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Showing posts from 2016

Navigating the Highway of Healthy Communication

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By Stephen C. Schultz

“I was on the road in my car last week. It was a long stretch of highway where it is easy for your speed to creep up. I looked in the review mirror and saw blue and red flashing lights. I watched as the right hand of the officer extended to lift a microphone to his mouth. He was obviously running my plates. I glanced at my driver’s side mirror and observed as his door opened and he stepped around the edge of the door and closed it with a single, fluid motion. In a cautious and calculated manner, with his right hand resting about hip high on his revolver and his left hand carrying some paper, he was at my door in ten easy strides.”


Ok…now that you have read that first paragraph, what are you feeling? Did reading that stir any emotions? Could you relate to my experience? How many of you are smiling? You’ve been there…right? You know the feeling. Often there is dread. Sometimes there is fear. Most times there is frustration because you were just going with the flow of…

A Rescue Program – Saving Calves & Kids

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Guest Blogger Clinton Dorny Executive Director Discovery Ranch for Boys

Having worked in the helping profession for over 15 years now, I am constantly amazed at the value of Experiential Therapy and the use of animals in the healing process. The students who come to us at The Ranch, struggle in life due to early childhood trauma of some sort. They often fight the good fight against anxiety, depression and other mental health or developmental concerns.


The use of animals in the therapeutic process has been a part of what we do at Discovery Ranch since its inception. I have always tried to share the value, respect and care we place on the animals in our care. They are just as much a part of the “treatment team” as our clinicians.
For this reason, I’d like to share some details about the integration of animals into the therapeutic process. It has come to my attention that there is a misperception or misunderstanding about what we do with our calf program. 
Please allow me to educate yo…

RedCliff Ascent Research - for those who want the best

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By Stephen C. Schultz


As I started to think about writing this blog post, I was caught up in some memories of being at outpost. For those who aren't aware, outpost is a section of private land in Southwestern Utah that is owned by RedCliff Ascent. RedCliff is an Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare treatment provider, or better known as a Wilderness program.

Outpost is where the families go for graduation. It is a place where there is fresh water, shelter and emergency supplies. There is also a very cool replica of an ancient Native American Kiva. You can learn more about outpost here in this article entitled;

An Open Letter to Parents Researching RedCliff Ascent


I decided that an intriguing story or experience I had while in the back country hiking with a team of students wasn't what a parent would want to read when it came to research. By the time you truly want to know if a wilderness program works, the last thing you want is a bunch of fluff.

RedCliff has been doing research for …

Are the Holidays a good time for a family intervention?

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By Stephen C. Schultz

As we enter this Holiday Season, I hope the Holidays bring meaningful time spent with family and the joy associated with renewed relationships.
It is sad, but true…every year RedCliff Ascent has an increase in inquiries around the Holidays. Teens that tend to be struggling anyway seem to escalate their behavior around the Holidays for some reason. If you are a parent and find yourself in this situation, please know that you are not alone.


Adolescents who are struggling with depression, anxiety, peer relationships or trauma typically tend to view the world in a very narrow and rigid manner. This really is not a judgment as much as it is simply stating a fact. It is difficult for them to move beyond the very ego-centric orientation that they have adopted around their environment and their relationships. Some would say this is “normal” adolescence complicated with emotional concerns.
Some adolescents, those struggling in school or those who tend to act out with anger, …

Evolving Women - Demonstrating Character and Competence

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By Stephen C. Schultz

The breeze was cool and the sun was warm on my face. An occasional droplet of water and the swirling of mist created the illusion of sparkles floating through the air. The grass was green and so were the trees, even though autumn was fully entrenched. You see, I was sitting amongst some high desert pine trees and juniper bushes at Discovery Ranch for Girls.


I looked up and noticed Andrea Burgess walking towards me. Andrea is the Executive Director of DRG and has a long history of working in the mental health field.
As she got closer, I smiled and said; “Hey dove…how ya doing?”
The term Dove is an aspect of her Earth Name she received during the decade she was the Executive Director of RedCliff Ascent. A few years ago, she made the transition to DRG.
She simply responded; “Hey Schultzie!”


We exchanged some pleasantries and spoke about how things were going at DRG. She mentioned they were preparing for the next Parent Seminar and how they were expecting a good …

One Proud Papa

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By Stephen C. Schultz



The heat was radiating across my face. Small beads of sweat were building on my forehead. The sun reflected through the glass. Hot air swirled around me as though I was somehow stuck in the middle of one of those hot air popcorn poppers.
Such is the routine every time I get in my car while staying in St. George, Utah. Even with the windows cracked, it heats up like an oven. Then, when you turn on the air conditioning, it blows hot air for about twenty minutes. However, the fact that I was raised in the temperate climate of the Northwest United States and have yet to adjust to time spent in the desert, is not what this short muse is about. My purpose for writing this piece is actually quite different.


I recently had one of those parental experiences that don’t happen very often. It was an experience that took me by surprise…and since it happened, I have had to think a little bit more about it.

I was in St George for one of my daughters volleyball matches. She is o…

College Prep for Struggling Teens!

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By Stephen C. Schultz


I received a call while at the grocery store just this last Saturday. It was a mother who was at her wits’ end. It was only the second week of school and she had already received a call from her son’s school stating he had shown up “High” and had “Hash Oil” in his possession.


For some families, the start of a new school year only brings up bad memories of years past. Often they are memories of calls with principals; discussions with teachers and worrying if their son or daughter even made it to the school each day.
With summer winding down and many schools across the country having already started, now is a good time to assess the academic preparedness of your son or daughter. Are they on track or are you afraid it will simply be another year of falling behind? Have they struggled with some emotional concerns or faced a few social setbacks?



Discovery Academy may be a valuable solution for getting a student back on track! You can learn more from this previous articl…

The importance of life perspective in the teenage years

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By Stephen C. Schultz


The chalk dust was scratching my throat as I spontaneously coughed. It's one of those things that inevitably happens when using chalk and an eraser. It was Sunday and I was preparing to teach a Sunday School lesson on Faith.



I was writing a few things on the chalk board when my 15 year old daughter walked in the classroom. As with most teenagers, she strolled over to where I was and said;

"I have a hard time seeing you as a teacher."

In her fifteen year old way of communicating, she was basically saying;

"Teachers are revered fountains of knowledge and understanding...I live with you and you are not that!"

I just smiled and said;

"Your old man just might surprise you."

She went on to sigh under her breath and roll her eyes. We were standing at the edge of a piano and as she leaned across the top, she started to laugh a bit. I asked what she was thinking and she mentioned with a qualifying tone;

"I don't mean this to be m…

An Open Letter to Parents Researching RedCliff Ascent

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By Stephen C. Schultz


"We will be known forever by the tracks we leave."


Having been raised in Oregon, I spent the majority of my childhood and teenage year’s steelhead fishing the coastal waters, climbing the Middle Sister in the Cascade Mountain Range, drifting the McKenzie River and hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. 
I have mentioned to friends, family and colleagues on many occasions;  
“From a therapeutic standpoint, there is no better place to have a student’s issues manifested quickly than in a wilderness setting.”
The question then becomes, “Why do therapeutic issues rise to the surface in an Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare program like RedCliff Ascent?”


Throughout the years of teenage development, most teens spend a lot of time with friends. These friends think the same, dress the same, act the same, listen to the same music and sometimes get into the same types of trouble. Some teens also develop patterns of communication and manipulation while simultaneously avoiding…

"Anytime" Is The Best Time For A Family Intervention

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By Stephen C. Schultz


The smoke was swirling skyward and the unmistakable smell of burning cedar drifted in my direction. There was the happy fireside chatter that happens when groups of teens gather around the fire. This particular time of year was the beginning of summer. Families around the world recognized that summer was a great time for a family intervention.

You see, these teens had a history of mild mental health concerns or behavioral problems that were beyond their parents ability to help in the home. Many struggled with depression or anxiety. Some were flunking school or falling into the trap of substance abuse.



The first time I entered a group of teens attending RedCliff Ascent, I was surprised just how happy they were. I expected a bunch of mad, angry teenagers who were trying desperately to leave. Not so with this group. They consisted of a boy from Russia, one from Singapore, another from France and the rest from across the USA.

I was amazed at what I saw. Below is a br…

When work is an adventure!

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By Stephen C. Schultz

The sky was overcast and there was a crisp chill in the air. The roof tops of the neighboring houses all had the unmistakable white fluffy stuff so affectionately called snow. This would normally not be of any consequence at the foot of the 10,000 foot mountains. However, flowers were springing up, grass was turning green and we had already gotten used to warmer temperatures. Weather in these parts of the country can be a roller coaster at best.



So, I stepped out of my car and into the wind. I made my way to the door of my office. I walked past the reception desk and Andrea caught my eye and motioned me over. She said there was someone on the phone line that wanted more information about our Wilderness Therapy Program. She asked if I would be willing to speak with this person.
Andrea transferred the call to my cell phone and I introduced myself. The lady calling mentioned she was from Arizona and had watched some of the video’s about RedCliff Acsent on YouTube. …

Do We Actively Seek Teachable Moments?

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By Stephen C. Schultz


I had an experience at Oxbow Academy a few weeks ago. It’s an experience that is transferable to just about any work environment. I hope you find this helpful as you interact with colleagues in your place of employment.
Thomas Holmes, our photographer and I were at Oxbow taking pictures of the administration team. This included the Executive Director, Residential Director, Academic Director and teachers. It also included the Clinical Director and therapists. All of these shots were for use on the website. We decided to take the pictures in the new horse arena so we can have a standard backdrop, regardless of outside weather. In the future, we will be glad to have a standard backdrop.

I was standing next to the tack room with a group of teachers. I was making small talk and noticed a few of them standing there watching Tony and Brita working with a student and a horse. There was no conversation happening with the teachers, they were 100% focused on the therapy se…

Mental Toughness - How important is it?

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Guest Blog By Amanda Schultz

Wiping the sweat from my eyes, I took a deep breath as the referee handed me the game ball. This was my moment: the biggest match in the history of my 15-year-old volleyball career was tied up at 26, and I had the chance to win it all for my team with this last serve. All eyes were on me. The gym was so quiet. It felt as though I was underwater. My heart was pounding so loud I was convinced everyone else could hear it too. “Don’t miss this, Amanda,” I told myself. “Just get it over the net and in the court.” As the referee blew his whistle, I lingered for one final second, trying to calm my nerves. I tossed the ball into the air, applauding myself on the solid connection, the fabulous follow-through, the flat contact, and watched the ball sail... straight into the net. I was living the moment athletes have nightmares about. I had single-handedly lost the game for my team.

This experience came to mind as I started playing volleyball at Dixie State University. …

Image vs Identity - What's The Difference?

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By Stephen C. Schultz

Over the last 25 years, I have noticed a shift in the youth that my organization works with and some of the struggles these young people encounter. What I am seeing is not merely symptomatic of a rebellious teen or the burdens that accompany a mental illness.


It seems many students and families are headed down a track with very few options for changing course. What I am sensing is that our society in general is struggling in many ways. What I see happening with our youth is symptomatic of larger social ills. In this political season, what I perceive goes beyond “Republican and Democrat” or “Conservative and Liberal”. What I’m sensing touches on the very heart of “Identity”; the essence of who we are. It is the question of who we are as a society and who we are as individuals.
As I work with teens who find themselves involved in dishonest behavior, unhealthy relationships and “entitled” attitudes there is one common thread that runs through every family situati…

Can You Follow Directions?

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By Stephen C. Schultz


As the father of four, I have always been amazed at the time and effort that goes into teaching your children. If your experience is anything like mine, there have been instructions given, reminders mentioned and sometimes an elevated tone in my voice just to get my kids to do the simplest of requests.



I'm sure I wasn't much different when I was younger. I remember summertime as a kid. Sunny days were far and few between in Eugene, Oregon! My dad would have a list of chores for us kids to do written on a piece of paper and left on the dining room table. We were supposed to have the chores done before he got home from work. It seems that every day consisted of riding our bikes, playing "stunt man" on the stairs or building forts in the living room with the couches, blankets and pillows!

Rarely were the chores our top priority...until about an hour before he got home! Then, we would scurry around the house to clean up. We would race outside, grab …

How should I respond when interacting with a bully?

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By Stephen C. Schultz

The 1971-1972 school year was looking to be a good one! With the wind whistling through my hair, I coasted down City View Street on my green Schwynn Stingray, complete with the slick back tire and the gear shift on the center bar, headed to school at Westmoreland Elementary. Even though it had been a couple of weeks, I was feeling comfortable and getting settled in to 3rd grade at my school.
I came to a stop at the corner of 18th and City View and waited for the light to change. The school was directly across the street.  I stepped off the curb and into the cross walk. Once I was safely across, I rode on to the space behind the gym where the bike racks were. 


I took the combination lock off my bike and rotated the tumblers to 9399 and pulled the green vinyl coated chain apart and ran it through the front tire and around the bike rack. I put the chain back together and rolled the tumblers to random numbers. This was the routine just about every day, rain or shi…

Outdoor Behavioral Health Heals The World

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Guest Blogger Steven M. DeMille, PhD, LCMHC Program Therapist/Research Director RedCliff Ascent


I hope things are going well. I wanted to send you an update on the presentation that Mark Burdick and I did at the World Psychological Forum. The World Psychological Forum (WPF) is an interdisciplinary conference that explores the intersection of psychology and other fields such as economics, politics, and cross cultural studies. The WPF was hosted in the Czech Republic, with participants coming from all over the world.




The presentation that Mark and I conducted was an e-poster that focused on cross cultural treatment in an Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare program. The presentation was titled:
Nature as a stage for change: A case study examination of the treatment process in an Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare program.
For this presentation we provided a case study example of how an outdoor environment can be used to facilitate change with a struggling adolescent who has significant and chronic int…

RedCliff Ascent: The Leader in Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare

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By Stephen C. Schultz

RedCliff Ascent is an Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare (OBH) program for adolescents who are essentially stuck in the adolescent stages of development. They lack the coping mechanisms, competencies and discipline necessary to manage their lives at an age appropriate level.


In other treatment or academic settings, these students may only be labeled by their diagnoses, which often include ADHD, ODD, Depression, Anxiety, ASD, bipolar mood disorder, etc.  The RedCliff treatment protocol recognizes the child and the illness are two distinctly separate components. A student’s life should not be defined by a diagnosis. Each is specifically addressed independently in the therapeutic process.
We help the student and family understand how a specific cluster of symptoms associated with their diagnosis has impacted the student’s developmental progression.  RedCliff’s therapeutic model disrupts these unhealthy patterns of behavior and reintegrates the student into a more health…

Bringing Meaning to The Mundane Activities of Daily Living

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By Stephen C. Schultz


The air was crisp. The sky was off white with a mix of clouds up higher and fog drifting in lower. The sun peeked through a break in the fog just enough to create a sparkle in the fresh snow delicately balanced on a leafless shrub.



At close to 5000 feet above sea level, snow is no stranger in the winter. I went to the closet and pulled out my coat. I slipped it on and in four steps was at the back door. This time of year, I keep the snow shovels leaning against the outside wall ready to move into action at the whim of mother nature.

This particular storm wasn’t a big one by any winter standard. There was a few inches and that was all. In fact, with the sun peeking through, the sidewalks cleared quickly. I looked up from my shoveling and noticed two Mule Deer, both bucks, gracefully scampering through the snow, across the sidewalk, and through my back yard. Hobble Creek flows less than fifty yards from my home and they probably were simply getting their morning drin…

Dying with Dignity - A Friends Final Words

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Editors Note: This is an article written by Kumen (Kim) Jones. He was a colleague of mine and on December 23rd, 2015 just 19 days ago, I was speaking with him in the office about this particular piece he wrote for a 50th High School Reunion. I asked him for a copy and he promptly sent it to me. I am sharing this on my blog with his permission, given just a few weeks ago. Yesterday I attended his funeral. There is hope, faith and wisdom in his writing. I thought you might appreciate this!

Reflections on Our 50th (And Other Matters) By Kim Jones
While there may be some who were disappointed with the way our 50 year reunion turned out, I am certainly not one of them. For me it was nothing short of a smashing success and I wish to express my sincere thanks (as I think we all should) to those who worked so hard to make the event what it was.

It was such a thrill for me to renew old friendships and actually establish new ones. The meet and greet on Thursday, September 17 was a low-key, relax…