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Showing posts from 2011

Why is RedCliff Ascent so successful with families?

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“What is essential is not that the therapist learns something about the patient and then teaches it to him, but that the therapist teaches the patient how to learn about himself.”

~ Psychoanalyst Fritz Perls ~
Over the years, I have been asked numerous times by clinicians as well as educational consultants,  "Why does RedCliff Ascent seem to do such a good job with families, since it is the teen that is out in the wilderness? Why do parents seem to be so happy with the process?" The simple answer is the culture and philosophy of the organization. However, when you look deeper at the "process" of providing treatment, it becomes obvious that RedCliff is a clinically sophisticated Wilderness Treatment Program.
RedCliff Ascent offers a consistent, unvarying expectation of each student with a consistent structure to facilitate their development. The program structure does not vary from staff to staff or from therapist to therapist. This provides a seamless transition fro…

A Fathers Proudest Moment

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By Stephen C. Schultz


The dust billowed up around my head. It was so thick it turned to mud on my teeth and the roof of my mouth felt dry and parched. My teeth chattered as I was unceremoniously bounced up and down, side to side, hanging on for dear life to the tailgate of a late model Ford Super Duty as it crawled, scraped and spun through the football sized rocks and sage brush of the high desert backcountry of the Southwest United States.

I was desperately trying to keep the $5,000 camera safe, clean and undamaged for this was not a trip of scripted lines, numerous takes and lunch buffets. This was a one shot opportunity to get interviews of Wilderness Therapy Staff working for RedCliff Ascent.

After three hours into the backcountry by jeep trail, hiking another mile into camp and peeing beside a juniper tree, my 11 year old son and I finally spotted the red fleece sweatshirts of the students and staff of the “Ravens”. The Ravens were a group of 14-17 year old students from around …

Educational Consultants - A Trusted Resource

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By Stephen C. Schultz


The sun peaked over the top of the building as police cars with flashing lights barricaded the street. Spectators had gathered along the curb and small American flags waved in the hands of children. The sky was blue and there was a slight breeze that made the balmy 65 degree weather feel like 62. It was a beautiful November morning in Dallas Texas.

On the corner, the old book depository building stood tall.
While I could imagine what it must have been like on that fateful day in November of 1963, I was actually standing on that same corner in November of 2011. The crowds, flags and marching bands were from a Veterans Day Parade making its way down the street.

I was in Dallas attending the semi-annual conference of the Independent Educational Consultant Association. IECA members gather from across the globe to interact, learn, network and refine their skill and knowledge in working with families and teens. Educational consultants, schools, universities and treatment p…

The definition of insanity…the sanity of recovery!

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By Stephen C. Schultz


We have all heard the old saying, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and over again, expecting a different result."

As I work with teens and families that struggle with a myriad of problems, the one thing that amazes me is the tendency for families to keep thinking and behaving in the same ways and expecting positive changes to take effect. How often do we hope to change our destination in life, but fail to change the route?

Here is fun story with a great message!



Autobiography in Five Short Chapters By Portia Nelson

Chapter One
I walk down the street.
     There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
     I fall in.
     I am lost...I am helpless
     It is not my fault.
     It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter Two
I walk down the same street.
     There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
     I pretend I do not see  it.
     I fall in again
     I cannot believe I am in the same place.
     But...it is not my fault.
     It still takes a lo…

Sexual Trauma...Healing Horses

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Stephen C. Schultz


This is an emotional and touching video series that shows the healing power of two abused teens who are asked to care for an abused horse.



You can see how the students start to understand the effect trauma has had on their lives and the way they redirect that emotion into compassion for a horse. Take a look...you will be glad you did!

DJ Part 1

DJ Part 2


DJ Part 3


                                                                           DJ Part 4


DJ Part 5

DJ Part 6


DJ Part 7

DJ Part 8
To view Part 8, please follow this link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zf15leL-Lq0&feature=share&list=PL702698A7B5F80891







Fathers, Family, Football and the Frustrated Pre-Teen!

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By Stephen C. Schultz


I received a call from a friend the other day. She was sharing with me some changes that were taking place in her life concerning career and a move. She mentioned she was excited about new opportunities for work and that she would be moving closer to her extended family in Southern California where she was raised.

She said, “I haven’t told my kids yet! They will go crazy…they love hanging out with their cousins!”
In the course of our conversation, she made a comment about my blog. She said she loved the personal stories and some of the “lessons” learned.
I jokingly said, “Well, things have been so busy lately, I haven’t been observant of my surroundings”.
This is the back story that brings me to this moment, writing of family time, observations and lessons learned. I’m going to share a scenario that thousands of families across the country will probably relate to in one way or another.
For the last three years, we have been season college football ticket holders to m…

Lessons I learned from a childhood experience with bullying

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By Stephen C. Schultz


The dew around the window was starting to bead up. In a classic case of chaos theory, the little beads of water gave way to gravity and randomly bounced and bumped their way to the window sill like a steal marble in a pinball game. There was a small pool of water in the cracked and peeling beige paint.



I sat facing the window, staring at the small engraved stone nestled in the flower beds. There weren’t many flowers at this time of year. Mostly rhododendrons and Oregon grapes reaching skyward from the damp bark mulch that covered the planter area.The month of January in Eugene Oregon was filled with days and days of mist and fog.In fact, pretty much from October through June was filled with fog, rain, mist, showers, freezing rain and occasionally snow. The local weathermen didn’t bother with predictions about the chance of precipitation; they took pride in developing new adjectives to describe the type of precipitation and how much you can expect.
For first graders …

International Boarding School Educates Struggling Students From Around The World

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By Stephen C. Schultz


“English usage is sometimes more than mere taste, judgment, and education – sometimes it’s sheer luck, like getting across the street.” ~ E.B. White


Discovery Academy (DA), a flagship Boarding School that enrolls students aged 13-18, is a great educational opportunity for the foreign student who would benefit from an international experience. DA specializes in providing academic services to students that are bright under-achievers who may also struggle with depression, anxiety or substance abuse issues. Many students may lack the emotional maturity necessary or grades to get accepted to a top tier US Boarding School. Foreign students can graduate from DA with an accreditedDiscovery Academy Diploma and transition right to American Universities.Discovery Academy is F-1 Student Visa Certified and I-20 approved.



In standard academic systems around the world, time is the constant and learning is the variable. In other words, students begin the year and systematically mov…

Teen Sexual Issues - A New Treatment Approach

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By Stephen C. Schultz


I recently returned from a visit to California where the clinical director of Oxbow Academy and I met with a family whose son recently graduated from Oxbow. This meeting was to "check in" with the family, see how things were going and assist in realigning any expectations that may be unmet. The one thing that is glaringly apparent is that the students come home with a maturity level and insight unmatched by their peers. As we work with these families, that are truly pioneers in their persistence and dedication to their sons, we have noticed some trends.

About sixty percent of the students have come to us from other residential placements, wilderness treatment programs or outpatient therapists. The other trend is similar in percentage, sixty percent, but represents students that are adopted. We’re not quite sure what to make of this yet, but it’s interesting none the less.



Here are some brief Oxbow Academy statistics;

100% - Students that struggle with addi…

Career Planning: Is there hope for struggling teens?

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Guest Blogger
Jared C. Schultz, Ph.D., CRC, LVRC, HS-BCP
http://sped.usu.edu/en-us/people/jared-schultz/




I have witnessed both the unproductive and productive side of vocational assessment. I remember taking the Strong Interest Inventory in high school. My guidance counselor called me into his office and shared with me that I should be a “Mortician and Embalmer”. This is a great profession to be sure; but not a future that will attract the girls. I had a choice; I could either disregard the results of the test, or face a life of… well… you get the picture.


Unfortunately, I think that many people have similar experiences. When vocational and career assessments are done in a fragmented manner or in isolation of the comprehensive process, it leads people to believe that these processes are generally useless. The process of providing a career evaluation is grounded in the task of matching a person to a vocation or career goal. We comprehensively assess aspects of the person and the work envi…

Troubled Teens "Fish" for solutions!

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By Stephen C. Schultz


The sky was blue and a gentle breeze fluttered through the aspens in a wave like motion. The truck strained a bit as it wound its way up the mountain pass at 9000 feet above sea level. Shawn Brooks and I were headed to the annual camp out for the students at Oxbow Academy. Each year, the students and staff head to the mountains for week of camping, hiking and fishing. While group and individual therapy still takes place throughout the week, it provides a more relaxed atmosphere for students and staff to interact.


We pulled off the highway onto a dirt road that wound up the hillside to where the camp was set up. As we approached, there was a group of students and staff playing a game of “horse shoes”. I got out of the truck and walked towards the big tarp that covered the cooking/food area. As I approached, four or five students came running towards me with a stringer of fish. They were so excited and a couple of boys started cleaning the fish while a couple more s…

Warning Signs of a Troubled Teen

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By Stephen C. Schultz

How is a parent to know if the concerns they have about their teenage son or daughter need to be addressed at a professional level? When is it time to seek the help of a therapist? How do you measure progress in behavior as well as maturity? Are they simply going through the turbulent teen years or is there something more serious going on?


Teens today have an unrelenting barrage of messages coming at them from many different places. The media is suggesting how they behave, speak, dress and interact with others. Technology offers communication opportunities never before seen, yet few standards on the social implications of its use. There are parental expectations on education and external pressure to be the best at everything they do.

You can read more about  some warning signs associated with Family Discord, Loss of Motivation and Failure to Launch here and here. These are some areas that parents should be aware of so they can intervene early and avoid the pain …

Beating The Odds

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By Stephen C. Schultz


I recently had the opportunity to attend a conference in Cincinnati, Ohio.Matt Hendry from Discovery Academy had a former student who is now attending The University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio. This student is from Houston, but Matt wanted to make the trip to Dayton to see this young man and provide continued encouragement and support; he asked if I would like to go with him. I said, “Sure…absolutely!” We then hit the road headed North out of Cincinnati.


While in Dayton, we also had an opportunity to visit The DaytonEarly College Academywhich is a partnership among Dayton Public Schools, the University of Dayton, Sinclair Community College, and Wright State University.


What a great experience it was to see these disadvantaged youth all come together with a sparkle in their eye and an eagerness to learn. These kids have been forced, through circumstances they don’t control, to simply survive. What resilience…what courage…what fortitude they exhibit every day. They w…

Hope for Teens with Sexual Concerns

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Guest Blogger
Jennifer C. Jones

New Hope. New Help. No Secrets.Oxbow Academy offers all of that to families seeking treatment for teens with sexual dependencies.

Oxbow Academy is an internationally known residential treatment center that focuses exclusively on treating teen boys struggling with sex-related behaviors.The facility opened in late January, 2007 and serves boys ranging in age from 13 to 17 whose parents seek out Oxbow from across the globe.The center is licensed for up to 42 boys.

Located in rural Wales, Utah, Oxbow combines intensive therapy with academic course work. It offers a boarding school setting that is focused on early intervention.


Oxbow’s highly specialized environment is designed exclusively for teens with sexual dependency issues. Oxbow Academy students are surrounded by peers who are also struggling with similar problems. This provides a supportive, understanding culture. Many of the students also struggle with NLD, depression, anxiety, trauma and aspergers

RedCliff Ascent - Frequently Asked Media Questions

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This is an interview of Stephen C. Schultz that appeared in the UK Publication; Actionetwork


1. What kind of feedback did you have from foreign families after Brat Camp was shown? Have you been inundated with requests by parents to use your service?

Answer: The response was quite positive. We admitted students from England, Israel, Germany, Austria, Scotland, Ireland, and Australia to name a few. For six months after the program aired, we averaged about 5% of our total population was foreign. From January of this year to now, 15% of the student assessment tests on our Website are from foreign families. To this day, we are averaging 1-2 foreign students per month and this with out active marketing efforts outside the US. At this time it’s simply word of mouth referrals.



2.What are the most common reasons for admittance amongst foreign and US students?
Answer: Depression, ADHD, Underachievement in school, drugs & alcohol and all the mal-adaptive behaviors that accompany these “diagnosis…

Hawaii - 5 - O

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By Stephen C. Schultz


A warm tropical breeze ruffled my hair as if a hand were lightly stroking my head. In the darkness there was a heavy, musty smell of sea and sand. I was in a strange place, without bearing or sense of direction. I sat up in bed, my head throbbing. Shadows of palm trees danced across the wall. Was this a dream? There was the faint sound of another person in the room…inhaling, exhaling…inhaling, exhaling. The large numbers on a clock glowed a bright 3:14am. I stood and walked out the door to the hallway. It was all coming back to me now. I was in Hawaii. I had not adjusted to the time difference and was wide-awake ready to take on the day.




I proceeded down the hall to the bathroom, turned on the light, and there it was. The source of the pain in my head, right at my hairline was a big white bandage with faded blood seeping through the center. I leaned forward, looking at myself in the mirror. My mind drifted to another place in time.

Teen Suicide – is there ever an answer?

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By Stephen C. Schultz


The morning sun was glistening through the window as it peeked over the snow tipped mountains. The left side of my face was warm and I could feel my heartbeat in my cheek. Sage brush and fence posts pulsed by in a rhythmic blur. The consistent whine of tires on the freeway surface was sporadically broken by the “thump/thump” of tarred cracks in the road.
On any given day this would be my favorite time. Mornings bring with them not only the beauty of a new dawn, but the hope for a better day than yesterday. However, I already knew how this day was going to turn out.
This day was going to be filled with sadness and tears. There would be questions of “why” and thoughtful efforts to make sense of it all even though there are no answers. There would be mourning with good friends and a sense of closeness with total strangers. I knew I would have heartache for my friend. I also knew I would feel a twinge of guilt that I’m relieved it’s not me that is suffering throug…

What should a parent know about teen therapy?

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By Stephen C. Schultz
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
George Santayana (1863–1952), U.S. philosopher, poet

Remember the days of “Drive By Child Birth”? In 1995 hospitals were adjusting to the downward pressure of the insurance industries cost cutting and managed care. Some HMO healthcare plans routinely discharged a mother prior to 24 hours so it could be billed as an outpatient procedure. Only after continued mother/baby complications at home, law suites and government legislation did the standard post partum stay remain at two days.


Within the psych industry, we experienced the psych hospital collapse of the late 80’s & early 90’s; Charter Medical, CommunityPsychiatricCenters, BrownSchools and others all faced financial downturns. Some families found themselves with students admitted to programs that were literally closing down operations with students still enrolled. Managed care was certainly instrumental in facilitating the demise of …

Truth or Consequences - A story of teenage heroin addiction

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By Stephen C. Schultz


Tears welled up in my eyes as I moved my head back and forth in a Stevie Wonder like motion. The wind was whipping the smoke from the fire directly at me and no matter where I moved it seemed to follow. The age old saying, “Smoke follows beauty…and beauty was a horse” didn’t seem to be quite so humorous when I was the one in the smoke!

The sun was setting and the wind seemed to subside a bit. I stared at the fire in a trance like state, watching as the flames snapped and nipped at invisible structures in the air. Sparks surfed skyward on heated currents, then disappeared in the blink of an eye. Shadows danced amongst the pines and junipers that surrounded the camp. There is something peaceful about a campfire; the warmth, the light, a sense of safety, the comfort of survival.
My mind drifted to earlier that same evening. Troy (Name has been changed), a 17 yr old from Michigan, was in charge of building the fire that evening for the group. He proceeded to pull out h…

Teenagers and Pornography: A New Look

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Guest Blogger
Jennifer C. Jones

Sean hears her footsteps on the stairs and quickly snaps the desk light off. He clicks back to World of Warcraft. It’s 2a.m.He has exams tomorrow. Maybe she’ll think he’s studying. If not, he's been in trouble before for gaming...that's nothing new.Just a few more minutes, then he’ll stop.

“Sean” is one of millions of teenagers who use the Internet daily to find and view pornography.




The Washington Post reports more than 11-million teens regularly view pornography on line.That may not be surprising when Nielson Media Research reports 75% ofU.S. population over age two lives in homes with web access.

The London School of Economics says nine out of 10 children between the ages of eight and 16 have viewed porn on the Internet. Most of the time it was accidental - often while a child was doing homework.

But could there be a connection between Internet porn and behaviors that can encourage sexual dependence?Many experts say yes.

How can we best manage pressure in our lives?

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By Stephen C. Schultz


This last weekend, I was busy with the family out doing yard work. The kids were weeding the flower beds and I was using the edger on the lawn. As is the case every time I use the edger, the line ran out half way through the job. I let out a few minor expletives under my breath and headed toward the car. I needed to run to the hardware store and pick up some more line.

I pulled into the parking lot of the hardware store and slowly moved into a parking spot. Just as I was turning off the key to the ignition, there was a reverberating explosion close by. The kind you feel in your gut. Immediately I scanned the intersection to see if there was a car wreck of some kind. Then I turned to scan the parking lot. I saw some men and women running towards the back of the Chevron station that borders the parking lot. I quickly moved to the area of the explosion. There was a woman in her mid-sixties sitting, her back against the outside wall of the station. Her head was weaving…

Census Worker - Friend or Foe?

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I recently read an article in the Chicago Tribune about a family's experience with a census worker. It reminded me of the experience I had last year. While we did mail in our census sheet that came in the mail, there was some bureaucratic mix up and they sent a worker to our house.




I need to say up front that I understand the need for a National Census. There are political as well as financial consequences attached to the census that seriously impact communities and citizens of this great country. I also think that some of the questions on the census are "politically" motivated and unnecessary. My "trust" in the "Federal Law" sited on the census sheet that protects our privacy is a bit suspect when the Federal Government appears to pick and choose which Federal Laws it decides to enforce.

This story is really more about "Character" and "Competence" of those dispatched to collect the data as well as those who provide their training.

The Truth about Children of Alcoholics

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I hope this post can assist those burdened with being raised by an addicted parent to understand some of the characteristics of Children of Alcoholics. It is only if we are unafraid of the truth, will we find it.


Alcoholism in the home has long-lasting effects. Children of alcoholics often learn to cope with an unhappy childhood in ways that causes problems for them later in life. If you were raised by a parent who struggles with substance abuse, learning how alcoholism affected your past can help you build a better future.

Childhood Characteristics, Beliefs and Patterns

Children of alcoholics often act in one of the following ways

• Become super-responsible, like a miniature adult

• Become a trouble-maker

• Become able to adjust to any change, without noise or fuss

• Become a family clown or peacemaker, smoothing over troubles

Children of alcoholics often believe they are all alone, that no other families have these problems or that it is up to them to cure the parent. A child may t…

I look forward to the past - A historical journey

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By Stephen C. Schultz


"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
George Santayana (1863–1952), U.S. philosopher, poet

The breeze blew briskly against my face as the tree limbs swirled in the ever changing currents of air. There was a group of us walking down the street in Philadelphia which consisted of Kena, Andrea, Erin, Chad, Matt, Shawn and myself. We were headed to Independence Hall in the City of Brotherly Love.


The streets were full with the hustle and bustle of the inner city. There were elderly women arm in arm, with bags in their hands, window shopping as they walked down the street. A young man with gold teeth, baggy pants and his baseball cap on sideways leaned against the corner of a building talking on a pay phone. (I noticed this because everyone has a cell phone these days. This actually looked odd.) Others were sitting at little round tables on the sidewalk outside small café’s and bistro’s laughing and discussing life’s experiences with…

My Memories of Mother

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By Stephen C. Schultz


It was a warm summer morning in Eugene, Oregon. At 5 years old, I was hoping to spend the day on my bicycle. The gold Schwinn Stingray with the “Slick” rear tire was something to behold. I went around to the back of the house to get my bike. As I approached, my heart sunk. The rear tire on the bike was flat. I went back in the house to ask mom if I could walk my bike down to the gas station on the corner of 32nd Ave and Hilliard Street. There was a nice guy that worked there and he often helped me put air in my tires.

My mom said, “That's fine…be sure to look out for traffic.”


So, off I went down Harris Street walking my bike. My arms were out stretched about shoulder height, hands on the handles, walking on the left side of the bike. When I approached 32nd Ave, I turned left and headed down the hill. It wasn’t a steep hill, but there was a pretty good slope. The bike started to roll faster than I could keep up. I picked up the pace and started jogging besid…

"Sugar and Spice" - A Child's Kindness

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By Stephen C. Schultz


I recall a childhood rhyme that went something like this; “…sugar and spice and everything nice…that’s what little girls are made of!” As the father of three daughters and one son, there is no doubt about the truthfulness of that saying.



I was in San Diego a couple of weeks ago with my family. We were down at Seaport Village right on the bay having lunch. It was a beautiful day, sun shining, light breeze and we were eating on an outside deck. We were engaged in a conversation about what we wanted to do later that day when I noticed my youngest daughter, a fifth grader, was focused on something else. So, I turned to see what she was gazing at. She was following the movements of a transient man who had walked up onto the deck and was systematically searching the garbage cans for food. He was looking in each receptacle and reaching in to move the contents around. At one can, his hand came out with a partially eaten sandwich of some kind. He reached back in and grabb…

The Bike

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Guest Blogger
Jennifer C. Jones

It wasn’t a big deal, really. When the few friends he had rode off on their bikes, Brandon stayed behind. When his younger siblings learned to ride and felt the exhilaration of youthful speed and freedom, Brandon only imagined. No big deal. He didn’t care. He had explosive outbursts of anger about many issues. Why should this be any different?


Bright and gifted with an amazing ability to memorize, 13-year-old Brandon struggled with poor physical coordination and social skills – two hallmark characteristics of children with Non-verbal Learning Disorder – or NLD. His outbursts at home were becoming more frequent and more violent.

Matt Child, LCSW at Discovery Ranch, says, “Brandon’s parents were wonderfully supportive. They love Brandon dearly.” So much so that they sent him to a wilderness program for help.

The rigorous physical work of backpacking, bow and drill fire building, and cordage, did wonders for Brandon’s self-confidence. His parents were enco…