In the past few years, there have been greater instances of young people entering long-term, primary treatment closer to 14 and 15 years old. And, just like their older counterparts, some of these young people need a transitional living experience after that treatment. This inspired In Balance to open Adolescent Transitional Living (ATL).
In Balance recognized that many adolescents leaving primary care or residential boarding school settings still need the therapeutic, academic, and peer supports provided for in traditional treatment environments. Unfortunately, most typical transitional living settings are developed for clients entering adulthood; and 13, 14, 15, and 16-year-olds have different needs than the 18, 19 and 20-year-olds that make up the bulk of young adult programs. With the Adolescent Transitional Living program, In Balance is extending its continuing care options to meet the unique needs of young men ages 13-17. The clinical, academic, and experiential programming developed for this program have carefully considered the ages and level of care and support that younger clients need to thrive post-primary treatment.
Our Adolescent Transitional Living program serves young men who have successfully completed therapeutic boarding or other similar programs and need additional support in order to maintain their sobriety while learning how to negotiate the challenges and transitions of adolescence. The most effective treatment modalities, pedagogies, environmental settings, and developmental needs of clients still in high school look very different from those of young adults in the workforce or in college. We have diligently put together a model and program that meets those needs.
The program is capable of housing ten clients and draws upon many of the strengths we have developed within our two Young Adult Transitional Living programs– a 3 phase system, experiential outings, an emphasis on diet and exercise, and therapeutic components, including individual, family, and group work. That being said, we also recognize that there needs to be some big differences for us to both appropriately and effectively serve the adolescent population. Therefore, ATL has a different structure and more robust schedule, as well as boundaries, expectations, and rules that are more appropriate for the adolescent student.
The Adolescent Program incorporates dedicated school hours five days a week, experiential activities that encourage connectivity and fun, and policies that are tailored to ensuring many “firsts” for high school students (i.e., jobs, dating, driving) are available and navigated through the lens of continued recovery and mental health support that makes sense for these young men.
The Adolescent Transitional Living campus is on Tucson’s northeast side backed by the Santa Catalina Mountains of the Coronado National Forest. The house sits on a 3.3 acres of horse property, has a gourmet kitchen, and the backyard has a large pool with a grotto waterfall and slide, a full outdoor kitchen, fire pit, putting green, and even a basketball court. Please take a moment to view the video below to see this beautiful campus and learn more about the program.
In Balance Adolescent Transitional Living (ATL) the newest program created by In Balance Continuum of Care. In Balance Continuum of Care is a group of 6 programs founded, owned, and operated by the Barrasso Family. The Continuum was founded in 1996 and you can learn more about each of the programs by visiting www.inbalancecontinuum.com.
ATL has a beautiful, homelike campus nestled against picturesque mountains in Tucson, AZ. The outdoor space has an amazing pool with a waterfall/slide, a basketball court, two mini half pipes, a putting green, fire pit, and roof deck. Indoors, ATL has a LARGE, magnificent kitchen, huge living room with fireplace, a gym in the garage, and a movie theater room. The campus sits on 3.5 acres of beautiful desert landscape. The property is conveniently located right next door to the high school our young men have the option of attending. Feel free to watch the video below for a tour of our campus and some wise words from our founders, and directors.
Our dedicated team is made up of industry leaders with many years of experience working with adolescents with substance abuse and mental health disorders.
JB Yewell joined the team at In Balance in 2018 as a primary therapist. He has found passion and purpose in helping young men overcome addiction and mental health challenges. Born and raised in Tucson, AZ, he earned his Masters in Public Administration from Northern Arizona University and enjoyed a successful career in business and finance until his personal journey of recovery led him back to school. He received a Masters of Science in Counseling, with a focus in addiction, and has been working in behavioral health since 2016. Prior to In Balance, JB worked with individuals and families at a leading residential trauma and addiction treatment center. In addition, JB has traveled the country as an interventionist, helping countless families navigate the process of treatment and recovery as an interventionist. “Getting and staying sober was the hardest, but most rewarding thing I have ever done. It took me many years and many different treatment centers to surrender to my disease. For this reason, I have tremendous respect for the young men I get the opportunity to work with at In Balance.” JB and his wife, who met in high school, have two children. In his free time, he can be found on a pool deck coaching high school aged swimmers, and is a self-proclaimed “swim nerd.” He enjoys spending time outdoors, hiking with his wife and children, riding his mountain bike, and traveling.
Tiffany Gallego is the clinical director and a therapist at In Balance Continuum of Care. She carries a small case load, oversees the clinical operations of In Balance, supervises the clinical staff and residents' clinical progress, and monitors all admissions. Tiffany started at the In Balance Intensive Outpatient Program in 1997. From there, she helped with the planning and opening of In Balance Academy in 2002, serving as a milieu manager and primary therapist. She received her Bachelor's in Special Education from the University of Arizona and Master's in Social Work from Arizona State University. In 2006, Tiffany helped to develop the In Balance Young Adult Transitional Living program. Tiffany and Patrick Barrasso, owner of In Balance, realized how difficult it was for young adults coming out of treatment to be thrown back into the same environment that got them into treatment in the first place. Often, they would stumble in their recovery. It was Tiffany and Patrick's belief that this stumble was unnecessary. Transitional Living was the answer; it would provide a safe, recovery-oriented living environment that would allow residents to acclimate back into society at a manageable pace. They would be introduced to young people in recovery in the Tucson area, helping them to realize that their community of support goes far beyond anything they first realized. They could enroll in college classes, find a sponsor that would become essential to their growth, learn how to attain, maintain, and succeed at a job. These individuals will achieve success and will take these accomplishments with them as they continue on their life path.
Daniel Barrasso has a Bachelor's in Psychology from the University of Arizona and a Master of Social Work degree through Arizona State University. He joined the team many years ago with plenty of relevant life and work experience. He previously worked at In Balance during its early stages, when he was a teenager, as a life coach at In Balance Academy, a group facilitator at In Balance Intensive Outpatient, and as a life coach for In Balance Transitional Living. He decided to take a three-year hiatus after his undergraduate degree in which he worked for a nationally recognized leader in adult residential treatment, where he proved to be a vital member of their team. After becoming lead of their Intake department and garnering extensive professional experience, he chose to come back to In Balance to further his career around 2012. Daniel is responsible for outreach and admissions for In Balance Transitional Living and for In Balance Sober Living, he is the program director of the In Balance Young Adult Continuum and he is, what he loves the most, a therapist. "I am extremely excited about my place at In Balance. I grew up with an intense passion to help others, whether that meant volunteering at the Children's Hospital, staying overnight at a homeless shelter every Thanksgiving, or helping a stranger on the side of the road. I've always known that I wanted to make a significant impact on young peoples' lives specifically; I just didn't know how I wanted to do it. I started off my college career looking to get a degree in education, become a teacher, and have the ability to make a positive change in my students. My career path took an unexpected turn when I was asked to come work at In Balance one summer in 2004. From the second I came into contact with the population we serve and the dream that is In Balance, I absolutely, positively knew that I could not see myself doing anything other than this. I believe full-heartedly in the vision of In Balance and am thrilled to be part of the team. I am married to my best friend, Rachel, and have 2 kids: James and Ella. My favorite hobbies are basketball, biking, and outdoorsy stuff."
Mitchell Hestad is a life coach, as well as an alumni of the transitional living program. He is an active member of a 12 step fellowship, and has been sober since June 17th, 2010. After graduating the transitional living program, Mitchell sought out employment at a local bakery while navigating the pitfalls of early recovery and independent living, before making the decision to pursue more meaningful work helping others. Besides work, Mitchell spends his time taking classes at Pima Community College, hiking, going to the gym, and riding his skateboard. Mitchell has an unwavering commitment to fostering change and growth in the lives of the students of transitional living. Mitch's body of work includes tutoring, mentoring, and teaching life skills. His steadfast commitment is represented both on campus and around the Tucson community.
JB Yewell, MS, MPA
Tiffany Gallego, LCSW
Daniel Barrasso, MSW
how to reintegrate back into "normal" high school
We have worked very hard to partner with the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) to provide a unique educational experience and opportunity to reintegrate into a mainstream high school setting. When you arrive at ATL, you will be enrolled into TUSD’s Virtual Academy (TUVA). TUVA offers virtual, live classes in a traditional high school format, schedule, and academic calendar. You will sign into your classes from the designated study hall at ATL on program-provided laptops. This is very exciting because as an enrolled student of TUSD, you will also be eligible to participate in an extensive list of extracurricular activities at Sabino High School which borders the ATL property line. If you’d like to play high school sports, join a club like drama or robotics, or apply for National Honor Society, you will have that opportunity. If approved by your therapist and the program director, you will also be able to attend school functions such as prom or homecoming.
All students will remain enrolled in TUVA for the duration of their first quarter of school. This will provide you the opportunity to adjust to the program, while also creating and maintaining your “real world” recovery routine. In addition, adjusting to a traditional high school day with classes from 8:30am - 3:30pm will be a big change, and this gives you the best opportunity to be a successful student long term.
Upon the completion of the current quarter, and at the discretion of your parents, therapist, and program director, students will be given the opportunity to transition into in-person classes at Sabino High School. As a TUVA student, the transition into classes on campus will be seamless. Students who are given the opportunity to transfer to Sabino will have earned this privilege through demonstrating the maturity and responsibility to manage their coursework through TUVA, while also prioritizing their recovery and health and wellbeing. Not all students will want to transfer to Sabino, and some may not be ready to handle the distractions of a high school campus– this is totally fine.
There is a lot that makes ATL a perfect aftercare option for adolescents transitioning from long term care back into the "real world.” An easy way to sum it up is through our FOUR PILLARS of transitional living: Recovery, Therapeutic Support, Life Skills, and Fun.
All of In Balance Continuum of Care's programs, including ALT, utilize the 12 steps of Recovery. Why?Simply because it works and has been widely researched as the most effective long term recovery program in existence. The guys are not just sitting and working on "12 step packets" on campus. We are taking them to real 12 step meetings in and around the community. We are helping them get a sponsor to help them navigate the 12 steps. We are helping them pick a "home group" where they will have a role in the running of the group and a weekly commitment to that group and it's members. Most importantly, we are introducing them to hundreds (if not thousands) of other people who are sober and in recovery because they want to be. In fact, many of our alumni who are still living in Tucson are vital members of the city’s recovery community. It also helps that every single one of your day-to-day staff (many of whom are In Balance alumni) are in their own 12 step recovery and can walk the walk and talk the talk.
2. Therapeutic Support.
A young person using substances to excess at a young age is rarely, if ever, not also struggling with other combined mental health disorders. That is why at ATL we believe in clinical/therapeutic support in addition to sobriety. You cannot accomplish recovery if you are not also treating the underlying causes that contributed to our clients using drugs and alcohol, AND you cannot treat underlying mental health unless you take away the negative coping mechanism of drugs and alcohol. So, we must do both very well and at the same time. We have amazing therapists with long term experience in the field who will be helping the clients with AT LEAST once a week individual therapy, weekly family therapy, and two group therapy sessions a week. Now that the young men are integrating back into society, more challenges will arise like social media, "normal" high school students who may use recreationally, love interests, etc. Luckily, all of our therapists and directors are full time In Balance staff-- not contract staff or private practice-- and are on call 24/7. Clients have access to their therapist or directors whenever they need us.
3. Life Skills.
By this point in their treatment process, the young men are craving and needing to learn more independence and life skills. Every day we help them with daily living skills like healthy schedules, healthy eating, time management and executive functioning skills, healthy physical fitness routines, and more. We have a weekly life skills class that teaches them more advanced life skills like taxes, credit scores, investing, money management, healthy dating with today's technology, etc. We also do a weekly nutritional cooking class where we teach them a variety of budget friendly, healthy cooking ideas. Lastly, we have a system where they are earning spending money every week. We financially incentivize different healthy behaviors like waking up on time, or doing their chores, as a way to help motivate and teach the adult lesson of: if you do your job, you get paid. We then go through their spending every week and help with money management and budgeting.
The last pillar that makes us...us, is FUN. It is very important to attract these young men into a life of sobriety and wellness. This life, sober, must be MORE fun and fulfilling than their previous life of drugs and alcohol if we have any chance of them choosing to continue this lifestyle well after they leave us.
We like to incorporate a full range of hobbies and activities based on what the young men in the program are currently into, instead of offering just one or two activities that the guys are not passionate about. We are literally willing to do any sort of hobby or activity (provided it isn't physically dangerous). We have had guys start a wide variety of clubs, including activities like fishing, basketball, rock climbing, art, yoga, tennis, golf, and others. If they have an interest, we will do everything in our power to do it every single week and offer it to every guy. We also go to the gym, some of our guys are playing high school sports, and we do trips like snowboarding, camping, and recovery conferences. We spend a lot of time and energy focusing on their hobbies and passions because it is so important to their long-term recovery.