SUWS Wilderness Therapy Program Reaches Superior Level of Clinical Excellence with Introduction of Clinical Psychologist

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SUWS welcomes Chris Edwards, PhD, as its clinical director, enhancing the program’s ability to conduct on-site psychological testing and incorporate clinical insights into every child’s treatment plan.

Having an on-site clinical testing psychologist has advanced the entire clinical process at SUWS, from the caliber of therapists we hire to our ability to individualize treatment plans.

SUWS wilderness program for youth and adolescents announces the appointment of Chris Edwards, PhD, as its clinical director.

Dr. Edwards received his doctorate in Psychology from Hofstra University and has more than 15 years of clinical experience, both in private practice and a variety of clinical settings.

As clinical director, Dr. Edwards trains and supervises all direct care staff and clinicians, oversees treatment planning for each student at SUWS and conducts clinical testing when appropriate to a child’s care. He also works with families to change the dynamics at home and make plans for the child’s future.

SUWS is always searching for new ways to provide even more comprehensive and individualized treatment for struggling youth and their families. In addition to its already sophisticated clinical program, which includes assessments, solo experiences, and individual, group and family therapy, SUWS has added another valuable tool to its therapeutic milieu: an on-site psychologist.

When clinically appropriate, Dr. Edwards assesses the students’ intellectual and cognitive functioning through IQ and achievement tests to determine whether any underlying learning disabilities exist which might explain a student’s difficulty in school and other negative behaviors.

There is also an emotional and behavioral component to the testing at SUWS, which helps the therapists understand whether a student is struggling with a psychological condition such as a mood disorder or bipolar disorder, or is acting out because of poor coping or communication skills or some other issue.

“These tests give us a 360-degree picture of the emotional, behavioral and learning issues affecting each student so that we can tailor treatment to their particular needs,” said Dr. Edwards.

There are a number of benefits to having a clinical testing psychologist on-site at SUWS. For example, if a student is struggling or an issue begins to emerge, Dr. Edwards can assess the student right away – as the issue is unfolding – rather than waiting for an off-site psychologist to arrive.

Although it can be beneficial to perform tests at the beginning and end of a wilderness program, it is often more informative to assess a child when they are beginning to feel comfortable opening up and sharing, or when therapists begin to identify potential clinical issues. On-site testing provides immediate feedback so the staff at SUWS can adapt their approach based on each student’s needs.

“Having an on-site clinical testing psychologist has advanced the entire clinical process at SUWS, from the caliber of therapists we hire to our ability to individualize treatment plans,” said Kathy Rex, the executive director of SUWS Adolescent and Youth Programs. “Under Dr. Edwards’ leadership, the knowledge and skill of our clinicians and our direct care staff will be greatly enhanced.”

SUWS is a short-term, high-impact wilderness program. With an improved ability to identify clinical issues on a timely basis, the treatment team can make an even greater impact in a short period of time.

“By evaluating and interpreting test results and incorporating what we learn into our treatment plans, we can make a big impact in just a few weeks,” said Rex. “In the long run, that means our families save money, which allows them to invest in the long-term progress of their child.”

About SUWS

SUWS offers therapeutic wilderness programs for boys and girls ages 11 to 17 with a focus on clinical intervention and assessment. Based in southern Idaho, the programs use the outdoors as an alternative to conventional treatment environments, while engaging students using traditional therapeutic methods. Since 1981, SUWS programs have provided guidance and support to thousands of misdirected and at-risk teens experiencing low self-esteem, defiant behavior, attention deficit, depression, substance abuse and other emotional and behavioral issues.

SUWS is a program of Aspen Education Group, the nation’s leading provider of therapeutic education programs for struggling or underachieving young people. Aspen’s services range from short-term intervention programs to residential treatment, and include a variety of therapeutic settings such as boarding schools, outdoor behavioral health programs and special needs summer camps, allowing professionals and families the opportunity to choose the best setting to meet a student’s unique academic and emotional needs.

Aspen Education Group is a member of CRC Health Group, the most comprehensive network of specialized behavioral care services in the nation. For over two decades, CRC Health has been achieving successful outcomes for individuals and families.

For more information, please call (866) 515-5202 or visit SUWS.


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