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.
Position: Field Therapist
Position: Field Therapist
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.
Position: Primary Therapist
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.
Position: Primary Therapist
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.
Position: Clinical Director
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.
Position: Primary Therapist
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.
Position: Clinical Director of Family Services
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.