November 28, 2017

No Unilateral Decisions!

From the desk of Andrew Powell, CEO of Elements Traverse

The great paradox of psychological and behavioral health is that there is no standard formula for helping a struggling individual or family achieve success. If there were one single key to health and success, the treatment process would be over in mere days and we could happily say our services are no longer necessary. 

So what are we left with then? Informed subjectivity. Educated and experienced professionals at every stage: intervention, treatment, assessment, and future planning. Key individuals at each step who have a common focus: our client and his or her family.

But there’s more to it than having a large and diverse wilderness treatment team. As our team knows well, one of my mantras is “no unilateral decisions!” In this highly complex dynamic, where there are more treatment options than one could count, we need all hands on deck. The more eyes we get on our clients at each decision point, from educational consultants to our psychiatric nurse practitioner to parent coaches to independent psychological examiners, the better decisions we all can make. It’s one thing to assemble a strong and diverse team. It’s quite another to get all on the same page. That’s why communication, coordination, and collaboration are key to each decision. 

All that said, it is most important to note the most critical piece to the treatment team in wilderness therapy, without which all advice and all decisions would be completely futile: our client and his or her family. In order to help our clients launch into the future they deserve, they need to be informed and engaged participants, every step of the way. 

So maybe there is one key to health and success through wilderness therapy: collaboration. What do you think?

Andrew Powell is CEO of both Elements Traverse and its sister program Elements Wilderness Program. After three powerful years on the trail, Andrew moved into field and program administration. Seeing the need for better organizational management in wilderness therapy, Andrew sought and completed his MBA at the University of Utah with the goal of helping wilderness become the most professional and consistent intervention available. At Elements, Andrew has found the best blend of professionalism and fun inside a small, specialized, and intimate program. His favorite part of the job is the ability it gives him to get involved on every level and in every department, with great people who are as passionate as he is about giving clients and their families the most meaningful wilderness therapy experience possible.