The following are letters and testimonials from families we have worked with. They are presented here without edit except to remove names and other identifying information.
To Whom It May Concern:
We have been impressed with the wonderful work and staff of the Vista at Dimple Dell program. All the staff we have interacted with—therapeutic, academic, residential, and support staff—have been caring and professional, and have contributed to our daughter’s growth and our whole family’s journey through this process.
In particular, Pepper has been a phenomenal therapist—a big reason that we chose this program and a big factor in our daughter’s success. Right from the start, he really seemed to “get” our daughter, who had become resistant to therapy in other programs—he figured out where she was and met her there. He knew that he would have to earn her trust, and he put her in charge of the therapy process from the beginning, encouraging her to come to each session with her own agenda and to take the lead in figuring out what she needed and how to get it. Over time, his role evolved into more of a coaching approach, as that most effectively addressed her needs.
He is a safe and non-judgmental listener, but also tough and challenging—he would call out a bluff, and wouldn’t accept evasions (from her or us!). He managed to get our daughter to talk about feelings, partly by sharing some of his own struggles—which is not a conventional approach to therapy, but which made his sympathy with her struggles authentic and real, and helped her share her vulnerabilities. In this, as in so many things, he was flexible and open to different methods. It felt like he didn’t use a cookie-cutter approach; rather, he seemed to try different things with our daughter than he might with other clients. He was able to get her engaged in confronting social anxiety by sending her on service and social outings. And he was willing to take as long as needed—we heard about several individual sessions that went on long past an hour if they were in the middle of something that needed working through. And there were times when he allowed extra call time, or sent texts and pictures, when he sensed that we (or she) needed it.
One thing we appreciated right from the beginning was his reluctance to categorize our daughter in terms of the mental health diagnoses that she had received—depression, anxiety—which can so easily become limiting and self-fulfilling labels. From the start, he continually reminded her that everyone has limits, challenges, ways of being in the world that can sometimes make their lives difficult. But even predisposed toward depression and anxiety, the key is to focus not on that natural tendency, but on what she does with it—the actions she takes that are in her control. And with his encouragement, she gradually opened up to the therapeutic groups and learned lessons about letting go of expectations and perfectionism, challenging thinking errors, and—her favorite from DBT—radical acceptance.
In our family sessions, he pushed us to go beyond our comfort zones and to recognize communication patterns that may have been hindering her progress, either by inadvertently rescuing her, or by being distant and unengaged. After working together, we’re all better at communicating with each other, recognizing each other’s strengths and challenges, and accepting each other’s imperfections, which has led to a greater sense of connection. The whole system of progressive visits—from on-campus and local passes to a first brief home pass to longer and more frequent home visits—was carefully planned, and although it was difficult at first, we grew to appreciate how well-thought out the scheduling is. The early visits brought up a lot of issues and we needed time for processing the emotions; as time went on, we gained greater awareness and skill, and dealt with issues better as they came up. Now, as we get ready for our daughter to come home, we’re confident that we’ve already confronted many issues and have developed the skills to deal with whatever new issues and challenges arise.
We couldn’t have asked for a more optimistic, hopeful, and energetic partner in this therapeutic journey than Pepper. We are grateful to him and all the Vista staff for their support along the way, and are excited for all the adventures ahead as our family reunites and begins the next thing. We’ll miss the Vista community we’ve come to know and love.
Sincerely, JC and PG
Thank you and your staff for the excellent care you provided to C.
Running an RTC is no easy task. It is a complicated, multi-faceted, fluid and sophisticated challenge. In addition to all of the substantive care issues, you still have to run a business, be successful at sales, make payroll, keep stressed out, emotional and difficult families happy and all the other tasks that come along with it. There a thousand and one things you have to pay attention to and manage.
In my opinion, the most important aspect of any organization is its culture. Culture establishes values. Values drive behavior. Without effective culture, all
else is compromised.
The culture of an organization, especially a relatively small one, starts at the top. The most important job of the leader is to establish culture. That is most effectively accomplished when both action and word consistently communicate the same thing.
It is clearly evident that you have done an excellent job in establishing and maintaining a fantastic culture. You care deeply about the kids in your care and your staff cares. You demonstrate commitment and competency and your staff does as well.
Attracting and retaining highly effective people is difficult in most organizations. That is more true in the setting you are in which demands so very much from the providers, including lengthy and expensive education and training, yet pays relatively little. Plus, I have found that a significant percentage of therapists should probably be in therapy themselves! That makes finding and keeping the ones that are excellent all the more challenging.
You also dealt with the problems we had in November in a prompt, thorough, calm and transparent manner. We were dealing with a perfect storm of stressful issues all at once. C's screw ups in November were coming to light. There was the mess with inappropriate contact by the former activities guy. We got poorly written teacher evaluations that would be damning to C's high school application. We were going through all the stress of a very thorough admissions process to the school that C was applying to, etc. Of course, all of that was happening in the context of the rest of our world with two teenage boys (i.e. brains not working ding dongs), work, life, etc. The poise and professional maturity you displayed was exactly what was needed and helped shepherd everyone past it. (Plus, it was reassuring knowing that Kim called that guy up and told him what an idiot he was ... )
Kim was simply great every step of the way. She was a perfect fit for C and our family.. She developed a very effective relationship with C and was caring, committed and accessible. All that was great, and necessary, but equally as important was her high degree of expertise and competency. Kim made all the right calls at the right time. We were very fortunate and blessed to have her as C's therapist.
We feel the same way about the rest of your staff. They were all fantastic.
I attached an email I recently sent to friends and family who have been supporting C and our family on our journey. I wanted to share that with you as well.
Please do pass along our sentiments and thanks to your entire staff. You are welcome to share this email, and the attached, with them as you see fit.
P and B
To whom it may concern
My daughter was in the care of Pepper and Jason, and the rest of the Dimple Dell staff for over 10 months, following her stay in a wilderness program. I was immensely impressed by the commitment of the staff, their professionalism and never ending support.
Jason served as T.’s addiction counsellor and developed a close relationship with her. His caring and compassion and his commitment to her helped immensely in her recovery. She grew to trust him and seek out his guidance and support. He was very diligent about communicating with us in an honest and impactful way, and to help bridge the gap that had developed between us and our daughter. We will forever be grateful for his commitment to our family and deep insight.
Dear Vista Staff,
I want to take a moment to say THANK YOU to the staff at Vista. It is difficult to put into words how grateful I am for the care our daughter and our family received during her treatment. When we made the decision to send K. to Vista, we were at the end of a series of ineffective outpatient treatments and hospitalization. K. was depressed and suicidal; we were terrified that we would lose her and paralyzed by fear. After speaking with Maegen Flores on the phone, I felt hope for the first time in many months.
When we first met K.’s counselor, Kim McKee, I knew that we had made the right decision. Kim felt confident that she could help K. help herself to become well. Kim shared in K.’s successes and failures and provided unconditional support to both K. and our family. She was responsive to all of our needs and easily earned our trust. Through her use of cutting edge techniques and therapies and no-nonsense attitude, she taught our daughter to be strong and independent and in charge of herself. Our daughter is thriving today.
Not once have we regretted our decision to send K. to Vista. I don’t know where we would be today without Kim; she will forever be part of our family.
When our granddaughter arrived at Vista at Dimple Dell Canyon she had a negative self-image, felt worthless and abandoned, and had been leading a secret life of substance abuse and promiscuity. Due to abuse and trauma in her childhood, lying and manipulating others had become second nature. Yet, within a month, her therapist, Ryan Pepper, had gained her trust and had her opening up about things she had hidden for a lifetime. He was at the same time savvy and compassionate, direct and gentle, often painfully truthful and yet always validating. He was also an amazing support for our entire family, fostering open, honest communication while working with us to restructure and nurture healthier relationships. Our granddaughter has learned integrity, humility and accountability in her time at Vista, traits that will ground her in a happier and healthier future. We feel we owe her newfound maturity and positive outlook to the remarkable staff at Vista and to the dedication and therapeutic excellence of Ryan Pepper.
My experience with Vista at Dimple Dell was a life changing event in our families life. We sent our 15 year old daughter to Vista sight unseen. She had been through so much already and it seemed as though we had failed getting her the help that she truly needed.
On our third attempt to help our daughter. We finally found our answer. Vista at Dimple Dell, was an amazing experience for our daughter as well as our family. Dimple Dells staff was very helpful as well as the schoolteachers. When ever I called, I got support for my unanswered questions.
Kim was our daughters therapist. With in the first month we got answers to so many questions. I finally felt that there was hope. We developed an awareness and gained confidence that Kim would be able to help our daughter, take the courages steps to heal her pain. Kim was instrumental in helping our daughter gain self-knowledge in a safe environment. Our family sessions were deeply painful. Kim never took sides but kept us all accountable as we processed our underlying emotions.
I can not say enough about our experience at Vista with Kim. I will forever be grateful that we had the opportunity to send our daughter to Vista.
Placing J. at Vista was one of the most difficult things I have had to do in my lifetime. I had struggled for years to keep my daughter safe and did all I could as a mother to give her the support she needed. We did years of therapists, a year of DBT and nothing seemed to help. When I went to visit Vista my heart was broken and with a heavy heart I knew this was my only hope. One of the many things that makes Vista special is that it was not just about helping my daughter heal, but helping the whole family. It was definitely a family affair. I thought J. would excel and be home in three months, but it quickly became apparent that 17 years of difficulty can’t be modified that quickly. J. struggled at first however she did find within her self the desire to have the life she had always dreamed. With the support of all the staff and their true 100% commitment to help J., we slowly saw her take accountability for her actions. The process was not easy and painful as times, but well worth it. When J. did come home, it was not as simple as ‘getting back to normal’. As a family we had to create a new normal. We often we found ourselves calling Kim for help and support, she was always available. We all know the statistics of long term success after treatment centers, and it is not that high. However, through hard work on everyone’s part, but mostly J., three years later she is living her dream. She is successful in college, for the first time has strong friendships that she has held onto over time, she is involved in many organizations, a member of a sorority and holds a job. She still struggles with her demons at time, but through all her training and support, she is able to move past her struggles. J. and I never had much of a relationship but today I couldn’t enjoy her company more. She is loving, makes me laugh and I am very proud of her. Thanks to Vista our family not only got my daughter back but society gained an impactful member. Thank you Vista.
Dear Future Dimple Dell Family,
Ryan Pepper has been great to work with for our daughter. We researched a number of RTC options and found Dimple Dell to be a really good fit. Ryan has made great strides helping our daughter understand father/daughter dynamics and has been supportive and suggestive for rebuilding the relationship. Ryan is always available and has gained our daughter’s trust and respect. I am sure she will miss him once she graduates from the program this spring.
Life was good, and then it changed for what seemed an eternity.
Our daughter; an amazing student, athlete and sister had it all. Then, one night, she was involved in an accident which changed her life. She would survive unharmed physically while her two friends were not as lucky. Over the next year she became reclusive and began to slip away. It was time for us to seek professional help.
We came to Vista through the help of an advisor. It was she who insisted we wait for Ryan Pepper to become available to take our daughter’s case. Our daughter remained in her wilderness program several extra weeks. As we were unprepared for life as it was, we grabbed onto any and all recommendations.
Nothing could have prepared us for the roller coaster ride we were about to embark upon. We flew to Utah regularly to attend group meetings, visitations and therapeutic sessions with Pepper and our daughter. At home, lengthy heart wrenching emails and weekly assignments were completed along with mandatory phone sessions. This would continue for one year. Our daughter spent her second year in a group home which was run by Vista. We felt as if we were living someone else’s nightmare.
Ryan Pepper was steadfast throughout our two years at Vista. He believed in our daughter and he believed in our family. There were times we were not sure our daughter would return from her darkness. Throughout this journey, Ryan Pepper maintained a professional, safe and consistent program which ensured our daughter’s progress. We watched our daughter slowly emerge, becoming more independent, more confident and visibly happier.
Today our daughter attends medical school and together, we are planning her wedding.
We know how lucky we are.
We know how lucky our family was to have had Ryan Pepper as our daughter’s therapist.
Our family is eternally grateful to Ryan Pepper for his expertise, his dedication and his remarkable intuition.
It is our pleasure to recommend Stansbury Academy . When our daughter arrived at Stansbury Academy, she was treated with respect by all staff and encouraged to complete high school. She struggled with low self esteem and anxiety and had given up on herself as far as reaching any goals or achievements . Because of the efforts of Tim Grayson and the wonderful teachers at Stansbury, our daughter graduated high school with a feeling of accomplishment. As she stated in her graduation speech "I am so happy to have made so much progress because I honestly didn't even think I would graduate when I got here. So this is a pretty "rad" accomplishment. I'm looking forward to what is next." ·
We wish to thank all staff at Stansbury Academy for the support, kindness, caring and beautiful graduation ceremony, including the excellent graduation pictures provided by Tim.