Growing up in a large family, I spent most of my younger years in the outdoors and engaging in a variety of activities, from camping and hiking, team sports and annual family reunions at a mountain lake in northern Utah. I graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Recreation Therapy, and shortly thereafter became a nationally Certified Licensed Recreation Therapist. After five years working in the recreation department in an inpatient psychiatric hospital that served young children, adolescents and adults, I was introduced to adventure therapy programs. Playing on a competitive softball team that traveled to southern Idaho in 1994, I met the leadership team of one of the first adventure therapy programs.
blueFire Wilderness Therapy was an ideal setting for me as I spent several years as a Field Supervisor, established the Field Director position, became Assistant Director and then was the Executive Director of a leading adventure therapy for the next 12 years. I believe in the powerful change that happens in the outdoor setting and am also passionate about continuing to evolve this profession and how programs are provided. Blending the traditional high level care of a treatment team model found in residential treatment centers with a strong adventure component into the wilderness approach enhances the experience that our families have. Safety in this setting is a priority and, as such, hiring and training protocols are of the utmost importance.
I live in a community which values family and strong neighborhood connections. My husband and I have raised three older children and have our youngest still at home. I volunteer countless hours to support my community by coaching youth sports. Seeing young people gain confidence through physical success is an important part of my life. Spending time as a family is a top priority and we can often be found at a ball field, gymnasium, boating on the Snake River or enjoying the many winter activities in the surrounding mountains. I get excited to engage in new adventures and challenges on a regular basis. My family recently added a tandem kayak to their collection of outdoor gear.
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 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.
As an adoptee, I enjoy any opportunity to work with adopted young people. I have trained with some of the leading experts in adoption and attachment. I am committed to helping kids and families heal their relationships and improve communication. I believe in treating the “core” issue instead of only focusing on behaviors. I also believe in establishing strong relationships with my students and families as an effective means of facilitating the therapeutic process. I believe that the key to effective therapy is all about the connection. In my opinion, therapy is not about techniques and the latest research, but about the connection between people.
One of my biggest strengths is my creativity. I use this in my work with families, adolescents, and young adults. I emphasize the importance of complete openness and honesty with my families. I feel this is the time to get everything out on the table and to share the things that you’ve been afraid to share in the past. This helps bring families closer together as well as improving overall communication.
I also believe in individualized treatment. I believe that you have to meet every family, adolescent, and young adult where they are and that you must adjust your style depending on what they need. It is necessary to have a lot of tools in your toolbox because every person brings a set of new challenges and issues. It is important to be able to find a way in and establish a relationship with whom you are working with. Oftentimes this means thinking outside the box and being creative. I challenge families to gain insight into their own issues and I believe that the process by which they resolve their issues is more important than the issue itself.
I have also worked with the full range of behavioral and emotional challenges youth struggle with, including mood disorders, grief, attachment, trauma, substance abuse, learning and attention/impulsive disorders. I’ve assisted countless young people in developing stress management strategies and improving social and life skills. I have worked extensively with families in helping to improve family communication and relations. I have also supervised many clinicians working towards licensure, as well as provided training to mental health workers. I am very committed and dedicated to my clients and their families and bring professionalism and authenticity to my work.
In my spare time I love to mountain bike, hike, snowboard, cross-country ski, skate ski, back country snowboard, and play guitar. I am a musician on the side and have been in many bands over the years. I love hiking with my dog Pliskin and have enjoyed raising him from just 8 weeks old. I have guided biking trips all over the U.S.
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.