The CEDU/Rocky Mountain Academy Experience (1984-)-1

-Challenging the traditional mental health concepts and practices by assuming the problem was interrupted emotional growth rather than a disorder needing treatment-

Everything you hear is opinion, everything you see is perspective.                                               Attributed to Marcus Aurelius – 2nd Century AD Roman Emperor

Introduction

This is an essay about my personal experiences and observations on what used to be called “Emotional Growth Boarding Schools” or “Special Needs Schools.”  Behind the term “emotional growth” was a challenge to the orthodoxy of medical and psychological treatment for “troubled teens” that had evolved by the 1970s and 1980s.  These “emotional growth” schools have evolved to the current designation of “Therapeutic Boarding Schools,” but the influence of the old days of emotional growth orientation has left a significant mark on the functions of modern Therapeutic Boarding Schools.  In addition, the insights gained by the “emotional growth schools” or “special needs schools,” in my opinion, has strongly influenced the whole mental health industry of today.  I used the above quotation of Marcus Aurelius to emphasize that this essay reflects my personal opinions and perspectives of what I saw in the middle 1980s and thereafter.  Many of my colleagues I worked with at the time undoubtedly would describe differently those situations we shared.  [Comments and different impressions by those who lived through this “movement,” are welcome.]

This essay is broken down into the following sections:

  1. The CECU/Rocky Mountain Academy Experience.
  2. My first impressions of RMA
  3. Some examples I saw of existing teen problems.
  4. Continued: With some RMA solutions.
  5. Some national trends contributing to emotional/behavioral .
  6. Ideas driving the CEDU/RMA curriculum.
  7. Continued: to help Struggling Teens.
  8. Results in 1980s.
  9. Aftermath.

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