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

LAST UPDATED ON 12/17/2020

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, on-site visitation is no longer allowed at SUWS of the Carolinas.

  • This restriction has 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 has received infection prevention and control training.
  • Thorough disinfection and hygiene guidance has been provided.
  • Patient care supplies such as masks and hand sanitizer are being 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.
  • We are in communication with our local health department to receive important community-specific updates.

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

Philosophy at Phoenix

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.

Phoenix Outdoor is designed to support adolescents who are grappling with serious issues such as substance abuse, chemical dependency and dual-diagnoses. Our philosophy is to help bring about positive change in these teens in our therapeutic wilderness program.

Topics in Phoenix Group

The staff at Phoenix Outdoor help teens face important issues head-on, and to work through these issues using clinical excellence every step of the way. Some of the many areas we focus on in our program include:

• Education and substance use
• Sobriety
• Creating a community- based support system
• Stress tolerance and emotional regulation
• Family system healing
• Relapse prevention planning

Clinical Modalities in Phoenix

As we help students address all of their most pressing behavioral and psychological issues, we also recognize the importance of utilizing Clinical Best Practices for attainting individual and group goals. While we primarily use the wilderness for our therapeutic means, we also hold strong to our clinical modalities of care, many of which include the following:

• Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
• Family Systems Interventions
• Motivational Interviewing
• The 12-Steps
• Neurofeedback Training
• Dialectical Behavior Therapy
• Parent Education Series
• Yoga
• Therapeutic Drumming
• Prochaska’s and DiClemente’s Stages of Change Model

Phoenix Program Phases


Upon enrollment, all students receive a substance abuse assessment, clinical assessment, psycho-social assessment, family assessment, and an evaluation of emotional and behavioral patterns.  The focus of this phase is on accepting placement, observing the group and interacting with field staff and therapists.  Allowing students to observe group dynamics reduces fear and assists in making a positive transition. It is important for students to feel physically safe and emotionally cared for.


Many adolescents struggle to accept treatment, and have difficulty recognizing the negative effects drugs and alcohol have had on their lives. In this phase, students focus on self-acceptance and the decision to take action for themselves.  This occurs for a Phoenix student through acceptance of being in an unfamiliar environment, personal contemplation and reflection in a tranquil environment, and journaling.  Students are accepted into the Phoenix culture by other members of the group and staff that help minimize feelings of loss that may be experienced upon arrival.


Overcoming resistance and accepting responsibility takes great courage.  In this phase, students face the causes and conditions of using substances and recognize resulting negative behaviors.  Students learn “hard” wilderness skills such as making fire, building traps and hiking.  They deal with the difficult emotions that arise during these tasks (e.g. frustration, anger, sadness), come to terms with their past, make amends, take ownership of their behaviors, and character development begins.  Students become members of their community, and as they experience success, they will build confidence and begin believing in themselves.


In this phase students begin to incorporate habits developed and prepare for how they will be carried to outside lives.  The 12-step principle of Giving Back is focused upon. Students fully engage in the group process and demonstrate consistency with new skills such as leadership, healthy communication, positive relationship skills, and healthy emotional regulation.  Students are accountable to their staff and peers, and practice accepting responsibility for their words and actions.   The Phoenix student is a leader of his group, is mentoring new members of the community, and is facilitating evening meetings and daily activities with field instructors.

Phoenix Rising

The final phase provides students with opportunities to mentor their peers and give back to their community. Leadership qualities such as role modeling, integrity, compassion, and support are essential in testing new recovery skills.  In Phoenix Rising, students prepare to transition from Phoenix Outdoor to the next phase of their lives.

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
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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