Important Things to Look for in Wilderness Therapy Programs

man 1225488 1280A multitude of wilderness therapy programs for teens exist. This can make it difficult for parents to sift through and find the ones with quality facilities, staff, and programming. As someone who’s had years of experience with various wilderness therapy programs, I can confidently say I have the ability to discern between superior wilderness therapy programs and mediocre ones.

Things to look for in wilderness therapy programs

Comprehensive Therapy. Superior wilderness therapy programs often include a combination of equine, group, individual, family, and wilderness therapy into their program. By doing this, wilderness therapy programs are able to give its participants a more holistic therapeutic experience which will give youth a greater intervention than traditional methods.
Trained, Experienced Staff. Keeping an eye on your child at all times is an impossible task, but in wilderness therapy programs that’s exactly what they do with trained, caring staff. From the top psychiatrists to the residential staff, every member of the team should be trained to deal with the unique issues that arise with troubled teens. This allows your child to make mistakes in a controlled environment and get the proper feedback for them to grow.
Teaching Transferable Skills. This is highly important. The point of your child going through this experience is to gain the coping mechanisms and skills needed to succeed in the real world. The skills teens learn in wilderness therapy programs may be in a natural setting, but they should be designed to teach lessons that can be applied throughout the rest of their lives.
Family Inclusion. The family is one of the most important pieces of an adolescent healing and moving forward. Top wilderness therapy programs will include the family throughout the process through weekly calls with a therapist, scheduled visits, and family seminars.

Trails Carolina can help

Trails Carolina is a wilderness therapy program for struggling teens, ages 10-17. Our students commonly deal with issues such as depression, anxiety, ADHD, trauma, and other behavioral challenges.
For more information about Trails Carolina can help your struggling teen, please call 800-975-7303 today!

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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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