What About Diagnosis?

For some clients, Medicine Wheel at RedCliff  is the first step on a therapeutic journey. For others, it is the continuation of efforts directed toward help and healing. Whether you need an assessment or have a diagnosis in place, Medicine Wheel provides you with tools to positively manage your life.

Most of the clients referred to our wilderness therapy program have been previously diagnosed or demonstrated symptoms from a number of categories. The most common of these diagnostic labels are:

  • Major Depression
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
  • Learning Disorder
  • Adjustment Disorder
  • Impulse Control Disorder
  • Substance Related Disorders

Mood fluctuations, oppositional defiance, impulsiveness, and inattentiveness are some of the many behavioral symptoms that compel clients to seek help..

Many times the symptoms demonstrated by a struggling client are a collection of behaviors or maladaptive coping mechanisms, as opposed to a strict diagnosable disorder. These behaviors or coping mechanisms could include anger, sadness, irresponsibility, academic failure, rage, withdrawal, depression, paranoia, defiance, dishonesty, lack of motivation, low self-esteem, substance abuse etc.

A diagnosis can sometimes be a dangerous trap many young adults incorporate into a coping style. They try to use their diagnosis as a way to avoid taking responsibility for their lives. It becomes another way for them to remain on developmental hiatus.

Whether the diagnostic category represents a pure, neuro-biological dysfunction or a maladaptive coping mechanism, the most important aspect of a diagnosis is understanding the description of realities that this presents for the client.
Medicine Wheel recognizes the individual and the diagnosis are two separate issues, and each is addressed specifically. Our treatment model does not allow the client to hide behind the label. The therapeutic approach focuses on treating the person, not just treating the diagnosis.

Medicine Wheel helps the client come to an understanding that their diagnosis is merely one aspect of their total human being. The goal is to help clients become much more skilled in finding positive ways of managing the difficult aspects of their lives, instead of using a diagnosis as a place to hide.

If authorized by the client, parents or referring professionals may select evaluators of requesting psychological assessment and/or neuropsychological assessments for the client.. For an additional charge, both of these tests can be performed in the field without disrupting the client’s wilderness experience.

Accurate assessments performed by in-house and outside licensed, doctorate level psychologists have alerted clients and their families to previously undiagnosed conditions such as Asperger’s Syndrome, learning disabilities, ADHD and others.
Parents or referring professionals have the option to select evaluators from our list of some of the top examiners in the field. When the formal assessment is complete, the evaluator and clinician will discuss and explain the results to the client and his parents.

Every client in our program is evaluated weekly on eight areas of client functioning in the field. These clinical assessments are scored by our guides under the direction of the each client’s clinician. The assessment gives authorized parents a direct link to the men and women working with their child in the field. Parents receive these assessment scores via our secured Internet portal to be used as part of their weekly family therapy.

This clinical assessment does not evaluate the client’s relationship with his clinician or guides. . Instead, it scores the client’s willingness and ability to engage in the therapeutic process. The assessment is intended to give parents as much data as possible throughout their child’s wilderness therapy experience so they can accurately determine which treatment decisions they need to make next.

The fundamental question measured by the weekly clinical assessment is, “How is the client re-conceptualizing his relationship with his parents?” In other words, is the client ready and willing to let his parents be in charge of the relationship?

Please explore our website or call an admissions counselor at (800) 898-1244 for additional information about how Medicine Wheel at RedCliff can help.