Podcast Series: Lana Isaacson, LCSW, CAC III

Gina Thorne: Hi everyone. Welcome to the Harmony Foundation Podcast Series. It’s my pleasure to be joined with Lana Isaacson with, I guess, Lana Isaacson Private Practice?

Lana Isaacson: Yeah.

Gina Thorne: That’s it?

Lana Isaacson: That’s right.

Gina Thorne: Alright. Do you want to get a name someday that we can like shout out to the world or something? I don’t know. I love it though. That’s good.

Lana Isaacson: Thank you.

Gina Thorne: That’s good. So we’re-

Lana Isaacson: It allows me to change and evolve.

Gina Thorne: That’s right. Well that’s true. You don’t want to be locked into one thing.

Lana Isaacson: Right.

Gina Thorne: So we’re really excited to have you here at Harmony and for you to have spent the day with us was really terrific. I’ve learned a lot about you, as a matter of fact. I didn’t know that you were into dancing and knowing how to, and using a lot of your dance to work with clients and families, which is fantastic.

Lana Isaacson: Thanks.

Gina Thorne: And so hopefully we’ll be able to talk a little bit about that today.

Lana Isaacson: Sure.

Gina Thorne: I was really interested when I was looking at your website because you talk a lot about family. It seems very important to you. Both personally and professionally, having that healthy family is really vital. Why is that so important to you?

Lana Isaacson: So I think, professionally, having worked in the addiction field and I got into the addiction field because, there are many reasons, but one was I wanted to be inspired on a daily basis and I am with my clients. I don’t think there is a client who is more inspiring than someone who is in recovery, and the transformation is so incredible. It’s so huge, and I just love being a part of someone’s journey, and transforming, and finding a piece of themselves that they haven’t yet discovered or that they want to discover or rediscover.
And I also felt that in a lot of my work with clients at treatment centers, that there was this individual focus. And even in my private practice, I began doing more individual work and I loved how I felt that that work was really sacred. And to give people this really safe space to … It’s not so much … It’s connecting with me, but it’s more connecting with themself when they come into my office.
And at the same time, I feel like throughout the years it’s been really clear to me how everyone’s relationships influenced them so much. So if I had a client coming in with the presenting issue of depression or anxiety or addiction, I often found that they also were struggling with their relationships. Maybe not getting their needs met or maybe they didn’t know how to be in a relationship and so they were living alone. They were single or they’re in a family that they felt that they didn’t have a voice in.
And I just find that the change happens at such an even faster rate and a more in depth level when I work with the whole family system or I work with a couple. Instead of that client turning to their substance or whatever unhealthy coping skill they have, to help them turn toward their partner or their family member and let them know, I need to be held, or it would mean so much to me if you would say, “I believe in you.” And really helping people regain the connection that they had when they were born and they were loved and helping them get that back.
The connection that oftentimes clients find who are in recovery at their 12 step or other meetings with their sponsor, their peers, I want them to have that when they go home at the end of the day. And it’s so powerful for them to receive it and give it and also for them to pass it down to their children.

Gina Thorne: Yeah. So much of what you’re talking about is just the importance of how recovery is built around connection. And so many times I think we have people who come here and they think, I know families that I’ve spoken with that will drop their loved one off and they’ll say, “Just fix them. It’s not about me. It’s not about my family. It’s just about the individual.”
And so we’ve learned over time, I think, as a field that ,as everybody knows, it’s a family disease. And so it sounds like so much of what you’re talking about is really trying to cultivate that connection so that people can really do well in recovery, which is great. So much of your practice seems like it’s built around that. So you do individual work, but you do a lot of family and couples work as well.

Lana Isaacson: Much more. Yeah, and I appreciate you saying addiction is a family disease. I really like to keep focusing in on the concept of that also recovery is something that can be passed down to our children instead of focusing on this disease and feeling that feels sometimes … It’s so true and it’s important for family members to hear and feel validated that it does affect everyone, but also to know recovery can affect everyone if everyone chooses to step in and be a part of their taking charge of their recovery. And I also think healthy relationships can be passed down as well.

Gina Thorne: I never thought about it from that perspective, but you’re right. And you always think about the negative aspects of unhealthy behavior, but breaking that intergenerational cycle really does involve creating those healthy habits and those healthy behaviors. So that’s a great perspective. That’s a great perspective.

Lana Isaacson: Thanks.

Gina Thorne: So, we talked for a few minutes about just ideas of families and one of those areas that really kind of resonated with me when I was reading your website was this idea about mothers in transition and how … As a mom, a working mom, who made a conscious choice to go back to work after my son was six months old, I really struggled with this sense of choosing my career over my child and it really was almost traumatic for me in some ways, which talking to friends and colleagues about it, I realized that a lot of them also have talked about how they’ve had this sort of this imbalance as a woman where you might’ve had an established career, and you were doing great, and then you want to have this family. Then you have this family and then you feel like, do I have to say goodbye to all this stuff that I created before?
And so the fact that you are someone who works with mothers in that capacity or even mothers who are choosing to move in a different direction as they can compliment their children and their new life as a mom is really interesting. So I’m interested to hear more about, what do you do with these women when they come to you and they want to talk with you about some of the issues that I kind of struggled with when I first started?

Lana Isaacson: I appreciate you being so courageous and open with your struggle. I think of one technique I use with moms and myself as well. And that’s, whatever the topic is that they’re trying to decide, maybe they’re a new mom and they’re trying to figure out, do they want to go back to work or do they want to stay at home and be, I call it, work at home? It’s tremendous work as a stay at home mom.

Gina Thorne: That’s big.

Lana Isaacson: Yeah, and deciding what to do, I’ll have them connect with … At first, they usually connect with their brain, and that’s their story, and that’s also society’s expectations, and families’ expectations, and it could be their spouse too, but usually it’s society. I let them connect with their brain for a little while and then I’ll have them connect with their heart and ask them, “What really brings you joy? What do you really love? What does your heart most want? What does your heart most need?”
Then I’ll have them connect with their intuition, which I call your source of wisdom. And I’ll want to, I might lead them through a meditation or some breathing techniques so they can try to go deeper. As deep as our heart is, I think also sometimes we might find the answer if we can quiet our mind and just breathe. Then I’ll ask them to sometimes do a sand tray or a drawing or just talk about those three parts, and what were the messages that you got from your brain, your heart, your gut? And what are you feeling most called to and to do?

Gina Thorne: Because it’s in there.

Lana Isaacson: Yeah.

Gina Thorne: We all know, right?

Lana Isaacson: The answer is, and I think also it’s letting go, as hard as it is, but letting go of other people’s expectations and-

Gina Thorne: Cultural society’s expectations and what they want us to do.

Lana Isaacson: Yeah, just really trying to … And also, giving yourself a chance to try out different things. I think sometimes moms feel like we have to make this choice and, frankly, fathers don’t always have to make it, but we feel like we do. It feels so scary and so permanent, but it doesn’t always have to be that permanent. It can be just try. Go back to work, see how that goes for you. How does that feel for you?
Do you feel like that’s fulfilling enough and that you’re spending enough quality time with your child? And for some moms, they’ll say that they feel like they’re more present and that the time they spend with their child is better quality when they are working.

Gina Thorne: That was me.

Lana Isaacson: Yeah.

Gina Thorne: I felt like I was a better mom because of that. And it wasn’t an excuse, it was just one of those things where I knew. As he’s grown up, he’s watched me recognize that that’s a part of who I am and has come to honor that and respect that.

Lana Isaacson: That’s wonderful.

Gina Thorne: But I understand what you’re saying. So that’s great, and I’m just so happy that you take the time to do that for women because I think a lot of women really struggle in isolation around this issue and think that it’s just part of life. Having someone that they can go to and talk to about it and kind of learn intuitively that you already know what your message is. You just have to kind of align with it.

Lana Isaacson: Also, one more thing that does help some moms is when I share or have them think about different moms that are women who inspire them. They may be working moms, they maybe stay at home moms. For them, that can kind of help with a reality check when they realize, oh yeah, that mom who has three middle school or high school kids who adore her, she went back to work after staying home with them for six weeks or three months, and they’re so bonded with her. Or that stay at home mom who maybe was a career person before and decided to stay at home, she loves being that person for her kids in a different way. And so yeah, I think just really looking at other women as mentors and finding women who really support you in your choices, that’s really important.

Gina Thorne: I think that’s great.

Lana Isaacson: Thanks.

Gina Thorne: Thank you. So we’ve gotten a little bit of a taste of your clinical side, but we want to learn a little bit about you as the person. So I’m going to ask you a couple of questions that kind of gets to know you a little bit better.

Lana Isaacson: Okay.

Gina Thorne: So what do you think is an unusual habit or an absurd thing that you love? I know you’re like, why would you ask me that question?

Lana Isaacson: I guess there are two things. I don’t know if they’re really that absurd, but I took a self defense class this past fall, and we got to scream “no” at the top of our lungs about 1200 times.

Gina Thorne: Wow.

Lana Isaacson: And I loved it, and fighting.

Gina Thorne: Why?

Lana Isaacson: Why? Oh, it was just so empowering. I think I wasn’t taught, I wasn’t taught to say no growing up. I was taught to say yes and please and be a good kid. And yet, I think that being a good kid is also being able to set healthy boundaries, and we need to teach our children that and model it. The other part of that class was being able to kick the crap out of these men who were in padded suits and how fun and empowering that was. It was scary as heck too and really intense, but it was so empowering. So I am signed up to take the advanced class where you get to fight with a blindfold on and do some other crazy things.

Gina Thorne: Wow.

Lana Isaacson: Yeah, and who knows?

Gina Thorne: So it this just like street fighting or was it actually like-

Lana Isaacson: Self defense.

Gina Thorne: Okay.

Lana Isaacson: Yeah. It’s an organization called Impact Personal Safety of Colorado, and they have all different classes. They even have like a family empowerment class and separate men’s and women’s in a mixed gender group and advanced. So it’s just, I guess you could call it street fighting. It’s wherever you are, just how you can protect yourself.

Gina Thorne: I think everybody needs to know that. I think that’s great. Thank you. Impact?

Lana Isaacson: Impact Personal Safety of Colorado.

Gina Thorne: Terrific.

Lana Isaacson: Yeah.

Gina Thorne: So my next question is if you, sort of playing off the word of harmony, what does it mean to you when I ask you to live a life in harmony?

Lana Isaacson: That’s so interesting. I’m thinking about how like it juxtaposes my answer I just shared, kicking the crap out of someone screaming “no” at the top of my lungs. And although I wouldn’t put that in the category of harmony, I think of balance when I think of harmony. I feel like I’m most at peace when I am living out a more balanced life, and I think that is tapping into both my dark and my light side and all parts of me that are important.
But also, I would say harmony requires me to prioritize and let go of things that are not always easy to let go of, that in the past they would have been an important part of my life. But I’ve made choices, being a working mom. I have a six year old and deciding to let go of some other things so I can just have more quality time and really quality time. My husband and I call it couch time, but every night that we have the energy to sit together and talk about our day, hold each other, or look into each other’s eyes, but that’s really quality time, or just time with my son. He’s still going through this very creative, imaginative stage as a Kindergartner. And so being with him instead of feeling like we need to rush to the next activity or the next outing. Those are some things I think about.

Gina Thorne: That’s great. Love it. I love that answer.

Lana Isaacson: Thanks.

Gina Thorne: That’s fantastic. So I guess if someone wanted to access services through you, how could they get in touch with you?

Lana Isaacson: They can call, text, email, yeah, or schedule. I have an online schedule soon. Online scheduler. It’s through Acuity. My phone number is 720-432-5262. Feel free to call me anytime or text me, or you can email me at lanaisaacson@gmail.com. I’ll spell that. It’s L-A-N-A Isaacson is I-S as in Sam, A-A-C-S-O-N @gmail.com. I have a contact form on my website, which is lanaisaacson.com, or you can go on my website and schedule an appointment.

Gina Thorne: That sounds great. Well thank you so much, Lana, for taking time to visit with us at Harmony. It was a pleasure.

Lana Isaacson: Thank you, Gina.

Podcast Series: Recovery Ways

Gina: Hi everyone. Welcome to the Harmony Foundation Podcast series. I’m pleased today to be joined with Ryan Sturdevant with Recovery Ways out of Murray, Utah. Welcome, Ryan.

Ryan:Thanks, Gina.

Gina: Really glad to have you here today.

Ryan: I’m excited to be at Harmony and check out the facility. And yeah, beautiful setting up here.

Gina: Well, we think so too. It’s a little windy today. But I’m really glad that it didn’t snow because you never know what’s going to happen here in the mountains. So, we’re going to talk a little bit today about Recovery Ways. But before we do that, we want to get to know you a little bit better. So, let’s talk a little bit about your background and what got you into the field of working in addiction treatment.

Ryan: Sure. Like many people that I feel end up working in this field, my history started with my own struggle with addiction. I had such a profound experience back in 2009 going to treatment and the clinician that was my primary therapist, had such a profound effect on me and where I was at in my stage of life. I just had been searching all this time leading up to that, I had been searching for something in life that gave me purpose.
So, when I went to treatment and had this experience, I was just like, this is what I’m supposed to be doing. This is what I want to do. I want to help people, I want to counsel people and fast forward nine years, and now I can say that I’m a clinician, I’ve worked in the field nine years and have done a bunch of different aspects of the field.
But the most exciting thing that I get to do today is I get to help other people find the experience that they’re looking for. And hopefully, the transformation of actually getting their life back or starting a whole new life for themselves.

Gina: It’s true. The work that we do in our field, especially working on the front side of treatment is ushering people in and helping them find the right resources.

Ryan: Absolutely.

Gina: So, it’s very rewarding. I don’t know if I could do the treatment side of things, but I certainly can do the business development and marketing side of things.

Ryan: Yes. I’ve done the treatment side of things for a long time. And it’s nice to have some balance in between that, and you’re just switching gears. You’re not necessarily in the trenches anymore, but you’re out there on the front lines. So, either way you do it, you’re still having a profound effect on somebody’s life.

Gina: I completely agree. So, let’s shift gears a little bit and talk about Recovery Ways. Recovery Ways is inpatient. It’s in Murray, Utah, you might want to tell us a little bit where in relationship to, is there a big landmark in Utah that people would know where Murray is? I have a feeling that Murray is not a very big town.

Ryan: No. Murray is just one of the little towns right outside of Salt Lake. I can’t think of the different parts. It’s like the simplest word. Anyway, it’s 10 minutes outside of Salt Lake.

Gina: Perfect, okay.

Ryan: I could just said that from the beginning.

Gina: That’s okay. That’s all right.

Ryan: But I’m like, what are the small towns that make up Denver?

Gina: The suburbs.

Ryan: Suburbs. Oh my gosh, I could get that word.

Gina: That’s okay.

Ryan: Murray, Utah’s a suburb of Salt Lake City. So, we’re about 10 minutes from downtown Salt Lake and a 15 minute drive from the Salt Lake International Airport. Super easy to get to, easy access to all the wonderful things that make up Utah and salt lake. We do a lot of rec therapy with our program. So, access to the mountains is 15, 20 minutes away.
Clients are flying in, they choose to come to Recovery Ways, and it’s the best fit for their clinical needs. That’s a 15 minute drive from the airport. Just so much access. Utah is like a miniature Denver, where we still have all the great access to all the great outdoors. We just have about, 4 million people less, which we’re okay with.

Gina: So, you don’t have the many traffic issues that we have.

Ryan: Yes, we’re okay with that. People in Utah think traffic is ridiculous. They obviously haven’t been outside of Utah any time soon.

Gina: No. Well, so Recovery Ways, I talked about it being inpatient, but it’s really not just in patient.

Ryan: No.

Gina: So, what is it?

Ryan:We have all levels of care. So we have detox, residential treatment, partial hospitalization or day treatment, and then a standalone IOP. So, we have the full level of care. We’re licensed for both mental health and substance abuse. We can treat co-occurring disorders as well. The unique things of Recovery Ways and how we stand out in Utah and in our region especially, is just the level of psychiatric care that we offer.
We have two board certified addiction psychiatrists on staff. We have an addictionologist MD on staff, 24 hour nursing. And then we also have some APRNs. All of our clinicians that are working as primary therapists are masters level clinicians. Yeah. We try to stay at the forefront of what people are doing and what’s cutting edge in the industry. We try to incorporate as many different aspects and really throw as many different opportunities at someone that is trying to get sober and trying to get their life back on track.
We want to give them as many opportunities to experience all the different tools that they can use, whether that be outdoors, rec therapy, the sensory integration rooms, occupational therapy, the different aspects of treatment or the community treatment that we incorporate. Whether that be 12 steps, rational recovery, smart recovery or refuge recovery. We try to give them a lot of the different options.
And then we have an amazing kind of alumni program that we follow that up with. So, really, we offer our clients a lot. Now, what I always tell people though, is we are not unique in the sense that people need to find what really works for them, and what they feel comfortable with. So, we’re not the best fit for everyone. We have our limitations. I think we do treat them very well. But we aren’t the end all be all. That’s why we are working on creating great relationships with people like Harmony Foundation, because people need options and people need to find their fit, and what’s going to be a good match for them.

Gina: No, I think you’re spot on as far as recognizing that treatment is not one size fits all, and you all are making a very concerted effort to be responsive to individual needs. One of the things that I thought that stood out, you mentioned this plethora of resources you also offer occupational therapy. Well, one of the things that stands out is the sensory integration therapy that you all do. Can you talk a little bit more about this approach?

Ryan: Yes, I’d be happy to. So, Dr. Stormy actually would give me a look if she heard me calling it sensory integration, because she wants me to call it sensory modulation. But sensory integration kind of rolls off the tongue as well. Anyway, yes. We actually employ five full-time occupational therapists in our sensory integration room.
Now, it’s so hard to describe our sensory integration room. It’s this room that has lighting, sound, smell, touch. It encapsulates all the different senses and then plus three other ones that never get talked about. Really, we utilize these rooms for a couple different reasons. One is Dr. Stormy develops … So, sensory integration and sensory modulation rooms have been used for the last 40 or 50 years. But nobody had been using them when it comes to addiction treatment.
So, about seven years ago, Dr. Stormy went to her mother that used to be our old executive clinical director at Recovery Ways and said, “I think you guys are missing the boat here.” What she did was she developed this room, these beautiful rooms that really work on a patient’s emotional regulation and self-regulation piece. Because a lot of times what we see in therapy or in residential treatment or any level of care is the focus on the cognitive behavioral therapy, the talk therapy. Processing through things and things like that.
Well, the reality is a lot of patients that are coming to us for treatment, their cognitive abilities might be not up to snuff or they might have done some damage to their cognitive abilities and the processing piece due to their alcohol, drug use and maybe mental health diagnosis have played a part in that. So, people forget to focus on what’s happening in the body.
We have the primary therapists that is going to do the cognitive behavioral therapy. But what we do in these rooms is we really work on what’s going on from the neck down. So, that means … Because anybody will tell you that when they’re feeling depressed, and they’re feeling anxious, there’s just telling you that they’re feeling that way because it’s not necessarily in the head, but they’re feeling that somewhere in their body.
So, we’ve developed these rooms to look at a few different things. We actually track data from agitation, depression, anxiety, pain scale, and we monitor that and we’ve been collecting data on that for the last seven years. Since collecting that data, we’ve seen a 60% decrease in these symptoms from the start of treatment using these rooms.
Now, I haven’t really got into what these rooms do. So, our focus on this is the emotional regulation piece. What you have there is … The example I always tell people is, when you get out of treatment, you’re on cloud nine, right? You’re feeling good, you’re ready to tackle the world. And then, for example, you walk out to your car and you get a parking ticket. Right there, your emotions go from zero to 60 in 2.0 seconds, whatever.
From that, there’s this emotional regulation piece that comes in. So, if you don’t have some skills and tools to figure like, emotionally regulate yourself, your first go to is, “Oh, I know how I used to fix this.” Your mind immediately goes to, I know what I used to do to care of this quickly. So, they want to turn to the drugs and alcohol, whatever.
What we really focus on in these rooms are giving them some skills and tools to regulate that emotional piece. We do that through guided imagery. We do that through bringing in all these different aspects and creating a treatment plan, and creating a safe space around the tools that they can take with them. Whether that be a smell of lavender or something like that, that helps them take them back to a place. It’s all about creating new neural pathways to healthy coping skills.
So, we do that. Then we do a myriad of other different things in the rooms where it can be something like putting together a budget because they’re working with our occupational therapist, or job resumes. Just a ton of different things we utilize in that room. Then, there was one other thing that I was going to talk about. Oh, and then the other piece is, all of our staff are trained in mind, body bridging. Which, we have a philosophy kind of at … Not kind of. We have a philosophy at Recovery Ways that we don’t feel like opening up a can of worms when it comes to trauma is appropriate in a residential level of care.
So, we don’t do any MDR in a residential level of care. We may look at it, may look at it in the PHP level of care, and depending on what their living situation is, how long they’re going to be with us and things like that, we might start MDR in IOP. But that’s if they are completely stable, they have a stable living environment, all those different things, all those boxes have to be checked off.
In turn, what we do is we also use the sensory room for trauma based therapy, but more working with the body. That’s why all of our clinicians are trained in mind, body bridging. So, a form to work with the trauma without opening up the trauma that early on.

Gina: It’s wonderful. No, I mean, just hearing the nature of what you all are doing has a very strong, holistic approach to it because you’re not looking at just addressing the behaviors itself, you’re looking at figuring out how to create the life skills necessary for them to, like you said, self-regulate.


Gina: I don’t know any other program that offers a resource like that at this point. There probably are a lot of them, but you guys are the only ones that I’m aware of that have actually created an actual safe space for people to have that kind of experience. And like you said, create new patterns of behavior to be responsive to issues of anxiety, or depression or fear or whatever else might come up.
This program is open to all of your clients. So, all your clients that go through Recovery Ways have access to this?

Ryan: Yes, I would say…The last time, I used to tell people, 95% of our clientele went through the sensory integration. But I heard one of our OTs say about a week ago that it’s like 99% of our clients go through occupational therapy. They could, depending on severity, they could have anywhere from one to three sessions a week in those rooms. These are on top of their individual therapy they’re getting. It just all completely depends on what their treatment plan looks like. And all these sensory integration sessions are individualized, or individual and they’re 60 minute sessions.

Gina: Wonderful. That’s great.

Ryan: Just another.

Gina: It was part of their treatment plan.

Ryan: Yes, absolutely.

Gina: Wonderful. Well, obviously, those people who are listening are going to get a lot of great information from you today about Recovery Ways, which is exciting. I’m going to shift back to learning a little bit about you, Ryan Because obviously, organizations are built on good people. So, it’s important to know who the people are.
So, I’m going to ask you a couple questions just to get into learning a little bit more about who you are. If you could have a giant billboard anywhere with anything on it, metaphorically speaking, getting a message out to millions or billions of people, what would you want it to say?

Ryan: Oh, gosh. What would I wanted to say? I would want it to say, Do You! With an exclamation point. Because I think as a society, we tend to get wrapped up so much in what everybody else is constantly doing. My billboard would just say, Do You! Because at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what anybody else is doing. As long as you go out, you give it your best. And you put your best foot forward every day, and you do it with honesty and integrity. What everybody else thinks doesn’t matter. So, Do You! is what I want on my billboard.

Gina: As it should be, that’s wonderful. I love it. Then playing off the idea of the word harmony. What does it mean to you when I say, to live your life in harmony?

Ryan: I have to tell you this. When I saw this question, the first thing that popped into my head was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, when she’s like, I don’t know if she’s cleaning the house or getting a dress put on, but the birds helped her and everything come in.

Gina: That was great at that moment. I remember that.

Ryan:: Yes. So, when I thought of harmony, I was like living in harmony with everything around you. But what it means to live my life in harmony is just being cohesive with everything around me, whether that be nature, whether that be other human beings. I’m not necessarily a religious person, but I believe in energy, and I believe in doing the right thing. Just being a good human. I think that means picking up the piece of trash that you see next to the garbage can, or that means opening up the door for somebody when they’re walking in.
It just means just being of service to people, and also being kind to everything. You can obviously tell I’m not a hunter in this. Anyway, that’s what living in harmony means to me. It’s just everything has a purpose from the smallest thing to the biggest thing.

Gina: Thank you for that. That’s really nicely said. If someone wanted to access services at Recovery Ways, how could they get in touch with you?

Ryan: Yeah. The best, probably way to access services is to check us out online www.recoveryways.com. They can also call our admissions number at 844-334-0804. So, reach out to us if you have any questions about Recovery Ways, you want to see if we might be a good fit for you, or if you just want to know more about our sensory integration, or all the different aspects we have at Recovery Ways.

Gina: Outstanding. Well, thank you so much for taking the time to visit with us today.

Ryan: This is fun Gina. Thank you.

Gina: Yeah, have a good one.

Ryan: You too.

Podcast Series: The Refuge

Gina:         Hi, everyone, welcome to the Harmony Foundation Podcast Series. I’m pleased today to be joined with Jennifer Drapeaux, with The Refuge out of Ocala, Florida. Welcome, Jennifer.
Jennifer: Thank you, thank you for having me.
Gina:         It’s really good to have you here. We’re gonna get into learning more about The Refuge in a second, but before we do, let’s talk a little bit about you and what got you into the field of working in addiction treatment.
Jennifer: Sure. So I have been in behavioral health for about 12 years. I started when I was in college, and I was working at an acute in patient psychiatric facility, which is where I cut my teeth and found a love for working with behavioral health.
Jennifer: Over the years, I’ve stuck with it in different capacities. I worked in a group home for children and then I went to work for the government as a suicide prevention specialist on reservations. Lots of different kinds of experiences have brought me to The Refuge.
Gina:         That’s great. It’s so good to have you here and to hear more about the refuge, which is a very well-respected trauma program out of Florida that addresses both addiction and co-occurring disorders. Can you describe how The Refuge addresses the trauma in addiction? Because I’ve been in the field for 10 years, and I’m always so impressed when people come back from The Refuge and they talk about the work that they do there.
Jennifer: Sure. So The Refuge, the approach that we take is we work under the belief that everything is rooted in trauma, and that any addiction or substance use, process addiction, that’s all a symptom of the trauma. Being that we’re a longer term program, they really have found a way to give clients the time and space and resources necessary to start unraveling that trauma story. It’s almost like an onion, it takes a long time to peel back the layers. And so, by looking at the trauma, we can start to address, “Why are we using? Or why are we struggling with certain process addictions?” And in going back to the idea that it’s trauma based, it’s our way of coping and it’s our way of survival.
Gina:         And you guys are located where in Ocala?
Jennifer: It’s at Ocklawaha, actually.
Gina:         Ocklawaha. That’s right.
Jennifer: Ocklawaha, Florida.
Gina:         Okay.
Jennifer: It’s a very small town, about an hour and a half north of Orlando. And 20 minutes away from Ocala, Florida. And we are in the middle of the forest, the Ocklawaha National Forest.
Gina:         How many acres do you all have?
Jennifer: 100 acres.
Gina:         100 acres.
Jennifer: Yes.
Gina:         I’ve been there, and it’s really impressive.
Jennifer: It’s an old YMCA camp.
Gina:         Oh I didn’t know that.
Jennifer: Yeah.
Gina:         Oh, no kidding?
Jennifer: That’s how it started.
Gina:         Oh really?
Jennifer: Yeah.
Gina:         Okay, well it’s a beautiful campus. You guys, and I was around, took the big bus that they take around, it looks like the big-
Jennifer: The marsh mama.
Gina:         That’s it. So I drove all over with that, too, which was great. And you treat both men and women, correct?
Jennifer: Yes, ma’am.
Gina:         Okay. That’s great.
Gina:         So we’re gonna get to know you a little bit more on a different level.
Jennifer: Okay.
Gina:         So let’s talk for a second about 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?
Jennifer: This is hard. Even being prepped for this, this one is really hard. I think one of my favorites quotes is, I see it a lot but, “Be kind because everyone is facing some sort of battle we know nothing about.” I think that that is so true, I know there’s been plenty of times in my life where I’ve been dealing with stuff and you don’t always present that to the outside world. And when I’m sitting and talking, I have no idea what’s going on for that person, so just treating people with respect and kindness and showing compassion, that’s [inaudible 00:03:25]. Very cliché, but-
Gina:         No.
Jennifer: [inaudible 00:03:28] retweet it.
Gina:         But not said enough, and certainly not done enough, so I like that very much.
Gina:        And then again, playing off the idea of the word “Harmony”, what do you think it means to live a life in harmony?
Jennifer: I think to live a life in Harmony, it’s really about being at peace with yourself, where you’re at. Giving yourself a lot of grace. We’re our own worst critics. We bring a lot of our, I know I am. So when I feel most peaceful is when I’m forgiving myself. I know you make mistakes and you carry on and you’re doing the best you can.
Gina:        Well, and I will say this, that getting to know you and hearing what you have to say obviously speaks to the quality of The Refuge, and the kind of talent that they hire, so thank you so much for taking the time to visit with us today.
Gina:          If folks wanted to access services at The Refuge, how could they get in touch with you?
Jennifer: There’s a couple ways. If they are more comfortable calling into admissions directly, they can go to our website, the number is posted. There’s also an internet chat, sometimes that is a little more, less intimidating to people. I encourage people to just give me a call there. If you have any questions, I’d love to talk to you about it, and I really believe in getting people the right help, so if we’re not a good fit for whatever reason or what not, I would love to help connect you with other resources.
Gina:         Wonderful. Thank you so much. And what’s the best, is there a website?
Jennifer: Yep. The website for The Refuge is www.therefuge-ahealingplace.com.
Gina:         Okay, and what about a telephone number? Is there a dedicated number that they can call?
Jennifer: They can get my number call, it is 605-290-5356.
Gina:         Wonderful. Well thanks so much, Jennifer, it’s good to have you here.
Jennifer: Thank you.

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:


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.