Having a background in Therapeutic Recreation has led to a natural fit for me with the Wilderness therapy model. Allowing for and encouraging a child to venture forth and to be activated both physically and mentally allows them to open up and be naturally explorative of other options and avenues that present themselves. Letting nature do its good work allows us to gather intel and insight into what that specific child needs. These insights are often about the connection of the roots and meaning to a child’s behaviors and helps me to come alongside where the child is at understanding that behavior is not always rooted in intention; often they are not acting “badly” on purpose. Finding the workaround to each child’s counter-will trigger is something that truly brings me joy as we help them remove this obstacle they have felt was needed in their life.
Therapy is simply helping emotion do its work. The woods allow for a concentrated amount of time with this raw material of emotion and relationship is the context in which this emotion can be expressed. To help students break down how to approach what has been bogging them down, I empower them with some quick hitting successes by identifying skills they can gain mastery over. Once these are in place they are better able to find pathways to insights that will help them further their progress along the path to their growth potential. Through developing and tapping into deeper levels of attachment I am able to help support each child in their emergent process as he/she gains a sense of viability and vitality. This operationalizes the adaptive processes and helps with integrating across contexts.
Parents are a key part of this journey. By the time their child comes to the woods, most parents have tried many other avenues personally and through professionals with little to no progress. This frustration builds as they have often been told time and again “if you would do ___” or “you should’ve ________.” They fall prey to the “What Works” movement that has insisted on providing route answers to all parenting woes, and if those answers didn’t work then you are not doing it correctly. I work to help parents stop feeling dumbed down and look towards rebuilding and recognizing their natural intuition that matches the needs of their child. We work together to constantly reframe and ask what do I SEE instead of what should I DO. By expanding their concept of their child, we are able to reach new levels of their child, we are able to reach new levels of understanding to support their child through their growth journey.
I love to be constantly learning and growing. Sometimes that means seeing new places and meeting new people, and sometimes that means learning something new that might even put me outside of my comfort zone. I stay busy playing soccer, riding horses, running (half-marathons primarily but have signed up for yet a third round of torture with marathon #3), hiking, playing piano & guitar, camping, canyoneering, rock climbing, snowboarding, building things, and anything else that will get me out and about with my dog Teton. Family is very important to me and I spend a lot of time with all 10 of the very young children in my life ranging in age from 2 – 8 years old. They never cease to amaze me and make my world brighter for the role I get to play in their lives.