All Kinds of News for August 08, 2018
Trails Carolina, a wilderness therapy program for teens ages 10-17, helps young people struggling with a variety of challenges, including adoption/attachment-related issues. At Trails, students who struggle with attachment issues have the opportunity to learn about establishing boundaries and build a better understanding of how to process their attachment issues. “A wilderness therapy environment is an incredible setting for assessment,” comments Justin Messinger, MA, LCASA. “Because staff members are with students 24/7 in a wilderness setting, we are able to gather a more complete picture of student behaviors and observe the kinds of attachments they form with staff and students while they are at Trails.”
When students test boundaries with staff members and their peers, Trails staff members often utilize that as an opportunity to speak with students about the importance of holding boundaries and the ways in which attention-seeking behaviors may be affecting their relationships with staff and peers. “Trails provides students with a highly structured environment with an emphasis on boundaries and consistency,” says Messinger. “Throughout each day, staff hold boundaries for students and students may push back, testing the limits of staff members. Students may begin developing attachments to specific staff members, exhibiting attention-seeking behaviors similar to those they display within their family unit.”
Each week, students write letters to their parents detailing how they are feeling and their progress at Trails. For students with attachment issues, these letters provide therapists and staff members with insight into the attachment style students may be exhibiting.
“I think it’s very important to open up the lines of communication between students, their parents, and our therapeutic staff,” says Messinger. “Having honest conversations about a student’s adoption process can really help a student process that event. The letter-writing process helps provide an outlet for students to have that conversation in a low-pressure way. Guided by their therapist, students have the chance to share their feelings on paper in a supportive setting.”
To learn more about the ways in which Trails therapists work with students who have attachment issues, please visit Trails’ blog on the topic.
About Trails Carolina
Trails Carolina is a wilderness therapy program based just outside of Asheville, North Carolina that offers a multi-dimensional wilderness therapy model to troubled adolescents, ages 10-17. Trails capitalizes upon the profound effects of a student’s wilderness experience, and then combines that experience with strong clinical assessments and therapy. For additional information about Trails Carolina, please call 800-975-7303.