Trails Family Specialist Explains Sibling Involvement in the Healing Process

Siblings are often a large part of your life if you have them. They grow up with you, sharing your childhood memories and forming your identity. This is why it’s so essential to include siblings in the healing process at Trails.
At Trails, students frequently have had a rough past with their sibling(s). Past arguments, fights, aggressive behavior, feelings of resentment–it can all make healing difficult if not handled correctly.

Gaining a new perspective through the eyes of brothers & sisters

Siblings have a unique perspective which we like to utilize at Trails. We do multiple sibling calls where we engage an individual sibling or a group of siblings. This allows siblings to process what the experience is for them and also gives them the opportunity to provide their input, feedback, and insight into their brother or sister at Trails.
While parents provide great insight, siblings offer a different view. They grew up in the same house with the same parents, but they also may have extra information on their brother or sister’s behaviors that the parents may not have. This open discussion not only helps the sibling(s) process, but it enriches our information for treatment.

IMG 3358Teaching conflict resolution and involving siblings

A lot of conflicts in the home happen between siblings, which is why we teach our students conflict resolution and mediation techniques. These really apply in the home and transition well. The whole family gets familiar with these techniques in order to help all the members of the family have a language they can use to work through issues together.
We conduct sibling calls in order to work through past disagreements and particular patterns of communication between siblings that has both impacted the student and the sibling at home.
One of our goals is to help siblings understand what their brother or sister in treatment is going through. That they weren’t acting a certain way to drive them nuts, they were behaving that way to try and cope with life. Once we’ve done that, we can work with the sibling to help identify behaviors that may be triggering for their sibling in treatment, let go of old grudges, and move on from there.

Preparing for the transition back home

At Trails, we know that the whole healing process can put a strain on the siblings at home as well as the parents. We try to help siblings identify a healthy outlet to talk about what they’re feeling or else it’ll build up into something negative. Whether that’s a close friend or through the family therapy we provide, we want it there so more issues aren’t forming as we’re trying to heal them.
We also try to prepare them for the transition. It’s not just an adjustment for the parents, but the sibling’s world also changes. For example, technology may be looked at differently and more rules may be put into place–siblings have to get comfortable with that before it happens to lessen the shock.
Overall, we work with the entire family through therapy and our Common Ground program to help create lasting, meaningful change.  

Trails Carolina is here for your family

Searching for the right program that fits your struggling teen can be a lengthy process. If traditional outpatient therapies aren’t offering improvements, it might be time to look into a wilderness therapy program like Trails Carolina.
Trails Carolina is a wilderness therapy program for teens, ages 10 to 17, struggling with issues such as depression, defiance, anxiety, ADHD and many others. We strive to create meaningful change within our students through the use of individual, group, family, equine and wilderness therapy. We can help your family recover.
For more information about help at Trails, contact us today at 800-975-7303.

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Avatar of Jeremy Whitworth

Jeremy Whitworth

As Executive Director at Trails Carolina, a leading wilderness therapy program for youth and teens, I oversee operations and collaborate with our leadership team. Since 2022, I've also hosted the Common Ground Podcast for parents: With a background in Wilderness Leadership and Experiential Education, I've managed adventure-based therapeutic programs across the US and Canada. My experiences in competitive athletics and adventure sports have honed my leadership, risk assessment, and decision-making skills, which I apply to running a successful business like Trails Carolina.

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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


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