Leaders in wilderness therapy from caring, experienced staff

    At Trails, our expert staff combines their decades of experience to serve troubled youth and their families. Our goal is to help mend strained relationships, reverse negative behavior patterns, and for families to communicate better than ever before.

    We combine wilderness therapy techniques with residential base camps and accredited academics that serve to teach, reinforce, and practice real-life skills in a way that produces lasting, positive change for students and their families.

    Graham Shannonhouse established Trails Carolina in 2008 to deliver upon the promise of wilderness therapy—to create lasting behavioral and emotional change. We’ve developed an innovative and effective model based on three foundational beliefs that guide our program:

    • We believe that a wilderness setting enhances the benefits of therapy.
    • We believe that practicing and applying the lessons learned in the wilderness to everyday situations promotes lasting change.
    • We believe that families benefit from being involved in their child’s process.

    With this new model of wilderness therapy, we’re able to capitalize upon the profound effects of a student’s wilderness experience by interspersing time at our base campuses where students practice their skills and experiences.

    As students overcome the challenges of the wilderness, their perspective shifts, and behaviors soon follow. This helps to instill a sense of self-confidence and increases self-awareness. All the while, our Therapeutic, Wilderness, Residential, and Academic Teams work to turn daily experiences into teachable moments.

    Between expeditions, students reside at our base camps where they apply their wilderness lessons to more typical circumstances. This ability to transfer their skills and experiences to new situations helps students develop practical, real-life skills and prepare to apply these lessons at home.

    Another element that separates Trails from other therapy options is our commitment to family involvement. Not only do we ask our students to commit to the process, we ask the entire family to be ready to work and heal. We have a dedicated family therapist who will work with your family in parallel with what your child is experiencing in the program, and help you develop skills to improve your communication and support their ongoing success.

    Trails helps students develop new skills and resources.

    Our unique wilderness program helps students develop new skills and resources to address their emotional, social, academic or neurological challenges.

    Trails Carolina adventure therapy programs offer a comprehensive and integrated therapeutic program based on research and experience. The focus is on individualized strength-based treatment and family systems. We assess your child in the context of their relationships with therapists, staff members, peers, teachers, family members and themselves in the wilderness and base camp environments. 

    By observing how your child interacts with different people, and in what contexts they thrive and struggle we’re better able to help them build successful behavior patterns and strengthen key relationships.

    Wilderness therapy with the practical experience of a residential base camp

    Trails is unique in that it balances the benefits of wilderness therapy and adventure therapy programs with the practical experience of a residential base camp. Through the expedition experience, students are empowered. Through academics, wellness practices and equine therapy, students leverage the lessons they’ve learned in other settings – further building their confidence and ability to build connections and sustain positive change.

    Practicing skills across different environments in this manner is beneficial to your child’s long-term success, as they can learn to apply their skills even when their surroundings and influences change. 

    Without this key practice, your child may struggle in one circumstance and thrive in another, depending on what the environment is like, or who else is around them. The Trails’ program allows us to test and challenge the skills your child has gained to create stronger behavioral patterns, so your child can effectively express their emotions in healthier ways throughout life.

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    “I can honestly say that we are a closer family because of what we learned at Trails. I loved it all!”
    Darla W., mother