Recovery Support Specialist for Phoenix Outdoor
Tommy completed his bachelor’s degree from Penn State University in 2013. Unsure of what direction he wanted to take, he bought a touring bike and started pedaling up the West Coast. After experiencing the healing power of adventure and camping, he knew he wanted to work in the wilderness therapy realm. When he completed the bike tour, he flew to Western North Carolina and began working as a field guide at Four Circles Recovery Center. At Four Circles, Tommy’s passion for wilderness therapy continued to grow, as he witnessed many clients transform after their time in the program. Tommy also discovered the power of ceremony from co-facilitating several months of vision quests. Tommy gained experience in how to hold space for young adults in early recovery and different strategies to integrate recovery from addiction into wilderness therapy.
In 2016 Tommy began working at a therapeutic boarding school for boys, most of whom were transitioning out of wilderness treatment programs. His role here was to take boys on backpacking trips on the weekend, co-facilitate rites of passage ceremonies and introducing them to Asheville’s 12 Step community. In 2018 it was clear to Tommy that he wanted to continue growing in the mental health field, so he began graduate school in Lenoir Rhyne’s Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program.
Now joining the SUWS team as the Recovery Support Specialist, he is looking forward to putting his education, passion for wilderness, and personal experience into action. One of his favorite quotes to live by is, “life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” He feels that SUWS provides a perfect environment for this quote to come into fruition within the students. He looks forward to supporting our students in expanding outside of their comfort zone and helping them become aware of their self-defeating thoughts. In Asheville, Tommy is immersed both in the Twelve-Step and
Buddhist-based recovery communities. His personal recovery plays a large part in his passion for wilderness therapy and his desire to help students find clarity on their journey. In his free time, he enjoys nature photography, meditation, basketball and exploring national forests around the country.