Trails Carolina Reviews: A Leading Wilderness Therapy Program
At Trails Carolina we care about families. We care about our students. We are proud of our clinically sophisticated and time-tested program that results in changes that last a lifetime. Please see what our alumni families are saying about their experience:
What Our Families Are Saying About Their Experience
Jennifer Howard June 2022
"Trails changed our daughter’s life. We didn’t know how to help her, but they did and they knew how to help us too. The learning experiences and support she had coupled with the connection and tools we learned was really effective."
Lilian Robinson June 2022
"The mindfulness classes with Francie were the most important piece for me. I felt like I was a part of her experience and made connections with other parents with similar experiences. For my daughter expo and equine therapy were the most impactful. She found her joy again being outside and connecting with the animals."
Cody Brent May 2022
"Trails fostered an environment in which my son started the long process of recognizing his feelings and his interaction with other people. Travis held him accountable for his behaviors and taught him strategies to deal with his anxiety."
Leticia Moses May 2022
"Jeniveve was just awesome. I am so grateful for what she did for our son, me and our family. I think she is a gem and feel really lucky that she helped us navigate the start of his recovery from a dark and troubled time. I am so grateful to her and Trails for this and while it is hard to separate them, I am pretty sure Jeniveve was just critical to this whole process. I give her incredibly high marks and think she is awesome."
Natalie Higgins September 2022
"I only have fabulous things to say about the program. No child wants to attend such an intensive program but they do it and the staff at Trails works with our children, challenge them, maintain boundaries. As for the parent education programs the programs are what we make of them. We are still in the honeymoon phase but we are definitely communicating in an effective manner. We even continue to write letters as it gives us time to process each other's thoughts before we sit down at our family meeting. Trails is FAB!"
Steven Maloney September 2022
"Highly recommend Trails Carolina. They do a great job of making sure that parents are fully up to date on their child’s progress, the “learn alongside” work is challenging but worth it and we are so happy that we are seeing good progress. It’s up to 90 days at Trails but the overall journey is much much longer. Trails Carolina is an excellent stop along that journey and they do a great job of preparing the whole family for whatever comes next."
Sue Torres September 2022
"TRAILS Carolina was a blessing to our child and our family. We had reservations about wilderness programs in general as many parents do and you can put them to rest with this program. They are loving, patient, understanding and work wonders with children. Our 13yo left as a different child– more patient, regulated, confident, more at ease and just happier…so much that they want to work at TRAILS when they get older. No program is perfect, but this one was everything that we needed to heal as a family and more."
Anne Clark September 2022
"Trails Carolina was the reset my child needed. We had tried everything locally and felt that we had exhausted our options in supporting her at home. Amanda was able to connect with my child and get her to engage in therapy in ways that no other therapist had been able to. She benefitted greatly from her time at Trails."
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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
Being immersed in nature and away from all distractions allows for teens to have the opportunity to disconnect from the world and reconnect with themselves.
They can grow, learn, and not just survive, but thrive in the real world. Trails Carolina offers many benefits of wilderness therapy, including:
Personal, reflective growth: While at Trail Carolina, teens have the opportunity to better understand themselves.
This transformation, which takes place in the backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains can help them to be better about knowing themselves, understanding others and how their actions, words, and lives can impact others.
In the wilderness, these teens are allowed to take a step back, reflect and see the world from another’s point of view without any distractions.
Transferable life skills: Not only do teens learn hard such as how to pitch a tent, how to build and keep a fire going, as well as how to navigate through the wilderness, they also learn valuable life lessons which are transferable to the real world. Some of these include leadership, teamwork, respect, responsibility, and self-awareness.
Individualized therapeutic and academic programming: Individualized therapeutic programming is the crux of why Trails Carolina works so well. When the academics and therapy are specific to an individual, it creates an environment that is personalized which enhances learning.
Teens struggling with defiance may have different therapeutic methods for dealing with this than other teens who may be struggling with different problems such as anxiety.
Family-focused programming: One of the ultimate goals of Trails Carolina is helping to repair the family unit. While their son or daughter is away in the wilderness, some programs offer family therapy sessions that help both the parents and the siblings work through problems which the family has been struggling with.
When the focus is brought back to the family, it can ensure lasting change when the child transitions home from a therapeutic program.
“You must do the thing you think you cannot do” – Eleanor Roosevelt
If your son or daughter is struggling with behavioral, emotional, or mental health issues like defiance, anxiety, or depression and it has started to impact their day to day lives, now is the time to examine possible options for treatment for your teen.
Wilderness therapy programs, which are inpatient mental health treatment programs, can help child or teen explore what is troubling them, why they are acting out, and how they can better relate to their family and friends.
Removing teens from their hectic lives, technology, peers, bad habits, distractions, and influences is one of the many reasons why wilderness therapy programs work.
The best wilderness therapy programs offer an array of therapeutic techniques including, but not limited to equine relational programming, cognitive behavioral therapy, family therapy, group therapy, individual therapy, and mindfulness techniques.
Wilderness therapy programs accept students on a case by case basis. The selection usually depends upon the clinical programing of wilderness therapy programs and the behaviors exhibited by a potential student.
Some programs may accept teens dealing with more clinically complex issues while others chose to focus on students with more easily managed difficulties.
That being said, most all wilderness therapy programs provide therapeutic programming for struggling teens with behavior problems and emotional difficulties including:
Neurodevelopmental Disorders- These include Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Nonverbal Learning Disorder, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
School refusal- Many teens entering wilderness therapy programs are struggling with school refusal problems. Which is why wilderness therapy programs are great for treating teens who refuse school, who are frequently truant, or even suspended.
Substance experimentation or use– While most wilderness therapy programs deal with substance abuse in some degree, there are some wilderness therapy programs which are specified to help treat teens who are struggling with substance use issues, whether that be alcohol or marijuana use.
Defiance– Whether this is disruptive behavior in school and at home, wilderness therapy programs can help get to the root of these problems and address these issues in teens. This may also include Oppositional Defiance Disorder.
Anxiety– Social anxiety or generalized anxiety disorder can be crippling for teens. It inhibits their functionality around peers, in the classroom, at work and with their family. Many wilderness programs provide help for teens struggling with some form of anxiety.
Depression– Depression can be tough, especially with teens which is why wilderness therapy programs offer therapeutic help to teens who are struggling with this.
We offer programs designed for pre-teens ages 10-13 and adolescents ages 13-17. Our clinically proven methods work exceptionally well with:
- Family conflict
- Low self-esteem
- Social isolation
- Suicide ideation
- Defiant behavior/Oppositional Defiant Disorder
- Gaming and technology obsession
- Substance abuse
- Attachment issues
- Manipulative behavior
- Poor academic achievement
- Learning differences
- School refusal
- Mood dysregulation
- Autism (high functioning)
We are passionate about helping students overcome challenges and reach their full potential, and committed to creating the most effective wilderness therapy program possible for students and their families. Our entire team is honored to dedicate their professional lives to changing the lives of troubled teens.
The average stay at our wilderness therapy program is 70-90 days.
Trails Carolina is not a traditional summer camp. Instead, it is a wilderness therapy program that is designed to help at-risk youth overcome challenges and build the skills needed to achieve long-term success.
The program combines traditional therapeutic interventions with outdoor activities and wilderness experiences, such as hiking, camping, and team-building exercises, to create a unique and immersive experience.
Students at Trails Carolina receive individualized care and attention, with small group sizes and personalized treatment plans.
Our program is offered year-round! The program is typically longer than a summer camp and can last from several weeks to several months, depending on the needs and progress of each student and family.
While participants in Trails Carolina can benefit from the same sense of adventure and connection to nature that is often associated with summer camps, the program is specifically designed to provide therapeutic interventions and support for at-risk youth.
After graduating from our wilderness treatment center, students will typically transition back home or to a step down type residential program (Therapeutic Boarding School or Residential Treatment Center, as examples).
Parents have multiple weekly touchpoints at the program. There is a separate program specifically designed for the involvement of the family.
We also provide in-person opportunities during a student’s time at trails for families to get on campus and do work with their child. We have some of the highest-rated family services within the industry.
91% of students showed improvement in extremely significant symptoms of depression, 12 months after graduation.
Learn more: Does wilderness therapy work?
91% of students showed improvement in extremely significant symptoms of anxiety, 12 months after graduation.
79% of students reported experiencing a decrease in suicidal thoughts, 12 months after graduation.