Pathways residential treatment integrates art, music, and movement - Casper, WY Oil City News
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Pathways residential treatment integrates art, music, and movement

Zane Rutledge, Photo courtesy of Wyoming Behavioral Institute

CASPER, Wyo. —  Wyoming Behavioral Institute is integrating art, music therapy, and movement in the Pathways psychiatric residential treatment curriculum, through collaboration with local organizations and individuals.

“We continually update our programming in the Pathways program to make it more engaging, relevant and therapeutically valuable to our patients,” says CEO Mike Phillips. “We want the treatment we provide to be of greatest possible value to the 10 to 16 year olds we are helping with mental health issues.”

Pathways is a residential treatment program for youth ages 10 to 16 who benefit from intensive mental health support for weeks or months. Programming includes individual, family and group therapy, academics and opportunities at WBI and in the community to build interpersonal skills and explore healthy choices for living well.

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Art instruction is provided at WBI by Jessie Bell, who is also painting large, brightly colored murals on the walls of the youth treatment areas. Jessie has an Associate’s Degree in Fine Arts and an Associate’s Degree in Illustration, both from Casper College. She says she launched group therapy at WBI with a group painting project intended to encourage Pathways youth to work collaboratively. She helped them move away from focusing on painting perfectly to concentrating on painting well together, to create something they collectively are proud to see every day.

Some of the murals that Jessie has painted

“They’re learning to make mistakes into accomplishments, viewing what was a failure as something that can be turned into a success,” she said. For more information, contact Jesibell Designs, at

VIBES Fine & Performing Arts is providing music therapy for Pathways students. Zane Rutledge, a VIBES employee, is a Board Certified Music Therapist with more than 1,200 hours of clinical training and experience. He is excited to be working with at-risk teens, helping them discover new ways to experience life transitions through music intervention.

“Music therapy is a powerful clinical co-treatment tool that is extremely effective in helping individuals develop new skills to overcome triggers caused by past trauma, depression, addiction, and other mental illnesses,” says Amy Munsell, VIBES’ owner.

In 2019, VIBES introduced a customized, clinical and evidence-based music therapy program helping clients feel empowered toward the progress they want. For more information, call 307-333-6227 or visit

Dance and tumbling lessons are provided by Rising Star Tumbling and Dance Studio. “We joined with Pathways to do creative movement, dancing, tumbling and Zumba,” said owner Dodie Hunter-Eskew. “I am an advocate for promoting mental health by teaching new coping skills that help make life more livable for troubled youth.”

Dodie’s family founded JR’s Hunt for Life, a nonprofit based in Casper working to prevent suicide. She said she was excited to have the opportunity to partner with WBI to promote healthy living by exposing students to exercise as a means of boosting endorphins and better outlooks.

“I’ve been so impressed with the students who come,” she said, “how well they participate, the positive energy that they give. It’s a lot of fun and really rewarding.” Rising Star Tumbling and Dance Studio has been in business in Casper for 36 years and is now located in Eastridge Mall. For more information, call (307) 266-4556 or visit