At Trails, we believe in addressing the whole family system, not just the student who is with us. Because many of our students have siblings, we have designed parallel family programming that provides support for the Trails student and their parents as well as the student's siblings.
Why is sibling support so important to us? Siblings are often the longest-lasting relationships we have, yet the sibling relationship is often ignored in research and preventative interventions with youth and families. Our program uses a family systems approach that recognizes that siblings of children with mental health disorders are more likely to develop their own risky self-protection strategies, experience their own unresolved loss or trauma, and/or have their own internalized issues or diagnoses. At the same time, siblings can have an incredibly positive impact on each other. A healthy sibling can help increase maturity, warmth, and understanding, and promote pro-social behavior and resilience. Because of this, we find that supporting and involving siblings in the therapeutic healing process of our students contributes to positive, long-lasting growth and change.
Sibling Support Includes:
- Sibling Handbook
- Family Coach Sibling Calls
- Sibling Safe Space
The Sibling Handbook is given to families with multiple children when their child first comes to Trails. We've written this handbook for a 6th-grade reading level to make it accessible to a wider range of sibling age groups. The Sibling Handbook is designed to: help siblings of students gain an understanding of what their sibling is doing, eating, and learning while at Trails; provide fun tips for writing letters to their sibling who is at Trails; and teach parallel communication skills that their sibling is learning, such as “I feel” statements.
Family Coach Sibling Calls
Our family coaches offer sibling phone and video calls to help engage siblings in the family involvement process. These calls are opportunities for siblings to share their how this experience is going for them, as well as to help review the skills that the sibling at Trails is learning. Including siblings in this way helps us make recommendations and assessments about siblings joining in during the Graduation and Common Ground events.
Creating A Sibling Safe Space
The overall goal of our sibling support programming is to create a safe space where siblings can gain a better understanding of what their Trails sibling is going through, process their own experience of the process that the family is undergoing, and grow alongside their brother or sister.
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Trails saved my daughter’s life. Amanda is an amazing human and a brilliant therapist. I am so grateful to her, Science Steve, and the other wonderful people who could reach my daughter at a time when I could not.
Margot Lowman August 2022
Great life changing experience for our son. After becoming addicted to gaming during covid he was very depressed. At Trails he experienced the wilderness, Science Steve, learning survival skills and top notch therapy and support etc… I highly recommend! This gave our son and our family a renewed family bond full of love and excitement about his bright future.
Winnifred Wilson July 2022
Outstanding clinical work and superb staff! There’s a great culture at this company and it shows with how they engage with families/clients.
Kristin Brace June 2022