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New Perspectives - Oct, 1995 Issue #36 

Angelus Oaks, California
Peter Huber, Ph.D., Director of Admissions

The Center for ReUniting Families (CRF) is a non-profit organization located in the Big Pines National Forest of southern California serving troubled teens from 14 to 17 and their families with an individualized program. Typical teens have labels of ADD, ADHD, rebellious, unmotivated, depressed, out-of- control and generally failing to thrive in their home, school and community environments. Common issues of these young people are self-esteem, sobriety, identity, family conflict, anger and appropriate self expression. 

The program lasts from one month to one year, and "is based on the principles of respect, responsibility, and family involvement. It encompasses both educational and therapeutic objectives and offers individualized curriculum and clinical intervention to assist troubled teens on their journey to find themselves, their path and their passion." 

"Students are guided to replace inappropriate attitudes and behaviors with new productive choices. Here wounds begin to heal and hearts open. The program is based on the latest learning theories, brain/mind discoveries, and family dynamic psychology. It incorporates Native American teaching, which help teens build personal integrity and connection with all life." 

"The program addresses causes, not just symptoms. The staff at CRF believe that defiant, manipulative and out of control behaviors are masks for the pain and fear that engulf troubled teens. When the focus is on symptom removal, the underlying problems remain and often surface later in a more serious way. At CRF, students are evaluated frequently and guided into experiences that lead them out of their darkness, self deception, and judgments about themselves and others. With individual attention as well as group interaction, teens are helped to rediscover their capacity to learn, to love and begin the long journey home." 

Parent and family involvement is an important stated objective. There are frequent conferences with parents which includes monthly intensive workshops of training, therapy and coaching. To help build a network for each teen after graduation, the staff works closely with therapists, teachers, health care providers and other advocates back home. "After graduation, students and their families are encouraged to participate in many activities of the camp and to return for graduate and family weekends." 

"The staff consists of experienced teachers and licensed psychotherapists as well as experts in the fields of chemical dependency, youth self- esteem and leadership, outdoor adventure therapy, including ropes courses and mountain climbing, computer technology, electrical/electronic engineering, construction and search and rescue. When appropriate, they offer teens apprenticeships to augment their educational and therapeutic programs and prepare them for future responsibilities." 

Copyright 1995, 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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