Staff Bios - Meet Our Team

Our Story

The individuals who choose to live and work at Gateways to Transformation, LLC have all chosen to grow and become the change that they see a need for in their own lives and in the world at large. We have all brought our unique views and combined them to create this place so others can come and have the opportunity to grow and learn on this beautiful 40 acre farm just outside of Crawford, CO.

We have worked hard to create a space that is unique, lovely and peaceful. We believe that many need a warm and welcoming space to learn and grow in, which is the basis of our organization. Come out and experience the tranquility of our beautiful healing farm country with an emphasis on growth, learning and sustainable living. We offer rich and varied opportunities for you to experience deep change both within yourself and in society as a whole. Come choose your next adventure!

Do you have a workshop or event to share? Click here.

Alisha Adrian

Alisha Adrian

Executive Director

Owner of Rites of Passage LLC and The Phoenix Rising Programs Residential Extended Care Program and the Intensive Outpatient Programs for both co-ed adults and Teens.

I am a transpersonal counselor/psychotherapist, life coach, healer and artist. I have done extensive transpersonal (mind/body/spirit) work as well as trauma/PTSD work and I also have extensive experience as a dual-diagnosis counselor working with substance and eating disorder issues that stem from trauma. I have a masters in counseling psychology, a certification in transpersonal counseling, a certification in equine assisted psychotherapy and life coaching, LPC licensure in the state of Colorado and am a first level Reiki practitioner and certified in the healing modality Jin Shin TARA. I have spent many years working with shamanistic and energy healing modalities. I engage clients in all types of transpersonal work including art therapy, dream therapy, ceremony and self-growth.

All of the types of therapy and coaching that I engage in are experiential therapy modalities because I have found that when a person engages their body/mind and spirit together in a session, more is synthesized and integrated allowing breakthroughs to occur quickly and learning or relearning that they engage in allows clients to begin to use this new knowledge immediately as opposed to strictly cognitive based counseling, which can take weeks, months or years without any significant results being made.

My work is very diverse because I utilize all of my experience as well as everyone else on the staffs to find what works for each client who comes into our program to excel and focus upon what she needs to achieve her goals.

Brenda Burns Staff Bio Photo

Brenda Burns

I have spent 95% of my life in Colorado.  Most of that living on farms and ranches and always around animals.  My father and grandfather were Horse Traders and so I fell in love with lots of Horses and was broken hearted every time one left the farm, which was daily sometimes.  I learned about self sufficiency, tracking, living off the land, survival and more during these times.  I gained a lot of confidence as well.

I have a Bachelors of Arts in Social and Behavioral Science (precursor to a Social Worker degree) . I have spent most of my working life (30 years plus) as a Case Manager/Social Worker,  Coach and Teacher as well as a Mother.  I have worked and strive to assist and support people in finding and accessing what they need to be more successful in their lives.

I fell in love with Equine Assisted Learning and Psychotherapy about 15 years ago and feel that is what I was put on this earth to do.

I love to facilitate and teach in group settings.

I am the mother of 3 grown sons, who have their own jobs, have their own families, know how to work and survive, are very independent and call their mom just to say hello. I am a success!

I love to ride horses, teach riding lessons, hike, read and visit Hot Springs.

Kim Briarwood Staff Photo 2021

Kim E. Briarwood, MA

Greetings. My name is Kim Briarwood. I am a case manager & therapist at Rites of Passage. I enjoy working at the center. We have so many therapy animals and being someone who loves all animals, it is a perfect environment to teach and to learn. Many of the programs I teach help clients with trauma, sexual orientation and identity issues. I graduated with honors from Upper Iowa University in 2011 with an undergrad in Human Services and Psychology. I finished my graduate degree with a Masters of Arts in Psychology from University of the Rockies in 2013. I enjoy being outdoors which is the classroom at Rites of Passage - the animals and nature are our teachers and guides. I look forward to meeting and working with you.

Deb P counselor

Deb P

I relocated to Delta County Colorado from Syracuse NY in August 2020. While initially I experienced a bit of culture shock, I have come to love the people and the atmosphere on the Western Slope.

I have a Masters degree in Social Work from Keuka College, and a rather diverse work history. I have spent the entirety of my adult life working in the Human Service field in some capacity, from parent education to working with a large refugee population, to work with homeless veterans as a housing case manager. I worked in a medical resident's clinic as a social worker and child behavioral health specialist, and in the process became a certified lactation counselor.

I spent a number of years working as a child protective investigator, but in returning to direct support I solidified my passion for working with and helping people. I obtained my Masters degree in 2017.

As a therapist at Rites of Passage, my work includes individual counseling sessions as well as facilitating therapy groups. I have a great respect for the resiliency of the human spirit, and the holistic approach taken at Rites of Passage allows  each person I work with to structure their program to their individual needs and to get the most out of their experience, which is one of the things I value most about my work here.

I am a mother of two grown children and grandmother of one, whom, when I am not working provides hours of entertainment and keeps me young and on my toes!

Stacy Jones Alternate Staff Photo

Stacy Jones

I am a Creative Arts Therapist, psychotherapist, and artist. I work from a strengths based approach that honors the authenticity and uniqueness of each individual. I have 17 years of experience successfully treating children, adults, families, and elders who are struggling along the continuum of mild to severe psychological problems. I believe all people can recover if given the tools and support they need.

Some of my professional interests and areas of expertise include complex PTSD, early childhood trauma, family therapy, dual- diagnosis, borderline personality disorder, substance abuse, and attachment disorders. I recently worked side by side with our soldiers who have come home suffering from moderate to severe combat related trauma or military sexual assault trauma. Art therapy is an amazing treatment modality for trauma, especially when combined with other experiential approaches.

In addition to a license and masters in Art Therapy, I am also registered and board- certified via the National Art Therapy Credentialing Board. I earned two degrees as an undergraduate in both the fine arts and psychology.

Animals, ecology, nature, and mindfulness have been personal passions my entire life. I cared for, rode, and showed horses as a child and teen. As an adult I have volunteered my time at a horse sanctuary for standardbred horses.

I grew up in the wilderness within a farming community. During my childhood I developed a deep commitment to and respect for nature. My daily companions were horses, dogs, cats, cows, pigs, ducks, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, parakeets, rabbits, and cockatiels! I am indebted to the unconditional love, friendship, loyalty, laughter, and joy they so selflessly provided.


Denise Canchola, DNP, PMHCNS, BC

Dr. Canchola earned her undergraduate degree at Trinity University in San Antonio, her master's degree in psychiatric and mental health nursing at Yale University in New Haven and her doctor of nursing practice at the University of Miami. She is a nurse psychopharmacologist and a psychotherapist dedicated to the delivery of personalized and effective mental health services.

Areas of expertise

  • Telepsychiatry - solid skills at interaction with patients remotely
  •  Psychiatric Assessment - comprehensive assessments with dynamic formulations using the biopsychosocial model of DSM V diagnosis
  •  Behavioral Health Integration - skilled at stabilizing patients for return to the PCP or psychiatric prescriber for management, while remaining available for ongoing consultation.
  •  Substance use Disorders and comorbidities
  •  Borderline Personality Disorder
  •  Bipolar Disorder I and II
  •  Schizophrenia
  •  Major Depression - Treatment Resistant
  •  PTSD and Trauma informed care
  •  Chronic Pain with behavioral issues
  •  Anxiety driven frequent ER visits involving cardiac or respiratory complaints
Nakiea Rodriguez Psych Tech Supervisor

Nakiea Rodriquez, Psych Tech Supervisor

I take care of household needs in the evenings, which includes stocking the house with essential goods, assisting clients with medications, Zoom calls, grocery lists, homework and any other basic needs. We also try to have a community night once a week where we all come together and play a game, watch a movie or go do something in the art room or just hang out, inside or out.

I am here to help clients.

Lacey Staff Bio Photo 2021

Lacey Taylor, Psych Tech

I assist clients with basic needs in the evenings. This can include helping them with homework, connecting them to their families via Zoom, or making grocery lists. I strive to make each client feel welcome and comfortable by making sure the household is running smoothly.

Arlyn Alderdice

Arlyn Alderdice

Expressive Arts, Office Admin, Gardener

I am a highly sensitive person with a wide variety of tools in my tool-belt because of needing to learn to navigate this wild and beautiful world. At Rites of Passage, in addition to office administration, you might find me offering the following Expressive Arts: rhythm & drumming, African marimba, 5 Rhythms dance practice, embodiment practices, pottery, writing, book-making, and process art. You might also find me offering these or other Practical Arts: gardening, herbalism practice, cooking, nature appreciation, walking as a practice, gentle stretching, and yoga.

I am the co-founder of The Embodying Rhythm School of Percussive Arts and The Embodying Rhythm Marimba Project. I am also a teacher, performer and administrator. I am a graduate of Matrix Leadership Institute's Facilitator Training and earned my B.A. in Expressive Arts through Prescott College. I have also completed extensive dance training with Melissa Michaels and Wild Life Productions (now Golden Bridge) in Boulder, CO. I have studied herbalism with Alicia Michaelson of Paonia, CO and gardened in the area with my family for most of my life. I am a mother and I find much resource and healing in nature through gardening, hiking, camping, and backpacking.

Aaron Jerad

Aaron Jerad

I teach permaculture design and hands-on gardening.  The broad intention of permaculture is to meet the needs of people in such a way that the needs of the earth and it's creatures is also met. The principles and methods of permaculture are based in careful observation of nature. We can use this method of design to create regenerative communities, farms, gardens and more. On a personal level, the principles are excellent day to day tools that help use see and feel more integrated into the world around us. My teacher liked to say "All the world's problems can be solved in the garden."

I have been a student of yoga and meditation for most of my life and offer hatha yoga classes several times a week. Using breath and simple movements Yoga is a body centered practice that strengthens the body and also calms the mind.

Jessica Proctor Staff Bio Photo 2021

Jessica Proctor

Here at Rites of Passage I work at a variety of different jobs, including psych tech, cook for dinners several nights a week and as farm staff, helping to manage our 40 acre farm along with therapy animals, a green house and two large outdoor gardens. I also help to manage the permaculture project that includes planting a variety of trees in what will become for us a food forest that benefits both all of the humans living on the property as well as wild animals that live here as well. As a cook, I have encompass a variety of healthy dietary menus utilizing our organic vegetables we grow here at Rites of Passage as well as organic food and produce from neighboring towns and cities.

Jess Oard

Jess Ord

Hello. My name is Jessica , but at Rites of Passage I go by Jess! I am on the farm staff and so take care of therapy animals, the immediate landscape of the retreat center as well as engaging in permaculture for the 40 acre farm we do our work on. I am currently working on a permaculture certification under Aaron Jerad to better understand ways to work with the land instead of against it to bring it back to a healthier balance. One day I aspire to have a farm of my own.