I just got back from Utah. I am often asked why those of us who work with families seeking therapeutic options place so many clients in Utah, and why there are so many programs there. It is not a black and white answer. We have many good federal guidelines in place to protect those with mental illness as well as many that protect our children. Utah just takes things a little further in terms of standards, and they have some pretty outstanding laws and guidelines. There’s lots of land, and the cost of living is lower than some areas of the country. And many programs have good relationships with the Bureau of Land Management, so schools and programs can take advantage of the space afforded in public parks (and the scenery is stunning!).
At any rate, I wind up in Utah at least once a year. I check out new programs and revisit programs to keep updated on new initiatives, new programming–even new buildings and renovations. So I was there again last week. While there, I happened upon something that is going to work perfectly for one of my clients, and he is very excited. That makes me satisfied as well! I also met a young client I had to send to wilderness whom I had not yet met. We had a nice chat as we sat in the rain under a tarp, and he said he has figured out some things. I hope so. I always do.
Traveling a lot is part of my job. It is necessary to visit the schools, programs, and colleges I would recommend to someone sending their child or young adult for an education and/or for treatment. There is a lot of education that goes on as well, as I hear about the latest innovations and research going on. I have made many friends and connections. It is great to visit and reconnect with esteemed colleagues. Sometimes, like this past week, I am able to travel with a peer, and we share insights and observations. We can also provide advice when a fellow consultant is unsure about something, like which school has the best arts program for a particular client, or which wilderness therapist(s) works most effectively with trauma.
It can be hard, though, on a personal level. I miss my husband and my dog. I miss my home. I miss my own cooking, believe it or not! Yet the only way to remain current and to be the best I can be for my clients is to travel. So, I travel a lot. There’s lots of planning and scheduling that has to go on. I need to get a travel itinerary. I need everyone’s cell phone numbers, the names of hotels, and times to get some rest and catch up on calls. I have to change the message on my work phone. I have to pack my bags, including at least one book and some trail mix, and try to only bring carry on if at all possible. I have to remember my vitamins and prepare for possible headaches, backaches, or heartburn! I give my dog extra belly scratches and treats for the few days prior to my leaving. And I hug my husband one more time before entering the airport.
I had actually hoped to travel again in August, but it looks like day trips will have to do. I am scheduling a trip to Arizona in September, and hope to get to Colorado as well. Then there is regional NATSAP in Maine in October. So, here I go, on the road again.