A Brief Biography
Jason Wittman, MPS, has been the Executive Director of The Youth Rescue Fund and its parent organization, Los Angeles Youth Supportive Services, Inc. since he founded them in April 1995. With over 28 years of counseling experience, he has developed highly innovative and very effective programs to address the problems of adolescents and young adults. His expertise includes: methods of reaching and working with the most unreachable street kids; doing psychotherapy in non-traditional settings such as on-the-streets; the effective teaching of life-coping skills including self-esteem and self-confidence building skills; and prevention and treatment of alcohol and drug abuse and addiction including 12 step programs.
Jason Wittman received both his B.S. degree in business management and his Master of Professional Studies in Counseling Psychology from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. He is also a Certified Hypnotherapist and a Certified Practitioner of Neuro Linguistic Programming. In 1971, he founded Alpha House, a residential therapeutic community for drug addicts and alcoholics in Ithaca, N.Y. and was its Executive Director for four years. In those four intensive years, he accumulated over 8000 hours of group counseling experience and more than twice as many hours counseling individuals.
He then turned his attention to a very neglected group of teenagers, the street kids. Since then, he has developed a methodology called "Counseling On Demand," that enables therapists to reach and assist the most unreachable and incorrigible of street kids. In his current program, a single team of therapists has been able to move over 100 youth off of the streets in the last four years. Over the years, he has designed and run programs that have effectively worked with youth and young adults of many backgrounds, such as middle and upper class white kids in Ithaca, N.Y., male street hustlers and gay and Lesbian youth in Phoenix, Az., Mexican-American kids, in Phoenix, Az., and currently, with street prostitutes in Hollywood, Ca and with kids from all over LA County who congregate around the coffee houses of West Hollywood. Most of them live at home but are very estranged from their parents and at very high risk for alcohol and drug addiction and suicide.
Through the years, Jason has done many interesting things. He was an Air Force officer, including a tour in Viet Nam. As a Fuels Management Officer, he was responsible for all the petroleum products used on an air force base. In his off-duty time, he raced motorcycles in the Mid-West and had the largest live collection of poisonous and non-poisonous reptiles in Viet Nam. He has been a private pilot; a progressive-rock disc jockey; an ice hockey player; a licensed, single-parent foster parent; a practitioner of Tai Chi Chuan; a welding sculptor; and a press and fine arts photographer. He has had non-counseling work experiences including being a farm hand, a car salesman; an undercover narcotics investigator, a private detective, an owner/operator of a mobile windshield repair business and a facilities manager of a manufacturing plant.
1995 - Present
Los Angeles Youth Supportive Services, Inc. (LAYSS)
I founded LAYSS to carry on the program I created and ran at GLASS (see next entry) when that program was cut when its funding ended.
YSS worked with high risk youth, 12 to 24 years old. Services were provided both conventionally, by social workers working from an office setting and by a mobile counseling team that counseled street youth in their own environent. I designed, wrote and received the funding, implemented, and directed this mobile team that in its first year successfully moved forty-eight youths off the streets. I was responsible for providing clinical and administrative direction to the social work and secretarial staff. I was the primary author for three funding proposals. I coordinated with other agencies and the community, as well as, with the HRSA (our federal funding source) staff. I represented the agency, nationally, at meetings of associations to which it belonged. I increased the client population from 5 to 80 clients in less than a year. In addition to my director duties, I carried a full caseload.
I specialized in generative counseling. My approach to counseling included Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), Hypnotherapy, and 12-step counseling. I assisted clients in recovery programs, in their learning to deal with all the "getting-on-living" issues (self-confidence, stress, anxiety, co-dependency, relationships, etc.) that arise after the initial compulsive behaviors, that got them into a program, were no longer an issue. I consulted with business executives, advising and coaching them through the psychological and emotional aspects of their business transactions, interpersonal and personnel relations and delicate negotiations. I presented workshops that taught the techniques of NLP to business, professional, and sales people and also taught a workshop on relationships called, "Prerequisites for Successful Relationships".
The Center was widely advertised, so I had a wide variety of clients, both adolescent and adult, whose presenting problems covered a wide spectrum, including self-confidence, stress, anxiety, sexual identity conflicts, and unwanted habits. I taught self-hypnosis classes and created and marketed, nationally, a series of self-hypnosis tapes.
I supervised the part of this LEAA funded, anti-crime project that provided an "on-the-street" counseling component to the youths in the target area, a primarily Mexican/American community. Our mission was to reach the normally unreachable street kids in their environment and provide whatever assistance was necessary, be it job or vocational guidance, crisis counseling, client advocacy, or psychotherapy, to get them to feel better about themselves and to develop those life-coping skills necessary for them to stop acting out in self-destructive ways. As a working supervisor, I carried a caseload and supervised two paraprofessional counselors. I originally taught them the skills needed to be roving street counselors.
This project was a voluntary effort by concerned mental health professionals to provide for the well-being of gay and lesbian youths in the Phoenix metropolitan area. I worked on-the-streets with young male street hustlers. Beside general counseling, I assisted them to move into regular, legitimate-type jobs and, if necessary, into living situations with surrogate parents. I coordinated a job referral service and a surrogate parent referral service and facilitated a youth group for gay and lesbian teenagers.
I had a private practice that specialized in working with problem and delinquent teenagers, adults and adolescents with sexual identity problems, and drug and alcohol dependent people. I was approved by the Pima County Juvenile Probation Department to counsel their clients under the Arizona Family Counseling Act.
This youth managed, community agency ran the following activities for adolescents:
Feelings-oriented reality therapy was used to assist the clients in their recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction at this residential (18) and out-patient (60) social model therapeutic community. I designed the therapy programs and recruited, trained, coordinated, and evaluated the staff. I personally led therapy groups, provided individual counseling and coordinated treatment. Also, as Executive Director, I fund raised, wrote grant proposals, coordinated with the community and other agencies, and supervised the administrative and financial activities.
I planned and coordinated all daily production activities, reorganized the work flow and equipment usage to maximize the efficiency of production, and supervised the maintenance personnel of this custom molding fiberglass plastics manufacturer.
I was responsible for the receiving, storage, and distribution of all the petroleum products and the manufacturing, storage and delivery of liquid oxygen and nitrogen on an Air Force base.
B.S. - Business Management
M.P.S. - Social Work
Hypnosis Training Institute of Los Angeles
Certified Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming
Grinder-DeLozier Institute, UC Santa Cruz
Copyright © 20100, J.Jason Wittman, all rights reserved