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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 …

10 Common Thinking Errors

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By Stephen C. Schultz

With the Holiday Season in full swing, I have personally witnessed the kindness in people as well as some pretty disturbing thoughtless actions. Whether it is total strangers or family members over for a meal, the Holidays tend to bring out the best and the worst in those around us.


Why is that? When I see some of the shoppers on “Black Friday”, I would imagine that if I interacted with them in any other setting, they would be personable, kind citizens, neighbors and friends. What happens in that situation? Why do some people get in their car and seem to have a change in personality? Road rage is real.
Here are a few thoughts for what they are worth. Below is a list of...what are called...“Thinking Errors”. These are common, automatic thoughts we have throughout any given day. We may be thinking this way and not even be aware of it. They are specific ways we look at the world around us and usually these types of thoughts lead to conflict of some kind. This list is a…

A Dads Holiday Message to His Family

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By Stephen C. Schultz


This last couple of days has been stressful for a number of reasons. I would like Stephanie, Ryan and Amanda to share this link with your spouses.

Many of the conversations, while well meaning, have been a combination of "Caring" mixed with "Self Serving"...this includes me.


One thing I know is that we all love each other. So, lets stop pointing fingers.
This is a piece I wrote for my blog that was inspired by an interaction I had with a mother of one of the students enrolled at Oxbow Academy. She was having a hard time seeing her part in the issues surrounding her son being in treatment. This isn't just a mom thing...Dads are equally found blaming others to help themselves feel better about the situation they find themselves in.
So, as we enter the Holiday Season, lets not carry grudges. Lets recognize that it is "our" responsibility to manage our emotions in a responsible way. That doesn't mean we stuff them down or ignore t…

In the interest of time, foster family relationships!

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By Stephen C. Schultz

The flames shot up into the air over 15 feet high. Heat scorched my hands and my cheeks as embers rose through the air on endless circular waves of heat. I used the old pitch fork to sift through the ash and scoop up rogue twigs and small sticks that still needed to burn.


It was fall time in Eugene, Oregon and the weather was perfect for burning some “slash” piles from the large oak trees that had fallen last winter in an ice storm. I was at my parents home with my 24 year old son. The two of us took a weekend road trip to spend some time with my parents, help with some chores and attend a University of Oregon football game with my brother and his young son.


There was nothing very exciting or earth shattering about these three days.  It was simply a father and son spending time in the car having various conversations and sharing insight on numerous topics. Then there was time spent hauling firewood with the tractor and managing the burn piles. There was chit-chat an…

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…