Students begin their therapy during the intake process. The treatment team helps students and their families develop meaningful goals that prepare the student to be successful when he returns home.
Based on these goals, we work with each student to identify and practice the skills that fit their individual situation and needs. Students gain new perspectives on their situations and themselves by participating in individual, group and family therapy. Staff work with all students to form healthy therapeutic relationships that are consistent, respectful and honest.
Ideas from Michael Durrant on solution-focused work in a residential setting, Bruce Perry on working with children that have experienced trauma during their early years and Stephen Glen’s work on “Developing Capable Young People” are strong influences on the structure and attitude of our program. We believe students become more capable when they:
- Identify with a viable role model
- Identify with and take responsibility for family processes
- Have faith in personal resources to solve problems
- Develop intrapersonal skills
- Develop interpersonal skills
- Develop situational skills
- Develop critical thinking skills
At Red Top Meadows, our job is to help a student and his family make adjustments in their lives to allow the student to return to home and continue his work. Graduation from Red Top is a transition that requires planning by the student, family and service providers in their home communities to develop an aftercare plan that they can maintain.
Students taking psychotropic medications receive psychiatric services in Jackson to help monitor medications.
Family involvement is a key factor in how successful a student will be in reaching his treatment goals. It is an essential part of treatment for the following reasons:
- Family input results in more productive goals.
- Parents and siblings can provide useful information and advice. They know their son/brother better than anyone.
- Family support and encouragement are essential in helping the child through the changes he is trying to make.
- Change effects and involves the entire the family system and requires their involvement to last.
- Red Top is practice for the work that needs to happen when he returns home.
Families are encouraged to be involved by:
- Attending the intake meeting to help develop and clarify meaningful treatment goals.
- Attending family therapy sessions with Red Top treatment staff twice a month (preferably in person but can be done by phone)
- Participating in monthly updates of the treatment plan.
- Talking with staff about their son’s accomplishments and progress.
- Writing and calling on a regular basis.
- Visiting regularly, preferably at prearranged times.
- Seeking professional counseling from a family- oriented therapist in home community to help with the transition of returning home.
When parents are involved, residents are more motivated, complete the program in a shorter period of time and are more successful upon returning home.
The focus of daily living at RTM is learning to develop and maintain healthy relationships and to be a part of a supportive community. Staff members help accomplish this by using all aspects of a student’s day as opportunities to give feedback and teach new skills that help the student apply their treatment goals to their daily lives.
The school day at RTM runs from 8:45 AM to 3:45 PM. Math, Language Arts, Social Studies, Science and Physical Education are the curriculum of each school day. After school, students participate in some physical activity such as soccer, basketball, skiing or an active game.
Group therapy is provided four times a week. It may include facilitated discussion, psycho-educational presentations, and/or team building activities.
Meals are served family-style. There are generally about 15 people at each meal, including staff, offering a good opportunity to socialize, relax, and practice social skills. Students and staff share in the kitchen responsibilities.
Daily Clean-up Responsibilities
Each student has daily clean-up responsibilities. Students are responsible for taking care of their own personal area and laundry as well as contributing to daily chores and cleanup of group living spaces.
Activities include community service projects, trips to the local ski area, cooking, art classes, outdoor sports and wilderness preparation activities. Students have limited free time that can be spent reading, writing letters, doing homework, drawing, playing board games or having one on one time with staff members.
Ceremonies are held to celebrate and acknowledge transitions or milestones in a student’s treatment progress.
Wilderness trips have been a part of the Red Top Residential Treatment Program since 1982. Over the years it has become apparent that wilderness experiences accelerate the therapeutic process. The combination of the wilderness environment, adventure activities and the sense of community formed by living closely in the mountains provides students with new perspectives on the world and themselves, as well as endless learning and personal growth opportunities. The new insights, confidence and skills developed during these trips, along with the trust developed with the staff, help a student be more prepared to make the changes needed in his daily life to meet his treatment goals.
Wilderness trips for the residential program are scheduled to follow the 7-8 week school sessions in the fall, winter, spring, and summer. Each wilderness experience is structured around a theme. The theme is then carried into the following school program. The goal is to help students generalize concepts and skills and be able to transfer them from one environment to another. Transferring these skills to their home environment is the ultimate goal.
The Summer Program
The Summer Program is the longest, with students spending 26 days in the field. The theme of the summer program is “moving from dependence to being more interdependent.”
The Fall Trip
In fall, we offer a one week community service project working in cooperation with the Forest Service’s Adopt-A-Trail Program. Students work on building and maintaining the trail system in our area. The theme of this program is “making contributions to the communities in which you live.”
The Winter Trip
The Winter Trip is a one week skiing/camping experience close to the residential center. The theme of the winter program is “thriving through teamwork.”
The Spring Trip
The Spring Trip takes place in southern Utah. The theme for the spring trip is “relaxation, reflection and spiritual awareness.” This is generally a 12-day trip exploring the canyons of the Escalante River.
RTM has been accredited by the Association of Experiential Education since 1999, highlighting our long term commitment to providing safe, ethically sound and therapeutic wilderness experiences for adolescents.