Does Wilderness Therapy Work?

We Deliver Proven Results & Positive Change

How We Gather Data: Thoughtful, Research-Based Wilderness Therapy

Trails Carolina has developed a 5-year outcome study to allow us to better understand the efficacy of our program. This study was done in coordination with the Center for Research, Assessment, and Treatment Efficacy (CReATE; Asheville, NC) and the University of Arkansas. The results were collected independently from Trails Carolina’s involvement.

One of the more impactful portions of the outcome study was reviewing the way we do family work and what the impact of our program looks like a year after a family has graduated from Trails Carolina.

The independence of the study along with the transitional model used by Trails Carolina helps to legitimize the work done in the wilderness and provide evidence-based results for our methods.

Our Outome Data

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Decrease In

Suicidal Thoughts

98% of students reported experiencing a decrease in suicidal thoughts, 12 months after graduation.

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Decrease in

Substance Use

96% of students reported experiencing a decrease in substance use, 12 months after graduation.

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ADHD Symptoms

97% of students reported a decrease in symptoms associated with ADHD, 12 months after graduation.

Does Wilderness Therapy Work? Our students & Families Say Yes

Trails Carolina has partnered with the Center for Research, Assessment, and Treatment Efficacy (CReATE; Asheville, NC) and the Arkansas Institute of Developmental Science to develop a research initiative, exploring the clinical presentation, therapeutic outcomes, and impact for youth and families involved in wilderness therapy programming.

Both students and parents reported significant changes in behavior and symptoms–in both the youth and the family–from enrollment at Trails to one full year after graduation.

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12 months after graduation, 96% of students showed a decrease in externalizing behaviors

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12 months after graduation, 93% of students showed a decrease in rule-breaking behaviors

Preteen Student Data (10-13)

Trails Carolina has partnered with the Center for Research, Assessment, and Treatment Efficacy (CReATE; Asheville, NC) and the Arkansas Institute of Developmental Science to develop a research initiative, exploring the clinical presentation, therapeutic outcomes, and impact for youth and families involved in wilderness therapy programming.

Both students and parents reported significant changes in behavior and symptoms–in both the youth and the family–from enrollment at Trails to one full year after graduation.

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Decrease In

Externalizing

96% of students reported experiencing a decrease in externalizing behaviors, 12 months after graduation.

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Decrease In

Rule Breaking

93% of students reported experiencing a decrease in rule breaking behaviors, 12 months after graduation.

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Decrease In

Disruptive Behavior

Only 1% of students showed signs of disruptive behaviors, 12 months after graduation.

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Decrease In

Aggression

98% of students reported experiencing a decrease in aggressive behaviors, 12 months after graduation.

Academic Outcomes

School Functioning

12 months after graduation, only 17% of students showed school functioning issues.

 

Felt Excited

12 months after graduation, 87% of students felt excited about school.

 

School Refusal

12 months after graduation, only 4% of students showed signs of school refusal.

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Adopted Student Outcomes

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Anxiety

12 months after graduation, 93% of adopted students showed a decrease in anxious symptoms

 

Depression

12 months after graduation, 97% of adopted students showed a decrease in depressed symptoms

 

Aggression

12 months after graduation, 98% of adopted students showed a decrease in aggressive behaviors

 

Rule Breaking

12 months after graduation, 97% of adopted students showed a decrease in rule-breaking behaviors

Our Ongoing Research Initiative

This ongoing research initiative is assessing youth, parents, and families about a wealth of issues, including mental health symptoms, syndromes, and behavioral problems observed at four specific time periods:

  • Upon admission to Trails Carolina
  • At graduation from Trails Carolina
  • Three months after graduation from Trails
  • One year after graduation from Trails

The research initiative utilizes a variety of assessment tools, including the Treatment Outcome Package (TOP), the gold standard for measuring response to therapeutic interventions, and the Achenbach System of Empirically Based Assessments.

does wilderness therapy work

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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