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Schools & Program Visits - Dec, 1997 Issue #49

Residential Treatment Program
Roosevelt, Utah
Robert Nielson (435) 353-4498
Visit by Jodi Tuttle, Educational Consultant, July, 1997
Santa Clara, UT (435) 656-1251 

“The staff here treats me with respect” was the common statement from participants in the Cedar Ridge community. Students felt comfortable being in this rural atmosphere with a caring, dedicated staff who could provide solid structure and boundaries for the participants. This unique environment is possible as a result of a blending of lifestyle, discipline and structure, attention to physical health, and a genuine caring for people. Cedar Ridge focuses on helping youth develop their relationship with themselves, both physically and emotionally, in order to facilitate healthy relationships with others and with their environment. 

Roosevelt, Utah, where Cedar Ridge is located was once an oil boom town. As those days passed into history, the town remains a quiet agricultural community in an area of Utah known as the Uinta Basin. This area has, as a backdrop, the magnificent Uinta Mountains, known for some of the greatest wilderness areas in Utah. The program is approximately 10 miles northwest of Roosevelt, where students live in a family home environment. Geodesic domes on the property provide areas for group counseling and karate. Nearby are the gardens and a fruit orchard. 

The program intentionally keeps the number of students small in order to provide a close family atmosphere. This holistic approach integrates therapy with a rural lifestyle. In addition to regular individual and group therapy, youth and staff participate in regular karate workouts, raise their own food, care for animals, and become healthy in every respect. 

Why karate? According to Rob Nielson, owner and therapist-- inasmuch as a relaxed mood/mind results in the physical body being relaxed, so does a relaxed, flexible body result in a relaxed, flexible mind. At Cedar Ridge, traditional martial arts training promotes this relaxed mind and body. In addition, it also teaches an important concept of being centered. Referring to balance and posture directly, being centered also incorporates the idea of being physically, emotionally, and spiritually aligned or congruent. The primary goal of Cedar Ridge is to assist the student in becoming more fully ‘centered’. 

Cedar Ridge provides a comprehensive assessment and treatment plan, regular individual and group therapy, including regular family therapy and consultation. Therapy may include meditation and guided imagery and analytical hypnotherapy, along with other treatment modalities. 

High school students may be enrolled in nationally accredited independent study course work in order to maintain their progress toward high school graduation. Pam Nielson, Rob’s wife, is a certified school counselor who facilitates career assessment, aptitude testing, career guidance and college counseling. 

As my visit came to a close, I began to realize that Cedar Ridge is a special place for youth who are desperately searching for their own identity and whose negative behavioral patterns reflect that search. Cedar Ridge seems to have the capacity to nurture the body and spirit while helping youth make positive behavioral changes. In addition to the availability of career assessment and counseling at the facility, Roosevelt, Utah is home to one of the major vocational/technology centers in Utah and a satellite center for Utah State University. This seems to be a place where young men and women can find direction in their lives. 

Copyright © 1997, 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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