Therapeutically Supportive

 Individualized Goal Planning 

As one of the top therapeutically supportive schools, the Academy at Trails Carolina offers individualized, sophisticated, and evidence-based services to its students. Each student partakes in both individual and group therapy sessions, as well as one phone based family session, all facilitated by a licensed staff each week.  That said, just as every teen lives with a unique set of strengths and problems, every teen also has different ways in which he responds to structure, builds relationships with a peer group, works with figures of authority, and responds to adults who provide care. There is no one-size-fits-all approach that can be truly effective for the needs of each student. Due to its small size and strong staff to student ratio, the Academy is able to be flexible and get to know each individual student as a person, as the primary therapist collaborates with the student and family in creating an integrated plan and intervention-implementation that will work for each individual.


A holistic, relationship-based, treatment-team approach 

Throughout all the research in the field of mental health, the factor that determines therapeutic effectiveness, that far outweighs any difference in treatment modality, is the quality in relationship between the client and his care-providers.
We set ourselves apart from other average therapeutic schools through our recognition of the power of relationships. Trails Academy prides itself in its ability to harness the relationships available to each student toward fostering a student’s strengths and addressing the problems that he lives with. Beyond the several hours weekly that a student is taking part in therapeutic sessions, he is also developing real relationships through engaging in healthy activities with multiple members of the community.


Given the Academy’s strong staff to student ratio, intimate size, and the strengths of the school’s setting right on top of the Dupont State Forest, students have opportunities to find passions and partake in recreational activities with a variety of staff. Not only is the empirical evidence of the benefits of outdoor exercise overwhelming in terms of its effectiveness in addressing issues of anxiety, depression, ADHD, irritability, and problems with academic performance, to name a few, it also creates opportunities for students to interact in relationships with the entire team. This is just one of the many aspects that separates us from other therapeutic schools.


For example, on any given day students are found enhancing their photography skills in the Blue Ridge Mountains with their math teacher, trail running with the academic director to nearby mountain tops, or developing a passion for mountain biking with the program director. Unlike other therapeutic schools, the clinical staff at the Academy meet with academic, recreational, and student life staff multiple times weekly to discuss how best to foster relationships with students in ways that benefit students in their treatment. The investment that students have in their treatment process become fostered by the community of staff and students.

All students and their families are accorded the following services during their tenure at the Academy at Trails Carolina:

Clinical Assessment and Individualized Treatment Planning at One of the Leading Therapeutic Schools
(1) One hour-long Individual Therapy session with a Primary Therapist per week, with increased frequency and duration available as needed
(3) Three hour-long Group Therapy sessions with Primary Therapists per week
(1) One thirty minute-long Phone Call between student and family per week
(1) One hour-long Phone Call between Primary Therapist and student’s family per week
(1) One weekend family visit per month (local, home, etc.)
(1) One Academic Update Report (including narratives and grades) delivered electronically each month
Regular Phone Call between Primary Therapist and family’s Educational Consultant
Regular meetings between the student and his assigned Academic Advisor to evaluate academic progress, challenges, successes, and goals
Opportunities for Parent-Teacher Conferences on a monthly basis (face to face or phone conference formats) with the entire Academic team and the student’s Primary Therapist
(4) Family Psycho-Educational Weekend Seminars per calendar year with access to full Clinical, Academic, and School Leadership Staff
Transition planning in concert with educational consultant in advance of discharge
Each family has the cell phone number and email of their son’s Primary Therapist, as well as those of the Clinical Director, Academic Director, and Program Director

The Focus on Family

The Academy at Trails Carolina works from the philosophy and knowledge that family therapy, coinciding with the individual therapy of the student, is a vital component to the treatment process toward enduring change. Unlike other therapeutic schools, each week, parents will have a phone call with the primary therapist to discuss the progress and treatment of their sons, as well as engage in family therapy in order to foster effective communication, mend relationships, learn to navigate difficult conflicts, and develop ways to effectively maintain trust and accountability within the family. In addition to this call, for at least the first four months and as long as is indicated, the primary therapist will also facilitate a 30 minute phone call weekly between the student and his parents, to practice effective communication and learn to navigate difficult conversations.

Beyond the two weekly phone calls, the Academy also offers quarterly 3-day family workshops. These therapist and teacher facilitated workshops are for all parents to attend, and are a time to dedicate to developing practical parenting tools and skills, psycho-education around a variety of useful topics, family therapy sessions, parent-teacher conferences, as well as an opportunity for parents to connect and learn from one another around similar issues that arise within the family system. We integrate our student families into the healing process, which sets us apart from other therapeutic schools.


In addition to these family services, clinicians at the Academy will also work in concert with educational consultant toward transition planning when it is appropriate. Students and families not only strive for success while enrolled at the Academy, but long-lasting change and success throughout the long road ahead into adulthood. Whether a next step is a return the home environment, moving on to college, or a continuing to a different school system, the Academy will work with parents toward creating a successful transition.