Paul Fontana

Summit Therapist

Paul Fontana Photo


  • Bachelor’s in Outdoor Education at University of New Hampshire

  • Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at University of Phoenix

  • Recipient of OBHC Jumping Mouse Award (2017) on behalf of Second Nature Wilderness Therapy for excellence as a field staff 

  • Mindfulness and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Narrative Therapy, Existential Therapy


Around the time that Paul turned 16, he was sent to a wilderness program and residential treatment program as a result of dealing with significant depression and anxiety that stemmed from unresolved struggles with adoption, being bullied, and deep, unchanneled existentialism.  Paul saw this as an opportunity to make changes in his life that he had previously thought were impossible.  He was able to take these lessons and carry them through his life into other chapters of hardship, now finding himself in a life he never would have dreamed of before getting the help he needed.  Paul uses his experiences to foster an approach that leans heavily into respect for the students, empathy, and challenging them in ways that can be summed up as “keeping it real” with them like how he wishes someone would have when he was working through his struggles. 


After completing his undergraduate degree in Outdoor Education, Paul moved out to Utah to become a field staff at Second Nature Wilderness where he attended as a teenager.  After thriving in this role for two years, he knew it was time to move on to the next steps towards becoming a therapist and left to work as a floor staff at Gateway Academy while attending graduate school.  Paul later left this position to gain experience as a manager at a company that provides services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  When it came time to start internships for grad school, Paul immediately reached out to Gateway to see if any opportunities were available and was able to transition on to the clinical team after his internship.


When Paul first moved out to Utah, he was spending the majority of his time in nature between his role working at a wilderness program and spending his off-shifts going on trips climbing all around the southwest or snowboarding in the canyons.  Paul has a deep passion for music and if you ask him what plans he has coming up, you can count on him mentioning some concert or music festival he is going to.  You can also often find Paul at home with his giant dog reading books about spirituality and philosophy or playing Magic the Gathering with his friends. 

Creating Student Success

Paul starts with unconditional love and respect and then works to help youth develop curiosity and excitement around understanding how their minds work.  He hopes to develop an alliance with them in which they feel safe enough to explore the narratives they use to make sense of their reality and determine whether those narratives are serving them or getting in their way.  From there, he works to help them unlock the innate peace and freedom that has been, and always will be, inside of them, no matter what life may throw their way.