The Importance of Self Love: Trails Carolina Primary Therapists Explain

In order to thrive as individuals and take care of our mental health, we need to be able to love ourselves. At Trails Carolina, we believe that self-love and self care are two important foundations for success and happiness. If a student feels successful and confident in themselves, they are more likely to break away from negative behavioral and emotional patterns.

Feeling Valued and Capable as Individuals

At Trails, we teach students that they have value just because of who they are as individuals. We help them understand that their feelings and thoughts are valuable no matter what they believe about themselves.
For many of our students, feelings of self worth and confidence have evaded them for years due to bullying and other outside factors. Throughout our program, we build a sense of community that helps students understand that they are loveable and that they matter to other people.

“In my group of students, we make the biggest deal out of every accomplishment that students achieve, says Ashley Brown MSW, LCSW, LCAS, Primary Therapist at Trails Carolina.  “We utilize rites of passage and rituals to mark the moment when students overcome challenges and achieve success. For example, students wear a superhero cape for the day if they accomplish a specific goal. This helps contextualize the challenges students face and puts emphasis on their capability to face and overcome obstacles. It helps students feel valued and respected by others – something many have not felt in a very long time.”

Practicing Self-Care

The practice of self care is an extremely important concept that we help teach students. Practicing self-care on a regular basis promotes positive mental health. However, in order for individuals to truly take care of themselves, they need to feel like they are worthy enough for that self-care.

“When people aren’t taking care of themselves, that’s when challenges like depression, anxiety, and self harm can get worse,” comments Primary Therapist Derry O’Kane, MS, LPC, NCC. “By focusing on self love and self worth, we’re able to help individuals work through those challenges.”

Honoring Diversity

Another way that Trails emphasizes the importance of self love is by honoring and celebrating the diversity of our students. Trails therapists give voice to students who feel comfortable discussing the ways in which they feel different from others, whether that be due to their race, gender identity, or sexual orientation. By promoting discussion about these differences, students feel accepted and loved by others and are more willing to turn that love back on themselves. Feeling uncomfortable in your own skin can be extremely damaging to feelings of self worth. By celebrating differences, we help students feel confident and proud of who they are.

Trails Carolina can help

Trails Carolina, a wilderness therapy program for teens ages 10-17, provides therapeutic support for young people struggling with emotional and behavioral challenges such as depression, anxiety, trauma, and defiance.
For more information about our programming, please call 800-975-7303.

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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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Trails Carolina’s wilderness camps for troubled teens are dedicated to helping teens work through behavioral or emotional difficulties, build trusting relationships with their family and peers, and achieve academic success.