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Showing posts from 2014

“Christmas Spirit” and a Holiday Attitude of Kindness

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By Stephen C. Schultz

The day was overcast and chilly. There was a brisk wind blowing from the North and scattered rain drops splashed off windshields of parked cars. I pulled my collar up around my neck, dipped my head into the wind, and started walking toward the local department store as cigarette butts and bumps of old chewing gum seemed to glide past me on the sidewalk below.
As I approached the east side of the building, I noticed a father and mother, each with a young child in their arms, rushing through the wind towards the door. They had coats wrapped around their young children and were doing their best to shelter them from the ensuing storm. I sped up my pace just a bit and reached the door before them. I swung the door open and stepped back, just as they approached. The mom looked up, turned and caught my eye, and with a sincere look of gratitude simply said, “Thank You.” They then moved on to the shopping cart area where they did that proverbial parent/child dance of ge…

When Holiday Gratitude Blows In On A Cold Wind

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By Stephen C. Schultz

The arctic blast had settled in...17 degrees Fahrenheit and I was walking down the street yesterday to get my hair cut. At the time, it didn't seem like such a good idea. I've heard that the quickest way to lose body heat is through your head. That’s why a beanie or stocking cap is a good thing in cold weather. Here I was, consciously cutting off what “insulation” I still had!
I leaned forward into the brisk wind and continued on my way down the street. I had some errands to run and it was a tight schedule. I had called ahead of time and the young lady who usually cuts my hair was unavailable, so I took the next person on the list to be assigned a “Walk In”.


It’s the front end of the Holiday Season and I was going to be out of town this week. I would be back home in time for Thanksgiving, but it was a tight schedule. So, this was truly the only time I had to get this done over the next week and a half.
I stepped to the door, head down, and turned the doorkn…

Remember parents...create memories with your children

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By Stephen C. Schultz


The whistles are blowing constantly and the sound of shoes squeaking on the hardwood floor is relentless. Cheers from the spectators are mingled with the stomping of feet every time a point is scored. There is a level of anticipation and excitement that can only be felt at a sporting event of some kind.



For me, watching volleyball has become a weekly event. All of my kids have shown an interest in sports. My oldest daughter as well as her two younger sisters had years of soccer, softball and volleyball. My son gravitated to basketball and baseball. He did have a few years of chasing a soccer ball when he was barely beyond being a toddler.

Athletics and team sports provide exercise and the development of essential character traits that are so important when navigating the child and adolescent stages of development. Kids learn about hard work, focus, determination, courage, collaboration, problem solving, assertiveness and empathy to name a few.

However, my own per…

The Healing Arms of Mother Nature

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By Stephen C. Schultz

The air was thin and cool. Stars speckled the sky as the faint flashing strobe of a commercial airline silently glided across the cosmos. The leaves rustled in a slight breeze that carried the unmistakable hum of crickets through the canyon. I turned and noticed the feather of a “Bird of Prey” dangling from the limb of a pine. There was a nervous energy that seemed out of place in such calm surroundings.


This was the beginning of an early morning Phase Review for three students who were enrolled at Oxbow Academy. They stood at the trail-head a little disheveled and groggy. The boys circled up and had a brief conversation with the therapists about situations in their lives where they have made some decisions that actually betrayed the trust of their parents and other loved ones. In fact, some their behaviors have been downright painful for others to endure.
The conversation then moved to the various struggles of life. The therapists pointed out that the trail th…

Food for Thought on Young Adult Career Development

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By Stephen C. Schultz

The smell of roasted turkey filled the room with just a hint of sage. Sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie lined the counter. I was sitting on the couch having a conversation with my brother Dr. Jared Schultz. He and his family were visiting for our annual Thanksgiving Day Dinner.



My brother is a professor and assistant dean at a local university. His specialty is in rehabilitation counseling.  My career has consisted of close to 30 years working in the field of addiction counseling and mental health services. My other brother Scott Schultz is an estate planning attorney in Eugene, Oregon. He has spent years advising and counseling with families on the best ways to facilitate caring for dependents and family members who struggle with failure to launch, substance abuse and other physical disabilities. As parents begin to move through retirement, this process of planning is crucial for managing family financial resources and protecting the family legacy. My oldest daughter…

No More Dirty Diapers for Mom

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Guest Blog By Pamela J. Schultz    
I silently groan as I stare at the laundry pile that has now escaped the boundaries of the baskets and is spilling over onto the laundry room floor.  “It’s actually able to creep under the door all by itself,” I mutter.  Yes, this is what my life has become.  Now, I actually talk to laundry!  I marvel at the abrupt changes my life has undergone since becoming a full time “stay at home mom” six years ago.


For one thing, I wouldn't have been caught dead in the sweat shirt and torn jeans I was wearing today.  Although I’d only been dressed about two hours, my sweatshirt already had juice stains, toast crumbs, and a nice blob of dried oatmeal on it from my 15 month old's breakfast, and, as for the jeans, well, they were comfortable. As recently as baby number two, I would have changed the stained sweat shirt, but, hey, after three kids I know it’s a wasted effort—the clean shirt will be dirty within the next hour, and besides, the sweat shirt throw…

Healing at Zion National Park

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By Stephen C. Schultz

Angie came running into the cafeteria at Discovery Ranch for Girls with a big smile on her face. “I just rode for the first time!” she exclaimed. The reddened and raw scars on her arms, the result of compulsive rubbing from a pencil eraser, were finally starting to heal.
I said, “That’s great! It must feel good to finally ride after so much work with the horse on the ground!”
She tipped her head to the side and with a twinkle in her eye responded, “Yeah…it does.”

I then changed the subject and asked, “You plan on going hiking tomorrow? I heard Jared has planned a fun trip hiking in Zion National Park.”
“Yeah, I plan to go. Most of the girls are going. Are you going with us?” she asked.
“I am.” I responded
I then mentioned, “People come from around the world to visit Zion National Park. It should be a fun time!”

The next day rolled around and all the girls were hanging out by the vans to load up and head off for the hike. I was impressed with the organization, safety…

The Rocky Landscape of Teen Sexuality

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By Stephen C. Schultz


(Editors note: This is a very sensitive subject and may be uncomfortable to read. Viewer discretion is advised. The application and information in this post is essentially focused on schools and therapeutic programs that have a residential component.)

The chairs were all in a half circle. There must have been over fifty, all filled with students. Banners from various colleges and universities hung from the rafters. The dull roar of multiple conversations all going on at the same time was cutting through the air and echoing off the walls. I stood in front of the crowd and waited. The conversations and dull roar slowly faded like a train disappearing into the distance.
All eyes were now on me. I asked one question;
“Who can tell me what grooming is?”




I have spent my career working with families and teens through some very difficult times. I am a partner in a specialty care facility called Oxbow Academy. Oxbow specializes in treating teenage boys from across the globe w…

“Out of the Mouth of Babes…”

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By Stephen C. Schultz
In my line of work, I am made aware everyday of the struggles that teens endure and the pain families suffer. Often it seems we are fighting a losing battle.

There is no doubt, everyone has their own personal struggles and burdens to bare, my family included. However, some people seem to manage the struggles with grace, decorum and a sense of perspective that is inspiring to others. Four out of the five posts below are written by my daughter. Over the last few years, from time to time, she has written a piece and then asks me if she can post it on my blog. I am happy and proud to do so! Please enjoy some of her written work.
My House Has StarsPerfectly Wicked - A Fractured Fairy TaleI can make a difference by helping others!My Experience with AutismWhy should "Bullies" get all of the attention?



Hope, Passion & Perseverance - Healthy Communities

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By Stephen C. Schultz
I went home today for lunch. There wasn't anything there that a discerning palate would embrace, so I threw the chicken and rice cheddar medley in the microwave and patiently waited for a minute-thirty to pass.
I sat down to eat.  My energetic...always on the move…love’s the water...thirteen year old daughter proudly walked in the kitchen and pulled some fresh baked cinnamon rolls out of the oven. She turned, smiled at me and said,
“I just made some cinnamon rolls! You want one?”
I responded with, “Sure, I would love one,  hon!”

She then started telling me that she was “sooooooo excited” for school to start. She must have mentioned three times that it starts in 3 days. She went down the hallway and retrieved a little folding shelf and brought it out to the kitchen counter. She said,
“I had this last year. But, since we have a new school, I don’t know if it will fit in my locker. You see, even though my locker is deeper this year, I don’t think it is as wide.…

Discovery Academy Fosters Healthy Recovery

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By Stephen C. Schultz

The clouds were white and fluffy, billowing up higher and higher. I could feel humidity in the air and there was the faint sound of thunder rumbling in the distance.
I was walking with Christin Prestwich, LAMFT. She is the Director of Admissions at Discovery Academy. The conversation was about the students at DA who desire to live a life of sobriety. There was the usual talk of use and abuse and individualized treatment plans. But, the one thing that stood out to me was the garden.


The garden is a great metaphor for life. The students have to work together to prepare the soil. It takes persistence and determination to stay on task and work with the end in mind. They then sow the seeds taking care they are planted at the right depth with appropriate spacing between plants. The plants need nourishment and water on a regular basis. There must be patience, because plants don’t grow overnight.
All of these same principles apply when working through the issues of recover…

The tangled birds nest...a fisherman's tale

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By Stephen C. Schultz

The clouds were wispy and white…threadlike with the texture of a painter’s stroke. There was an almost imperceptible dull roar in the background of birds chirping and rustling leaves. When walking through the underbrush of the Western Oregon temperate rain forest, you become dependent upon your sense of hearing and pay close attention to every sound.
The gold spotted Thomas Lure at the end of my pole six feet in front of me was bouncing up and down, spinning around and generally getting as tangled as physically possible. The barbed hooks on the lure managed to pierce every fern along the ground and grab every swooping cedar limb above my head. For a nine year old, taking ten minutes to go ten steps seemed like an eternity. Having to focus on each step directly in front of me as well as the end of the pole six feet out was a skill only those champions of “Wack-A-Mole” could appreciate…and I was not a champion!

The goal of this adventure was a river about thirty …

When substance abuse disrupts your field of dreams

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By Stephen C. Schultz
Over the years I have had too many conversations with families about substance abuse. I have sat with parents brought to tears because addiction has ruined relationships and tarnished trust. I have discussed substance use with teens that maintain a center of the universe attitude and are convinced they can use drugs now, only to recover later in life and be fine. I have witnessed the slow death that comes about because of a cerrhotic liver and the spur of the moment death brought about by substance induced suicide.  I have compassionately changed the bed sheets of a middle aged man in the throes of a medical detox who was trying desperately to maintain some semblance of dignity.
In each of these cases, families and parents never once thought to themselves;
“I sure hope that someone in our family struggles with addiction!”


In fact, most families romanticize the Field of Dreams scenario. Unfortunately, addiction is no respecter of persons, social status or financial ac…

Three signs outpatient therapy for your teen may not be enough

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By Stephen C. Schultz
If you are the parent of a teen, chances are you have a pretty good idea when things are amiss. In fact, for most parents, they have that "parents Intuition" when thoughts, attitudes and behaviors are headed in an unhealthy direction. The problem is, we as parents don’t want to think that our teen would make such decisions. As parents, when we are faced with our child’s behavior, often we rationalize the situation with thoughts and statements like;
“When I was their age, I struggled with some of the same things. It’s not that big of a deal!” “Oh…it’s just hormones, she’ll be fine.” “All teens go through that. He’ll grow out of it.”


As a parent, how do we know when the problems are more serious or if our teens are simply going through the normal adolescent stages of development? How do we really know if it is a bigger problem than we realize? There is no parental “Owner’s Manual” or “Recipe” for raising kids. 
When we suspect there is something that needs to b…

Remember...Stop and Smell the Roses!

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By Stephen C. Schultz

The breeze was warm as it swirled past me making the short sleeves of my tee shirt ripple in the wind. The sun was just starting to peak over the mountain top. Yet, it had been light for a couple of hours already. When you are at the base of a 10,000 foot mountain, it takes a while for any direct sun light to appear.
Since it is Saturday, my ritual is usually edging the lawn and then mowing it. As I came around the side of the house to mow, I saw some roses that are in an over grown flower bed that is home to various ground cover plants and untamed varieties of flora that I have no idea what they are.


Our home was built in the late 1800’s by the local CountySheriff. There are flowers and plants that sprout up in the spring time that I have never seen before. There are even some plants coming up every year that I thought were weeds…then this year I was too busy to keep up with the weeding and they blossomed into beautiful little blue colored flowers! Who’d have g…

The Young Boy and the Rattlesnake

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By Stephen C. Schultz
(Editors note: This is a story used in a Wilderness Treatment Program for Young Adults. Many come to this program having struggled with substance abuse and interacting with unsavory friends.)
Many years ago there was a young Native American who lived in the very land you are residing in. He decided to seek wisdom by journeying to the top of Indian Peak. As he approached the base of the mountain he came across a rattlesnake that slithered beside him. The snake coiled as if to strike and the young boy moved back quickly in fear of being struck by the snake’s deadly venom. At that instant the snake spoke to the boy saying, “Don’t be afraid of me, I mean you no harm. I come to you to ask a favor. I see that you are about to traverse to the top of Indian Peak and was hoping that you may be willing to place me in your satchel so that I don’t have to make the long journey alone.”


The young boy surprised by the snake’s request quickly responded by turning down the offe…

Teen Sexual Concerns - A Resource for Parent's

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By Stephen C. Schultz


Over the last few years, I have regularly received calls from clinicians, attorneys and educational consultants about clients and students of theirs that are struggling with sexual concerns.

These concerns are often about the excessive use of technology to access pornography. There is the relatively new phenomenon of “sexting” that creates concerns. Some students may be struggling with ASD or other developmental issues that exacerbates some acting out. It’s not uncommon for me to get a call about a teen who is inappropriately exploring sexual behavior with siblings, cousins or friends.

Often there has also been a history of trauma or abuse. Most actions are reactive or exploratory in nature. Most teens aren't “criminals” in any way, shape or form. They are simply trying to make sense of a society that does little to curb the promotion of early sexualization, yet has a heavy hand of condemnation when social boundaries are disturbed.

For this reason, I have compi…