Author: CERTS Group

Education Benefits of International Travel

Not all education can and should happen within the classroom. Sometimes, traveling is the best form of education, as students can get a number of personal and educational benefits from travel. From learning about other cultures first-hand to seeing where historical events took place with their own eyes, educational travel gives students the opportunity to deepen their understanding of art, science, history, and culture in ways they never have before. But the benefits of student travel go far beyond the actual subjects taught during the trip.  A wonderful article by shared 10 ways that that students traveling domestically and abroad benefit from their journeys.                                                

Neuroscience of Dance


At La Europa Academy, one of the expressive therapies provided each week is dance movement.  Students involved in this type of expressive therapy, find that they are able to process feelings of depression, anxiety and trauma in a more effective manner as they are moving their bodies.  A recent article in Psychology Today demonstrates the effectiveness of the changes our brain goes through as we dance whether it be through a formal dance experience or through dance movement therapy.  The article shares:

The neuroscience of dance is a relatively new, but rapidly growing, field of research. In recent months, a variety of new studies and an article-based dissertation on the neuroscience of dance have been published. These findings help us better understand why we dance and how dancing engages and changes the human brain.

On May 11, Hanna Poikonen(link is external) of the Cognitive Brain Research Unit at the University of Helsinki is defending her doctoral dissertation, “Dance on Cortex – ERPs and Phase Synchrony in Dancers and Musicians during a Contemporary Dance Piece(link is external).” This paper adds fresh insights to the burgeoning “neuroscience of dance” field of study and presents potentially game-changing methods of research that may have clinical applications.

For her dissertation, Poikonen developed novel ways to study various brain functions outside of a laboratory. By using event-related potentials (ERPs) and EEG, she was able to monitor how professional dancers’ brains differ from both the average layperson and well-trained musicians.

One of the main takeaways from her research is that expert dancers display enhanced theta (4-8 Hz) synchronization when watching a dance piece. Previous research has found that theta brain waves are associated with syncing-up deeper brain areas (such as the hippocampus, basal ganglia, and cerebellum) with the cerebral cortex. “Studies of professional dancers and musicians have highlighted the importance of multimodal interaction and motor-related brain regions in cerebral processing of dance and music,” Poikonen said in a statement. “The dancers’ brains reacted more quickly to changes in the music. The change was apparent in the brain as a reflex before the dancer is even aware of it at a conscious level. I also found that dancers displayed stronger synchronization at the low theta frequency. Theta synchronization is linked to emotion and memory processes which are central to all interpersonal interaction and self-understanding.”

Dance has been a universal aspect of the human experience for millennia and is part of our collective DNA. Our bodies and brains have evolved to dance in synchronized unison. And, dancing on a regular basis seems to change the way we think and interact with one another.

In a 2017 article, “A Dancer’s Brain Develops in a Unique Way(link is external),“ Poikonen writes:

“In dance, the basic elements of humanity combine in a natural way. It combines creative act, fine-tuned movement and collaboration, much like playing music. The movement involves the whole body, like in sports. . . Studies on producing music and movement show how during cooperation, the brains of two people become attuned to the same frequency. This is apparent in how the low-frequency brain waves of the participants become synchronised.

Brain synchronization enables seamless cooperation, and is necessary for creating both harmonic music and movement. The ability to become attuned to another person’s brain frequency is essential for the function of any empathetic community.”

Call Us Today

At La Europa Academy, we can help your daughter cope with the effects of ADHD, depression, eating disorders, anxiety and other issues through fine arts-based residential treatment programs. La Europa Academy is a clinically sophisticated, 36-bed, a fine arts-based residential treatment center that specializes in using the arts to help girls ages 13-17 heal and work through the emotional pain. La Europa blends the best of traditional treatment (DBT, specialized groups, small caseloads, outstanding family systems work, etc.) with a focus on the arts including dance movement therapy that allows us to build on our girl’s strengths. Contact us today to speak with our admissions director.

Adventure Therapy Provides Positive Therapeutic Outcomes

Adventure Therapy is a form of experiential therapy that allows participants to take calculated risks and explore personal issues in a safe, supportive environment under the guidance and support of trained and certified therapists.  Adventure Therapy often is done in the outdoors and includes activities such as hiking, mountain climbing, rappelling, camping, mountain biking, rafting and skiing.  While on the surface these activities are fun, they also allow a teen participating in these activities to process emotional issues, addictions, depression, trauma and many other clinical issues.   Spending time in nature has therapeutic benefits in and of itself.  Simply getting outside and getting one’s body moving allows for natural endorphins in our body that help us to boost our spirits and help individuals to view the world more positively.


Adventure Therapy can open doors to healing that other types of talk therapy can not do alone.  While a teen is participating in adventure activities, they are often challenged in ways that help them face situations in their everyday life.  With the feelings elicited during an Adventure Therapy activity, teens can go back to a more traditional talk therapy session and discuss how the experience might be similar to something they are facing.  Problem solving skills used in an Adventure Therapy session can also be processed to help a teen use those same problems solving skills in their daily life.  During adventure activities, therapists can help a teen provide invaluable information regarding patterns of behavior and emotional triggers that increase self-awareness.  Adventure Therapy is a valuable way to help students process deep trauma.  Because trauma can be stored in our body, research done by leading trauma expert Bessel van der Kolk, MD has shown that moving our bodies in a positive way can help us process deep emotional wounds.  Dr. van der Kolk discusses the benefits of Adventure and Outdoor Therapy in his book “The Body Keeps the Score:  Brain, Mind and Body in the Healing of Trauma.”  At CERTS Programs we often hear therapists say that they best clinical work they do with a teen is when they are hiking, camping, skiing, or mountain climbing with their client.


  • Teens are directly involved and are not passive observers
  • Teens receive therapeutic benefits through processing of experiences
  • Activities are chosen for a teen that teach lessons that then applicable to past experiences and future challenges
  • The experience becomes meaningful because the teen is able to reflect similarities in their day-to-day life
  • Activities enhance personal growth and clinical progress
  • Activities are chosen that teach independence, life skills, team-building and problem-solving skills


Kolob Canyon and Moonridge Academy both provide extensive Adventure Therapy as part of their clinical programs.  Weekly Adventure Therapy occurs each Wednesday.  Additionally a 3-day Adventure Trip is executed on a monthly basis.  Often group therapy involves adventure activities in the form of ropes course work or interactive games.  Therapists are involved in all Adventure Therapy activities.  Call the Admissions Director  at Kolob Canyon or Moonridge Academy for more detailed information.