At Ascend, we’re able to provide such comprehensive and targeted treatment plans because our team makes it happen. Each person who works with Ascend provides such valuable work to help our clients improve their mental health. From our mentors to our therapists, client goals are our goals! One of the people who works on the therapy side of things is Kayla. While she might have started as a mentor, she’s put in the work to complete her Master’s degree at the Wurzweiler School of Social Work, and hopes to take the lead as a therapist.
Discover how Kayla got her start, what she does at Ascend, and how she hopes to grow with us in the future!
From Intern to Master
Kayla first became interested in social work when she was in high school. She’s always been interested in psychology, learning enough about people to help and empower them to work through their challenges. Working with teenagers seemed a natural focus for Kayla because she can easily identify with this pivotal time in their lives. She knows they need a lot of support to successfully navigate such a tumultuous period of time.
When she first started at Ascend, she was a mentor who spent nearly all of her time guiding and encouraging clients during their time with us. Soon, she moved up to become a social work intern and stayed on while completing her Master’s program.
Therapy at Ascend
Nearly every moment at Ascend is packed with therapy for our clients. From family and group sessions to experiential therapy through drama, surf therapy, equestrian experiences, and more, our clients need experienced oversight every minute of the day. As a therapist, Kayla currently works with the clients at Trails house to facilitate individual sessions for clients and co-facilitate family sessions. She also runs a curriculum that explores shame and resilience for parents and clients on the weekends.
Because Kayla is so passionate about psychoeducation on attachment and authenticity, she is dedicated to providing people with the tools they need to embrace authentic living through self-compassion and forgiveness. We hope that Kayla will be able to create many curriculums about these topics for us in the future.
Working in Treatment
Kayla loves working with all the different people that make up the Ascend team. She feels like she’s part of something bigger that has a positive impact on people’s lives. While she could work as a therapist in other facilities, she prefers Ascend because she gets to collaborate with caring staff, grow in her field, and gain experience while still in school. Kayla feels that Ascend knows exactly what she needs to feel appreciated and supported.
Kayla’s Favorite Things
In addition to her focus on improving mental health through education, Kayla also gets to see the progress that our clients make after leaving Ascend – and that’s one of her favorite things about being part of our team. When former clients write us letters and emails about how they’re doing, it shows us that our treatment programs actually work! Many times, they call out Kayla and her work with them as critical to their success back in the real world.
A Day in Her Life
A typical day in Kayla’s life starts with a drive out to Trails House in the mountains. She meets with clients, provides support for mentors on the floor, and runs the scheduled groups and meetings for the day. She spends a lot of time catching up on documentation to ensure a cohesive followup for all the other therapists that work with the clients on different days.
Kayla frequently works with our mentor team, as well as her supervisor, Brittany. She loves getting to work so closely with Brittany because her knowledge and experience provide a wealth of information that helps Kayla navigate everyday life as a therapist for teens in residential treatment.
Kayla knows there’s a world beyond Ascend, and one of her biggest challenges is letting clients step back out into it. Most clients stay with us for the short-term, learning valuable coping skills that will stabilize and enhance their lives. Unfortunately, Kayla and the other Ascend team members don’t always get to see long-term success for our clients years down the road. Reminding ourselves that we are just one small step in every client’s journey towards happiness gives us hope that they’ll continue on down their path to recovery – even without us!
Kayla feels that she’s learned so much from Ascend: how to become a better clinician, how to work as part of a team, and how to become more self-aware. We love how Kayla has grown and evolved throughout her time at Ascend, and we encourage our other team members to follow in her footsteps.
From our other therapists and facility managers to our admissions specialists, we want everyone on our team to thrive. Learn more about their roles when you explore other staff spotlights on our blog!