All Kinds of News for March 04, 2020
Trails Carolina, a wilderness therapy program helping young people ages 10-17, is expanding their programming for pre-teen aged students this month.
“We’re always looking at new ways to differentiate programming for our pre-teen groups because there is a marked difference in the developmental needs of these younger students versus older students,” says Amanda Mojave LPC, Primary Therapist at Trails Carolina. “Making changes to better meet the needs of younger students helps us see better outcomes in the work we do with these students.”
Trails' enhanced phase work system now incorporates love languages, universal human needs, and attachment-focused therapeutic work.
Students and parents take love language assessments, facilitated by their therapist during the therapeutic process. These are quizzes that help families better understand how each member of their family gives and receives love. This helps them learn how to communicate more effectively with one another.
Another aspect of the new phase system for middle schoolers is a focus on universal human needs.
According to Mojave, “If a student is exhibiting a challenging behavior, instead of trying to eradicate these behaviors, we want students, staff, and parents to put on their detective hat and ask ‘what need are we trying to get met?’ For example, one universal human need that we see frequently is the need for certainty. If a student is asking a question repeatedly, instead of trying to simply put a stop to the badgering, we invite everyone to be curious. When we establish that the student is trying to get the need for certainty met, we can help foster an environment where they are learning how to meet their needs in a prosocial way.”
Phase work for middle school students will also focus on attachments and relationships. Many students at Trails struggle in their relationships with others. New middle school programming helps students repair relationships with families and peers.
“Part of the attachment-focused work we’re doing with the middle school group is helping train staff to better understand what it means to be a secure base for students,” says Mojave. “We are using recent research to approach attachment-related behaviors with curiosity and playfulness, which is developmentally appropriate for pre-teens. We are also teaching parents about this too. It helps students feel safe in their relationships and allows them to make changes.”
Field staff who work with pre-teen students will now be working solely with this age group. They will be receiving pre-teen specific trainings focused on how middle school students’ brains work. These trainings will also focus on attachment, universal human needs, and love languages so that staff are even better prepared to support students on their healing journey.
Another addition to middle school programming is a parent-child phone call during the process. “We have found this is extremely beneficial in preparing for graduation and next steps after Trails. We are inviting the family to utilize their skills in real time with one another."
“Currently, Trails is the only wilderness therapy program with single-gender middle school programming year round in the country,” comments Mojave. “Our staff are extremely passionate about working with this age group and I think that’s key to the success of our students.”
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.