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.

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.

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.

Podcast Series: Amate Institute Boulder

Gina Thorne: Hi everyone, welcome to the Harmony Foundation podcast series and I’m pleased today to be joined with Eva Malanowski, a clinical psychologist with the Amate Institute in Boulder. Welcome.

Dr. Malanowski: Thank you so much and I’m happy to be here, Gina.

Gina Thorne: We are too. We’re really interested in hearing more about the Amate Institute, but before we do that let’s talk a little bit about your background and why and how did you get into the field and doing what you do.

Dr. Malanowski: Okay, sure, I’d be glad to do that. I’m a clinical psychologist, I have over 18 years of experience, much of it has been in helping people recover from trauma. I grew up in Boulder, Colorado, and growing up here I saw so much substance abuse going on. I remember going to a party for a friend of mine to go to rehab, it was a going away to rehab party and we were both at the age of 13, and of course it was a drinking party.

Gina Thorne: That’s interesting, I haven’t heard of one of those. I guess that’s Boulder.

Dr. Malanowski: I know, it’s Boulder. So I have seen alcohol so often used by people suffering from unresolved trauma, unresolved abuse that happened, or traumatic events that they went through, PTSD, war situations, I’ve worked with a lot of veterans. I just knew that this needed to be part of my work, I needed to address this because it’s such a prevalent issue. A lot of the work I’ve done is inpatient work in inpatient hospitals, PTSD units.

Dr. Malanowski: I did work as the Director of the Aspen Counseling Center and I oversaw the IOP program there. I’ve also worked in the prison system where I worked with a lot of men who had sexual and pornography addictions, and they would often use alcohol to deal with the shame and guilt that they felt from what they were doing and why they were there. I have a lot of experience working with both trauma as well as co-occurring mental illness and co-occurring substance abuse.

Gina Thorne: It’s interesting because it sounds like you’ve really covered the full spectrum in working with all populations. It sounds to me like this issue of trauma is not unique to one unique population that it really does go hand in hand for just about anybody that’s struggling with addiction.

Dr. Malanowski: Yes. I would say that’s true. I think 60% of adults at least have had some kind of significant trauma in their life that they’re dealing with. It’s not just having a trauma, it’s what kind of support a person had when they went through the traumatic event. So for one person, and they may have had a very supportive adult in their life that provided them with that love and security that they needed to get through the trauma, somebody else may not have had that. It really depends on not just what happened but the surrounding support that the person had.

Gina Thorne: And the coping skills that they may have whether it’s very small or quite big really does have an impact on how they respond.
Dr. Malanowski: Yes, very true.

Gina Thorne: You launched the Amate Institute Boulder and this was born from the work with Susan Horton.

Dr. Malanowski: Correct, yes.

Gina Thorne: I know you and I spoke about Susan Horton at one point. Trained in, they call the Amate Growth model. Can you describe for listeners what this means as it relates to emotional maturity?

Dr. Malanowski: Yes, I’d be happy to. The Amate Growth Work method is based on the idea that we get stuck in our emotional development due to traumatic situations. Again, where we didn’t have that love and security we needed, some kind of supportive environment to get through that trauma. What happens is the person stops feeling safe enough to go out there and continue to take the risks that are necessary for them to continue to grow, and they kind of retreat.

Dr. Malanowski: If you imagine like a snail in a shell, like they start building a shell around themselves and they retreat into that shell and start basically hiding from the world. So when they’re not going out there and taking those emotional risks, they are no longer growing. Depending on at what point that trauma happened, the stoppage happened, that would be the emotional maturity age that they would be stuck at. That might be the age of six or it might be the age of 13, and then that person continues to try to navigate their life.

Dr. Malanowski: They’re continuing to grow up mentally and physically, but they’re trying to navigate their life from the perspective of an emotional six-year-old or an emotional 13-year-old, and you can see how that doesn’t work so well. As they continue to grow, because they experienced more trauma and more hurt, their shell continues to grow and get harder and harder. The emotional dysfunction comes more apparent the older they get. It might be cute and funny at the age of 20, at the age of 40 it’s-

Gina Thorne: Not so much.

Dr. Malanowski: … not so much.

Gina Thorne: How does that play a part in what you do with treatment or with therapy with folks around Amate? You’ve created sort of this understanding that you’ve got this almost arrested emotional development that happens due to some sort of trauma-based experience. What’s the work that you do to kind of help move them to that level of emotional maturity?

Dr. Malanowski: The process of Amate Growth Work is a three phase program. In the first phase that’s really that part where we helped the emotional self grow up, and it’s a process called inner work where we really get through the subconscious blocks and go to the depth of the, the inner … Can I start over? Sorry.

Gina Thorne: Yes. When you’re talking about the process of your Amate work with clients that have had this sort of arrested development emotionally, what is it that you’re doing with clients to help them move past that?

Dr. Malanowski: In the first phase of Amate Growth Work we’re doing a process called Inner Work. Inner Work is the process of actually helping that inner self, an inner child grow up and it’s a very systematic process, so step-by-step we helped the inner child be able to reconnect. We reconnect with the inner child and we rework those traumatic situations as they come up, so the person actually naturally has the ability to heal themselves.

Dr. Malanowski: I’m more of a catalyst for the work so I’m not doing the work for them. I’m a facilitator, and a catalyst and I help them along with it. We stop phase one of the work when the person actually becomes emotionally the same age as they are biologically. That’s the end of phase one and then we move into the phase two where they’re trying out now their grown up self to go out and take those emotional risks that they really didn’t do before because they had been stuck and they had been living in that shell.

Dr. Malanowski: Now they’re going out into the world trying things out while they continue to have the support of myself in figuring out how to navigate these now adult situations that they hadn’t learned before.

Gina Thorne: It sounds very appropriate that you create this sort of one and two process because once they get to that point where they’re now emotionally at their biological age, it can be scary. I can imagine having them now move into the world at this age that they haven’t really lived out for such a long time.

Dr. Malanowski: Exactly, really that’s just the beginning. Once they’re out there the work really never ends. Then we do have the third phase which is the aftercare, so this is after they’ve gone through some experiences and actually have reached some challenges where they even reach a state of emotional overwhelm, and I teach them a process of complete surrender. They’re also learning how to connect with their inner guidance, so it’s a very spiritually based approach.

Gina Thorne: That’s one thing about you that I’ve really come to enjoy is that you’ve got a very deep sense of spirituality that you incorporate into your practice which is great. I’m gonna skip around a little bit but playing off the idea of the word harmony. What do you think it means to live a life in harmony?

Dr. Malanowski: To me, harmony is about balance, and it’s really living a life of balance and peace. I think that happens when you reach emotional maturity, and you’re really listening to that inner guidance that I mentioned. No matter how challenging what the inner guidance leads you to do, you are able to step into that and do it. I think living a life of harmony is also about being in harmony with others around you and your world, and so it’s not just for yourself, but when you’re living an emotionally mature life, you’re thinking about others and you’re thinking about what is my purpose here, and how am I impacting this planet?

Dr. Malanowski: This is what I love about harmony, your center here it’s just in such a beautiful place. I always think of harmony as also harmony with nature, and this place just has such good energy and a wonderful connection to nature. I think when you come up here you just get this wonderful sense of clarity, and the clouds kind of move away and you really start to see, okay, what is my purpose here? Why am I here? What am I really meant to do with my life?

Gina Thorne: Thank you for that, that’s a great response. If someone were listening today and they wanted to access services at the Amate Boulder Institute, how could they get in touch with you?

Dr. Malanowski: They can call me directly at 303-242-7824 and I’d be happy to set up a free consultation with them either by phone or in person.

Gina Thorne: Well, thank you Eva for taking the time to visit us today, it was good to talk with you.

Dr. Malanowski: Thank you so much and I’m happy to be here.

Visit www.amateinstitute.com for more information.

Podcast Series: Dylan Rivard, MA, LPC

Gina Thorne: Hi everyone. Welcome to the Harmony Foundation Podcast Series. I’m please today to be joined with Dylan Rivard who’s in private practice out of Golden and Boulder, Colorado. Welcome.

Dylan Rivard: Thank you. It’s great to be here.

Gina Thorne: Really excited to have you on campus today. Before we get into some details about your practice and what you do, we’d like to learn a little bit more about you first, so let’s talk about your background. How did you get into this field?

Dylan Rivard: Yeah. For me, it really started in working at summer camps in Vermont. It was not specifically therapeutic. It’s was just something to keep me busy between semesters in college. While I was there, I just discovered a fundamental shift in myself. I really like who I was living simply, being so connected to the earth and the woods, and saw that change both in my coworkers, the kids I worked with at this camp. I didn’t know exactly what that meant or how to pursue that. It didn’t really seem like a legit career, right? I just want to be a professional camp counselor.

Gina Thorne: That would be fun.

Dylan Rivard: Right. But then in pursuing it and looking at my options, I actually got an email from my dad pointing towards a masters in wilderness therapy at Naropa University out in Boulder, Colorado, and it was just perfect. It was the exact grad program I could have wanted. It was specifically designed for me, it felt like. And that is what kind of set me on the path.

Gina Thorne: That’s wonderful. I have to say, I was camp counselor as well, actually at Durango, Colorado. I wanted to figure out how can make this a life career myself.

Dylan Rivard: Nice.

Gina Thorne: So, I completely understand what you’re talking about.

Dylan Rivard: Yeah.

Gina Thorne: When I went to your website, I was really impressed by this modality that you have. You have this sort of three prong approach that you work with, but the thing that really stood out for me was that you’re trained in Hakomi, a Hopi Indian word that means how do you relate to all things, also called core therapy. For those of us that are new to this entire practice, can you describe what that means? And more specifically, what these five principles are and how you apply those to the work that you do in your practice.

Dylan Rivard: Sure. Really, the place to start with that is what it means to be a core therapy. As people, and we grow up, often there are incidence in our lives, often when we are very young, where we make some decisions about the world, about people, about ourselves, and these become what we could call core beliefs. Often, later in life, these become completely unconscious. We have not idea they’re running the show, but they’re there.

Dylan Rivard: Sometimes, people experience them in things like, in every relationship, not matter what’s happening, I don’t feel good enough, or I’ve got to stay busy all the time, if there’s open space for whatever reason, I get really anxious, so I just don’t even hangout there, we’re just going to skip right over that. Hakomi is specifically designed to drill into those types of experiences, those types of beliefs. Ultimately, the pain of those experiences, whatever set those up, that will probably never change, but the decisions we made about them, that’s where we really get to have some choice, and maybe even create more options in our lives versus how we’ve been running the whole show.

Dylan Rivard: The five principles of Hakomi, the framework through which we approach all those beliefs is mindfulness. It’s really about studying your experience from the inside out. I might offer some experiment or word, and really the emphasis then is on studying what happens. Suddenly, there’s tension and fear in my chest when you say that, or there are immediately thoughts like, that’s never going to happen. We get to learn more about that in that. I kind of pointed to this, there’s also a focus on a mind body connection, that everything that’s running your behavioral program has some relationship to your body, whether it be gestures or an internal felt sense. We really use that to move out of what’s kind of ordinary consciousness and start to access those realms that are a little more subconscious.

Dylan Rivard: In addition to that, there’s also this principle of nonviolence. Hakomi is not looking at blasting you through whatever the beliefs are, getting you to the other side. It’s really about honoring that whatever is there, it was put there for a really good reason. Actually, a classic Hakomi experiment is actually to just help you do those defenses more, to kind of take that over for you so you get a change to see, what’s it like from the inside of this? Do you get to have a different experience when someone else gets to take that protection for you?

Gina Thorne: Oh, that’s interesting.

Dylan Rivard: Yeah.

Gina Thorne: Really very fascinating. I think it obviously goes in line with your philosophy of what you do within your practice, which is really focusing on counseling wilderness, and also interesting was ceremony. Ceremony is always something that people equate to and they talk about religion, or they’re talking about spirituality. How would you look at that piece as it relates to the work that you’re doing?

Dylan Rivard: For me, I feel like spirituality is central to actually experiencing. A lot of what Hakomi points to is that internal sense of ourselves, that internal world that actually drives everything. And largely in our culture, it’s not given a lot of space. It’s really focused on external achievement, external presentation, but at the end of the day, the things people struggle with most, particularly in the realm of mental health, are these feelings of worthlessness, these feelings of fear, these feelings of emptiness, which are ultimately spiritual experiences. For me, that’s where spirituality feels really like core and central. I don’t mean to define that as any type of particular religion or a particular practice, but more about, how do you relate to your internal experience, and finding ways that actually can create a sense of fulfillment, connection, excitement. These are really things that are our birthright. Human practices have been around since the beginning of humanity. I know in our modern culture, it’s often true for people that those types of things have become really estranged or really distant.

Gina Thorne: And we do, we just disconnect ourselves from it because it’s uncomfortable or it’s not familiar, so we don’t know how to align ourselves with it, and that’s probably where we see a lot of addiction popping in too. Well, thank you for sharing that. That’s very interesting. You have a very unique practice. Just out of curiosity, I’m playing off this idea of harmony because you’re visiting with us from outside. What did it mean to you to live a life in harmony?

Dylan Rivard: It goes back similar to what the Hakomi word means. My mind goes right to, how do I relate to all things, both in the outer world, the people in my life, the nature in my life, but also all of those parts of myself that are online. For a lot of people, if you’ve not really examined yourself, it’s really easy to gloss over those or not even know they’re there, but any one point is like some little three year old inside of me. It was always looking for safety or those parts of myself that feel embarrassed or ashamed, it’s like all of these different things live inside me, and I think harmony is really about having the ability to open to each of those experiences. See them for what they are and not have to get rid of them or change them, but actually be able to work in cooperation with them.

Dylan Rivard: I think a lot of mental suffering comes from people identifying some of these parts, but then immediately going towards, I’ve got to get rid of it. I’ve got to change it. It’s got to be something different, and that’s actually in some way kind of violence towards yourself from yourself.

Gina Thorne: Yeah, you’re right.

Dylan Rivard: There’s really a much more powerful stance that I think where true healing happens where we get to accept those parts of ourselves that we feel like are kind of ugly, or unwanted, or maybe we’re a little less proud of.

Gina Thorne: Which actually makes part of who we are, right?

Dylan Rivard: Right. It’s part of our uniqueness.

Gina Thorne: That’s right.

Dylan Rivard: Often, they contain seeds of our superpowers or greatness as well.

Gina Thorne: It’s hard for people to see it that way because we’re always so focused on the negative and looking at the defects, but not really recognizing that those are actually a part of what makes us so special. That’s very interesting.

Gina Thorne: Dylan, if someone wanted to access your services, your amazing services that you offer, how could they connect with you?

Dylan Rivard: Yeah. Feel free to give me a call and setup an initial consult. That number is 720-633-4311. If you’re also curious and don’t know if you want work with me or not, just want more of a flavor, feel free to go to my website. It’s just my name.com. That’s dylanrivard.com.

Gina Thorne: Wonderful. It was good to have you on campus today. Thank you for coming.

Dylan Rivard: Thank you. It’s been a really wonderful visit. I very much enjoyed it.