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: