John Cohen, MS, LCMHC


Expanse Clinical Director

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John worked 18 years in the juvenile justice system providing assessment and counseling services to adolescents and their families. He has also worked in a psychiatric hospital setting and began working as a primary therapist in wilderness in 2007. John was part of the first mental health unit serving juvenile offenders in the state of Ohio. John has been clinical director 3 times and recently started 2 successful young adult wilderness programs including one that was abroad.

John obtained a BA in Psychology from Ohio State University and an MS in Clinical Counseling from the University of Dayton. He has been a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor(LCMHC) since 1997 and has been doing therapy with a variety of populations for over 3 decades.

John was drawn to the wilderness setting after having many of his own incredible experiences in the wilderness. He realized how much it impacted his life and wanted to use it with what he enjoys the most, working with kids and young adults.

John was adopted and enjoys any opportunity to work with adopted young people. He has trained with some of the leading experts in adoption and attachment. John is committed to helping kids and families heal their relationships and improve communication. John believes in treating the "core" issue instead of only focusing on behaviors and believes in establishing strong relationships with his students and families as an effective means of facilitating the therapeutic process. He believes that the key to effective therapy is all about the connection. "I believe therapy is not about techniques and the latest research, but about the connection between people."

One of John's biggest strengths is his creativity. He designs experiential groups that help set a culture of family and brotherhood. The students become extremely close in John's group. Group culture is consistently talked about on a weekly basis as well as a sense of family and brotherhood. John emphasizes the importance of complete openness and honesty in his groups and with his families. I feel this is the time to get everything out on the table and to share the things that you've been afraid to share in the past. I believe that this helps bring families closer together as well as improving overall communication."

John also believes in individualized treatment. He believes that you have to meet every student where they are at and that you must adjust your style depending on what each student needs. "You need to have a lot of tools in your toolbox because each student brings a set of new challenges and issues. It is important to be able to find a way in and establish a relationship with students. Oftentimes this means thinking outside the box and being creative. I challenge the students to gain insight into their own issues and I believe that the process by which they resolve their issues is more important than the issue itself."

John has also worked with the full range of behavioral and emotional challenges youth struggle with, including mood disorders, grief, attachment, trauma, substance abuse, learning and attention/impulsive disorders. He has assisted countless young people in developing stress management strategies and improving social and life skills. John has worked extensively with families in helping to improve family communication and relations. He has also supervised many clinicians working towards licensure, as well as provided training to mental health workers. Professionals who work with John note his commitment and dedication to his clients and their families as well as his professionalism and authenticity.

In his spare time he loves to mountain bike, hike, snowboard, cross-country ski, skate ski, back country snowboard, and play guitar. He is a musician on the side and has been in many bands over the years. He can frequently be seen riding his motorcycle seeking out a new adventure.