Meet Momenta's Clinical Director, Dennis Ballinger

“My parents always talked to my siblings and me about giving back,” says Dennis Ballinger, Momenta’s Clinical Director. “At first I wanted to be a police officer, then a lawyer, then finally a doctor. Then while I was in undergrad I took a class in psychology. The professor lectured on schizophrenia and how it changes perceptions. At that moment I knew what I was going to do…be a therapist.”

That was when Ballinger decided to work in mental health.  

Dennis Ballinger LMFT, CACIII

Dennis Ballinger LMFT, CACIII

“That class made me curious about how people do what they do and make the decisions they make. I have come to believe that most people are doing the best they can. Sometimes their best doesn’t look very good from the outside but the more you get to know someone and understand them the easier it becomes to make sense of how they got to that point in their life.

He wanted to know the ‘how’ and ‘why’ people manifest drug or alcohol addiction and why some people manifest their trauma differently than others.

Ballinger is a Colorado native and went to the University of Colorado for his undergraduate in Sociology and Psychology. Following his graduation from CU, he moved to Seattle for grad school. While getting his Masters in child, couple and family therapy he started working with an organization that provided counseling to youth struggling with addiction and mental health. During his time in Washington State he worked with many treatment providers, government entities and community groups to help address co-occurring disorders.

After receiving his Masters, Dennis provided home based family counseling with minority adjudicated youth and their families. During this time he focused on using Functional Family Therapy along with other evidence-based clinical approaches to help families address their struggles and form more stable and lasting relationships.

Two and a half years later he became the Clinical Director for mental health department at the Child and Family Treatment Center he was working at. During the next couple of years he started a number of programs to help youth and families. He added a number of evidence based practices to the work done at the organization. He added an Infant Mental Health program, the Incredible Years, LGBTQ Support Services and Groups and expanded the school based counseling program and helped to establish the first health center in the school district where the organization was located. At this point Ballinger was offered the opportunity to integrate the mental health and substance abuse treatment programs for the organization; He accepted the role and established the first truly co-occurring treatment program for adolescents in Washington State. As a part of this work he incorporated a number of evidence based practices for the treatment of substance use disorders and co-occurring treatment. This included Botvin Lifeskills for prevention and ACRA and ACC for the treatment of substance use disorders. For his work, in 2013 Ballinger was given the annual award for his contribution to the treatment of behavioral health from the Washington State Division of Behavioral Health.

Dennis & Mandy Ballinger

Dennis & Mandy Ballinger

Colorado called to him and he returned. Back in his home state, Ballinger took a position with AllHealth Network as their Manager of Child and Family Services. He oversaw four locations that served children, youth and their families throughout Arapahoe and Douglas Counties. He started their school based counseling program, implemented the Bridges Program for Adolescent Substance User and Mental Health Treatment and started a specialized trauma assessment program for the assessment of children and young adults involved in the Department of Human Services. He then moved to Director of Co-Occurring Treatment and expanded the treatment offered.

When he heard about Momenta from a former colleague, he knew he wanted to be a part of an organization that is looking at addiction as a result of genetic predisposition, trauma and attachment. It also integrates his passion for helping youth and families by helping mothers overcome and manage their challenges so that they can be the mother and woman that they want to be. He feels blessed to play a part in assisting families stop the multi-generational pattern of addiction, trauma and attachment disruptions.

“Glenwood is a great place,” he says. “It’s small compared to Denver and Seattle but it is the perfect place for treatment, you can get away and focus on yourself and your healing.”

“It boils down to this: I like what Momenta has going,” he continues. “I believe in their vision. They understand that addiction and trauma are interwoven and they address the whole person. I want to impact how people live their lives and Momenta is doing that.”

 
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Meet the rest of the Momenta team today!

How Do I Hold an Intervention?

"There is no one size fits all when it comes to interventions. Each addiction is different, each vice is different, and each user prioritizes them differently. There are virtually endless combinations of causes and effects at any given time. For this reason, you need to be calm and willing to listen, no matter what." 

We love this article from Addiction Center because it helps explain some of the basic considerations in planning and executing an intervention while also asking a few basic questions to determine whether or not you are mentally prepared for conducting an intervention. There’s a lot to consider, and a lot to prepare for, but you are not alone. Read the full article for some insight, or give us a call. We’re more than happy to help you understand your options.

 https://www.addictioncenter.com/treatment/stage-intervention/how-do-i-hold-an-intervention/

Employee Spotlight - Christine Jackson Cole, LCSW, IMH III

Momenta’s Clinical Director of Child & Family Services shares her background and experience in this week’s employee spotlight. We’re so grateful to have such a talented and passionate individual on our team!

“I came into the mental health field 6 years ago excited and eager to work with the youngest members of our communities, kids. I couldn’t imagine a more rewarding and fun way to spend my days. I quickly discovered that I wouldn’t get very far without also working with their parents and caregivers. And so began my passion for relationship-based work with children and their families.

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Hailing from the Midwest, I joined the bounty of transplants to Colorado in 2012 to attend the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social Work. My education focused on work with children and families while I also received an Interpersonal Trauma Certification. From early on in my practice, I have worked with caregivers and their young children addressing a variety of concerns such as behavior management, emotional distress, parenting strategies, processing trauma, and attachment concerns.  Regardless of the reason for seeking services, I have learned that supporting parents in their role is integral to the health and well-being of their children. In developing my specialty as an Infant Mental Health Specialist, I am constantly reminded of the importance of attachment-focused and trauma-informed interventions that support healthy relationships while holding in awareness the impact of our past on our current functioning and behaviors. Through my training and education, I find it valuable to look not only at what is going on in the current moment, but to also explore and give voice to our earlier experiences to be able to heal and move forward.

During my time as a therapist, I have been afforded the opportunity to practice within a variety of settings ranging from offering consultation to nurse visitation programs, school-based interventions, in-home family therapy and outpatient services. I have found it incredibly valuable to collaborate with outside providers to ensure a holistic approach that takes into consideration the specific needs and factors impacting children and their families. Connecting with schools, pediatricians, the department of human services, and others involved in families’ lives, I find offers opportunities to be an advocate for families and build understanding around behaviors and concerns that may be present.

I have worked with families in a variety of situations including those who are impacted by involvement with community partners such as the Department of Human Services and the Legal System. I’ve found that families are often managing stressors that are contributing to their current involvement. At times, this has included caregivers addressing their own mental health needs and co-occurring substance use concerns. In working with caregivers, I look for the strengths they are bringing into their role and building upon them to focus on what is working. Further, I am a believer in “good enough parenting” rather than pushing to fit an image of “perfect parenting.” I work with caregivers to highlight and strengthen the unique strengths and positive qualities they hold in their relationship with their children.

With this work, I find that I am constantly learning and growing much like those that I work with. Because of this, I value ongoing professional development to further my knowledge and training. Some of the trainings I have completed that inform my work include Child Parent Psychotherapy, Parent-Child Interaction Therapy and Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I am also an active member of the Colorado Association for Infant Mental Health, and I participate in their training opportunities.” - Christine Jackson Cole, LCSW, IMH III

 

 

 
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Leading with Love - Introducing Dirk Eldredge and 4Winds Farm

We are thrilled to introduce Dirk Eldredge as Momenta’s President & CEO, as well as officially announce our partnership with 4Winds Farm to provide an unparalleled healing space for women struggling with mental health issues such as trauma, attachment, co-occurring disorders and addiction in the May 2019 issue of Roaring Fork Lifestyle!

“Our philosophy at Momenta is simple; Lead with love while providing a safe, clinically sound environment for women to heal.” - Dirk Eldredge, President & CEO

Learn more about our leadership and the Momenta Recovery experience by following the link below, or give us a call at (970) 930-6355 today!

https://issuu.com/lifestylepubs/docs/roaring_fork_2019_5_print/28

Understanding and Treating Trauma and Addiction

 
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The Momenta Approach

This month, we’re excited to join Dennis Ballinger as he shares the approach of Momenta Recovery in the understanding and treatment of trauma and addiction. In conjunction with the Harmony Foundation, Dennis speaks on the philosophical and evidence based foundations for the clinical programming we provide at Momenta. We think that you will find it insightful and helpful in understanding the approach we take in treatment and why.

Listen to the live recording by clicking the link below (it’s free to register!) and feel free to contact us for more information about treatment at Momenta:

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/383565027246093569

How do you practice nurturance in your day-to-day?

Nurturance noun

nur·tur·ance | \ ˈnər-chə-rən(t)s  \

Definition: the love, care, and attention that you give to someone or something

An important part of overall health and well-being is taking the time to tend to yourself and your needs. Often, we think of ways to care for others through love and attention. At Momenta, we want to support you in nurturing yourself through self-compassion and self-care. Sometimes taking time for yourself can be as simple as taking a break or as extravagant as a spa day. Here at the house, we spent an afternoon enjoying a DIY spa day with infused water, manicures and homemade sugar scrubs to practice tending to oneself and slowing down. How do you practice nurturance in your day-to-day?

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What is Interactive Journaling?

Interactive journaling is a technique to help you better think about your substance abuse and its place in your negative life situations. Using worksheets and non-confrontational questions, you’ll explore and hopefully resolve issues like ambivalence toward substance abuse, consequences of substance use, and recognition of the problem. As well, its purpose is to inspire considerations, and the development of a plan, for change.

For more information: https://www.changecompanies.net/evidence/?filter=ij

What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)?

Is a treatment that teaches women with Borderline Personality Disorder and substance use to instill positive behaviors in place of dysfunctional behaviors. Using behavioral problem solving, acceptance-based strategies, and dialectical processes that are unique to each individual, DBT increases coping skills, such as interpersonal effectiveness and emotional regulation, to improve your quality of life.

For more information: https://behavioraltech.org/resources/faqs/dialectical-behavior-therapy-dbt/

What is a Nurturing Parent Program?

The Nurturing Parent program is designed to enhance family communication and end the generational cycle of abuse by promoting healthy physical and emotional development. Parents and children attend their own groups, tailored to age, culture and needs, to build self-awareness, positive self-esteem, greater awareness of each others needs and more.

For more information: https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/172848.pdf

Women's Way Through 12-Step

A Woman’s Way through the 12 Steps is designed to empower you to take ownership of your recovery, as well as your growth as a woman. Uncovering the healing messages from the traditional, male-oriented Twelve Steps program, the program explores the special issues recovery raises for women - sexuality, relationships, anxieties about speaking up at mixed-gender meetings - to find meaningful healing.

More information: https://www.amazon.com/Womans-Way-Through-Twelve-Steps/dp/0894869930