Sorensons Ranch School is a therapeutic learning environment that helps troubled teens and struggling youth

Sept 30, 2010

Sorenson's Ranch School assists students through a structured therapeutic approach.

Family relationships are very important. Many times a struggling relationship can cause not only immediate problems but also problems in the future.

Troubled teens and struggling youth often need help in many different areas. Sorenson's Ranch School is a safe Educational Treatment Center in a ranch setting. Students are given an opportunity to learn and mature at their own pace. Sorenson's Ranch School is Accredited through the northwest association of accredited schools.

Small class sizes allow teachers to individualize teaching methods for each student and assist students that may be behind in their schoolwork. Sorenson's Ranch is located in Koosharem, Utah. Because of our location and ranch environment we have the option to engage in experiential learning processes. Experiential learning is learning by doing rather than by talking and listening. Experiential learning begins on day one.

Each new student at Sorenson's begins their stay with a week of feeding the animals and doing chores on the ranch. Students may also have the opportunity to raise and care for a lamb or a pig. Students also have the opportunity to play sports such as football, volleyball, and basketball and participate in activities such as fishing, mountain biking, horseback riding and many more. These are all experiences that afford us the freedom to let students learn by making decisions, working through problems, and finding answers on their own. This helps students to begin to solve issues on their own and work on their own communication skills.

Horses can help teens become more self-aware by allowing the troubled teens to experience an array of different emotions. Therapy in collaboration with nature can help students overcome addiction, anger, defiance, depression and many other problems facing troubled youth today. Horses hold very deep emotions for people. Youth enrolled in Sorenson's Ranch School are able to receive therapy in conjunction with a very unique and very successful horse program. Students receive expert instruction from qualified counselors that have experience with equine assisted psychotherapy.

Sorenson's Ranch has been using equine therapy for more than fifty years. A residential treatment center that uses horse therapy can be much more effective for troubled youth. Students at Sorenson's Ranch not only receive the therapeutic environment that they need, but also receive many life skills that will help them throughout their lives.

Individual and group therapy sessions are delivered traditionally and through experiential learning. There are many advantages to learning while doing the many activities offered at Sorenson's Ranch School. In addition to working with a therapist, each student is assigned an individual case manager who provides daily one-on-one contact with the student and weekly contact with parents. Parents are also able to monitor activities and progress through a secure login to the parent pages website.

Sorenson's Ranch helps troubled teens and struggling youth through a structured learning environment. Sorenson's Ranch was one of the first schools to incorporate experiential learning into a therapeutic environment. Sorenson's Ranch has been helping families and teens for more than fifty years. If your family relationships are not what you want them to be Sorenson's Ranch School can help.

Visit Sorenson's Ranch School or call the admissions office at 1-800-455-4590.

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Sorensons Ranch School helps troubled teens learn how to change negative thought patterns

Sept 13, 2010

Learning to change negative thought patterns is a very powerful tool in learning to feel better about oneself and in turn change behaviors. Remember our thoughts are directly related to our behaviors.

We all have that little voice inside our heads that attempts to hold us back through the use of self-despairing statements. Whether the statements are about our looks, abilities, or the core of who we are, these statements become part of who we are and keeps us from becoming who we can be. These negative self-talk statements are worse for people who have depression and for those with low self-esteem, because these statements keep the person trapped and do not allow them to move forward easily.

Replacing negative thought patterns is addressed through the use of the DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) and in individual therapy. The Sorenson's Ranch School DBT group addresses identifying negative thought patterns by introducing the idea of cognitive myths and teaching the students to challenge these myths that they say to themselves. An example of a myth that students learn to challenge is: "It will kill me if he does not talk to me." A possible challenge is: "I won't like it, but I will move on if he does not talk to me." Other myths include, "It does not matter; I don't really care." This one is generally used to avoid sharing feelings and managing emotions. Many students challenge this one with "I really do care and this is why." Students are then taught to identify their own myths and challenge these and use these challenges every time that myth comes to mind. They practice replacing that thought with the challenge.

The next step in the Sorenson's Ranch School DBT group is to learn about cheerleading statements. Students are taught to make their own cheerleading statements to give themselves encouragement and to empower themselves. These statements are particularly helpful for overcoming fears and helping the student to feel better about their self and to build upon their strengths.

For more information contact the admissions office at 1-800-455-4590 or visit Sorenson's Ranch School

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Sorensons Ranch School helps when teens make bad decisions

Sept 1, 2010

Sorenson's Ranch School knows how to help teenagers that are struggling to make good decisions. The academic and therapeutic environment at Sorenson's Ranch helps students realize the importance of making good decisions.

What happens to a family when a teen starts to make poor decisions? Do you have a teen that is struggling to make good decisions in their life? Families many times are greatly affected by the actions of a teenage child in the family. This can affect parents, children, and the family as a whole. Troubled teens and their families often do not know where to turn for help. There are resources available to help, but what is the best solution for your family?

Residential Treatment Centers are often needed to help correct some of the problems that troubled teens experience. A residential treatment center usually offers therapy, education, and behavior modification. These schools are often helpful when dealing with a troubled teen or a struggling teen.

Sorenson's Ranch School is a residential treatment center located in Koosharem, Utah. Sorenson's Ranch helps families reunite and helps troubled youth reach their own potential. Sorenson's Ranch focuses on experiential learning, education, therapy, and behavior modification.

Contact The Sorenson's Ranch admissions department to see if Sorenson's Ranch School can help your family. You can visit the website Sorenson's Ranch School or call the admissions office at 1-800-455-4590.

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The Sorensons Ranch School Therapy Department Hosts Outdoor Challenge Day

July 27, 2010

The Sorenson's Ranch School Therapy Department held another fun day of outdoor challenge activities to assist students with creative problem-solving and teambuilding.

In June the Therapy Department facilitated a low ropes course day for our adolescent students and it was a big success. In the second week of July, we did another challenge day for the girls, as well as a day for the boys with all new challenges.

The students moved in small teams of approximately eight to ten students from one activity to the next. All challenge activities were facilitated by a therapist or group leader. The students had a lot of fun with these challenges and tended to get very involved in solving or completing them.

After the completion of each challenge, the leader facilitated a discussion to assist the teens in relating their approach in the challenge to broader issues in their lives either here at Sorenson's Ranch or back at home. Students related the challenges to a variety of challenges in life that teens have to deal with such as staying clean and sober, working through their treatment program successfully, getting along with and supporting their peers, improving their relationship with their parents, meeting their academic goals, making positive plans for the future, etc.

The Sorenson's Ranch School therapy challenge day was set in a picturesque mountain setting approximately seven miles from campus up a wooded canyon. A beautiful stream lined one edge of the site where the event took place. The students made their lunch up in the mountains in a picnic area near the stream. We also made homemade ice cream, which everyone enjoyed. There was a little bit of free time at the end to enjoy the creek. It was a hot day and students enjoyed cooling off in the stream, as well as playing tug of war across the stream.

For more information contact the admissions office at 1-800-455-4590 or visit our website Sorenson's Ranch School

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Parent Orientation To Sorensons Ranch School

July 13, 2010

Sorenson's Ranch School has adolescent clients with a variety of presenting concerns. Because of the variety of presenting problems that our adolescent students display, it is important that we individualize their treatment. Each student has a treatment team that consists of their parent(s), their therapist, case manager, and her/himself.

Sorenson's Ranch School has adolescent clients with a variety of presenting concerns including Oppositional Defiance, Substance Abuse, PTSD, behavioral problems, school problems, Attention Deficit Disorder, mental health problems, Bipolar Disorder, Depression, Borderline Personality Tendencies, and unresolved adoption issues, including Reactive Attachment Disorder.

The therapist is designated as the leader of the treatment team. The case manager will serve as the parents' primary point of contact. They will speak to the parent(s) each week about their child in order to provide an update on how their child is doing in the program: including how they are doing following rules, interacting with staff and other authority figures, interacting with peers, performing in school and other extra curricular activities, and working in individual and group therapy. The case manager will be aware of how the student is doing in therapy due to the fact that the case manager and therapist "crossover" about how the student is doing in the program each week. However, the therapist will also contact the parents on an approximately every other week basis in addition, to provide some more detailed information regarding how the therapy process is going and to elicit useful relevant input from the parent(s) to assist in the therapeutic process.

There are times when students get caught up in comparing what their case manager, therapist, or parent(s) is/are doing. For example they may say "why is my case manager doing such and such when somebody else's is not, or why is my therapist requiring this of me when someone else's is not. It's important that the treatment be individualized to the particular student. We encourage students not to worry about what any other case manager, therapist, or set of parents is doing, but to focus on their own work here at Sorenson's Ranch. It should be noted that although the primary adolescent treatment team consists of the parent(s), therapist, case manager, and student, every staff member here at Sorenson's Ranch is an important part of the student's treatment. Group leaders, teachers, residential staff, cooks, ranch and maintenance workers, and administrative staff are all essential in playing their specific roles in assisting the students who have behavioral, substance abuse, and/or mental health problems.

It is natural for the student in treatment to want to know how long they will be in the program. Although parents are tempted to give their child a clear answer in hopes of motivating them, it has been our experience from working with thousands of troubled adolescents over more than two decades that how this question is answered can make or break the student's motivation to actually engage and apply themselves fully to working on themselves and making real progress in the program. We feel strongly that the best answer to this question is to tell them that their length of stay is dependant on their actual progress in the program and that you are relying on their therapist to let you know when they have completed the program. The therapist will develop a treatment plan that includes treatment plan goals and objectives/interventions to assist in meeting those goals. It's been our experience that if students do not believe that their discharge date is completely dependent on their actual progress, they will not work as hard, instead hoping that their parents will discharge them prematurely or at a designated point of time, or that their parents will "run out of money and discharge them regardless of their actual progress." If you have any questions about what to tell your child about discharge, it is recommended that you talk to the child's therapist about it before speaking to your child about it.

In addition to individual therapy, students receive group therapy weekly. We have groups on a variety of topics: including Teenage Substance Abuse Intervention/Prevention, Anger Management, Adolescent Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Adoption, Grief, Sexual Abuse and Rape Survivors, and Yoga/Meditation. Students may be participating in anywhere between two and five or more groups at a time depending on their specific needs and inclusion in the categories mentioned above, such as being adopted or being a sexual abuse or rape survivor. As therapists and case managers, we need and appreciate the participation and input from parents as one of the key members of our treatment team. We are open to questions and/or feedback regarding how we are working with your student and encourage you to work with us collaboratively on helping your child. Any questions or concerns are welcome.

For more information contact the admissions office at 1-800-455-4590 or visit our website Sorenson's Ranch School

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Sorensons Ranch School Sleepovers

June 30, 2010

This is just one example of the fun activities available for students at Sorenson's Ranch School

One of the fun things that average teenage girls like to do is have sleepovers. They enjoy getting together at someone's house and doing girl things. They sing, dance, play games, eat fun food, and are able to relax enough to come out of their shells and be themselves. This is one of those ordinary activities during a girl's formative years that a troubled girl misses out on. A night of wholesome fun with other teens her age is rare for a teen who is experiencing behavioral difficulties.

At Sorenson's Ranch School girls are given the opportunity to be involved in wholesome activities. Every four to six weeks on a Friday night, we do a sleepover activity. Level Three, Four, and Five girls are invited to attend. We spend the evening cooking, dancing, doing crafts, facials, and watching movies. We choose a food theme, such as breakfast for dinner. The girls cook their own meals with their favorite ingredients. They can get very creative with their dishes.

We listen to music while we cook. They really enjoy dancing. There is a lot of laughter and fun as they teach each other dance steps. Sometimes we do karaoke, which can be very entertaining.

At the last sleepover we made bags from bandanas. The girls were creative in mixing patterns of bandanas. It's fun to see their creativity. Many troubled teens with self-esteem issues do not realize how creative they really are. Sorenson's Ranch School provides various opportunities for our teens to discovery their inner talents. We sometimes have facials from homemade ingredients. They mix egg, honey, and olive oil. It's interesting to see the reaction of putting such a concoction on their faces. They are always amazed at the results.

We bring in blankets and pillows, spread them on the floor, and settle in for a night of movies. We're allowed to stay up as long as we want on that night. The girls really enjoy our sleepovers, and it shows them there are alternative ways to have fun. They learn cooperation, patience, and tolerance of each other in working together to create a fun night. They gain confidence in trying new things. They have a desire to achieve higher levels because no one wants to miss out on the fun.

This is just one example of the fun activities available for students at Sorenson's Ranch School. As we move into the summer season, campouts will be a regular part of student life. Girls will be able to do many of the fun activities that they do during their sleepovers, but in an outdoor setting. Singing around a campfire is always fun. Troubled teens from urban settings are always amazed at how fun and enjoyable outdoor experiences are. Combining sleepovers with the outdoors, which is what a campout is, creates experiences that they will remember the rest of their lives.

For more information contact the admissions office at 1-800-455-4590 or visit our website Sorenson's Ranch School

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Sorensons Ranch School Educates Teens

June 29, 2010

Sorenson's Ranch School is a residential treatment center that assists troubled teens through behavior modification, therapy, and education.

Troubled teens are many times severely deficient in school credits. This creates stress and a feeling of failure in both the parents of the teens and many times in the teens themselves.

Many times it is easier for a teen to give up on school than to continue to try and finish. Education is a very important part of a person's life and statistically a high school dropout will earn much less money over the course of their lives. This creates difficulty for people that do not graduate from High School. Education is a very important part in the life of a troubled teen.

At Sorenson's Ranch School a student receives an individualized study program to help them make up deficient credits and get them back on track to graduation. Not only do students receive a first class education through Sorenson's Ranch but they also have the opportunity to participate in many activities as well.

Students at Sorenson's Ranch also are able to participate in a therapeutic environment that is second to none. Sorenson's Ranch focuses on behavior modification, therapy, and education. Focusing on all three of these items allows Sorenson's Ranch to help troubled teens recover from issues associated with ADD, ODD, depression, RAD, and many other problems.

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Distress Tolerance Skills with Sorensons Ranch School

May 14, 2010

Sorensons Ranch School is a residential treatment center for troubled teens. Many troubled teens need behavioral help along with educational help and therapy. Sorensons Ranch School helps each student with their needs individually.

Sorenson's Ranch School's behavior modification program offers students many opportunities to engage in basic fun, entertaining, and educational activities as they learn to change and manage their behaviors. All of these activities have a purpose in assisting teenagers in managing their behaviors. Managing their behavior is a skill they can learn with help from dedicated therapists and staff.

Sorenson's Ranch School facilitates a skills group entitled Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) developed by Marsha Linehan. The DBT group focuses on teaching skills to assist with developing Core Mindfulness, Interpersonal Relationships, Emotion Regulation, and Distress Tolerance. The majority of students at Sorenson's Ranch School have difficulty in at least one of these areas; therefore, learning the DBT skills can be an important part of their therapy.

Distress Tolerance Skills are skills for tolerating painful events and emotions when you cannot make things better right away. Distress Tolerance Skills were developed to assist individuals who have a difficult time managing their emotions in handling situations that they cannot fix quickly, including: death of a loved one, intruding thoughts of a trauma, getting along with others, and tolerating a situation in which they are not getting their way. Many of the students at Sorenson's Ranch school have difficulty managing their emotions, and are impulsive and defiant. The DBT Distress Tolerance skills are designed to help students manage life changing events and daily stress.

The Distress Tolerance skills focus on teaching students crisis survival strategies through learning distracting skills, which include joining in activities and contributing to others through service. Sorenson's Ranch School provides daily activities for students to use these Distress Tolerance skills. A few of the activities include educational fieldtrips, campouts, cookouts, fishing, boating, fun games such as capture the flag, organized sports, and service projects on campus and in the community. These activities are designed to teach social skills, help them learn to have fun while sober, and offer the opportunity to leave one's worries and problems behind for the moment, until they can be appropriately worked through.

What might look like just a fun, time-consuming activity for your student is really a well thought-out and planned activity that has a purpose in teaching your student lifelong skills to manage their behaviors and emotions. If you would like to learn more about the DBT Distress Tolerance Skills be sure to ask your teenager's therapist.

Linehan, M. (1993). Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment of Borderlines Personality Disorder. N.Y.: The Guilford Press.

The Sorenson's Ranch School ethos has been proven to be highly effective - over the years many of our past troubled teens have returned to visit the ranch. They fondly remember their happy experience on camp as it formed a positive foundation that helps them to face with confidence any difficult situations in their adult life.

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Older publications
Richfield Area Chamber The Community Network for People Interested in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Learning The Join Commission 4-H Northwest Accreditation Commission
Sorensons Ranch School is authorized under Federal law to enroll nonimmigrant students.