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!

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.

Jennifer Berger Certified Life Coach, Certified Energy Healer, Certified in EAL, Marketing Director

I am passionate about teaching people the skills they need to overcome trauma and life obstacles, helping people develop a deeper connection with nature, including animals, and helping people better understand themselves so they can better understand life and communicate more intentionally with those around them. Basically, I love watching people learn to thrive rather than simply survive in life.

I was raised with horses, surrounded by nature. From a young age, I wanted to help those who experienced trauma. From my personal traumatic experiences, I gained a visceral understanding of others who had suffered abuse. When I realized as a pre-teen that I could understand and communicate with traumatized animals who could not share their pain verbally, I began rehabilitating abused horses. As an adult, I used this understanding to work with shelters, helping abused dogs learn to trust again and find warm, loving families.

I held a variety of job titles through the years and volunteered with a diverse group of organizations, developing and deepening a multicultural understanding of people and different struggles. Through healing my own traumas then later studying psychology, I learned to better assist others in their healing process.

I have worked with Rites of Passage since 2014 in a variety of capacities. I teach experiential psychoeducation groups helping people learn to rediscover their mind-body-spirit connection, better communicate, find balance within themselves, and develop and integrate healthy coping skills while extinguishing the unhealthy coping skills which result from trauma. I also assist in EAP, teach horse safety, and use on the ground training and riding lessons to help teach people how to better communicate with horses as equals rather than through domination. I have found when we learn to communicate with animals on this level, it vastly improves our communication with and boundaries with other people.

My intimate knowledge of the Rites of Passage program materials combined with a background in marketing have led me to start a new chapter with the company as Marketing Director.

Jen Berger
Carrie Donnelly

Carie Donnelly (Licensed Teacher and Life Coach)

Hi my name is Carie. I grew up with horses and dogs and know how much I myself learned and grew in maturity and practical skills, working with them in my life. As an experienced elementary school teacher, I have dreamed of adding the component of dogs and horses into my work with children and teens.

I'm currently taking part in an equine therapy and companion dog program internship at Gateways to Transformation Retreat Center.

I am helping to start up and run two separate enrichment programs here at Gateways. for children and challenged children and therapy dogs and small mini horses and large ponies will be part of the weekly class work along with a variety of other enrichment segments for learning.

I can't wait to work with your children. It's going to be a wonderful experience for both your children and myself.

Mark Miller MA-MFT, LPC, LAC Master's Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy Licensed Professional Counselor Licensed Addiction Counselor CEO OF AYCMARC

I have been in the mental health field for over 20+ years. I have a master's degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. I am also a student in the University of Rockies doctoral program in psychology with a specialization in clinical psychology and a concentration in neuropsychology. I have completed the course work towards the degree. I just need to finish my dissertation and the required face to face hours needed to graduate. Within my professional life I have worked with clients and their families at all intellectual functioning levels including those with learning and intellectual disabilities. I have also worked with many children, adults and their families with various mental disorders including depression, anxiety, trauma and ADHD. In short, I have helped many children and adults with their personal and interpersonal conflicts due to mental health issues or relational issues.

Clinical Focus:

Trauma including impersonal (acts of god), attachment trauma (attachment issues), betrayal trauma, identity trauma, domestic violence, addictions, child abuse and neglect, parental alienation, getting the child out of the middle of his/her parent's conflict, reunification counseling, high interpersonal conflict, mental illness (all spectrums within the DSM 5), Parental Responsibility Evaluations (PRE), Child and Family Investigation (CFI), emotionally disturb children, neuropsychology and helping people become the best they can be by building on strengths, and helping people balance differentiation of self and togetherness.

Mark Miller

Justin Pegnataro, L.P.C.C.

Justin is dedicated to helping people live vibrant healthy lives filled with connection and purpose. In 2007, Justin founded Two Coyotes Wilderness School for children and families that connected people to the wildness of nature and the wilderness of their own internal landscapes. Over that time, Justin mentored hundreds of children and adults in wilderness survival skills and in discovering who they are, claiming their personal power and in finding a deep sense of belonging within their own communities and the more-than-human world. Justin is currently an ecotherapist working at Rites of Passage and Needle Rock Wilderness School. Nature is a vital component to Justin's approach. Nature offers both challenge and sanctuary and is a rich landscape filled with metaphor and meaning that empowers the therapeutic process. In his spare time Justin loves to make baskets, pottery, tan hides and explore nature.

Justin Pegnataro