2017 Conference Highlights

Immaturity, Character Development and

Treatment of Adolescents

October 12-13, 2017

Whitefish, Montana


Conference Highlights

  • Two days of intense focus on the impact of delayed or disrupted maturity in adolescents, with an emphasis on the role of attachment insecurities.
  • 12 hours of CEUs approved by the Montana Licensing Board for Social Workers, Licensed Marriage and Family counselors, and Licensed Addiction counselors.
  • An interactive workshop format with presentations by six leaders in the field.
  • The Grouse Mountain Lodge is a 30 minute drive from the western entrance to Glacier National Park, one of our nation’s most majestic landscapes.


Meet the Speakers


John McKinnon, MD is a founder (1997) of Montana Academy, a therapeutic residential school on a ranch in NW Montana and founder of the Montana Academy Foundation, which supports research in adolescent development. He was educated at Harvard (BA English), Cambridge (MA Economics) Case Western Reserve (MD), Yale (Resident Training, Psychiatry) and Vermont College (MFA-fiction). He was on the faculty at UC (San Francisco), a director of resident training, and he has practiced adolescent and adult psychiatry in Texas and Montana, where he also directed hospital programs. He has written: An Unchanged Mind: The Problem of Immaturity in Adolescence (2008) and To Change a Mind: Parenting to Promote Maturity in Teenagers (2010), New York, Lantern Books, and has spoken in various venues about these issues. He married Rosemary 45 years ago in the UK, and he likes to think he helped her to rear three splendid daughters—all now young adults.

John L. Santa, Ph.D., is a Co-owner/CEO of Montana Academy. He is the past president of the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs and served as a founding member of their Board of Directors. Dr. Santa received a BA in psychology from Whitman College, followed by Masters and PhD in cognitive psychology from Purdue University. He has undertaken postdoctoral studies in cognitive, clinical, and neuropsychology at Stanford University, the University of Montana, and the University of California San Diego Medical Center. Dr. Santa was a tenured faculty member in the department of psychology at Rutgers University and has published numerous articles in the areas of psychology and education, as well as spoken at regional and national conferences on many aspects of psychology. He is also a licensed clinical psychologist.

Elizabeth Kohlstaedt, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist and has been the clinical director of Intermountain, a children’s behavioral health care agency in Montana, since 1990. Dr. Kohlstaedt received a B.A. in German from Purdue University, an M.S. in linguistics from Indiana University, an M.A. in physiological psychology from Arizona State University and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from University of Montana. She has served as adjunct faculty at Syracuse University, University of Montana and Carroll College and has trained medical, psychology, social work and counseling interns from around Montana and around the country. Dr. Kohlstaedt has appeared on Prime Time Live, National Public Radio and in the Los Angeles Times to discuss attachment disorders and has provided seminars for a variety of professionals, including judges, physicians, nurses, foster parents, case workers, clinicians and direct care staff on issues of attachment, child development and trauma. Dr. Kohlstaedt was honored as a distinguished alumna by the University of Montana in 2014 for her work through Intermountain.

Ellen Behrens, Ph.D., is a Utah licensed psychologist who received her Ph.D. in Psychology from Michigan State University in 1998, where she completed her doctoral dissertation on young adult attachment. She is an Associate Professor in the Counseling Master’s Program at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, where she teaches graduate courses in Counseling Ethics, Psychopathology and the DSM, Group Therapy, CBT, Professional Roles, Internship, and Clinical Assessment and provides supervision for master’s level trainees working in a variety of treatment settings. Dr. Behrens has worked with teenagers and families at many levels of care, including residential treatment, as a psychologist, clinical director, and consultant. She is the Chief Editor for the Journal of Therapeutic Schools and Programs and a Research Scientist for the Center for Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare at the University of New Hampshire.

Tim S. Corson, Psy.D., is a licensed Clinical Psychologist in Montana. Dr. Corson completed his Doctor of Psychology at the California School of Professional Psychology-Los Angeles and his Bachelor of Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Corson currently works as a Clinical Director for Montana Academy. Dr. Corson has completed intensive internship and fellowship programs at Children’s Hospital-Los Angeles, Reiss-Davis Child Study Center-Los Angeles, and Judge Baker Children’s Center-Boston. He has presented at national and regional conferences and facilitated many staff trainings and parent workshops on the subject of adolescent development.

Todd W. Cardin, MSW LAC, completed his undergraduate degrees at the University of Montana where he was a double major in psychology and sociology.  He received his MSW from the University of North Dakota where he graduated Summa Cum Laude as a member of the Phi Alpha Honor Society.  He is a licensed clinical social worker and a licensed addictions counselor in the state of Montana.  During his twenty-five year career, he has worked in a psychiatric hospital, the juvenile justice system, wilderness therapy, and directed a transitional living facility for young men with substance use disorders.  He has spent the last thirteen years with Montana Academy where he developed an attachment-informed treatment model for adolescents struggling to overcome substance use disorders or similar behavioral compulsions.  He has authored a treatment manual and given numerous talks both regionally and nationally based on this model.

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