Travels in Utah Day Two & Three

We began our second day at Ascend Recovery with Guy Hardcastle in American Fork. Guy explained to us that Ascend was for adults who realized they needed help with their substance use issues or a process issue and were ready to do the clinical work necessary to begin a life of recovery. Ascend is truly competent with clients who have complex mental health presentations, in addition to substance histories. They can take a client with thought disorder, mood disorder, severe depression and anxiety, and extensive trauma. They create long term recovery by requiring clients to begin in level one before doing levels two and three. Many of their clients stay in the area and participate in the strong recovery community is in Salt Lake City. Ascend also has a strong family components and an alumni program.


Corner Canyon is located in a beautiful home in Draper. We enjoyed hearing about all of the therapeutic modalities offered to their clients. The program very much individualizes treatment for each client.  Clients move from primary care in the home into a sober home in the Utah area to continue outpatient treatment with Corner Canyon. The therapists work to help the client understand how their nutrition and living habits impact their abilities to live a sober life.

Our last tour of the day was to an adolescent co-ed residential treatment center called West Ridge Academy in West Jordan. Our dear friend and colleague Janet Farmsworth who we have known for many years, recently took over the CEO position and has made many improvement. They are a non-profit organization and pride themselves in being able to provide scholarships for many students. Since Janet has arrived, they have embarked on an ambitious professional development plan for all of their therapist; they all attended a Brene’ Brown workshop on vulnerability, two  therapist are trained in EMDR and two in DBT. The cottages have been renovated and a crossfit gym has been added.

On  our third and final day-Wednesday, November 14th, we started our day with a tour of LaEuropa Academy in Murray, UT. While we have toured this program before, the property has been renovated and a new beautiful school and art center will soon be completed. This will allow all of the staff to be on one campus. LaEuropa is still on the cutting edge with their full expressive arts programming.  Malissa Morrell is the only master level board certified art therapist in the state of Utah for a residential program. Music, dance, and recreational therapists work with all of the students. Sand Tray therapy and psychodrama are also offered. Students often write poetry and then participate in acting out their written work.

Next we toured Live Strong House in Layton, Utah with our friend and executive director Paul Taylor. We were excited to see this innovative program that serves adolescent  and young adult males. Their unique approach is to have a Life Coach living in an apartment mentoring 2-3 clients. This model is used because the founders experienced that when more than a few males are together in treatment, a group dynamic happens called “negative bias”.   The males would make progress during the day with individual attention but it would quickly evaporate when large groups of clients were left with only a few night staff. The students can individualize their education and recreational activities during the day and practice their life skills with the supervision of a mentor.

We ended our tour at Bridge House with Carrie Shoumatoff, a long time professional friend. Bridge House is  an intensive assessment center for young adults suffering with undiagnosed mental illness. Most psychiatrist assessments are done in a sterile environment and end with the assessment. At Bridge House, clients stay on once the diagnosis(s) is clear to help the client move forward with their  treatment plan while at Bridge House and beyond. By staying and working on the treatment plan, it helps clients begin to feel successful and more stable as they make the transition to a new program. The setting for this program is very tranquil and peaceful. Clients are out in the community most everyday as they go through the assessment. Most of the clients here work with Educational Consultants.