As those of us working in Admissions will attest, being tied to your phone is an essential part of the job description. Particularly in working with families who are considering placement in a wilderness program, ideal timing is often the exception. Being attentive and responsive to parents in crisis are critical components in helping them take that step to find peace and to regain hope.
Viewing entries posted in 2014
The more I witness the subtle and profound shifts in clients after a gratitude practice, the more curious I am about what “the experts” know regarding gratitude’s effect on our overall mental, emotional, physical health. There’s some exciting notions creeping into the scientific community regarding this topic!
At Second Nature we have been conducting a longitudinal outcome study, and I am currently in the middle of following up with almost 500 of those participants. In the context of wilderness therapy and residential treatment, a three-year follow-up is unprecedented and will offer incredible insights into the effectiveness of wilderness programs. Those insights are still underway, as we are just halfway through this last follow-up. What I have been itching to share though, are the reflections I am hearing from alumni and parents.
“How do you know it works?” This is one of the most common questions we get in the office from our new families. It isn’t easy to trust someone you’ve never met with your child, and I’d like to share my answer.
I appreciate autumn for its quiet yet vibrant salute to the end of summer. Colors are still bright, sun is still warm but there is a lilt in the air like a yawn signaling the slumber of winter to come. This week at the Oasis, I was struck with the brilliance of colors still in the cottonwoods, a sunset that would make the psychedelic artists of the 60s weep, and that stillness in the air… That stillness that invites me to get quiet, calm, listen more intently, settle into the present. I also get excited about the rich, colorful foods that we harvest this time of year – squash and root vegetables reminding us to get centered, grounded. This recipe is all about honoring the seasonal diet that helps keep our bodies in rhythm with our natural surroundings. Try this one out while sweet potatoes and pears are still beckoning!
At Second Nature we are obviously concerned about and committed to mental health. Perhaps not as obvious, is our focus on and commitment to physical health and well-being. For over a year, our nurse Adam at Entrada has been tracking the weight and body fat of our clients on a monthly basis. To get a first glimpse of these physical changes, I recently crunched the numbers for our clients that entered and graduated during 2014.
When you’re tasked with hosting an event and spend hours preparing for it and making sure it goes off without a hitch it’s easy to forget why you were doing it in the first place. I can often be guilty of focusing too much on the details and erring on the side of perfection. During our event I sat around a warm fire surrounded by professionals of the industry in the middle of the Nevada desert. In this moment our Health and Wellness Coordinator invited the group to practice mindfulness as we enjoyed a well-prepared meal of beans and rice. It was the first time in over a month where I actively took time to slow down and enjoy the present moment. I was reminded WHY I was there and how powerful the wilderness can be. I was overwhelmed with the amount of contentment and gratitude surrounding me.
As a yoga teacher and meditation facilitator for Second Nature Entrada as well as the yoga director for a local, in-patient addiction treatment center for adults, I become giddy (if not a little smug) with every new article or study that references mindfulness as a means of complimentary treatment for behavioral or psychological disorders. Mindfulness is gaining a greater voice in the field of psychology and physiology and we practitioners of such a concept are celebrating!
When I decided to become a therapist, I was in my early 20’s. I thought I was beginning a career where I could put my skills to use to take away others’ pain. I was introduced to therapy early in life due to my many struggles in childhood and my mother’s instinct to seek guidance from child psychologists. I thought I had wisdom to offer—wisdom gleaned from the years of challenge and from the self-evaluation that therapy often offers. It wasn’t long into my career before I realized that I wasn’t in the business of helping people feel happy, but rather I was in the business of helping people feel everything. The ability to allow for the painful feelings of others is difficult as a therapist and almost intolerable as a parent. It also became clear early on that any wisdom I had was gleaned from my own struggles and mistakes and that offering advice to anyone was both arrogant and misguided. Trying to steer people in the direction I deemed best, removes the essential aspect that adds worth and depth to our human experience.
I am firstly a yogi by profession and by passion. One of the supreme focuses and goals of a yoga practice is to find balance in all things – the body, perceptions, lifestyle, discernment. So… to be true to my path, I decided it might be healthy to present a recipe that might not fit the healthiest of the “healthy” models… for once. To be sure, a healthy life cannot be sustained by the ‘perfect’ diet. A healthy lifestyle is about what feeds us but not necessarily (or not exclusively) about food. Remember when you were a kid and playing with friends took precedent over coming in for dinner? Your mom had to demand that you come inside and, even then, you ate half of what you should have just to get back out to play some more. Or when you were in love and food was the last thing on your mind? It was something else entirely that fueled you! Food might be a part of the puzzle but sustenance is complex and multidimensional. So this week in the field, we focused on using food to evoke comfort in a way that is balanced – to conjure positive memories, bring us together as friends, family, or community. For me, nothing brings comfort like my mom’s chicken noodle soup. So put down the kale chips and try this recipe out! I hope it warms your belly and heart like it does mine!