Judy Crane and John West: Writing the Recovery Story

Judy Crane | John West | Writing the Recovery Story

The deep emotional injuries we receive on our journey through life often go unwitnessed and unacknowledged. The hurt and shock embedded in these painful memories can cause a sense of disconnection from our bodies and impair our ability to process our true feelings. Judy Crane and John West believe that sharing one’s story can help the person heal. They strive to create an environment of emotional intimacy, connection, and trust that allow people to experience real forgiveness and reconciliation.

The Guest House Ocala provides unparalleled, premier-quality treatment to those who suffer from self-defeating behaviors brought on by trauma and its underlying issues. It is uniquely equipped to help our guests heal from trauma-induced substance abuse, process addiction, anxiety, or depression in a safe, luxurious, and confidential setting. The Co-founders Judy and John are helping the cause by offering the best trauma and addiction treatment in the country.

We at CIO Look caught up with Judy and John to get a hold of their professional endeavors.

Below are the highlights of the interview:

Brief our audience about your journey as a business leader until your current position at The Guest House. What challenges did you have to overcome to reach where you are today? 

John:  My journey has been guided by talented and wise mentors who gave me a chance to train for years until I was ready to start my own businesses in this field. I learned from the best what great treatment is, and I feel it’s a sacred trust that’s been passed down. It takes a lot of time to first recover oneself, then learn how to help others, and finally many years to see what works and who in this field is doing truly excellent work. I’ve had the good fortune to work with excellence: namely my partner and co-founder, Judy Crane.

When Judy and I decided to open The Guest House, the biggest challenge was conveying to our colleagues and friends our vision and proving to our investors that it would be worth their investment to have a truly vibrant and excellent seasoned staff to handle all the challenges our guests had in coming to us for assistance. A lot of facilities are staffed based on the bottom line, whereas The Guest House selects staff based on the physical, mental, and spiritual safety of our guests. It takes a lot of talented staff to be as effective as our team is with our guests.

Judy: I started as a therapist in South Florida, working with the criminal justice system and also with “pregnant and addicted women” as well as a woman’s residential program for six years. It was in those programs that I began to identify unresolved trauma issues as the primary cause for relapse in substance abuse and mental health issues. As a result, I had the opportunity to create an extended residential program that focused on trauma healing as well as substance abuse and mental health recovery.

In 2003 I was the creator, owner, and CEO of the Refuge A Healing Place and notably was one of the first female owners in the country. That was the largest challenge, creating a space for a strong and talented woman in an industry predominantly run and dominated by men. Today I am co-owner and CEO of The Guest House Ocala with an extraordinary young man, John West. Quite a change.

Tell us something more about your company and its mission and vision.

John: Our mission is to deliver excellent care in a beautiful, loving environment. We have gone to great lengths to create a destination where our guests feel safe enough to let go of their defensive and maladaptive coping mechanisms. Once trust and safety have been established, our guests allow themselves the vulnerability necessary to heal. It is a great responsibility to be trusted by so many families and guests. We get to watch miraculous transformations on a daily basis. Great treatment starts with the staff and the safe environment that allows healing and transformation to take place one day at a time.

Judy: The Guest House is the evolution of the work I started in 2003. John and I have been fortunate to create a stellar residential trauma program with an impeccable reputation as the finest and most successful trauma program in the world. I say that with great humility because we have an extremely talented and experienced team to heal our guests.

Enlighten us on how you have made an impact in the mental health niche through your expertise in the market.

John: I believe the greatest impact we have is to show those who are hopeless and hurting that healing, transformation, and beautiful abundant life are possible once you allow yourself to truly accept the trauma treatment process. My contribution has been the ability to convey that message to as many people as I can, wherever I travel in the world. And in some small way, expand the conversation on what it looks like to heal from trauma.

Judy: I have worked diligently to craft a program that addresses the body, mind, and spirit in order to heal complex developmental trauma that impacts our guests viscerally, at the cellular and sensory levels. We have a team trained in a myriad of modalities with years of experience in the healing process.

Describe in detail the values and the work culture that drives your organization.

John:  Our team of professionals is the best in the world. Their empathy, skill, and dedication to our guests give them little time to boast about themselves, so I get to do that for them. The combination of their talent, humility, integrity, and most importantly, the calm guidance for those who are in crisis is something that can’t be taught, but it can be fostered in those that show great promise with their passion for working in this field.

Judy: We believe in authenticity, genuineness, compassion, and the belief that we do not “give up” on our guests, that we recognize that healing is individual and takes time and patience.

We also believe that our staff must do “their own healing work” and cannot guide someone unless they have their own healing.

Undeniably, technology is playing a significant role in almost every sector. How are you leveraging technological advancements to make your solutions resourceful?

John: We use every tool at our disposal to give our guests what they need to regulate and connect to themselves, sometimes for the first time in their lives. Technology and scientific research have done wonders to confirm the efficacy of the trauma work we do with our guests. Trauma is stored in the body, and as it is released, miraculous things come to pass for our guests. Technology such as brain mapping and biofeedback have helped our guests heal immensely.

Judy: We do our very best to keep technologically savvy and to utilize the many rapid advances that are best for our company.

If given a chance, what change would you like to bring to the Psychology industry?

Judy: I think the most valuable change in our industry would be to ask a simple question:

“Not what is wrong with you but what happened to you.”

John:  I would like to change the stigmas regarding mental health and addiction on a global scale.

What, according to you, could be the next big change in the Healing industry? How is your company preparing to be a part of that change?

John: I think as the world experiences shared traumatic events on a global scale, we need to look at working with a greater number of people. We have started this process by focusing on the first responders in our own community, and from there, we will expand to larger groups needing trauma treatment. A wave of traumatized human beings are looking for help, and as a field, we must be skillful and effective on a larger scale in how we treat those who have been through so very much.

Judy: One of the most important changes would be to address the absolute importance of “healing the healers, the first responders, the military, the folks who experience primary and secondary trauma.” It is imperative to address this issue; we are a traumatized world with very impaired coping skills, and there must be healing for everyone in these roles.

Where do you envision yourself to be in the long run and what are your future goals for your company?

John: The Guest House will expand based on need, and if there is a need, we will continue to grow and open in different parts of the world. I envision myself in the future, as I am today, grateful to be doing this work. I will follow the path set forth by those who came before me, and I hope to show the next generation how this work can be done with excellence, passion, and integrity.

Judy: In the long run, I see myself as a respected mentor, teacher, and advocate for our industry and this very important work. It is a passion of mine to teach the next generation and train more talented professionals to help our industry shine. I see The Guest House continues to lead the world in extraordinary and ethical work.

What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the rehabilitation sector?

John: My advice would be to find a need and fill it. Set down a goal and exceed it, and most importantly, take inventory of your life experiences with all the successes and failures and turn that experience into a gift to those not yet out of the pain, sorrow, and grief of addiction and unresolved trauma.

Judy: To be certain about what your passion is about. Is it because you want to make money? If so, find a different dream. If it’s about having a passion for the work, then work your butt off and never give up your integrity.