Frequently Asked Questions


How do I know if Oxbow Academy is appropriate for my son?

Three good indicators are specific behaviors, patterns, and risk. What specific behaviors is your son engaging in? How often or under what circumstances do these behaviors occur? Finally, what risk is your son willing to take to continue those behaviors? It is important to recognize that, generally speaking, behaviors you may know about are usually just the tip of the iceberg. There are typically many more occurrences parents know nothing about. You should also keep in mind that some sexual behaviors are common and “normal” among adolescents. For more information, visit our When is a Student Appropriate for Placement at Oxbow Academy? page.

Will my son learn more “bad” or inappropriate behavior from the other boys?

Oxbow Academy provides a positive environment where we maintain strong boundaries. Our culture promotes safety and accountability. Students who are more advanced in their clinical work take a leading role in providing positive mentoring for newer students. Oxbow Academy provides an open and honest culture where students can discuss their issues without fear of rejection by their peers or therapists. Because of that, there is less likelihood of negative acting out. Students hold each other accountable for their behaviors and help each other stay focused on treatment progress.

What steps should I take to make my home safe for my other children?

The first step is developing an open and honest dialogue with your children. Help your children understand what boundaries your family should expect at home. It is also important that parents have as much control as possible over the computers and other electronic devices in the home to ensure that their children do not view inappropriate information.

Why does my son need a “sex-specific” program?

Because of our highly specialized treatment environment, students can fully disclose the extent of their behaviors without fear of shocking their therapists or their peers ostracizing them. They can discuss their problems without shame, guilt, or secrecy. This is not the case in other programs, where students are often ostracized and frequently expelled once they disclose their sexual history. If a student does not feel safe, he will not divulge the extent of his behaviors and will not participate fully in any therapeutic interventions.

Are there other treatment programs that specialize in sexual issues available?

Currently, there are very few programs which specialize in treating adolescent males with sexual behavioral problems. Many programs will say they address these issues but they do not provide the kind of treatment environment where a student feels completely safe to discuss sexual issues. If this environment is not in place, students simply will not engage. Oxbow Academy is one of a few programs across the country that specifically addresses adolescent male sexual behavioral problems.

When can my son enroll?

Our open enrollment policy allows students to enter treatment at any time.

What type of academic program do you offer?

Our academic program is accredited through Advance-Ed (formerly the Northwest Accreditation Commission) as well as certified through the state of Utah. All of our teachers are licensed, professional teachers.

Will my son’s current grades and credits transfer?

If your son has earned credits from an accredited school or program, those credits will transfer to Oxbow Academy. Students leave Oxbow Academy with an official transcript to facilitate transferring credits earned at Oxbow Academy to other schools.

Where do kids go after treatment?

Therapists work with the student and his family to develop a transition plan for a successful life after Oxbow Academy. Students may transition from Oxbow Academy to a variety of placements. Options include public school, boarding school, therapeutic boarding school, college, and independent living programs.

What is the average length of the program?

Treatment direction and duration is usually determined after a comprehensive diagnostic assessment period. The therapy team recommends a course of treatment appropriate for the student after they have the information from the diagnostic assessment. The student’s willingness to work and complete his specific treatment plan determines the length of stay. Depending on the student’s issues and his resistance to therapy, the average treatment stay is eight to thirteen months.

What happens after the Diagnostic Assessment Period?

The Diagnostic Assessment Period helps you to know what course of treatment would be best for your son. After the evaluation, it may be decided that your son does not need an intensive residential program and can benefit from an in-home therapeutic intervention. If this is the decided course of treatment, we will work with your family to establish services in home. If, however, the evaluation recommends a specialized residential program, we will help your family understand how we can best help your son at Oxbow Academy.

Can my son come home to visit while he is in treatment?

We prepare students and families for home visits in Phase 3 of treatment. We arrange visits with parents and coordinate them through the student’s therapist. Parents are also allowed to visit their son in Utah. We do not offer lodging accommodations for those visits. We request parents coordinate these visits with their student’s therapist to make sure they occur at times that are therapeutically optimal.

Is this a boot camp?

Oxbow Academy is not a boot camp. It is a specialized residential treatment program that helps students effectively deal with sexual behavioral problems. It is not shame-based or confrontational, but instead is a strength-based program.

Are religious influences or teachings incorporated into treatment?

Oxbow Academy uses a secular approach based on professional standards in treating students with sexual behavioral problems. Over the years, we have observed that many of our students have a desire for more spirituality as they begin to overcome their sexual issues and see themselves and others differently. We work closely with our families to provide their student with any religious needs parents’ desire.

My son has been in previous programs. How do I know this one will work?

Many of the families we work with have expressed frustration about previous treatment programs that have been unsuccessful in helping their son. Some of the programs have helped their son in certain areas of his life but were unable or unwilling to work with his sexual issues. Oxbow Academy specializes in helping students with sexual behavioral problems. However, we take a holistic approach and also help our students with non-sexual issues as well as: anxiety disorders, drug issues, alcohol issues, depression, self-harm, anger issues, social issues, and other diagnoses. We have found that once our students gain competency in dealing with their sexual issues that the other areas they struggle with begin to subside and they are better able to manage the stressors in their lives.

If you would prefer to discuss your situation with a counselor, we invite you to call our admissions counselor at 855-676-4272.

Oxbow Academy – New Hope, New Help, No Secrets.™