Kito Holtzman has always enjoyed exploring and taking on new experiences. Prone to his own chronic relapses, Kito now enjoys watching the patients at Clear Springs Ranch mature, recover and rejoin society as he has. He has comprehensive counseling experience with adolescents, adults and families, which include a broad range of therapeutic interventions, such as mindfulness, EMDR, and cognitive behavioral therapy.
From his birth in Caracas, Venezuela, to his repeated false starts in obtaining a degree from the University of Hawaii, Kito has overcome challenges and enjoyed great success in getting his life back together. He earned both a B.A. in History (1999) and a M.Ed. in Counseling and Guidance (2001) from the University of Texas, Brownsville. As both a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor and a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor, Kito enjoys sharing his knowledge with new clinicians. He especially loves equipping these professionals with ways to use their creativity to implement therapeutic interventions, which then proceed to empower their clients to make healthy, long-standing, life changes.
Before working at Clear Springs Ranch, Kito owned and operated a very successful private practice in the Rio Grande Valley. After making the transition from private practice to the inpatient treatment industry, he became the Clinical Director of a well-known treatment center. He finds his work at Clear Springs Ranch to be extremely rewarding and fulfilling, and his enthusiasm is evident in everything he does. He loves spending time with his family, going stand-up paddle boarding, surfing and hanging at the beach. Kito is excited to explore new ways in which to effectively incorporate the use of water-based outreach activities into his clients’ — and his own — recovery.
Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
A: When I was in 4th grade I was watching the volume of noise rise in the class while the teacher was writing on the chalkboard with her back to the students. Without turning around, she shouted, “Kito, be quiet!” but on that particular day, I wasn’t talking. I replied, “Mrs. Putegnat, that isn’t fair, I wasn’t talking,” and without skipping a beat, she turned around and walked towards me uttering words I will never forget. She said, “Kito, life isn’t fair unless YOU make it fair.” At the time, that was quite a shock because I believed the world should be fair. Through the years I have thoroughly come to understand that you must teach the world how to treat you.
Q: What one word would the people who know you best use to describe you?
Q: What motivated you to choose a career in recovery?
A: While pursuing my graduate degree, my intention was to stay out of the industry, however God had other plans. I was finally able to see this is where I was needed most.
Q: Besides working at Clear Springs Ranch, what hobbies, sports, or activities do you enjoy?
A: I have been surfing for over 40 years and have lived by an ocean all my life. I took up stand-up paddle boarding nine years ago, before it was really a big deal. Luckily, I will be able to continue stand-up paddling on the lakes at Clear Springs Ranch to stay in shape for surf-travel. I love traveling and experiencing indigenous cultures. I am an avid mindfulness practitioner and have a daily meditation practice. I am probably going to have to take up wake surfing.
Q: Is there a personal fact you might share that would be hard for others to guess about you?
A: I’m an introvert disguised as an extrovert.
Q: What’s your favorite movie? What’s your favorite book?
A: My favorite movie is “Dances with Wolves.” My two favorite books are “The Wise Heart” by Jack Kornfield and “The Pillars of the Earth” by Ken Follett.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to share about your personal story?
A: Before getting into recovery it was very easy — and a bit delusional — to think that everything around me was wrong. People, society, laws and organizations in my mind were all messed up; if they would change, well, the world would be a much better place. Learning to focus on what is right with the world instead of what’s wrong can be transformative for anyone, and it has helped me become a peaceful being. Like Ms. Putegnat said in 4th grade: Life isn’t fair unless you make it fair.