Increased Precautions We're Taking in Response to COVID-19

LAST UPDATED ON 03/15/2021

As updates on the impact of the coronavirus continue to be released, we want to take a moment to inform you of the heightened preventative measures we have put in place at SUWS of the Carolinas to keep our patients, their families, and our employees safe. All efforts are guided by and in adherence to the recommendations distributed by the CDC.

Please note that for the safety of our patients, their families, and our staff, there are certain restrictions in place regarding on-site visitation at SUWS of the Carolinas.

  • These restrictions have been implemented in compliance with updated corporate and state regulations to further reduce the risks associated with COVID-19.
  • Options for telehealth visitation are continuously evaluated so that our patients can remain connected to their loved ones.
  • Alternate methods of communication for other services may be offered when deemed clinically appropriate.

For specific information regarding these changes and limitations, please contact us directly.

CDC updates are consistently monitored to ensure that all guidance followed is based on the latest information released.

  • All staff receives ongoing infection prevention and control training.
  • Thorough disinfection and hygiene guidance is provided.
  • Patient care supplies such as masks and hand sanitizer are monitored and utilized.
  • Temperature and symptom screening protocols are in place for all patients and staff.
  • Social distancing strategies have been implemented to ensure that patients and staff maintain proper distance from one another at all times.
  • Cleaning service contracts have been reviewed for additional support.
  • Personal protective equipment items are routinely checked to ensure proper and secure storage.
  • CDC informational posters are on display to provide important reminders on proper infection prevention procedures.

The safety of our patients, their families, and our employees is our top priority, and we will remain steadfast in our efforts to reduce any risk associated with COVID-19.

The CDC has provided a list of easy tips that can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then immediately dispose of the tissue.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are frequently touched.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.

For detailed information on COVID-19, please visit

Unveiling the Mask

We remain open and are continuing to accept new admissions.

SUWS of the Carolinas remains committed to providing clinically superior services within a safe and supportive environment while taking all appropriate precautions to protect the well-being of our students and staff.

For admissions information, or to learn more about the heightened preventive measures we have put in place, please click the link at the top of this page or call us at (828) 489-3198.

Learn More About Self-Reflection & “Unveiling the Mask”

by Kelly Moore, LPC

Self-reflection is not an easy process – it can be painful and scary, and it takes both strength and courage.

For personal growth to be real, positive and sustainable, though, we need to make regular assessments of our motivations and interactions with others. This type of critical introspection involves a close look at our faults as well as our strengths. This can be one of the most difficult aspects of therapy, and yet it is essential in order to sustain the positive growth that we so often seek through therapeutic means.

To break down the barriers that often prevent people from completing honest self-assessments, some therapists incorporate creative tools into the process. For example, at SUWS of the Carolinas, a therapeutic wilderness program in Old Fort, North Carolina, the majestic outdoors functions as an alternative to conventional treatment settings:

  • The wilderness removes distractions, simplifies choices and teaches valuable lessons while providing an ideal milieu in which to address therapeutic issues.
  • The outdoor setting provides students with an opportunity to engage in therapy with fewer distractions and to enhance personal introspection.
  • In wilderness programs, students can no longer rely on familiar social and cultural structures. As a result, they are forced to confront, learn about and rely upon themselves.

One of the most effective aspects of wilderness therapy is this isolation from normalized structures, and from the pressures and distractions than often accompany them.

Wilderness therapy is most effective when complemented by a variety of other therapeutic approaches in order to assist in the process of self-introspection. Art therapy is one of these approaches.

Art therapy combines of artistic activities with therapeutic goals, allowing students the space to express their concerns, ideas and issues differently than conventional verbal approaches.

  • Since we often use verbalization as our main form of communication, we can be skillful at controlling our responses and refraining from expressing what we do not want others to know or what we ourselves are fearful of admitting.
  • Art is a less traditional communicative medium for most people, and therefore more difficult to manipulate.
  • Using art in therapy can decrease defenses and serve as a catalyst for both self-introspection and communication between therapist and student.

In the wilderness, art therapy also uses the natural surroundings of the environment to help students relate and become comfortable in their new “foreign” surroundings. Therapeutic activities allow students to break down many of the barriers associated with their new surroundings and focus on personal growth.

One of the many art interventions utilized with students at SUWS of the Carolinas is the Mask Activity, where students are given a blank mask as their artistic canvas.

The mask, like the human condition, has two sides — the one that is presented to the outside world, and the one that reflects the inner persona.

Students are asked to think about the variety of personas they present to the world, in different contexts and around different people, and consider the difference between these personas and their internal sense of self. After this reflection, students are presented with a variety of artistic tools and given the space to fill in both sides of the mask.

On the outside, the mask can either represent how we believe the world views us or what we want to portray to the world around us, while the inside reflects how we really feel inside.

The mask is a tool to facilitate self-reflection and assist with personal introspection. As a group, or one-on-one with a therapist, students can reflect on the choices they made with their own mask, comparing and contrasting the inside of the mask with the outside.

The therapist also now has a concrete tool to use to reach the student, using the artwork as a catalyst for a deeper discussion of the difference between the perception of outer and inner personas, and the choices the students have made to convey this difference. In this way, the student can work towards gaining a deeper understanding of their own layers of both conscious and unconscious material, and how the external choices they make in interactions with others may be influenced by deeper issues.

With the same core goal as wilderness therapy, art therapy can help students to strip away the layers that are distracting them from focusing on their essential core issues. Therapeutic art activities such as the Mask Activity encourage critical introspection, which in turn increases the likelihood that the students will make real, significant and lasting progress during their wilderness experience.

SUWS of the Carolinas offers wilderness programs for adolescents who are struggling with various challenges, including mental health concerns, substance use, behavioral issues, and autism spectrum disorder. Our expert staff provides developmentally appropriate care to young people in a safe, therapeutic environment. We accept private pay only, but our staff can help develop a detailed financial plan for your family to ensure your child gets the care they need so that they can successfully return to their school and community.

The wilderness therapy offered at SUWS was the dynamic solution needed to help my son with his behavioral issues. When my son left SUWS, he was completely changed for the better and also created new bonds and unforgettable memories! I can't recommend SUWS enough for anyone in a similar situation!

– Britney A.
Marks of Quality Care
Why does this matter?
  • Cognia
  • American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM)
  • Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF)
  • Forest Service Department of Agriculture
  • National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP)
  • National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC)
  • NC Department of Health and Human Services
  • Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Council
  • Safe Zone
  • Sky's The Limit Fund
  • The Jason Foundation

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