The Therapy Experience

True wilderness therapy is much more than just holding counseling sessions in the outdoors. Everything we do at RedCliff Ascent is designed to create a therapeutic experience for your troubled teen.

In this section you can also find information on:

Therapy Team

Type and FrequencyA teenager trying to start a fire

Role of Field Staff 

Why Hard Skills?

The Trek

Community Dynamics

Personal Growth


During the Student’s Day

Whether your student is building a fire, carving a spoon, speaking with their therapist, or hiking with field staff, therapy takes place all day, every day. We call this “real time,” or in the moment, therapy. It disrupts the dynamic most students had at home. As a result this helps them realize that they alone are responsible for their choices.

Just being in a wilderness setting can be healing. For many programs, that’s where the experience stops. But troubled teens need more than beautiful surroundings and a break from their daily lives.

RedCliff Ascent therapists understand how to combine a healing outdoor environment with specific therapeutic techniques. Experiential activities RedCliff students participate in give ideas, feelings, and new understanding a place to “land,” so to speak. They become a frame for students to use to sort their emotional discoveries and build interpretation and skill.

Contrast a troubled teen in a wilderness experience with one involved in outpatient therapy. Teen help as an outpatient offers a way for the troubled teen to become “invisible” from week to week. As soon as he/she walks out of the office the primary motivator is typically, “What can I get away with?”

At RedCliff Ascent, there is no invisibility. In other words, the struggling teen must face every day, all day, the thought patterns and behaviors that resulted in wilderness therapy intervention. In any event parents can see and evaluate weekly their struggling teen’s progress via secure Internet portal, weekly phone calls, and family counseling sessions with their child’s therapist.

Call an admissions counselor at 801-921-8488 for additional information about how RedCliff Ascent can help your family.