Recent allegations at Trails Carolina regarding emotional neglect and physical maltreatment have come to light, prompting calls for greater oversight of wilderness therapy programs.
Trails Carolina offers outdoor behavioral therapy programs to adolescents experiencing emotional or behavioral challenges. Utilizing nature-based experiential learning methods and regular sessions with trained therapists, Trails Carolina helps adolescents address both their emotions and behavioral needs.
Transparency and Accountability
Trails Carolina “Investigation” serves as a reminder that greater transparency and accountability in wilderness therapy must increase. Families seeking help for their troubled adolescents must carefully research programs, ask pertinent questions, and demand high standards of safety and care from all providers they consider when choosing wilderness therapy options for themselves or their teen.
Former Trails Carolina participants have reported experiencing emotional and psychological abuse while attending this organization, from claims of belittling or belittling them to allegations that manipulative tactics were employed against them.
Trails Carolina operates with minimal oversight due to a lack of regulations governing wilderness therapy programs like it, which allows Trails Carolina to operate with little regulation – yet, without adequate safeguards to protect vulnerable children from abuse or neglect, former staff have complained. Furthermore, Trails Carolina allegedly provides inadequate training for employees who guide and mentor young people in the wilderness; their lack of training could potentially lead to problems including exploitation and abuse.
Allegations of mistreatment and abuse at Trails Carolina have been deeply disturbing, making it imperative that families conduct extensive research and seek the advice of mental health professionals before enrolling their loved ones in any wilderness therapy program.
Trails Carolina boasts of its staff having extensive wilderness survival and therapy training; however, former staff have expressed concerns regarding the amount of instruction received prior to beginning employment and whether staff-to-participant ratios adhere to industry standards.
Trails Carolina employs an integrative treatment approach that integrates weekly sessions with their primary therapist and family therapist with wilderness experiences, residential facilities, equine therapy, and more individualized experiences such as wilderness trips or residential facilities with evidence-based practices that design programs utilizing these therapies to foster lasting change for participants. They use evidence-based practices when designing programs as a means of tracking effectiveness so they can continue improving what has worked.
Though allegations of mistreatment and abuse against troubled teen facilities are widespread, wilderness therapy programs still prioritize their participants’ health and wellbeing. Trails Carolina utilizes a therapeutic approach which improves mental wellbeing for teens while decreasing harmful behaviors.
Trails Carolina students demonstrate an increased decrease in symptoms of depression and anxiety compared to non-participants of its program, and that these improvements last up to one year post graduation.
The program offers an immersive treatment experience, including family support sessions, academics, outdoor adventure therapy and transition planning. Furthermore, staff has undergone comprehensive first aid, nutrition and suicide prevention training – leading some former employees to express concern over its adequacy as a potential factor for abuse claims.
Recently, numerous accounts of mistreatment and abuse by former Trails Carolina participants and their families have come to light. While some may argue these claims are isolated incidents, their widespread nature warrants further investigation.
As the Trails Carolina horror story sends shockwaves through the wilderness therapy industry, it’s important to keep in mind that many outstanding programs still prioritize participant well-being. Only through increased transparency, accountability, and regulation can trust be restored across the industry as a whole.
While Trails Carolina may provide an effective treatment option for some, it’s essential that anyone considering wilderness therapy consult with a mental health professional first. When done ethically and responsibly, wilderness therapy offers troubled adolescents a powerful opportunity to find themselves and heal.
Trails Carolina Program offers both wilderness survival and wilderness therapy using different therapeutic modalities, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). It places great importance on its staff of licensed therapists and field instructors with training in wilderness survival and crisis intervention.