Clinical Staff

Trysh HuntingtonTrysh Huntington, MA, LMFT – SUWS Adolescent Female Program Therapist

Professional and Academic Background:
Trysh Huntington, a Licensed Therapist with a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and a post Graduate Degree from Appalachian State University in Expressive Arts Therapy, has had the opportunity to work with several different groups of students at SUWS of the Carolinas, however specializes and is the lead therapist for the SUWS Female Adolescent Group. She is enthusiastic about her work at SUWS and views her position as an opportunity to combine her two life passions: 1. working with youth in the wilderness and 2. Working with families in a therapeutic capacity in order to assist them in gaining a better working knowledge of their strengths.

She brings extensive outdoor background with 13 years of experience years as an experiential educator and administrator with both the North Carolina and Hurricane Island Outward Bound Schools. She embraced this work and for five years was the Associate Program Director and then Program Director of Hurricane Island Outward Bound School’s STEP program for adjudicated youth. She has worked with other wilderness programs as a graduation assistant, course director and field instructor. Just prior to coming to SUWS in 2010, Trysh worked in community mental health as an Intensive In-home Therapist serving families in Buncombe County, North Carolina.

Clinical Specialties:

Her clinical specialties include depression and anxiety, social difficulties, grief issues, NLD/Asperger’s and family systems. Trysh believes that it is imperative for students to be authentic, hard-working and genuine, in order to truly benefit from her therapeutic work. Her approach to treatment includes systemic, experiential and expressive arts therapy modalities.

Personal Background
In her free time, Trysh can be found riding her mountain bike on the trails of Western North Carolina and beyond. She is an avid knitter and loves to paint, cook, garden and spend time with her dog, Fern.

 


 

Brandon MoffittBrandon Moffitt –  MA, NCC, LPC – SUWS Approach Program Manager

 

Professional and Academic Background:
Brandon began working with adolescents in 1997 and has spent most of his professional career working with this type of student. In addition to a Bachelor’s degree in Education, Brandon holds a Master’s of Arts degree in Community Counseling from Denver Seminary. He has worked in a variety of settings with adolescents and outdoor wilderness programs including teaching 8th grade science in a public school, guiding whitewater and wilderness experiences, mentoring in a community service organization, and working as a therapist in a group home for boys. His final year in graduate school was spent doing a clinical internship with adjudicated boys in a residential treatment center. He was able to do both traditional talk therapy as well as Equine Assisted Psychotherapy, a means of treatment that includes working with horses. Once he received his Master’s degree in May of 2005, he went on to work three years in another residential setting, where individual, group and experiential therapies were the primary modes of treatment.

SUWS Background:
Brandon joined SUWS of the Carolinas in 2008 has worked as a therapist with Adolescent males with a heavy emphasis on spectrum issues. In the fall of 2011, he launched a new program called “Approach”, a wilderness therapy program for adolescents with social development disorders

Clinical Specialties:
Asperger’s/NLD, ADHD, emotional expression and regulation, resistant adolescent males, leadership and empowerment, Depression and Anxiety, Self-esteem Issues, Identity Issues, Adoption Issues, Attachment Disorders and Family Systems Approach.

Interests:

Brandon is a Licensed Professional Counselor in North Carolina and a National Certified Counselor. He believes that an experiential approach, particularly in the wilderness, is a powerful way for a person to gain personal insight while experiencing change. He is confident that adolescents will be able to make needed change given the challenges and opportunities provided here at SUWS and is honored to be a part of that process. With his comprehensive view of treatment issues, Brandon is supportive and honest in his therapeutic approach. However, he believes that this is a journey that must include the family system alongside of their child so that the changes made at SUWS will be reinforced and fostered well into the future.

Personal Background
He is married with 2 children and loves fly fishing, fly tying, hiking, running, biking, camping and exploring in the woods with his wife, children and dog. He comes to work every day with his therapy dog, Miller.


JesseJesse Quam, MSW, LCSW – SUWS Seasons Program Manager

Professional and Academic Background:
Jesse Quam, MSW, LCSW is the Program Manager for the SUWS of the Carolinas/Seasons Program. Before earning his Masters of Clinical Social Work from Boston College (May, 2005), Jesse began his 16 year journey in wilderness in June 2006 at Aspen Achievement Academy, a therapeutic wilderness program in Utah. There, he worked as a Field Staff, Reunion Co-coordinator (facilitating the three day reunion with family for students graduating from the program), and Field Director. After a year hiatus, Jesse returned to wilderness therapy to work as a senior field staff at Passages to Recovery, a spiritually based 12 -step recovery program in Southern Utah. While in graduate school, Jesse worked as a residential counselor and an individual therapist at The Walker Home and School, a residential home and school serving emotionally disturbed children and their families. He also provided group and individual therapy to homeless veterans with substance abuse issues at the Brockton Veterans’ Administration.

SUWS Experience:

Jesse began at SUWS of the Carolinas in May 2005 and has served in many capacities including a Wilderness Therapist, Program Manager, Clinical Director and currently the Seasons Program Manager, Visionary and Clinician. His goal with the Season Program is to provide treatment designed to identify the limiting beliefs and unhealthy behaviors that often can prevent the pursuit of constructive goals and personal achievement.

Clinical Specialties:
His specialties are working with pre-adolescent boys and girls ages 10-14 living with challenges with a focus on social skills, anger, anxiety, depression, adoption, toxic divorces, and confidence issues.

Interests:
Jesse is a licensed clinical social worker in North Carolina and is particularly interested in family systems, attachment theory and spirituality. From his first role as a field staff at Western Therapeutic Wilderness Program, he has amassed over 15 years of experience working with at risk youth in the wilderness, where he strives to give students the tools they will need to chart a course for future growth and success and begin making progress in their lives. Each year he continues to elevate his expertise as a professional and therapist by participating in continuing education in areas of substance abuse, clinical supervision, Asperger’s, attachment and ADHD treatments. As a leader in his field, he has presented at several conferences, including multiple times at NATSAP and IECA conferences and conducts clinical supervision for new therapists seeking LCSW and LPC certification. He is currently the Chair of the NATSAP Best Practices Committee for NATSAP and has served on the NATSAP Government Relations Committee. He is also an adjunct professor of Outdoor Education program at Montreat College in Black Mountain, NC, co-teaching a Survey of Adventure/Wilderness Therapy course in the Outdoor Education Department.

Personal Background
Originally from Minnesota, he lives in Black Mountain NC with his wife and 2 children. He is an avid reader and likes to play golf, hike, and grilling out and is a baseball and Minnesota Vikings football fan. He and his family tend a large vegetable garden, are adding fruit bushes and trees to their small property and have recently started a small flock of (hopefully) laying hens.


Kedar BrownKedar Brown – M.Ed, LPC – Phoenix Outdoor Program manager

Professional and Academic Background:
Kedar S. Brown, M.Ed. LPC, NCC, CHT is Program Manager and Clinician for Phoenix Outdoor. Kedar is a licensed clinical counselor with over 26 years of experience providing mental health and addictions counseling for adults and teenagers. He received both his undergraduate and graduate degree from Western Carolina University and has worked both in private a practice and many mental health and substance abuse programs. Kedar blends many creative and expressive forms of clinical psychology with more indigenous methods of healing through elemental rituals, ceremonies, and wilderness rites of passages programs. He specializes in developing and facilitating ceremonial rites of passage programs and rituals as a primary method addictions and mental health treatment for young men and women. He is also the Founder and Director of Rites Of Passage Council, in Asheville, NC.

Kedar is a trained guide in the Vision Quest Ceremony from the Sierra Nevada Mountains by Steven Foster and Meredith Little. He has served on staff with the Men’s Leadership Alliance in the Rocky Mountains, which uses indigenous methods of healing plus community building among men. Kedar serves as sup-port staff with Malidoma Some` and Associates in the Asheville, North Carolina, which offers training programs integrating the indigenous wisdom teachings of West Africa into western culture. Kedar has twice been a guest on Wisdom Radio discussing the need for reintroducing initiatory rites of passage back into modern culture and has published writings in the book “Right Use of Power: A Ethics Guide for Healing Professionals” by Cedar Barstow. His workshops and retreats have been offered across the US, Ireland and Australia.

Clinical Specialties:

Addiction, recovery, oppositional defiance disorder, physical and emotional trauma.Her clinical specialties include depression and anxiety, social difficulties, grief issues, NLD/Asperger’s and family systems. Trysh believes that it is imperative for students to be authentic, hard-working and genuine, in order to truly benefit from her therapeutic work. Her approach to treatment includes systemic, experiential and expressive arts therapy modalities.

Wilderness Experience
Kedar has always worked his therapy in alliance with nature and became part of the wilderness therapy scene when he became substance abuse clinician, serving adult students ages 18-27 at Four-Circles in March 2007. He also served as a summer therapist for SUWS of the Carolinas for 2 summers before coming on-board full time in 2011.

Personal Background
Outside of SUWS, Kedar is the proud father of 2 girls, ages 21 and 16 and en-joys traveling across the world performing Rites of Passage workshops and re-treat. He loves spending time in the wilderness and has a philosophy to never give up on a child, ever.

 


Kevin WallerKevin Waller – MS, NCC, LPC – Phoenix Outdoor Therapist

Professional and Academic Background:
Kevin Waller is a Nationally Board Certified Counselor as well as a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of North Carolina. Kevin has a strong belief in wilderness as an effective setting for therapy. Prior to entering graduate school, Kevin earned his undergraduate degree from Georgia College in Outdoor Education (lead by Jude Hirsch, Ph. D and Lee Gillis Ph. D, two leading researchers in this field of experiential education and wilderness therapy) with an emphasis in the therapeutic use of adventure. He worked as a field instructor for four years at a wilderness therapy program. As a graduate student at Western Carolina University while earning a master’s degree in Community Counseling, Kevin worked with high-risk teenagers in a therapeutic, residential setting. He also developed and implemented a group therapy curriculum for middle school children. After graduation, Kevin worked at the therapeutic boarding school Stone Mountain School for two years.

Clinical Specialties:

His clinical interests include substance abuse, oppositional behavior, anxiety, family systems, ADHD, grief work and developing healthy coping strategies. Professionally, he practices empowerment, choice and reality therapy, emotional therapy, identity and awareness and grief work.

Phoenix Outdoor Experience
Kevin brings to Phoenix Outdoor several years of experience working with at-risk youth, their families, and issues evolved around substance abuse. The modalities he uses include reality based approach ‘choice theory’, cognitive behavior therapy, Albert Bandura’s theory on vicarious learning and Carl Roger’s theory of building relationships with congruency, empathy and un-conditional positive regard. Kevin is currently working toward achieving a Licensed Clinical Addictions Specialist, LCAS status.

Personal Background
Kevin lives in Asheville with his wife, whom he met as while they were both working as field staff at a wilderness therapy program. As a former college baseball player, he continues his passion by playing on a local adult baseball team and is a huge Braves fan. He likes to hike, swim and work on his new house.

 


 

Michael PesantMichael Pesant – MSW, P-LCSW, P-LCAS – Phoenix Outdoor and SUWS of the Carolinas, Adolescent Boy Therapist

 

Professional and Academic Background:
Michael Pesant, MSW, P-LCSW, is a provisionally-licensed social worker in NC, and certified cognitive behavioral therapist, focused on a strength-based approach that empowers adolescents to recognize and overcome barriers to reaching their true potential. A native of South Florida, Mike graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in Psychology in 2004 and shortly after began his career working with at-risk adolescents as a field instructor at SUWS of the Carolinas. After leaving in 2006, Mike earned his Master of Social Work degree from the University of South Carolina. He brings over 6 years of experience working with at-risk and substance abusing youth in a variety of settings: wilderness, residential, school, and community-based mental health.

SUWS Background:
After spending a year working as an English teacher abroad, my career in mental health began in earnest as a field instructor at SUWS of the Carolinas in the summer of 2005. After a year at SUWS, I left to work as a counselor at the Little Keswick School, a TBS outside of Charlottesville, VA. Since LKS, I have worked in a variety of community mental health settings, including as a school-based counselor in Virginia, as a mitigation specialist working with the families of capital defendants in South Carolina, and as the supervisor of an Intensive In Home Therapy team in Haywood County, NC.

Clinical Specialties:
His specialties include; Substance Abuse and Addictions, Wilderness Experiential Education, Group Therapy, Family Systems Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Physical and Emotional Trauma, Forensic Social Work, Program .Evaluation. Certifications include; P-LCSW, LCAS Registrant, Rational Living Therapy, CBT for Supervisors, CBT with children, Motivational Interviewing.

Interests:

Outside of work, He enjoys spending time with his wife, Elizabeth, and their rescue dog Molly. Playing competitive tennis on a couple of USTA teams out of Asheville, NC. Whitewater kayaking, and most recently, tandem canoeing.