Trails Carolina has recently come under scrutiny from former participants and their families who claim that in an emergency they were unable to reach staff for help and have made allegations of physical and emotional abuse against Trails Carolina staff members.
However, parents and students continue to report positive outcomes of this program for themselves and their child, including improved mental health benefits and an enhanced home environment.
Trails Carolina’s wilderness therapy programs give students an opportunity to develop confidence and resilience through exploration in challenging natural environments. Through these experiences, they gain skills for managing emotional and behavioral difficulties such as depression, anxiety, ADHD and substance abuse as well as building stronger relationships within their families and having an optimistic view about the future.
Grace had been suffering from severe depression and anxiety for an extended period, so she turned to Trails Carolina in order to rebuild her relationships with family members as well as acquire skills needed to succeed in school. With help from our therapists, Grace rebuilt her confidence, reestablished self-worth, and gained emotional maturity.
Success stories like Grace’s demonstrate the effectiveness of therapeutic wilderness programs for at-risk teenagers. Unfortunately, allegations of abuse have led some people to question whether these programs are truly safe.
Trails Carolina “Investigation” provides teens and youth aged 10-17 an opportunity to discover mindfulness within the hardwood forests of North Carolina. Mindfulness can be taught using various activities like meditation, stretching and thought-stopping techniques – an effective coping strategy.
Trails Carolina therapists teach their students to recognize and manage their emotions, rather than letting negative ones control them, in order to find more happiness and relaxation. It’s rare to find a wilderness therapy program which takes the time and care necessary to teach youth meditation techniques for relaxation and improving mental wellbeing.
Trails Carolina encourages parents to become an integral part of their child’s treatment, attending educational workshops and family therapy sessions alongside attending educational workshops themselves. Trails Carolina also offers a summer mentor program where alumni students help newcomers adjust to wilderness therapy environments more smoothly; additionally, parents can take part in the Common Ground experience which offers four days extended stays to develop relationship and communication skills between themselves and their child.
Wilderness therapy is an approach to treatment that immerses participants in nature to remove distractions and triggers and foster self-reflection. It often goes hand-in-hand with traditional therapies to address mental health and behavioral concerns such as depression, addiction or family conflict.
Trails Carolina provides an educational and clinically driven program through wilderness adventures and residential counseling, with students joining single-gender age-appropriate groups with licensed therapists to meet their specific needs.
Though some wilderness therapy programs have received negative press, most programs have garnered praise and positive reviews from participants and families alike. Amelia experienced increased self-assurance and developed coping skills at Trails Carolina which helped her overcome lying and defiant behavior at home before returning to school and following her dreams of becoming a wildlife biologist. Trails also provides academic assistance to prepare participants for life after the program and coaches them on how best to reintegrate back into their families and communities after leaving the program.
Trails Carolina, an accredited wilderness therapy program located among the Blue Ridge Mountains in western North Carolina, is dedicated to working with struggling teens and adolescents aged 10-17 years. Their evidence-based therapeutic techniques coupled with outdoor learning experiences within an unspoiled wilderness setting help create long-lasting change and healing for these youth.
Though troubling allegations have surfaced recently, wilderness therapy remains an effective treatment when conducted ethically and responsibly. While an investigation takes place, all stakeholders must focus on prioritizing participant wellbeing while making necessary changes to restore trust in the program.
Trails Carolina alumni students volunteer as mentors in a peer-to-peer mentoring program during the summer. This provides alumni students with an opportunity to build confidence, practice service, and reinforce skills they learned in Trails Carolina while creating stronger senses of connection and community while honing self-advocacy skills needed for successful navigating difficult circumstances in life.