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News & Views - Feb, 1993 Issue #20 

Program Changes
Bicknell, Utah

At Aspen Achievement Academy, we are working on some program changes to expand our service to families and to offer more options. As many of the readers may know, our central program at this time is our 60 day wilderness adolescent therapy program. We are now integrating a family systems model further into our treatment approach by establishing a parent response program. In this program parents are sent the book "Parenting Teenagers: Systematic Training for Effective Parenting of Teens" by Don Dinkmeyer and Gary D. McKay, published by American Guidance Service. Parents do assignments from this book while their child is enrolled in the wilderness program. Additionally they are provided with some topics for either journal or letter writing. We suggest that they may want to use some of these assignments in their own therapy while their child is with us. Another component is that families sign a continuum of care agreement in which they arrange to participate in family counseling both during and after their child's wilderness experience. We then communicate with their therapist at home to coordinate treatment. Lastly we have added a fourth day to our family program that occurs at graduation. On this day the parents will work together as a group prior to their reunion with their children to focus on parenting skills, strategies to assist with successful reintegration, and support for one another.

We have expanded our service to our families in another way by establishing a position for a Client Relations Coordinator. Currently Barbara Lester, a therapist with our program, is filling this role and is spending time working with each family to ensure that their questions and concerns are answered and to promote our parent response program.

Lastly, we are excited to announce the development of an extended program that we will offer to graduates of our wilderness program. This will be a one to three month residential program that will assist students who for a variety of reasons are not able or ready to return home immediately after graduation. We anticipate beginning this new program in March, and anyone who is interested is welcome to call our Admissions Office at 1-800-283-8334 for more information. Students in our extended program will receive additional support in making the transition back to a home environment. This new program will continue our wilderness tradition in that students will still be living in the out-of-doors, but now in a base camp instead of moving their campsite from day to day. We feel that the extended program will fill a gap in service and we look forward to watching it develop.

Copyright 1993, Woodbury Reports, Inc. (This article may be reproduced without prior approval if the copyright notice and proper publication and author attribution accompanies the copy.)

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