Elevations RTC – A New Start for Struggling Teens

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Elevations RTC

Elevations RTC is a fully accredited on-campus residential treatment program for young men and women aged 13-17. Here, teenagers can learn healthy coping skills and receive top-notch, evidence-based treatment while participating in a traditional, “real school” academic environment.

At Elevations RTC, they focus exclusively on helping teens who exhibit one or more of the following: Poor Choice of Friends, Drug and Alcohol Use, Depression, Anger, Low Self-Esteem, Peer Conflict, Poor Impulse Control, Lying, Cheating, Family Discord, Not Respecting Rules, Sneaking out/Running Away, Anxiety, Poor Communication Skills, Lack of Boundaries, Manipulative Behavior, Self-Centered Behavior, Feeling Abandoned, High Risk Behavior, Poor Body/Self Image, Lack of Organization, and/or Underachieving.

The staff believes that a high-impact, long-term RTC is the best option for certain adolescents who are struggling with perpetually unchanging, self-defeating behavior.

Elevations RTC has established a comprehensive treatment environment, in which young people in crisis can overcome the full spectrum of personal obstacles and, in time, can become whole again.

We recently had the opportunity to interview Judi Jacques, Executive Director of Elevations RTC and Jennifer Wilde, Executive Clinical Director of Elevations RTC to learn more about their personal background and experience and what helps set Elevations RTC apart from other youth-oriented residential treatment centers.

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Judi Jacques, M.Ed, Executive Director of Elevations RTC, began her career as a history teacher and cheerleading coach with junior high students. After becoming disillusioned with the public school setting, Judi moved to a residential setting and has never looked back.  Eventually obtaining her Masters in Special Education from Westminster University, Judi left classroom teaching to expand her role into all arenas with the students as the Executive Director. Judi shares the Executive team role with Jennifer Wilde.

Always willing to support the students by creating a “normalized” experience, Judi is on hand to organize activities, many of which involve her hidden talents in cheerleading.  Outside of her time at Elevations RTC, Judi loves reading, yoga, traveling and participating in outdoor adventures with her husband and dogs.

Jennifer Wilde, LCSW, Executive Clinical Director of Elevations RTC, has extensive experience working with adolescents, having worked in the field of adolescent treatment for over 25 years, she has worked in a variety of settings including residential treatment, therapeutic boarding, and wilderness.  Currently, she is half of the executive team at Elevations RTC, sharing this role with Judi Jacques.

Jennifer is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, she received her Master’s in Social Work from the University of Utah in 1997.  Certified in DBT, and trained in treating all mood disorders, trauma, substance use, and family difficulties, Jennifer likes to focus on preparing each student for a successful transition from treatment to their next adventure in life.  Beginning on day 1 of the treatment process, her goal is to prepare the student for success. Often recognizing the need for creativity and affirmation, Jennifer encourages the entire treatment team to find ways to access each student’s motivation and join them in the change process rather than engaging in a power struggle, something that commonly erupts when working with adolescents.

When not having fun with the kids at Elevations RTC, Jennifer likes to spend time outdoors gardening, backpacking, snowshoeing, hiking and canoeing with her husband and two sons. She also loves dogs, her lab-mix “Zero” joins her at work every day, and is usually more popular than she is with the students!

How and when did you enter the world of mental health care?

Jennifer- When I headed into college to get my Bachelors’s degree, I believe I was going to be a nurse, but having the anatomy course my first semester I quickly realized that I was not able to deal with some of the physical presentation of the medical field. I then spent two years trying to decide how and in what capacity I would work with people, because I knew I wanted to be something in the human services. After taking an intro to psychology class, I latched onto that, and I got an internship working with adolescents at a respite care facility and I haven’t looked back.  I have been working with adolescents for over 30 years.

Judi- I started out as a classroom teacher teaching in a junior high school. I always ended up working with the at-risk youth so to speak. I was that teacher that took all of the kids that the other teachers were kicking out of their classroom. After about five years I sort of got burnt out because it just seemed like other teachers were not really helping kids and they were just there for the job. I was ready to move on but found a job teaching at an RTC, and I didn’t know such things existed. I started out in the mental health field actually being a teacher and then found that I really loved the holistic approach, and felt like every kid could really benefit from having a team of professionals working on their behalf. Since then, I have taught in RTCs and then worked in other positions from academics to program/ residential life and administrative positions. I slowly made my way into the operational side of everything.

What is Elevations RTC?

Jennifer- Elevations RTC is a residential treatment program for adolescents from the ages of 13 to 18. The focus of Elevations RTC is to help kids develop skills and identify other ways to support their presenting issues. Often these issues are related to mood disorders and other psychiatric needs. With a full psychiatric team, we do therapy and offer other supportive types of therapy including experiential therapy, DBT, cognitive behavioral therapy, EMDR, motivational interviewing, and family systems. We focus a lot on helping the kids develop skills that are generalizable to many different environments, and we do this through exposing them to a lot of different environments while they work on the therapeutic process.

Judi- In addition to the heavy emphasis on mental health, therapy, and the psychiatric part of Elevations RTC, we have a fully accredited high school program. We have eight teachers that are licensed to teach their individual subjects. One of those teachers is also a special ed. teacher, with several others getting their special ed. credential. We are able to help students reengage with school, and keep on track with school. We also have a pretty robust recreational department so that the kids have the opportunity number 1 to go off campus and enjoy opportunities in the community, but also to do things on campus that will promote physical fitness, physical engagement, and helping to motivate them to find a passion that they can generalize to the real world.

Thank you to Jennifer and Judi for sharing their insight and experience.  To learn more about Elevations RTC, visit:  www.elevationsrtc.com