Nightmares of Wilderness Therapy Revealed During Trails Carolina Investigation

Trails Carolina Investigation of child abuse during wilderness therapy raised various questions on the transparency and oversight within this industry. Parents enroll their adolescents in wilderness therapy programs when the children showcase maladaptive behavior.

Wilderness programs take place in an outdoor environment while combining therapy and challenging experiences. The participants engage in cognitive, affective, and behavioral levels. The therapeutic agencies let the clients feel safe, however, Trails Carolina abuses their clients mentally and physically. 

Therefore, it’s advised that one should look over the reviews and investigate the agencies before admitting their kids to such therapeutic institutes. Here’s what has been uncovered about Trails Carolina investigation so far. 

What’s the Truth to Trails Carolina Investigation

There are mixed reviews from clients about Carolina Trails. Some participants had life-transforming experiences while others shared accounts of emotional and physical abuse during their treatment. The mistreatment of the staff led authorities and independent investigators to take this program under scrutiny. 

The investigation revealed that there should be higher transparency, accountability, and regulations when admitting teenagers into such associations. A parent filed a complaint that the management team ignited her when she asked for help. She was lost in the wilderness and scummed to hypothermia due to their negligence. 

Former participants of this program also claimed that this program employed unregulated practices such as physical restraint and isolation rooms to discipline adolescents. DHHS (United States Department of Health and Human Services) has cited that Carolina Trails has violated isolation and seclusion room regulations. 

Another allegation was about the death of a 17-year-old girl Lansing. The case was filed against this therapeutic program and the girl died in a creek. Therefore, the Trails Carolina investigation was initiated once again. The sheriff overseeing this case reported to DHHS that if the staff helped earlier, she could have been alive now. 

The therapeutic program has denied all such allegations and stated that there is no truth to these defamations. However, these allegations can’t be ignored completely and parents should ascertain the accreditation and surveillance of their kids under such programs. There’s nothing more important than the wellness of their children. 

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Is Carolina Trails Therapeutic Programs Intense?

Various clients who have undergone therapeutic programs revealed that their Carolina Trails experience was quite intense. Some preferred this method of cognitive and behavioral training whereas others deemed it as abusing due to the adoption of intensive techniques like decisions and isolation rooms. 

The restorative program includes the following therapies;

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavior therapy
  • Experiential activities (hiking and backpacking, 
  • New Coping Techniques (improved communication with family members) 

Critics have also regarded this program as quite intense and not suitable for adolescents.  The program lacks sufficient oversight, unrealistic expectations of the participants, accountability, and inadequacy of research regarding wilderness training. 

Ex-employee of Carolina Trails Compared Wilderness Therapy to a Nightmare 

Linda is an ex-employee of this firm and helped tremendously in the Trails Carolina “investigation” by revealing that she worked for two years in this firm. After joining this institute as an experienced professional in 2015, she took care of teenagers, in the same way as she did for the last 20 years. 

However, she also admitted that the participants undergo physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. They are forced to do various exercises despite being unwell. Other ex-employees also shared such instances of brutality like they had been punched and abused physically by their colleagues during their employment. 

An anonymous volunteer states that she was compelled to run until she passed out. Likewise, another victim said that she had to go hiking even though she wasn’t feeling well. Teenagers who were hurt or wounded during the training were not treated appropriately. 

Nightmares of Wilderness Therapy Revealed During Trails Carolina Investigation

The ex-employees also remarked that the staff and management team of this firm usually intoxicated themselves with drugs and alcohol during their work and tried to maintain unhealthy relationships with teenagers. Some of them reported such incidents to the authorities, but no action was taken. 

Is the Staff Root Cause Behind the Horrors of Wilderness Therapy?

Most of the narratives put forward by the victim imply that the staff and management team were responsible for their horrific experience during outdoor camps. The investigation also entails how poorly the staff handled the requirements of the teenagers and manipulated them.

Caretakers threatened the participants, made fun of them publicly, and bullied them. Likewise, new employees were not guided properly and left on their own. The punishments were quite worse for making mistakes during the training like cutting every possible connection with their parents. 

Moreover, teens who were made to go to bed late were forced to wake up earlier. Such incidents make one wonder whether the caretakers were trained adequately or had permit-to-staff-to-patient ratios. Their behavior and demeanor were worthy of criminal charges, rather than nursing kids. 

Henceforth, Carolina Trails is perceived as unworthy of experts in suicide prevention and suicide de-escalation as their training phase is minimal, while their unearthly training is at its pinnacle.


The allegations regarding the Trails Carolina investigation carried out by NCDHHS are still in place, and there is no response from them. However, new victims are exposing their lives as a nightmare during wilderness training. While unconfirmed, we still cannot be oblivious to the alarming testimonies. 

Moreover, the number of indictments only continues to increase day by day and the disparity regarding them can’t be judged. Participants and staff members alike are on the edge of disclosing the truth. Similarly, parents have started renouncing their faith in such therapy programs. Restoring the lost trust will need responsibility plus better translucency.

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