Vinland Celebrates 25 years of Its Chemical Health Program


Vinland staff welcomed guests at an open house Oct. 7 to celebrate 25 years of its chemical health program.

Vinland began offering chemical health services for adults with brain injuries in 1990. Now, 25 years later, the program continues its innovative program to help clients with varying cognitive impairments.


The open house Oct. 7 included individuals and groups interested in learning more about Vinland, its chemical health program and many complementary services. People who were also instrumental in making Vinland’s work possible were recognized during a short program at the open house.


Staff took visitors on a tour of the Retort facility, including the residential areas and for a pontoon ride to see the beautiful landscape that surrounds it.

The open house ended with a presentation on “Mindfulness Meditation”  by Vinland Program Services Manager Tom Beckers.


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Meet Our Intern Jill

Jill Traynor is a chemical health intern at Vinland’s residential program in Loretto. She is working on getting her licensure in drug and alcohol counseling with Metropolitan State University. She hopes to get her licensure by Dec. 2015.


Why are you interested in your field of study?

I wanted to help people. I jokingly tell everyone that I’m a recovering accountant, but I really just wanted to find something more meaningful.

Why were you interested in an internship at Vinland?

I was interested in the client population here and Vinland has a really unique treatment model.

What are your goals after graduation?

I look forward to being a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LADC) and working in that field at a treatment facility (maybe at Vinland).

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I love to read. Right now I’m reading “The Theft of Memory” by Jonathan Kozol. I also loved to go see movies and go out to eat.

What are your favorite places you’ve ever been?

I loved seeing Scandinavia, which included visiting Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. I also loved seeing London, New York, and San Diego.

If you could meet anyone in the world, who would you meet?

His Holiness the Dalai Lama — He’s the embodiment of everything I inspire to be in terms of humility, kindness, and genuineness.

What is your spirit animal?

A panda — because it loves to eat, sleep and repeat.

How do you like to relax or de-stress?

I like to sleep-in when I can. I enjoy getting manicures or pedicures or just having a spa day with a facial or massage.

What song best describes your life?

“I’m Gonna Be Strong” by Cyndi Lauper

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Annette Pearson is New Outpatient Services Director at Vinland


Annette Pearson, MS, LADC, CBIS, has been named the new outpatient services director at Vinland Center. She will oversee the outpatient chemical health program. Previously, Annette was the outpatient services manager at Vinland for nine years.

“The best part of my job is working with a team whose goal is to empower clients to have the courage to change their attitude, thoughts and behaviors making positive changes in their lives,” Annette said.

Annette has been with Vinland National Center for over 17 years. She just completed a 7-year term as a co-chair with the DHS TBI advisory committee. She currently serves on the MARRCH educational committee, and she is certified by BBHT to train and supervise counselors. She is a certified brain injury specialist with the Brain Injury Association of America and a guest lecturer at Hazelden Graduate School of Addiction. She continues to teach workshops at state and national conferences on various topics around chemical health and cognitive disability for a variety of professionals.

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Meet our Intern Dave

Dave Ouzts is a chemical health intern at Vinland’s residential program in Loretto. He is working on getting his licensure in drug and alcohol counseling with Metropolitan State University. He hopes to get his licensure by Dec. 2015.

Why are you interested in your field of study?

I was working with older adults and finding that many clients were presenting with drug and alcohol problems. My interests stemmed from that experience.

Why were you interested in an internship at Vinland?

I came here because of Vinland’s mission and specifically to work with this demographic of clients.

What are your goals after graduation?

I look forward to employment and getting my LPCC at St. Mary’s University possibly starting fall of 2016.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I enjoy being in my garden and spending time with close friends.

What are your favorite places you’ve ever been?

Greece. I stayed in a remote island of Paros for six weeks. I also loved going to Hawaii and visiting the big island and Maui.

If you could meet anyone in the world, who would you meet?

If I could go back in time I’d like to sit in the room and listen to Niccolo Paganini. (Paganini was an Italian violinist, violist, guitarist and composer known as the violin virtuoso of his time.)

What is your spirit animal?

A cat–because cats have the ability to stay in the present moment.

What is your favorite book, movie and/or TV show?

“The Nantucket Diary” by Ned Roem

What song best describes your life?

“Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns N’ Roses

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Music for the Spirit: Finding a Rhythm for Recovery

Take a drum, take a seat, and feel the beat.


Vinland Chemical Health Case Manager Mark Collins starts the beat on a bongo drum. Then Vinland clients in the group “Music for the Spirit” join in and the real noise — and healing — begins.

“I think it’s primal,” Collins said of drumming. “Since the beginning of time, people gathered around a fire with drums. I believe in the healing power of music and drumming.”

For about six months, Collins has worked on this healing power in hopes Vinland clients can benefit by participating in a drumming circle.

“Research has shown the benefits of music, especially with mental illness,” Collins said. “Clients have been through the same stuff for years. This music group breaks that. They can relax with music.”

“Everything is rhythm,” Collins said. “A heartbeat, how we walk, how we speak, the orbit of our planet—it all has rhythm to it.”

Collins makes the distinction that the group is not “music therapy,” but a way for Vinland clients to come together and identify their own feelings, thoughts and emotions they are having as they reach recovery.


“I play music to provoke emotions too and to see their response,” he said. “I work on expanding their musical influences and help them find their recovery song— a song that’s your center and can work anytime or any day whether you’re feeling good or bad.”

Collins will play a client’s song for the group. He’ll display its lyrics so clients can see and understand more about a song they like or choose.

“Sometimes they don’t realize the meaning behind the words they’re singing along with or know in a favorite song,” he said. “Sometimes they end up with a different recovery song that’s not their favorite one anymore.”

The group discusses major and minor keys in music and the varying tempos of songs they like. At the start of every group time Collins asks each client to say a feeling that they have and then asks again at the end of their time together, often it’s different.

“By the end, about 90 to 100 percent of the group says they are calm or more relaxed,” Collins said. “The goal is to help define peace for them and to have a coping skill for when they leave here.”

One of the most challenging aspects of introducing the music group time is overcoming prejudice and resistance.

“I ask them to keep an open mind and set aside their prejudice for or against different kinds of music and simply be open to listening to something new,” Collins said.

Sometimes even upbeat music can trigger something in a client who may get overwhelmed with emotions and memories associated with it. Collins keeps them engaged by allowing Vinland clients to make their own music during the drumming circle. Clients can play drums, use shakers or tambourines, or even sit and listen to how the group rhythms and sounds change during the 15-20 minute freestyle play.

“We will even do humming to help find your own personal vibration,” Collins said. “I ask them to feel the hum as a practice of mindfulness of where it comes from within them and that’s calming.”

Playing music and humming can be a challenge in a room full of strangers, but Collins tells the clients it’s okay to try something new because everyone there is trying something new.

“Your whole self changes in recovery,” he said. “We each have emotional attachment to music we hear and perhaps they can leave this group understanding that attachment more and have an open mind on the influence and power of music.”

Drumming has always been a part of Collins’ life, who plays drums in four different bands. He’s happy to share his knowledge of drums and music with Vinland clients every week.


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Join Vinland at the Walk for Recovery

Walk for Recovery banner

Minnesota Recovery Connection’s fifth annual Walk for Recovery is a way to celebrate recovery, show your support, generate hope, reduce stigma and offer living proof that recovery is real! All proceeds will help MRC continue their mission to strengthen the recovery community through peer-to-peer support, public education, and advocacy.

Join the Walk for Recovery on Saturday, September 19 at Lake of the Isles in Minneapolis. Vinland is proud to sponsor this event. Stop by our booth before the walk to say hello and grab some free goodies!

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Meet Our Intern Noel

Noel Reynolds is a dual track clinical psychology intern at Vinland’s residential facility in Loretto. He is a Clinical Psychology major with a focus on Neuroscience (LADC, LPCC) at Argosy University. He will graduate in spring of 2016.


Why are you interested in your field of study?

I worked as a paramedic in Dallas Fort Worth, Texas and with that work I only got to be with patients for a short time. I decided I wanted to be able to spend more time with clients to help ease anxiety and alleviate stress and depression. I knew there was more I could do to help people than strictly medically. I wanted to build therapeutic relationships and take more time to stabilize them.

Why were you interested in an internship at Vinland?

Vinland is the gold standard for neurological treatment and chemical dependency. This is the place to be. I’ve talked to a lot of people who have endless good things to say about the work being done here. I have to say this has been one of the best choices I’ve made in my career in a long time. Josh is an incredible supervisor. I’ve only been here two to three weeks and I’ve already learned so much from him.

What are your goals after graduation?

I plan on doing doctoral studies in the fall of 2016 on brain research. I am an associate with the Society of Neuroscience. I will also continue to be with Vinland through April when I graduate.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I like to attend the Minnesota Opera Symphony and I like nature photography. I like to go to zoos and gardens to take nature photos.

What are your favorite places you’ve ever been?

I like to travel to Puerto Rico where my family is from. I try to go there every other year. I also enjoyed going to Chicago and last year I had a blast in Washington D.C.

If you could meet anyone in the world, who would you meet?

His Holiness the Dalai Lama – I am a practicing Buddhist. To meet him would be the highlight of my existence. I am a major proponent of Buddhist psychology and incorporate it into my practices with meditation. I think meditation helps clients concentrate and focus on something other than going through treatment and that work and the stress it brings. We ask a lot of them and I am very proud of the work they do.

What is your spirit animal?

A panda bear because I don’t get excited or upset easily. I’m an even-keel kind of person and I like to focus on what I’m doing at the time and enjoy being around others.

What is your favorite book, movie and/or TV show?

I enjoy the show Game of Thrones on HBO.

What song best describes your life?

“Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin

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