Constantly Improving our Wilderness Program – Current Research

Part 5 in a series – click here to read part four on wilderness health.


Improving our wilderness program – Current Research

RedCliff Ascent is committed to providing the highest quality wilderness therapy treatment. One of the ways RedCliff achieves this is through constantly assessing the effectives of our program. Evaluating treatment effectiveness began at RedCliff over 15 years ago. RedCliff Ascent was a founding program of the Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare (OBH) Council and the Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Research Cooperative (OBHRC), which currently sets the standards for research and wilderness therapy programming. In addition to our independent research efforts, RedCliff Ascent collaborates with the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP), OBHRC, and Universities to produce research on our treatment effectiveness.

Evidence-Based Practice

Evidence-based practice has been described as “the integration of the best available research with clinical expertise in the context of patient characteristics, culture and preferences.” The services provided at RedCliff Ascent integrate the best available research knowledge for treating adolescents. This includes providing treatment that is developmentally appropriate, strength based and fosters resilience. Basing treatment interventions off evidence-based practices increases the likelihood of a positive treatment outcome and meets standards for best practices.

Research Supported Treatment

As a result of RedCliff’s long history of conducting outcomes research, we now have a body of research literature, in addition to our body of anecdotal testimonials, which support our mission of providing the highest quality wilderness therapy treatment.
“RedCliff Ascent is proud of being the industry leader in effectiveness research and setting the standards for outcomes research in wilderness therapy; however, Redcliff’s research efforts go far beyond just effectiveness studies. RedCliff also leads the industry in risk management and client safety research, health and nutrition research, and program development research. RedCliff’s dedication to continued improvement and research allows us to provide families and adolescents a superior wilderness therapy experience.” – Steven DeMille

Program Evaluation, Development, and Client Satisfaction

In addition providing an effective and safe treatment for adolescents and families, RedCliff is determined to provide a quality and satisfying wilderness experience to adolescents and their parents. To do this each family and student completes an exit survey which evaluates each component of the program. This allows for RedCliff to address and improve specific components of the program to provide the best wilderness experience to its clients.
RedCliff has gathered survey data on over a thousand students and parents who were treated at RedCliff. This data is used by administrators, therapists, staff and others to monitor the quality of service and make program improvements when needed. Data is gathered using a 7 point Likert scale in the following areas: admissions process, office staff, intake process, parent support, student therapist, graduation ceremony, how safe did the student feel, field staff, food, support staff, field equipment, helpfulness of daily activities, and perceptions of self. By monitoring the various components of RedCliff Ascent we are able to make specific improvements to our program as needed.
20 years of Wilderness Treatment
BACK to part 1 of the research Series: “RedCliff Ascent’s Research mission: To provide the highest quality wilderness therapy treatment.”