Position: Clinical Director, Deschutes Young Adult
AJ Frithiof (pronounced Fritch-off) is the clinical director of the young adult program at Deschutes Wilderness Therapy and is a licensed clinical social worker in the State of Oregon and the State of Utah. She began working in wilderness therapy in 2004 and has since worked in a variety of clinical and programming positions throughout wilderness and residential treatment.
AJ returned to the wilderness in 2020 by joining the DWT team. She loves supporting young adults in healing through a relationship based, trauma responsive clinical approach. AJ believes that an immersive wilderness experience helps young adults connect with their environment, their peers, and themselves in ways they are unable to in the hustle and bustle of today’s world. She particularly enjoys working with young adults who struggle with substance use disorders, dual diagnosis, attachment, and developmental trauma. She believes these are frequently at the core of many challenges young adults face, including depression and anxiety. She uses different somatic approaches including brainspotting and Trauma Center Trauma Sensitive Yoga to treat these difficulties. She is well-versed in the 12-steps as well as other substance use disorder treatment modalities. AJ conceptualizes and treats young adults and their families from an attachment-based perspective and supports them in uncovering the root of their difficulties and find healing.
In 2005, AJ completed her BS in Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences with an emphasis in Outdoor Education at Texas A&M University. After a long stint working in wilderness programming, she returned to school to complete her Master of Social Work at the University of Alabama.
For 15 years, AJ worked in a variety of capacities for different Outward Bound Schools in Florida, Alabama, South Carolina, and Maine with court-ordered youth and other adolescents struggling with different aspects of mental health. She held a variety of positions including intern, lead instructor, course director, program developer, and trainer.
AJ has also worked as a therapist, program director, and clinical director in therapeutic boarding, psychiatric residential treatment, wilderness therapy, and private practice. She has developed and facilitated substance use disorder programs at several facilities, built a wilderness recovery program, and developed other wilderness and residential programs. She enjoys using both her clinical skills as a therapist and operations experience in systems, structure, program development, and staff training. She has successfully worked with clients from 7-years-old up to older adults.
On hot, sunny days, you can find AJ kayaking or hiking, whereas on sunny, snowy days, you can find her skiing. Year-round she’s a voracious coffee consumer, Maine Root Sarsaparilla Beer lover, and like a true southerner, ice-cold Coca Cola drinker. She’s a morning get ‘er done-er who loves listening to books on 1.5x speed, spending time with friends, hanging out with her rambunctious Labrador, WOD-ing, puzzling, and afternoon napping.
Position: Recruiter & HR Generalist
Allison (she/her) comes to Deschutes Wilderness Therapy with a wealth of experience in case management, program design, and recruitment. She has worked locally in the Central Oregon community for the past five years, supporting different non-profit organizations. During this time, Allison gained a strong understanding of community needs and built connections to create accessible resources for all.
Allison’s introduction to wilderness therapy started as a field guide in 2015 after graduating from Middle Tennessee State University with a bachelor’s degree in Social Work. She worked in the field as a guide for just under two years. Allison is excited to return to wilderness in a new way by supporting staff and the hiring process!
Allison is married to her husband, Alex, and has a son, Mosley, and two cats, Dr. Bob and Barbara. She is passionate about baking, being outside, and spending time with her family.
Position: Executive Director - Deschutes
Andrew stepped into the Executive Director role at Deschutes Wilderness Therapy in the Spring of 2015. He started working in the wilderness therapy field around 2012, taking on responsibilities such as leading an inner-city outdoor youth program, working with wilderness immersion students in the field, supporting the admissions process, and other administrative and organizational needs. He holds an MA in International Business which he earned while living abroad. He has gathered a range of experience, including with the US State Department, management roles for a large service company, and even as a Coast Guard licensed charter boat Captain.
Andrew loves spending time with his wife, daughter, two dogs, and fishing, hunting, and foraging in the beautiful Oregon wilderness. He is grateful for the opportunity to bring healing to others by utilizing the great outdoors and putting his energy into supporting the great people that devote themselves to serving students and their families.
Position: Director of Professional Relations
Barbara comes to Deschutes Wilderness Therapy with a wealth of experience in the digital entertainment marketing space, where she worked for nationally recognized brands including SPIN, Billboard, and the Hollywood Reporter. It was in those roles that she developed a deep understanding of building trusting relationships and creative marketing strategies.
Barbara’s introduction to wilderness therapy was the result of a personal family journey and she brings with her a commitment to serve families who are struggling with a variety of challenges. Barbara committed to making an intentional career shift to a role that was service-oriented and mission-based. Her warm, compassionate, empathetic nature and dedication to building awareness and access to wilderness therapy as a treatment option have led her to this role.
Barbara is married with a young adult son and lives in Brooklyn, NY. She is passionate about exercise and is a member of a local boxing gym. Music is integral to her life and she enjoys listening to a wide range of genres and discovering new artists. Despite her urban setting she loves to spend time outdoors exploring the local parks and beaches as well as the cultural offerings of her native NYC.
Favorite quote: “We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us”. Joseph Campbell
Position: Associate Executive Director, Director of Deschutes Young Adults and Nest Family Services
As the Associate Executive Director at Deschutes Wilderness Therapy, Dan directly oversees the young adult and family services programs in addition to overall risk management, medical, and quality control systems. He combines his experience in wilderness therapy with his knowledge in organizational psychology to help push DWT in its mission through quality systems, leadership development, and data-driven, human-centered decision-making.
Dan has been working in wilderness therapy since 2012 in a variety of field, programming, and operations roles. He received his BS in Physics with a Minor in Mathematics from Penn State University and his MS in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from Sacred Heart University. Dan is a strong leader, dedicated to service in wilderness therapy for many years now. He volunteers as an AEE accreditation reviewer, traveling to programs around the country helping them to gain and maintain accreditation, serves as the chair of the OBH Best Practices Committee, and regularly presents at conferences to help push cutting-edge treatment throughout the industry. Dan has a passion for discovering the unknown and spends his free time cycling, skiing, rafting, and tinkering in his shop. Dan loves working on engines and has recently set up a home welding studio. Dan’s friends and family enjoy Dan’s passion for cooking beautiful, creative meals for them.
Position: Admissions Director - Deschutes
Daryn started her work with therapeutic programs in 2006 after six years in the United States Navy and a year of independent humanitarian work in Zimbabwe. Since then, Daryn co-founded and co-ran Canterbury Academy, a learning differences day school in Seattle. She then served as a team leader at Aspiro Wilderness Program, program director at Aloft Transitions for young adults, and Admissions Director at a Discovery Ranch for Girls. Daryn worked as an Educational and Therapeutic Consultant for eight years, helping families find solutions.
Daryn’s knowledge of wilderness therapy and experience in other therapeutic environments allows her to connect quickly with parents and provide a sense of calmness to the process. Daryn graduated from Seattle University, a social justice institution, with a bachelor’s degree in cultural anthropology, followed by graduate work in counseling psychology at Prescott College. She is committed to creating an environment for our clients and families where people of all backgrounds and identities feel respected, honored, and safe. Daryn has a passion for creating equity and inclusion for people with medical needs. She spends her free time with her husband, two young sons, and their dog rock climbing, skiing, whitewater kayaking, canoeing, cycling, reading, and traveling.
Position: Medical Director
Ryan Paterson attended the University of Vermont School of Medicine and completed his Emergency Medicine Residency and Fellowship in Wilderness/Altitude/Expedition Medicine at Denver Health Medical Center/the University of Colorado, USA. He also holds advanced certifications in Tropical Medicine from the London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (DTM&H) and in Mountain Medicine (DiMM). He is a practicing, board-certified Emergency Physician for Kaiser Permanente at St Joseph’s Hospital in Denver, Colorado, USA, and associate professor at the University of Colorado in the Department of Emergency Medicine section of Wilderness, Environmental and Expedition Medicine.
In leisure, Ryan loves to spend time outdoors with his spouse and two children. He is an avid traveler, climber, and a former distance athlete.
Dr. Paterson is the founder and director of Emergency Medical Providers (EMP) a leader in the provision of remote medical support and expedition medical direction. Ryan is co-founder and former director for the Wilderness Medical Society Diploma in Mountain Medicine (DiMM) course. Ryan also has significant experience in large-race/event medical management. He serves as medical director for GlobalLimits and has medically-directed multiple GlobalLimits events. He is the current United States delegate to the International Society of Mountain Medicine (ISMM). Ryan founded the FLuME foundation and serves as medical director for Kolkata City Mission (KCM) working through both organizations to establish sustainable development solutions in education, health, women’s empowerment, micro-enterprise, and public-health for informal communities in and around Kolkata, India. Combining all of his training and passion, Dr. Paterson has worked in Disaster Relief efforts in both post-earthquake Nepal and with the UN in Iraq. Additionally, Dr. Paterson is an altitude researcher, expedition physician, mountain emergency medicine educator, and guide.
Position: Clinical Director of Family Services
As the Clinical Director for Nest Family Services, Liz oversees the family therapists, parent coaches, individualized clinical itinerary planning, and drives the overall clinical vision. She is an expert in Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), Brainspotting, EMDR, and Trauma Center Trauma Sensitive Yoga (TCTSY); all-powerful foundational modalities that she has built the Nest clinical model on. Her approach bridges these therapeutic techniques with experiential wilderness-based activities that have proven so effective in creating connection in our wilderness therapy model. Liz coaches the clinical team to utilize these tools in addressing trauma, attachment, and anxiety. This leads to a powerful treatment experience for the entire family, mutually gained insights and healing.
Liz has been working in wilderness therapy since 2010 and with Deschutes since 2013. As a primary therapist, Liz worked with adolescents and young adults of all genders in the wilderness, supporting them in finding joy and healing for many years. Liz transitioned to working with families as the increasing need for family therapy became evident. Liz deeply believes in the importance of repair, healing, and growth within our relationships to fully develop a secure sense of self. Liz achieved her Master of Social Work with a focus in Child and Family and Mental Health from Loyola University Chicago. In her free time, you can find Liz trying to find every waterfall in Oregon, dancing, reading, rooting for the Wisconsin Badgers, and playing with Oliver, her golden retriever pup.
Position: Clinical Director, Adolescent Program
Dr. Vallelunga is new to the Northwest and is excited about the adventures that await. She recently relocated from Northeast Florida with her pack of three (well-loved) dogs. She is trying out tiny house living for the first time. Dr. Vallelunga enjoys the outdoors, exploring new places, hiking with her dogs, traveling in her camper van, and photography. She is “artsy” by nature, and her largest project to date is a river flow dining table. In the near future, she plans to own some property for her tiny house and build a large workshop for her hobbies and projects.
Position: Operations Director
Matt hails from the woody western suburbs of Philadelphia, PA where he always preferred to play outside. He developed an early love for the ocean, growing up sailing, surfing and kiteboarding. While studying Hydrogeology and Music Technology at Penn State, Matt fell in love with the mountains and land-based activities such as hiking, skiing and mountain biking. Before joining New Vision in Bend, he lived in South Lake Tahoe, CA and St. George, UT, where he worked outside as a safety monitor, a wilderness field instructor, and a residential treatment staff. Two fateful rafting trips led to him landing at New Vision, where he oversees logistical operations to “keep this well-oiled machine running smoothly.” He loves hiking with his thrift store children’s guitar and jamming out in his free time, whether it’s on the slopes or in his garage.
Position: Administrative Director
Olivia came to Deschutes Wilderness Therapy with experience in the facilities and real estate management space. She worked for large biotechnology companies in Boston, MA, and was responsible for new site acquisition, design, build, startup, and operation. In those roles, she developed a deep understanding of administrative and operational leadership to ensure growth and stability within an organization. Olivia believes strongly in working for a company with a meaningful purpose. Deschutes Wilderness Therapy’s mission of creating joy and healing generations and the close-knit and supportive community of coworkers has made Deschutes Wilderness Therapy a perfect fit for her.
Olivia was born and raised in the small town of Yreka, CA, in the mountains of far-Northern California & Southern Oregon. She grew up backpacking with her family, riding horses, white water rafting, playing volleyball, and performing in local musical theater. Olivia studied at Oregon State University in Corvallis, OR, and graduated with a BA in Music with an emphasis in Vocal Performance. Transferring her skills as a production manager/show director to the biotech industry after a move to Boston, she worked in the facilities and real estate industry for several years while also teaching private voice lessons and coaching High School volleyball.
Olivia & husband decided to move back to Oregon in 2019 to be closer to the great outdoors and family again. Olivia strives to meld her Pacific Northwest roots with corporate organizational & project management skills she gained in the city to bring a balance of structure and creativity to the Deschutes Wilderness Therapy team. Olivia enjoys spending time with her husband & three dogs, raising chickens, hiking, swimming, playing volleyball, road biking, and singing.
Position: Program Director
Rachel graduated from UW Milwaukee with a degree in Community Education and a focus on therapeutic work. During college, she was also a full time athlete on the diving team. For the past five years, Rachel has worked with many children with disabilities as a line therapist for kids with autism and also as a volunteer for special education classrooms and horse therapy programs. Rachel took courses with her dog to achieve therapy dog certification. They visited nursing homes to help raise the spirits of those who need it most. Rachel is excited to be continuing her journey here at NVW; and in her free time, she enjoys fishing, horseback riding, skiing, hiking and going to the movies.