Adolescent boxing during fitness class

Scott Sowle

Founder & CEO

Scott Sowle has worked with teens and families for over 30 years. His goal has always been to create treatment programs that emphasize kindness and compassion over confrontation and control. Settings that promote sustainable, life-long recovery by providing teens and their families idyllic locations coupled with caring, dedicated, and highly qualified professionals. Professionals who partner with families to find more effective ways to communicate and begin the process of healing.

As an undergraduate and graduate student, and as a means to better understand how substance abuse and mental health intersected within his own family system, Scott began his professional journey at Hathaway Children’s Services. At the time, Hathaway was an orphanage that cared for abused and neglected children whose parents were unable or unwilling to care for them. Many of these kids came from alcoholic and abusive families. It is with these young men at Hathaway that Scott first felt a sense of belonging and connection that has continued to this day. He remained at Hathaway for years. The time at Hathaway would be instrumental both personally and professionally. Scott adds, “My career path chose me long before I could make that choice for myself.” He remained in contact with some of the boys at Hathaway, and to this day Scott remains a close mentor to residents he met some 30 years ago. It is something he’s most proud of.

The first half of Scott’s career he focused in the administration for behavioral health and substance abuse treatment programs within large, non-profit Catholic hospitals. These included the Sisters of Carondelet, St. Joseph’s, and St. John’s in southern California. With a desire to have a greater immediate impact that a smaller residential program could offer, Scott accepted the position of Executive Director of the then start-up, Visions Adolescent Treatment Program in Los Angeles. He would help launch that programs’ residential and outpatient centers. In 2008, seeing a need for gender-separate, adolescent treatment in Orange County, CA, Scott conceptualized and was the visionary behind Newport Academy, launching that program as Founder and Executive Director. Scott remained at Newport Academy for close to five years.

Wanting to be closer to his family in northern California, and seeing the need for high-quality treatment for struggling teens and families in the San Francisco Bay Area, Scott launched Muir Wood Adolescent and Family Services in 2013. Muir Wood is the culmination of his personal and professional experiences and has become recognized nationally as a gold standard in adolescent behavioral health care. Currently, Muir Wood operates eight gender-separate residential campuses in Sonoma county, and an outpatient Family Learning Center, offering education to Sonoma County families, professionals, and the community. Kathy Ketcham, best-selling author of ‘The Spirituality of Imperfection’, ‘Broken’, and ‘The Only Life I Could Save’, says of Scott and Muir Wood, “It is a place of light and hope, offering a comprehensive program of treatment, academics, and family involvement that sets the gold standard for gender-specific adolescent treatment. If only every young person struggling with alcohol and other drug problems could spend time at Muir Wood where kindness, trust, and respect are the keystones of life-long recovery.”

A graduate of UCLA, Scott has authored a number of articles and is often asked to speak on mental health, substance abuse, family systems, and paths to sustainable healing. He is passionate about education and is honored to sit on community advisory boards and non-profits in hope that his voice can be a catalyst for effective and thoughtful substance abuse and mental health treatment policies, and as an advocate for the underserved. Scott has also worked as a consultant and mentor to many young entrepreneurs helping them launch their own treatment programs, offering guidance with licensing, accreditation, staff recruitment, and strategic advice. He has also been recognized for his work, most recently as the recipient of the 2020 Miracles Award in the Bay Area for “outstanding lifetime achievement and outstanding service in the treatment of addiction and mental health disorders”.   

A cyclist, surfer, endurance swimmer, and runner, the outdoors have played a significant role in Scott’s life and are an essential component of the program at Muir Wood. To quote John Muir, “In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.”

Scott lives in Marin with his wife Basia, an operating room nurse, Nurse Educator at the University of California, San Francisco, and nurse consultant at Muir Wood. Basia is a constant inspiration and beacon in his life.

Find Scott Sowle on LinkedIn.

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