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Ben Hietala


Helping high achievers find balance

EXPRESSIVE arts THERAPY Seeking wholeness through artistic expression



PARADIGM Founders Dr. Jeff Nalin and Cole Rucker





ATHLETES PROGRAM Promoting an active, healthy lifestyle for youth






ELIANA KATZ Senior Editor


Associate Managing Editor






An introduction to Paradigm Malibu by its Founders Dr. Jeff Nalin and Cole Rucker

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Contributing Photographers


HEALTHY EATING FOR HEALTHY LIVING Nutrition; from garden to table


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Mental health in harmony with academics


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Super Model Amber Valetta shares her recovery story with Paradigm Youth


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Lou Ferrigno, Jr. talks therapy and fitness


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Healing patients through artistic expression


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An outside view on Paradigm’s success


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Paradigm's Experiential Therapy Continuum

A TOUCHDOWN FOR PARADIGM Paradigm's Teen Athletes Program


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Highlights of Paradigm in the news



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FOUNDER & CLINICAL DIRECTOR Dr. Jeff Nalin For almost 20 years, Cole and I have dedicated our lives to improving the quality and effectiveness of treatment for young people with mental health concerns. As many know, adolescent treatment has a long history of offering compliance-based, punitive therapies as a means to modify behaviors. These approaches continue to be wide spread today, despite more than 60 years of research demonstrating that such interventions are largely ineffective and rarely result in sustainable change. At Paradigm Malibu, we have devoted ourselves to shifting the paradigm of youth treatment through the creation and implementation of a an empowerment-based treatment model. Our model seeks to fully understand the emotional underpinnings of maladaptive behaviors and create personal insights. Through such efforts, young people are able to better develop internalized motivators, gain a sense of mastery, feel better, and ultimately do better. At no time do we seek to break youth down, rather we work to build them up. We strive to help them find value in approaching their lives differently to get different results. This often times includes efforts to assist them in seeing and understanding themselves in new positive ways that ultimately allow them to achieve their full potential. What could be more meaningful? We thank you for taking time to explore our magazine. In addition, we invite you to visit our website,, give us a call or visit us in person. We welcome any opportunity to share our work and the experiences of the courageous, talented teens that we are honored to serve.

FOUNDER & CEO Cole Rucker, MA For much of our early careers, both Dr. Nalin and I were forced to navigate treatment environments where young people struggling with mental health issues were provided with inadequate care. Worse yet, youth were often times treated with disregard, or as problems to be managed. Treatment approaches were frequently cookie-cutter and focused primarily on treating symptoms and containment of behaviors. When we challenged or attempted to shift others away from the use of outdated modalities, provided in less than optimal milieus, we were often rebuffed with the retort that the treatment was “industry standard”. We soon learned to stop asking “why” and started asking “what if.” What if we shifted the paradigm of teen treatment? What if there were an adolescent treatment program where all young people were treated with dignity and respect and were equal partners in the creation and implementation of their treatment plans? What if this treatment was for youth who were described by their teachers, neighbors and families as “good kids who simply need help with something,” a place for the bullied rather than bullies? What if these young people were provided with individual therapy every day of treatment, and medication was seen as a last resort rather than a first? What if there were no phase systems or point systems? What if the focus was helping young people find value in approaching their lives differently to get different results? Years later, Paradigm Treatment Centers, provide the answer to those questions; young people thrive.

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Therapist Markus Rogan brings a unique set of experience and skills to his work with youth at Paradigm. In addition to holding a Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology, he is an accomplished athlete having won two silver Olympics Medals in swimming. This distinct blend makes him uniquely qualified to provide therapeutic services to the young athletes who come for residential treatment at Paradigm. But getting where he is today took tremendous dedication and commitment. Markus was born in Vienna, Austria to a psychiatrist mother and psychologist father. Swimming became an escape for him when things were difficult at home. The more he swam, the better he became, and the more he fell in love with the sport. To him, the water was a place of refuge, but he also thoroughly enjoyed swimming and began to revel in the competitive nature of the sport. Markus racked up medal after medal and eventually represented Austria in the 2004 Olympic Games in Greece. He finished with two silver medals—one in men’s 110 m backstroke, and one in men’s 200 m backstroke. He quickly became famous for his wins in his home country, and the attention—the lavish gifts and endless positive affirmations began to go to his head. Markus elaborates on what he describes was once an unquenchable need for attention, saying, “If I got enough validation from the outside world, I thought that I would finally be able to fill that emptiness inside of me. And, as you can imagine, it didn’t work. You can’t just keep chasing money and cars, and all sorts of things, hoping it will fill what you can’t fill yourself.” Markus goes on to say “athletes receive loads of positive attention— so much so that a distorted sense of self worth can manifest, and that void to be filled can grow bigger and bigger.” Needless to say, living that way wasn’t working for him. He explains that he needed to channel his energy into “something different, something to help others.”


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Markus spent some time doing research in the psychiatric department at UCLA where he was approached by a colleague who asked him, “Why don’t you consider a career in mental health?” With that, Markus decided that he would give it a try. He enrolled in graduate school and received a degree in psychology. He knew there were ways in which his life needed to shift, so he slowly began making changes, and much of that change came in the form of mindfulness. “There was a lot more honesty and transparency with the people I loved.” When Markus came to Paradigm Malibu, he was slightly skeptical because the average length of stay was 45 days. “I knew the program had an excellent reputation, and I was impressed by its success rate, and treatment model. But I just couldn’t imagine how lives could be changed that quickly. I’m happy to say that I was so wrong,” he recounts. “I’m always struck by the resident who comes in shut off and unwilling to fully participate. Then, 30 to 45 days later, that resident emerges as the leader of the group, and the person to connect with other shut-off and unwilling teens that come into treatment. It’s one of those magical moments. It’s beautiful,” he says of witnessing that kind of transformation and empathy.

Markus Rogan and Paradigm Youth in a playful pool session.

Because of his athletic background, Markus works very closely with the young athletes that come to Paradigm. Some are professional athletes, others are high school students hoping for college scholarships, and others are simply aspiring athletes who find joy and a sense of mastery through sports. “I coordinate workouts, and train with them,” Markus explains. “Someone who is a great basketball player, we connect with an NBA player, and then we’ll discuss the workouts they need to do, and then I’ll make sure they actually do them—often times early in the morning.” One of the perks of being situated in Malibu, is having the beach right in your backyard. Many of the early morning workouts take place on the sandy beaches of the Pacific—waking up at the crack of dawn is a small price to pay for the experience of being surrounded by such natural beauty. While working out, Markus works with the young athletes to assist them in harnessing their mental skills: “What are the things [they] need to do as an athlete to really perform when it counts? Focus, training, commitment, managing [their] anxiety under pressure,” he explains. “These are things that are transferable to all of your life.”

In addition to working with athletes, Markus facilitates process groups every morning with all the residents, and serves as a family therapist. Having grown up in a psychologically minded family, he says, “One of my favorite things is the multi-family process group, where all the families come together. That’s where I think a lot of the most meaningful change happens.” Paradigm knows that treatment doesn’t start and stop at the teen; it involves the whole family. Markus says that much of the real change happens when the family is together doing the work. “[The family members] are able to find a little bit more compassion… a little bit more understanding, and on that, we can build a really strong foundation,” he says, adding, “It’s not about fixing the kid. It’s about everyone in the family working together to make changes.” Having therapists like Markus is one of the things that make Paradigm so special. An eclectic staff comprised of professionals with diverse life experience and interests, all coming together to support the healing process for each individual youth. Families who come to Paradigm will tell you that Markus is not just a hero in his birth country—he is their hero too. PA R A D I G M JUNE 2016


by Jenny Sherman

veryone has heard the saying “you are what you eat.” Never before, however, has there been more evidence to suggest how true this old adage is, or how strong the link is between nutrition and mental health. Numerous studies now clearly demonstrate that a poor diet can be a contributor to depression and other mental health concerns. Paradigm takes seriously the impact a teen’s diet can have on their life—how it can cause, or at least be a factor, in their struggle to find physical and emotional well being, and, ultimately, achieve their full potential. Paradigm doesn’t just talk to youth about how to eat healthy—a conversation many teenagers scoff at. Rather, the focus is on engaging young people, helping them gain an appreciation for nutritious food, and an understanding of where that food comes from. To top it all off, they get to experience how delicious healthy food can actually be! From an in depth nutritional evaluation, to growing their own foods in an organic garden, and finally enjoying the fruits of their labor in expertly prepared meals, Paradigm residents leave treatment more mindful of what they put into their bodies, and how it impacts their physical and emotional well being. Nutritional evaluations are provided by Paradigm’s Clinical Nutritionist, Jennifer Cassetta. She works directly with program participants regarding nutrition and the mental and physical benefits of healthy eating—and in contrast, the devastating effects of having a poor diet. Jennifer meets one-on-one with each client at Paradigm from the moment of his or her arrival. She then goes over their health history, lifestyle, dietary intake and what their diet has been like up until that point. “It can be really disturbing, to be honest,” she says of some of those meetings. Youth report skipping meals, eating processed foods, consuming a lot of sugar, cereal, fast food, energy drinks and coffee. She is careful to add, “It’s not just teens who maintain diets like these. But eating this way from an early age can cause future health issues like diabetes, high blood pressure, and osteoporosis.” In an effort to impact such patterns, Jennifer teaches clients the concept of intuitive eating. “Listening to the signals your body is giving you, eating until you’re full, and eating when you’re hungry,” she explains. Counting calories is something she discourages clients from doing. But in many cases, diets are so poor that intuitive eating is not so intuitive, and requires a formalized plan. This is, of course, always the case if the young person is diagnosed with an eating disorder.


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According to Jennifer, skipping meals is one of the worst things a teenager can do, and one of the most common behaviors she sees. She shared the story of one client who had a lot of shame and guilt about overeating. This teen would starve themselves through breakfast and lunch, and then gorge on unhealthy foods after school. Jennifer helped her see the correlation between the shame and guilt and the behavior. If you change the behavior, you take away those negative feelings. The client began eating three sound meals a day while in treatment, and is now free of the overwhelming cravings she had before. Cravings are another thing that Jennifer tries to identify in clients—why they crave what they crave, and in contrast, why they aren’t craving anything, and are lacking an overall appetite. Jennifer also works with clients to identify foods that are both good for them, and have the potential to bring them joy. “People get excited when they learn that many things that are good for them can also taste so good. Nobody is being encouraged to eat soggy broccoli,” she quips. Asked to identify the single most important issue she sees related to teen’s diets, Jennifer soundly states, “Water consumption—most kids do not drink water. Instead, they opt for soda, coffee and energy drinks, and as a result, they are severely dehydrated.” She goes on to describe, “Being dehydrated definitely affects [their] emotions and brain health—massively. It also affects insulin and weight, and can take away minerals from your bones.” Jennifer uses the metaphor of a wilted flower. When you don’t water a flower, it wilts. When you water it, it blooms and blossoms. People are the same way, and it is important for teens to understand the significance of water intake in their diets. Clearly, healthy dietary habits play a critical role in the overall treatment that takes place at Paradigm. The nutrition evaluation is where it all begins, but it continues with the organic garden, and ends with chef prepared

meals that are both healthy and delicious. Clinical Assistant Rachel Gordon is Paradigm’s Organic Garden manager. Rachel has a BS in Environmental Horticulture Science from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and she enjoys incorporating her love of gardening into her work with the youth at Paradigm. Clients regularly spend time in the garden picking fruits and planting vegetables. This voluntary activity gets them active and outside, into nature—and Malibu provides the best there is.

Gardening also gives the residents a sense of pride, a sense of appreciation for the food that they are growing, and a different perspective of their place in the cycle of life.

According to Rachel, many enthusiastically get involved in making sure that the organic source continues to flourish, not just for themselves, but also for youth who will come to Paradigm in the future. “It’s something that the youth love to participate in,” Rachel explains. “It’s something that gives them ownership—over their food, and taking care of plants—and ultimately taking care of themselves.” In the organic garden, residents plant and harvest peppers, squash, herbs, strawberries and citrus fruits, among other nutritious foods. According to Rachel, gardening is absolutely connected to nutrition and healthy eating. “Growing your own fruits and veggies strikes up conversations about how to incorporate them into your everyday life, and how to make your meals more balanced and more nutritional, and how to actually bring that into your cooking.” Many teens come into the house after having eaten junk food for much of their adolescence, and most embrace a transition to healthy eating while at Paradigm,

that they will incorporate into their lives long term. Rachel witnesses the change in youth all the time. “It’s actually really cool to see. We teach them with the garden, the nutritionist, and with the chef as well. It’s tied together. We slowly incorporate the healthy living aspect into it, and the kids get really excited about it,” Rachel says with her own excitement. “Having ownership of their own food gets clients genuinely interested in healthy eating, and then they begin asking questions and engaging even more.” Food goes straight from the organic garden, to the hands of a top-notch chef, to the table. Paradigm employs multiple professional chefs at each residential location. They are tasked with working in collaboration with the nutritionist to assist teens in learning how to eat healthy AND enjoy it. Each chef comes from a different background, and each brings something unique to the table. Residents are afforded opportunities to partake of wide range of cuisines ranging from Italian to French, Californian, Indigenous, South American, Ivorian and Fusion. Specialized meals are designed to meet the needs of clients who eat kosher, vegetarian or vegan, or those who have allergies. But the chefs don’t just cook— they are passionate about showing teens how to cook and eat healthfully. Executive Chef, Claudine LeMare states in a charming, thick French accent, “Good food makes good life. Every meal, we celebrate good choices.” Historically, mental health practitioners have put too little consideration into the role that food and nutrition play in regard to emotional well-being. The evidence is now clear: what and when we eat impacts our mental health. When teens are struggling with depression, anxiety or substance dependence, the first, and perhaps least, expected place to look is their diets. Paradigm Malibu believes strongly that medication isn’t always the best or first answer—sometimes, the answer can be found on the plate right in front of you. PA R A D I G M JUNE 2016



aradigm Malibu utilizes innovative measures, combining both traditional and experiential therapy, ensuring the efficacy of treatment—areas other programs fail to address. Every teen is an individual with distinct issues that require personalized attention, and a unique set of needs to be met when it comes to their mental health treatment, addiction treatment, trauma, and grief. Paradigm recognizes that the need for personalized treatment plans and giving their clients the liberty to utilize one-on-one therapy every day is imperative for effective treatment. Additionally, the teens engage in their own treatment plans, expressing what their needs and wants are, rather than being told what issues they need to work on.


Therapists uncover the underlying emotions that catalyzed the teens’ behaviors, instead of fixating on surface issues. While pinpointing those emotions, Paradigm also focuses on helping the youths identify their strengths and full potential in order for them to succeed in life. Treatment teams instruct the teens on how to utilize tools toward that end, such as determination, motivation, and direction. A Board Certified Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist on staff, attentiveness towards academic success, family participation, managing the right combination of medications, and rigorous admissions screenings—these are just a few of the many reasons why Paradigm is so successful. This holistic approach, along with the six to one staff to client ratio, is the reason why Paradigm’s method of treatment is so effective, rendering Paradigm as the highest rated adolescent treatment program in the nation. And unlike some renowned chefs, Paradigm is not secretive about their recipe. Paradigm will not only tell you how well their program works, alumni families will personally share their testimony on how indispensable Paradigm’s treatment has been in improving the lives of their loved ones, as well as their family dynamic. Instead of throwing the youths back into the world directly after treatment, like many other programs do, they offer free aftercare to clients to help them transition back into the world. Paradigm intends quite simply to enable youths to author and narrate their lives, ultimately telling a story they can be proud of.


WE TREAT A SMALL NUMBER OF YOUTH PER PROGRAM Common sense dictates that programs that serve many adolescents simultaneously have a disadvantage in terms of providing individual care. Well meaning parents often times choose these programs because they are heavily marketed, or simply because they are less expensive. Some insurance companies even push these programs for similar reasons. Unfortunately, these high volume treatment mills tend to address only the most basic surface behaviors. Time is generally spent with teens engaged in mass-produced curriculum and busy work, or glorified babysitting supervised by paraprofessionals. The end result is that the emotional underpinnings of the behaviors that dictated the need for treatment remain unaddressed. This greatly increases the likelihood that when one negative coping style is extinguished, it will be replaced by another. You don’t have to be a factory-sized teen rehab to be negatively impacted by the number of youth in a treatment program. Experience has taught us that in groups of 18 or more, some youth are more likely to act out to demand attention. This can frequently mean that teens that are more quiet or introverted will have their needs unmet. This is one of many reasons that we have found six to twelve youth to be the optimal range of adolescents to serve at any one time. WE PROVIDE THE HIGHEST STAFF TO CLIENT RATIO IN THE NATION While it is imperative to maintain a small group size to enhance the effectiveness of treatment, it is equally important to maintain a high staff to client ratio. During our primary treatment hours our staff to client ratio ranges from 1:1 to 1:3. This prohibits quiet youth from having their needs overshadowed by more gregarious youth who seek out attention. It also keeps teens from simply flying under the radar to avoid the challenges that come with making real, sustainable changes. We are committed to maintaining a high staff to client ratio to ensure that all young people get the support and attention required to do the difficult work that quality residential treatment entails. OUR TREATMENT TEAM IS UNIQUELY QUALIFIED While we take great pride in many of the features of our treatment program, we are most proud of our treatment team. Each professional member of our staff is licensed or credentialed in their area of expertise. In addition, they have devoted their careers to the provision of services to adolescents and their families. It is important to note that all of our team members are listed with photographs and bios on the team treatment page. You have a right and a need to know who is going to be providing treatment services. Multiple patient’s rights groups warn against seeking treatment with programs that do not disclose the identity and credentials of all staff members on their web sites. There are many

reasons a program might not list their staff members on their web sites, and none of them are good. Also, many prospective clients are interested to know that the core of our treatment team has been working together for more than fifteen years. This experience allows us to approach the treatment process with the comfort and ease that only comes from working with those who have earned your trust and respect over time. The results are a treatment environment that is uniquely grounded, stable and safe.

OUR ADMISSIONS SCREENING IS RIGOROUS While the most important factor to consider when choosing a program is who will be providing treatment; the second most important consideration has to be who you, or your loved one, will be in treatment with. Having provided adolescent residential treatment for more than 15 years, we have heard countless stories of parent’s worst fears realized. They send their child to treatment only to have them bullied, abused, or introduced to more destructive behaviors by teens with serious conduct disorders, or emotional health issues. For this reason we have rigorous admissions screenings. We do not accept referrals from the Juvenile Justice system, young people who have gang affiliations, histories of violence, fire starters, sexual perpetrators, or any youth who might create issues around the physical or emotional safety of our program. While all young people deserve quality treatment, it imperative that we protect the milieu for those that we serve.

WE TREAT THE EMOTIONAL UNDERPINNINGS OF PROBLEMATIC BEHAVIORS At Paradigm Malibu, we believe that the only way to responsibly and effectively treat adolescents is by addressing the emotional underpinnings of problematic behaviors. If a teen is struggling with an eating disorder, drug use, self-harm or any other behavioral challenges – these are most often negative coping styles. Teens frequently use drugs or alcohol to self-medicate, or engage in other destructive behaviors to avoid anxiety, depression, or other emotional health issues. Programs that simply focus on behaviors miss an opportunity to treat the real root cause of a young person’s difficulties. Research has demonstrated definitively that if you do not treat the root cause of a behavioral issue, the issue will re-emerge after treatment, or it will be replaced by a new negative coping style.

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COMPREHENSIVE DIAGNOSTIC TESTING IS CONDUCTED BEFORE TREATMENT BEGINS Upon admission, every individual at Paradigm Malibu receives a comprehensive Psychiatric Evaluation, Psychological Assessment, Medical Evaluation, Educational and Nutritional Assessment. While it would again seem likely that this would be the norm in adolescent treatment, it is not. In fact, many teen treatment programs only consult a psychiatrist, psychologist, or medical professional after weeks of behavior modification have passed and no progress has been made. This wastes valuable treatment time and requires that a young person have an unnecessary experience of failure. It is our belief that it is impossible to create a meaningful, individualized treatment plan without first conducting such assessments. You have to know what you are treating to do so effectively. Good testing also informs us of what treatment modalities are likely to be the most impactful with each individual. Basing treatment exclusively on behaviors, or the most obvious, surface issues is a disservice to everyone involved. It is for this reason that we provide all clients with comprehensive diagnostic testing during their first 72 hours of treatment.

WE ACTIVELY SEEK OUT FEEDBACK FROM YOUTH, PARENTS, COLLEAGUES AND OTHER TREATMENT INDUSTRY LEADERS It isn’t by chance that Paradigm is Ranked Best in Adolescent Treatment More Often Than Any Other Program. We routinely seek out feedback from our clients, colleagues and other treatment industry leaders, and implement changes based on said feedback. While we believe that we are providing the highest quality of services available, we never stop looking for how to do things better. The end result is that we find ourselves rated the best in adolescent treatment more often than any other treatment program. Our rankings include but are not limited to Parent and School Counselor’s Organizations, Teen Advocacy Groups and Treatment Professional and Consumer Organizations. Of greater importance, our alumni families consistently rate the quality of our services as exceptional. Many have also participated in other treatment programs prior to coming to Paradigm and can offer valid comparisons. You can learn more by visiting our reviews and rankings page of our website at

WE PROVIDE MULTIMODAL FAMILY SERVICES We recognize that all members of a family bring skills, abilities, and liabilities to any given situation. Paradigm looks openly at all of these areas to help each family grow, change, cope and make choices. Quality family work is never about placing blame; rather, it is about resolving conflicts and finding effective ways for the family unit


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to help young people achieve their full potential. To accomplish this, we offer individual family therapy, multi-family therapy, parent effectiveness training, sibling groups and on-going parent support services. We also host a family day once a week, complete with parenting classes, family therapy and a luncheon. Of course, some family members are unable to participate in some aspects of treatment as the result of work commitments, geographic location or other factors. For this reason, we provide services telephonically, by videochat, or other means as needed. Out team is available to answer questions and provide support to families 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Our family support services are available to those who currently have a loved one in treatment and as an on-going, complimentary aftercare service for all program graduates. WE PROVIDE COMPREHENSIVE ACADEMIC SERVICES At Paradigm, we are uniquely positioned to help young people meet their academic goals. Upon admission, all youth are provided with an educational assessment designed to identify their academic needs, wants and abilities. Students then join our on site, accelerated learning classroom, lead by a credentialed teacher. Tutors from UCLA and Pepperdine University, who provide one on one instruction as needed, enhance the teacher’s efforts. When appropriate, with the permission of parents, the teacher will coordinate with the student’s home school to collect assignments and return the completed work for grading. When required, we can also provide proctored testing. The goal is always to get youth current, or even ahead in their studies so that when they reintegrate they have one less stressor to contend with. The academic needs of students at Paradigm vary greatly. We provide services to youth who excel in school and are enrolled in AP courses, and youth who struggle with learning differences. Upon occasion, young people are not even enrolled in a school. In such cases, we can provide opportunities for students to earn transferable high school credits, assist in finding a new school or provide instruction for college entrance exams. Our small size, high staff-to-client ration and wealth of resources allow us to meet each client’s unique academic needs. OUR TREATMENT IS INTENSIVE The goal of effective treatment should be to get what you need and then return to life as quickly as makes sense. Thirty days is widely considered to be the norm for an adolescent’s residential treatment stay. Unfortunately, there are some providers who will ask that families commit to longer stays before doing any diagnostic testing. There are some who will require that commitment before even meeting the adolescent seeking treatment. More often than not, programs requiring a minimum stay of 45 days, or longer, are not intensive in nature. A review of their treatment schedule will likely reveal that valuable treatment time is wasted on excessive chores, free community meetings, and other busy work.

In such cases, individual therapy may occur only once, or twice weekly. Such an approach has been proven to provide poor longterm results. In fact, there are studies that suggest that long-term treatment is sometimes most effective in teaching young people to live in institutions. This is, of course, not our goal. We want young people to be engaged in the real world and reclaim their lives. At Paradigm, we believe that every moment spent in treatment is precious, and should be leveraged for maximum therapeutic value. As such, our schedule is packed with individual and group therapy sessions every day, and is designed specifically to meet each individual’s treatment goals. While it would be reasonable to anticipate that this would be the norm in adolescent treatment, it unfortunately is not. For example, we are currently the only adolescent treatment program that provides youth with individual therapy each and every day of treatment. OUR TREATMENT APPROACH RESULTS IN SUSTAINABLE CHANGE To be meaningful and sustainable, changes that occur during the course of treatment must be transferable to life. It is expressly for this reason that we do not use point systems, phase systems, or other outdated forms of behavior modification. Unfortunately, a stunning number of teen rehabs continue to use these archaic tools as the core of their residential programs. This is sometimes because the providers are unaware that these systems were deemed to have little, if any value for most as early as the 1970’s. More often it is because they are unable, or unwilling, to do the deeper more difficult work required to assist teens in achieving real, internalized change. There is, frankly, no easier, cheaper way to provide teen treatment than to use a point or phase system. Quality treatment however, requires hard work and a much more sophisticated approach. WE PROVIDE ONE OF THE LARGEST VARIETIES OF CLINICAL SERVICES No two clients respond to the same approach in the same way. One young person may be very verbal, and thrive in traditional group therapy, while another may find their voice through Art or Music Therapy. Our goal is to see what works with each individual and do more of it, building on each teen’s strengths and interests. We use evidence-based treatments that couple the best of traditional and alternative modalities. We find that this approach not only enriches the experience for all, but that it is essential to effectively meet the diverse and complex needs of teens. Our extensive range of modalities include, but are not limited to: Psychiatric Evaluations, Psychological Assessments, Nutritional Evaluations, Educational Evaluations, Medical Evaluations, Urinalysis, Individual Therapy, Group Therapy, Family Therapy, Multi-Family Therapy, Psycho-Education Groups, Narrative Therapy, Dialectic Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Recreational Therapy, Neuro-Bio Feedback, Yoga, Somatic Therapy, Acupuncture, Parent Effectiveness Training, Equine Therapy, Gender Specific Groups, Sports Psychology Sessions, Animal Assisted Therapy, and Accelerated Learning Services. We are also well known

for our comprehensive array of Expressive Arts Therapies including; Art Therapy, Drama Therapy, Dance/Movement Therapy, Poetry/ Written Therapies and Music Therapy. IT IS OUR JOB TO MOTIVATE TEENS While many young people seek out treatment for themselves, others are pressed into participating by concerned parents, or as the result of other external forces. Either circumstance is common. Regardless, some families delay getting treatment because of a popular myth that adolescents need to “hit bottom” before seeking help. This myth is unfortunately re-enforced by treatment providers who do not see motivating youth as their responsibility. The real danger in this is that, for some, the bottom can be serious harm or even death. There is no advantage in letting a young person suffer with emotional health issues or engage in destructive behaviors a day longer than is necessary. When working with teens there is also ample evidence to suggest that the earlier a treatment intervention takes place regarding emotional health or behavioral health issues, the greater the likelihood of success. When young people come to us for treatment, it is okay if they are resistant. It is our job to motivate them and to help them find value in both treatment and in approaching their lives differently. OUR TREATMENT IS GENDER SPECIFIC BUT NOT GENDER EXCLUSIVE For most teens, gender exclusive treatment is not the best option. Programs that treat only one gender, or who segregate genders, can easily avoid important issues rather than address them. Numerous studies support our belief that it is best to treat young people in a cogendered setting, as this best reflects real life. If an issue is going to arise related to how an individual relates to the opposite gender, we want that issue to come up during the course of treatment so that we may address it accordingly. What we want to avoid is creating an artificial, single gender environment in which the teen may thrive – only to return them to a co-gendered world. With that in mind, there is demonstrated value in providing gender specific treatment, as long as it is provided, in a co-gender setting. As a result, we provide specialized treatment designed to meet the unique needs of young women and young men. The end result should be a young person empowered with the skill and knowledge base required to have appropriate, healthy relationships with persons of all genders. WE EMPOWER TEENS AND THEIR FAMILIES At Paradigm Malibu, we believe that treatment based on empowering our clients is the cornerstone of achieving effective long-lasting results. Too often, treatment programs for adolescents are based on rigid directives and the belief that treatment is about breaking young people down. We believe that it is our job to lift our clients up, build on their strengths and interests and help them see the benefit in approaching their lives differently. Treatment programs that consist of having young people simply behave as they are told to are PA R A D I G M JUNE 2016


missing key opportunities to identify and understand the fundamental issues behind clients’ outward behaviors. Each treatment modality that our clients are engaged with are designed to improve a young persons ability to learn to identify, choose, and direct the course of their own lives in a healthy way. Numerous studies support what we have always known that real, sustainable, internalized change is best achieved through the empowerment of youth and their families. OUR TREATMENT IS STRENGTH AND INTEREST BASED Mental health and addiction treatment programs have a long history of focusing on young people’s deficits, problem behaviors and pathologies. The most current research by psychologists, psychiatrists, educators and others clearly demonstrates that a strength-based approach can yield dramatically better long-term results than those of a deficit-based approach. At the foundation of Paradigm Malibu’s strength based approach is the belief that young people and their families are resilient, competent people who possess unique talents, skills and interests. Building on strengths allows youth to have more frequent opportunities for success. This is why we have special treatment tracks for gifted students, young athletes, teen artists and others. Not only do we want to support strengths and interests, we want to avoid disrupting anything in a young person’s life that is currently working. Utilizing each adolescent’s natural abilities and attractions creates an efficient and effective path for engagement and positive change. WE DON’T ENGAGE IN EITHER/OR TREATMENT There is a popular trend for treatment programs to identify as using a ‘Disease Model’, aka 12 Step or a ‘Medical Model’ based on western medicine at the exclusion of social models. While each of these models has helped tens of thousands of people achieve positive results for any number of issues, an honest assessment suggests that each has failed many too. It is for this reason that we prefer an approach to treatment that provides participants with access to both models and more. Experience has taught us that the greater the number of modalities you have to work with- the greater your odds of finding the right fit for each youth. More often than not, the right fit isn’t any single model. Rather, it is a combination of multiple approaches designed to address each young person’s unique challenges and strengths. WE EXCLUSIVELY SERVE ADOLESCENTS IN A RESIDENTIAL SETTING Adolescent treatment is a highly specialized practice. As such, we have devoted ourselves exclusively to serving this complex, dynamic population. We do not provide treatment for adults, or so called young adults, over the age of eighteen. Developmentally, there are stark differences between these groups and co-mingling of these populations can result in many undue complications. We also follow the best practice of staffing our team with professionals who have committed their careers to the care of young people. Likewise,


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residential treatment is a specialized service. We are focused exclusively on providing the best quality residential care available. Our attention is not divided or diluted. We do not funnel our clients into outpatient or extended care programs. Rather, we work to meet our client’s needs through intensive, short-term treatment, followed by complimentary, quality aftercare services. OUR TREATMENT IS COLLABORATIVE IN NATURE At Paradigm Malibu, we believe that meaningful treatment requires collaboration. While we provide valuable expertise, we also recognize that young people and their families are most often the best experts on themselves. You know your strengths, interests and challenges. As such, we ask that you be full partners in the creation and implementation of your own individualized treatment plan. We also welcome the opportunity to collaborate with any therapist or treatment professional a youth may already be engaged with. Physicians, teachers, mentors, coaches or any other person who has a vested interest in the wellbeing of an adolescent may be involved with the consent of both the teen and their parents. Such collaborations frequently allow us to achieve treatment goals more expeditiously, and help to create smoother transitions to post treatment life. OUR TREATMENT IS TRULY HOLISTIC Holistic is a term that has come to mean many different things to different people. This has not diminished the importance of treating the whole adolescent, with specialized concentration in key areas. Our treatment couples the best of traditional modalities and alternative therapies to meet the age specific needs of every teen. Our program is designed to address each individual’s Emotional Health, Physical Health, Family Health, Social Health, Spiritual Health and Educational Needs. Each of these has the ability to impact the other and must be given the full consideration that it deserves.

WE PROVIDE FREE AFTERCARE SERVICES Countless studies support our own experiences, which suggest that long-term treatment results are greatly impacted by effective aftercare services. We believe that aftercare is so important, that we provide it free of charge, indefinitely, for as long as youth and/or their families choose to utilize it. Aftercare services do not replace the need of outpatient services when such needs exist; aftercare services do however play a key role in sustaining and building on progress made in residential treatment. As part of aftercare services, many families choose to attend family day or individual sessions in person, telephonically, or via videochat. Most families seem to prefer an initial period of intensive aftercare services followed by a transition to local services. Others prefer fewer services, longer term. As with treatment plans, every aftercare plan is individualized and based on each family’s unique needs and objectives.


by Jenny Sherman


ith a self-effacing manner and maturity beyond his years, Ben Hietala candidly and bravely opens up about what brought him to Paradigm Malibu, the life-changing experience it was, and what’s down the road for him. “I was kind of a hometown hero,” he says with timidity. Growing up in a quaint town in Montana, Ben’s soccer accomplishments put him on that small, rural map, giving him a household name—a name that people in his town knew and respected. He was named Montana’s Gatorade Player of the Year, but instead of resting on his laurels, he kept pushing ahead and challenging himself as a center forward, or “striker,” in his fast paced game. Ben noted his new role brought higher standards to measure up to and added stressors. He felt an overwhelming sense of pressure to perform well, and most of that pressure came from within. “I put on a mask a lot of the time,” he reflects. “So I’d appear to be doing fine.” And things in his life were indeed fine upon first glance. “I got good grades, I was doing well in soccer… I was very sociable.” But in stark contrast to all the good in his life, was an intense personal struggle—one that didn’t leave him feeling fine at all. “At the end of the day,” he says, “When I was alone, I didn’t care about myself and I didn’t take care of myself.” Ben was experiencing something that highly regarded teen athletes often face, but the outside world rarely sees: depression, a sense of despair with no way out, and overwhelming pressure leading to a crippling state of anxiety. Ben’s depression worsened, and suicidal thoughts began to enter his psyche. He knew he had to seek help, and his family was right on board with him, helping him find Paradigm Malibu, and the specialized treatment he needed. “When I decided to take the time to focus on my depression, I wanted to find an option that would allow me to stay physically active. While in treatment, early morning workouts on the beach, basketball, and other physical activities helped to keep that side of me happy,” Ben says. To deal with his depression, one-on-one therapy sessions were instrumental in his recovery. “[The sessions] helped me learn how to cope with my depression and with my negative thoughts, and be able to reframe that into positive thinking. So that’s really beneficial for soccer, school and just handling relationships on and off the field.” Seeking treatment can be an incredibly difficult thing to do— especially for someone who is in the spotlight and seen as a golden

boy. People expect certain things of them, and there are fears of disappointing others or of living with a stigma. Ben acknowledges that there were questions being asked back at home regarding his whereabouts. Instead of letting that get to him, he embraces his Paradigm experience and is a proud alumnus of the program. “I’m kind of eager to share my story with people,” Ben says. “Hopefully, I can help younger people out who have the same issues as me. Depression and suicidal ideation is pretty common, and I’d love to share my story with people who could really learn from it as well.” When asked if he has any goals of going pro one day, Ben says, “I would love to. Some of the players from my team have gone pro, so I think it’s a possibility.” After leaving Paradigm, Ben feels like he has a new lease on life—he is ready to handle the rigors of academic life, and soccer, and now knows how to balance the two. Ben has gone back to school, back to his life with the necessary tools to navigate through it—smoothly this time. Bens says that Paradigm has taught him many things, including how to trust himself. “A big part of it is trusting that the negative thoughts will always pass,” he says, adding, “a technique I’ve learned is to kind of take a step back, take some deep breaths, switch your location. So if you’re inside, go outside, take a few breaths and rethink [the situation] with a more rational side that recognizes the emotional side as well.” At Paradigm, they call that technique the “wise mind.” It’s “recognizing the emotional and rational mind, and finding that in-the-middle decision that satisfies both,” Ben explains. He has definitely got a wise head on his shoulders and a bright future ahead of him—pro soccer player… or anything else that inspires and reinforces his positive ideations. PA R A D I G M JUNE 2016



by Jenny Sherman

The word “gifted” is defined as “having exceptional talent or natural ability.” An adolescent might be a gifted athlete, musician or artist. Most often when we speak of being gifted from an educational perspective, we are describing those who have intellectual gifts and naturally excel academically. Many times young people who possess such gifts are subject to depression, anxiety or other emotional health concerns. For this reason, Paradigm has created a program specifically designed to meet the needs of such youth.


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Clinicians have long debated the impact of giftedness on psychological wellbeing. There is evidence to support two contrasting views: that giftedness enhances resiliency in individuals, and that giftedness increases vulnerability. There is empirical and theoretical evidence to support both views.

According to Cole Rucker, CEO and Co-Founder of Paradigm, “There is good reason to believe that both positions are true. Giftedness offers young people strengths that contribute to their resilience, while making them more vulnerable in other areas of their lives, such as their emotional health. It seems likely that most clinicians can agree that giftedness influences the psychological well-being of individuals. Any disagreement is likely related to how it does so.” In addition, “There is a great deal of research to suggest that the psychological outcomes for gifted adolescents are positive or negative based on at least three factors that interact synergistically: the type of giftedness, the educational fit, and a young persons individual characteristics,” Rucker explains. Paradigm’s program for gifted youth works to help young people identify types of giftedness, and ensure educational fit, further helping youth develop the skills necessary to thrive based on their individual characteristics. It’s an approach that is getting dramatic results. According to Paradigm’s Director of Education, Jerri Anna Phenix, young people and their families have had a very positive reaction to Paradigm’s program for Gifted Youth. “Many residents come to us from highly competitive private and public schools,” Phenix explains. “Most are on track to enroll in the very best Universities, many Ivy League. The last thing that families want to do is sacrifice academic careers when coming into treatment for emotional health issues.” Phenix goes on to say, “Not getting help with those concerns impacts a student’s academics, however. This is the Catch 22 that many gifted youth have historically faced. Thanks to Paradigm, this is no longer the case.” “It is specifically for this reason that we have designed our gifted teen program the way that we have. We want to ensure that we do not disrupt academic careers or anything else in the life of a youth that is working,” Phenix adds. "With the permission of families, the on-site classroom teachers work with each student’s home school to get assignments, allowing youth to stay current, or even get ahead in their studies. Tutors from Pepperdine and UCLA are on hand to provide teens with one-on-one instruction as needed, and teachers can proctor exams, midterms and finals. This allows students to re-integrate post treatment with one less stressor." Regarding school participation, Paradigm Classroom teacher Sianna Walker has her own take. “We have student teachers from the best schools in this country and abroad, come to us, and they are almost always enthusiastic about doing whatever it takes to get

a young person emotionally healthy and current in their studies,” she explains. “Schools welcome participation in Paradigm as a solution for struggling gifted students.” Lastly, Walker says, “It can be challenging because the academic needs of youth vary so dramatically. We see students who are enrolled in classes ranging from Honors Mandarin Chinese to AP Latin and Nuclear Science studies. We are lucky to have a wealth of resources from local universities, who provide us with specialized tutors.” While there are specific classroom hours built into the program, if teens require more time for their studies, schedules are altered to accommodate their needs. According to the Director of Paradigm’s Meadows facility, Cecilia Muniz, the goal is to help young people find balance. “We want them to give their mental health priority while they are here. That doesn’t mean that they have to sacrifice all that they have worked so hard for. Anxieties that come up around school performance provide us with important therapeutic opportunities. We can look at pressures around school performance, the effect of other people’s expectations, and emerging identities that are coupled with school performance— these are all things that we address.” Academics themselves are not the only sources of stress directly related to seeking treatment. Many gifted youth have a difficult time accepting help with their emotional health. Rucker explains, “These brilliant young people are often times accustomed to being able to fix things themselves. When they can’t, they feel a sense of failure and guilt around that.” He goes on to say, “They also frequently struggle with what to share or not share with friends, school officials or other members of the community around going away to treatment.” Jerri Anna Phenix adds, “This is a personal decision that every family must make for themselves. We have seen a shift toward openness over the years as the world becomes more sophisticated around these issues. In fact, we have had youth that were so impacted by their treatment experience that they wrote about it as part of their college applications.” While there is little doubt that the stigma of seeking treatment for mental health issues has diminished, there remains progress to be made. “We would like to see the treatment community at large put more energy into meeting the needs of the gifted,” Rucker expresses. “We are seeing such amazing outcomes. We would like to see that become the norm rather than the exception.”

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A MODEL OF RECOVERY by Scarlet Barber


y age eighteen, Amber Valetta made the front cover of American Vogue, and since has graced its cover fifteen more times. She has worked with high-end fashion designers such as Chanel and Versace, most recently, she closed the Atelier Versace Spring/Summer 2016 fashion show. Amber has also appeared in numerous roles in movies and on television, most recently starring in ABC’s primetime drama, Blood & Oil. But from the time she was eight years old, Amber was looking for ways to get high. She sniffed markers, glue, fingernail polish, or anything that would give her an escape from difficult feelings or circumstances. Now, with over fifteen years of sobriety, Amber has come to Paradigm Malibu to share her own experience, strength, and hope with residents. She did so as a featured participant in the Paradigm Speaker Series, where community leaders and public figures donate their time and energy to impact the lives of youth. Amber explains, “I’m always happy to be of service to the community. It’s a pleasure and honor to come [to Paradigm] and share with [the residents.] Hopefully my story resonated with at least one young person.” And resonate, it does. As a teenager, Amber moved to Europe to model and was rapidly immersed in a world where dabbling in drugs and alcohol was considered the norm. Growing up in Oklahoma and then suddenly being submerged in the unfamiliarity of the fashion world, she was unsure of how to cope with feelings of uncertainty, which further catalyzed her desire for an escape from her emotions. Dabbling quickly led to addiction. Shortly into her career, Amber put everything in jeopardy, including friends, family, and a multi-million dollar modeling deal when she arrived intoxicated on the first day of a shoot. Despite this, it wasn’t until some seven years later, at the age of twenty-five that she was able to find sobriety, and ultimately, serenity. “I finally realized the truth,” she states. “If I kept drinking and using, I wouldn’t survive the consequences.” Chronicling her struggles with the residents at Paradigm, Amber shared feelings of being lost,


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scared, sad, and lonely. “I know very well how intense and overwhelming those emotions can be,” Amber shared while speaking to the residents as a group. She then took time to speak with each of them one-on-one, listening to their stories, and offering support. Commenting on the teen participants, she said, “I’m so moved by their openness and courage. Addiction, depression and anxiety can seem nearly impossible to overcome, and resolving to escape through taking drugs may seem like the only way out, but it’s not. Knowing that you don’t have to have all the answers, but that there is a path out there, and that others will help you down that path, can mean everything.” Amber also brought along her fifteen year old son to participate in the experience. He offered his own stories and thoughts, and served as a remarkable bridge between Amber and the other youth. Regarding her son and his generation, Amber added, “The world today is a different and more complicated place than it was when I was growing up. It’s much harder to navigate. Young people deserve respect for being able to get up each day and take it on.” She goes on to say, “I think adults forget that while being a teenager can

Supermodel Amber Valletta be fun, you can feel like there’s a lot ahead of you, and it’s scary— especially now. Everything moves really fast.” Amber was so moved by the life-changing force she witnessed at Paradigm Malibu, she decided to join the Paradigm Advisory Board to continue helping the teens in any way that she can. Touching on Amber’s commitment, Cecilia Muniz, Director of Paradigm’s Meadows program, said, “Amber is not only a fashion model, she is a role model; modeling transparency, authenticity, and rigorous honesty. She possesses and shares all of the qualities necessary for meaningful and sustainable recovery.” She added, “By telling her truth, she impacts young lives in multiple ways. Youth see that a life that they may have fantasized about living—modeling, fame, fortune—does not make emotional pain disappear, or make anyone less vulnerable to the consequences of negative coping styles, or make

them immune to addiction. Also, they see that all of these issues can be worked through, and that amazing lives are possible and waiting for them. They get the message that they are important enough for a public figure to take time to reach out to them and help them on their journeys.” When asked why she decided to join the board, Amber explained, “When you’re in recovery, being of service is important. I can’t think of a group that I would be more excited about being of service to.” She also indicated that she is committed to eradicating the stigma of being in treatment. “Nobody should feel shame for seeking help. People should feel proud of themselves for taking difficult steps to change what they know isn’t working. I know that I couldn’t be more proud of these young people.” PA R A D I G M JUNE 2016



If anyone can relate to the pressure of growing up in the shadow of an imposing family figure, it’s Lou Ferrigno, Jr. Not only was his dad a world-class bodybuilder and former Mr. Universe, he was the original Incredible Hulk of Marvel Comics fame.

The younger Ferrigno’s determination to forge his own path dates back to his college days. “My goal was to go to USC and get a degree,” he says. From there, he was open. “I could have joined a fraternity, or something more social, but I decided that I wanted to achieve something that was very hard to achieve.” Did he ever. The Trojans’ football team won the National Championship in 2007, the same year that Ferrigno, Jr. made it onto the team as a walk-on linebacker. “That’s the beauty of sports - it doesn’t matter what race you are, what religion you are, who you are - if you can take it, you can make it.” In working with youth at Paradigm Malibu who have often times carried a lot on their shoulders in a variety of manifestations, Ferrigno, Jr. administers a caring, goal-driven approach that is supported by other staff who specialize in the more nuanced aspects of treatment. From there, he says, “It’s about helping them reach their full potential.” After college, Ferrigno, Jr. fostered dual aspirations in entertainment and fitness, but the latter eventually won out. He created a profile on IDEA - “Facebook for fitness people,” he says - and considered working with younger people in some capacity, perhaps through Big Brother mentoring. He had coached some young athletes previously and enjoyed connecting with and motivating them.


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One day, when he checked his IDEA profile, there was an email from Paradigm Malibu Co-founder Cole Rucker sitting in his inbox. “Divine intervention,” recalls Ferrigno, Jr. He responded immediately and was subsequently invited to visit the facility for an interview. Ferrigno, Jr.’s knowledge, experience, and motivation in fitness, health, and wellness made an impact, but his artistic side left an impression, too. Ferrigno, Jr. is a painter, working mainly in acrylics. “I think that stuck with Cole because it was a kind of dichotomy of fitness and art that he seemed to appreciate,” he says. Ferrigno, Jr. joined Paradigm Malibu in March 2013 as its Fitness/ Exercise Therapist. His goal is to give each teen he encounters the tools to connect to his or her physical health by challenging, encouraging, and educating with proper technique. In leading one of the essential physical components of the Paradigm treatment model, Ferrigno Jr. is able to have a positive impact by helping break through limitations. “I start out at a basic level and kind of motivate them from there to see who can compete - to find out what they can do as opposed to what they thought they could do,” he explains, adding, “A lot of them exceed their own expectations, which is really cool.” Warm ups are essential at every stage of the fitness platform. Lou leads exercise fundamentals, coupled with education about their

Lou Ferrigno, Jr.

capabilities - setting a reasonable baseline of expectations - is next. “The goal is to really teach them about their bodies,” he says. And how does he deal with the teen who is too cool to break a sweat or has an aversion to physical exertion? “I rarely find anyone who shuts down. Some may try to test me early on and say they can’t do things. I just tell them, ‘Can’t is a choice,’” he says. “I come at them in a very sensitive but firm way to get them going. I give them a lot of options, but I want to see them safe and moving.” Lots of connections are made, but Ferrigno, Jr. remembers witnessing a dramatic shift in one boy who was overweight. Having confronted his own weight issues in his youth, Ferrigno, Jr. was sympathetic. “He’d never worked out, only played video games and lived in this virtual world. But he was very responsive and very sweet, and we warmed up. So I showed him how to do a couple of exercises,” Ferrigno, Jr. recalls.

likes and is getting better at it, but he’s also spreading the message of good form and safety.”

In addition to drawing inspiration from the coaches who shaped his athletic development, Ferrigno, Jr. has benefited from having a solid foundation at home. Sharing his father’s name helped open some doors in entertainment, and Ferrigno, Jr. briefly pursed an acting career. He knows that some of the kids he I rarely find anyone encounters at Paradigm aren’t as fortunate in terms of the family engagement. “They who shuts down. Some may not have anyone that’s listening to may try to test me early on them and making them feel good about and say they can’t do things. themselves,” he says. “Through my art and my acting and the shows I’ve been on, like I just tell them, Teen Wolf or The Mindy Project, they really open up to me, which is nice, but I use those little moments to give them affirmative motivation.”


“He liked how his muscles were sore, so we worked out different muscle groups. I had to leave one week, and when I came back, I swear this kid had lost 4 or 5 pounds. I asked if he’d been dieting but he said no, he’d just been working out. Then I turned around, and he’s spotting other kids in their exercises. And I thought, this is incredible. Not only has this kid found something he

As for the most valuable lesson he learned while growing up, Ferrigno, Jr credits his mother, Carla, who told him “Louie, you’re only going to be a boy for so long, and you’re going to be a man one day, and all a man has in this life is his word. When you give someone that, you have to stick to it.” Sage words that fit nicely on his training room wall. PA R A D I G M JUNE 2016



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art as medicine. s children, we practise artistic expression without even meaning to. We role play, scribble, finger paint, write, sing and dance with abandon. When we were young, communicating through art was intrinsic - often times easier than using our words. As we grow older, there is less encouragement to express ourselves as freely as we once did. There are constructs within society, unspoken rules, which keep us from expressing ourselves as we once did. Emotional pain, in particular, can be difficult if not impossible to talk about. The continuum of Expressive Arts Therapies provides participants at Paradigm an outlet to tell their stories, share their experiences, and access their emotional material though a variety of disciplines. Among the most popular modalities are Art Therapy, Music Therapy, Drama Therapy, Dance/Movement Therapy, and Written/Narrative Therapy. While more traditional talk therapies are integral to the Paradigm Malibu treatment model, the Expressive Arts Therapy Continuum is designed specifically to allow young people to explore and work through issues in non-verbal ways, often times yielding powerful results. Cole Rucker, Co-Founder of Paradigm Malibu is is quick to address misgivings others may have. “I think too many people mistake Art Therapy for arts and crafts. While the latter can have therapeutic value, the former is much more meaningful. Art Therapy is conducted by licensed Art Therapists who approach every session with specific therapeutic intent. The value of the clinical information gleaned from these modalities can not be over stated,” Rucker notes. Paradigm’s Art Therapist Hilary Kern believes that, through artistic expression, teens are able “to think creatively, to explore in a safe environment, to further treatment goals.” Giving a teen a paintbrush is in essence, giving them a tool with which to explore, with absolute freedom, the depths of their internal struggles. The expression of those struggles are shown through their art, and the art itself is its own kind of speech. Teens can say whatever they want without having to say anything at all. The painting, the sketching–the art can do all the talking, and it can say a lot. Because of the organic and unforced manner in which thoughts and feelings are being expressed, Art Therapy “provid[es] a safe outlet for an individual to acknowledge and explore feelings” When teens are expressing themselves through the arts, they are, “getting out of their logical, selves and getting deeper into the subconscious,” according to Music Therapist Summer Mencher. “And that’s where the real work happens,” she says. “It can feel less threatening. It can be more fun. It’s often a way people connect and relate to one what kind of music they like. So it’s a great way to start connections early.” In Music Therapy, teens don’t need to know anything about playing a musical instrument. They merely use the sounds an instrument makes to play out their emotions.

by Jenny Sherman

Summer will instruct them, “Let’s all play... angry, and then express that on a drum. They can play memories... the future, [they] can play the past... play [their] dreams.” One teen’s “sad” might sound completely different from another teen’s “sad,” their “happy” might sound different from another’s. Being able to hear through beats and tempos, and feel through waves and vibrations, how people feel inside, can be a stirring experience. Drama Therapy is another dynamic expression vehicle. Body language tells its own story, and role play allows for the ability to act out scenes from real life, sometimes acting out each personality involved. Drama Therapist Elizabeth Malone explains that Drama Therapy is a reflective medium for teens to understand themselves better through role-play. Such exercises, “allow [teens] to take a really small part of life and magnify it, so that [they] can see a lot of details that [they] might not have seen before, might have missed.” Teens are given a forum in which to act out moments in their lives and see situations, and the players, involved in a different context. When teens view their lives in that different context, it paves the way for a better understanding of their relationships with family or friends, and the role that they, themselves play. Many young people enjoy opportunities to participate in Dance/ Movement Therapy. According to Dr. Lori Baudino, “Dance/ Movement Therapy is based on the empirically supported premise that the body and mind are interconnected.” Dr. Baudino describes this modality as “the psychotherapeutic use of movement to further the emotional, cognitive, physical and social integration of the individual.” She goes on to explain, “Body movement, as the core component of dance, simultaneously provides a means of assessment and the mode of intervention for a full range of emotional health issues. Dr. Baudino concludes, “Little is more rewarding to me than seeing young people learn to be present in their bodies, fully expressing themselves through dance.” Written/Narrative Therapies also provide pivotal experiences for youth. According to Dr. Steve Oh, lead Clinician at Paradigm’s Point Dume program, “Narrative therapies assume that people have a wealth of skills, strengths, interests and abilities that will help them reduce the influence of emotional and behavioral health difficulties in their lives.” He goes on to state, “One of the highlights of treatment for a lot of youth at Paradigm is writing and sharing their life stories. The material presented is then processed in a respectful, non-blaming approach which centers people as the experts in their own lives.” A paintbrush, a drum, a role play, a dance step, or a pen–all powerful tools for adolescents who are teeming with caged emotions. Through the Expressive Arts Therapy Program at Paradigm, using colors, sounds, sights and movement, teens begin to become the authors of their own lives. PA R A D I G M JUNE 2016


An Outside View on the Internal Workings of Paradigm by Skyler Dean


aradigm Malibu is different. Anybody who has had the privilege of being a patient, a parent, or a therapist there will tell you this ten times over—you probably won’t even have to ask. Clients paint, climb ropes, surf and play music. They write of their struggles, sing of their fears, and meditate atop paddleboards that rest along the Pacific Coast. They eat gourmet, organic meals, and are trained and mentored by actors, musicians, and Olympians. To top it all off, their residences are situated in Malibu. One couldn’t dream up a more beautiful and serene setting for a place of healing. But the point isn’t that Paradigm offers all of this; it only matters that this new approach to recovery actually works. This is truly the issue at hand. The stakes couldn’t be higher—often times it’s a matter of life and death, between living a life filled with pain and agony, or leading one with joy and passion. Not just for the teens, these issues affect the whole family. So, how does the Paradigm treatment model work? To answer this question, the prestigious Pepperdine University conducted a longitudinal, outcome study on Paradigm Malibu, from April 2013 to December 2014. The study focused on two groups of people: patients and parents. It looked at how the teen’s problems affected the whole family, and, in contrast, how the reverse can be true as well.

With a longitudinal study, we get to see actual improvements of the same individual over time, instead of simply comparing two different individuals at different points in their recovery journey, (which is how a cross-sectional study works). From an entirely scientific perspective, the findings of a longitudinal study are far more reliable than the findings of a cross-sectional study, so the Pepperdine study findings are comfortingly accurate.





Getting along with family 23

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Ability to express feelings

Clients were asked to assess their mental health, and to evaluate their level of anxiety, fear, depression, suicidal tendencies, sense of worth, and feelings of self-satisfaction, as well as many positive traits, like ability to express oneself, or feelings of hopefulness, and those positive ones attached to familial relationships. These assessments used a six-point scale with a six suggesting “very strongly agree,” and a zero suggesting they “very strongly disagree.” For example: if a patient answered the question, “How fearful are you right now?” with a five, we could safely assume they are living in a constant state of fear, and a zero would mean they are living fear-free.

These assessments were done at three critical points in the recovery process: pre-treatment, one month into treatment, and six months into treatment. It is important to note, Paradigm is a 30-90 day program, so these teens have long left the treatment centers at the six month assessment point, and in the words of Eisenhower, “[are] returning to normalcy,” and getting on with their lives. So, what did the findings uncover?


s core S n ea nt M e r a P 3.57






0.82 0.40

Worthless or Useless





Sad or Depressed

Satisfied with my life

Optimistic about my future

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PRE-TREATMENT At the study’s launch point, pre-treatment, as one can imagine, the results are bleak. Individuals and families reported feeling hopeless, fearful, and wrought with anxiety. This is no surprise. In most cases, to find yourself at the door of a treatment center, you and your family have probably hit rock bottom.


MID ASSESSMENT Thirty days into the program, however, teens and parents reported huge improvements in their wellbeing—about a seventy percent improvement, to be exact. In terms of teens and parents getting along, the numbers are awe-inspiring: approximately a 270 percent increase in families getting along; it only took one month for teens and parents to finally play nice with each other. This outcome could largely be a result of another startling fact. One month into treatment, the teens’ and parents’ ability to express themselves increased by a little over 400 percent. No longer are yelling matches the household modus operandi; genuine, honest dialogues are taking place, many for the first time. This is truly remarkable, especially considering this major development occurs only one month into treatment. Those numbers are staggering, but here is where it gets really interesting.

FINAL ASSESSMENT Remember the final assessment point? You know, the six-month mark, long after the parents and teens have left the comfort, rituals, and tool building of Paradigm Malibu? This is where we find the most convincing evidence of all. The numbers across the board keep showing promise. Teens and the relationships with their parents keep improving, long after they have left treatment. They are happier, they get along better, they feel less sadness, they feel less fear, and they can express themselves more clearly than ever before. This progress is huge! These are the results we strive to achieve! Paradigm isn’t just giving its teen residents the skills and tools to succeed—parents are acquiring their own skillsets and necessary tools to harness once the family returns home, and their trajectory has clearly been changed in meaningful ways. Bottom line, Paradigm doesn’t say goodbye to their clients and their families—ever. They are invested in each individual and their family’s success, and continue the journey with them well after they have left the physical address. This study proves that enduring relationships show enduring results. For a long time, Paradigm Malibu has known they are really helping young people, but thanks to Pepperdine University, they now have the hard numbers to back up what they, after years of observance and analysis, have come to find is true, and worth recognizing within the treatment world. Let it be known: Paradigm works. While in recovery, quality of life and mental markers improve across the board—not just for the teen, but also for the family. And here’s the best part: the gains made while at Paradigm Malibu only grow and improve when teens return to wherever they call home. Now, that’s shifting the treatment Paradigm.  


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1.71 1.40


Optimistic about my future





1.30 0.67

Feeling Worthless or Useless

Satisfied with my life

1.18 0.76

Feeling Anxious or Fearful


Feeling Sad or Depressed

INSPIRATION JUST AHEAD Experiential Therapy at Paradigm

by Scarlet Barber

One of the things that sets Paradigm Malibu apart from other treatment centers is their understanding that treatment need not be limited to a traditional clinical setting.





Through Experiential Therapy, teens at Paradigm are provided with opportunities to be active participants in outdoor activities designed to complement talk therapy.

Engaging teens in various natural settings, often times in situations that require teamwork, is an organic way to uncover clinical themes. According to Dr. Jeff Nalin, Co-Founder of Paradigm, “Some of the most meaningful therapeutic moments happen when young people and their therapists are outside of an office. When they are out in the world, many things naturally present themselves,” he says, adding, “The youth begin to discover new ways to self reflect and identify previously unknown insights. Likewise, Experiential Therapy can give therapists their own insights into a teen’s emotional and behavioral patterns, allowing for a more dynamic assessment for individual treatment plans.” A few of the Experiential therapies offered at Paradigm include Surf Therapy, Therapeutic Paddleboarding, Ropes Course Therapy, and Equine Assisted Psychotherapy. Combinations of emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual aspects vital to recovery are all explored through Experiential Therapy, empowering adolescents to develop skills that can continue to change the trajectory of their lives post-treatment.

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As with surfing, Therapeutic Paddleboarding in the natural environment of the ocean is a place in which to develop a sense of peace and a relationship with a higher power. While in recovery from an eating disorder, Phoebe

of view, it’s a metaphor for achieving balance in teens’ daily lives. Mentally, it’s a natural way to release endorphins through exercises, and absorb Vitamin D from the sun, thus increasing serotonin. Phoebe encourages residents to continue exercising—in any form—but ideally, out in nature as much as possible. Nature has a way of helping us heal and feel connected. In Ropes Course Therapy at Paradigm, the instructor, Miles Pittman, uses this environmental “playground,” as he calls it, for the residents to focus on setting goals and developing core values, while again, having fun. Some of these core values are self-esteem, grace, encouragement of oneself and others, appreciation, acknowledgement, and boundaries. The youth develop a support system to rely on one another for both physical and emotional safety. One of the greatest fears we, as humans, have is the uncomfortable fear of falling, both physically and emotionally. When confronting that fear, the youths are challenging themselves to be confident. In that process of learning to be confident and face the fear of falling, the youths are both moving through the physical obstacle of the ropes course, and the mental obstacle in finding their authentic selves. The mental obstacle challenges negative self-talk that manifests while in recovery from both addiction and mental health disorders. Miles explains, “We’re not about breakdowns; it’s about breakthroughs. And those breakthroughs come in that place where there’s work to be done, breakthroughs happen when we’re vulnerable, and that’s when our authentic self shows.”

“We spend a lot of time in the session in silence when we are paddling out, and they learn how to be okay in that silence...letting go.”

Kalani Cross, a native of Hawaii and facilitator of Surf Therapy, believes that overcoming fears of the unknown is a huge part of recovery; she reinforces this practice in the unpredictable environment of the ocean—a setting the residents have zero control over. Standing up and catching a wave doesn’t come easily for most people; learning how to surf is something that requires ridding oneself of negative self-talk and reinforcing the positive notions associated with success. “...It takes [the teens] outside of what they are constantly worried about. If the residents’ heads are elsewhere, that’s when they’re going to get hit by a wave, get back to reality, and realize that they need to stay present right


now,” Kalani explains. Residents learn that even if they get knocked down, they are going to be able to get back up. Although residents can’t control the ebbs and flows of the ocean, they can control their reactions to its motion, which can prepare them for the ups and down in life. Experiential Surf Therapy teaches residents how intrinsic motivation and drive are imperative for progress in their recovery—and that it’s important to have fun while doing it!

Nolan, Paradigm’s Paddleboarding Therapy instructor, decided she wanted to share the spiritual experience she had in the ocean with patients struggling with their own mental health. There is a sense of mystique out on the open environment of the ocean, and she finds many clients are more willing to investigate the mysterious concept of a higher power in this natural setting. She explains, “We spend a lot of time in the session in silence when we are paddling out, and they learn how to be okay in that silence... letting go.” Physically, paddleboarding is an all-overbody workout, predominantly strengthening the core of one’s body to balance on the board. She finds that from a balance point

A psychologist for over 25 years, Dr. Valerie Coleman realized that Equine Assisted Psychotherapy is beneficial for overcoming individual challenges. Dr. Coleman

“Transformation can happen in the least expected of places, inside the least expected moments.” incorporates her love of psychology and horses in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy at Paradigm by using “the power of the horses’ instinctual wisdom to help us humans connect with our own instinctual wisdom. And to create change so people make healthy choices rather than just being caught in reactive patterns and habits,” Dr. Coleman explains. The goal of this specific type of experiential psychotherapy is to complement the psychotherapy taking place at Paradigm. “We’re outside in nature, and we’re also engaging with these amazing biofeedback beings, or truth detectors, in a natural setting that’s unique, and that novelty helps create changes in the brain.” Horses have a capability of discerning an incongruence of authenticity in a person, and will then display signals to help the residents to see what they can work on and strengthen. Eventually, the residents, with help from Dr. Coleman, begin to exhibit a new found transparency. In identifying their problem areas through Equine Assisted Psychotherapy, residents then go on to process all they have learned about themselves in talk therapy sessions at Paradigm. Paradigm’s Experiential Therapy facilitators, Kalani, Phoebe, Miles, and Valerie are incredibly enthusiastic and passionate about helping Paradigm residents begin a transformative journey. The facilitators aid residents in finding healthy and fun activities, preparing them to take charge of their own lives. Over time, residents become more apt to self-reflection, and will find themselves naturally engaging in their treatment process once they leave Paradigm. When the teens are in an environment that encourages both self-awareness and awareness of their surroundings, subconscious attitudes and actions from the past fall by the wayside. The combination of what the teens at Paradigm Malibu have learned in both the traditional and experiential therapy settings becomes illuminated, and is organically incorporated into their lives. The best therapeutic moments are often where you least expect to find them: Looking deep into a horse’s eyes, or the shimmer of the Pacific’s waves, feeling the tug of a rope under your tight grasp, or learning to balance in whatever motion comes your way—Paradigm’s Experiential Therapy provides residents with multiple opportunities to challenge themselves in fun, powerful, courageous, life changing ways.



A TOUCH DOWN FOR PARADIGM by Samantha Henschel

CREATING A NEW GAME PLAN On a cloudy December morning, Alex* came into Paradigm for treatment. He was battling anxiety and depression and engaging in substance abuse. In that way, he was like other kids at Paradigm. But Alex was different in a big way, too—he played football, and he wasn’t just a high school kid with a love for the game; he had a rare talent as a placekicker that put him on the radar of Division I recruiters. Alex found himself in what felt like a hopeless situation. If he put football on the back burner to come to treatment, he risked giving up his dream. But if he ignored his emotional and mental health, he would be unable to manage his performance. When Alex walked through the door two years ago, Paradigm didn’t have a program to help him maintain his athletic training while recieving treatment. But they recognized his needs and came



up with a game plan. They rallied a team of sports professionals to work with him, including a former kicker from the L.A. Rams. This creative response to one young man’s unique needs gave birth to what is now a thriving Teen Athletes Treatment Program at Paradigm Malibu. Today, about one fifth of the residents at Paradigm Malibu are in the Teen Athletes Program. Young people range from average players on their high school or club teams, to gifted athletes looking at college or professional recruitment, to some high schoolers who are already pros in their sport of choice. Others may have once enjoyed mastery of a sport, only to watch it slip away due to emotional health issues and negative coping styles.

WHAT THESE YOUNG ATHLETES ARE FACING The physical pressures of an aspiring teen athlete are clear—because most professional athletes retire by their mid-thirties, there’s an urgency to capitalize on youth. But while their bodies may be at their peak, emotional health may not be. Young people are dealing with their identity formation and the individuation process, on top of any emotional or behavioral health challenges that may exist. The youth who come to Paradigm are most often dealing with significant issues, in addition to the normal emotional rollercoaster that is the life of a teenager. Then, add pressure from parents, coaches, teammates, peers, and possibly recruiters. These adolescents often times find themselves in need of specialized psychological and physical support to achieve their full potential as athletes and as people approaching adulthood. Carl Lewis, head of the Board of Advisers for the Teen Athletes Treatment Program at Paradigm, and Dr. Michael Graham, clinical psychologist and Coordinator of the Teen Athletes Program board, agree that the biggest contributor to young athletes’ issues is external pressure from coaches, parents, or other well-meaning adults. “It’s one of the reasons the family work is so important. What some devoted parents may see as support, may feel like unbearable pressure to a young person,” Michael explains. Through individual family therapy, multi-family therapy, and parenting classes, families learn how to support their child in a healthy way that ultimately allows them to perform at the top of their game. Coaches also play a crucial role in the evolution of a young athlete’s life. “My coach saved me,” admits Carl, who is now a father and coach himself. “Young athletes need structure, and a good coach gives that to them.” He also emphasizes the value of parents and coaches being on the same page so that one is not undermining the other. “Coaches are welcome to participate in the program as long as family members of the youth and the youth are in agreement. It’s all about working together to help the young person who is struggling,” Carl says.

THE SUPPORT THEY NEED “At Paradigm, we want to make sure that youth have access to all that they will need to achieve their full potential,” explains Dr. Graham. “We do so by providing state of the art mental health treatment and supplementing that with access to state of the art training facilities, the most dynamic trainers available in the youth’s sport of choice,

“At Paradigm, we want to make sure that youth have access to all that they will need to acheive their full potential.” and access to accomplished athletes who can provide invaluable guidance,” adds Dr. Graham. Much of this guidance comes from members of the program’s advisory board. Ten-time Olympic Medalist and World Champion, Carl Lewis, is joined by a wide range of Olympic and professional athletes who devote time and energy to the youth, including, but not limited to Gold Medalists, Greg Louganis and Janet Evans, volleyball legend Gabriel Reece, former NFL player Rodney Pete, Former NBA player and CSUN head coach, Reggie Theus, Brain McGrattan of the NHL and Jim Hill of CBS Sports. “When athletes see the quality of the work being done, and they meet the young people, they want to get involved. We have an amazing advisory board and I think it’s going to continue to grow exponentially,” Michael states. In addition, athletes spend four hours each afternoon working out in a state of the art 96,000 square foot facility at the Sports Academy. There, young athletes have access to amenities such as five volleyball courts, two beach volleyball courts, five basketball courts, a turf field, batting cages, pitching mounds, a cycling training and a sports psychology clinic. Clients couple this effort with daily individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy and psychiatric support services from Paradigm’s accomplished staff.

HOW PARADIGM IS CHANGING THE GAME Far from the punitive, compliance-based “recovery” model from which most adolescent treatment centers still operate, Paradigm believes there is no reason to unplug the aspects of a person’s life that are working. “Until recently, treatment has been about turning PA R A D I G M JUNE 2016


Dr. Michael Graham and Olympian Carl Lewis

off the rest of the world and going internally, which is important, but sometimes you can’t or shouldn’t walk away from your life,” says Dr. Jeff Nalin, Co-Founder and Clinical Director of Paradigm. Being a young athlete, where less than one percent of competitors actually make it to an elite level, is a perfect example of that. There is another situation that Paradigm considers when treating athletes. Most of these teenagers’ lives have revolved around their sport since the time they could walk. But sometimes there is a need for a young adult to reevaluate their future in sports. “We’re often subject to other people’s narratives,” says Michael. “Part of growing up, is deciding what we want our own narrative to be, and having the courage to be honest with ourselves. We want kids to find out what their purpose and passions are, and then we are ultimately here to support that.”

“Part of growing up is deciding what we want our own narrative to be, and having the courage to be honest with ourselves.”


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EXPANDING THE ENDZONE Paradigm is devoted to helping young athletes reclaim their lives, change their trajectories and achieve their full potential. Through comprehensive care, including traditional modalities, alternative therapies, and state of the art training, young people are supported in becoming the best versions of themselves. In addition to impacting sports, one life at a time, Paradigm is working to change the negative perception and stigma in the athletic world around getting treatment. “We’d like to help coaches and recruiters shift the thinking in sports culture away from, ‘I’ve got a kid with a problem on my hands,’ to ‘this young person deals with their mental health as rigorously as they approach their sport. I’ve got a winner on my hands,’” says Jeff. Paradigm is impacting attitudes not only through the work they do with youth, but through conferences and trainings they sponsor for parents, coaches, recruiters, educators and mental health professionals throughout the United States and Europe. Paradigm’s most recent efforts span from local school outreach, to sponsoring an international conference on sports and mental health in Austria. According to Jeff, this is only the beginning of what Paradigm hopes to do. “What ever is needed, where ever it is needed, we plan to be there for young athletes.” *Not his real name



Paradigm recently held a grand opening for it’s newest adolescent treatment program in Malibu. Paradigm recently held a grand opening for it’s newest adolescent treatment program in Malibu. Pictured right, program Deputy Director James Harris, MA is joined by program Director, Dustin Wagner, MA and therapist, Erin Riley, MA as he cuts a ribbon at the opening ceremony. “This is a very exciting time at Paradigm,” Wagner stated. “This new facility will allow us to increase the number of young people and families that we are serving by 25%.” Lead therapist for the Pointe Dume program, Dr. Steve Oh added, “The demand for quality and compassionate care for teens has continued to grow. We are committed to ensuring that this program is built on the sophisticated, evidence based treatment that Paradigm is known for.” Jay Harris, Deputy Director of the Cliffside program added, “We are just so grateful to the families and clinicians that continue to place their trust in our services. We are looking forward to being of greater service to additional families through our newest facility.”

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A view of the Point Dume facility’s private grounds.

A youth plays volleyball on the beach only steps away from the facility.

Experiential Therapy is conducted in the pool.


Spacious sunny rooms house individual, group and family therapy sessions.

Youth enjoy balanced meals created by chefs under the guidance of a nutritionist.

A client enjoys the facility’s tennis court.

The Pavillion provides wonderful outdoor space for yoga and other experiential therapies.

Making ice cream is a favorite activity.


Comfortable private and semi-private rooms are available.


The facility is located across from the Point Dume State Reserve.




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A career at Paradigm Treatment Centers, LLC. is about more than making a living, it’s about making a difference. Many members of our treatment team have worked together for almost two decades, with an unwavering commitment to excellence. However, we continue to seek new, innovative team members who share our passion for helping young people reclaim their lives.

Before contacting Paradigm’s Human Resources Department regarding employment, please note the following: 1) Paradigm Treatment Centers, LLC. requires that all professionals be licensed or certified in their area of expertise and that all interns be registered with their licensing boards. 2) We are looking exclusively for candidates that have devoted their studies and careers to the provision of treatment for adolescents and their families. 3) The physical and emotional safety of the young people that we serve is our highest priority. For this reason all prospective employees at Paradigm Treatment Centers, LLC. must agree to an exhaustive background check. This may include, but not be limited to fingerprinting, drug screening, verification of credentials and experience, an FBI background check, and a Child Abuse Index check. 4) At Paradigm Treatment Centers, LLC. we value diversity. We do not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, color, age, national origin, religion, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, pregnancy or veteran status. 5) Paradigm Treatment Centers takes great lengths to ensure the confidentiality of all participants in our treatment programs. All employees of Paradigm Treatment Centers, LLC. must sign a stringent confidentiality agreement as a condition of employment. 6) Transparency is central to the treatment that we provide to teens and their families. We believe that it is essential that youth and their family members know exactly who will be providing any and every aspect of treatment. Therefore, we require that all treatment team members place a photo and bio on our web site for the review and consideration of all prospective clients.

7) Accessibility is also a key component at Paradigm Treatment Centers, LLC. For this reason, we require that anyone who joins our team be available to adolescents and their family members to answer questions, and to discuss treatment goals and client progress. 8) At Paradigm Treatment Centers, LLC we place a heavy emphasis on collaboration. In doing so, we require that all members of our team be available to work with not only fellow team members, but with therapists, teachers, coaches, clergy or others who are working with young people prior to admission, during treatment and post treatment. 9) We ask that anyone considering employment with  Paradigm Treatment Centers do an honest assessment of their belief systems. Do you share our commitment of empowering youth and their families?  Are you resolute in the belief that all adolescents must be treated with dignity and respect? Can you hold healthy boundaries from a place of compassion? Are you uncomfortable with punitive or compliance based programs? If you can answer yes to all of these questions, you might be a good fit for our team. 10) All team members at Paradigm Treatment Centers, LLC are afforded opportunities for personal and professional growth. It is our belief that good self care is essential for any person wishing to be effective in the provision of services for teen drug abuse, addiction, emotional health or behavioral health issues. In addition to on-going training provided to all staff members, Paradigm Treatment Center’s team members are encouraged to seek out opportunities to attend conferences, workshops and attain additional formal education in their area of expertise. If you meet or exceed these qualifications, and want to explore the possibility of being part of our world class team, please submit your resume to for consideration or phone our Human Resources Department at 310.457.6300.

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Paradigm in the

Cynthia Bond

Oprah’s Book Club

Paradigm Malibu’s Therapeutic Writing Coach, Cynthia Bond, has been involved in multiple media events since the publication of her critically acclaimed novel RUBY. Her New York Times Best Seller was selected for the Oprah Book Club 2.0 with Oprah calling it “one of the best five books I have ever read.” In addition, Cynthia was featured in a three-page spread in O Magazine and appeared on Oprah’s Talk show Super Soul Sunday. She has also signed a contract with Hogarth Books to write two sequels to her novel, and with Harpo Studios to write the screenplay for RUBY. Regarding how this might impact her role at Paradigm Cynthia stated, “Working with young people remains my passion. I look all the more forward to sharing my journey with the youth at Paradigm, and to helping them express themselves through writing.”

Dr. Jeff Nalin, Larry King

the TODAY Show

Over the course of the last few months, Paradigm Co-Founder, Dr. Jeff Nalin, has been invited to make multiple media appearances to discuss cell phone dependence among adolescents and its adverse impact on families, academics and social development. His appearances have included shows ranging from Larry King Now to the TODAY show on NBC. According to Dr. Nalin, the topic is overdue for the attention it is now receiving. “I’m so pleased that the media has taken an interest in something that we have been concerned with for some time,” he states. “For a number of years, families and young people have come to us with serious concerns about how cell phone abuse is impacting their lives. The treatment community must do a better job helping families deal with this issue. The first step is for treatment providers to acknowledge that a very real problem exists. I am humbled to play a role in any effort to that end.”


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Greg Louganis

Janet Evans

Two members of Paradigm’s Teen Athletes Program board have been featured on Wheaties boxes as the Rio de Janeiro Games draw near. Diver Greg Louganis, swimmer Janet Evans, and hurdler Edwin Moses appear on the “Legend” series of covers on grocery store shelves now. Upon the announcement, Greg tweeted, “I’ve been welcomed into the Orange Box Club!” And “It took over 30 years, but it finally happened – better late than never!” Greg told PEOPLE Magazine, “It is so iconic and the honor actually means more today than it would have back then. I feel like I am embraced as a whole person, and not just for my athletics.” In addition to serving on Paradigm’s teen athletes advisory board, Louganis and Evans have played important roles with the LA Olympic bid committee, attempting to bring the games back to Los Angeles in 2024. Along with Moses, they were passed over by Wheaties during Olympic careers that featured a combined 10 gold medals and numerous world records. “Some things are worth the wait,” Evans said. An important life lesson for the young people we serve.


James Earl Jones

Paradigm was recently featured on the series Voices In America; a program dedicated to highlighting “innovative organizations and forward thinking industry experts in healthcare and education.” The piece originally aired on PBS and features interviews with leaders at Paradigm, such as Jessica Vickers, MA, LMFT, Dustin Wagner, MA and Jerri Anna Phoenix, MFA. The segment places specific focus on some of the ways in which Paradigm is different from other treatment programs, including the emphasis on insight-oriented work and a devotion to creating free-thinking young people. The series is hosted by Emmy, Tony, Grammy and Academy Award winner James Earl Jones, and can currently be viewed on the home page of

Jennifer Cassetta


Paradigm’s Nutritionist, Jennifer Casetta, has co-authored a book titled Hear Me Roar: How to Defend Your Mind, Body and Heart. The book is co-authored with her fellow Institute for Integrative Nutrition alum and health coach, Lindsey Smith, AKA the Food Mood Girl. Their book was created to assist young women in developing the skill set and knowledge base required to strengthen and protect their emotional and physical lives. It covers a wide range of topics such as how young women can protect themselves emotionally on social media, and physically on dates and on the streets. In addition, readers are offered tips on how to spot “food predators” and cook healthy recipes to fuel their bodies for a lifetime of good health and increased happiness. Young women are also taught how to unleash their inner “she-beast” and become the fierce, fit women they were meant to be. Inspired by Jennifer’s book and her work at Paradigm, ABC invited her to be featured on a new fitness series where she will be sharing her “Smart and Strong” Fitness Plan with viewers. PA R A D I G M JUNE 2016



Paradigm raises funds for Find the Children Paradigm sponsors a number of not-for-profit organizations designed to meet the needs of young people, most recently helping to raise funds for the charitable organization, Find the Children. This unique organization, founded in 1983 by the late television producer, Linda Otto, was created to promote communication between local and federal law enforcement, the media, and parents of abducted children. Linda also produced Adam, which aired on television in 1983. The film depicted the kidnapping and murder of Adam Walsh, the young son of Linda’s friend, John Walsh. A photo roll call displayed at the end of the film resulted in the finding of several missing children. It was the first time media was used to locate missing children. Len Anderson, board member of Find the Children receives a check from Jay Harris MA, Deputy Director of Paradigm’s Point Dume program.

Paradigm is honored to support the good work of Find the Children.

Paradigm Malibu sponsors Annual Writers in Treatment Awards Paradigm was proud to be the “Super Star Sponsor” for the Writers in Treatment Experience, Strength and Hope Awards on February 16th at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles.  The event honored actress MacKenzie Phillips, best known for her work in the George Lucas’ classic American Graffiti and her portrayal as a troubled teen in Norman Lear’s TV series One Day at a Time. Currently scheduled to appear in the new TV series Milo Murphy’s Law, MacKenzie is also a trauma survivor and recovery advocate. The event was hosted by actor and environmentalist Ed Begley Jr. (Better Call Saul). The Experience, Strength and Hope Awards honors sober celebrities who’ve written memoirs. There have been an abundance of prominent authors, actors, musicians and artists that have previously been honored, including Christopher Kennedy Lawford; Academy Award winner, Lou Gossett, Jr; astronaut,  Buzz Aldrin; co-founder of Duran Duran, John Taylor; acclaimed author, Carrie White; and actor/author, Joe Pantoliano.

Actress MacKenzie Phillips and Musician John Taylor of Duran Duran attend the Writer’s in Treatment Ceremony.


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Paradigm sponsors fundraiser for Rx Art A fundraiser sponsored by Paradigm Malibu recently raised more than $60,000 for Rx Art, an organization that helps children heal through the power of visual art. Funds are used to place art in hospitals and other sterile healthcare facilities throughout the United States. The event was a mixer hosted at the home of a donor in the Malibu Colony. Guests enjoyed food, music, and fresh ocean air. Rx Art Founder and Executive Director Diane Brown thanked those in attendance, commenting, “We are profoundly grateful for Paradigm’s support. Our two organizations share a common bond in our desire to help young people, and our belief in the healing power of art and  devotion to excellence. Through the

generosity of Paradigm and each of you here today, we will be afforded the opportunity to continue to commission the very best contemporary artists in the nation, to transform depressing environments into engaging, inspiring, uplifting environments of beauty, humor and comfort.” Dr. Jeff Nalin, co-founder of Paradigm, responded that, “Paradigm is proud to sponsor multiple not-for-profit organizations, but Rx Art is among the most valued. The good work being done at Rx Art further demonstrates what we know about the healing power of visual arts. Art matters. Environments matter. Most importantly, youth matter. We are honored to be a small part of such a worthwhile effort.”

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