Devan began his studies at the University of Utah where he received a B.S. in Psychology. He attended Ball State University in Indiana and received a Masters of Arts in Counseling Psychology. He returned to Utah and completed his Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy at Brigham Young University. Devan’s doctoral studies focused on family systems and adolescent development and treatment. His doctoral research focused on the influence of parental and peer relationships on maladaptive behaviors (e.g. substance abuse, oppositional defiance and depression). He began working with adolescents during graduate school, as a front-line residential staff member. It was during this work that he began to focus singularly on adolescent development and treatment. He has also been a college instructor, teaching psychology and communication courses. Devan is a primary therapist at Second Nature's original wilderness program (Second Nature Uintas). He manages the longest running group at Second Nature (founded in 1998). In addition to his role as co-founder and partner, Devan works with boys showing high levels of opposition or are having core struggles in basic social functioning. The three main profile of students he works with include social skill deficiencies (and accompanying isolation and computer game abuse / addiction), habitual deception and substance abuse. Students with social skill deficits often struggle to maintain friends and have regularly found themselves isolated and chronically struggling with peers. These boys are often found on "the spectrum" and have non-verbal learning disabilities, traits of Aspergers disorder or a full diagnosis of Aspergers. These boys need the emotional safety of regulated social interactions, while being given compassion and patience at the highest levels. Ultimately, they need improved competence, especially in social interactions. The boys described in the habitually deceptive group often get to the point that they are "lying when they don't need to" (e.g. when it doesn’t seem to make sense or provide them even a short-term reward). They have become so adept at lying that the habit seems to be part of their personality. Devan enjoys the challenge of the chess game that these students present. Substance abuse happens concurrently with other problems, and becomes an important treatment issue depending on the depth and breadth of the problem. Most often, substance abuse is clearly a secondary problem that is symptomatic of underlying issues.
Second Nature (Wilderness Program)2.6 (9 reviews) ADD YOUR REVIEW
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Second Nature Footsteps is a licensed, clinically driven wilderness intervention designed to meet the needs of younger teens, ages 11-14. The treatment team uses a variety of wilderness and experiential interventions to assist students along their individual path towards personal awareness, responsibility, improved communication healthy relationship skills, and strengthened self-esteem. Footsteps staff further assist each child and family with supportive stabilization and assessment for students whose behavior has reached crisis level.
Second Nature (Wilderness Program) Reviews and Ratings Details
The following is based on a combination of Surveys of Alumni, Staff, Loved Ones, and Reviews and Ratings from around the web.
Reviews at a Glance
- Remote - Free of Distractions
What you'll realize when you enter the wilderness is that the distractions you've adapted to your lifestyle are not as easily present. The remoteness of the backcountry provides little to hide behind. This will empower you to focus directly on your issues without distraction. Although you may demonstrate high functioning in several areas of your life, the richness of the wilderness environment will evoke the unhealthy patterns of behavior that brought you to this point in your life. Additionally, your group experience facilitates engaging with your peers and field instructors without using familiar escape routes of shutting down, running away, or other responses you may have used to avoid confrontation and accountability. You are provided with a safe and patient environment to confront what you may be avoiding.
Nature is unrelenting; it cannot be negotiated with or manipulated. Parents, teachers and therapists can all be emotionally manipulated. A towering cumulus cloud cannot. There is no negotiating the weather. A mountain will not feel guilty and step aside for a hiker. You will experience the natural lessons that life has to offer by living in the natural environment. Your therapist, Field Instructors and peers will help hold you to appropriate boundaries and create natural and logical consequences that mirror the achievements and challenges in the broader journey of life. Your experience becomes a life lesson of how ineffective past coping strategies were, while equally supporting your insight in adapting your actions into successful and valuable tools.
Cheryl Kehl, LCSW - Founder
Leah Halverson - Admissions Director
Leah is a graduate of Sterling College, where her passion for outdoor education and wilderness therapy truly began. She has spent the last fourteen years working in outdoor programming, and started her career at Aspen Achievement Academy in Southern Utah. Leah worked at AAA for five years in varying capacities including Senior Field Instructor and Admissions Counselor prior to being promoted to the position of Admissions Director. In the fall of 2002, Leah accepted the position of Admissions Director at SUWS of the Carolinas, in Western North Carolina where she worked until joining the Second Nature Admissions team in the spring of 2004. At Second Nature, Leah has truly found her home in the industry. She is passionate about working for a company that is exhaustively committed to helping students and families achieve success and well-being. Leah believes strongly in the individualized clinical model at Second Nature, and is thrilled to be surrounded and supported by a team that shares her enthusiasm for serving families with a strong focus on customer service and professionalism. In the spring of 2008, she was promoted to the role of Admissions Director. This progression has allowed her to continue her work with families while also providing support and development opportunities to her team and each of our program locations at an even higher level. While she has lived in many beautiful regions of the country, Leah grew up in Western Massachusetts and still remains a New Englander at heart both in sporting arenas and driving practices. During her free time, Leah enjoys spending time with her friends and dog Fremont. In addition, she loves watching most sports, eating most foods, playing mediocre golf, wakeboarding, snowboarding and racing triathlons.
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