Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Does therapy in the wilderness change lives?

Posted by Stephen C. Schultz
Submitted by Jason


This is a message sent to RedCliff Ascent by a former student. I’ll simply let the pictures and the message speak for themselves.




“I just wanted to write to you and let you know that looking back at the experience that I had gone through there, although challenging at times, in looking back at the whole experience I believe that it was beneficial to me.  To this day I enjoy the knowledge of being able to start a fire with the bow drill, and knowing how to survive in a challenging environment.  The most memorable staff member was a lady by the name of White Winds, an older lady with the longest and whitest hair I have ever seen.  I have a box of all of the clothes in my basement and every time that I open the box I am engulfed with the smell of 99 days of fire and wilderness. 



While reading the first page of the website I noticed a quote from a former student, who said,

 ‘I don't think that I can explain it to anyone.’ 

I can't agree with them more. I have tried to explain to my friends and family what it was like out there and I seem to find that no one can grasp the whole experience.  Some of my friend’s still can't forgive my mother for taking me away from them my senior year of high school but thank god she did.  A couple of weeks after I was enrolled 5 of my friends were arrested and I would have been with them. 



I am now a senior at Western Connecticut State University and am ready to graduate and go on with my life.  I really don't know why I am writing this but I felt it necessary to express at least a little bit of what it did for me.  Thank you for your time and I hope the program is doing for others what it did for me.

All the best - Jason”

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Vertical Thinking - A New Therapeutic Insight For Teens

By Stephen C. Schultz


"Vertical Thinking is a type of approach to problems that usually involves one being selective, analytical, and sequential...vertical thinking consists of using more of a conscious approach via rational assessment in order to take in information or make decisions."

For those who may not be aware, I simply want to make a brief introduction to Oxbow Academy. The administration team has been working with teens who demonstrate Problematic Sexual Behaviors since 2001. The very specialized and clinically sophisticated services of Oxbow Academy were launched in 2007. Oxbow offers treatment for sex specific issues as well as a blending of best practices and philosophy form RedCliff Ascent, Discovery Academy & Discovery Ranch.



Oxbow Academy is on the cutting edge of research and treatment specifically geared towards adolescents. Uniquely designed to work with students struggling with Problematic Sexual Behavior, Oxbow recognized years ago these problematic trends.   

Gregg Lott, LCSW is one of the senior therapists at Oxbow. In this short video he takes the students on a hike and discusses some of the Thinking Patterns these boys have developed over the years. Take a look and see what you think. This little hike probably had a more positive impact on these boys than sitting on a couch in Gregg's office "Talking" for an hour!



More times than not, students with these particular sexual issues are admitted to a Boarding School or Residential Treatment Center (RTC) with no knowledge of any underlying sexual issues. It’s only after they are enrolled that the sexual issues (usually it’s inappropriately touching a fellow student, preoccupation with sexual talk, accessing porn sites on school computers or exposing himself etc.) present themselves. At this point, it is usually an awkward position for the school because the presenting problems would have been disqualifying criteria had these issues been known up front. It is important to note that these issues don’t simply resolve themselves. We have found that the identifying incident is usually the proverbial “tip of the ice berg”.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Adventures of Little Kids & Big Trees

By Stephen C. Schultz


The clouds were low and gray. A few drops tapped the bill of my hat as I pushed the mower along the edge of the sidewalk. The smell of damp cut grass filled the air and a slight breeze blowing from the west let me know a rain shower was on its way.

It was the middle of the morning and I felt a bit of pressure to get the lawn mowed before the storm rolled in. So, I was focused and moving at a little quicker pace than normal. I looked up and saw three of the neighbor kids climbing in one of my trees. I kept the mower going and moved closer to the tree. On my way towards them, they noticed that I saw them. They looked away and then glanced back at me with that childhood curiosity that screams;


“Is he going to tell us to get down? Are we going to get in trouble? Will he tell our parents?”

In the fifty feet it took me to get to the tree, I also had a flood of thoughts. I recalled many instances in my childhood climbing trees and having make-believe adventures around the neighborhood. I remembered times playing in the neighbors yard, riding bikes up and down the sidewalk complete with Evel Knievel jumps and taking adventurous trips to the reservoir with our Red Rider BB Guns!

As I got closer to the tree, I turned off the mower. I stepped to the base of the tree and looked up. They didn't say a thing. I let the awkwardness hang in the air for just a bit more then I said,

“I love climbing trees! I used to climb tree's all the time when I was your age!”

The three boys relaxed a bit and one said, “Yeah, it's fun! I climb trees at my grandmas house!”

I then asked them,

“Do any of you know first aide?”

They looked at me quizzically.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

5 Reasons young adults struggle to stay in treatment

By Stephen C. Schultz


Many young adults in today’s society, those who are 18 to 26 years old, find themselves contemplating mental health treatment of some kind. This self- realization comes to them because they are struggling in college to maintain good grades while partying throughout the week. There are some who simply flunk out of school and go back to live with mom and dad. Still others graduate high school, live with their parents and move from job to job never really making that transition into adulthood.



When partying and gaming take over their lives, these young adults start getting pressure from family to turn their life around. Their behaviors start to affect family relationships.  They may also suffer from bouts with depression, anxiety or other emotional issues that are symptomatic of their situation. It turns into the typical “Failure to Launch” syndrome.

When things get bad enough or when there is enough pressure from family to take care of the problem, these young adults will seek help. Often they start seeing an outpatient therapist in their community. Sometimes, things are bad enough that they seek help from a residential treatment program like a drug & alcohol rehab or mental health facility.

It is widely known throughout the treatment community that the majority of young adults who enter treatment also drop out of treatment before completion. There are many clinically complicated reasons why this is so, but here are the five most common reasons that young adults fail to complete treatment.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Discovery Academy - College Prep For Struggling Teens

By Stephen C. Schultz


Join us as we travel through an education paradigm shift! We at Discovery Academy have one of the most innovative education systems anywhere. Spend a couple of minutes with us and see what we do at Discovery Academy.



When you think of academic delivery, what do you think of? We often think of classrooms, teachers, lectures, chalkboards, projectors, tests, semesters, class periods and ringing bells. There are hall monitors, food fights, tardy slips and cramped lockers. 

In this traditional setting, time is the constant; 5 days a week, 16 weeks a semester, 2 semesters a year, summer vacation. Again, Time is the constant…Learning is the variable.

What if we flipped this concept on its head…reversing the equation? What happens when Time is the variable and Learning is the constant?

Students enter our system at different levels of competence and mastery in each subject. In our competency based learning system, students work with certified teachers in each subject. The student moves through each subject at a pace that is personalized and individualized. While there will always be 5 days in a week, there are no semesters or summer vacation to determine when a student is done learning.

Students at Discovery Academy learn the academic material in chapter size chunks. They then take a test on that material. They are expected to score an 80% or higher before they move on to the next chapter. This process allows the student to master the material at a pace that works for them. It allows the student to experience success in education and develop competency in learning. Our students learn how to learn.

For every 12 months enrolled at Discovery Academy, students earn, on average, 1.5 yrs of credit. They score higher on the ACT & SAT educational testing than the national average. Students also improve their GPA by 75%.

A remarkable achievement and result for the students who find themselves in a therapeutic residential setting.

Here is a short, fun video! Take a look!


video



Saturday, April 11, 2015

Is work the answer for teenage entitlement?

By Stephen C. Schultz


Life experience is only as valuable as our interpretation of it!

Do teens know how to work anymore? Do they know how to meet the needs of an employer? Are they always looking for the next exciting activity, trip, technology or game? What are they learning from a society of instant gratification? Has substance abuse and emotional concerns increased because our teens are constantly searching for the next thrill, but never able to find it?

When teens and young adults find themselves battling the demons that are associated with emotional concerns and family turmoil, they miss out on some crucial life and work experiences.



Throughout their young lives, the focus has been on their journey through the Adolescent Stages of Development. What has been missing are the very important Formative Stages of Career Development.

I don't see the paperboy anymore or the bag boy/girl at the grocery store. We have online news and self check out at the store! While this may be more convenient, there is a trade off for future generations. They are missing out on the opportunity to learn the value of work, the skills to be of value to an an employer and the determination to stay focused through a full day of work!

These experiences provide a foundation for a successful transition into adulthood.

I hope you find value in this related blog post entitled…

Something About Work Is Good For The Soul

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Is Your Teen Safe Tonight?

By Stephen C. Schultz



For many parents, the first night their child spends at RedCliff Ascent is the first night they have slept peacefully in a long time. There is no more wondering where she is or if she will come home safely.

RedCliff Ascent is the wilderness program parents choose when it’s time to intervene and stop the sleepless nights.




Your child thinks and behaves as though the whole world is her personal playground. No responsibilities. No consequences. No problems.

In other treatment settings, your teen may be labeled only by his diagnosis:  Anxiety, Depression, ADHD, ODD, bipolar mood disorder, or others.      

At RedCliff, they know the teen and their illness are two distinctly separate matters. Their therapeutic model addresses each one specifically.

“We are not a high adventure recreation camp or a boot camp or any other kind of camp” said Scott Schill, Executive Director. “If a camp or recreational activities were the answer, parents wouldn't be looking at RedCliff Ascent”, Schill continues.

Most teens don’t struggle with a lack of entertainment in their life. What they lack is the ability to master the mundane responsibilities that come with school, work, and family relationships. 

Since their founding in 1993, RedCliff has helped thousands of students and their families.

Their therapeutic model helps parents disrupt dysfunctional patterns, not just move them to a different location. Everything they do has a therapeutic purpose.

RedCliff Ascent is the place your child will learn and practice the coping mechanisms, competencies and discipline necessary to manage their life in an age appropriate manner. They will learn the skills necessary to become an independent, productive member of society.