New Vision Wilderness offers a unique and intensive therapeutic process for teens. The Clinical Team includes Field Therapists and Clinical Specialists who are passionate about healing and using the outdoors as an office. NVW also offers Psychological Testing through a collaboration with Dr. Mark Bjerke Ph.D, and several other national industry authorities.
Lead Field Therapists oversee treatment and also facilitating group and individual therapy. Clinical Specialists are masters-level professionals incorporating specialty skills into the wilderness experiences. These collaborative efforts increase therapist contact time and clinical intervention. NVW follows a Trauma Informed Care model, and all clinical staff are trained in Brainspotting. For more clinical resource information click here.
Steve Sawyer LCSW CSAC
Steve Sawyer is a licensed psychotherapist filled with passion and knowledge surrounding the intervention and change process. His experience comes from over a decade of intervention with tough-to-reach client populations in therapy settings ranging from residential, community-based, outpatient and wilderness therapy. Steve is trained in several unique therapeutic models including somatic trigger release, traumatic memory reprocessing, and HeartMath. He is also recognized internationally as a Brainspotting trainer and consultant who trains outpatient therapist and treatment programs. Through his experience he has authored two books, co-founded Wisconsin’s only wilderness therapy program, New Vision Wilderness, and works as a core therapeutic training development staff with the Institute of HeartMath. He was an author in the innovative and comprehensive HeartMath Interventions Establishing a New Baseline for Sustained Behavioral Change therapist training Module that revolutionizes modern therapy interventions through an emotional physiology approach. Steve’s largest project has been the development of NVW’s Trauma Informed Care model in the wilderness setting that has challenged the entire wilderness therapy industry on making healthier interventions with their clients. Steve’s trainings are recognized nationwide for cutting-edge therapeutic techniques and inspiration.
Victoria Nolen, LPC, E-RYT, YF-A
Victoria Nolen, LPC, E-RYT, YF-A, is a Lead Field Therapist at First Light Wilderness Therapy in Northeast Georgia. Her primary focus is providing therapeutic services to adolescents and their families through individual, group and family psychotherapy. Victoria’s clinical approach is mindfulness-based, somatic-oriented and holistically focused.
Victoria graduated with her Master of Arts in Professional Counseling from Richmont Graduate University and her Bachelor of Science from the University of Georgia. She also received her yoga teaching certification from Five Points Yoga Studio in Athens, GA, while receiving additional certifications in Trauma Sensitive Yoga, Sozo and Somatics, and Somatic Coaching. She is currently pursuing additional training in the Trauma-Conscious Yoga Method, which focuses on utilizing trauma-informed yoga for collective healing and social justice. Victoria has been a practicing clinician and instructor since 2015. Prior to coming to First Light, she offered counseling services in a variety of settings, including a therapeutic boarding school, private practice, a private college campus and a local community center. Since then, she has become committed to bringing the power of embodiment into treatment for sustained healing and systemic transformation in family members’ lives.
As a Licensed Professional Counselor and Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher, Victoria continues to offer her services in the fields of both counseling and yoga - you will find her often integrating the two. She also boasts of a background in the creative arts and often implements the life-changing techniques of music, writing, dance and narrative approaches into therapy. She enjoys bringing this diverse skillset to the families of First Light, along with offering classes and trainings within the local community.
In her free time, Victoria delights in participating in her own yoga practice, along with spending time with her husband and pup hiking waterfalls and contemplating the “deep wells” of life.
Kathleen Robbins is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in the state of Oregon, a Clinical Mental Health Counselor (CMHC) in the state of Utah, a Certified Trauma Therapist, level III (CTTIII), and a Certified Yoga Therapist.
Kathleen has been a mental health practitioner for over 10 years. Her extensive knowledge and expertise stems from both administrative and clinical positions held within several esteemed wilderness programs, adolescent residential therapeutic boarding schools, and adult residential programs throughout her career. Her rich experience has provided her foundation in attachment related work, emphasizing the value of presence in relationship to self and to others.
Kathleen has trained extensively in body-work, specializing in embodied therapy and has provided this healing modality to individuals having disordered eating, body transitions including medical issues, developmental changes and stages impacting body, addiction issues, severe anxiety, depression and trauma.
Kathleen provides healing opportunities that combine a holistic approach to self. Her unconditional positive regard for clients is paramount in the expansion process, as is holding a safe space to explore, heal, experience, and name ones story. Her ability to connect and engage allows individuals and families to not only learn but implement action steps to move forward in ways perhaps only imagined. Her clinical approach combines insight, education, humor, connection, and right pacing for each person and family she interacts with. Kathleen is a dedicated yogi. Meditation, art, and nature provide inspiration and gift of presence. Fabulous food, books, attention to beauty all around, and connection with others fuels her passions. She is a mother of a beautiful son, Zander (who has been her primary educator over the years); she is a devoted partner, sister, daughter, and overall a pretty awesome lady.
Mike is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor with 15 years of experience working with adolescents, young adults, and families. His fascination with the wild and natural environment led him to pursue a career in wilderness therapy. Inspired by the years, he spent working as a field instructor for a wilderness therapy program in the desert of Idaho. Mike went on to earn his Masters in Psychology at Seattle University in 2009. With an eagerness to serve, Mike moved to the Big Island of Hawai'i to apply his clinical skills in a horticulture setting in an outdoor behavioral healthcare program. Mike channeled his self-discipline and hard work ethic into his clinical responsibilities and leadership as the Alumni and Family Services Director. Mike engaged alumni in events, implemented programming for families, trained staff and clinicians, and presented at conferences across the country.
While in Hawai'i, Mike pursued training in the NeuroSequential Model of Therapeutics (NMT), attaining an individual certification and overseeing the Hawai'i program's site certification. Mike's certification in NMT allowed him to study the nervous system's response to trauma and specific approaches to brain mapping and regulating techniques. Mike is thrilled to join forces with the New Vision Wilderness team, who also specialize in treating trauma and attachment issues.
Mike recently moved to Bend, Oregon, where he resides with family. In his spare time, Mike enjoys hiking with the family, running ultramarathons, mountain biking, and surfing.
Dr. Jennifer S Moravec M.D., F.A.A.C.A.P.
Dr. Jennifer S Moravec is board-certified in general psychiatry and child and adolescent psychiatry. She treats mental health problems, behavioral problems and emotional problems with a family-centered, evidence-based treatment approach. She utilizes a holistic, integrative medicine model to evaluate, diagnose and treat children of all ages, adolescents and adults. She provides individual therapy, family therapy, psycho-education, neurofeedback, and medication management. Her treatment and research interests are Mindfulness-based psychotherapies, including Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (MBCT) and Mindfulness-Based Meditation.
Elizabeth Deardorff, LCSW
Liz joined the NVW team in 2010 and has been an integral part of the clinical team, wearing many therapeutic hats throughout the years. Although Liz has worked with each age population within New Vision, her passion is treating, supporting and guiding young adults. Young Adults are in a very important time of their life where wilderness and support create an optimal opportunity for self discovery, healing, interdependence, and personal growth. Liz deeply believes that in order to establish a secure sense of self, healing through relational support and internal awareness is essential. She steps into this work with determination and excitement to utilize the power of nature, experiences in the present and relational repair to support that development of self. Liz achieved her Master of Social Work, emphasis on Child and Family and Mental Health, from Loyola University Chicago in Illinois. She is trained in Brainspotting, EMDR-Level One and Two, Emotionally Focused Therapy and Trauma Center Trauma Sensitive Yoga which are powerful tools to utilize with trauma, attachment and anxiety. Liz utilizes these tools to create a powerful experience within treatment. Outside of work you can find Liz trying to find every waterfall in Oregon, dancing, reading, and rooting for her favorite team, the Wisconsin Badgers.
Leah Chambers, MA, LPC – Registered Intern
Leah received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Portland State University, a certificate in Emergency Medical Services from Trinidad State University and completed a Master of Arts degree in Counseling from Colorado Christian University. Leah is a member of the American Counseling Association (ACA), Oregon Counseling Association (ORCA), the Association for Experiential Education (AEE), and Chi Sigma Iota: Counseling Academic and Professional Honor Society International.
Among many roles before coming to New Vision Wilderness, Leah worked with male adolescents through Youth Guidance Association (YGA) in Portland, OR, and has volunteered supporting female pre-teens. Leah is passionate about the healing potential of relationships, the wilderness, and walking with clients as they author new narratives about themselves and their experiences, and in helping clients discover meaning and purpose for their pain.
When not working, Leah enjoys reading, writing, painting, hiking, and supporting her local church youth group.
Keri Sawyer BA, RYT
Keri comes to New Vision Wilderness with a strong business background. Keri walked in a world with some of the largest stressed filled corporations in the country. Through this experience, she came to realize the importance of somatic focused stress regulation. She has found a passion for working with highly stressed and sensitive clientele like treatment resistant teens and survivors of trauma. Keri teaches many classes across Northwest Wisconsin. Keri is a registered yoga teacher through the yoga alliance. She is certified in Alignment Yoga and her approach is based in trauma sensitive principles. Keri teaches at NVW to bridge the gap between mind, body, and emotions. She works with all groups on affect regulation skills, stress reduction, mindfulness meditation and somatic awareness. Keri integrates the teachings of Heart Math and Brainspotting into her work. She helps integrate all forms of somatic work into the NVW model.
James Nippert MA, LMFT
James Nippert started working with adolescents and their families in wilderness therapy in 2004 and has been passionate about wilderness therapy ever since that time. James' personal approach to therapy focuses on the need for both the adolescent and the family to heal together. James received his Master's Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Appalachian State University and has worked for a number of wilderness therapy and therapeutic boarding schools. James is trained in Emotional focused family therapy, Brainspotting, Truama center Trauma sensitive yoga and has been mentoring new clinicians to become power wilderness therapists in their own right. James is thrilled to bring his talent and love of teens to the Oregon woods with New Vision Wilderness.
In his spare time, James is an avid reader, board gamer, enjoys painting and learning how to perfect gluten-free and keto cooking methods as well as developing an understanding for the nutrition mental health link in his own life.
James focuses his work in two primary ways. First is to understand that all behavior is some form of communication, and that there are always deeper emotional roots to the day to day struggles teens are facing. The second focus is the understanding that healthy relationships lead to healthy individuals, and that if a teenager can actively repair their relationships they are more likely to turn towards the resources of their family instead of away from them as they grow up and experience the challenges of adolescence. When not working with the boys in the woods or mentoring newer clinicians, James loves spending time with his growing family and enjoys the playful energy of his young daughter as she experiences growing up and enjoying the expanding world around her.
Tim Moore, MA, LPC
I have been in the counseling and therapy field for over 25 years and have a diverse background including community mental health, inpatient, outpatient and wilderness therapy settings. I have a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Oregon and M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Antioch New England Graduate School in Keene New Hampshire. I am also very interested in the treatment of developmental trauma and attachment and how it seems to be at the core of many of issues including anxiety, depression, addiction, and overall well being. I have also been a student of consciousness, awareness, and the inner sciences since my time at U. of O. and have a daily yoga and meditation practice that help me to stay focused and centered. I also love spending time in nature, playing music, and going on adventures with my wife Jen and my favorite four legged, Lilly.
Xela Goodman LCSW
After receiving a B.A. dual degree in Education and History, Xela served in the Peace Corps for nearly three years in South Africa. It was during this pivotal time when she fully understood her passion for being of service to others. Upon returning to the States, Xela started her work in wilderness therapy as a field instructor, where she spent several years supporting and inviting change in adolescents. Soon after, Xela received her Master's Degree in Clinical Social Work from Arizona State University. Spanning over a decade, Xela has worked at several wilderness therapy programs and therapeutic boarding schools. Xela has a natural affinity for relationship-based work with adolescents and easily connects and aligns with individuals and families to clarify strengths and issues, build insight, and guide needed changes. She believes that the wilderness setting naturally provides a very meaningful and powerful environment for adolescents to improve their self-worth, sense of belonging, and connection to self and others.
Jacob Thomason, LPC
Jacob graduated from Wheaton College in 2010 with a master’s in clinical psychology. He has served in various wilderness therapy roles including Clinical Director at Northwoods Wilderness Therapy. Jacob has a special interest in work with family systems and is dedicated to expanding family support programming at Northwoods.
In his spare time, Jacob loves being outdoors with his wife and two daughters. His favorite activity is fishing and he is happy to partake in this pastime with companions or on his own. Jacob values connected relationships and is an active member of his community. Jacob and his family spend significant time visiting extended family and friends throughout WI and MN.
Jeremiah Johnson, BS, MSW, LCSW
Jeremiah’s love for the woods and water started growing up in central Wisconsin and lead to working in the underwater construction industry where he developed a passion in the field of trauma resolution. He earned a BS in psychology and an MSW in clinical social work from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a trauma focus. Prior to joining New Vision Wilderness, he was a psychotherapist in the residential treatment setting with families and teenagers. He is passionate about helping teens and families remove obstacles to developing deeper relationships and resiliency in their lives. In his free time, Jeremiah enjoys photography, scuba diving, bicycling, and hiking with his wife.
Sarah Cupp, MSW
Sarah graduated from University of Iowa with her master’s degree in Social Work. Before coming to New Vision, Sarah worked as a crisis counselor for two years, providing emotional support to individuals, teens, and families during some of their most trying times, working to find common ground and deescalate difficult situations. Sarah also worked at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics as a social worker for 2 years, receiving specialized training in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). Sarah led a variety of DBT groups for adolescents and adults. Sarah’s happy place is the Boundary Waters of Northern Minnesota and Canada. Sarah has experienced firsthand the healing rhythm of the outdoors and is excited to pair nature and therapy together to help teens make life changes and learn to better understand themselves and the challenges they face. When Sarah isn’t working or spending time with friends and family; she enjoys yoga, kayaking, canoeing, hiking, cooking, volunteering, and a good nap.
Rachel Voit, APSW
Rachel has been working with children and teens for over 10 years in both therapeutic and recreational settings. As a summer camp counselor, trip guide, after-school program coordinator, and residential treatment support staff, she developed skill and devotion to working with youth, especially in the outdoors. After completing her undergraduate studies at Macalester College in Saint Paul, MN, Rachel worked for Northwoods Wilderness Therapy as a trail guide. Rachel then earned her master’s in social work from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities. After graduation, she completed a two-year post-graduate fellowship at Yale University’s Child Study Center. There, she worked as a therapist for children and families in the outpatient clinic. Rachel has extensive training in multiple evidence-based practices focusing on attachment and trauma. She draws from these trainings, including Circle of Security, in her work with students with disrupted or damaged attachment systems. Rachel is also a certified yoga instructor and is working to complete her training in Trauma Center Trauma-Sensitive Yoga (TCTSY). Rachel finds that the outdoors is a uniquely powerful setting, one that both supports and encourages significant therapeutic change. She is pleased and excited to be returning to Northwoods Wilderness Therapy as a therapist! When she is not in the woods with students, Rachel is often in the woods with friends or family, hiking and exploring new landscapes!
Jacob Smyth, M.S.
I have a love of the great outdoors which includes activities such as geocaching, hiking, camping, and
rafting. I enjoy traveling and have been out of the country as well as to many states in the country.
My wife and I like to spend time at the beach or on a lake or hiking around waterfalls. When not outdoors or hard at work I strive to stay connected with the youth in my local community by volunteering with organizations geared towards youth development. To me, therapy is a personal connection that focuses on relationships with others. Building trust and creating a connection with someone is so important as a therapist. I see that students are the experts in their lives and want to help them work towards where they want to be and what they want to achieve.
Erin Faehling, MA, LPC-IT, NCC
Erin is a Northwoods Wisconsin native, grew up immersed in long afternoons outside, and is well-acquainted with the magic and healing that can happen in the woods. Following earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in English, Creative Writing, and Music from Luther College and two years of intentional volunteer service, Erin found herself in the middle of a sweltering concrete jungle on the East Coast and miles away from the lifestyle and safety she had known as a child, and longed to make a return to greener, wilder places. Like many wilderness guides before her, a fateful Google search led her to quit everything, pack-up her car, and drive to Utah to a then-unknown career in wilderness therapy. Fourteen summers, ten calendar years, seven programs, five states, and nearly 1,500 field days later, Erin joins New Vision Wilderness Northwoods as an experienced senior field guide and passionate wilderness programming advocate, in the role of Field Therapist.
A deep belief in the transformational power of wilderness therapy, experiential and expeditionary learning, and personal healing and transformation therein, prompted Erin to drop prior “plans” and commit her life to this work. With her Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Adams State University, Erin has served as a child and adolescent provider in the behavioral health setting, as well as a family therapist in the wilderness therapy setting, and is eager to match her immense amount of field experience with students as a primary therapist at New Vision. Erin works from a person-centered and empowerment-focused orientation, and incorporates somatic and cognitive interventions aimed at helping clients better connect with their lived experience, and begin to alter and transform their ways of relating to, interpreting, and interfacing with the world around them toward greater health and self-actualization. The real-time lessons of the wilderness as well as healing power of the group environment and supportive guide relationships, are powerful agents and co-therapists in this change process.
In her free time, Erin loves adventuring outdoors with her mustachioed husband Ben and their Labrador Retriever Opie, including hiking, biking, paddling, climbing, and running. Erin also enjoys gettin’ down on some bluegrass and playing her fiddle with fellow pickers. Erin is excited to return to lake living in the Northwoods and reconnecting with loved ones at a slower pace of life.
Sarah Montana, MSW
As a child, Sarah lived in the Adirondack mountain region with her family. She recalls memories of early childhood traveling to a nearby natural spring for water. Her love of the outdoors has been fostered through years of hiking in the Adirondacks and the Blue Ridge Mountains near her home in the Carolinas. Now on an adventure to explore the north woods of Wisconsin, Sarah enjoys hiking, camping, hunting and fishing-though her true peace is found on the water in any vessel that floats. When not in the woods, you’d probably find Sarah writing or lounging with a book, making music with friends around a fire or crafting things with her hands. Sarah holds a bachelor’s of social work from Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa, NC and a master’s of social work from Tulane University in New Orleans, LA. She is dedicated to facilitating a meaningful journey for our students in the wilderness and dreams of being a wilderness therapist some day.
Theresa Hasting, LCSW
Theresa Hasting received her Bachelor 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. Theresa has been a licensed counselor since 2007 and practiced in a wide variety of mental health settings. She is currently enrolled in a Ph.D. program in Depth Psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute.
Theresa specializes in working with students with trauma histories, grief and loss, and attachment difficulties. She approaches her work from a depth psychology perspective and works with clients to understand and heal the roots of their pain rather than focusing solely on symptom management.
Theresa has extensive training in trauma informed care; examining the impact that trauma and stress have on a person’s neurochemistry, brain development, attachment style, cognitions and behaviors. She is a Trust Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) Educator, a registered Sandplay Practitioner, and National Trainer for Nurturing Parenting Programs®. There is also trained in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and EMDR. Theresa tends to utilize a holistic approach to working with students, working with somatic experiences through mindfulness, relaxation techniques, and regulating activities; utilizing evidence based modalities to address emotional and cognitive difficulties; and addressing underlying intrapersonal and interpersonal systems. Theresa enjoys working with family systems and helping families work on new, healthier means of interaction.
Prior to joining the New Vision team, Theresa worked in an outdoor behavior health program for 5 years where she provided individual therapy to adolescent clients and their families. Theresa has expertise in developing training for staff and families on Trauma Informed Care topics, Nurturing Parenting®, and Trust Based Relational Intervention® (TBRI) principles. She also has experience as a clinician for adolescents and adults in psychiatric settings. 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 presented at many state and national conferences. She is a member of the American Counseling Association (ACA) and Sandplay Therapists of America (STA).
AJ Frithiof, LCSW
AJ Frithiof comes to New Vision Wilderness with over 15 years of wilderness experience. She is passionate about empowering clients and families to find connection and healing in the wilderness.
AJ is a licensed clinical social worker and completed a Master of Social Work at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. She also received a bachelor's degree in Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences with an emphasis in outdoor education at Texas A&M University in College Station.
AJ began as a wilderness instructor in 2004 and has since worked in a variety of leadership positions including course director and trainer, Program Director, and Clinical Director. She has extensive experience training staff, developing wilderness and substance abuse programs, and creating and implementing policies and procedures.
In her spare time, AJ enjoys drinking coffee, hanging out in beautiful places, paddling, and hanging out with her dog.
Ryan Price, MA, LPC Registered Intern, CADC II
Ryan is passionate about helping teens and families find and experience greater emotional freedom and connection. Prior to joining the New Vision Wilderness team, Ryan worked as a therapist for teens and families at a private practice in Fishers, Indiana, and as a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor for adults at an Intensive Outpatient Program in Indianapolis. Ryan earned his M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Grace College, Winona Lake, Indiana in 2018. During his graduate program, Ryan worked as a mental health therapist for college students and provided outpatient substance use counseling for adults. Growing up in the Applegate Valley of southern Oregon, Ryan discovered the healing power of the outdoors and his love for working with teens as a summer youth counselor throughout high school and college. Ryan is an FAA certified private pilot and in his free time enjoys flying, hiking, exploring, fly fishing, cycling, snowboarding and playing guitar.
Laura Hayes, CMSW
I recently received my Master of Social Work degree from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. Prior to this education, I also received my Bachelor of Social Work degree from Metropolitan State University of Denver. I have worked as a field guide at two different wilderness therapy companies based out of Saint George, Utah, and have found this setting to be incredibly transformative and healing for not only myself, but also for the clients we served. In the past, I have also worked in direct care with struggling adolescents in a variety of other settings from group homes, to residential treatment centers, to schools, and more. Additionally, this past year I completed a year-long internship at a Neurology clinic, where I provided individual therapy and case management services for individuals with Multiple Sclerosis. I am originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico and feel very strongly about green chile and the beauty of the desert. In my free time, I enjoy rock climbing, hiking, and spending time with my lovable dog, Cedar.
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