Nest Family Services

Nest Logo-Deschutes_FINAL_RGB

Programs for the Entire Family

Located in Oregon

Our Nest program is a multi-day, individualized, family therapy intervention in the wilderness or lodging. This program takes place with our Family Services therapist and a wilderness guide. It is open to all family members. The Family Services therapist helps the student and family practice the skills they’ve learned during their respective journeys at Deschutes. Each family member has the opportunity to vocalize the sentiments they’ve been sharing through letters, as well as those that they’ve kept inside themselves. They get to look each other in the eye and see each other in the most authentic sense. It is often a heartwarming and illuminating experience.

The Nest Process

Before arrival, the Family Services therapist communicates with the student’s primary therapist to form individualized treatment objectives and goals for the family. The family therapist and guide facilitate deep and meaningful therapeutic work. With the communication skills they have been learning along the way, students and families can express themselves intentionally and articulately and repair their family dynamics.

Throughout the intensive, the therapeutic work is coupled with adventure, canine therapy, and opportunities to relax and interact as a family.


The CASA Model

Deschutes Wilderness Therapy has integrated the CASA model and has a reputation of specializing in developmental trauma, adoption, and attachment work. The CASA model framework is built to assist our students with developmental trauma be able to experience secure attachment. Family Services teaches the CASA model to parents and assists them in practicing the framework to continue to build secure attachment and repair relationships.

Admissions Process:

  1. Contact our Admissions Team at 866-282-3024. We are excited to learn more about your child and to discuss if Deschutes Wilderness Therapy is the right fit.
  2. Visit our admissions page to begin the online application by clicking “Online Registration” link below. This provides the Admissions Team and Administrative Office with basic information. An Admissions Counselor will contact you within 24 hours.
  3. Receive the Admission Packet from your Admissions Counselor.
  4. Fax, e-mail, or mail completed Admission Packet to Deschutes Wilderness Therapy. Visit our contact page for complete contact information here.

Nest Family Services Team

Dan Kikkert, MSIOP Associate Executive Director, Director of Deschutes Young Adults and Nest Family Services

Elizabeth Deardorff, LCSW Clinical Director of Family Services

Leah Chambers, MA, LPC Family Therapist

Sarah Golemon-Mercer Family Services Specialist and Parent Coach

Savanna DeLuca, M.A., LPC Family Therapist and Parent Coach

Dan Kikkert, MSIOP

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.

Elizabeth Deardorff, LCSW

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.

Leah Chambers, MA, LPC

Position: Family Therapist

Leah Chambers, MA, Professional Counselor Associate, is a Family Therapist with Nest Family Services. Leah began working in wilderness therapy in 2017, completing a clinical internship with Deschutes Wilderness Therapy and growing into clinical roles that included Clinical Specialist and Primary Therapist for adolescents, young adults, and their families. Since leaving DWT in 2020, Leah has served youth and families in community-based settings; Leah joined Nest Family Services in 2022 and returned to wilderness to support families in finding healing and hope for the future.

Leah enjoys working with families to uncover and process emotional injuries at the root of problematic behaviors and relational obstacles and implement meaningful and practical solutions to challenges. Leah finds joy in walking with clients and families as they author new narratives about themselves and their experiences and helping families discover meaning and purpose for the pain. Leah’s approach is grounded in Attachment Theory, Existential Theory, Motivational Interviewing, Somatic Experiencing and Experiential Therapy techniques. Leah is trained in Brainspotting and Trauma Center Trauma Sensitive Yoga (TCTSY).

Leah holds a Master of Arts degree in Counseling from Colorado Christian University (2018). Leah is committed to evidence-based practices and contributing to the high standard of the counseling profession. Additionally, Leah has over ten years of combined experience working with pre-teens and teens in mentorship and counseling roles. Leah has experience supporting diverse clients and their families through the facilitation of individual, group, and family therapy to address the many issues related to trauma, attachment injuries, interpersonal problems, depression, anxiety, and addictions.

When not working, you may find Leah in her garden, painting, hiking with her friends or family, or playing with their pups, Tank and Ruger.

Sarah Golemon-Mercer

Position: Family Services Specialist and Parent Coach

Sarah joined Deschutes Nest Family Services as a Family Specialist in the summer of 2021. She graduated with a BA in Religious Community and Environmental Studies, which continues to nourish her understanding of systemic and individual healing. Sarah is passionate about family services and strives to support transformation and growth by facilitating the daily schedule, creative expression, and experiential outdoor activities. Prior to Deschutes, Sarah worked in the Midwest with families experiencing homelessness and female-gender clients struggling with addiction.

Sarah practices a holistic approach to family therapy, meaning that one must look at every individual within a system and the system itself and the environment to promote lasting positive change. Sarah came to Deschutes because she believes deeply in our mission of creating joy and healing generations. She believes this begins with re-imagining the family system, which she supports through deep listening, radical acceptance, attuned presence, and cultivating joy. In Sarah’s free time, she enjoys cooking with friends, reading, listening to bluegrass music, embodied movement, and enjoying the rich beauty of central Oregon with her friends and family.

Savanna DeLuca, M.A., LPC

Position: Family Therapist and Parent Coach

Savanna joins the Deschutes Wilderness team in 2022 excited to engage with family systems work. She brings a warm and collaborative approach to her work with clients and believes that every person has a valuable perspective and qualities that contribute to a cohesive family system. It is her goal to help families see and appreciate these unique qualities in themselves and each other in order to develop more meaningful relationships. Savanna works through a strengths-based lens and provides opportunities for clients to shine in their individual talents.

Before moving to Oregon, Savanna lived and worked in Florida where she earned her MA in Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling from the University of South Florida and began her work in experiential therapy. She has worked with diverse populations but finds the most joy in her work with young adults and families. Savanna specializes in somatic, nature-based, and experiential therapy because she believes an integrated approach that considers mind, body, and environmental factors is essential to enduring lifestyle change. She holds a graduate certificate in Integrative Mental Health, is trained in brainspotting, and is a RYT-200 yoga teacher.
When not at work Savanna enjoys hiking around Bend, paddling on the river, or relaxing in the sunshine with a good book.