PQ Primary Therapist Theresa Hasting to Present at the ACA Conference in Orlando

teresa-2Pacific Quest Primary Therapist Theresa Hasting will be presenting “Kids from Hard Places: A Trauma-Informed Method of Care” at the 2015 American Counseling Association (ACA) Conference in Orlando, Florida.  The conference will take place at the Hyatt Regency Orlando on Thursday March 12th-Sunday March 15th, 2015.  The ACA 2015 Conference & Expo is the largest professional development event for counselors in the world with more than 4,000 attendees.

Theresa’s presentation “Kids from Hard Places: A Trauma-Informed Method of Care” will examine the role that stress and trauma have on brain development, specific neurochemicals, attachment styles, sensory integration, behaviors and thinking patterns. Theresa will highlight how this knowledge is important in understanding the connection between our minds and our bodies. Additionally, this presentation will examine evidence-based strategies based on Trust Based Relational Interventions® and Nurturing Parenting Programs®. These strategies examine the role of connecting, empowering and correcting youth in ways that address and heal the whole child in a nurturing, but structured manner.

Theresa Hasting received her Bachelors of Arts in Psychology from McMurry University in 2003 and earned her Masters of Arts degree in Family Psychology from Hardin Simmons University in 2005. Prior to joining the Pacific Quest team, Theresa worked as a clinician, where she supervised and trained therapists and worked with youth and families. She also developed training for staff and families on Trauma Informed Care topics, Nurturing Parenting®, and Trust Based Relational Intervention® (TBRI) principles. Her past experiences includes working with adults and adolescents at inpatient psychiatric facilities, working as a therapist for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, and working as a case manager. Theresa also served as Outreach Office Director, where she placed and managed children in foster care homes, provided parent training classes, wrote curriculum and programming, and supervised employees. Theresa has worked with youth and adults who have experienced physical and sexual abuse, attachment trauma, adjustment issues, depression, anxiety, emotional and behavioral dysregulation, substance abuse issues, psychosis, and interpersonal conflict.

Theresa has extensive training in trauma informed care; examining the impact that trauma and chronic stress has on a person’s neurochemistry, brain development, attachment style, cognitions and behaviors. She has been training specifically in TBRI, Motivational Interviewing, play therapy techniques, and Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Additionally, Theresa has been a trainer/consultant for the Nurturing Parenting Programs® since 2011 and has facilitated Nurturing Parenting groups since 2008, utilizing individual, in home, and group parenting classes. Theresa has presented at many state and national conferences. She is a member of the American Counseling Association (ACA). She is currently working toward eligibility as a Registered Play Therapist. Theresa’s passion is working with youth and families to facilitate healthy relationships. She has a strong belief in the need for holistic, whole-person oriented work that focuses on “re-setting” the mind and the body. Pacific Quest attracted Theresa because of its focus on these key aspects of treatment, which are often overlooked in other treatment settings.

Theresa has a diverse background and a keen sense of appreciation for other cultures. Having grown up in Prague, she has a love for international travel and hopes to share these experiences with her husband and daughter. Theresa enjoys photography, reading, learning new skills, buying power tools, scuba diving, and hiking in the Hawaiian islands.

Posted in Group therapy, Healing, Information, News, Therapy, Uncategorized, Updates, Youth |

Pacific Quest Awarded 5 Year Accreditation from AdvancED

advancEDAfter the completion of a rigorous accreditation process and site visit, Pacific Quest earned accreditation from the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI), an accreditation division of AdvancED.

NCA CASI provides nationally-recognized accreditation, the purpose of which is continuous school improvement focused on increasing student performance. To earn accreditation, schools must meet NCA CASI’s high standards, be evaluated by a team of professionals from outside the school and implement a continuous process of school improvement.

The external review team commented—

“The knowledge of the Pacific Quest leadership team combined with the vision and mission of the program is poised to provide industry-changing research and practice. The addition of high quality instruction along with therapy is groundbreaking.”

AdvancED provides nationally-recognized accreditation, allowing students to receive academic credit for their work and obtain transcripts directly from Pacific Quest. This accreditation honors the work that students at Pacific Quest have already been completing and does not change programming. Guides, Primary Therapists and Curriculum Specialists serve as teachers and mentors for each of the “courses” of study which are already fully integrated into the Pacific Quest daily milieu.

AdvancED is the world leader in providing improvement and accreditation services to education providers of all types in their pursuit of excellence in serving students. AdvancED serves as a trusted partner to more than 32,000 public and private schools and school systems – enrolling more than 20 million students across the United States and 70 countries. For more information about accreditation, please visit

Posted in Education, Information, News, Uncategorized, Updates, Youth |

Mike Sullivan Promoted to Alumni and Family Services Director

sullyPacific Quest is pleased to announce therapist, Mike Sullivan’s promotion to Alumni and Family Services Director. In this new capacity, Mike’s skill set will be leveraged to bring a layer of support to all PQ families, while at Pacific Quest and beyond. Mike will draw on years of clinical experience to help families maximize the incredible potential that the PQ Sustainable Growth™ model offers.

“Mike knows the program inside and out. This new role will provide greater opportunity for all PQ families to benefit from Mike’s experience and supportive approach.” says PQ Founder, Mike McKinney.

Mike’s role will be dynamic, in that he will be supporting families during the transition into PQ, facilitating the on-site, three day PQ Family Program, and maintaining relationships with families following their PQ experience. Many PQ alumni report that the relationships cultivated at PQ are the most genuine and meaningful relationships they have ever experienced. Students often graduate with a desire to stay in touch and maintain the sense of community that emerged in the program. Through their participation in the PQ Family Program, parents seek to continue that sense of community as well.

“We have an amazing pool of PQ graduates who want to stay connected.  The number of graduates is growing each year, and with so much positive energy, we are working to channel it into supporting one another and giving back. That is ultimately what community is about— supporting and giving back,” says Mike Sullivan.

Mike started his work with Pacific Quest as a therapist in 2009 and is excited about his transition into this new role. Mike will attend the upcoming 2015 NATSAP conference in Nashville, Tennessee. He looks forward to talking about his new role at the conference!

Posted in Information, News, Uncategorized |

Dr. Britta Zimmer and Dr. Brian Konik to Present at 2015 NATSAP Conference In Nashville

britta-brianOn Friday, February 6, 2015 from 1:45 p.m.-3:15 p.m., Pacific Quest’s Medical Director, Dr. Britta Zimmer and Primary Therapist, Dr. Brian Konik will present “Quirky Kids In the Great Outdoors: An Integrative Approach to Assessments and Interventions for Students Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder” at the 2015 NATSAP Conference in Nashville, Tennessee.

Pacific Quest is proud to be part of the 2015 NATSAP conference.  This presentation will highlight how a specialized outdoor therapeutic environment coupled with naturopathic medicine modalities can specialize care and improve outcomes for the ASD population.  Participants will receive a comprehensive overview exploring evidence-based techniques and strategies utilized for ASD students in a base camp model setting. This presentation will examine case studies that demonstrate how the use of naturopathic interventions along with comprehensive psychiatric evaluations elucidates the best course of treatment for an ASD student.

Dr. Britta Zimmer is the Medical Director at Pacific Quest and a board certified, licensed Naturopathic Physician.  Naturopathic Physicians (N.D.) are trained to serve as primary care practitioners who are experts in the prevention, diagnosis, management and treatment of both acute and chronic health conditions. Her goal is for the students at Pacific Quest to be empowered and inspired to take control of their own health by learning about nutrition, the healing arts, and how their bodies work.

Dr. Brian Konik earned his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from The University of Vermont, and completed his pre-doctoral internship at the Outpatient/Inpatient Neurobehavioral Unit with the Kennedy Krieger Institute at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.  Dr. Konik has extensive training in and experience with parent/child interaction therapy, parent training, and family group counseling, as well as specialized training in suicide/crisis intervention.  His education, training, and experience allow him to provide a variety of specialized clinical services to his students at Pacific Quest.

Posted in Information, News, Uncategorized, Updates |

Will Twombly Joins PQ’s Clinical Team for Peak Winter Season

WillTPacific Quest is excited to announce the addition of longtime wilderness therapist, Will Twombly to its clinical department. Will Twombly will join PQ for a three-month period (to run an adolescent group) during our peak, winter enrollment season! Will will begin accepting students January 19.

Will earned a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Texas, and a M.Ed. in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Oregon. His counseling style integrates a variety of therapeutic approaches, including structural family therapy, motivational interviewing, narrative therapy, and cognitive-behavioral and emotionally focused therapy. Will is compassionate, direct and strength-based in his approach. He has extensive experience working with adolescents and young adults, groups, couples, families, and multi-family groups of varying sizes. Will draws a great deal from more than 14 years of wilderness therapy expedition experience to enhance the process of change, facilitate healing and growth, and set the stage for powerful rites of passage.

Will grew up in Austin, Texas and spent his summers working on a farm and enjoying the mountains and lakes of New Hampshire. Will understands the importance of developing a strong connection to the natural environment, and has spent more than 25 years working with adolescents and young adults in outdoor and backcountry settings. Will has led countless therapeutic expeditions, worked in some of the most beautiful wilderness areas in the country, and is adept at facilitating powerful group journeys and personal transformations.

In addition to leading backcountry expeditions, Will spent five years managing the operations of the New Hampshire Conservation Corps, and helped start and supervise three residential AmeriCorps programs. He has participated in multi-generational indigenous camps and gatherings in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, and organized and led several three-week tall ship voyages on which young adults circumnavigated Vancouver Island on the Lady Washington.

Will’s passion for the outdoors is more recently reflected in his successful thru-hikes of the Appalachian Trail (‘10), the John Muir Trail (‘11), the Pacific Crest Trail (’14), and a successful private raft trip down the Grand Canyon (’13). He strongly believes that expeditions can help us connect to the natural world, strengthen our sense of identity and capability, improve our relationships, and enhance our overall well-being.

Posted in Group therapy, Information, News, Therapy, Uncategorized, Updates, Youth |

Welcome Dr. Ryan Shelton

ryanPacific Quest is excited to welcome Dr. Ryan Shelton to the Wellness Team! Dr. Shelton received his Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University in Seattle, Washington. Prior to that, he received a Master’s degree in Philosophy and obtained his BA in Biochemistry from the University of Kansas.

Pacific Quest Medical Director, Dr. Britta Zimmer comments, “Dr. Shelton will be the Wellness Director for both programs working directly with the students and staff. Dr. Shelton and I will be collaborating in the care of our students, training of staff and overall leadership of the Wellness Department. We are excited to add such a strong member to our team!”

For the past decade, Dr. Shelton has focused strongly on investigative and clinical research to educate physicians and patients across the country on the safest and most efficacious diagnostic and treatment methodologies in medicine. He was the creator and developer of Whole Body Health, a multidisciplinary family practice in Kansas City for many years and left in 2009 to become the co-founder and Chief Medical Advisor of Innovative Telemedicine Outreach Programs to service patients around the world. During this time, Dr. Shelton was hired by The University Compounding Pharmacy in San Diego, California as the head Physician and Pharmacist Consultant. Dr. Shelton is currently a licensed primary care physician in the state of Hawaii.

Dr. Shelton comes to the Big Island most recently from Kansas and is joined by his wife and 7 month old son. In his free time, he enjoys exploring the island with his family as well as surfing the beautiful coasts of Hawaii.

Posted in Healing, Information, News, Uncategorized, Updates, Wellness |

Mahalo For Your Support!

MiriamBIG THANKS to all who offered support for Program Guide Miriam Gleckman’s efforts in running in the 42nd annual Honolulu Marathon this past Sunday.  Miriam’s goal was to raise $4,000 in grant money for the Sky’s The Limit Fund organization to provide more students the opportunity to attend Pacific Quest.  Sky’s The Limit Fund is a non-profit organization that transforms the lives of at-risk youth by providing grants, support, and hope, through wilderness therapy programs and beyond.

We are excited to announce that Miriam was able to achieve her goal!  Miriam raised $1,960 and with PQ’s matching funds plus an additional $80 she reached $4,000!! What an accomplishment!

The Honolulu Marathon is the third largest marathon in the US, attracting about 30,000 participants each December.  Miriam was thrilled to be part of this exciting event and comments, “As someone who works directly with PQ students, and witnesses some of their victories, large and small, I had ample inspiration to run the Honolulu Marathon. Thank you to the whole PQ Ohana for working together to bring more victories to more students.”

Way to go Miriam!

Posted in Community, Information, News, Uncategorized, Updates, Youth |

PQ Welcomes Kellyn Smythe

kellyn-smythe-175x220Pacific Quest is excited to welcome Kellyn Smythe to the Admissions and Outreach Team! Kellyn comes to Pacific Quest with extensive experience working with families and professionals in the field of special needs education.

Kellyn earned his Masters of Science in Applied Mathematics from the University of Washington in 2006. His passion for helping people began in the classroom where he taught college mathematics for nine years. Feeling a pull toward supporting students outside the classroom, Kellyn earned his certification as a Behavioral Coach. He spent eight years coaching under performing students who struggled with anxiety, depression and waning motivation—many of whom successfully started their road to recovery at PQ.

For the last 5 years, Kellyn was the Director of Admissions at a nationally acclaimed residential young adult program. Kellyn’s experience in education, admissions and coaching has earned him an exceptional reputation in the treatment community, and his thorough and warm approach is a natural fit at Pacific Quest.

Kellyn is an accomplished outdoorsman and avid martial artist. He and his wife, Lindsey live in Oregon where they explore the outdoor magic of the Pacific Northwest with their dogs Benny and Zoë.

Posted in Information, News, Uncategorized, Updates, Youth |

26.2 For PQ! Program Guide to Run Honolulu Marathon to Raise Funds For Sky’s The Limit Fund

Miriam Gleckman NYC MarathonOn December 14, 2014, Pacific Quest Program Guide, Miriam Gleckman will run the Honolulu Marathon. Her goal is to raise grant money for the Skys The Limit Fund organization to provide more students the opportunity to attend Pacific Quest.

Miriam graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Barnard College, Columbia University and prior to joining the Pacific Quest team, performed research for the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. Her interests include traveling, French, Bikram Yoga and distance running.

Miriam is passionate about raising grant money to provide more students the opportunity to participate in our unique program.  When asked what inspired her to take on this challenge, she commented, “Pacific Quest students inspired me to run the Honolulu Marathon.  The students set goals everyday–sometimes their goal is to eat a full meal or clean the kitchen thoroughly within a given time frame. Sometimes a student’s goal might be to make it through another day. Regardless of the task, these goals require discipline and humility. It’s inspiring to help students take the first steps along their goal-oriented paths. Pacific Quest students challenge me to challenge myself; I am running the marathon in honor of ‘many steps to come,’ both for me and for my students!”

Miriam is reaching out to the community, and committing herself to many 5:00 a.m. runs with a headlamp, because she wants to help expand access to Pacific Quest for young people who desperately need help, but cannot afford it.  She adds, “I would truly appreciate your support as well as cheers via social media!”

All donations and funds raised in this campaign will go to Sky’s The Limit Fund, a non-profit organization that transforms the lives of at-risk youth by providing grants, support, and hope, through wilderness therapy programs and beyond.

Please visit Miriam’s Crowdrise page to learn more and support this very worthwhile cause!

Posted in Uncategorized |

Tom Jameson Joins Pacific Quest’s Clinical Team

tom_jameson_175x220Tom received his Bachelor of Science in English Literature from Radford University in 2003 and his Masters of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Western Carolina University in 2012. Tom is a National Board Certified Counselor. Prior to joining the Pacific Quest clinical team, Tom was a Primary Therapist at Chrysalis School Montana. From 2006-2010, Tom honed his clinical skills working as a Senior Field Instructor at a renowned and well-respected wilderness therapy program on the mainland. Tom was also secretary of the NATSAP Rocky Mountain Regional Conference Committee. Tom is a respected mental health clinician who comes to Pacific Quest with a great deal of direct experience in the industry.

Tom has a strong belief in wilderness therapy as a highly effective treatment setting, and has cultivated his clinical approach around building a positive therapeutic alliance using the Earth and its seasonal cycles as both a teacher and metaphor. Tom is interested in how natural change is linked to internal transcendence and emotional growth, and how this informs the unique growth experience that occurs at Pacific Quest.

Tom’s clinical interests and areas of expertise include clinical depressive disorders, grief and loss, oppositional behavior, anxiety, family systems, ADHD, adoption issues, as well as helping students develop healthy coping strategies necessary to master change and navigate transitions. Professionally, Tom practices dialectical behavioral, cognitive behavioral, reality and client-centered therapies.

Personally, Tom enjoys hiking, diving and generally spending time in nature, and connecting with the incredible natural environment Hawaii offers.

Posted in Group therapy, Information, Nature, News, Therapy, Uncategorized, Updates, Youth |

Sky’s The Limit Fund’s 5th Anniversary Fundraising Breakfast

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COMING HOME: A Conversation with Dr. John Souza, Primary Therapist

johnsouza_175x220Please take a moment to share a bit about yourself…and what brought you to Pacific Quest?

Having been born on O’ahu and coming from several generations of Hawai’i-born Portuguese and Spanish, I’ve always had a connection to the islands. And while I was raised on the Mainland, including spending my formative years in California, Nevada, and Colorado, and the last 20 years enduring the harsh winters in Minnesota, I knew one day I would return to Hawai’i.

During one of the harshest Minnesota winters in 35 years, I recall sitting in my office, in a suit and tie thinking, “I don’t want to do this anymore.” Coming from a background in marriage and family therapy, I had considered ecological systems to be an excellent metaphor for how family systems function. I began to imagine that working with natural systems, such as those found in a garden, would be complementary to my family systems training; PQ was the missing link between my systems background and working with families ecologically. I knew it was what I was meant to do. Plus, not only did I get the benefit of returning to my birthplace, I never have to endure another Minnesota winter!

Can you share a bit about your clinical strengths and specific areas of expertise?

I would say my clinical strengths include being able to highlight other people’s strengths, including being able to view their perceived “weaknesses” as positives; I can draw a positive connotation on just about any way of being, partly because of my underlying philosophical worldview that we as humans are naturally driven to attempt to be loved, to love, and to be good at something. However, through the confluence of genetics and environment these predilections become obscured and come out “sideways” through what the mental health field might refer to as “maladaptive” or “dysfunctional” ways of being. I would offer that these ways of being are actually quite the opposite: They are very much about adaptation and attempting to function as best one can within a given set of circumstances. The question is more about how these adaptations fit within a larger social milieu. If the answer is “not well”, then the challenge becomes dichotomous: Change the person or change the environment. At PQ we have the opportunity to do both, while also being able to work with students’ families, who are also comprised of individuals attempting to do the best they can with what they have. This is not to say that dysfunction doesn’t exist-it does; but I am more interested in learning how something dysfunctional may at one point have been functional.

Placing a child outside of the home can be an emotionally daunting process for a parent. How do you assist parents with this transition?

As a parent I have such a deep sense of respect and empathy for the families who make the decision to place their child in a treatment environment, far from home. What I generally offer to these families is 1) whatever you’re feeling is okay, including a sense of relief that your child is out of the house; this is such an appropriate response to the situation, especially when you consider that most families have been living in a state of hyper-vigilance and anxiety for months, sometimes years; and 2) you now have a chance to press the “reset” button in order to redefine how your family functions and its “new normal”. To begin this reset process, I start with the Five Pillars of Health, including taking stock of your nutrition, your sleep, your exercise, your mental health, and your awareness of the mind-body connection. This not only parallels what your child is doing at PQ, it also gives parents something healthy on which to focus the emotionality of the situation.

Can you talk about your therapeutic approach in terms of integrating the family into the treatment process?

The first thought that comes to mind is “How could the family not be integrated?!” That would be like trying to bake a cake without flour. It just couldn’t happen; it wouldn’t be a cake. Similarly, you cannot affect the individual without the entire system being affected. To illustrate this I often use the analogy of a hanging mobile (the kind you might place above an infant’s crib). When you touch one part of the mobile, all the other pieces necessarily respond. Similarly, our students and their respective families are inextricably intertwined, sometimes too much and sometimes not enough. Part of my job is to help them find a sustainable balance between the mutual influence they have on each other by looking at the way they manage separateness and togetherness, two equally important and necessary elements in all relationships. I do this by encouraging each family member to take stock of his/her Five Pillars of Health and by beginning to separate their thoughts/feelings from their son or daughter’s thoughts/feelings. In this way individual family members move from being reactive to being “response-able”.

How do you define success as it relates to your work with students and families?

So often students and their families have been stuck in family patterns that limit their ability to be anything outside of the roles they play in those patterns. Therefore, I would define success with students and families as the development of a broader and more balanced awareness of themselves and each other; awareness that each family member is a whole person, not just the role they have been playing for the last umpteenth years. I also consider success to be a lifestyle change that includes the Five Pillars of Health. The more each family member lives well and develops congruence between their insides and their outsides, the more response-able they become, and the more likely they are to be successful in achieving their treatment goals.

How do you integrate referring professionals into the process?

A similar response to question #4 comes to mind “How could referring professionals not be integrated?!” Referring professionals not only help sustain our ability to provide our services through the actual referrals they make, they are a direct part of the treatment team. I cannot think of a single referring professional relationship that has not provided invaluable insight or support toward a family’s success at PQ. Therefore, I’m usually disappointed if a family does not have an Educational Consultant or similar referring professional because it means I may provide a less complete clinical assessment than I might have had there been a referring professional to use as a sounding board; someone to bounce ideas off of regarding various hypotheses or interventions and the best post-PQ options for students and their families.

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PQ Alumni Student to Speak at Upcoming Sky’s The Limit Fund’s 5th Anniversary Breakfast

Daniel Wallock - PQ AlumniPacific Quest is pleased to announce alumni student, Daniel Wallock will be a featured speaker at Sky’s The Limit Fund’s 5th Anniversary Breakfast, Thursday, October 30 in Palo Alto, California. Daniel will share his story and how his experience at Pacific Quest changed his life.

Daniel is an award-winning, published author, presently attending college in Vermont. His nonfiction piece, “Breathe“, written about his childhood, won an honorable mention in Marlboro College’s Beautiful Minds Challenge. In December 2013, his creative nonfiction short story, “This Very Breath“, was published in The Bolt Magazine. San Jose State University’s, The Bolt Magazine also awarded Daniel First Place in its International Nonfiction Contest. In January, 2014 Daniel received a Gold Key Award, the highest regional honor, in the Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards. Daniel’s latest book, “Right-Hearted: Finding What’s Right With a Wrong-Sided Heart” is currently available on Amazon. Since May, 2014 his Kindle books have been downloaded over DW Book6,500 times.

“I am very excited to be apart of this event! I am very much in support of kids getting the help they need – especially through therapeutic wilderness, which I believe, was an invaluable experience,” Daniel shares. 

Pacific Quest is proud to support Sky’s The Limit Fund, a non-profit organization that transforms the lives of at-risk youth by providing grants, support, and hope, through wilderness therapy programs and beyond. To donate, please visit

Posted in Information, News, Student Contributions!, Uncategorized, Updates, Youth |

Ka’u Coffee Trail Run A Success

By Yvette Slagle, Communications Coordinator

coffeerun4On Saturday, September 20th, 28 Pacific Quest employees participated in the Ka’u Coffee Trail Run–The Southernmost Coffee Trail Run in the USA!  The goal of this event was to help raise money for the economically depressed community, via the non-profit organization O Ka’u Kakou.  O Ka’u Kakou’s mission is to “support and promote a healthy community through educational, cultural, and economic development opportunities that improve the quality of life in rural Ka‘ū.”  All funds raised went to O Ka’u Kakou to help them better serve the community and become more self-sustaining as well as to promote Ka’u coffee and to promote Ka’u as an international tourist destination.

Staff members registered for either the 5K, 10K or half marathon.  Students and staff also offered their support by assisting at water stations along the way.  Pacific Quest’s Operations Director, Martha Bouchard, who ran the 10K, comments, “What a great day and what a great run! So much fun to participate together, and what a challenging coffeerun2course. It was a joy to see the camaraderie and show our support for the community. We donated $1000 to an important Ka’u organization via our active efforts and had a great time while we were at it.”

Pacific Quest Therapist, Mike Sullivan, who ran the half marathon adds,”The Kau Trail Run was a fantastic event!  It was great to be in the presence of so many amazing co-workers and the Kau community at large…I look forward to next years race (even if the course is brutally difficult again!).”

Thank you to everyone who made this event a success!  Go Team PQ!

Posted in Community, Information, News, Updates |


eb9_img2On September 1, the clinical team at Pacific Quest began a year-long training process to achieve site certification in the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics™ (NMT), an evidence-based practice developed by Dr. Bruce Perry. NMT is a developmentally sensitive, neurobiology-informed approach to clinical problem solving ( NMT training will develop capacity for clinicians to assess students using the NMT brain mapping matrix. From there, treatment interventions can be designed and tailored for each student to enhance brain functioning and relational health.

Why target the brain and relational health? More and more of our young people find themselves distressed, dysregulated, and overwhelmed by the demands of everyday life. They shut out people that care about them. They turn to alcohol, drugs, or a screen for fast relief from their emotional pain. Their search for belonging and excitement often leaves them alone and arrested in development. A better understanding of neurodevelopment and the teen brain can help us address these problems more effectively.

The teen brain undergoes developmental changes in stressor-sensitive brain regions at a time when the prefrontal cortex is not fully developed. Hence, their stress response system is on high throttle at a time in development when the part of their brain that helps them to “think first” is not fully on line. Although most young people weather this stormy time in life, those who enter adolescence with preexisting challenges do not fare so well. Young people with conditions such as anxiety, trauma, loss, chronic stress, or sensory integration disorders are highly vulnerable during this critical stage of development.

“I am thrilled to work with my team at Pacific Quest and the Child Trauma Academy on NMT site certification,” says Dr. Lorraine Freedle, Clinical Director and Pediatric Neuropsychologist. “Our Sustainable Growth™ model and mind-body techniques fit nicely into the NMT paradigm.”

eb9_img3Many students come to Pacific Quest because traditional therapy methods have not been successful. NMT recognizes that students with heightened stress response systems often need “lower brain” therapeutic techniques such as patterned, repetitive, rhythmic sensory experiences to help them develop the capacity for self-regulation. They cannot benefit from “higher brain” methods such as talk therapies until this fundamental work is done.

At Pacific Quest students are immersed in a sensory-soothing environment. With a foundation of optimal nutrition and exercise, students practice mindfulness and interact with the garden in restorative ways. They are progressively challenged through our camp system and work in therapy. Site certification in NMT will help our team use our enriched environment and clinical expertise more precisely, to create lasting changes in the brain.

Dr. Freedle is a certified NMT provider and trainer. Dr. Freedle shares, “Parents gain a deeper understanding of their child’s behaviors when they see the brain maps. By designing and pacing the right type of intervention at the right time, our clinical team elevates treatment effectiveness. Everyone wins, especially our students.”

As part of the NMT site certification process, clinicians at Pacific Quest will participate in case consultations with Dr. Perry and other trainees from across the globe. They will learn to use the clinical practice tools with fidelity, and complete over 100 hours of training in core principles of neurodevelopment and traumatology.

Posted in Education, Group therapy, Healing, Information, News, Therapy, Updates, Wellness, Youth |