Melissa is a licensed clinical social worker, who received her Bachelor of Science in Family Services from Brigham Young University in 1995, and a Master of Social Work from the University of Utah in 2000. She has been a member of the clinical team at WayPoint since its inception in 2013.
Born and raised in Ogden, Utah, Melissa comes to WayPoint Academy with vast experience in adolescent care across the continuum, including psychiatric assessment centers, residential treatment facilities, and therapeutic boarding schools. She has functioned in various capacities,including milieu, administrative and clinical positions. Melissa's comprehensive roles have helped her hone her well-rounded skill set as a seasoned therapist.
Melissa has extensive experience treating students and families who are struggling with a wide range of mental health issues including: depression, anxiety, mood disorders, trauma, learning disorders, autism spectrum disorders, psychosis, and attachment disorders.
She utilizes an eclectic and creative approach drawing upon concepts from psychodynamic influences, attachment theory, as well as cognitive-behavioral (CBT), dialectical behavioral orientations (DBT) and acceptance & commitment Therapy (ACT). Melissa is also trained in eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), protocols that help address and work through trauma.
Most importantly, she has received training from the Behavioral Technology Training Institute in Exposure Response Prevention (ERP) to address Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Body Dysmorphic Disorder, and Panic Disorder. This training has been valuable in helping the young men at WayPoint address their underlying fears, avoidance, and life interfering behaviors.
Working in different positions across various treatment facilities has provided Melissa with a unique understanding of out-of-home placement and clinical care. She is skilled at building rapport and therapeutic alliances with her students, while honoring each client as unique and individual.
When she is not working, Melissa enjoys many creative pursuits, from experimenting with new kombucha recipes, designing jewelry, listening to live music, and spending time with friends, family, and aptl- named rescue dog, Oliver.
Adrianna, who goes by Adri, was born in Twin Falls, ID, and spent her latency years in Pennsylvania and her teenage years in Michigan. She attended Spring Arbor University in Michigan, where she earned her bachelor's degree in social work—completing her final semester at SAU abroad in Antigua, Guatemala. Adri has always pictured herself working in a helping profession, and her time in Antigua sealed her decision, as it allowed her a glimpse into social work on a global level.
After graduating from Spring Arbor, Adri moved back to Idaho and attended Boise State University. She earned a master’s degree in social work while interning for a non- profit organization, doing casework for foster children. Following her graduation from BSU, she moved to Ogden, Utah to pursue a career in counseling.
Adri enjoyed her time in these settings and gained valuable insight and experience working with youth in residential care who have neurodevelopment disorders. Additionally, she has worked in outpatient settings for behavioral health organizations, where she supported youth with learning differences and emotional challenges and assisted in their development of improved self-esteem, study habits, and communication skills.
While working in an outpatient setting, Adri discovered WayPoint Academy and began a new journey. She started as a residential counselor and worked directly with students, learning all aspects of a specialty program. Adri became passionate about the work she witnessed and believes these experiences have made her a more effective therapist. She understands the importance of communication, training and collaboration among residential and clinical staff, and the long term, positive outcomes for our students.
Adri's approach is attachment centered and strength-based. She strives to understand the unique needs of each student when creating individualized treatment plans. She utilizes Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), sprinkled with Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), and Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT). However, she is a huge advocate and believer of Exposure Response Prevention Therapy (ERP), and most frequently utilizes this approach for all of her students. Adri excels at building trusting and therapeutic relationships and is well known for her compassion, calmness, and care as she uses this connection to challenge and empower students to address their underlying fears, avoidance, and life interfering behaviors.
When not working, Adri enjoys being outdoors. Whether she's hiking, canoeing, backpacking, traveling, or going on an adventures with her husband and two golden retrievers (Juniper and Coda), Utah is the perfect place to call home.
Mark Rainsdon, L.C.S.W.
Mark was born and raised in nearby Idaho, where he graduated from Brigham Young University (Idaho), with a bachelor's degree in Social Work. Following graduation, Mark’s professional experience began as a Psychosocial Rehabilitation Specialist (PSR), doing in-home and community-based treatment to help teens struggling with many types of anxiety and depressive disorders. Mark was soon introduced to the field of wilderness therapy, which combined his love of the great outdoors with his passion for helping teens. While working as a field staff, Mark was encouraged to further his education. He returned to school at the University of Utah and obtained a master’s degree in Clinical Social Work.
Afterward, Mark was hired by a new company specializing in the treatment and diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD,) and other neurodevelopment disorders. Over the next several years, he gained experience as a primary therapist and then as an assistant clinical director. He has always approached therapy from a strengths-based perspective to help students explore and identify their innate abilities.
Mark was drawn to WayPoint for its individualized, experiential, and specialized approach. He is trained and experienced in a multitude of treatment modalities, such as cognitive-behavioral (CBT), acceptance & commitment therapy (ACT), and is intensively trained in dialectical behavioral orientations (DBT). Most importantly, Mark has received advanced training from the Behavioral Technology Training Institute (BBTI) in Exposure Response Prevention (ERP) to address Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Body Dysmorphic Disorder, and Panic Disorder. This training is extremely valuable in helping the young men at WayPoint address their underlying fears, avoidance, and life interfering behaviors.
Mark's superpower is patience. He embraces a relational approach to assist students in making sustainable and long-lasting changes, and he is a master at rapport building and establishing a foundation of trust. Mark is a hands-on therapist who can often be found playing a pickup game of basketball, challenging students in ultimate Frisbee, or spending a quiet day fishing together. He appreciates how much he learns from his students and their families as he supports them through their transformative journeys.
Mark and his wife are expecting their first child this September! They are both avid outdoor enthusiasts and are often accompanied by their blue heeler, Maverick. On any given weekend, Mark enjoys working on home projects, building and flying RC airplanes, and enjoying the diversity of activities each season brings to beautiful Utah.
Carla Sandbek, L.C.S.W.
Carla Sandbek was born and raised in Utah, but is new to the northern part of the state, where she enjoys mountain life on the east side. She began her educational pursuits with the intention of entering the nursing field, knowing she wanted to serve in a helping profession. While attending the University of Utah for her undergraduate work, Carla experienced a shift in career choices. She worked at the University of Utah Neuropsychiatric Institute, where she learned the ropes of mental health treatment facilities and working with adolescents and children. She was inspired by the work, the diversity, and the complexity of mental health issues.
Carla earned her Bachelor's degree in Social Work with an emphasis in Psychology. Upon graduation, she was accepted into the advanced standing Social Work Master's degree program at the University of Utah. During one of her internships in hospice, Carla’s calling became apparent. She spent a decade honing her therapeutic skill set as she embraced a specialty career by helping patients and their families address grief, anxiety, and depression. Carla considers her time in the field as a critical part of a rewarding career, and one of the greatest blessings in her life.
As a believer and advocate for self-care, Carla enjoys visiting hot springs for their healing benefits. On one such visit, she serendipitously met staff and students from WayPoint. While she had not previously heard of the school, the encounter made an impact and she was intrigued to learn more. Once she did, Carla soon felt her former work prepared her for this next career opportunity.
Carla’s unique skill set, experience, and warm personality are a match for WayPoint. Her superpowers combine compassion and patience as she utilizes a mindful relational approach to easily meet her students where they are. Carla offers an abundance of support to students and families during treatment and ongoing transitions. Students describe Carla as approachable, easy to talk to, and nurturing. She holds her clients accountable, while allowing them safe space. She utilizes connections to challenge and empower students as they address underlying fears, avoidance, and life interfering behaviors.
Not only is Carla skilled at developing rapport, but she has sought additional specialty training in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) psychotherapy to further assist students with trauma and PTSD. Additionally, she utilizes Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), sprinkled with Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), and Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT). However, she is a huge advocate and believer of Exposure Response Prevention Therapy (ERP), and most frequently utilizes this approach for students.
Carla is a wife and mother of two beautiful, fun children. She and her family enjoy camping together, traveling, and cooking and eating yummy food. Carla’s passions are traveling, yoga, the outdoors, friends, family, and self-care.
Cheyenne Liang, C.M.H.C.
Cheyenne is a native of Utah and grew up in the small community of Ogden, which has become the second-largest city in Utah. She is an avid learner and her educational journey has been an interesting one. She began college at age fifteen and is the first generation of college graduates in her family. Her love of learning is parallel with her strong work ethic. As a young child, she grew up observing and working in her family’s restaurant.
Cheyenne received her bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of Utah. After receiving her degree, she worked as a job coach for people with disabilities. This experience further fueled her passion for seeking a helping profession. She interned at a LBGTQ facility for several years while pursuing her graduate degree and received her Master of Education with an emphasis in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.
Since graduation, Cheyenne has worked as a primary therapist in residential settings and has a unique understanding of the therapeutic environment and excels at building connections with her students. She is a passionate life-long learner striving to sustain a growth mindset in all her endeavors. Cheyenne’s energetic and authentic approach aligns perfectly with the gifted and inquisitive students we have at WayPoint Academy.
Her primary treatment modalities are multicultural orientation, skill-building, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, (MBSR), and most importantly, Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP).
In her free time, Cheyenne enjoys traveling, she has backpacked all over Europe and now enjoys exploring the wide array of outdoor activities Utah has to offer.