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 parents 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 in Sylmar, CA. At the time, Hathaway was an orphanage that cared for abused and neglected children whose parents were either deceased, unable, or unwilling to care for them. Many of these kids came from alcoholic and abusive families. It is with these kids 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 is fond of saying, “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 that he’s is most proud of.
The first half of Scott’s professional career focused on working in 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 bay area, Scott launched Muir Wood Adolescent and Family Services in 2013. Muir Wood is the culmination of Scott’s life experiences, and has become recognized nationally as a gold standard in adolescent care. Currently, Muir Wood operates four residential campuses in Sonoma county, and two outpatient Family Learning Centers, offering education to the communities of both Marin and Sonoma counties. 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 frequently 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 in launching their own treatment programs, offering guidance with licensing, accreditation, staff recruitment, and strategic advice.
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 and nurse educator at the University of California, San Francisco. She is his constant inspiration and beacon in his life.
Find Scott Sowle on LinkedIn.