Addiction Specialist Staff
John W. Tucker
John Tucker studied psychology and philosophy at Denison University in Ohio. He studied law at Cornell Law School for a year then decided to pursue his PhD in Philosophy at SUNY Stony Brook. Always drawn to the mountains and transformative power of the wilderness, John moved to Idaho to become a Field Instructor at SUWS, one of the original and most respected adolescent wilderness treatment programs in the United States. During his six-year tenure at SUWS, John became Field Supervisor, then Field Director. In 2001 he left SUWS to help found the Wisdom Ranch School in Idaho, an alternative boarding high school for boys in a ranch setting. He wore many hats at Wisdom Ranch, from academic director to admissions director. John enjoys mountaineering, golf, skiing, Ohio State Buckeye Football, and spending time with his wife, Brandie, and their young daughter, Riley. Email John
Elizabeth S. Baer, LISW, BCD
Elizabeth Baer brings twenty-seven years of substance abuse and mental health experience in residential, inpatient-acute, outpatient, and private practice. Her background includes working with individuals diagnosed with serious and persistent mental illness as well as short-term reactive patients at Springfield Hospital Center, Sykesville, Maryland. Elizabeth served as Adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor, University of Maryland, Field Instructor/Faculty and has served as an Adjunct Professor and Field Instructor at New Mexico Highlands University. She presently serves as a Field Instructor at New Mexico State University. Additionally, Elizabeth developed and implemented the Intensive Outpatient Program for New Mexico Highland University.
Elizabeth is a Diplomate in Clinical Social Work (BCD), and is certified in Motivational Interviewing. Advanced trainings include the Intensive Family Therapy Program at the Family Therapy Institute of Washington D.C., evidence based substance abuse treatment, sexual abuse/trauma, motivational interviewing, attachment disorders, mental illness, victimization and clinical hypnosis, cultural diversity, and clinical supervision. After receiving her undergraduate degree from the University of Vermont, she earned a Master of Social Work from the University of Maryland School of Social Work and Community Planning with a specialization in Employee Assistance Programs.
Kirsten Wing MSW, LMSW
Kirsten Wing is originally from the Midwest where she earned her BSW degree from the University of Illinois in Chicago. Her interest in culture and diversity led her to the University of Hawaii where she participated in a rural health program on the Island of Molokai and received her MSW degree.
Kirsten worked in an adolescent inpatient residential program on the Island of Oahu. While living on Maui she worked with families and children as well as in an inpatient acute care setting. Kirsten's experience includes working in the criminal justice system as a social worker, and most recently with dually diagnosed veterans. She has been trained in motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioral family therapy.
Kirsten is a registered yoga teacher and is pursuing her yoga therapy certification that includes specialized practice for addiction. Kirsten enjoys a daily meditation yoga practice and has studied the effects of yoga and meditation on the mind and body. Kirsten enjoys traveling and has traveled extensively throughout South East Asia.
Daniel Clothier, LADAC, LPN II
Daniel began his work in the field of behavioral health as a nurse in Michigan. He was a social living instructor for Job Corps in Colorado for one and a half years, working with court-ordered youth. Daniel became a nurse in 1972, and was one of the first Emergency Medical Technicians in Arizona. He later assisted in the implementation of a paramedic program in San Diego, California, where he taught and supervised new medics and other agencies, created specialty teams and was one of the first flight medics to fly in the Lifeflight Program in San Diego. Daniel graduated with honors in the field of Addictionology, using his skills to create programs with “at risk” high school students. He continued his work with youth in New Mexico at a transitional program for youth, serving as supervisor, counselor and assistant director. Daniel conducts basic life support and first aid trainings. He currently runs the family program at Vista Taos Renewal Center where he facilitates the healing and rejoining of families.
Jessica Williams, LSAA
Jessica is certified as a Licensed Substance Abuse Associate counselor and is completing her clinical internship at Vista Taos. She is in the final year of her Master’s program in Counseling Psychology with a concentration in Adventure-Based Psychotherapy from Prescott College. Jessica also received her B.A. degree from Prescott College, with a major in Environmental Studies and Outdoor Education and a minor in Psychology.
Jessica’s work in the field of addictions recovery began in Tucson, AZ where she spent 7 years helping to facilitate Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy at Cottonwood de Tucson. Most recently, Jessica has worked in inpatient treatment centers for adolescents and young adults. Her transition to Vista Taos brings with it the opportunity to help those in recovery experience the healing potential of natural settings and the strength of community in adventure excursions. Jessica holds a Wilderness First Responder certification and has a background in climbing, hiking, sailing, horseback riding, scuba diving, and snowboarding.
Ed Cardenas, LCSW
Ed Cardenas is a New Mexico Counseling and Therapy Practice Board Provider. He is also a certified trainer in Colorado. Vista Taos Renewal Center is fortunate to have him as a Family Week lecturer and facilitator of Grief and Loss groups for our patients. Ed has a Master's Degree from the University of Denver where he received the Dorthea Spellman Award for his creativity in working with groups. He is a Summa Cum Laude graduate from Metro State College. He was trained as a facilitator/trainer at the Grief Education Institute in Colorado, as a Substance Abuse Counselor Trainer at the Colorado Department of Health and as a Rehabilitation Specialist Trainer. Ed has authored books on substance abuse, culture, character development, parental school involvement and has written a manual on grief work.
Julia Dougherty-Hanna has been practicing massage therapy since her graduation from the Institute of Natural Healing in 1997. Julie has witnessed, in her three years on staff at Vista Taos, the therapeutic benefits of massage and healing touch. Clients appreciate how much massage can ease stress, decrease anxiety, relieve physical pains, and provide additional support to the process of recovery.
Cynthia Freeman-Valerio, MA, LPC
Cynthia ‘Cindy’ Freeman-Valerio received her B.A. from Columbia University, studied psychology at The New School and received her M.A. from the University of New Mexico. Cindy brings 30 years of experience in interactive psychodynamic therapy specializing in experiential ‘action methods.’ Vista Taos has had Cindy as our psychodrama therapist since 2006. In addition to working for Vista, Cindy provides services for local mental health agencies and family programs, as well as serving as a director for local theater projects. Her energy, enthusiasm and dedication to the healing and performing arts is truly a statement to her commitment with helping others heal, grow and thrive; Vista is fortunate to have her as part of our clinical team.
Ed Thomas, MBA, MSc/MHC, LMHC
Director, Business Development
Ed Thomas, Director of Business Development, holds two Master’s degrees. The first is Master of Business Administration and the second is Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling. Ed is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in the State of New Mexico.
After completing his internship program in Albuquerque, Ed became a Mental Health Counselor and Quality Assurance Director at A New Awakening Counseling in Albuquerque. The primary client population served at A New Awakening is comprised of persons on probation or parole that have substance abuse or co-occurring diagnoses. After leaving this position Ed served as a Mental Health Counselor at the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Detention Center. Prior to re-careering into the substance abuse/mental health field Ed owned a manufacturing business with operations in three states.
Adam McLean, BS
Director of Outreach
Adam joined Vista Taos in 2013 with experience working in both private and public substance abuse treatment programs. Adam began providing client services for many years in community mental health for a non-profit in northern Arizona. He assisted in creating a long term extended care program that combined an outdoor adventure experience with traditional treatment modalities. Prior to joining Vista Taos, Adam was Director of National Marketing for The Rightstep, Spirit Lodge and San Cristobal Treatment Center. During his tenure he developed a comprehensive network of treatment providers throughout the United States. Adam's experience has allowed him to help hundreds of families get their loved ones in treatment. Adam also works with NADCP, the National Association of Drug Court Professionals working on alternative sentencing for chronic drug offenders. Adam is a member of NAADAC, National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors, NAATP, National Association Addiction Treatment Providers, NATSAP, National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs.
Nicole Jackson, Administrative Director, joined Vista Taos in 2000. Nicole has been a vital member of Vista’s growth and expansion over the years. Nicole ensures that all of our parts work together and that nothing falls through the cracks. She has been trained in addictions treatment, co-dependency and the impact of addiction on the family members. Nicole is a native to Taos and provides all of us with a wealth of information regarding community, state and regional resources. Also, she loves Elvis.