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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…

Fishing...It's really about relationships!

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By Stephen C. Schultz


Spring is in the air and that well known feeling of wanting to get out of the house and go fishing is surging through my body. I found myself in a sporting goods store the other day perusing the fishing lure isle. I was in the yard after mowing the lawn and realized I was walking around my small 12 foot fishing boat that is still covered from winter.



I have had people ask me over the years, "What's so fun about fishing?". They usually follow that question up with, "It's so boring!". From my perspective, they couldn't be further from the truth.

Fishing represents so much more than being entertained. It's time in the wilderness with fresh air and solitude. It's time to think and ponder on life's problems.  It time to express gratitude and count your blessings. There is also the satisfaction of reading the water, observing a hatch and placing a lure or fly in the perfect spot. It's the excitement of the fish hitting th…

The Ambush

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By Stephen C. Schultz

His breathing was heavy and fast. Mucus sprayed from his nostrils and his cheeks fought the g-forces as if he were a fighter pilot leaving the deck of an aircraft carrier in an F-16. His neck muscles strained and his face grimaced as the fight or flight response kicked in. Five; six; seven now eight steps into his evasive action that was steeped in athletic prowess and natural instinct, he thought he was in the clear. Once again, he had cheated death and the angels of mercy had looked down upon him.

It didn’t register right away. With each step, the distance grew larger between him and his immediate threat. It shouldn’t have happened this way. There was so much to live for. He was in the prime of his life with family and friends who loved and cared about him. He didn’t want it to end this way.


The pain was quick and sharp. It penetrated right in the square of his back between his shoulder blades. His chest was thrust forward and his arms flew into the air and backw…

Guiding the Discussion of PSB with Families

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By Stephen C. Schultz


As a clinician, just about everyone has dealt with clients who share very personal, intimate and poignant information with us. There is a trust and therapeutic alliance that we hope to establish over time. I would bet that most of us have also worked with clients who share only partial information. They aren’t quite ready to “spill all of the beans”.
I want to reach out in a helpful manner concerning conversations you may have with families pertaining to Problematic Sexual Behavior (PSB) and teenagers. I’ve been thinking a lot about a recent conference I attended in San Antonio, Texas. I had conversations with no fewer than seven clinicians and allied health professionals about families and students that are struggling with PSB, yet the families are hesitant to address the issues head on.


It is obvious that when a family is resistant to working on these very sensitive issues that it puts you, as the clinician, in a very awkward position concerning the family, othe…

Trust and Respect - The Value of RedCliff Ascent

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By Stephen C. Schultz

The fire has almost died. The embers are glowing a light orange with grey ashes sneaking up around them. Some of the other students are getting ready to slip into their wiggy’s. He could sit here all night, just looking at the stars. They don’t look this bright at home. Everything seems clearer out here. He looks across the fire where Scott is sitting. Scott, or Medicine Bull as he is known, gives him a head nod and asks how he is doing on his fires. He remembers the first time he busted a fire with only his bow and drill set. Scott showed him the way. Scott never makes him talk. Through his example he simply encourages him to try.


RedCliff students learn firsthand the power of teamwork and the importance of individual contribution. They also learn they can count on their counselors. Staff members eat, dress, hike and otherwise live in the back country no differently than the students they lead. The result is the development, over time, of mutual trust and respec…

The Healing Nature of Art and Healthy Relationships

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By Stephen C. Schultz



The white lines zipped passed at a strobe light pace. The song, "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey played on my car stereo. Traffic was heavy, but still moving fast at a pace between 75mph and 80mph.



I was on my way to Discovery Academy. DA is a therapeutic/clinical boarding school for students who are preparing for the transition back home. These teens have been making steady progress throughout their very personal therapeutic journey. They have all dealt with some pretty difficult concerns. Many of the teens are working through clinically complicated family situations that include depression, anxiety, self harm, trauma, attachment, substance use or any combination of these or more. These teens have demonstrated courage, determination, sacrifice, insight and resilience as they move through the process of growth and healing.

This particular day I was on my way to a meeting being held in the conference room at DA. I was walking through the parking lot…

Addiction...Recovery...Sobriety - The Pathway to Healing

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By Stephen C. Schultz


Leaves fluttered to the ground as a crisp wind bit my cheeks. The tears welling up in my eyes were not based in emotion, but the chill in the air. The small creek to my left meandered down the canyon. The soft gurgling sound of running water as it crosses over ageless boulders is like music to my ears. A flock of Mallards bob their heads and glide effortlessly in the current as the water swirls into a back eddy just around the next curve. This is truly a "Place of Peace".



For many families and individuals alike, finding a place of peace seems to be a fleeting proposition. Whether it's a teenager, husband or wife, addiction is no respecter of person or societal status. Addiction doesn't discriminate. Addiction will bring emotional pain, family discord and misery to everyone it touches.



Addiction is a lier. It tells us there is no problem. It tells us we can handle it. It seduces us into thinking that any problems or personal issues are not our d…

When giving up on your teen is not the solution!

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By Stephen C. Schultz



We’ve all been there! Whether you have experience in a private therapeutic practice, a hospital setting, educational consulting or other residential treatment environments, we have all expended energy and additional resources in dealing with a student, patient or client who is headed toward a bad outcome. Every therapeutic environment has a certain percentage of their clientele that struggles.



One of the main culprits is the student's inability to connect...connect with peers; connect with parents; connect with adults and authority figures. Most importantly, they struggle to authentically connect with themselves through a healthy therapeutic process. These students are often considered “Treatment Resistant”. The students enrolled at Connections find themselves being transitioned from their current treatment program or environment and needing a higher level of clinical care.
For this reason, the “Connections” program administered through Discovery Academy was cre…