By Alison Stanton

In a continuing effort to let our readers know about programs and organizations in Arizona that are making a significant difference in the lives of teenagers, Teen Strong is pleased to highlight Desert Milagros, and the significant work that they do.

Q: How long ago did Desert Milagros open, and what types of work do you do there?

A: Desert Milagros, which means “Desert Miracles” has been open since 1997 and started out as a clinic that treated eating disorders in both teens and adults. The Tucson-based clinic is an intensive outpatient clinic, which means that clients receive both individual and group services, and we now offer programs that address three main issues: eating disorders, trauma and mental health. The minimum amount of services each week is 10 to 12 hours for a period of 8 to 10 weeks. We work with people who are 12 years old through adulthood. We have also recently added a partial hospitalization program for both teens and adults, where they receive 20 to 25 hours of service a week and then transition down into the intensive outpatient services for the 10 to 12 hours a week. We accept almost all major insurances and have contracts with them that cover the intensive outpatient programs.

Q: Please tell us a bit about the staff.

A: The therapists at Desert Milagros are Master’s level professionals who are trained in a number of treatment modalities that address recovery and healing from a holistic perspective. We also have a number of support staff including dietitians, counseling assistants, and personal trainers.

Q: What are some of the more common signs of trauma that we should be aware of?

A: The most common signs of trauma for teens are often self harming behaviors, acting out on impulses, numbing and dissociation, low self esteem, difficulty in maintaining any healthy relationships, isolation, dissociation and anger.

Q: What are the treatment modalities that you use for the three main programs?

A: For our trauma program, we use a combination of treatment modalities that include CBT and DBT—which are both types of cognitive-behavioral therapy—self compassion tools, somatic experiencing, energy psychology, and developing safety and self regulation for the teen.

Our Eating Disorder program has nutritional counseling and meal planning, therapeutic meal support, body image work, behavioral treatment and working on developing and establishing healthy boundaries for self and in other relationships.

For our mental health program for teens, we use primarily DBT and CBT therapy to assist them in developing and practicing coping skills to deal with their issues. There is an emphasis on mindfulness and living in the moment.

Q: How do people sign up for one of your programs?

A: To start the enrollment process, we ask that people schedule a new patient intake with an intake counselor. The intake department can be reached at (520) 539-2558. This process usually takes about 90 minutes, and we will use the time to gather background information, ask about current symptoms and issues, and make financial arrangements.

Information provided by Kimberly Lindley, Clinical Director at Desert Milagros. For more information, please visit