Family Program

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. 

At SUWS of the Carolinas, Family Programming includes:

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, located in Old Fort, North Carolina, 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 our campus in Old Fort, North Carolina, 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 and has wilderness experience along with family systems training then works with families during their child’s time at SUWS of the Carolinas. 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 two-day virtual parent workshop. This remote workshop covers different concepts, principles, and tools students are learning about in the program. During this time, parents can connect with one another, gain a better understanding of the program, meet staff, and practice the skills they need to feel confident in their ability to apply them at home. The second workshop is a three-day live parent workshop. It takes place in person and allows parents to reconnect and engage with their child through a series of field days. 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. 
  • Family update and support calls: Weekly phone calls with their child’s wilderness therapist are an integral part of parental involvement at SUWS of the Carolinas. During the weekly calls, therapists provide updates on a child’s progress and their treatment experience. Families also work with a family coach who guides them through biweekly phone calls with their child. Biweekly phone calls are important because they set each child up for success by setting goals that support parents and other family members throughout the course of the program. These goals are centered on family dynamics, effective parenting skills, co-parenting, communication, and family relationship healing. 
  • 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: Our parent resource center acts as a hub for parents where they can access resources, assessments, handbooks, directories, workshop dates, and vlogs. Also offered on the parent resource center is a frequently asked questions (FAQ) section that allows parents to get answers to the most commonly asked questions about our program. To further support and involve parents, an extensive parent handbook is also provided. The handbook, which is available on the parent resource center, 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. Parents can even participate in weekly webinars with skills coaches who cover topics related to the program, personal growth, and parenting. 

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 our Old Fort, North Carolina, campus. Siblings may be allowed to attend if deemed appropriate. 

At SUWS of the Carolinas, 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. 

I went into this program scared out of my mind. At SUWS, I learned the tools I needed to work through my issues and I'm forever grateful.

– Anonymous Patient