(Ages 12 to 17)

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Program philosophy and goal: Welcome to Pathways/Trauma Informed Care, a treatment model for those who have experienced a traumatic life event, may struggle with substance abuse, and whose emotional and mental health have been affected by these experiences. Acute trauma is exposure to a one-time event. Complex trauma often occurs in the context of a child's early care giving system; complex trauma exposures may include the following experiences:

  • Loss
  • Neglect
  • Witnessing
  • Maltreatment
  • Separation

Children who have experienced trauma often present with complex clinical symptoms beyond Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) such as:

  • Behavioral Difficulties
  • Trouble with relationships
  • Increased rates of academic failure
  • High-risk behaviors, such as substance abuse and sexual risk taking

Many people who have had traumatic experiences don't realize it. They may think that everyone goes through the same things and that it's no big deal. But trauma is a big deal. If one can understand trauma, what it is, what it does to girls and boys as they are growing up, then one can understand how these experiences have affected a child. Your child can learn to keep him/herself safe. He or she won't be at risk for being a victim or a victimizer.

Treatment of trauma is specialized care. This care focuses on building skills in six key areas. The six core components for treating complex trauma include:

  • Safety - learning how to keep self safe
  • Self-Regulation - learning how to keep behavior and emotions in balance
  • Self-reflective information processing - learning how to think about ones behavior, experiences and actions
  • Traumatic experience integration - learning how to manage the life events that have been experienced, how to accept and take these experiences into ones life story
  • Relational engagement - learn how to have safe healthy relationships with others
  • Positive affect enhancement - learning skills to help with mood regulation

Stephen L. Brown, M.D. - Medical Director Stephen L. Brown, M.D. - Medical Director
Dr. Stephen Brown is board certified in General and Child/Adolescent Psychiatry. He directs the private practice in child and adolescent psychiatry in Casper. He also is the Medical Director of Wyoming Behavioral Institute. He received his Doctor of Medicine degree at the University of Southern California and trained at Washington University in St. Louis' Barnes and St. Louis Children's Hospital where he received the Award for Clinical Excellence.

Extensively involved in Wyoming medicine since 1990, Dr. Brown is presently serving on the executive committee of the Wyoming Medical Society and the Wyoming Association of Psychiatric Physician's, alternate delegate to the American Medical Society, and the Western States Deputy Representative to the American Psychiatric Association. He is also on the Assembly Executive Committee of the APA. Dr. Brown has been honored with the Distinguished Fellow of the APA designation. He also teaches psychiatry for the University of Washington and the University of Wyoming to WWAMI students and family practice residents.

Matthew Bertagnole Matthew Bertagnole, Youth Services Director/Director of Residential Services
Matthew Bertagnole is a professional counselor who has a master's degree in counseling and a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Wyoming, as well as an associates degree in psychology from Casper College. His previous experience includes spending several years as a case manager supervisor at the Casper Re-Entry Center, where he counseled people facing addiction and mental illness and collaborated with local treatment provides to increase successful discharge rates.

Barb Ralph, LPC Barb Ralph, LPC
Barb Ralph completed her education at the University of Wyoming, obtaining her bachelor's degree in psychology and master's degree in counseling with substance abuse as a specialty. She has worked for more than 20 years as a licensed counselor in residential and outpatient treatment programs, substance abuse and mental health facilities, and in private practice. In 2014, Barb joined the treatment team working with teens receiving care in the Pathways program.

Justin Wollerman, Hospital Chaplain Justin Wollerman, Hospital Chaplain
Justin Wollerman comes to Wyoming Behavioral Institute from College Heights Baptist Church in Casper where he has been a member since 2007, has served in ministry since 2008, and has served as the Youth Pastor since 2013. He started leading adolescent Bible studies at WBI on the Pathways psychiatric residential treatment unit in 2013. Pastor Justin is working toward a degree in Christian Ministries and Theology from Golden Gate Theological Seminary. He graduated from Kelly Walsh High School and started his academic career at Casper College seeking an engineering degree before determining that he had a different calling. Pastor Justin came to know Christ in September of 2007. He was born and raised in Casper and enjoys time with family and friends. He and his wife, Sumer, are raising their two children in Casper. Pastor Justin makes regular rounds during the week at Wyoming Behavioral Institute, introducing himself to patients requesting spiritual support. In addition to the spiritual counsel provided to patients by Pastor Justin, a group of volunteers from College Heights offers Bible studies on the adult, child and Pathways units.

Maegan Kemery Maegan Kemery, LCSW, Therapist
Maegan Kemery is a licensed clinical social worker. She completed her master's in social work at Wayne State University in Detroit, and her bachelor's in social work at Cumberland College in Williamsburg, Kentucky. Maegan worked as an outpatient substance abuse therapist prior to joining WBI’s staff. Her previous experience also includes working with parents and children receiving assistance from family services and corrections system inmates. She has worked in mental health settings for more than 10 years.

Debra Wilcher, LPC, Residential Therapist Supervisor Debra Wilcher, LPC, Residential Therapist Supervisor
Debra Wilcher completed her master’s degree in Counseling and Human Development at Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia, KY. Her past work experience includes providing treatment services in corrections, residential and outpatient settings working with children, adolescents and adults. She has more than 20 years’ experience in the mental health field.