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Philosophy and Treatment of RedCliff Ascent

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Guest Blog                                                                                                       Call 801-921-8488 By Steven DeMille, PhD, LCMHC  Executive Director
RedCliff Ascent

If you find yourself reading this article, there is a good chance that you are struggling with your son or daughter in some way. Please know you are not alone. Teens and young adults are facing more and more pressure to excel with the knowledge that mistakes are instantly known about through social media. Relationships with parents also suffer as adolescents and young adults struggle with attachment, trauma, anxiety and depression issues. Sometimes a structured and deliberate time away can be helpful. 

RedCliff Ascent is a Wilderness Therapy Treatment Program or more accurately an Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Program. Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare programming can be defined as the “prescriptive use of wilderness experiences by licensed mental health professionals to meet the therapeutic needs …

How can we pay for our teens treatment?

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By Stephen C. Schultz
As a partner in a residential treatment program, I often have conversations with clinicians, educational consultants, school district administration teams and parents about the much needed services of residential treatment. The one question that is always discussed, but usually is also the last one asked is;  “How Much Does it Cost?”

There is no question that privately funding treatment for your son or daughter can be an additional stress on the family above and beyond the struggles of your teen. For this reason, I have put together, in one place, some of the ideas and resources that parents have used to assist in funding treatment for their teen. Often it takes some creativity and persistence, but many families have been able to accomplish what seems impossible in the beginning. Families usually end up using a few of the options listed below. I hope you find this helpful.

Here are a few quick suggestions: TREATMENT LENDERS - There are finance companies that speciali…

Shared Experiences

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By Stephen C. Schultz

Please allow me to share an experience I had at Discovery Academy. It's simply a reminder of why we do what we do!
A couple of months ago, I was over at Discovery Academy walking on campus headed to the academic center. Some of the students came up to me and asked who I was. We started talking and I asked them where they were from and we simply had some casual small talk.


One of the girls said; “Hey, I remember you! You came out to RedCliff and had someone with you on a tour.”
I replied; “Yes, you have a fantastic memory! I must say...a much better memory than I have. Please share your name with me again."
She mentioned her name was Jordan and she started sharing with me what a great experience attending RedCliff Ascent was for her. She had that wilderness sparkle in her eye as she spoke and started to monopolize the conversation a little bit. She obviously still struggled with a few social deficits, but I’m sure things are much better now than before her t…

Oxbow Academy - Credible Voices

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By Stephen C. Schultz

Oxbow Academy is now fast on it’s way to 15 years! Wow! I am writing this specifically for mental health practitioners and allied health professionals. Those in the legal profession may find this interesting as well. Please allow me to share some observations that I have made over the years that may be useful as you assist the families you work with. The majority of students currently enrolled at Oxbow have come to us with some previous treatment experience. We are often contacted when these previous treatment settings fail to meet the clinical needs of the student. I’d like to share a couple of scenarios that may be helpful in understanding these students and how to assist them in working through their sexual issues.

1)     The student enters a general treatment program; wilderness or RTC. They are admitted for the more traditional reasons of anxiety, depression, anger or substance abuse. It may also be trauma of some kind. Any sexual issues are either denied, minim…

RedCliff Ascent...A Student's Perspective

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Guest Blog Post by Moonstone Tiger 120 (Jordan)



RedCliff Ascent Wilderness program is a place for troubled kids to work on themselves in a safe environment with an experienced group of people who want the best for each & every student as well as their families.



My name is Jordan & I attended RedCliff Ascent, a wilderness treatment program. My first few weeks were rough & all I wanted was to refuse and get pulled. If you are a parent reading this...DON’T pull your child!!! It is really difficult & you really miss them at first, but it is beyond beneficial in the end.

Once I was motivated & worked on myself the staff were always there to talk to me & work with me through rough times. In wilderness, everyday is a new day which is very helpful & every piece of progress you make is always recognized by those around you so you feel good about the change you’re making.

Not only did RCA support me in my change, they also incorporated skills that I’ll use for the rest o…

Summer Days...Emotional Healing at DRG

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By Stephen C. Schultz

It was one of those summer days...those days when you get out of your temperature controlled car and the heat hits you like you’ve just stepped into a dry sauna. One of those days when you break into a sweat and you feel your heartbeat in your forehead. On any other day, I would have made a beeline right back to the comfort of my air-conditioned car! On this day however, I embraced the heat and started walking towards the lake.

Even with a slight breeze blowing from my right to left, I could still make out the faint sounds of laughter, water splashing and the distorted syllables of distant conversations. I knew instinctively that the next two days would bring laughter and tears, frustration and joy, disappointment and dignity. You see, this trip to the lake was not about recreation or the opportunity to cool down in the summer heat. Yes, those things did happen, but I was honored to be entering the world of families who had a daughter enrolled at Discovery Ranch fo…

The polygraph...A lie detector or clinical tool?

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By Stephen C. Schultz

“The polygraph is not what you think it is. It is not a lie detector machine...there is no such thing as a lie detector machine...and the polygraph is not one.” ~ John Pickup, Polygraph Examiner
Over the years, Oxbow Academy has consistently had to answer one question;

“Why do you use the Polygraph?”



To provide an effective answer, it is important to understand the student population at Oxbow. Oxbow works with students who have engaged in Problematic Sexual Behavior (PSB). This behavior can take many forms and effect students in many different ways. The one common factor is that this behavior has affected the student's life or the lives of their family members in a chronically dysfunctional and unhealthy way. The students at Oxbow have generally lived a life of secrets and manipulation. Their parents don’t trust them and they often feel trapped by the unhealthy family dynamic.

Parents and mental health professionals regularly mention they “feel in their gut” the…