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January 21, 2020

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Staff Spotlight: Anthony Florig

The Pacific Quest team is made up of incredibly talented individuals who are passionate about working with our students and providing a safe and structured environment for them to learn and grow.  This month we want to highlight our Young Adult Program Manager, Anthony Florig.

Anthony Florig, MBA
Young Adult Program Manager

Anthony worked at Pacific Quest from 2012-2016, starting as a direct-care Program Guide, and working through several positions including Young Adult Program Supervisor, Program Coordinator, and Purchasing Manager. Anthony left Pacific Quest in 2016 to pursue an MBA in his hometown of Youngstown, Ohio. In 2018, he returned to the company as the Off-Site Facility Manager to work on setting up new locations and managing the Rites of Passage phase of the Young Adult Program.

Anthony’s tenure with the Pacific Quest program combined with his business experience and education allows him to bring a unique and level perspective to the management team. Jody St. Joseph, Program Director, comments, “Anthony’s passion for horticulture therapy and his keen eye for risk management truly enhance our stellar team.  We are thrilled to have him in this leadership role!”

Mahalo Anthony for all your hard work and dedication!

December 17, 2019

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Nature-assisted Therapy and Brain Development

Dr. Lorraine Freedle Travels to Taiwan

Pacific Quest’s Clinical Director, Dr. Lorraine Freedle was recently invited to speak for the Taiwanese Society of Wilderness in Taipei.  Dr. Chun-lin Cheng, a Psychiatrist, Jungian Analyst and officer of the Taiwanese Society of Wilderness (SOW) learned that Dr. Freedle was visiting Taiwan to teach sandplay therapy workshops and thought it would be an ideal opportunity to collaborate.  

Dr. Lorraine Freedle in Taipei

Dr. Cheng is the Medical Director of the Psychiatric Unit of the Far Eastern Hospital in Taipei.  Dr. Freedle had the privilege of touring the hospital and seeing first hand the incredible gardens of their Horticultural Therapy program, where patients have the opportunity to spend time in the garden in the large courtyard.

The main goal of the SOW is to connect people with nature for preservation. Dr. Freedle’s lecture, entitled, “Nature-assisted Therapy and Brain Development” emphasized how to use a growth-focused approach, environmental design, and nature-based activities to target brain development and assist young people to connect more meaningfully to themselves, others and the natural world.   

The audience was made up of  Horticultural Therapists, mental health professionals, and conservationists.  Dr. Lorraine took them on a “virtual visit” to Pacific Quest, where they learned about our program and how students acquire coping skills to manage stress.  Dr. Freedle notes, “We had a great response! People were very excited to learn more about Pacific Quest and nature-assisted therapy. The group had a lot of questions and were very interested in our new property and how we utilize our gardens therapeutically.”

Dr. Freedle with the Society of Wilderness in Taiwan

The SOW motto is ‘Wilderness is where life begins’ and it was evident the efforts being made to connect people with nature and the importance of utilizing nature in the healing process.  Dr. Freedle continues, “It was an amazing experience to be an international ambassador and to collaborate with a group that shares our values in connecting kids to the environment. All of our lives depend on protecting and sustaining our environment, and fostering that connection locally and globally.” 

May 20, 2015

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How to Help a Student Struggling with Mental Health Issues While Away at College

The transition from high school to college life is an exciting one for many young adults. But as with every transition, it is one full of change and stress. Colleges and universities provide a comfortable atmosphere intended to serve as a bridge between home and the professional world. Nevertheless, the college experience is ripe with stressors and mental health issues can arise. As a concerned parent or loved one, it’s imperative to be aware of the risks, and monitor the well-being of your college student while they are away.

Keep an Eye on Mental Health

Fortunately, most college students do not experience severe mental health issues and are able to deal with stressors using mature coping mechanisms. However, for some students, issues of depression, anxiety, substance abuse and Internet gaming and overuse, will have a deep affect on their quality of life and result in great, and often quiet struggling.

As a parent or loved one, it’s important to monitor for any warning signs that might indicate your college student is experiencing a mental health issue. Listed below are some typical signs of depression to be mindful of:

  • Loss of interest in daily activities, such as attending class or playing sports
  • Disruptions in sleep patterns (sleeping too much or too little)
  • Feelings of anxiety and sadness
  • Changes in appetite (over- or under-eating)
  • Loss of energy
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Internet or gaming addiction

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 30 percent of college students report feeling so severely depressed that it’s “difficult to function.”

Furthermore, many young adult mental health issues are co-morbid, meaning that they lead to other issues, often as a misguided source of relief or respite from pain. For instance, depression frequently results in substance abuse, leading to cycles of intoxication, short-term cessation, regression and withdrawal.

Finding Help for Your College Student

If you believe that your college student is experiencing mental health issues, help is readily available at Pacific Quest. Pacific Quest’s wilderness therapy program utilizes a neurodevelopmental approach, combined with horticultural therapy to promote whole-person wellness and motivate change in both adolescents and young adults. If you are far from your loved one and are unable to visit them and take care of them regularly on campus, consider coordinating therapy through a Pacific Quest program.

Stay in Touch

Thanks to technology, keeping in contact with your college student is as easy as sitting down at your laptop or opening an app (like Messenger or FaceTime) on your smartphone. While nothing compares to the personal touch of a visit, where you can truly connect and get a sense of your loved one’s environment, demeanor and overall sense of well-being, technology increases the ability to communicate and converse in person. Schedule regular face-to-face chats with your loved one using Skype and use finesse when bringing up any mental health issues you may think are bothering your loved one. Visual cues of their ongoing mood and energy will prove an invaluable asset in ascertaining the nature of their adjustment.

Ultimately, every college student—even those not experiencing a mental health issue—can benefit from your love and advice. College can be an exciting and novel experience, but the shock of any drastic change can be overwhelming and stressful. Just because your college student has flown the nest doesn’t mean that your guidance and love are of any less value—in fact, it is even more vital during this uncertain time, especially as a reliable grounding source for structure, stability and support.

Interested in learning more about Pacific Quest’s approach to therapy? Read more here:




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