Difficulties with attachment are a common issue amongst individuals who have been adopted or who struggled with abuse or neglect in their early childhood. Teens with attachment issues often struggle with establishing boundaries and may not understand how to build meaningful relationships with others.
At Trails Carolina, we work closely with students who struggle with attachment issues to help them better understand boundaries and how to process their attachment issues.
Primary Therapist Justin Messinger MA LCASA explains why a wilderness setting can help teens struggling with attachment issues below:
Why wilderness therapy for teens with attachment issues?
For teens struggling attachment issues and other emotional or behavioral challenges, a wilderness therapy environment can serve as an excellent setting for the assessment process. Staff members are with students 24 hours a day, 7 days a week throughout a student’s time at Trails Carolina. We are able to observe the attachments students may form with staff and students. From these observations, we are able to get a fuller, more complete picture of a student’s behaviors.
As students test boundaries with their peers and our staff members, we use this as a chance to open up a discussion about why we hold boundaries and how some attention-seeking behaviors can affect their relationships with others.
Our highly structured environment places a great emphasis on boundaries and consistency for students. Each day, staff hold boundaries for students. Students often push back and test the limits of boundaries. If students begin developing attachments to specific staff members, we are able to see attention seeking behaviors similar to those seen within their family unit. We take these observations and utilize them in our work with the student’s family, helping to assess the challenges at hand and begin to find solutions for them.
Writing Letters to Family Members Provides Insight Into Attachment Styles
Each week, students write letters to their parents detailing how they are feeling and their progress at Trails. For students with attachment issues, these letters provide therapists and staff members with insight into the attachment style students may be exhibiting.
Opening the lines of communication between students, their parents, and our therapeutic staff is very important. Having honest conversations about a student’s adoption process can really help a student process that event. The letter writing process helps provide an outlet for students to have that conversation in a low-pressure way. Guided by their therapist, students have the chance to share their feelings on paper in a supportive setting
For more information about the therapeutic techniques we utilize for students with attachment issues, check out our previous blog on the subject.
Trails Carolina Helps Teens With Attachment Issues
If your teen is struggling with attachment issues, Trails Carolina can help. We are a wilderness therapy program for teens ages 10-17. Our program can help your teen build important communication and relationship skills.
For more information about our program, please call 828-372-4723.