Ascent 121 provides both community based and residential services. All clinical work is trauma-informed and strengths-based, using best practice service standards. Meet the team that makes up our clinical and administrative staff.

Case Management

Survivors of trafficking and exploitation often operate from a mode of survival. Strongly developed survival skills provide numerous strengths that serve the kids. However, those skills can also take a toll on their ability to plan and execute daily life and can keep them from functioning in an organized, effective and low-stress manner.

At Ascent 121, case management services are provided at our office, at the clients’ homes and at other locations throughout the community. Using a combination of internally and externally developed curricula and materials, we take a psycho-educational approach to teaching pro-social skills such as dealing with feelings, reducing stress and executive functioning. Clients are provided with opportunities to learn, develop and practice these skills in a variety of settings while receiving performance feedback. Experiential activities are also used to teach vocation, proactivity, problem-solving, and generalization capacity in a non-threatening manner while expanding multiple senses for a deeper and more integrated learning experience.

Case management often includes connecting youth and families to resources within their community with the goal of increasing increases independence and autonomy.


Home Based Therapy

These services take place primarily in the home and includes both individual and family therapy.  The intensity of therapy varies based on individual risk and need, with ongoing assessment of progress. Clinicians focus on complex trauma, risk reduction, awareness, family cohesion, attachment, self-sufficiency, as well as other treatment targets identified by individual need. Safety plans, case coordination and network referrals are a standard practice. All clinicians are masters level professionals with training in both trauma informed care and commercial sexual exploitation of youth.


Diagnostic & Evaluation Services: Trauma Assessments

Ascent 121 provides comprehensive trauma assessments for youth with a confirmed history of CSE/HT or those who present with risks of such.  These assessments may take place anywhere in the community, including shelter care or residential facilities other than our IMPACT Program.  While there are multiple types of assessments, Ascent 121 referrals from DCS should always be made for “Trauma Assessment”. Our team utilizes The Commercial Sexual Exploitation Needs Instrument—3rd Edition. This instrument is an internally-developed structured clinical decision-making tool to identify critical treatment needs related to youth engaging in elopement and experiencing commercial sexual exploitation (CSE). The tool manages the risk of elopement and identifies treatment goals aimed at reducing future elopements and involvement in commercial sexual exploitation. The Instrument specifically assesses:

  • The level of restrictiveness that a youth may need to successfully engage in treatment;
  • The treatment needs of the youth related to elopement and CSE, while recognizing that additional treatment needs may be present that are not included in the Instrument;
  • The intensity of treatment for 19 identified needs;
  • The priority of those 19 identified treatment needs;
  • Progress in treatment of non-historical, or dynamic, needs among the 19 needs during treatment.

It is noteworthy that this Instrument has been in development for 9 years and is the first of its kind in the country. It is currently being reviewed to establish reliability and validity in partnership with the University of Indianapolis and other specialty CSE providers in the Indiana.


Family Preservation Services

This is a comprehensive service model, designed to keep families in tact. Only youth who are Indiana in-home CHINS status may qualify. Services include weekly in-home safety checks, emergency discretionary fund disbursement, and supplemental therapeutic and case management services as defined by individual need. Service delivery includes one of the following best practice models: EBFT, MI or TF-CBT.


Survivor Peer-Mentoring

Ascent 121 understands that treatment interventions include a wide variety of strategies to empower survivors and support the clients search to regain personal power, realize a sense of personal integrity, establish healthy connections with those who care for them, and engage in a social network that will support their personal growth. Critical to survivors’ success in treatment is not just relieving clinical symptoms but also helping to create an integrated sense of self and community. Beyond clinical interventions our programmatic approach includes mentoring by a qualified peer who can help bolster the clinical skills, techniques, and psycho-education through real-world application in the context of a healthy, safe relationship.

Ascent 121 utilizes survivor-peer mentors in a number of capacities. Recognizing the fragility of these relationships, compounded by things like co-trauma and a life-long journey of healing and growth, Ascent 121 is building a Peer Mentoring  Job Development Program.  Adult survivors who have been removed from the industry and have a demonstrated investment in the healing journey of both themselves and fellow survivors, will be given the opportunity for a paid internship where they will receive comprehensive training as well as self-care and personal development opportunities.  Incrementally, they will increase exposure to exploited youth within a mentoring relationship.


Group Therapy

Ascent 121 provides group therapies in residential, community, office-based settings, and virtual settings.  Group member selection and eligibility may vary over time and is established by considering the risks and strengths of candidates to promote as much heterogeneity as possible. This method helps to reduce unhealthy exposure to CSE for more vulnerable youth which may actually elevate risk. Youth who are at-risk of CSE are rarely included in groups with youth who have an established history of CSE and/or an established street network. Groups provided include a number of internally and externally developed curriculum, including but not limited to the following:

  • Reclaiming the Me I am Meant to Be (Developed by Ascent 121, survivor-authored)
  • My Life My Choice (Developed by JRI, survivor-authored, prevention curriculum)
  • Bodies Are Not Commodities (Developed by A21, prevention curriculum)
  • Survivors Guide To Money (Developed by the Avery Center, survivor-authored)
  • Seeking Safety (Evidence-Based)
  • Roadmap to Redemption (survivor-authored)

Equine Therapy

Survivors of violence and exploitation often experience symptoms of low self-esteem, insecurity, difficulty with problem solving, low self-efficacy, and high anxiety with regard to their economic future. Equine assisted therapy has been shown to increase self-esteem, improve self-efficacy, and lower anxiety. Ascent 121 partners with Agape Therapeutic Riding to provide group and individual equine therapy with youth served. Through these services, youth often report an increased ability trust, a stronger sense of empowerment, increased capacity to generalize treatment concepts, a stronger appreciation for teamwork and cohesion, and increased empathy. Each group is run with one facilitator from Agape and one facilitator from Ascent 121.


Sensory-Motor Work

Sensorimotor Psychotherapy (championed by Pat Ogden) is a therapeutic modality for trauma and attachment issues, considering the body as an integral source of information which can guide resourcing and the accessing and processing of challenging, traumatic, and developmental experience. It includes somatic, emotional, and cognitive processing and integration. Because victims and survivors of CSE and trafficking experience such a high level of somatic dissociation, Ascent 121 has found that sensory-motor work is often instrumental in affect regulation, grounding, and trauma processing. We have a fully outfitted sensory room, equipped with an array of specific tools intended to activate each of the senses:  auditory (sound), visual (sight), olfactory (Smell), tactile (touch), gustatory, (taste) and proprioception (motion).


Experiential Therapy

Ascent 121 staff utilize an array of pre-outlined and internally developed experiential activities in both individual and family therapy services. These include elements such as wilderness activities, trauma narrative work, role-playing, skill practice & development in the community, dance and drama. Experiential therapy teaches proactivity, problem-solving, and generalization capacity in a non-threatening manner. It often expands multiple senses for a deeper and more integrated learning experience than talk therapy may provide. It is often used as a supplement to talk therapy, though in some cases and with supervisor agreement, it may act as a replacement as well.


Art Therapy

Ascent 121 partners with the University of Indianapolis to provide Art Therapy through PsyD students and professors.  The use of art therapy to treat trauma has been well documented provides specific benefits for young people who have experienced trauma including sexual exploitation. Young people may lack the words to describe their traumatic experiences and may be better able to process their trauma through the creation of artwork. In addition, art making can help young people to explore, learn about themselves, develop their self-esteem, experience mastery, and express strong emotions. When the young person is someone who has experienced significant and chronic sexual trauma, the development of these capacities is essential, yet often difficult to accomplish.


Financial Literacy Programming

Utilizing the Avery Center’s Survivors Guide to Money as its foundation, Ascent 121 is building a financial literacy program that will understand address: financial abuse, financial planning, cost-benefit analysis of tax-free lifestyles, boundaries, identity, and personal relationship with money as it relates to safety, security and worth. It is the intended goal to provide hands-on and experiential activities to allow clients to role-play various scenarios involving financial planning.


Substance Abuse Treatment

There is a strong intersection between human trafficking and substance abuse. Not only are substances often utilized in the grooming process but they are also used as a tool for manipulation, coercion and/or control. Victims often rely on substances as a means of self-medicating and survival which results in a high prevalence of addiction. Ascent 121 has incorporated specific substance abuse measures into its assessment methods. While we utilize Seeking Safety (an evidenced-based treatment modality designed to address both substance abuse and trauma), we also rely on relationships with specialty providers in the area, including but not limited to: Dove Recovery House, Rueben Engagement Center, Hope Academy and Fairbanks Recovery Center.

Community Based Referrals

Referrals and inquiries should be sent to Our staff will review each case and provide a response within 24-hours. We request any of the following supporting documentation available:

  • 310/311 reports or Probable Cause Affidavit
  • CANS Report
  • Preliminary Inquiries / Predisposition Report
  • Previous outpatient or placement records
  • Prior Psychological Testing
  • Family History Information
  • IEP if applicable
General inquiries may be directed to or 317.759.0067
Referrals to

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