“We are all in a constant state of change, controlling that change is where we go wrong. We cannot control change, we can however influence it by our attitudes, beliefs, and choices.”
What does Northwoods mean to me?
Education & Credentials
- Masters of Science; Clinical Mental Health Counseling
- Masters of Business Administration
- BS Psychology / BS Criminal Justice
Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor – Maine
NASM – Certified Personal Trainer
The Acadia Hospital
- Inpatient Therapist
- Access Center – Intakes and first line calling
- Psychiatric Tech; Inpatient children, adolescences and adults
Penobscot County Jail
- Corrections Officer
To list the various experiences in employment I have had would take some time.
As a young teen I began working starting in manual labor, and without prejudice taking on anything that would achieve a paycheck.
I have always held the mentality that I am not above any job and hard work is the only way to achieve sustainable success.
This for me meant maintaining two and three jobs at a time, working as many hours as I was able.
My Journey into Mental Health
I have throughout my life been drawn to helping others
I was set at 17 years old to join the Marines. I had participated in JORTC during my high school years and enjoyed the structure and camaraderie. This however changed when I learned I would soon be father of not one but two.
I had planned on completing high school in three years from the start and good thing now that I had four week old babies in attendance.
I took a bit of time off to do what was necessary to care for my young family.
Once it made sense I re-entered education looking for that same feeling I had from JROCT and hoped for in the Marines. Law Enforcement seemed like a natural fit.
Entering Beal College I completed my AS in Law Enforcement and began working as a Correction Officer at the local Penobscot County Jail. What I found changed my direction. While there were great and professional folks I worked with I quickly found myself questioning and recognizing the severe mental health needs that were not possible to address in such a setting.
I had already started my BS in Psychology and Criminal Justice, and with my never quit beliefs I continued and completed these degrees.
It was at this time however I changed direction and found a position working with individuals with developmental and mental health needs living in a group home setting. I was sold. I knew at this time I found something I felt great doing.
As I continued through school I worked my way from group homes to working at Acadia Hospital in an inpatient setting. This gave me such excellent experience and ability to work with a variety of disciplines, and made the decision to further my education and achieve my MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and LCPC.
Working for a number of years at Acadia as a clinician and with a variety of ages, issues, and needs, I missed being outside of an office. I knew it was time for me to take on a new challenge and begin a new journey.
I am a forever student and love to learn.
This has pushed me to head back to school and complete a Masters in Business Administration and ultimately to the Northwoods we are today.
Looking back I think about what were the individuals, the moments, that helped bring me to where I am now and working in mental health. I can attribute it to so many folks and the great supports I have had. However there is a moment that truly stick out.
The first was my high school homeroom teacher. In the right moment she stopped me in my tracks. I was complaining about something, specific doesn’t matter, she said “Devin, stop your (We will say complaining)”. She then sat me down and we had a conversation that I will never forget. In that moment she provided me with what we do today, conversational counseling. She helped me think through they superficial issues and understand what was underlying my thoughts and feelings.
Thank you Ms. Clain!
Question & Answer
What are your passions?
“My passions span a wide array of areas. I would have to say that what I love most is being free, out in the open, and in the elements. There is nothing like being on the road, riding a motorcycle, feeling the wind as it rushes by, or the view from the top of a peak and the sun as it sets over the water. These things take my breath away and bring a sense of peace that I wish to share with all those around me.”
What is one of the most difficult things you have overcome?
“When I was 17 years old, a junior in high school, I found out that I would soon be a father of not one, but two beautiful children. My initial reaction was fear; can I do this? I am too young? I had already planned my schooling so that I could complete high school a year early, and that is exactly what I did. At eight weeks old my two wonderful twins were at my graduation. Ever since that moment I have strived to overcome all expectations, push through the tough times and show them that no matter what it is you put your mind to, you can achieve it. I have been able to not only fulfill my role as a father (a great one at that) and be there for my children, I have also reached every goal I have set for myself. Achieving multiple degrees of study and always pushing myself to be better. Having children at such a young age was a huge undertaking and at times very overwhelming and that is why I share this here as the most difficult and gratifying thing I have overcome.”
How did you get involved in working in this field?
“I have always thought that I wanted to be in law enforcement, even as a very young child. When I achieved this and began working in the field I found a common trend, many did not need jail they needed help. They did not nor could they afford to pay a ridiculous fine or to spend days, weeks, months or years in a jail. They needed guidance, mentoring and direction. This led me to the field of mental health and counseling. From my experience as a therapist I began to think about what I would want out of therapy, what goals I could set and what would be the best way to get there. What I found was that 0ne hour a week may be good for some, however life doesn’t happen an hour a week, it happens every day and in those moments of difficulty that is when the most success and growth can be found. Northwoods Ranch and Retreat offers just that. The ability to work with young men in the moment and address issues as they present, is far more effective than that of any outpatient service. That is why I chose this type of counseling.”
What do you like most about working at Northwoods Ranch and Retreat?
“I love the family atmosphere, the true caring and the camaraderie. It is amazing to watch the men we work with as they find themselves and grow. We become close and a true bond is formed and memories that I will never forget.”
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
“Five years, where will I be… I hope to be sitting at a fire looking out at the lake sharing great stories, adventures and struggles with close friends. I see myself continuing to grow my passions and experiencing the outdoors and the adventure that life has to offer. “
In a little more detail…
“What can I tell you about me? As I thought about this question and what I would like to share with those reading this, what came to mind was a time 10 to 12 years ago when I found myself struggling, unable to find myself and feeling lost. At the time my now ex-wife and I were separating and things had begun to fall apart. We had the normal fights that ensue when a relationship comes to an end. I felt hurt, confused, guilty, and as it was once put to me by a seven year old client, I had emotion salad. I briefly discussed above that having children at a very young age was a challenge; this was the most challenging part of that experience.
I remember vividly sitting in my room after my wife had left, curled up and weeping, exhausted and shut down. This moment was a turning point for me. It was the moment that I told myself I need help; I cannot do this on my own. Up until this I had felt confident and able to do anything, I had not failed at much in life despite the bumps, it was easy to navigate.
I began to reach out to my friends and people I had long ago left behind. They, over time and many conversations were what pulled me out of this hole I had found myself. If not for them and my wonderful family I do not want to imagine where things could have gone. I share this because I come to this work, this lifestyle from experience. I have been in a place I felt alone and unable to move and with the help of great people I was able to find my way out. I think this is important for clients coming to the ranch to know. That I as a counselor am not lecturing from a book, telling them what some professor in a class told me. I am coming to them as a person who struggled, a person who took that struggle and made the choice to educate myself so that I could help others.