Thursday, July 10, 2014


Written by Robert Nielson, LMFT, Clinical Director at Cedar Ridge Academy

Sexually active/promiscuous girls should have proximity to members of the opposite sex when attending a therapeutic program!
To some, this statement will seem a little counter-intuitive.  When considering placing a daughter with promiscuity issues into a treatment program, many parents might disagree with my opening statement.  People may ask, why send a daughter to a place where problems with boys is one of the primary presenting issues among the girls?  Why should boys be anywhere close to a daughter who doesn't seem to be able to use good judgement when it comes to the opposite sex?  Actually, without boys around, girls struggle to resolve their issues and have no opportunity to acquire and practice a new skill set for relating to boys.

I have over twenty years of experience working with girls in a therapeutic setting.  During the first few years of my career in this field, I worked at an all-girls program.  More times than I could count, I strongly wished that I could find some boys to attend the group meetings.  I was working with a population of girls who mostly had been involved with one or more "bad" boys.  Despite the fact that they had been cheated on and deeply hurt these girls still seemed attracted to the boys who would cause most parents to cringe.  It would seem that after being deeply hurt and mistreated, a girl would readily come to the conclusion that certain kinds of boys are not capable of sustaining a healthy relationship. More often, girls recovering from unhealthy opposite sex relationships have a difficult time with this concept.  Helping girls recover from unhealthy relationships and directing them towards boys who are capable of empathy and caring becomes a central focus on therapy.

What drives girls to be prematurely sexually active is rarely a high libido.  They are looking to feel accepted and valued.  Loneliness and low self-esteem are common underlying features in girls who become promiscuous.  A common recurring theme with these girls is that they have an impoverished support network. They have few, if any close girlfriends.  the vast majority will say that they feel more comfortable with boys rather than girls.  What they are really saying is that there is a sense of uneasiness toward other girls.  Many grew up without a father figure.  When I ask most of the girls to list the kind of qualities they they want to see in a boyfriend, they struggle to identify any and, in fact many of these girls have never learned to discriminate good and bad qualities in the opposite sex.  They lack the social enrichment that comes from a variety of positive interpersonal contacts.  It is this lack that needs to be addressed if these girls are to develop the confidence in themselves that they need in order to seek out a positive opposite sex partner.

The more these girls can experience enriched interpersonal relationships with both genders, the more likely they are to expect good qualities in an opposite gender relationship.  Developing a rich experience of healthy friendship is one of the best assurances that these girls will choose wisely in seeking out a boyfriend.  Having a good peer support system helps mitigate the need for a boyfriend as a means of staving off loneliness.  That's why a structured, well-supervised co-ed program meets the needs of sexually active/promiscuous girls better than an all-girl program can.

Girls thrive in an enriched environment of healthy interpersonal relationships.  Girls who avoid developing healthy relationships are almost always avoiding some discomfort or insecurity.  Perhaps they haven't developed the skills necessary for positive peer interactions.  Helping these girls develop positive peer skills requires that they interact with boys.  The sagest environment in which they can develop positive peer skills requires that they interact with boys.  The safest environment in which they can develop these skills is one in which they are well-supervised and taught how to relate more positively to their peers of both genders.

These girls need to learn how to notice qualities and traits in the opposite sex in order to better predict the possibility for a healthy relationship with a boy.  They need to learn how to discriminate between a good prospect and a bad prospect for a positive relationship.  A structured environment provides opportunities for practice in honing skills of perception and judgment without the risk of a negative outcome.  Cedar Ridge has worked successfully with this type of girls' issue for eighteen years, keeping girls safe and helping them grow in their relationship skills. 

Friday, May 9, 2014

A Class Project Success!

We did it! In the middle of April, I really wondered if we were going to make it to the end of the month without anyone’s posts getting lost and everything getting turned in. As a teacher at Cedar Ridge Academy Private International Therapeutic Boarding School, I have mentioned how much I wanted the students to write for a world-wide audience.  They have been so pleased with the comments that they have received and were consistently asking if their post got more comments.  Thank you to everyone who has viewed and especially those who have commented—it has been a great experience!

I also wanted to spend this post giving advice to other teachers thinking about using this as a class project. It was really nice to have an audience for the students.  I was able to have them practice research skills and citation skills.  It is great to have an excuse to go over MLA format that students see as helpful to them instead of just tuning it out! The choice in the topic was helpful for the students too.  The letters were selected randomly out of a hat, but they got to choose what they wrote about with the letter.  The variety has been great to see!!  To pick the topic, I had the students split up into small group.  Each student had a paper with their letter at the top.  I had each student brainstorm for two minutes everything that they could think of that started with that letter that has to do with their class.  Then they passed the paper to the next person in the group.  With each group member, they brainstorm everything that they can think of for their peer’s letter.  If they think of something someone else did, then they put a checkmark by it. This helped some students pick a unique idea or one that they thought might be easier.

One thing that was really tricky with this challenge was commenting on other people’s post.  Some students didn’t see the point of reading a post and commenting on it.  That was a surprise for me. Other students really enjoyed learning something new.  It was tricky to do the commenting with our limited computer use, so I was printing blog posts.  I had to be selective because some blogs wouldn’t print without ads or “follow me” pop-up windows getting in the way.

Overall, the experience was a great one for the students.  If I do it again next year, I will need to start earlier to give some students more time and have more contingencies for the ones that don’t turn in posts.

Yay we did it!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Z is for Zeus

Z is for Zeus
As we come to the final day of the A to Z Challenge, Z wasn't tricky to figure out for this girl at Cedar Ridge Academy Private International Therapeutic Boarding School. Being in World History and in the civilizations unit, this word popped into her head quickly.  The boys and girls in her group concurred that it was a great idea. This was a great moment for me as a teacher, because it is the blended learning format at work. The students are able to make connections from their online class to what we are doing in the classroom. The best part is when they can make these connections all on their own without me having to point it out to them. Check out her post below!

A statue of Zeus
Zeus was a Greek god. He was god of all Greek gods. Zeus was born in 700 BC. He inherited the Heavens and Earth by overthrowing his father, Cronus. He ruled from Mt. Olympus rewarding good and punishing evil. His famous weapon was the thunderbolt. Being the god of aerial phenomena, he could shake his aegis and produce storms and intense darkness. He created thunder rolls, lightning flashes and rainfall, which fructified the earth. He protects the assembly of the people and watches over the whole community. Zeus had many children, but the two most famous ones were Hercules and the goddess Athena. Hercules’ mother was a human therefore he couldn’t become a god during his life on earth. He used the gods help to perform brave deeds. When he died, he was taken up to Olympus by a cloud to live with the gods. The virgin goddess Athena was the goddess of cities, wisdom and war. She looked after skilled workers as well as the arts, literature and philosophy. Spartans thought that she judged them. Zeus often manipulated people on earth to satisfy himself. He took a big interest in the actions and well being of mortals. He was a great god to the Greeks.

Jamestown Publishers.  Greek Life.    Chicago.  Jamestown Publishers.  2001. 

“Zeus.”  Greek Mythology.  2000.  2/26/2014.

“Zeus.”  Info Please.  2007.  3/25/2014. Colombia Electronic Encyclopedia. 6th ed. 2007.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Y is for Yalta Conference

Y is for Yalta
When this student pulled out Y, he started talking with the other boys and girls around him about what he could do.  He got a lot of ideas, but nothing was really speaking to him.  We eventually grabbed the Y encyclopedia, and went looking through his different options. He liked Yalta immediately because of the current events happening on the Crimean Peninsula and his interest in World War II overall.  This was a great fit and will eventually translate into a presentation to the whole class to complete his World History class at Cedar Ridge Academy Private International Therapeutic Boarding School

In 1945, in Crimea Russia, three world leaders met to discuss post war plans for the world. The leaders were Prime Minister Winston Churchill, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin. They met to discuss what would be done with Germany after the war, if there would be war trials and where the war trials would be held, what would be done to help establish order in Europe and get the defeated countries back on their feet.

Franklin D Roosevelt was the 32 President of the United States from 1933 to 1945. He was born in 1882 in Hyde Park, New York. He got polio in 1921. He had many achievements in his life such as being appointed assistant secretary of the Navy in 1913, being elected governor of New York in 1928 and being elected president in 1932, 1936, 1940, and in 1944.  During his president years, he established the New Deal and the Good Neighbor policy. He led America through the Great Depression and the attack on Pearl Harbor. He signed the declaration of war against Japan after the attack or Pearl Harbor on December 7th.

Winston Churchill was the Prime minister of Great Britain starting at 1940. Out of the three world leaders, he had been in politics for the shortest time. Churchill was also a noted speaker, painter, author, war reporter, and soldier. He was born in Oxfordshire, England, in 1874. He graduated from the Royal Military College when he was 21 years old and in 1901, he entered the House of Commons. He was also knighted and won a Noble Prize for literature and retired in 1955. He is known for his “V” for victory, which gave hope for the British people. During the conference, he was not happy with Germany because of the bombing of Britain which killed lots of British civilians and had lots of damage. He also feared that Stalin might keep the territories in Eastern Europe that his troops occupied.

A famous picture of the Big Three
Joseph Stalin was the Soviet premier form 1929 to 1953.  He was born in Gori, Russia in 1879 and jointed the Russian Social Democratic Labor party in 1901. During the beginning of the war, Stalin signed a nonaggression pact with Germany, which obviously stated that they would not attack each other. This pact was broken when Hitler invaded the Soviet Union in 1941. Joseph Stalin wanted Germany to crumble.
At the Conference, several issues were discussed and decided on. Germany would split up into four separate territories that would be separately governed by the UK, the U.S., the Soviet Union and France. War criminals would be tried in Germany for their crimes against humanity. Germany would give the Soviet Union equipment for the damages on the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union would enter the war with Japan in exchange for territory in Manchuria, and the Kurile Islands. Everyone agreed to a world peace keeping organization called the United Nations.


Clemens, Diane Shaver. “Yalta Conference.” World Book. Ed. Scott Fetzer. Chicago: World Book Inc. 2005. 549.
Marrin, Albert. “Stalin, Joseph.” World Book. Ed. Scott Fetzer. Chicago: World Book Inc. 2005. 825-827.
Patterson James T. “Roosevelt, Franklin Delano.” World Book. Ed. Scott Fetzer. Chicago: World Book Inc. 2005. 452-462. 
Thompson Carol L. “Churchill, Sir Winston.” World Book Ed. Scott Fetzer. Chicago: World Book Inc. 2005. 545-549
U.S. Department of State. “The Yalta Conference, 1945.” Office of the Historian 3/19/2014.

Monday, April 28, 2014

X is for the XXII Olympics

X is for XXII Olympics
This girl was mortified when she pulled X out of the hat.  All of the other students in her World Geography class at Cedar Ridge Academy Private International Therapeutic Boarding School started to brainstorm ideas.  Someone suggested doing something with Roman numerals.  We had just gotten done with the Sochi Olympics so we quick looked up the Roman numerals for this Olympics and sure enough she had an X.

The five rings in the Olympic symbol represent Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and America. There are over sixty events in the winter Olympics. Two thousand athletes come together from over sixty countries. Athletics in ancient Greece have played a role in many religious festivals. These festivals began from 1896-2014. The games begin when the opening ceremony starts. The flame is extinguished when the Olympics come to an end. Olympic National Park is near Seattle, Washington and the park contains campgrounds and winter sporting activities. Many athletes spend most of their time dedicated to finally reach the Olympics. America has always had many Olympians on their team. Some of the big names are athletes Ted Ligety, the hockey twins and many more. The Americans had many victories and were a strong and powerful team.
We saw this a lot as we watched the coverage at school!
One of the greatest names in the sport of skiing is Ted Ligety. He was born in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1984. His hometown is Park City, Utah and he was a part of the Park City Ski Team. Ligety was involved in the 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013 worlds. Ted has also been involved in the 2006 and 2010 winter Olympics. On top of this he has seven championship titles.

One of the logos of the Olympics
Monique and Jocelyn Lamoureux, hockey twins have lead the U.S women’s hockey team to the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia. These two sisters have been playing hockey since they could walk. On ESPN’s Sports Center Monique gets into a brawl with a Canadian hockey player. She was upset that one of the players on the women’s Canadian team threw an elbow at one of her fellow teammates. For the first time women’s hockey was next to NBA and NFL highlights. Lamoureux stated that it was really an exciting and cool experience to be on ESPN! During the twins childhood they played on an all-boys hockey team. These two iconic pair could definitely hold their own in the sport of hockey. Both sisters are extremely grateful that they received the opportunity to compete in the 2014 winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Sources: World Book and Time Magazine

Saturday, April 26, 2014

W is for Watergate Scandal

W is for Watergate Scandal
This post was a collectively written post by the students of the government class at Cedar Ridge Academy Private International Therapeutic Boarding School.  These boys and girls have been fascinated with this scandal and that a president could have had so much power to cause cover-up. We talk a lot about accountability in the therapeutic discussions, and the lack of accountability stands out to them. Below is their gathered information about the who, what, where, when, why and results of the scandal.

What: Richard M. Nixon, the 37th president of the United States, was caught in a scandal going into the 1972 re-election campaign. Five men were caught in the Watergate Complex in the Democratic Headquarters. They were all Republican, as well as co-workers of President Nixon. The biggest fact was that Nixon tried to cover up his actions, and denied any connection to Watergate. He later becomes involved in a court case, Nixon v. U.S., and is subpoenaed to turn over any tapes and recorded conversations from the Oval Office that he had.  He was later brought up on three charges of impeachment, which resulted in Richard M. Nixon being the first president in U.S. history to resign from office, and Vice President Gerald R. Ford took over as a president.

Who: The “plumbers” are the con-men who would plug the leaks in the Nixon administration. These men were paid from White House funds, which is how they were eventually connected to Nixon.  This scandal affected the careers of many of the people in the Nixon administration. John Dean, the head lawyer for the White House, was fired. H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, top advisors to the president, resigned during the scandal. On what has come to be known as the Saturday Night Massacre, Attorney General Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William D. Ruckelshaus resigned after refusing to fire Archibald Cox.  Archibald Cox was the special prosecutor who was appointed by Congress who was eventually fired by President Nixon that day.

The Watergate Complex in Washington D.C.
Where: The original break-in occurred at The Watergate Complex in Washington D.C. This scandal then made its way all around Washington including: the White House, the House of Representatives, the Senate, the Washington Post newsroom, and the Supreme Court.

When: In June 17, 1972 the actual break-in occurred.  When Nixon was questioned repeatedly, he denied involvement. Overall, the cover up was in October 1972-January 1975. On July 27, 1974, the House Judiciary Committee charged Nixon with three articles of impeachment and on August 8, 1974 he resigned.

Why: Nixon really wanted to win the re-election of 1972.  He barely won his first election, and he wanted to make sure to win the next one. The reason he broke in was to gain information on the Democrats so he could win the election.

Results: Nixon resigned right before he was impeached.  A lot of trust was lost in the government on the part of the American people. Later, President Ford pardoned Nixon from any wrong-doing. This caused controversy amongst the citizens at the time. As a result of Nixon’s resignation, President Ford became the only president and vice president to not be elected into office.

Friday, April 25, 2014

V is for Vietnam War

V is for Vietnam War
This student at Cedar Ridge Academy Private International Therapeutic Boarding School is in the government class. History has a huge role in the government class because we can analyze the choices that the President, Congress, and Supreme Court made in that situation.  I often ask the boys and girls in this blended learning class about whether or not the separation of powers worked in this situation or did someone abuse the power that they do have. Should checks and balances have played a greater role? Read this post about the Vietnam War, and decide for yourself.

The Vietnam War was the longest war that the United States has been involved in and lasted from 1954 - 1975. The United States President at the time of this war was Lyndon B. Johnson. The Vietnam War started because North Vietnam with help tried and wanted to overthrow the South Vietnam Government. The North Vietnamese were Communists and wanted to overthrow the South because the South was starting to form a Democratic Government. The North did not like that and wanted to take over their government.

This is when the United States got involved because Harry Truman when he was president made a policy saying that the United States must help any nation that is challenged by Communism. This policy was called the Truman Doctrine and that it why the United States got involved. The United States joined to help the South Vietnam stop and push back the North. The war went on for years and the United States troops were dying daily at a high number. The United States failed to stop them after all and there were a total of over 3 million deaths at the Vietnam War including 58,000 Americans. The United States were involved in the Vietnam for about 6-7 years. Once the United States backed out of the war, South Vietnam was still requesting aid from the US and they denied it. The North Vietnam ended up taking over and renamed the country.

A moment in time in Vietnam
Source: World Book
There were many of battles that happened in this war that were called the Buddhist Crisis where The Buddhist’s said that South Vietnam were restricting their religious practices and that led to a pretty big conflict. There was the Gulf Of Tonkin incident where North Vietnam attacked United States’ destroyers. There was also the Tet offensive where North Vietnam and the Viet Cong attacked the major cities of South Vietnam and mostly hit the Capital. These incidents were pretty big things that happened throughout the war. 

Hillstrom, Kevin and Laurie. World Book. Chicago. 2005.
Spector, Ronald. “Vietnam War” Encyclopedia Britannica. 12/23/13.