serve as an advocate for the behavioral health community and to be able to connect people to treatment.

Gina Thorne:                   Mm-hmm (affirmative). And it’s important because so many people are struggling with finding the right resources.

Brittany DeKoch:            Absolutely.

Gina Thorne:                   Having the right person who’s compassionate and empathetic is vital.

Brittany DeKoch:            Yeah.

Gina Thorne:                   Yeah. Highlands Behavioral is an 86 bed psychiatric hospital and it treats adolescents and adults. On your website, you talk about this concept called the Navigation Passport. Can you describe what that means to patients coming to highlands?

Brittany DeKoch:            Yeah. What I think is unique to Highlands is our Navigation Passport because it was developed by our clinical team. It really serves as not only a guide, a journal, a resource, but it helps the individual while they’re in the hospital, sort of check in, to know what’s going to happen next. But it also serves as a record outside of the hospital so that someone can take this tool back to their primary care provider or their outpatient therapist and say this is what my treatment was like at Highlands. These were some of the goals I was working on. To continue that therapeutic process and set them up for success outside of the hospital.

Gina Thorne:                   Mm-hmm (affirmative). And it’s great because we need more of those types of services to provide that sort of warm transfer so that clients can find the next level of care.

Brittany DeKoch:            Right. I think that some feedback that we get in the community is that a lot of individuals have disjointed services or services all over the place, and so the Navigation Passport serves as this connector for an individual, and especially an individual that’s been in crisis. It can be hard to keep all that information at the forefront of your mind [crosstalk 00:03:04].

Gina Thorne:                    I think it’s for anybody, but especially for people in crisis. I know I struggle with that for sure.

Brittany DeKoch:            Yeah. I like to call it a planner.

Gina Thorne:                    That’s a great way to-

Brittany DeKoch:             A counseling planning.

Gina Thorne:                    Yes. It’s great. Well, I’m going to actually turn over here to Claire for a second and ask you a question.

Claire:                                Certainly.

Gina Thorne:                    You are the Director of Intake. What are some of the most common issues that you’re seeing who are coming into Highlands? What are some of the people’s struggles and what are you … what’s more readily available or seen in your calls that are coming in?

Claire:                                Excellent question. In psychology and psychiatry, it remains diverse. We see anything from acute suicidal, the depression is extreme. We also see … there seems to be an uptick in psychosis, mood instability, mood disorder. So it’s hard to answer the question. It’s just the full gamut. We also are seeing more and more people presenting with what we would call co-occurring phenomena with dual substance abuse and underlying psychiatric concerns and symptoms. I don’t know how else to answer that.

Gina Thorne:                    I think it’s great. It’s true, because we’re seeing a lot of the co-occurring coming in more regularly here at Harmony, as well, and in cases where we can’t treat the higher acuity mental health, that’s why we love to work with Highlands, because we treat addiction as primary and we recognize that both the co-occurring, the mental health and the addiction, often go hand in hand. But when you’re talking about some of the significant schizoaffective, depression, bipolar, anxiety issues that are coming up, there are facilities that don’t have the infrastructure to support that.

Claire:                                Correct.

Gina Thorne:                    So it’s great that you all are available for the community. I always like to learn about the people, not just about your program, and so I threw in a question that I thought would be really interesting to ask. And I’m going to give Claire a couple minutes to think about it, but I know that Brittany’s probably thought about it already.

Brittany DeKoch:            Oh, yeah.

Gina Thorne:                   What purchase of $100 or less has most positively impacted your life in the last six months or in recent memory?

Brittany DeKoch:           Mine’s a little bit of a shameless self-promotion. Since I’ve moved to Colorado, I’ve volunteered a week every summer with an organization based out of Golden called Big City Mountaineers. Big City Mountaineers partners with youth serving orgs in the Denver area, specifically kiddos that are at risk, underserved, very much live city life and don’t have an opportunity to get outside and go backpacking.

Brittany DeKoch:            What we get to do is take kiddos out on their first ever backpacking expedition, which is really fun. I very strongly believe that the wilderness holds a transformative power. I think a lot of us that have moved to Colorado from other places, that’s a big indicator as to why we moved her, and so I like being able to share that with kids that would otherwise not have that opportunity.

Brittany DeKoch:            This year I’ve decided to be part of a summit for Someone Program, which is a fundraising program through Big City Mountaineers. A team of seven other adults and myself will be attempting to summit Mount Baker in Washington in July.

Gina Thorne:                   Where is that? Where is it? Washington state?

Brittany DeKoch:            Washington state.

Gina Thorne:                   Okay.

Brittany DeKoch:            Yeah. It’s a glaciated volcano. It’s going to be really exciting.

Gina Thorne:                   Wow!

Brittany DeKoch:           I’ve obviously paid an entry fee to secure my spot on that team and to start my fundraising process. And that is the purchase that I’ve made recently that really speaks to me.

Gina Thorne:                   That’s fantastic [crosstalk 00:06:46] and can you give a website for Big City Mountaineers?

Brittany DeKoch:            Yeah. I believe it’s www.bigcitymountaineers.org. However, if you just went to Google and typed in Big City Mountaineers, it would pop up. If anyone feels compelled that’s listening to this wants to donate to the organization, feel free.

Gina Thorne:                   Great, especially for you.

Brittany DeKoch:            It’s a nonprofit.

Gina Thorne:                   Yeah, especially … so they can support your climb up the mountain, Mount Baker.

Brittany DeKoch:            Yeah, absolutely.

Gina Thorne:                   Is that 14,000 feet?

Brittany DeKoch:            Not quite. It’s almost 11,000 feet.

Gina Thorne:                   11,000, okay.

Brittany DeKoch:            Yeah. But there will be snow travel.

Gina Thorne:                   Oh, my goodness. Well, that’s a great-

Brittany DeKoch:            It’ll be exciting.

Gina Thorne:                   … a great investment. Great investment.

Brittany DeKoch:            Thank you.

Gina Thorne:                   Amazing. Yeah. How about you, Claire? Did you have anything to add to that? Any purchase that you’ve made of $100 or less that might have-

Claire:                               I’ve tried to think if I’ve purchased anything since moving to Colorado.

Gina Thorne:                   That’s fair. That’s fair.

Claire:                               Yeah, I think the best purchase has probably been a tank of gas to get to explore Colorado.

Gina Thorne:                   Oh, I like that. Good. Yeah.

Claire:                               [crosstalk 00:07:47] probably more than 100 bucks, but, in the last six months, it’s to be able to explore the … come up to Estes Park, go to Boulder. I’m brand new to the state.

Gina Thorne:                   Yeah, that’s a great answer. Especially on the fly like that. Good job.

Brittany DeKoch:            Yeah, way to go.

Gina Thorne:                   Yeah. So Brittany, playing off of the idea of the word harmony, what do you think it means to live a life in harmony?

Brittany DeKoch:            I think that living a life in harmony is being congruent in your thoughts, but in as well as your actions. Making sure that who you are inside and being the best, most authentic version of yourself is also who are presenting to the world. And I think that a big component of that … it’s very easy to turn inward and be self-reflective and focus on our own personal growth, but I also read somewhere that you’re only good as the company you keep. Paying attention to who makes up your community. And so I think that if you’re surrounding yourself with good people, it’s easier to feel like you’re harmonious in your life.

Gina Thorne:                   Mm-hmm (affirmative). Mm-hmm (affirmative). Great answer. Thank you for that. That’s great. And if someone wanted to access services of Highlands Behavioral Health, how could they get in touch with you?

Brittany DeKoch:            They could actually call our intake line directly, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The phone number is 720-348-2805. And just by making that call, they’ll be connected to a clinician that can help facilitate the process from there.

Gina Thorne:                   Wonderful. Well, thank you both for taking the time to come up to Harmony. We’re really glad to have had you here. And we look forward to continued future partnerships with Highland Behavioral.

Brittany DeKoch:            Likewise.

Claire:                               Thank you so much for having us.

Brittany DeKoch:            Thank you.



Podcast Series: The Redpoint Center

Gina: Hi, everyone. Thank you for joining us for the Harmony Podcast Series and I’m pleased today to be joined with Cody Gardner and Jay Fullam with Redpoint Center in Longmont, Colorado. Welcome.

Cody: Thank you. Super glad to be here.

Jay: Thanks.

Gina: Good to have you here.

Gina: We’re gonna get into talking a little bit more about both of you individually, but before we do that, let’s talk a little bit about Redpoint. It’s an outpatient substance abuse program. Can you describe, Cody, for me what the program is about and what a person can expect when they come into your program?

Cody: Yeah. Thanks, Gina. I started looking at Longmont, Colorado a couple of years ago thinking that there are a lot of people statistically that would need substance abuse treatment services and the lack of resources there drove me to believe that an outpatient treatment center would be very well received by the community. So, what we have built is a clinically-driven outpatient center. We have both day programming, as well as evening programming, which means that people can come in after work, they can come in for the full day if they need more care and they would receive a minimum of 12 weeks of service.

Cody: Our curriculum is really, really really structured towards creating a safe place for people. We want people to come in, feel comfortable and be able to feel like they’re in a safe place where they can actually start to do the work to heal from addiction.

Cody: We also have a number of adjunctive services that we think foster long term recovery, so we have a medical doctor, we have case management, we have drug testing, we also have individual therapy and group therapy and our hope is that people can come from the community, access services that they can find a path for recovery that fits them. Our number one philosophy at the Redpoint Center is that we’re gonna take every single thing we do, we’re gonna look at it on a case by case basis and we’re gonna get somebody the help that they need. If at any time, we don’t believe that we can help somebody, we’re going to get them to the right person and if we do believe we can help them, we are gonna do exactly that.

Cody: So, we are flexible, we are working with people, we don’t have a set idea of what recovery has to look like, we just wanna help people access the services they need. And Longmont has been desperate for that for a long time, so we’re super grateful to be there.

Gina: That’s great. And you guys are fairly new.

Cody: We are. We started working on this in October. I’d been thinking about it for a couple of years, but we started working on it in October and we opened about three weeks ago. We have had a wonderful response from the community. That’s our first and foremost goal is to be a community resource, so we’ve been working with the hospitals and with the Longmont Angels initiative, which is an organization with the Police Department where people can access the resources for treatment to provide that town the resources they need. So yeah, we have many clients, all of our services are open and running and we’re super, super grateful for that.

Gina: That’s great. Just a couple more things. So, you guys take both men and women 18 and over?

Cody: That’s correct. We are 18 and over. We will be offering by mid-summer a adolescent IOP program, Intensive Outpatient, nine hours a week. We currently have adult men and women. Again, both day treatment as well as evening treatment. They can come in for a maximum of about 25 hours of services and our minimum is about nine.

Gina: OK. That’s great.

Gina: Well, it sounds very thorough and it’s great that you guys are opening up in the Longmont area. I’m sure your program will be open to more than just those that are living in Longmont, so if folks wanted to come in it around that area, they could do that.

Cody: Absolutely. And to finalize that, yeah we do intend to have some housing opportunities for people that do need the housing, so if they’re coming from outside the area, or if they’re willing to drive from the Denver/Boulder area somewhere, that would be accessible to them.

Gina: Wonderful. Well so, let’s talk a little bit about your respective backgrounds. And so, Jay, tell us a little bit about what got you into the field of addiction treatment.

Jay: Yeah. So, I think a lot of us, I was that kid who your friend’s parents warned you about. As a kid, I made a bunch of mistakes and I was wounded from a young age and didn’t really have any other ways to deal with pain and suffering and trauma other than what was most successful to me at the time, which was drugs and alcohol.

Jay: After blowing out of a bunch of schools and getting picked up by the police and put in the drunk tank numerous times at 19, I went to treatment and really had no idea that there was a life different than what I was doing, you know? And so, I was had access to really great treatment and ultimately, like any great treatment center, great people, and so I had some really great mentors and people who showed me another way to live my life.

Jay: We all have those people who we think back to and try to emulate and take strides in their shadow and my guy was guy named Andy Pace and there’s a place in northeastern Pennsylvania called Little Creek Lodge that was modeled pretty closely after Jaywalker. The scheme wasn’t as good, but other than that, it was really 12-step focused, mental health concentration and I really got to kinda identify some different outlets of spirituality and didn’t have to think for a little while and just took some suggestions.

Gina: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Jay: That’s what they said. Like, what’s the best kept secret in AA? It’s just do what you’re told, right?

Gina: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Jay: Cody and I have talked about this on numerous occasions. I was lucky enough to have people and friends and peers and a system set up that I could really thrive within that. And over time, I went to business school, I had other aspirations in media and in tech and when I was six months out of graduating my undergraduate at CU, which was one of the gifts that I got from my sobriety … I never thought I was gonna graduate high school, right? And I was in a job interview at a place called [inaudible 00:06:21] on the Front Range and they asked me what my dream job was. And I was like, “You know, I really would love to work with people in a mental health capacity.”

Gina: And you weren’t interviewing for that?

Jay: I was interviewing on a cold call sales position for a tech company and it more surprising to me, my answer, than what it even was to them.

Gina: Sure. Yeah.

Jay: So, I went home that night and connected with Danny Conroy from AIM House and he really did an awesome job of helping mentor me and giving me an opportunity just based on willingness and just the experience of going through treatment.

Gina: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Jay: So, I’m always in debt to AIM House and that crew. And Northstar, like they’re’ all … and since then, I’ve really continued to emulate people and just finished my Master’s degree from [inaudible 00:07:21] program and graduated in May.

Gina: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Jay: Really, you know, the evolution of thought and what we hold close is always changing, but I think really, as a clinician first and foremost, and a mentor, I try to bridge the gap between 12-step and mental health and trying to see where both cases are right and integrating them is really kind of what I feel my purpose in this is.

Jay: And that’s actually the short version of all that story-

Gina: That’s great.

Jay: I’ll let Cody speak a little bit on it ’cause he’s got a great story, but yeah.

Gina: Thanks for sharing that. That’s wonderful.

Cody: Thanks, Jay. I hadn’t heard some of that, so that was kinda cool.

Cody: So similarly, I found recover in 2006. I don’t know that I was actually looking for it, but some people intervened on me and similar to Jay, I ran into a guy who has stuck in my life as a mentor and somebody that’s very special to me and he took the time to show me there was a different way to live. And I can remember being early in that process and thinking for the first time really in my adult life that I actually wanted to help people, but I didn’t know what that meant, so I started working in group homes for autistic kids, kids with conduct disorder, kids with substance issues and I did that for a couple of years and by the stroke of luck, a friend of mine when I moved back to Colorado, said I ought to go and see the probation supervisor. He had a good friendship with the person that ran the Boulder Drug Court. Went out to lunch with her and Marcy Becker was able to give me an opportunity to work in the probation department.

Cody: They had a job opening sometime later and I applied and I got the job and started as a foot in the door job, $20,000 a year, no responsibility, my sole location was to take people with felony convictions who worked in drug court and 40 hours a week helped them find jobs, which is usually one of the most missing things in treatment, and I ended up becoming a Probation Officer. I was working in Drug Court in Denver for a number of years, I was the Lead Probation Officer there where we got to start real programming for trauma, for veterans, for young adults and I credit that with being a really informative period in forms of training. Recovery is great and it’s a big part of my life, but it is not a professional skill set. It’s a really nice story for me.

Cody: The professional skill set was something I had to train and learn. And Probation was able to give me that training and I spent about five years doing that. Learning motivational interviewing, cognitive behaviorals therapy, and they sent us out to tour treatment centers and understand where we were referring clients. It was just a wonderful experience most days.

Cody: And from there, I got sucked into the private treatment world, where I have been living for the last couple of years. I’ve helped start companies, I’ve done national marketing for what I would believe is one of the top 10 treatment programs in America, I’ve toured over 500 treatment centers since then, I’ve built friendships and relationships with people all over this country and I never don’t answer the phone when somebody calls needing help. So, I get a phone call probably once a month and they say, “I need an adolescent program in rural Montana.” And I say, “Well, I don’t think that exists.” And then, I actually think about it for a minute and I go, “Wait. I might know somebody.”

Gina: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Cody: So, I’ve been very fortunate to do a lot of different things. I’ve spent time with the back end of treatment programs learning how to do the administrative side, the human resources side, so I’ve been blessed to make a career out of this and Redpoint is really the fruition of about 10 years of working with and for other people and seeing what I thought worked and what I didn’t think worked and trying to create something that really allows us to help people.

Gina: That’s great. You guys are both taking your strength, [inaudible 00:11:30] and experience and really paying it forward, which is fantastic.

Gina: Well, let’s talk for a few minutes, Cody, about the MAT program. So, Redpoint’s gonna be offering MAT. Why do you think that’s important today as we work in treatment?

Cody: I think this is a really good question, a really difficult question. Our philosophy internally is … and I’ve already said this, but we are gonna do every single thing we do on a strictly case by case basis. And if we think it is going to help somebody, we’re gonna do it. The second big line that I like to use in our company is the best idea is gonna win. So, if our doctor believes that the best idea for a participant is to be on a medication-assisted therapy regimen, we’re gonna do that. I believe fundamentally in a basic idea of keeping people alive. I believe that medication-assisted therapies can do that. I don’t think it is a black and white issue. I have wishes for the pharmaceutical companies. I wish they would publish certain studies that I could see some more research about.

Cody: But, on a real brass tacks issue, I’ve spent a lot of time listening to people in public policy circles studying this issue and the reality is there is no definitive answer for everybody. If somebody is appropriate for an abstinence-based treatment process, we’re gonna foster that. If somebody is appropriate for a medication-assisted therapy process, we’re gonna foster that.

Cody: The one thing I will say fundamentally is that if anybody goes back, it’s hard to find that because it’s been taken down, but you can still find them on the internet … the initial clinical trials for much of these medications that are on the market today were always done … they were done in Europe in the late 80’s, early 90’s … and they were always done in conjunction with a minimum of nine months of behavioral therapy. So, our goal is to provide that wrap around service. Medications can assist us greatly and I fundamentally believe that. That being said, I still think there’s always gonna be a place for behavioral and emotional therapy.

Gina: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Gina: Good point. And we support that decision as well. And I think it’s one of those things where you can’t assume that recovery and treatment expectations are gonna be the same for everybody. You know, you have to be, like you said, responsive individually. So, thank you for that feedback. That’s great.

Gina: So, Jay. Playing off the idea of the word harmony. Briefly tell us what you think it means to live a life in harmony.

Jay: Hmm. I play guitar and I was actually thinking do I know the definition of harmony? And I don’t.

Gina: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Jay: But, I think piggy backing off what Cody was talking about, harmony, in my mind I associate it with being right or in sync, right? And I think that’s one idea of how to look at it, but it’s really, as it relates to the treatment industry and what we’re doing, is operating in that kinda gray area in a way that’s ethical and in a case by case basis, how can we best serve the people that come into our lives?

Jay: I think on a personal level, harmony is, from a really basic standpoint, is doing what I say I’m gonna do, you know?

Gina: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Jay: And being in alignment with my intentions and my actions. If you can, within an organization, and this was certainly my experience of working at Harmony, it’s people of a team in an organization. You can interview a thousand different treatment centers at any given standpoint and I think it’s different when you’re rating them. Week to week, even. Because systems are important, but at a base level, who are the people that you have and what’s the culture that’s set up and how are people in harmony walking forward in a way that’s together and people are able to ask for help and people are able to make mistakes, you know? Harmonies not about just like this perfect fit. It’s like how do we operate in a competent way with what we’re giving?

Gina: Great. Thank you so much for that.

Jay: Do you have any thoughts on that?

Cody: I think that’s wonderful.

Gina: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Cody: That’s a nice way of thinking of it.

Gina: So, if someone wanted to access services at Redpoint, how could they get in touch with you, Cody?

Cody: Absolutely go and check out our web site. It’s www.theredpointcenter.com. They can find the admissions line or the contact page, they can send us an email through there, they can call us through there, there would be somebody most 24 hours of the day other than I think the dead of the morning that will be answering a call and we would schedule some time to really dive in and talk and find out what that person needs and try and help them.

Gina: Sounds great.

Gina: Well, thank you both for taking the time to come up.

Cody: Can I say one last thing?

Gina: Yes.

Cody: Thank you for having us.

Jay: Yeah, thanks Gina.

Cody: Harmony is a wonderfully transformed … I mean, Harmony has been here for 49 years.

Gina: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Cody: In the community. Helping Colorado. And today was a lovely, lovely experience. You guys have a highly trained staff. Clearly, clearly one of the top treatment centers in the state and we are deeply, deeply indebted to that.

Gina: Well, thank you and I will share that message with others and we look forward to working with you all and seeing the great things that you’re gonna be doing in the community. So, thanks for your time up in Harmony today.

Jay: Thanks, Gina.

Cody: Thanks, Gina.

Mandatory: Making it Worthwhile by Khara Croswaite Brindle

“I don’t want to be here. I’m not going to say anything. I don’t know. Why should I talk to you?” You may find yourself thinking or saying thoughts like these in response to pressures to engage from a program, family, or friends. Perhaps you aren’t ready to share what’s brought you here, or what the challenges are that you are facing in this moment. Perhaps you feel like your personal freedom has been taken away, your choice to participate of your own free will. Understanding that you may feel angry, resentful, or withdrawn, please consider the following in support of getting the most out of something that is identified as mandatory.

Blocking or Belonging
You may come from a different background or hold different values from those you come into contact with, so what brings people together in this process? Shared experience around homelessness, financial instability, substance abuse, conflict in relationships, or a lack support can help one feel less isolated and alone in their experience. Although each person’s story is their own, the feeling of connection to others and belonging can go a long way in having an experience feel less mandatory and more voluntary. When you observe others engaging in the program or group, you may find yourself asking:

  • Do I feel I can relate to others in the group?
  • Do I feel this community is healthy, approachable, supportive, and willing to engage me in this process?
  • Do I feel supported by staff and helping professionals to achieve my goals?
  • Do I feel comfortable opening up and working on myself in the presence of others?

For many involved in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), they speak of the community as an equally powerful element as the 12 Steps in to their ability to actively participate in their own sobriety. Due to the friendships they make, they feel they have a connection to others in ways that feel encouraging and uplifting in moments of challenge or struggle.

Building Perspective
In addition to identifying a supportive community, how you approach the experience for yourself matters. Do you have realistic expectations of what you can accomplish both short and long term? Can you set yourself up for success in your work with others? When starting this process, it is helpful to understand basic needs as the foundation for progress. Educating yourself on how basic needs such as food, safety, and shelter provide the foundation of stability gives you permission to organize goals for success. Abraham Maslow, who identified this relationship in the Maslow Hierarchy of Needs, emphasizes that only when basic needs are met can one focus on higher work around self-esteem, sobriety, and relationships.

Relational Rapport
When exploring relationships, research tells us that therapeutic rapport accounts for more than any other factor when measuring progress towards goals set in therapy. In other words, the therapeutic relationship, unconditional positive regard, and power of feeling seen, heard, understood, and supported has positive results on goal progression. If your past experience involves trust or mistrust, being aware of how therapy and/or relationships have helped or hindered you in the past can put current resistance and reluctance in perspective. A few questions that you may find helpful at ask at the first meeting with a helping professional include:

  • What kinds of clients have you worked with before?
  • How do you work with people who are uncomfortable with therapy?
  • What do you do with feedback from clients?
  • What can I expect from working with you?

All of these questions encourage healthy discussion around the therapeutic process and can provide insight into expectations and measurable goals when engaging a helping professionalin your own growth process.

Mandatory can feel restrictive and stressful when viewed as a loss of control or freedom. What better way to reframe it than to ask yourself, what can make it worthwhile?

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” Dr. Wayne Dyer

Khara Croswaite Brindle, MA, LPC, ACS, is the owner of Catalyst Counseling, PLLC and is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the Lowry Neighborhood of Denver, Colorado. She received her Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology from the University of Denver with a focus on community based mental health. Khara has experience working with at-risk youth and families, including collaboration with detention, probation, and the Department of Human Services. Khara enjoys working with young adults experiencing anxiety, depression, trauma, relational conflict, self-esteem challenges, and life transitions.

For More Information, Please visit:

Podcast Series: Catalyst Counseling, PLLC

Gina Thorne:                      Hi everyone. Welcome to the Harmony Foundation Podcast Series, and I’m pleased today to be joined with Khara Croswaite Brindle with Catalyst Counseling out of Denver, Colorado. Welcome, Khara.

Khara C. B.:                         Thank you for having me.

Gina Thorne:                      It’s so exciting to have you here, and I’m equally excited to share some of the services that you do in Colorado. But obviously, you’ve got your hands in a lot of different areas. But today we’re going to talk specifically about Catalyst Counseling. Before we into the details around that, let’s talk a little bit about your background and how you got into the field of behavioral health.

Khara C. B.:                         Sure. I basically was one of those people that had been a confidant to friends in high school and college. And when I was making a career change, psychology was something that interests me, so I did that. And then I’ve been in at risk youth and family work for eight years now, so it’s just been something I’m passionate about and continues in the practice.

Gina Thorne:                      And you’ve certainly created quite a name for yourself, so you started this practice, Catalyst Counseling. It services from ages 13 to 55 years, but probably beyond. I would imagine that you’re not just cutting it off at 55 years. I’m sure you see all age ranges. You created this team of talented clinicians that have the ability to treat anxiety and depression and defiance and bipolar disorder, trauma, self esteem challenges, pretty much what most people are struggling with these days. Do you tend to see a certain type of mental health issue more prevalent with specific ages and genders when they come into your program?

Khara C. B.:                         I think a lot of our clients are experiencing anxiety and depression throughout, no matter the age or the background. I think the trauma is something that we’re really looking at with EMDR specifically. And then with the college age, which is a really fun population for us, we’re seeing a lot of high functioning anxiety, which is now a subcategory that’s being described for that perfectionistic type of person that’s almost OCD quality to some of the things they’re doing to cope with that need to control, so that’s coming up.

Gina Thorne:                      And I didn’t include this on the questions, but I’m just curious. You’ve created this really strong clinical team to work with. How do you look for the people that you want to have a part of Catalyst Counseling?

Khara C. B.:                         I definitely am looking for people who want to be a part of the team long-term. I don’t want people that are looking at this as a stepping stone. I really want them to feel like collaborative team long-term. When I was interviewing people, I was looking for people who have the same passion for Medicaid that I do and working with the age groups that I do, so I could support them and be a consultant as well as a collaborative team member.

Gina Thorne:                      And that’s actually … I’m going to kind of go off script here because one of the things that listeners may not hear often about is providers who do a lot of work with Medicaid. And you are kind of rare, to be honest with you. You don’t talk to a lot of providers that are willing to do the Medicaid thing, willing to do the billing thing. But you do all of that. So I’m just curious why. What is it about that particular population and that particular process that makes you feel like this is important?

Khara C. B.:                         I think just coming from community mental health, it was a shift to see that people needed that work. There’s plenty of people who come to therapy for things that are more short-term. And I’m really coming from a place of long-term help to get them empowered and willing to work on those skills. So for whatever reason, the Medicaid population, I was the clinician that liked the really hard cases, the really, for lack of better word, messy cases that had a lot going on with substance use and domestic violence and health and human services involvement. And those were the cases that I lived for because I felt like I could do a lot of good work or help them make those changes. And so that population has just kind of stuck with me. And when I thought of my private practice in the group practice building, I said, “I still want to work with people who have a lot going on, but really are motivated to do the work and want to be here.”

Gina Thorne:                      And it’s a really special place to be because they deserve the same kind of treatment and the same quality of treatment as everybody else.

Khara C. B.:                         Absolutely.

Gina Thorne:                      So your practice offers trainings. One training that stuck out when I was reviewing your site was one on burnout. What do you think contributes most often to burnout with professionals?

Khara C. B.:                         Lack of boundaries, and I can speak for myself on that one as well. I think supervising a team of new therapists when I was in community mental health really brought this to the front of my mind because we have this helper cape on. We want to help everyone. We want to save the world. And that’s a piece of being a good therapist, but boundaries are so important. Otherwise, we work all the time. We end up saying yes to things we probably shouldn’t. And then there’s the long-term burnout of ethical violations we have to worry about, so boundaries are absolutely something I’m still working on and I think the team’s working on. And it’s just something that needs to happen to prevent burnout, no matter the field.

Gina Thorne:                      So I guess I’m kind of putting you on the spot. If you’re doing a training and you’re working with people on burnout, what’s one thing that you would suggest to somebody, particularly if they’re a professional in the field that’s listening to this podcast, what would you recommend that they do first to try and address their burnout?

Khara C. B.:                         I think really just identifying the symptoms. When I first looked at burnout and saw this comprehensive list of, here are all these things that go under that umbrella, it was eye opening. I didn’t know I was in burnout until I saw the list, and I think that’s the first step even with clients, is awareness. And so having them kind of categorize what’s going on. Am I road raging more than I normally am? Which was a really interesting one that all of us were like, “Wow. I didn’t know that was part of burnout.” Am I more irritable? Am I fatigued? Am I overeating, under eating, sleep disruption? Just so many things that when put together really fall under that umbrella of burnout. So I’d have people start there, and then when I do the workshop, we really look at self care. And that’s an overused term in our field, but really have them map out. What does that look like individualized? So some of the interventions I do with clients, I do in that workshop with professionals.

Gina Thorne:                      That’s great. And I’ll tell you, self care always feels like you’re being selfish. It always feels like you’re being gluttonous when you take care of yourself, but obviously it’s that putting on your oxygen mask first in order to help others.

Khara C. B.:                         Exactly.

Gina Thorne:                      Playing off the idea of the word harmony, what do you think it means to live a life in harmony?

Khara C. B.:                         Well, when I definitely saw this question, I was thinking the word balance because that’s something, again, I think all of us are actively looking at with work and home life balance. Clients coming in, how they’re balancing the stressors that are happening. So for me, that’s kind of one of my keywords for the year. How do I balance out all these projects and the things I’m working on?

Gina Thorne:                      Great. And when you figure that out, could you tell me next? That would be great.

Khara C. B.:                         There’s words of wisdom. I will try and capture those.

Gina Thorne:                      Thank you. Thank you. For someone who wanted to access your services at Catalyst Counseling, how could they connect with you?

Khara C. B.:                         The best way is through the website, which is catalystcounselingpllc.com. And that’s where they can learn more about the team. They can learn about the workshops that we have going on. We also have kind of a community involved page, where it shows what we’re doing in the community when it comes to other activities and things that we do to give back. And really, it just helps them get a sense of who the team is and their personalities. I’m really proud of this team and I want people to be able to go on the website and say, “I think that’s a good person to work with.”

Gina Thorne:                      That’s great.

Khara C. B.:                        That’s the best way.

Gina Thorne:                      Thank you so much. And for those of you that are listening, I certainly encourage you to visit our website or Catalyst Counseling’s website. Khara has an amazing talent for writing and blogging. And you’ve done some great blogs that have made a difference for a lot of the people that have read them, so thank you so much for that. And again, thanks for taking the time to come up to Harmony to visit us. We’re really happy to have you here.

Khara C. B.:                         It’s been a great day. Thanks for having me.