As long as I can remember the outdoors has been a place that fills my soul with happiness, clarity, peace, inspiration, and connections. Connecting with Mother Nature is powerful and never disappoints, even when hardships are a part of that process. Sitting peacefully in any outdoor setting witnessing even the slightest hint of survival (think of that lone flower that grows out of a rock in the middle of a desert) is my life source and reminds me how precious and our lives are, and how resilient we can be. Having shared experiences with others in the outdoors brings me such joy!
My introduction to Wilderness Therapy came at a time when I, myself, was at a crossroads in life. Being witness to the reunification of children with their parents after being apart for several weeks was hands down the most miraculous thing I had ever witnessed. Weeks later, after packing my car with all my belongings, and my then 2 year old son, we ventured out to the deserts of southcentral Idaho to embark on a journey that I have never looked back from. The power and value of that parent-child connection has always been at the core of what has driven me in my home and in my work. My children and grandchildren are pretty remarkable too.
What I learned early on, and continue to learn, is that change is hard…..and necessary. We have to be able to be honest with ourselves, listen to others, communicate effectively, and continually make decisions which are based on the best information available to us at the time. One cannot hide from themselves for long when they learn to sit still, observe, and then take action. Trust, Reliance, Vulnerability, Humility, Sacrifice, Acceptance, Confidence, Honesty, etc. The list goes on and on as far as what one is capable of experiencing in a wilderness setting.
Since 1989 I have had many wonderful opportunities to be able to guide young people on their own journeys while enjoying the outdoors. Seeing the joy and eye-popping realization of one’s own value and capabilities is what drives me to stay involved in the work I do on a daily basis. Families embarking on this journey together is miraculous and inspiring. SouthCentral Idaho provides the perfect landscape for this amazing opportunity. Wilderness Therapy is my calling.
I grew up in South Carolina and earned a degree from Clemson University. After graduation, I had a deep urge to venture to the west, where I met my wife and eventually ended up in northern Idaho. I have been working with at-risk youth and their families for over 12 years in a variety of settings. I started my career in a therapeutic boarding school in Idaho, but quickly found my passion was in adventure therapy programs. I worked as a wilderness staff and, after a few years, became interested in working more with families. I became an admissions counselor and loved connecting with parents and helping to guide them to find treatment for their children.
Family took me back east, where I helped open the admissions office for a new adventure therapy program in North Carolina. The program was a great success, but the call from the west would not go away. My wife and I, along with my two boys, moved back to Idaho where I became the regional director of admissions for five programs in Northern Idaho.
Later, I became an admissions specialist, concentrating on internet marketing, for a group of all-female residential treatment centers across the United States and, most recently, as the admissions director for a small co-ed therapeutic boarding school in North Idaho.
I am married to a wonderful woman and have three growing boys. I am an avid skier, gardener, hunter and fisherman. I love to backpack and camp in the local wilderness. I spend most of my winter at Schweitzer Mountain, the local ski area. In the summer, I can be found boating, camping and fishing on beautiful Lake Pend Oreille, Priest Lake and many local streams and rivers throughout the Pacific Northwest.
I have spent much of the last 20 years melding adventure and personal development into the lives of individuals. Fresh out of college and working in a group home for at-risk teens, I began to see the radical effect that adventure therapy programs could have on the lives of young people. Already a mountain and rafting guide, I began taking clients on excursions into the mountains of Colorado.
From that point on, I have always had my hand in both mental health and adventure therapy programs. I was the program director and executive director for a non-profit organization working with inner city youth, the clinical program manager for a wilderness program, the founder and clinical director of a wilderness therapy program for adjudicated youth and the clinical director at a therapeutic boarding school. I am a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC). I received my masters from Prescott College in clinical psychology with an emphasis in wilderness therapy. I am also trained in brainspotting.
I have extensive experience and training in working with clients struggling with depression, anxiety, oppositional defiance issues, trauma, addiction, family systems issues and grief. I believe that it is essential to work with the individual, family members and support systems to help create the optimal results.
I enjoy spending time with my wife and two children seeking out adventure in the big city of Boise, or out on the rivers and mountains of Idaho.
I grew up here in Idaho and developed a love of the outdoors from the time I could carry my own backpack. From trips to my family’s cabin in Donnely, Idaho to yearly backpacking treks in the Sawtooth Mountains, I’ve always found the outdoors to be the most healing and peaceful place for me.
I am a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor with a masters in Marriage and Family Counseling. I have worked with children, adolescents, adults young, and their families in some capacity for the last 15 years. I have worked in a variety of settings including schools, outpatient addiction clinics, private practice, and therapeutic boarding schools. I am a registered supervisor with the state of Idaho and enjoys providing supervision for master’s level clinicians seeking clinical licensure as well as interns working on their LPC or LCPC degrees. I am also trained in brainspotting.
My first degree was in secondary education, and I taught U.S. history and psychology in high school. During this time, I also worked at summer camps as a counselor and as a Resident Director for college students. After a few years of teaching, I went back to school for a Master’s in Marriage and Family Counseling, with an emphasis in trauma and complicated bereavement. In addition to time in private practice, and as a clinical supervisor at an addiction’s clinic, I’ve spent the bulk of my clinical career as a primary therapist at a therapeutic boarding school for adolescent boys. One of the highlights of this work was leading backpacking trips through the Idaho wilderness, and therapeutic trips overseas with students and their parents. These trips, through the jungles of Peru and Patagonia, and the streets of Nepal and Israel, showed me the true healing power of the wilderness. These adventures and my experiences in therapeutic boarding, showed me that things happen in the wilderness that are nearly impossible to mimic anywhere else.
I’m highly interested in personal growth and development both on the individual and family level, and I’m passionate about creatively finding ways to foster the insight required for change to happen. Building quality relationships is important to me and the work I do with clients. For this reason, I approach everything from a deeply relational person-centered perspective, with an emphasis on emotional awareness and connection. I practice EMDR and emphasize mindfulness for clients who have experienced trauma or related issues. I’ve also pursued advanced training in attachment issues, Emotion-Focused Therapy for couples and families, the Community Resiliency Model from the Trauma Resource Institute, and The Anatomy of Peace with the Arbinger Institute.
When I’m not working with students and families in the wilderness, you’ll find me hiking and running in the foothills of Boise, camping and climbing in the backcountry of Idaho, or mountain biking and snowboarding at the various Idaho ski resorts.
Dr. Jeremy Chiles is a licensed clinical psychologist who has worked with in the area of psychological testing since 2002. His training in personality, cognitive, achievement, and psychosexual testing helps specify problems and concerns that will allow for identification of the most appropriate level of care or most suitable academic environment. In helping individuals and families work toward psychological health and balance in their lives, Dr. Chiles employs strategies including psychological testing/assessment, comprehensive interviews with students and parents, consultation with clinicians, close interaction with educational consultants, and “on-site” testing to gather the most accurate and useful information in a timely manner.In addition to a standard test battery consisting of cognitive, achievement, personality, mental health, and behavioral measures, Dr. Chiles has training in assessing autism spectrum disorders, learning disorders, neuropsychological screening issues, and psychosexual issues.
Dr. Chiles attended the University of Utah where he received his bachelor’s degree with a major in psychology and a minor in history. He attended Brigham Young University where he received his doctoral degree in clinical psychology. While providing a strong psychotherapy training program, the training at Brigham Young University also offered an assessment curriculum that addressed intellectual/cognitive and mental health/personality aspects in children, adolescents, and adults. Additional training during graduate school involved assessments of adolescents and adults at the Utah State Hospital, Utah State Prison, residential treatment centers, outpatient treatment settings, acute care facilities.
Dr. Chiles is a member of the Utah Psychological Association and American Psychological Association. Dr. Chiles is known among wilderness and therapeutic programs as a thorough, empathic, energetic, and personable clinician. His passion is working with adolescents and their families, and he finds it rewarding to work with programs and personnel that are equally skilled and passionate about their work.
I am a certified Level II equine specialist through EAGALA, a model of equine-assisted psychotherapy services which focuses on growth and learning. Throughout my years, as both my spirit and ego have evolved, the only constant in my life has been horses.
My love of horses helped me connect with my father, which led me to become a professional rodeo cowboy. I learned horsemanship, integrity and the value of a hard day’s work from my father. We became best friends, confiding in one another, never judging and always understanding.
After high school in the southern Idaho area, I attended Idaho State University on a track scholarship. Following graduation, I became a high school math teacher. But it wasn’t the algebra or geometry that motivated me. My favorite part of teaching was the counseling.
Some kids have come back and said, “You saved my life because you let me spend time to visit with you.” That is the best thing.
During my years of teaching, I competed in local rodeos and eventually hit the professional rodeo circuit. In the fall of 1983, I launched a successful music career. For 15 years “Johnny U and the Dodge Country Band” toured the nation 300 days out of the year. As country music evolved, I always stayed true to my roots.
Working in the equine therapy field at an adventure therapy program has provided a great opportunity for me to combine my love of horses, desire to help youth, and even bridging in things learned along the way through my music career. For me, it is the most wonderful, powerful thing I’ve ever seen.
Heidi has been working in medicine for the last 18 years and is trained as a Physician Assistant through the University Of Washington School of Medicine-Medex in Seattle and have been working as a Psychiatric Physician Assistance since 2009 in Idaho and Oregon.
Heidi is licensed in Idaho and Oregon as a Physician Assistant. She is a member of the American Association of Physician Assistant, Idaho and Oregon Physician Assistant organizations as well as the American Psychiatric Association and the Neuroscience Education Institute. She has worked on medical humanitarian missions from as close as Caldwell, Idaho to as far as Puerto Maldonado in the Peruvian Amazon. Heidi believes strongly in education and has worked with the University of Idaho’s Physician Assistant program as a guest lecturer on multiple psychiatric topics including PTSD and Trauma in Children. Heidi has been a supervising Physician Assistant and preceptor for training physician assistants and medical students.