Podcast: Boulder Integrated Health

Gina Thorne:   Hi everyone, welcome to the Harmony Foundation Podcast series. I’m Gina Thorne and I’m here today with Chris White and Kaitlyn Anderson with Boulder Integrated Health out of Boulder, Colorado. Welcome.

Kaitlyn A.:        Thanks. Thanks for having us.

Chris White:    Thank you.

Gina Thorne:   I’m really excited to hear about your program and what you all are doing in Boulder. Chris, you’ve been, actually, you just relocated back to Colorado recently, like in the last … It’s been a year now, right?

Chris White:    It has, yep. One year exactly.

Gina Thorne:   And you came back because you wanted to get closer to the mountains and take on this new job working with Boulder Integrated Health.

Chris White:    Yes, yes. I used to work in the Roaring Fork Valley and I’ve always wanted to get back to Colorado. Just looking for the right opportunity to do that. And that’s how I ended up at a Boulder Integrated Health.

Gina Thorne:   So tell us a little bit about BIH.

Chris White:    So, Boulder Integrated Health has three programs. We have … they’re all outpatient. One program is a partial hospitalization program, the other program is intensive outpatient and then outpatient. They’re all three different levels of care, the highest being partial hospitalization.

Gina Thorne:   And so what is somebody going to expect when they come to your program?

Chris White:    So for our PHP program, it meets five days a week, Monday through Friday, for five hours a day for a total of 25 hours of programming. The programming is a combination of group and individual therapy, probably 70 percent groups and 30 percent individual programming. It’s primary substance abuse, but we’re dealing with a lot of mental health issues as well.

Gina Thorne:   Your demographic is across the spectrum, right? So you’re not looking at just young adults?

Chris White:    No. In fact our program right now, the range of ages is from about 23 to 51.

Gina Thorne:   Okay. Okay. So then the nature of BIH really has been built on a history of people who’ve worked in the recovery world for a long time. Specifically, I know that it’s not tied directly to AIM House, Kaitlyn, but I do know that the people who actually helped build BIH have a real strong philosophy in working with adults and young people. How do you see the philosophy of what the owners at AIM house started to build BIH, and now working with an older population and working with not your young adults like they’d been used to doing for some time? Is that philosophy going to carry over?

Kaitlyn A.:        Yeah. I think what we’re really trying to do in both programs is really looking at, how do we meet the clients where they’re at, and what are they needing? And trying to create a vicinity of services both in the community and specific to BIH or AIM house, whatever it may be, and then actually be able to get people where they fit the best.

So really wanting to try to connect people into, whether it’s building the community and the resources, doing alternative trips like equine therapy, doing, even, we’ve talked about different sorts of groups that might go and do volunteer trips that are just trying to make like IOP and PHP more accessible to everybody and help them make something that’s gonna last throughout their entire life. Instead of just giving them the research or the groups that are going to be all paperwork and you’re just learning it, you’re not actually practicing it.  We’re trying to put that into, how do you make this a part of your life so it’s sustainable forever? And then looking at each of the different demographics of ages. Okay, yes, we might do a little bit different experiential things with the younger adults, versus based off of whatever developmental age they are. So really trying to meet everybody where they’re at.

Gina Thorne:   Yup. And it’s great because you’re creating a continuum of care that’s really, really vital. So it’s like you said, you’re individualizing the care. You’re not doing it as a cookie cutter scenario.

Kaitlyn A.:        Absolutely.

Gina Thorne:   So we always like to get to know the people behind the program and so we’re going to ask a couple of personal questions just so that we can get to know you all personally. So Kaitlyn, just out of curiosity, what new belief, behaviors, or habits that you’ve adopted within the last five years, have most impacted your life?

Kaitlyn A.:        It’s a good question. In the last five years I’ve had two new children in my life, and so that has changed my perspectives. I used to be somebody who, and still to some degree am, where I like to do a good job at everything that I’m doing. Having kids come into the picture, makes me realize where the priorities need to be and better understand the clientele that I’m working with and where their priorities need to be. For me, being able to have more of a work-life balance and really take the time that is important for family and practice what I preach, as opposed to just tell other people how to do it even though I may not be doing it.

So I really find I learn a lot from my clients. And then I also feel like through that process I’m able to bring a lot of, this is how, it’s a life philosophy. This is not just step one, two, three, and then you’re done. This is, you have to change the way you look at things and the way that you live your life. And I feel like I’ve really done that.

My background is in gestalt therapy. I liked the experiential pieces of things and really working with people where they’re at as I mentioned, and pieces that I put in is prioritizing my life, having self care in my life, having the balance between work and personal life. And then play. Get outside and do the things that I love. That’s why I’m here in Colorado as well. There’s a lot there. And in Boulder specifically, there’s just a plethora of things.

Gina Thorne:   There sure is. And kids are great at helping us get reconnected to that, don’t they?

Kaitlyn A.:        Oh man, absolutely.

Gina Thorne:   They do naturally, 95 percent of the time anyway.

Kaitlyn A.:        It’s definitely probably been one of the most powerful experiences in my life. Just to see things in a new way again and be present instead of in our busy culture and society. It’s like, no, let’s slow down. Let’s actually worry about what matters.

Gina Thorne:   Very nice. I’m glad to hear that you’re enjoying being a parent.

Kaitlyn A.:        Thanks.

Gina Thorne:   It’s hard work, but it’s probably the most rewarding work we’ve ever had, isn’t it? And so, Chris, if we were to play up the idea of the word harmony, what do you think it means to live a life in harmony?

Chris White:    You know, for me, the word harmony and what it connotates is balance. And that’s again, building on what Kaitlyn just said, a balance between work, life, family, having fun. People with substance abuse issues tend to have problems with moderation. They tend to have problems with balance. Alcohol, drugs, food, gambling, we find that sometimes when we take one bad habit and put it away, if we don’t do the proper work in ourselves, that it will pop out in other ways.

Chris White:    So for me, harmony is synonymous with the word balance and just, a finely balanced life. And it’s very difficult. Our bosses want us to make our jobs number one, our wives want kids to be number one and them. Everyone wants to be number one. And it’s hard to do. But we help clients through that, we do it ourselves and that’s what I feel like harmony is for me anyways.

Gina Thorne:   That’s great. I like that answer. Thank you. And so if somebody wanted to access treatment services at BIH, how could they get in touch with you?

Chris White:    Sure. So there’s a couple of different ways. The easiest way would be just pick up the phone and call. The number is 720-739-6500. And you’ll always get someone. You can also go to our website as well, which is BoulderIntegratedHealth.com. My first name is Chris and my last name’s White. And again, the number is 720-739-6500.

Gina Thorne:   Wonderful. Thank you both Chris and Kaitlyn, for taking the time to visit us at Harmony. We really value the work that you all do and we hope others that are listening today will take advantage of your services.

Kaitlyn A.:        Thanks.

Chris White:    Thank you.