THE WINGATE CLINICAL TEAM
Erin Grover, LCSW, MSW, TRS, CTRS
Adolescent Clinical Director
Erin Grover has spent the last ten years helping individuals and families grow and make positive changes. During her eight years in the wilderness-therapy industry she has served as a field instructor, field director, and assistant operations director. "There is no perfect family," says Erin. "I invite people into this process from that place of understanding, knowing how arduous—but worthwhile—the challenge to heal and strengthen relationships can be."
Erin holds a master's degree in social work with an emphasis in substance abuse from the University of Utah. Her clinical specialties include experiential modalities, DBT, CBT, systems theory, strengths-based approaches, and motivational interviewing. Erin completed a three year certification in Somatic Experiencing (helping clients renegotiate trauma) Erin has successfully worked with substance abuse, co-occurring diagnoses, borderline personality disorder, attachment issues, ADHD, anxiety, depression, oppositional-defiant disorder, failure to thrive and, her expertise, those having experienced trauma.
Erin is certified both regionally as a therapeutic recreational specialist (TRS, CTRS) and has applied this specialty in wilderness therapy settings as well as at the University of Utah's Neuropsychiatric Institute.
Erin views her own ongoing quest for personal growth as a key element of her professional development. She constantly seeks to improve her understanding of human behavior and development, and strives to be the kind of person that others would choose as a mentor.
Erin grew up on a horse farm and her love for the outdoors began with family horse-pack trips. She enjoys hiking, canyoneering, mountaineering, making primitive skills, being with family, and reading a good book.
Scott Hess, MA, LMFT
Partner, Primary Therapist
Scott Hess began his career as a marriage and family therapist in 1996, working with juvenile sex offenders in locked facilities. That experience helped Scott discover and develop his profound gift for getting to the heart of core issues with even the most calloused, oppositional clients. Scott attributes his success with resistant clients to his highly relational approach. “I focus first on building relationships of trust and respect,” says Scott. “From there I’m in a position to invite, rather than compel, students to find themselves and heal their relationships.”
Prior to joining WinGate, Scott gained additional experience in both residential and wilderness programs as a counselor, clinical director, and executive director. Scott's expertise with family systems enables him to craft solutions for the entire family system; systemic solutions help protect and sustain changes the young person makes in treatment.
Throughout his career, Scott has focused on his own personal and professional development. He is always seeking to refine his therapeutic skills and the quality of his interactions. This focus on continual personal development has earned him a solid reputation as an industry leader. More importantly, this focus has helped him personally as he and his wife raise their own four children
Jessica Stenquist, MSW, LCSW, TRS, CTRS
Jessica Jo Stenquist received her BS degree in Therapeutic Recreation from BYU and two Master's degrees from the University of Utah in Social Work and Public Administration. She is recognized nationally and with Utah state as a Certified Therapeutic Recreational Specialist as well as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She has spent time working with all age groups in state mental hospitals, residential treatment centers, a therapeutic boarding school, a day-treatment program, as well as outpatient and intensive outpatient programs. Due to her time with different program options as well as clients she has served who experienced the wilderness setting, she has a sound understanding of what needs to happen to prepare your child and your family for whatever the next step is after their time in the wilderness.
With 9 years in the industry filling various roles, Jessica Jo has worked with many who struggle with anything from trauma, adoption, substance abuse, or oppositional defiance to dual diagnosis, treatment resistance, anger management, and identity issues.
Jessica Jo grew up in the mid-west and has lived in many different states but she claims Utah as her home base. She enjoys learning new activities and is especially fond of riding horses, reading, mtn/road biking, hiking, canyoneering, playing the guitar, taking road trips, rock climbing, making primitive culture arts, gardening and yard work and spending as much time with her adorable niece and nephews as time permits.
Aaron H. Cluff, DC, MC, ACMHC
Aaron has been working with adolescents and young adults for 17 years. He began his career, in Utah, working with substance dependence in a residential setting. He later relocated to California and continued working with troubled youth and their families as a therapist in a county SED (severely emotionally disturbed) program.
In 2009 Aaron first joined the Wingate team where he able to combine two of his passions: his love of nature and his desire to help others. He believes in the basic goodness of people and that everybody can make healthy changes. Establishing positive relationships with students and helping them increase their awareness are key elements to the success that he has enjoyed with students.
Aaron loves spending time in the outdoors and appreciates that healing effects that nature offers. He lives with his wife and family in Northern Arizona.
Aaron Johnson, MSW, SSW
Aaron has been helping families for the last six years to navigate difficult life systems. Aaron received a Masters of Social Work from Portland State University with an emphasis in the practice of narrative therapy. Aaron is trained in other treatment approaches, including: emotion based therapy, motivational interviewing, and CBT. He connects easily with people and is able to form quick bonds with individuals and families. This helped Aaron find his niche working with families by helping each person reconnect with the family system. “I’m constantly amazed at the accomplishments that families are able to achieve when they positively connect with each other.”
Aaron began his journey of working with families when his family moved to Mexico to adopt Aaron’s brother. “Seeing how difficult it was for my family to navigate the process of adoption, I knew I wanted to work with families, helping them overcome roadblocks to reach their goals.” Aaron has experience working in residential therapeutic treatment programs, promoting and ensuring child safety and family growth with the state of Utah, as well as working with youth that have sexual behavioral problems. His primary areas of interest in the therapeutic process include: families of adoption, process addictions such as: pornography, video games and gambling, and working with youth with learning disabilities.
Growing up in Utah, Aaron learned to love and find peace in the nature. He enjoys spending time with his wife and two children. Aaron says, “We love to just go exploring and find something new to do as a family.” Aaron also enjoys singing, mountain biking, and finding exotic food to eat.
Kjrstin J. Walters, MA, LMFT
Kjrstin, or KJ as many people call her, has worked in the therapeutic world since 2001. She began working with groups at an outdoor rope course and fell in love with the authenticity of therapeutic work. Since then, Kjrstin has worked as a wilderness field guide, a residential staff, a primary therapist and a clinical director.
Kjrstin loves working with youth and their families. She loves experiential work, using the moment to gain insight or understanding on how to make changes in one’s life. Her relational and calm approach make others feel safe when with her. This allows for great work in trauma, anxiety and depression. Kjrstin also enjoys working with those with Borderline Personality Disorder and Attention issues.
Kjrstin loves rock climbing, cycling, traveling and rafting. Her passion for the outdoors is now carrying over to her two young daughters. Together with her fantastic husband, she loves to allow her girls to play and travel and adventure.
Jamie Ahern, MSW, LCSW
Jamie is a warm, inviting and clinically savvy therapist with a passion for helping those in need. For the past several years he has worked as an outpatient therapist treating teens and adults with extensive trauma histories and serious mental illnesses in rural Montana. Prior to that, he worked as a wilderness therapist for 4 years, treating teens and young adults challenged by anxiety, depression, substance abuse, Autism and other learning differences.
Jamie is trained and experienced with several evidence-based treatment modalities for the treatment of trauma, anxiety disorders (including panic), depression and addiction. He has come to rely most heavily on EMDR Therapy.
For young people with a history of trauma, anxiety and/or depression, Jamie uses EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) Therapy. EMDR is an efficient and compassionate form of therapy that focuses on adaptive recovery and growth. His clients have experienced bullying, abuse or neglect, family chaos, violence, loss, accidents and attachment/developmental trauma. He is especially attuned to the needs of young people and works diligently to provide a sense of safety, security and trust with his clients. Jamie utilizes a direct and compassionate approach, which fosters therapeutic change. He believes clinical emphasis should be placed on recovering and growing from challenges as opposed to a focus on “what’s wrong with you?”
In addition to EMDR, Jamie has been trained in and utilizes interventions from Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Positive Psychology and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
Jamie believes in the healing power of wilderness. His free time is spent receiving his own "therapy" in the form of wilderness pursuits such as fly fishing, elk hunting, mountain biking and skiing. He also likes tying flies and playing the banjo. He has been married for ten years and has three furry children.