Treatment Center Setting
Sovereign Health - White River Academy Philosophy
Based in Delta, Utah, White River Academy is a therapeutic boarding school for boys ages 12 through 17. The facility provides substance abuse and behavioral health treatment, along with a unique, sound and accredited educational experience. Emphasis is placed on responsibility and healthy lifestyle choices, and gives troubled boys the opportunity to become self-aware, find direction, learn how to resolve emotional pain and be of service to others. Through personal growth and hands-on experience — including adventure-based outdoor activities — students are challenged to move away from harmful behaviors and become men of integrity and character.
Areas of Specialization
Dual Diagnosis/Co-occurring Disorders Treatment
These two terms describe a person who is not only addicted to drugs or alcohol, but also has a mental or emotional illness, such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, etc. Facilities that treat patients with dual-diagnosis or co-occurring disorders provide psychiatric treatment in addition to drug and alcohol rehabilitation services.
Research shows that the odds of successful, sustained recovery from addiction are far higher when family members and loved ones are involved in treatment. Drug and alcohol addiction often have genetic roots, whether related to substance abuse, mental illness or both. Family dynamics also play a role and, often, family members are the first to realize a loved one has developed an addiction. Also, it’s important for family members to understand and embrace the lifestyle changes that are required to sustain recovery.
Residential treatment programs provide housing (food and meals) in addition to treatment for substance abuse. Some facilities offer only short-term residential treatment, some offer only long-term treatment and others offer both, ranging from a few days to many months, based on patient needs.
A form of animal therapy, equine therapy involves visiting, working with and sometimes riding horses as a way to create a metaphoric relationship that leads to life-altering insights.
We would like to thank all the wonderful staff at WRA for the great parent weekend. We enjoyed it and felt that we learned valuable insights on Positive Peer Culture and the values we must have and the importance of family commitment to each other...
Meet the Staff
Justin Nielson was one of the founders when White River Academy was established in July 2002 and currently serves as a member of the board of directors. As school administrator, he is committed and responsible for fostering the tone of the Academy by making insightful decisions which impact parents, staff members, and students in positive ways. Justin Nielson was instrumental in developing the Academy’s standards, goals, policies and procedures as found in the Academy’s Mission Statement. He greatly enjoys working with people and has been very supportive of all the staff members, including counselors, shift managers, staff members and teachers.
Sanderson is a clinical psychologist with an e-therapy and private practice at the Therapy Associates Group of St. George, Utah. He’s also a skilled forensic and neuro-psychologist with a particular passion for psychological assessment and evaluations as they pertain to assisting in intervention and treatment. Sanderson has provided counseling, treatment and therapy for children, adolescents, adults, couples and families for more than 25 years. He is known for his developmental, experiential approach to treatment and his unconventional therapeutic sessions; successful interventions and disruptions. Sanderson has extensive experience in treating attention deficit disorder; attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; bipolar disorder, oppositional defiant disorder and personality disorders. In addition, Sanderson has treated substance abuse and addiction, process addictions, drug and alcohol addiction; eating disorders and sexual disorders. Sanderson has worked with split & blended families; adoption and international adoptions as well as treating reactive attachment disorder.
Austin Day holds a bachelor’s degree from Southern Utah University in biology, and a master’s degree in education and education administration. He is also a certified equine-assisted psychotherapist. Austin Day’s life revolves around teaching and a deep love of horses. He has spent his entire life riding, participating in rodeos and showing horses. With more than 40 years of experience, Austin Day’s married his love of horses with teaching and educating youth, by creating experiences that will last a lifetime. He agrees with the heartfelt adage, “There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.”
Rehabs.com Editorial Review
ABOUT SOVEREIGN HEALTH – WHITE RIVER ACADEMY
Set in the mountainous Great Basin region of Utah, Sovereign Health’s White River Academy is a therapeutic boarding school for boys ages 12 to 17. The facility offers long-term treatment for substance abuse and co-occurring mental health disorders. Medically monitored detox services are not available on-site.
TREATMENT & ASSESSMENT
White River Academy offers rolling enrollment so that boys may enter into the program at any time of the year, though they need to be referred by their parent or guardian. When new clients arrive, they undergo an orientation process that covers rules and expectations, as well as meeting their two assigned student mentors.
The program combines 12-step principles and positive peer culture with evidence-based practices such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT).
Clients are involved in a tightly structured weekly schedule that includes individual and group therapy, a customized academic curriculum, 12-step meetings, community service, recreational activities, equine training, recreational therapy, art therapy, and daily chores.
Family participation is highly encouraged and includes therapy, education, and a weekend-long family program once a quarter.
The treatment team includes master’s level therapists, a clinical psychologist, and classroom instructors. White River Academy is accredited as an educational institution and is approved to teach grades nine through 12 in the state of Utah.
ACCOMMODATIONS & AMENITIES
Set in a former hospital, the facility houses clients in simple, shared bedrooms. Students must wear school uniforms. The facility includes a school, rock climbing area, and horseback riding stables.
At the time of this writing, Rehabs.com has not received reviews for the White River Academy from alumni, affiliated friends or family, or staff.
On YellowPages.com, the White River Academy has earned 3.4 out of five stars from five reviews to date. Two of the reviews are extremely negative, while three of the reviews are positive.
The reviews are polarized based on the quality of the education program and staff. Parent Chris wrote: “White River is a great place to send your son... they are an accredited school, and students get a structured life along with a great education... There is no proselyting at Whit River Academy and the Boys are free to worship how they may and if they want.” He added that: “They are a great school and will treat you and your son with the utmost respect and care.”
An anonymous mom agreed that the teachers were great: “My son had an excellent time at the academy. Before he went, he wouldn't even study or go to class. The teachers sat down with him individually and taught him how to study. Now, he asks when he needs help and works hard. Not only did he get to complete a lot of classes, he wants to go to college now.”
Two parents had different experiences. One anonymous mom wrote: “I'll say they had some caring people, but I don't know who is running the school that their academics were so poor.” Nathan wrote that the facility: “does a sub standard job attempting to rehabilitate children. The facilities are bare, cramped, and staff is degrading.”
According to the website, Sovereign Health accepts most private insurance plans, including Aetna, APS Healthcare, and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield. Financial assistance is also available to clients who qualify.
Updated March 2017
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