How Trails Carolina Became a Leader In Wilderness Therapy

Founded in 2008, Trails Carolina was born to make this promise a reality — a combination of therapeutic wilderness programs and clinical therapy sessions that can bring long-term, positive change for students and families. It's safe to say they've certainly delivered. Trails quickly rose to become the nation's leader in Wilderness Therapy. 

Their story

Trails Carolina's programs are based on three core values: 

  1. They believe a wilderness setting enhances the positive effects of therapy
  2. The staff knows that lessons learned within the environment build resilience and adaptability
  3. The team realizes the benefit of involving students' families in the process

With this three-pronged foundation at the forefront of their minds, the staff at Trails Carolina sets about developing a never-seen-before multi-dimensional wilderness experience.

The program included the beautiful terrain around Lake Toxaway, a family-centric approach, academics, and the highest quality of clinical expertise from the get-go. The elements work seamlessly together to begin Trails Carolina's climb to the top of the wilderness therapy ladder.

Once they developed the program, families became intrigued, and word spread like wildfire. The array of opportunities for students to learn life skills was an attraction too great to ignore for many parents.

Students are exposed to equine programming, adventurous expeditions, group work, and classroom-based learning. They're taught coping mechanisms and transferrable skills by experienced staff, which ultimately change how they engage and view the world.

Thus, Trails Carolina became a leader in wilderness therapy by giving teenagers the confidence and practical means necessary to live a fruitful life.

While their myriad of success stories speak for themselves, the evidence discovered upon the conclusion of the five-year outcome study solidifies the reasons behind Trails' massive achievement.

For example, 84% of adopted students reported a reduction in social issues between the beginning of their Trails Carolina Wilderness Therapy experience and one year after graduation. However, the improvement ran much more profound as the adolescents began making meaningful connections with their adopted families and friends.

Another part of the study revealed 86% of students showed improved anxiety symptoms, and 98% reported a decrease in suicidal thoughts 12 months after the program. Across the board, the results were phenomenal.

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