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Cherry Gulch

Therapeutic Boarding School

Cherry Gulch Program Information

Gender: Boys Only
Ages: 11 - 14
Grades: 5 to 9
Estimated Enrollment: 30
Length of Stay:
Program was founded in: 2004
Accreditations: Affiliations:

Cherry Gulch Contact Information

P.O. Box 678
Emmett, ID 83617
Phone: (208) 365-3437
Fax: (208) 365-7235
School Contact: Andrew Sapp, Ph.D.
Alternative Contact: Andrew Sapp, Ph.D.
Therapy Provided?: Yes

Program Description:

Cherry Gulch is passionate about providing early intervention and prevention to help boys reach their full potential and become well-rounded pro-social young men. We are dedicated to providing outstanding academic and therapeutic services to students and their families in the context of a safe, supportive environment and work toward “Building Brighter Tomorrows for the Boys of Today."

Cherry Gulch Boys Ranch is a small private owner operated, high-end ranch style therapeutic boarding school designed specifically for 10 to 14 year old boys.

Our goal is to provide early intervention and prevention to help these boys reach their full potential and to become well-rounded prosocial young men. We provide outstanding academic and therapeutic services to boys and their families.

Cherry Gulch offers the wide-open space of country living and the benefit of a metropolitan area. We are located near Boise, Idaho, on 650 acres of pristine ranch land with beautiful views of mountains, valleys, Black Canyon Reservoir, and the Payette River. Students have easy access to natural wonders but are also close to many museums and the cosmopolitan activities of Boise.

A unique therapeutic environment is provided where every experience is educational and therapeutic in a fun purposeful environment. We are dedicated to providing outstanding services to students and their families in the context of a safe, supportive environment.

Cherry Gulch Boys Ranch provides:

- Individual, group, and family psychotherapy with experienced doctorate and masters level therapists.

- Individualized treatment plans

- Creative approaches to empirically based treatments

- Active experiential learning and therapeutics

- Equine Assisted Psychotherapy

- Individualized education plans

- A wide variety of activities and learning experiences

- Family involvement and a strong parenting program

- High staff to student ratio

- Highly skilled and compassionate staff

Cherry Gulch strives to entwine the most effective therapeutic strategies into the student’s daily life. Therapeutic services include but are not limited to individual, group, and family psychotherapy, equine therapy, outdoor-based experiential therapy, bibliotherapy, art therapy, music therapy, play therapy, sand tray therapy, and a positive peer culture.

The treatment team is led by a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. The primary interventions employed are those that are empirically-based and have been demonstrated to be effective either through scientific research and or clinical experience. An eclectic approach to treatment is taken based on the needs of the individual student. However, cognitive-behavioral, family-systems therapy, interpersonal therapy, existential therapy, Rogerian therapy, and positive psychology are the primary interventions. Many of the activities that students participate in have a therapeutic purpose yet the fact that theses activities are therapeutic is generally not apparent to the student.

Although a sophisticated empirically based approach to treatment is taken we realize that the relationship that is formed between a student and his therapist is the most critical aspect of the therapeutic process. We also realize that younger adolescents have a short attention span and often do not respond well to traditional “arm chair” therapy. We make therapy fun and rather than just sitting in an office and talking we engage our student in the therapeutic process while we are hiking or enjoying other activities. We do have scheduled therapy sessions but much of the therapy is done as life unfolds and a student is angry, frustrated, sad, in a conflict with another student, or any number of other events that may have occurred to elicit an emotional response from the student.

Cherry Gulch offers an integrative approach to treatment and education. The farming, ranching, and other agricultural aspects of the program are essential because we can use these activities to foster a strong work ethic, provide students with hands on learning experiences, and experiential therapeutic activities such as equine assisted psychotherapy. Even gardening can be therapeutic for multiple reasons. A simple example of this is that as a student plants a seed and cares for it it will begin to grow.That new leaf can be looked at as a new start or a second chance and the student can process how he was able to help the plant grow and what he feels he needs to help himself.Ranching will also be important as the students will be responsible for taking care of another living being.These activities can be tailored to each child’s needs.For instance, if we have a child who is struggling with adoption issues we can assign him to work with a family of chickens. We would let one variety of chicken set on her eggs but include an egg of a different variety so that when the chicks hatch they will be bonded with one another as well as with their mother. This will enable the student to talk about how they are all family and care about one another even though they don’t all look the same.

We offer approximately 10 hours per week of structured therapeutic services as directed by the Clinical Director, the child’s primary therapist, and his individualized treatment plan. The entire program is designed to be therapeutic and therapy continues throughout the day and through many of the child’s daily activities and as there is an opportunity for a therapeutic moment. Listed below is an example of the structured weekly therapeutic services offered at Cherry Gulch.

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