Skip to main content

The polygraph...A lie detector or clinical tool?

By Stephen C. Schultz


“The polygraph is not what you think it is. It is not a lie detector machine...there is no such thing as a lie detector machine...and the polygraph is not one.” ~ John Pickup, Polygraph Examiner

Over the years, Oxbow Academy has consistently had to answer one question;

“Why do you use the Polygraph?”



To provide an effective answer, it is important to understand the student population at Oxbow. Oxbow works with students who have engaged in Problematic Sexual Behavior (PSB). This behavior can take many forms and effect students in many different ways. The one common factor is that this behavior has affected the student's life or the lives of their family members in a chronically dysfunctional and unhealthy way. The students at Oxbow have generally lived a life of secrets and manipulation. Their parents don’t trust them and they often feel trapped by the unhealthy family dynamic.

Parents and mental health professionals regularly mention they “feel in their gut” there is more going on. However, the students swear there is nothing more and continue their manipulative and avoidance behavior. Family relationships spiral out of control. Often the student is quietly battling the demons of abuse, trauma and addiction. Some students demonstrate anxiety, depression and even self harm behavior.



So...why the polygraph? Oxbow is not an adjudicated program and has no ties to the legal system whatsoever. In fact, each student is independently placed by their family. Sometimes the funding sources vary, but the families are the ones intervening in their son's behalf.

One of the key factors to any therapeutic positive outcome is honesty. There isn’t much healing that will take place if the student is constantly lying or sharing half truths with the clinician. The whole idea behind the therapeutic alliance, between the therapist and the student, is to establish an alliance of trust. The foundation of trust is honesty...honesty with their therapist...honesty with their family and honesty with themselves.



The Polygraph is simply a therapeutic tool. It allows the therapist to assume the role of “advocate” with the student. The therapist becomes an advocate with the student to help them pass the polygraph. This also allows the therapist to assist the student in developing a “relationship” with honesty. As this situation unfolds, over time, with therapeutic expertise, true healing takes place. Families are reunited and students are able to repair relationships.

Take a few moments and view this short video. It is a video where former Oxbow students discuss their experience of taking a polygraph exam. I think you will come away with a renewed understanding and sense of hope in the process.

Owning Our Story

Editors note: Much of the video was shot in the Seattle, Washington area. The above pictures are simply cool places we went while filming. The "Red Rock" shots in the video were shot at the San Rafael Swell in Central Utah.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Perfectly Wicked - A new take on an old fairy tale!

Guest Blogger Amanda Schultz Age 15 There she was…hair as black as night, lips as red as blood, skin as white as snow. Standing by the window, washing dishes, whistling while she worked. Snow White. I shudder with disgust every time I hear her name. What kind of a name is that anyway? “Snow White”. Gahhh, it’s a name that practically begs to be made fun of. Yet, there she goes, frolicking around like she owns the Enchanted Forest. No. I’m the Queen. I’m in charge. My magic mirror was mistaken. I’m the Fairest of them all, not that sorry excuse for a princess. One bite from my poison apple and that air-head will be so ugly not even her mother could love her. And I will be the Fairest once again! I suppose that I should rewind a little bit. It wasn’t always a competition between Snow White and me. In fact, back in the day, we had a nice little system going on. I would rule the kingdom and practice my magic, while Snow did the dishes and tended the garden. She stayed out of my w

An Open Letter to Parents Researching RedCliff Ascent

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

Life transitions are inevitable! I'm no exception

By Stephen C. Schultz This is just a quick email to share with you that after 20 years with the Ascent Companies, I am making a transition. I want you to know that the last 20 years have been more than I could have ever wished for. What a great opportunity I have had to not only work with, serve with and be friends with all who are a part of the RCA , DRG , DRB , Oxbow , Discovery Day PHP , Connections and Oasis programs. I owe such a debt of gratitude to the four original owners, Dane Kay, Steve Peterson, Scott Peterson and Jim Salsbury for seeing my potential and taking a risk on me back in 2002. Steve Nadauld, Brent Hall, Andrea Burgess, Clint Dorny, Shawn Brooks, Steve DeMille and the program teams have been like family and an absolute joy to be around.  I feel honored to have played a small role in the success you as educational consultants, private clinicians and us as treatment providers (working together) have had over the years on literally thousands of families.  #GRATITUDE