So as you may already know, I work at a wilderness therapy program in Southern Utah. There are many wilderness therapy programs in Utah, the one I work at is called Red Cliff Ascent and it has been around since 1993, Thats older than me!
A few weeks ago, we received a print out that had the philosophy and treatment method of RCA outlined for us as staff to better understand.
Sometimes answering people's questions on my job can be difficult.
"So where do you work"
"I work at a Wilderness Therapy Program."
"What is that?"
Well here is what it is, from the words of Red Cliff Ascent.
Red Cliff Ascent is a Wilderness Therapy Program--or more accurately an Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare program. Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare programming can be defined as the "prescriptive use of wilderness experiences by licensed mental health professionals to meet the therapeutic needs of clients."
Mission Statement: With the Wilderness as our catalyst, we reveal potential, inspire hope, and save lives.
If you are like me, and didn't know what Catalyst meant at first, here is the definition-- a person or thing that precipitates an event or change,
Philosophy and treatment model:
Treatment at RCA is based on an integrative care model, which means viewing and treating each client holistically. This includes addressing a client's general health, mental health, and addictive behaviors that are impeding appropriate adolescent development.
Red Cliff has two Goals of Treatment
- First, disrupt a struggling teen's current dysfunctional behavioral patterns.
- Second, we help reintegrate the teen into the appropriate developmental level.
How we measure success:
1. Re-engagement in the developmental progress of the client.
2. Improvements in a client's physical well being, emotional health, interpersonal relationships and social engagement.
3. Mastery, a superior form of completion of the wilderness curriculum. (for example mastering Bow-Drilling, and instead of having only 14 fires, they have 100 fires.)
4. Successful alignment with an appropriate level of aftercare services.
Now you know a little bit more about Wilderness Therapy, and the philosophies and treatment models behind them. Wilderness Therapy works, and that is an undeniable fact. I have first hand experience both in my past and in my life right now, that Wilderness changes lives for the better. I was once that 16 year old kid in the woods for 72 days, I know what it is like as a client and as a staff. As a staff I have seen the growth and development of many who comes through the program. I have seen how disrupting the normal everyday lifestyle of clients, and sending them into the middle of no where truly helps them to start fresh and reinvent themselves and discover who they are from the inside out.
If you have any questions, be sure to write them below!
I will create another blog post sometime soon, with pictures and describe the every day life of living in Wilderness. But for now I am off to work for the next 8 days.
So until next time,