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An Interview with Dr. Kelly Brey, Executive Director of Northpoint Colorado

Kelly Brey Interview

Dr. Kelly A. Brey was named the Executive Director for the Adult Residential and Outpatient programs of Northpoint Colorado in late 2023. A licensed psychologist, Dr. Brey earned her Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2007. In grad school, she completed a dissertation regarding the negative psychological effects of bullying on bystanders. Completing her post-doctoral internship at McLean Psychiatric Hospital in Boston, she also held a psychiatric fellowship at Harvard Medical School.

Kelly Brey

After completing a post-doctoral clinical psychology fellowship through Baylor College of Medicine, Dr. Brey became Director of Behavioral Health for a family practice residency program for eight years. In this position, she developed a three-year longitudinal curriculum built on an integrative model of care and including instruction in the diagnosis and treatment of mental health and substance abuse disorders. More recently, she served as the Behavioral Health Manager and Care Coordinator at Colorado State University before joining Northpoint.

Dr. Brey was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule to sit down with us for an interview.

In an earlier conversation, you mentioned that your career before joining Northpoint has been varied, with stints in academia, family practice, and in a hospital setting. How do you think that range of experience will contribute, or has contributed already, to your work with Northpoint Colorado?

While somewhat unorthodox, my career path has prepared me well for the continuum of care we offer here at Northpoint. People have different needs at each stage of recovery, and they are far from universal. But the majority of my experience has been in leadership in interdisciplinary settings. I am excited to bring this essential experience to continue to grow and support our amazing team here at Northpoint.

We have phenomenal, dedicated staff, and that makes a real difference. It’s a huge strength. A person can have all the degrees in the world, but if they can’t connect with you on a human level, it doesn’t mean anything.

What are you finding in your work with Northpoint Colorado that distinguishes it from other work you’ve done? What are you seeing among the clientele at Northpoint Colorado?

I am experiencing beautiful opportunities of growth. Growth in our clients, growth within individual members of our team, and collective growth as an organization. I am very excited to see this continue, and I’m honored to be part of this experience.

As for what I’m seeing among the clientele, it’s a lot of alcoholism, often paired with depression or anxiety. And a lot of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). Although people primarily come to us for treatment of their addiction, I don’t believe I have ever met someone who struggles with addiction that also does not struggle with mental health.

What strategies do you and your staff utilize to motivate clients to stick to their recovery goals? Are there any treatment approaches that you would like to see expanded at Northpoint Colorado?

Motivational Interviewing (MI) is an evidence-based technique proven to be exceptionally effective in substance abuse treatment. MI is widely used here at Northpoint—in individual sessions, treatment planning, group therapy, to name a few. Every member of our team is also trained in de-escalation strategies. It’s an essential but often underappreciated skill when working with people that are often at their most vulnerable.

Dwayne, Lionhead Bunny
Dwayne, the Lionhead Bunny

Ideally, we would expand our already robust offerings of empirically supported treatment approaches for our patients. I am very proud of our animal and music therapy programs—we have dogs that come in twice a week. I am working on getting my daughter’s Lion Head bunny to be approved to join our animal therapy team. And we have yoga and acudetox, which is a holistic care practice that uses acupuncture to reduce withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings. I’m particularly interested in expanding our acupuncture program, since research supports its efficacy in treating both substance abuse and mental health.

Northpoint Colorado isn’t just 12-Step, though we do offer that. We really strive to meet the patient where they’re at and do what’s best for them. For instance, some people just don’t respond to CBT (Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy), so it’s good to have different theories and types of interventions. We do a good job of that here.

Normally, I would advise that if anyone says they’re an eclectically trained therapist, run. But our ability to do many things well makes us unique.

The staff at all Northpoint facilities strives to embody the core values of inspired, humble, conviction, and heart. How do you feel these value help to better serve clients? At what point in the treatment do you see these values coming into play?

I see these values coming into play at every point in treatment. From an initial call to our admissions team, to the moment of graduation, it is our expectation that every member of our team embodies and acts according to these values. This work is hard, for everyone involved. Holding these values not as an aspiration but as an expectation provides a strong foundation from which to accompany patients on their healing journey.

Experience the Benefits and Joys of Treatment with Northpoint Colorado Today

Want to know more about how our compassionate, individualized addiction and mental health treatment? Want to know how we can help you or a loved one? Call us today at 888.231.1281 or reach out through our online form. Our medical professionals, including Dr. Kelly Brey, understand the benefits of professional help. We also  know how to use those benefits to your advantage. Help us help you in your recovery journey today.