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Teen Behavioral Health News - February 2015
In This Issue
C.E. Webinar
Inviting Behavioral Health Professionals


Join us for an online webinar presentation offering free C.E. units. Sovereign Welcomes


Abbe McClenahan
to present on


"Meditation for Recovery"

Time:11:00 AM to 12:00 PM PST 


Date:Wednesday March 18, 2015 


How to Handle 
Separation Anxiety at Boarding Schools 


Inevitably, every young person will reach a time in their lives when they are first separated from their parents for an extended length of time. At first, this may be a cause of awkward feelings or undue stress. Often times, the child will have largely grown up in the family home, with time away from parents being limited to attending school or spending time with friends. A longer period away from home will mean taking greater responsibility for one's self, which is appropriate as adolescents transition into adulthood. However, separation anxiety may nonetheless still occur for natural reasons.


Separation anxiety is actually a fairly common anxiety disorder. In minors under the age of 18, this condition usually occurs for a minimum period of four weeks.  The symptoms may manifest themselves in the form of panic attacks. However, these anxious responses will be beyond what is seen as normal for this age group. When separated from the attachment figure, the child may experience repeated distress over time. He may be reluctant to leave home for a number of reasons, such as going to school, because of such fears. Those with such anxiety may also find themselves worrying about unforeseen events that may separate them from the attachment figure, or instances in which this person may be harmed. Nightmares, as well as physical symptoms of illness when separation is imminent, may also occur....Read on

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Creating Strength Through 

the Power of Peers




White River Academy is a therapeutic boarding school

 for struggling adolescent males between ages 12 and 17 1/2, located in Delta, Utah. We provide a safe, secure and structured environment for young males to face and overcome their issues.  Using an experiential learning approach that makes students think about what they do, we combine therapeutic programming, a customized academic curriculum, and community service to foster personal growth and create men of character and integrity. White River Academy has a track record of success turning around the lives of troubled teens.

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How Brain Mapping is Improving Depression Treatment


Brain mapping is one of the most quickly evolving fields in addiction treatment, proving to be able to alter cognitive structures in the brain, gearing them less towards dependency. While brain mapping in addiction has been traditionally used in conjunction with neurofeedback exercises, new research shows that it can predict which patients with clinical depression are most likely to benefit from a certain kind of talk therapy. The University of North Carolina (UNC) School of Medicine researchers believe that brain scans could eventually be used as a diagnostic tool for optimizing mental health treatment.

The study, published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, is the first to use a technique known as resting-state functional brain connectivity MRI, a technology that allows neuroscientists to identify differences in brain wiring that can predict therapeutic responses to talk therapy. The therapy, behavioral activation talk therapy, is a technique based off of applied behavioral analysis, one of the most predominant forms of behavior therapy. The results of this study have large ramifications for the optimization of treatment in the future, with the potential to shave off months of trial and error associated with finding the proper depression treatment...Read On

Meet Our Staff

Dr. Dan Sanderson, Ph.D.

Clinical Psychologist


Dr. Daniel Sanderson is an internationally known Forensic and Clinical Psychologist specializing in psychological assessment, neuro-psychology and with more than 25 years in outdoor and residential treatment design. He is a well-respected and tactical clinician for wilderness therapies, and considered a pioneer in wilderness treatment modalities.  His many years of experience in the field of psychology include a wide array of treatment options for children, adolescents and their families. Dr. Sanderson is an innovator who implements groundbreaking and first-of-their-kind interventions, including the Family Boot Camp, STAR Guides Wilderness - specializing in Wilderness Therapy for Sexual, Process & Technology Addictions. Sanderson is also known for creating the "Developmental Vacation" treatment model; a highly successful and unique method for adolescents and young adults with difficult, treatment resistant, emotional and behavioral health problems. Known by everyone as "Doc Dan," Sanderson, in addition to his private practice, currently contracts with Sovereign Health Group and supervises clinical care at White River Academy. Under his direction, White River is the first therapeutic boarding school in the world to integrate both the Positive Peer Culture and Developmental Vacation treatment models in a residential setting. 


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The Importance of Liking Yourself


It may seem silly, childish even, to believe that "liking yourself" is all that important. Long the stuff of comedians and children's shows, the concept of self-esteem is easy for adults to dismiss. Some people feel that liking oneself might indicate arrogance or vanity. Others just dismiss it as the psychobabble of an overly therapeutic culture. The truth is, however, that self-esteem is one of the most important foundations of a healthy life. When a person lacks basic self-esteem he or she is at a much greater risk of engaging in the following harmful activities:

  • Dangerous sexual activity
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Entering into and tolerating abusive relationships
  • Experiencing suicidal thoughts or actions
  • Seeking relief through risky thrills (gambling, speeding, stealing, etc.)
  • Abusing others physically or verbally
  • Tolerating bullying or becoming a bully
When a young woman is in possession of a healthy self-esteem and is surrounded by people who love and respect her and honor her accomplishments and interests she is much more likely to live within healthy boundaries - not tolerating things like sexual abuse or belittling verbal treatment....Read On

Teens Likely to Combine Multiple Forms of Tobacco, Study Finds

Teens who use tobacco products are likely to use more than one product, including e-cigarettes, hookahs, pipes, and smokeless tobacco, according to a new study.

The study, published in Pediatrics, found 14.7 percent of middle and high school students use one or more tobacco products. Among these users, 4.3 percent report using three or more tobacco products, and 2.7 percent of teens use cigarettes with an additional product.

"The prevalence of teens combining multiple tobacco products is alarming, especially since there may be potential additive harms associated with this practice," said Youn Ok Lee, Ph.D., research public health analyst at RTI International. "By using more than one tobacco product, teens may be increasing their risk of nicotine dependence."

Researchers used data from the 2012 National Youth Tobacco Survey, a nationally representative sample of U.S. middle and high school students, to estimate the use of cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, hookah and other tobacco products.


Read On...


Book Spotlight

Learn about overcoming OCD in 'A Journey to Recovery' 

By Singer and Seth Gillihan

Many have joked about having obsessive compulsive disorder. However, very few individuals understand the severity of the disorder and the toll it can take on a person's life. While some joke about OCD because they want to keep their books organized a certain way, the reality is a person who is truly dealing with OCD may not be able to leave a room without completing a pattern of activities or movements which can take them hours.

Obsessive compulsive disorder is a serious mental health disorder that many individuals deal with on a daily basis. "Overcoming OCD: A Journey to Recovery" addresses OCD as it plagues a man named Daniel Singer. The book is an account of his perseverance while dealing with it. Singer's disorder was so severe that it kept him from doing regular daily activities, such as eating. It eventually led him to seek assistance seven different therapists, to taking 10 types of medication and finally entering a nine-week stay in a residential treatment program.


"Overcoming OCD" tells the story of Singer's struggle with OCD and simultaneously provides a useful guide for those also dealing with the disorder and hope for their families.  It intertwines expert commentary and useful information about OCD and its treatment to offer readers not just a personal account of how the disorder can affect sufferers and families, but also a glimpse into the possibilities for diagnosis, clinical approaches and successful outcomes....Read On

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White River Academy 275 West 100 South
Delta, Utah 84624
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