Expedition Therapy instructors and clinicians are dedicated professionals with a passion for sharing their knowledge in the wilderness. Adept at facilitating group processes and supporting self awareness initiatives in the field, the experienced members of our field staff are excellent mentors with a wealth of practical experience. Many are active members of the Wilderness Medical Society, American Mountain Guides Association, American Avalanche Association, American Canoe Association, Leave No Trace® and American Alpine Club.
Beth J. Fogel, MSW, CSW, Primary Therapist Beth is a licensed therapist in the state of Utah and has worked with adolescents and young adults since 1994 in wilderness therapy, residential and inpatient hospital settings. Beth’s eclectic, holistic, hands-on clinical style uses the open space of the wilderness to help students re-create their personal identities and gain confidence. She enjoys sharing her passion for the outdoors through poetry, photography, mountain biking, hiking and environmental advocacy.
“Beth Fogel is the consummate professional in the most down-to-earth and creative way. Her clinical expertise and treatment of both participants and families is top tier and she treats people from all walks of life with dignity, respect and compassion”. -Consultant Referral Source, Northeast USA
R. Michael Peyton, MA, LMFT, Primary Therapist Mike Peyton is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. He draws from 20 years of working with families, in conjunction with 27 years of experience as a husband and co-parent of five children. Mike is an Approved Supervisor for the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. His clinical foundation began with strategic family therapy formulated by Jay Haley and Cloe Madanes. Mike has specialized in doing equine therapy with students and parents.
Mike joins the families who come to him for help to identify the core values and needs of family members. Conflicts dividing important relationships are the result of loss of trust and respect. Addiction, out of control emotions and misbehavior are symptoms of this misalignment. Sharing territory and re-establishing the desire to restore affection and trust is key. Mike believes students learn that healthy living leads to healthy living in an experiential setting. Students are reminded of what really matters the most: love for family and love for self. Removing the confusion and noise of modern life long enough to think and feel clearly is vital for restoration to occur. He believes that we are all inherently oriented towards functional social behavior.
In Mike’s words, “It has been said that horses, dogs and kids are all alike: they cannot love their parents unless they first respect them as leaders. We sometimes confuse dependence with love and often settle for dependence on parent resources as a substitute. Gaining respect from children often involves sending them away, which is counter-intuitive for those who are afraid of losing closeness in the relationship. The principles of nature demonstrate over and over again that setting boundaries with horses and family members results in greater bonding once respect has been established. Mike teaches parents how to be confident leaders that children of any age can trust. It’s a matter of knowing when and how much pressure to apply and when to release that pressure. Once those skills are applied, the rest falls into place.”
Bridger R. Ogden, LSUDC, Substance Use Disorder Counselor Bridger is a Utah State Licensed Substance Use Disorder Counselor who has enjoyed working in the field of addiction treatment since 2000. He is a graduate of the University of Utah College of Social Work’s Alcohol & Drug Abuse Treatment Training Program. Bridger recently received his “Treating The Addictions” Certification through the Harvard Medical School. He has worked with adults in an intensive outpatient setting as well as adolescents in residential treatment.
Bridger believes that success in recovery grows from the motivation that is maximized when young adults are encouraged to define their own version of success and happiness. Then, through counseling, treatment planning, and family involvement, they can gain the tools necessary to recover and achieve their goals.
Aaron Wilson, Executive Director & Senior Expedition Specialist Aaron has been working with adults and adolescents in wilderness-based therapeutic programs for the past eight years. He is a certified WFR, a survival skills instructor and certified in PCS. Aaron spends over 200 days a year in the desert backcountry and surrounding parklands.
Wes Light, Director of Adventure Education Wes has been guiding and instructing outdoor leadership, wilderness medicine, and outdoor technical skills courses for nearly a decade. He has worked in the backcountry areas of Alaska, Utah, Washington, Nevada and Mexico. Wes’ current training and certifications include Wilderness EMT training, Wilderness First Responder certification, and Avalanche Level 2. He is a National Standards Program Instructor with the Wilderness Education Association. Wes is also a Wilderness First Aid, CPR and AED Instructor for the American Red Cross, Emergency Care and Safety Institute and Utah Wilderness Society.
Brian Bistolfo, Senior Expedition Field Instructor Brian received a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Williams College and then spent two years traveling the world, making wine and backpacking. For almost a decade, he has worked with youth and young adults as a counselor, coach, mentor, and instructor. Brian earned his Wilderness First Responder certification through Wilderness Medical Associates. He believes strongly in the power of the outdoors to change lives.
Vanessa Fabian, Expedition Field Instructor Vanessa received a B.S. in Psychology from Michigan State University. She is currently working towards both a Master of Social Work and a Master of Science in Kinesiology (with an Outdoor Education focus) at the University of New Hampshire. Vanessa has extensive experience backpacking, climbing both rock and ice, caving and snowboarding. She is certified in Wilderness First Aid and Positive Control Systems, and is also a Leave No Trace® Trainer as well as an AMGA Single Pitch Climbing Instructor. Vanessa is dedicated to adventure therapy.
Joe Taylor, Expedition Field Instructor Joe has a B.A. in Anthropology and a Masters in City and Metropolitan Planning, both from the University of Utah. He has extensive experience in mountain and desert backpacking, canyoneering, river running, fly fishing, rock and ice climbing, and backcountry skiing. Joe has been an Eagle Scout, an elementary educator, an archaeologist, a rafting guide on the Colorado River, and a city planner. He is a Wilderness First Responder and is Leave No Trace® certified.