At SUWS of the Carolinas, we empower families to discover their strengths and foster growth together. We understand that every family has different needs, and we strive to help them work through unique challenges.
Encouraging Family Participation
Family participation is an important part of every child’s healing journey. A young person’s limiting emotional beliefs and destructive behavioral habits exist within the context of the family and often indicate a breakdown in cohesion and trust among members.
At SUWS of the Carolinas, we firmly believe that our students are not the only ones who should be fostering positive changes in their lives and that their family members should be as well. As our students go through this transformative process, we encourage family members to do the same.
What to Expect
Families of children who begin treatment at SUWS of the Carolinas take part in an initial family assessment that helps us identify the areas where support is needed. This may include communication, de-escalating a teen, consequences, and attunement.
A trained staff member who is licensed as a coach or therapist then works with families during their child’s time at SUWS. The coach meets with family members every other week to discuss their goals and assigns programming on alternate weeks to lead them on a parallel program with their child.
We provide families of students with a variety of options that can help them grow along with their child through our family program. Activities and approaches include the following:
- Parent workshops: We offer a virtual learning experience for parents during Weeks Three to Five of a student’s program. This virtual workshop covers practical skills students are learning in the program. During this time, parents can connect with one another, learn about the program, meet staff, and practice the skills they need to feel confident in their ability to apply them in their letters and at home. The second workshop is in person, taking place toward the graduation/transition part of the program. This workshop allows parents to build on the skills they learned at the first workshop and develop additional techniques for specific situations they might run into during graduation and the transition to school or home.
- Phone calls and letters: Weekly phone calls with their child’s therapist and the exchange of letters with their child are integral aspects of parental involvement at SUWS of the Carolinas. In the weekly calls, therapists provide updates on a child’s progress, direct treatment planning, address relevant family dynamics, and give recommendations for continuing care once a child completes the program. Weekly letters are also discussed on these calls, and they are used to promote open and effective communication between parent and child.
- Sibling handbook: Parents are not the only ones in the family who are affected — siblings carry a lot of mixed feelings and confusion about their family dynamics. Sibling support is so important to help them feel included in the process. The sibling workbook answers questions for siblings about the program, what most siblings go through, and what they can learn to help in the process. Siblings are part of the family coaching calls when needed and appropriate.
- Parent resources: Parents have 24/7 access to our parent check-in website to stay informed about their child’s progress through weekly pictures and updates. Also offered on the parent check-in site is a message board that allows parents to discuss the program process, ask questions, and post recommended books and resources. To further support and involve parents, an extensive parent handbook is also provided. The handbook, which is available on the parent check-in website, guides parents through the process and gives them an in-depth look at our wilderness program, our philosophy and clinical approach, stages of the program, and a typical day for students, while CDs offer practical lessons on a variety of parenting topics.
Graduation & Reuniting as a Family
Trail’s End is the culminating experience for families at SUWS of the Carolinas. Upon graduation, parents attend a one-day seminar designed to prepare them for a successful reunion with their child and transition to their continuing care plan. Families then spend two days together in the field reconnecting, practicing new ways of interacting, and celebrating the child’s accomplishments during their journey at SUWS of the Carolinas.
At SUWS, we are dedicated to encouraging your child’s success and helping you improve your relationship with them. Because we value family as an integral part of the SUWS journey, we will work to incorporate you every step of the way.