About Kevin

There are many points that have led to where I am in my life and that drive my connection to and love of the outdoors as well as working with others in the therapeutic world.

I think back to my first multi-day backpacking trip in 1995 to Jack’s River Falls in north Georgia. This was my first full exposure to the backcountry that sparked a passion for slowing down, connecting with what’s around me, and gaining a heightened awareness of my internal and external world.

Backing up. Growing up in Georgia, I played sports from an early age, including soccer, football, martial arts, and baseball. My connection with baseball became my focus, my life, which led me to play college baseball and hold on a little longer to the idea of playing professionally. Once the reality that I wasn’t going to become rich playing a game sunk in I knew I needed something, yet wasn’t sure what. I shifted my major to Outdoor Education, focusing on the Therapeutic Use of Adventure. From there I was transported back to that Jack’s River trail and the connections I had been missing. I took a semester off to complete a NOLS semester in the Southwest. This was another pivotal point in my life. Spending 3 months in the desert, climbing, backpacking, caving, and canoeing helped me to reconnect to forgotten passions and drive to support others to find their version of what I had found.

Following NOLS I completed my degree. A month after I graduated, I faced a new choice point. In January 2004 I chose to blend my passion for the backcountry, and my fascination with human behavior, awareness, and understanding by becoming a wilderness therapy field staff in North GA. There is no question that I learned more about self-awareness, communication, and emotional understanding and regulation during my 4 years as a field staff than anywhere else in my life.

I had learned the power of the wilderness and working in a milieu with adolescents. I have had many amazing mentors in my life, and one reinforced that what happens in the wilderness is just one aspect of the growth, change, and awareness we are striving for. This guidance and the desire to eat more than just beans and rice led me to graduate school at Western Carolina University, earning an MS in Community Counseling.

My heart was still in the wilderness, therefore right out of graduate school, I went to work as a primary wilderness therapist at SUWS Carolinas. With a short stent working at a therapeutic boarding school, I spend over 10 years as a primary therapist with SUWS. Again, a choice point presented itself. I wanted to pivot from mainly working with the “identified patient” and shift focus toward the family system. I transitioned at SUWS to the Family Program Manager, for the next 3 years, leading family support through individual work, and virtual and in-person workshops.

This takes me to now, where I am excited to join the Red Cedar Transitions Team in supporting the clients and families moving towards the rich, full, meaningful lives they deserve.

Over the past twenty years, my clinical approach has evolved and shifted. I find myself most drawn to ACT (acceptance and commitment therapy) as well as a Family Systems approach. ACT fits consistently with how I view the world: it comes with a humanistic message, that happiness is not the goal. This might sound contrary to what many would assume yet – ACT recognizes that we can’t always change our circumstances, so the focus then becomes learning how to navigate life’s challenges with acceptance, grace, and understanding to move toward what’s important to us, or learning how to suffer well. I have found this approach works well for a variety of issues, including anxiety, relationship issues, and anyone struggling with their current situation. My clinical approach is also intersectional in that we all function within smaller and larger systems, and we have to take into account all parties in the system and not just the identified patient. This approach helps us to understand the context of behavior, and influences, and to offer direction toward desired relationships.

The topic of self-care often finds its way into my work with clients and families, and I try to model the same. Living in Asheville I drift towards the trails and rivers often with my family. Also, once an athlete always an athlete, I enjoy playing local organized sports as well as diving into amateur woodworking.


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