Leaders in wilderness therapy from caring, experienced staff
At Trails we use our decades of experience to serve families who want to address the problematic behaviors of their teens and, as a result, create lasting change in the way their family interacts.
Trails was founded on the belief that traditional wilderness therapy could better serve the long-term needs of students and their families. We combine the power of the wilderness experience with a residential base camp in order to teach, reinforce, and practice real-life skills. Trails also involves the family every step of the way.
Graham Shannonhouse established Trails in 2008 to deliver upon the promise of wilderness therapy—to create lasting change in the behaviors of teens. The Trails team devised an innovative model focused on three beliefs that have driven our programming decisions:
- We believe that a wilderness setting enhances the benefits of therapy.
- We believe that practicing and applying the lessons learned in wilderness to everyday situations promotes lasting change.
- We believe that families benefit from being involved in their child’s process
Guided by these beliefs, Trails has developed a new model of wilderness therapy. We capitalize upon the profound effects of a student’s wilderness experience by interspersing time at our base campus where students practice their skills and experiences.
As students face the challenges of the wilderness program their perspective begins to change and behaviors quickly follow. This helps build self-confidence and increase self-awareness as our Therapeutic, Wilderness, Residential, and Academic Teams help daily experiences become teachable moments.
Between expeditions, students reside at our base camp where they apply their wilderness lessons to different people and places. This ability to transfer their skills and experiences to new situations helps students develop practical, real-life skills.
In addition, we’ve created a family program that outshines the rest, and we ask our students’ parents to commit to the process. The work that families do with our designated family therapist parallels what their child is doing and experiencing in our program. In this way, we work to address the behaviors of a troubled teen and empower parents to make the best choices for their child.
“I’ve learned I care about my family. I also learned I should respect others and respect myself. I learned that that can change with a little bit of help.”
“I would say that Trails saved our daughter’s life. I saw changes in her at graduation that thrilled my heart.”
“I am full of admiration and gratitude for Trails and its staff.”
“I would highly recommend Trails to anyone who needs their services. It was an excellent program in every way.”
“I believe that Trails is a rite of passage. It’s stopping one stage in your life, and helps you to grow and prosper into a beautiful new grown up person.”
“Thank you! We are true believers in the power of the wilderness experience and can’t say enough about Trails!”
“Trails was the best thing I could have done, full of invaluable experiences. Thank you all! We will treasure our experience.”
“The process is about leaving as a new person who has found ways to stay away from problems. And by leaving here we will become a better and more mature human being.”
“Jake got so much from the program that he wants to move to North Carolina, study wilderness leadership and work on the staff at Trails.”
“Thank you, thank you, thank you. You took a boy who was a bundle of rage and guided him to see there were other ways to handle the world.”
“If your child is in need and you feel you don’t have the skills alone to help them, Trails can! And they will!!”
“We can’t thank everyone enough for the kindness, compassion and great skills each and every one of you gifted us with on this journey.”
“I can honestly say that we are a closer family because of what we learned at Trails. I loved it all!”
“Equine therapy was a powerful experience. My daughter said that it calmed her. The lovely base camp grounds with horses roaming around set a peaceful tone.”
“The therapists and guides were very well trained. I was pleasantly surprised at how compassionate the program and the field guides were. Thank you, thank you, thank you!”
“The overall change in my daughter was so impressive.”
“Thank you for all your efforts to make a difference in my daughter’s life going forward.”
“It impressed me how totally committed each and every therapist is to helping the families. Their compassion and understanding are remarkable.”
“I am in awe of the staff here at Trails Carolina. All the staff we met were congenial, cordial, knowledgeable, thoughtful and kind.
“Trails is a wilderness program of excellence, with individuals throughout the organization who will bend over backwards to help your teen understand the importance of trust, responsibility and accountability.”
Trails Carolina’s Dedication to the Safety of your Child
Our accreditation serves to acknowledges that we have met a recognized standard and submit to regular oversight. This standard includes education, experience, and an exam of knowledge, skills, and our ability to provide the best care available to our clients.
Trails Carolina underwent a rigorous accreditation process with CARF, an independent accrediting agency. CARF requires high standards for safety, business practices, and services. This accreditation helps families feel confident that Trails has the commitment to excellence and quality in our programming.
In addition Trails is an affiliate of NATSAP. Trails Carolina has evolved since it’s inception to serve the growing needs and numbers of struggling young people. NATSAP and its members have been working with their state legislatures to ensure the appropriate licensure and regulation of programs and that serve children and adolescents
How will Trails work my child and my family?
Families often ask, “Why does Trails work?” This is what we tell them.
a safe, supportive, research based therapeutic approach focused on success at Trails and continued success after our wilderness therapy ends.
Focus on the Family
from our Family Therapist, weekly phone calls, sibling involvement, to our Family Camp and Reunification weekends, everything we do at Trails is designed to help students and their families see lasting change.
Decades of Experience
our talented team is passionate and experienced in building relationships and trust.
we have an underlying set of core values to help create the highest quality standards for a safe and supportive experience.
we bring together our team experiences seeing your child in a variety of different environments and situations to develop a more individualized and comprehensive plan
Who Does Trails Carolina Help?
Trails Carolina wilderness program works with young men and women ranging from 10-13 years (youth) and 13-17 (adolescent). Our clinically proven methods work exceptionally well with:
- School refusal
- Family conflict
- Low self-esteem
- Social isolation
- Self harm
- Defiant behavior
- Gaming and technology obsession
- Substance abuse
- Attachment issues
- Manipulative behavior
- Poor academic achievement
- Learning differences
We are passionate and committed to creating the best, most valuable wilderness therapy program possible for students and family alike. Our incredible Trails staff has dedicated their time for the opportunity to change some lives.