Founder, Chief Executive Officer, Owner
Dr. Andrew Sapp is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Cherry Gulch. He has extensive experience working with children and adolescents, as well as, in the fields of mental health and psychology. Dr. Sapp earned a M.A. and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University. Dr. Sapp was a Field Supervisor and Therapist at a therapeutic wilderness program for students ages 11 to 13, the only program of its kind in the country at that time. He has worked at a youth correctional facility predominantly with violent offenders. He also worked as the lead therapist on the adolescent unit and program therapist on the pediatric unit of a locked inpatient psychiatric hospital where he worked primarily with suicidal, homicidal, and psychotic youth.
Dr. Sapp's extensive experience also includes working as a therapist at a group home for foster boys where he also did family preservation and probation work. He is a veteran and honorably served as a Naval Lieutenant stationed at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth where he worked as a therapist. He has also worked as a therapist at two community mental health centers where he worked with children and adolescents who were struggling with a variety of behavioral and emotional issues, a community college, and an elementary school where he taught anger-management and self-esteem groups for struggling boys.
Dr. Sapp has served on the Government Relations Committee for the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP) and a committee that wrote best practice guidelines for small therapeutic programs much of which was later incorporated into NATSAP’s best practice guidelines for all their members. Dr. Sapp has presented at a number of national and regional conferences. His topics include but are not limited to: The Mind, Moods, Motivation, and Maturity of the Middle School Male; Brain Development, Psychosocial Development, and the Need to Have Younger and Older Adolescents in Different Treatment Programs; and Evidence-Based Treatment & Creativity: The Art & Science of Psychotherapy.
Dr. Sapp has worked with patients ranging from 4 to 80 years of age and truly understands psychology and human development. His experiences have made him passionate about early intervention and prevention as he feels early therapeutic intervention can prevent a child from throwing away their future. Dr. Sapp realizes that to reach a young adolescent one's therapeutic interventions must be supportive, creative, and engaging. He is an expert in working with young adolescent boys and at using the natural environment and everyday activities to create positive change in a child's life. He is a firm believer in the power of outdoor experiential activities, adventures, and animals to aid in the healing process. Dr. Sapp believes that to effect lasting change in a young adolescent a holistic (mind, body, and spirit) approach is necessary.
Dr. Sapp graduated with honors from Oregon State University where he was a NCAA Division 1 wrestler and earned a Bachelor of Science in psychology. While in college he was a camp counselor, director of residential life for a sports camp, resident assistant, peer advisor, coach, referee, crisis line counselor, and volunteer at a homeless shelter among other jobs. He has also earned a black belt in judo, completed a marathon, and enjoys numerous outdoor activities. He holds certification as both a Wilderness First Responder and in Non-Violent Crisis Intervention. He is also EAGALA (Equine Assisted Growth And Learning Association) certified. Dr. Sapp has also served as an advisor to a Charter School and Corporate Kids CyberKlub (CK2) and has volunteered with 4H and Boy Scouts.
By far his greatest accomplishment has been starting Cherry Gulch and serving the many students and families that have benefited from this award winning and life changing program.