you're reading...

Copper Canyon Academy

Welcome to CCA Survivors

This site was created for the alumni of Copper Canyon Academy, and dedicated to the parents of CCA students or any parent looking into “therapeutic” boarding schools for their teens. We are here to represent the unfiltered truth about the kind of “treatment” that CCA offers, and offer information to help parents to make informed decisions about finding help for their teens. Please see Parent Resources page for warnings, research and alternative options.


15 Responses to “Welcome to CCA Survivors”

  1. I am a survivor of CCA and wouldn’t wish my experience there upon my worst enemy. It was a nightmare and has negatively effected my life to this day.

    Posted by Roxana Cain | March 10, 2013, 8:21 am
  2. This place was a complete nightmare. I was sweetly depressed when I entered CCA and within six months I attempted suicide twice. Instead of being treated like I might be in need of another sort of treatment, I was punished for it. The staff were extremely judgemental, possibly due to religious backgrounds or because they had never been through what some of us had but the only person I actually trusted there was randy young. Who turned out to be molesting another student. The food was horrific and I have a lot of allergies and once had an aniphylactic reaction to something I ate and was refused Benadryl or medical attention because the staff member Janet believed I was having a panic attack and or trying to get innebriated by taking Benadryl. I wheezed and suffered through this reaction alone on a bathroom floor. My therapist breached many parts of get contract by asking my parents to borrow money with they gracefully followed though with and proceeded to come out to them as a lesbian all while I was being treated by her. There are many many more things that I resent and will never understand the logic behind that happened in the year I was at CCA before my father realized how miserable I was and what a joke this place was. My mother is still in debt today due to the outrageous charges for underpar treatment I received while under the care of the under educated and uncaring staff that ran most of the program. Not to mention the supposed ex con that was cooking out unpalatable food that was having a relationship with a student, too. And the fake as fake as fake can be doctor Phil segment that was written and filmed about another girl who I was there with in which they portrayed CCA like a summer camp.

    Posted by Chloe Lynch | July 29, 2013, 5:37 am
  3. DO NOT SEND YOUR DAUGHTER TO THIS PLACE! I did a lot of research before I decided to send my daughter to this school but wish I would have found this website sooner. I visited the school to check it out and was given a tour by a girl in phase 4 who said this school had helped her so much. When we went to the 1st family workshop (what a joke that was) this same girl had jumped of the top of the stairs and broke her arm because she was so upset for being dropped a phase. There are NO sports as advertised, only exercise in early morning. Meals are not nutritious. There are NO activities for the girls. Most of them sat on the floor because there were not enough seats for all of them in the common room. Most girls took up crochet because there was nothing else to do. Old unusable board games with pieces missing, no TV allowed, no game of volleyball or anything.The staff watching them seemed very unfriendly. I felt something was not right with the school, her therapist seemed vindictive and manipulative to me and unprofessional. My feelings turned out to be correct I found out last night. The day after I pulled my daughter out the therapist Debra Logan called an emergency therapy session with the other girls and told them my daughter manipulated her parents into taking her out and she would be forever in trouble with her addict parents. I guess she did not take into consideration that another girl was pulled a couple of weeks after my daughter and got in contact with my her and told her about the violation of our privacy with all the details. This school promises a lot but doesn’t deliver. What kind of therapist would do such a thing. I’m filing a HIPAA violation with the department of health as well. My daughter had told me the same things as these survivors said but I was told she was just manipulating us. These stories are true I found out for myself. DO NOT send your daughter to this place!

    Posted by Kitty Schulting | August 22, 2013, 5:30 pm
    • Thank you for posting this comment about the school. I just filled out the application but have since changed my mind. I want to help my daughter not make more problems for her. I’m sure with further research there is a school out there that can help us. Thank you again!

      Posted by Ria Pasqu | August 23, 2013, 5:13 pm
      • We are just getting the financing together to send our daughter to CCA….we are worried after reading theses comments. Did you find a better alternative?

        Posted by Cheryl | September 8, 2013, 6:59 am
        • Better alternatives will always be the resources in your community. Keep your child at home. You can’t expect to fix a child by sending them away, nor can you work on a family relationship through these strained conditions. Troubled teen programs are scams. They do not offer real therapy, they can be traumatizing and have been proven ineffective. If you are looking for a rehab or boarding school, look for resources near your home where contact is not restricted and your child has access to a phone to call you or the proper authorities. Do not enroll your child in a program with unqualified staff, ALWAYS ask for background checks and proof of certifications/ qualifications to be providing mental health treatment. If they are calling themselves a treatment center they must be properly licensed and insured, and adhere to government regulation and clinical standards of care. There are so very few who meet these basic standards that I cannot say in good conscious that there are any other troubled teen programs that are “better” because they are all using the same false advertising techniques. The proof is in the contracts… most behavior modification programs will have a clause that states they are not actually equipped to provide mental health treatment and therefore should not be held liable if your child does have any sort of mental disorder and happens to be mistreated at the program. This is a clear cop out… They have no idea what they are doing and they have no business treating your children with experimental methods of mind control and corporal punishment. Please read through more of these stories and reconsider placing your daughter in such an environment.

          Posted by admin | September 14, 2013, 9:24 pm
          • I am in the process of getting references from Parents and former students of CCA. I figured these people may not be truly honest since they are being used by the school for references. Thank you for helping me see that maybe there are other options we should take. I thought it would be better for her to be away from home and work on her issues, but it makes me cry thinking about sending her away and I’m pretty sure she will never forgive us for doing that, especially if it is a bad experience as mentioned here.

            Posted by Lynn | October 15, 2013, 2:44 pm
          • So I’m a former student of a troubled teen program who actually had a great experience and bothered to return to the industry as a staff later in life. Are there bad programs? Obviously. Are there bad people, again, obviously. But to simplify all of that to say:

            “Troubled Teen programs are scams. They do not offer real therapy…they have been proven ineffective.”

            Is crap. Myself and my best friend from program are both alive exclusively because our parents had the courage to admit that they did NOT know what they were doing. They loved us, still do, but were not able to give us what we needed. My buddy’s been sober since he went into treatment and would likely be dead now without it, and lemme tell you, being home was NOT the way to go.

            Here’s the long and short. Programs are rough, and by definition most kids do not want to be there. This is mostly because they are already somewhat anti-establishment. I certainly was/am. We hate the system, and these programs are part of it. This is also why so many of us shout out on these sites. The rules at the programs are tough because the people who they are built to help are tough.

            Look for a program that avoids three very scary things:

            1. Food consequences. These are just a bad idea, when I went to work at my last program they had these. Primary reason I went to work there, and I was able to advocate them away as a worker in less than 3 months.
            2. No licensed therapists. Personally, I hated a few of these, but if your program doesn’t have any, even as an add-on option, its crap.
            3. Scheduled visits that cannot be lost. Some programs will restrict visits by privilege, this is fine, just no canceled visits. Two of the programs I worked at had level visits. AKA, if you were level 1 the visit was two hours on campus if you were level 4 it was a home visit. This is totally acceptable, and if your kid is still struggling with you, expect to have a short on-campus visit. This is for the best, you may be a part of the problem in the beginning. Personally, I thew my parents off campus my first visit. I didn’t love the school, but I certainly didn’t like being around them at first way more. This changed after my first 2-3 months.

            Programs are good and bad, but anyone who tells you they are all good or all bad has lost their mind. That being said, don’t forget that you can always change your mind and pull your kid. I personally don’t recommend pulling them straight home, it sort of reinforces that they can get what they want through manipulation, but find the program that’s right for you and your family if you feel that is a good path. It was for me, and most, but not all of my friends.

            Final words of my life experience wisdom if you can call it that: DO NOT RAPID PULL YOUR KID.

            Seriously, give the program a chance to work, visit the campus before hand, talk to people beforehand, etc etc, but do not pull your kid day 3. It just reinforces the hell out of the fact that they CAN MANIPULATE TO GET WHAT THEY WANT. These are the kids that more often then not end up in prison because they think they can manipulate the judge or cops to get what they want because you showed them this works. Knock it off.

            And admin, you are now the establishment and I hate you. :)

            Sources: Worked at CCA and have lots of friends who were students. They all rock and are amazing girls!

            Posted by Survivor | January 10, 2015, 10:35 am
  4. I am a graduate of CCA. In my experience there were good and bad, fair and unfair situations. I took what worked for me and left the rest behind. Most the staff members that were there between 2002 and 2003 may have been strict but fair. Sometimes a good slap with reality can help a troubled teen see what they’re really doing and how they can change. The only bad thing I remember was when this certain therapist would restrict girls from water or music because they “abused” the privilege.That got a girl sent to the hospital. Now when I left in 2004 the new staff had no idea what was going on. It makes me sad to think CCA has gone down hill so much since I left. I would send my kids to the CCA I remember.

    Posted by Calley Blea | October 22, 2013, 6:22 pm
  5. I filled out a Survivor Survey but it hasn’t been posted yet. I hope it gets posted because I really spent a long time trying to articulate my experience. (Though I think I may have made a mistake on one date, where I said ’97 but meant ’98.) I was one of the very first groups of girls to attend CCA when it first opened. When I got there, I think I was only the 7th girl to ever enter the program, I believe it was May of 1998. CCA was one of the worst experiences of my entire life. The whole time I was there I felt like a bug under a microscope that was being poked and prodded for the staff’s enjoyment, as well as my parent’s money. Don’t believe the pictures and lies they post on their website. Your child will not being going out and enjoying activities all day, they will spend most of their time locked up and treated like the worst sort of convict. The academic program shouldn’t even be called that- you are handed some schoolbooks and told to teach yourself and only ask questions if you can’t do it on your own. The teacher is pretty much just a babysitter that sits at a desk and supervises while they kids have to fend for themselves educationally. They use methods of “attack therapy” which consist of your child being shoved into the middle of a circle of people and being shouted at and called names, told they are a failure and a waste of life until they cry. Every single day. They do this to try and break you so you will be ripe for the insertion of their brainwashing. Your child will be forced to re-enact painful experiences from the past such as sexual abuse in front of everyone. I was denied freedom of religion while I was there and told I was a Satan worshipper. I don’t even believe in Satan! Nearly all of the staff that works there is Mormon, also many of them have been affiliated with the infamous WWASP programs. Please look those up because the methods of therapy used at CCA are based off of those- Tammy Behrman the owner was trained by a now closed WWASP facility. If you are sick they will ignore you and tell you you’re faking to get attention. The rules there are enforced arbitrarily based on if the staff is having a good day or not. All your mail and outside communication is censored, you are completely cut off from the world, no TV, newspaper, magazines and what you are allowed to say and talk about is restricted. Saying negative things about the program, especially to your parents is met with harsh consequences. You can be put on “Silence” where everyone has to act like you don’t even exist and/or your level will be dropped so you have to stay there longer. So much for honesty and integrity. A therapist supervises all phone calls on speaker phone to make sure the child doesn’t say anything the program doesn’t like. If they do the call is terminated, followed by punishment. Punishment can consist of being forced to move heavy rocks back and forth in the yard under the hot AZ sun for hours, for no particular reason. When I was there, I was on the last level and about to go home. I asked my parents, could I please come home even though I hadn’t finished one Geometry course. When the head lady Tammy found out I was dropped all the way down back to level 1 for “manipulation”. Pretty much anything they don’t like is manipulation. Before I went to CCA my parents were going through a bad divorce and I was depressed. I had tried marijuana like 5 times. After I left CCA I was so hurt and traumatized I started using heroin to self medicate and forget what happened to me. My relationship with my parents was destroyed, it took me years to trust them again. Eventually I was able to get clean and heal, but 10+ years later to this day I still have nightmares. Don’t ever send your kids there. I declare that all I have stated above is true and correct. Sincerely, S.W.

    Posted by Sara W. | January 13, 2014, 2:50 pm
    • Sorry for the Delay on posting your testimony… Our system is not automated due to spamming issues. Thank you for submitting your experience and please look for it in the testimony section now :)

      Posted by admin | January 20, 2014, 1:26 am
  6. I was a student. I was diagnosd with bipolar and ADHD. I do not have those problems never did. I was retested when I got pregnant. I am doing a lot better. My therapist told my mom I need to go to wilderness program. CCA is the worst place you can send your daughter if you wanted to play sports you could but you had to be a certain level and you had to get voted up to move a level up . staff buddy never helped anyone

    Posted by Tatiana | March 29, 2015, 4:42 pm
  7. This was probably one of the worst experiences of my life. I attended CCA about 10 years ago now (2004-2005). Thinking back I am still enraged at that program and staff. It was a crappy, overpriced boarding school. The teachers and therapists were a joke and I can’t imagine they had any more than the minimum educational requirements. The extracurricular activities were uninteresting and inconsistent. Overall CCA was poorly run and at the very least ineffective for most people who attended, as one can see from the 76% who voted negatively about it. The way the program is structured they wanted to “break you down to build you back up”. Which the way they went about it seemed more like the individuals running it were having a bit of a power trip. A person, if made to go to therapy should have the respect of it being confidential, completely confidential, and not have their honesty negatively affect their advancement in the program. Also for an individual to be forced to be ready to discuss things in order to move up is another ridiculous idea. This program caused more harm than good and it appears 76% of people agree with me on that. I needed to be removed from my environment at that point in my life and my parents may have saved my life by sending me away, everyone is different but CCA was NOT the right choice for me. I would absolutely NOT recommend CCA to anyone.

    If your child is having problems I would suggest finding the best therapist around (experienced and highly trained) and speak with them about options.

    Posted by Jennifer Caldwell | September 24, 2015, 1:42 am
    • I had one addition to my previous statement…

      I was also restricted from exercising because they thought I was exercising too much and they didn’t want me writing in my journal. What a joke that was. Any positive outlet I attempted to find for myself they tried to take away. Very sad/frustrating experience in my life and a waste of money.

      Posted by jennifer caldwell | September 24, 2015, 1:48 am

Post a Comment