RedCliff Ascent is located in Enterprise, Utah, a small town in the southwest corner of the state, about three hours north of Las Vegas. The organization has provided substance abuse and dual diagnosis services for youth between 13 and 17 for over 20 years. A premier wilderness therapy program, RedCliff provides age-appropriate care that specifically targets different components of the client’s condition. Offering an alternative to residential and juvenile correctional treatment, RedCliff is licensed by the State of Utah.
Accommodations and Food
Clients load buses at the RedCliff headquarters and are taken to remote locations where they remain outdoors for the entirety of their stay. They camp and hike with nothing except essential clothing and equipment. All clothing and gear is provided, and participants keep these materials at the end of their stay. Clients and field staff sleep in tents at private campgrounds each night. Emergency shelter and food are available in cases of inclement weather.
Food is provided and prepared by staff and clients together. The menu has been approved by a dietitian, and includes fresh fruits, vegetables, rice, beans, meat, cheese, trail mix and spices as earned. No caffeinated or carbonated beverages, junk food and minimal sugar are served. Clients consume 3,000 calories daily, are required to drink a certain amount of water, and are weighed regularly to ensure appropriate BMI is maintained.
Treatment and Staff
RedCliff has two main treatment focuses—to disrupt the troubled teens behavioral patterns, and to integrate new, healthier skills into the client’s life. The unique approach offers a combination of traditional wilderness therapy, and modern, evidence-based therapeutic practices delivered through individualized treatment plans.
Treatment is formulated around a trek, during which clients hike three to seven miles daily to various camps. They are assigned to a group, in which they begin working on a values-driven curriculum. Teens learn how to live and survive in the wilderness, developing hard skills such as how to create shelter, carve utensils, make a bow and set a fire. Most clients agree to stay at least 30 days, while the average stay is 65.
Clients participate in individual therapy weekly with a clinician, as well as daily individual counseling sessions with field staff. A licensed therapist also facilitates formal group therapy at least once a week, while daily group discussions occur spontaneously, and are initiated by staff or a client. Evening discussions around the campfire are used as catalysts for clients to discuss their thoughts and feelings.
Group topics include psychoeducation, behavior and peer discussion, and vary between highly structured and conversational. Group and individual sessions also employ CBT techniques, focusing on replacing destructive behavior and thought patterns with new ones. Journaling, writing exercises and study manuals help with personal development.
Weekly family therapy sessions are conducted by phone and are facilitated by the client’s primary therapist. The focus of these sessions is education and assessment, with the family given opportunity to see growth and development in their child week to week.
Clients are able to maintain existing prescription medication regimens, and medical needs are reported to RedCliff headquarters at least twice daily. A registered nurse visits the campgrounds weekly to address any new or ongoing concerns. The medical director ensures medication is appropriately managed, and clients are offered dual diagnosis support for co-occurring mental health or behavioral problems. Medical detox is not available, and clients requiring detox should no longer be physically dependent before starting this program.
All RedCliff therapists have over 10 years experience, and Master’s or doctorate-level degrees. Field staff is also highly trained, able to cope with any circumstance. They rotate weekly, frequently consulting with the client’s entire team to assess and address progress and problems.
Graduation from RedCliff is a two-day process, with the family offering final approval for the client’s completion of the program. Once they have decided the client may come home, parents make the trip to Utah, and the client begins to trek to the meeting point. A final half-mile run to the waiting parents marks a ceremonial end to the teen’s journey through the wilderness.
RedCliff Ascent provides unique and comprehensive treatment for young people with emotional, behavioral and substance abuse problems. Its program is based around experiences that can only be gained through intense, lengthy contact with nature, as well as proven therapies and client-focused treatment. While clients will surely be challenged and out of their comfort zones, they are guaranteed to be cared for by a qualified and compassionate team. Clients requiring diagnostic assessment are charged on top of the daily fee, but it is at a reduced rate. All clients receive random urinalysis, the cost of which is included. Insurance does not cover any portion of the fees.
709 East Main St, P.O Box 1027
Enterprise, UT 84725
Redcliff Ascent Cost: $13,500 (for 30 days). Reach Redcliff Ascent by phone at (435) 414-6222 or by email here.
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