Trails Carolina, founded by Graham Shannonhouse and based in North Carolina, is a wilderness therapy program for children and teens aged 10-17. Led by trained wilderness staff members and licensed therapists, the program integrates wilderness therapy, mindfulness techniques, equine relational therapy, intentional transitions, academic engagement, and parent education to support families through the process of healing and reconnection.
Trails Carolina is a wilderness therapy program that offers a unique and innovative approach to helping struggling adolescents and teenagers facing various challenges, including behavioral issues, substance abuse, and mental health concerns.
This program stands out from the troubled teen industry’s troubled history by prioritizing evidence-based therapeutic practices, open communication with families, and a commitment to the well-being of the young individuals it serves.
Key Elements of Trails Carolina
Trails Carolina’s therapy approach revolves around immersing participants in a wilderness environment, away from the distractions of modern technology and social media.
This nature-centered therapy aims to help adolescents build resilience, develop healthy coping mechanisms, and overcome anxiety related to social media use and other challenges they may be facing.
1. Therapeutic Wilderness Expeditions
Teens embark on wilderness expeditions that promote teamwork and essential life skill development. Therapists employ experiential interventions to address individual and group challenges, fostering self-reflection and personal development.
2. Individualized Treatment Plans
Recognizing the uniqueness of each teen, Trails Carolina crafts tailored treatment plans to address specific needs and aspirations. Therapists collaborate closely with families to ensure a harmonious and integrated healing journey.
3. Academic Support
Sustaining educational progress is paramount. Trails Carolina offers academic support, enabling teens to continue their studies while participating in the program. The emphasis on experiential learning enhances academic engagement and fosters a positive attitude towards education.
4. Family Involvement
Family engagement is a cornerstone of success. Trails Carolina facilitates regular communication and family therapy sessions to fortify relationships and bolster ongoing progress. Workshops and resources are provided to assist families in navigating challenges during and after the program.
5. Evidence-Based Practices
Trails Carolina utilizes evidence-based therapeutic techniques to address the root causes of behavioral and emotional issues in adolescents. Licensed therapists and experienced wilderness instructors work together to create personalized treatment plans for each participant.
6. Communication and Transparency
Unlike past troubled teen programs that often withheld information from parents, Trails Carolina maintains open and regular communication with families. Parents are kept informed about their child’s progress and well-being throughout the program.
7. Outcomes Research
Trails Carolina conducts ongoing research to assess the impact of their program on youth and families. This research involves comprehensive assessments measuring mental health symptoms, trauma, family functioning, and treatment results. One year after graduating from Trails Carolina, an impressive 98.9% of participants reported a continued decrease in challenging behavior and mental health symptoms.
8. Therapeutic Wilderness Setting
The program’s wilderness setting provides a distraction-free environment where participants can disconnect from technology and focus on building relationships with themselves, peers, and the natural world. This approach helps adolescents develop crucial life skills while addressing their specific challenges.
9. Licensed Therapists and Qualified Staff
Trails Carolina operates with a team of licensed therapists and trained wilderness instructors who work collaboratively to provide the highest quality care and support to participants.
10. No Profit-Driven Approach
Unlike the perception that some troubled teen programs are profit-driven, Trails Carolina prioritizes the well-being of participants and their families. Positive outcomes persist beyond program completion, indicating a focus on sustainable improvements rather than repeated enrollment for financial gain.
What does Trails Carolina Program Offer?
The Trails Carolina program offers numerous benefits for young girls who participate, addressing their emotional and behavioral challenges through a wilderness therapy approach. Here are some of the key advantages of the Trails Carolina program for girls. Though there has been some myths about trails carolina online but overall this serves as a great cause for the people.
1. Experiential Learning in Nature
The program provides girls with the opportunity to engage in outdoor activities in a beautiful wilderness setting. This immersive experience can be eye-opening for any child, allowing them to explore and connect with nature while participating in therapeutic interventions.
2. Support During Puberty
Middle school girls often face unique challenges as they navigate the changes and uncertainties of puberty. Trails Carolina’s wilderness therapy program offers a supportive environment where girls can address these challenges while continuing their education.
3. Physical, Mental, and Academic Improvement
Graduates of the program typically find themselves in a better place physically, mentally, and academically. The holistic approach of Trails Carolina aims to foster overall growth and development in participants.
4. Disconnecting from Technology
One of the program’s core principles is the importance of disconnecting from technology and connecting with peers. By reducing screen time and encouraging social interaction, girls can work on emotional and behavioral issues that may be hindering their success.
5. Skill Development and Bonding
Participants have the opportunity to learn valuable life skills while enjoying outdoor activities with their peers. This not only helps in skill development but also fosters strong bonds among girls facing similar struggles.
6. Rapid Growth
The therapists at Trails Carolina have noted rapid growth in girls upon their arrival. Stepping away from traditional therapy and engaging in this unique outdoor experience often leads to positive and transformative changes.
7. Personalized Approach
The program offers personalized treatment, with different groups for girls based on their age and specific needs. This individualized approach boosts girls’ confidence to be themselves and work on their personal progress.
8. Alternative to Traditional Therapy
Trails Carolina offers a different approach to therapy, moving away from conventional methods. Many participants initially underestimate its value but come to appreciate the benefits of this distinctive approach.
9. Supportive Community
By separating girls into age-specific groups, Trails Carolina fosters a supportive community where they can connect with peers who are going through similar life stages and challenges.
10. Access to Information
Families considering the program can easily access information to help them understand the application process and what to expect from Trails Carolina. This transparency ensures that parents and participants are well-informed.
Trails Carolina’s wilderness therapy program for girls offers a comprehensive and personalized approach to address emotional and behavioral issues. Through outdoor experiences, skill development, and a supportive community, girls can make significant progress in their personal growth and well-being. The program’s unique approach sets the stage for a brighter future, benefiting both students and their families.
Trails Carolina: A Decade of Evidence-Based Wilderness Therapy
Trails Carolina offers a comprehensive and unique therapeutic program for youth and teens struggling with a range of emotional and behavioral challenges. Here’s a breakdown of what Trails Carolina offers and how it helps students:
Time spent in nature plays a pivotal role in the healing of the mind, body, and nervous system, particularly for those burdened by high levels of stress, anxiety, trauma, or depression. The wilderness environment offers a unique opportunity for growth and recovery that can be challenging to replicate in other settings.
Incorporating yoga into the therapy process can be highly beneficial. It allows individuals to connect with their bodies, improve flexibility, and reduce stress, contributing to better mental and physical well-being.
2. Individual, Group, & Family Therapy
Certified and licensed mental health professionals, including therapists and clinical social workers, employ evidence-based and trauma-informed practices in various therapeutic sessions. These sessions, conducted individually, within peer groups, or with families, serve to enhance self-awareness regarding self-defeating behaviors and strengths. They also equip participants with valuable coping skills. Additionally, family members learn effective communication and support strategies for healthier dynamics.
3. Mindfulness & Meditation
Mindfulness involves the practice of being fully present in the moment without judgment. It aids individuals in recognizing their thoughts and emotions, understanding them, and acquiring tools for emotional regulation. Meditation, a form of mindfulness, centers on focused breathing and non-judgmental observation of thoughts passing by. These techniques are instrumental in helping those dealing with anxiety, depression, and various mental health challenges.
4. Somatic Movement & Yoga
Somatic movement therapy employs gentle movements to foster a deeper connection between the mind and body. Yoga, a form of somatic movement, combines stretching, controlled breathing, and meditation. Somatic movement practices can effectively reduce stress, enhance mental well-being, and improve physical health.
The Proven Benefits of Wilderness Therapy Extensive research has illuminated the multitude of unique advantages associated with wilderness therapy. This innovative approach combines community experiences and therapeutic techniques, offering substantial support to children and adolescents grappling with a wide range of emotional and behavioral challenges, including academic difficulties, trauma, grief, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, attachment issues, and defiance.
Trails Carolina stands as a beacon of hope and transformation, seamlessly merging the strengths of wilderness and evidence-based therapies into a clinically driven, family-focused program. With a primary focus on children aged 10-17, facing a wide spectrum of challenges ranging from school refusal to substance abuse and beyond, we recognize the uniqueness of each individual.
Our diverse team of therapists brings specialized expertise, enabling us to create groups based on age, gender, and specific issues. This tailored approach ensures that every student receives a personalized treatment plan, and as a result, the length of stay may vary even within the same group.
Trails Carolina empowers adolescents to develop essential skills and resilience, addressing the emotional, social, academic, or neurological hurdles that led them to our wilderness therapy program. Through wilderness expeditions, we instill lasting change and provide the tools for students to navigate life’s challenges.
To ensure that this transformation endures, we offer transition planning, a collaborative effort involving the therapeutic team, the student, the family, and aftercare providers. Our ultimate goal is to prepare our students and their families for a successful life beyond Trails Carolina, where they can thrive and continue their journey of growth and healing.