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To provide behavioral, cognitive, and physiological change that can be reinforced post adventure therapy intervention.
Who we support

By combining therapy, outdoor adventure, and social interactions, UpRoutes creates a unique environment for addressing trauma for individuals who often do not benefit from typical intervention. Adventure therapies add an exposure and physical component to retrain thought processes and behavioral and physiological responses, which is difficult to simulate in an office setting. Building self-esteem, regulation, social skill can help build resilience leading to post ecstatic growth after a trauma.

This type of group work has also been shown to be effective for people with multiple diagnoses, including:

  • Intellectual and/or developmental disabilities
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Substance use
  • Foster Care

Others Served

Because there is not just one type of trauma, additional groups, like those who experience vicarious trauma (therapists, caseworkers, first responders, etc.) can also benefit from adventure therapy provided through UpRoutes.

Program Aims
  • Address the trauma response and retrain a more positive behavioral response.
  • Provide coping skills when activated or dyregulated.
  • Improve peer-to-peer socialization.
  • Develop an intervention plan that can be utilized post-adventure therapy experience.
  • Reduce the need for ongoing out-of-home placement.
  • Help develop a positive self-concept.
  • Reduce impulsivity.
Over the past decade, much research has been done to understand both the psychological and physiological impact trauma has on individuals. Complex trauma has been shown to: a) cause specific diseases, in part due to the increased release of cortisol over an extended period of time; b) decrease overall general intelligence; c) reduce impulse control and; d) lead to the development of thought disorders.
Additional research has shown that adventure therapy is effective in treating individuals with trauma by addressing physiological and psychological concerns. In an adventure therapy-based intervention, behavioral and cognitive responses are addressed while under conditions similar to that in a heightened state – fight or flight response. Adventure therapies add an exposure component to help retrain thought processes and behavioral and physiological responses, which is difficult to simulate in an office setting. Additionally, group work has been shown to be quite effective for multiple diagnoses, and adventure therapies foster social interactions that are difficult to mirror in a typical environment.

Who We Are

Ian Altman, MSW

 Ian is an experienced rock climbing instructor and adventure therapist who has worked with adolescents for over 25 years. For the past 20 years, he has worked at the Colorado Timberline Academy, where he has served as their director of admissions, rock climbing instructor, art teacher, and head of their accomplished outdoor pursuits program. He is a master’s level social worker and is well-versed in the modalities of adventure therapy and is dedicated to helping at-risk youth overcome adversity.
Dr. David Kalis, LCSW, PhD
Dr. Kalis is a psychologist who has been specializing in intellectual and developmental disabilities and providing services and supports to child welfare clients for 25 years. He is known in the Denver Metro area for providing services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities who have experienced significant trauma. He contracts with most counties in the Denver metro area and has referrals from across the country. Currently he works at Parker Personal Care Homes and has provided leadership in their behavioral and psychological department as well as the agency as a whole. He is an experienced mountain biker, rock climber, and psychologist working to improve the lives of those he serves.

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