Parent Reviews and Ratings
Many parents and students wish to remain private about the student’s stay at Discovery Ranch. We always respect the privacy of our students and their families. However, some families choose to share their experiences. We are grateful for families, because they help other families to learn about program.
If you are a parent looking for a program for your son, we encourage you to compare Discovery Ranch with other treatment programs. Please consider calling our admissions director for a private tour. You can reach the admissions director at 855-662-9318. We can also arrange for you to talk with a parent whose son has participated in program, and is willing to share their experience.
Below you will find reviews on Discovery Ranch from present and past parent participants about the experience they had while their son attended our residential treatment center.
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Dear Steve, Jeanette, Clint, Jen and the entire staff at Discovery Ranch....as well as Judge
Words cannot express how much my wife and our family want to thank you for everything you have done for us. I don't know where to start other than from the three weeks leading up to us dropping our son off at DR as a soon to be 18 year old.
My son was the happiest kid in the world until something happened to him in middles school that we didn't find out until later. And it affected not only him and his behavior, but it was tearing apart our entire family. He is the oldest of four adopted (Russian) babies. And as you can imagine, the oldest can set the tone for the entire family. My son's behavior went "dark" in sixth grade and gradually got worse until he finally took a nose dive right before we ever heard of the terms "Residential Treatment Center" or "Therapeutic Boarding Schools".
We are a very fortunate and traditional family where mom stays at home to raise the children and the family lives very comfortably. Yet, even with all the blessings in our life, we couldn't avoid the reality of raising a child in the internet age and all the troubles it leads to. In short, within a week, my son got falling down drunk on our last day vacation (in a foreign country) while on meds; got arrested for shoplifting; was stealing things from school and selling them on Craigslist and using the internet inappropriately. Most people would assume this was drug related....but it wasn't at all.
So not only was he ripping our family apart, he was also about to be expelled from school. The principal brought us in and gave graciously gave us the option of withdrawing him from school instead of expelling him (which would be on his transcripts). There was daily screaming and disgusting behavior, all being witnessed by his three younger siblings. My wife and I were at the bottom and yet we knew, we couldn't continue to live like this and expose our other three children to this behavior. So we had two choices...kick him out...or send him away. Quitting on our son wasn't an option. But where would be send him? Would it even matter? Were we just prolonging the inevitable? The range of emotions was off the charts.
We only had a week or two to make a decision and our control was rapidly sliding away as his 18th birthday fast approaching and he could have nixed anything he didn't like if we didn't hurry. Our school principal (God Bless him), suggested we look into an educational consultant. Huh...Education consultant, what the heck is that? We had no idea what that was. In short, the gentlemen he put in touch with said he probably couldn't help us, but referred us to a man named Judge Mason. Without going into all the details, all I can say is that God's hands were all over what I am about to write because I can't explain it any other way.
In a panic, we called Judge who spent the next week learning about our son and family struggles so he could recommend a few places that could help him. What made this all the more daunting was that there is little information to be found about this industry and its track record. We are talking about a lot of money. The range of prices we were quoted was anywhere from $6,500/mo-$12,000/mo...yes, you read it right per MONTH!
The sticker shock was staggering because not only did we not know how long it would take (we were told between 10-18 months), we also had no verifiable data on the success rate in order to make an informed decision. It makes it easier to spend that kind of money if you knew the success rate was 80% vs. 20%. Unfortunately, that information was unavailable to us at the time, which is why I am writing this letter.
Our experience with DR was nothing short of transforming. If we can ever be of help to any of your families that are at the stage we were searching for help, please feel free to put them in touch with us. My wife and I are thrilled with the level of compassion and communication we have received throughout this whole ordeal. We can honestly say that DR didn't just help our son, it helped our entire family because the tension and chaos went to zero as soon as our son went to DR. So not only was he getting the professional help he needed; my other children (and us) where able to heal and love one another as a normal family should, without all the yelling and screaming.
Michael & Stacey B.
State College, PA
Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experience, Michael & Stacey ! Here is a quick link to some of our current statistical results and progress the average Discovery Ranch student makes in the program!
HOW EFFECTIVE IS DISCOVERY RANCH AT HELPING YOUR TEEN AND FAMILY?
There are few decisions in life more difficult that sending your child away in hopes of a better future. However, Discovery Ranch presented themselves well and honored their long-standing tradition of changing impossible difficulty into harmony and peace. Our son is forever more mature and quite frankly a new man! We are so proud of his recent graduation from the program and for the first time are happier than ever as a family unit. Please take the time to visit with the program directors and other parents in the program as they will provide you with the answers you need to feel comfortable with this most important decision! Thank you again to all those who helped my son at Discovery Ranch both academically and with our relationship!
Discovery Ranch saved our son and our family for that matter. As parents, we did not expect that challenges that we faced with our oldest and cannot describe the feeling of lonely sleepless nights worrying and wondering what to do! Once we found Discovery Ranch (and met the people there) we felt the first glimmer of hope for the first time in years and remember the first night of full sleep that our son was in a safe place and there was a possible future for success. Now looking back, we are so grateful to have taken the steps necessary - and credit Discovery Ranch and their great clinical team with the happiness of our son and his now budding successful future! We can't thank your team enough and say to any parents considering this program as an option, it is tough and totally worth it!
We needed a setting that we hoped our son would respond to. He was completely shut down, addicted to porn, arrogant and angry. He was quickly becoming a danger to himself and others (mostly me). After doing the research, talking with our Educational Consultant, and his wilderness doctor, we were able to winnow the choices down to two facilities. We sat down with the DR admissions team and we were struck by how prepared they were to specifically discuss our son's issues, needs, & treatment plan. We decided that treatment was more of a priority than schooling. The calf therapy, and equine therapy were very attractive to us for our son. Then we took a tour of the Ranch, and by the time we were through, we KNEW that an experiential setting would be the best fit for our son.
[what would you say is the greatest strength / weakness of the program?]
Where do I start? There are so many aspects to cover. The structure of the program, the rules, which teach one how to function appropriately in a group as they learn inner control and self discipline. DBT is a wonderful treatment modality for adolescent boys. I appreciated Parent Days where we learned that we weren't alone. We also learn how to speak and listen to our children.
The areas for improvement include a fully fleshed out relapse prevention program, a parent mentoring program, more availablility of music and art, better access to a public library, & Ari says the food could be better..... Many of these ideas are works in progress
The greatest strength of this program is the love and concern all of the staff have shown for the kids. My son learned that it's ok to fail. The strength is in the struggle.
Dear Parents or Guardians,
I had quite a long stay at DR. If I could Give you any feedback on sending your child here.... I can say.... that not only did this program help me. But so did the people here. I did not lose myself, Nor was I force into submission to be someone else. Instead. I became who I wanted to be. Even when I thought I was already there, I became a better person, not only in my skills. Not only in my personality. But my outlook on life, and my social aspects.... Which was amazing. I used to be hell bent on shoving conspiracy theories in the faces of the human race. along with social Darwinism and the fact that normal is not normal, and our reality is what society makes it. Which is partially true, THE 5 MOST IMPORTANT THINGS IVE LEARNED FROM DR...
1. I am Important, no matter what society tells me, or no matter how bad I think of myself.
2. grounding affectionism. I have knowledge of how to care for those most fortunate or unfortunate, and not to soak in negativity unless is feedback. and if negative, not to be hurt but analyze the feedback and apply if needed.
3. DBT, and 1st breakthrough therapy.
4. Society is what YOU make it. adapting to the surrounding social area is not conforming or faking, you are just using your ability to adapt well and read into common social norms in an area, or region. (the world is not out to get me)
5. I am mostly loved and liked, rarely disliked.
Parents or guardians,
It is your choice to enroll your Child or Children in this program.
however. It is there choice to apply what has been taught to them.
It is most definitely not conforming.
Yes. it is scary to be somewhere you are not familiar with.
Yes its hard.
but it gets better.
that's life. that's death.
that's everything in existence.
before you make this call. hear me out.
THIS IS A WONDERFUL PROGRAM
WITH AMAZING PEOPLE.
STAFF AND KIDS ALIKE.
with warm regards and high hopes,
former student at Discovery Ranch - JOHN J.
p.s. I arrived at DR on September 29th, 2010
and left around February 2012. I do wish I could have stayed much longer.
My names David, and as a former student at Discovery Ranch, about to graduate from college i can say Keith's review holds little merit. I was at discovery ranch in 2009 and it had the most profound impact on my life. My parents struggled for years working with therapists, and programs and teachers trying to get me the help i needed, but nothing worked. It was an environment that made me want to progress in order to move out of orientation level which gave me absolutely 0 privileges up to the higher levels so i could have free time with my friends. The therapists VERY QUICKLY learned exactly how to motivate me in the right direction. I soon started to progress through the program and my staff and therapists and parents could see the revolutionary changes happening with me. My parents, family, and even myself would say that Discovery Ranch was, and is the most important event in my life, and I would NOT be where I am without them. The important part was to let the program do what it does, and not pull people out early. The staff and therapists hold my highest respect and know what they are doing.
The therapists and staff at DR are highly committed professionals who bring a structured, loving and supportive approach to each student. Our son was at the ranch for 9 months after being in a wilderness program - a critical prerequisite for his circumstances. He was very successful at DR and I attribute that to his advisor/therapist, the staff at DR, and our son's own willingness to work hard, accept responsibility and take charge of his life. Without his full participation, no place would have been successful (he had been at another program previously with limited success despite the skill of the therapists and staff). The other component that brought success for our son was our willingness as parents to improve our skills, to set and hold boundaries, and to present him with a united, loving, supportive and predictable parental influence. Nothing about this process is easy, but without commitment by the student (and the parents) to grow as individuals and as a family, then any program will be even more challenging. With that commitment, however, DR is an excellent program. They helped us turn our son from his self-destructive path and allowed him to grow into the fine young man we always knew him to be.