Chris Blankenship, M.A., LSW
Clinical & Family Services TherapistEducation: MSW, University of Southern California, 2014 BA, University of Colorado, Psychology, 2008 Grew Up In: Colorado In Wilderness Therapy Since: 2013 Primary Population Served at Open Sky: Adolescent Boys Areas of Clinical Expertise: Depression, Anxiety, Trauma, Substance Abuse, Attachment issues, Failure to Launch
As a Colorado native, Chris has enthusiastically explored the peaks and valleys of the natural world while simultaneously dedicating his professional career to working with struggling youth. He completed a BA in Psychology from the University of Colorado where he conducted research on inherent racial stereotyping as well as on the stress reducing properties of nature. Chris then concentrated on clinical work with children and families while working towards his Masters Degree in Social Work at the University of Southern California. After volunteering to clean up the ravages of Hurricane Katrina in college, Chris moved to New Orleans, Louisiana. There he spent four years teaching at an inner-city school, a vocation where his calm confidence enabled him to successfully educate and guide a traumatized population of at-risk youth. Chris also envisioned and then facilitated a school-based club with the goal of assisting young men transition into adulthood. During his time in New Orleans, Chris’ engaging personality and love of the outdoors inspired the youth he served to pursue healthier outlets of expression such as sports, academics, and outdoor activities in place of the use of drugs and aggressive behavior. These experiences prompted Chris to go back to school in order to strengthen his education and ultimately pursue a full time career in wilderness therapy. Chris counseled adolescents under foster care in individual and group settings and worked as a child welfare investigator in Los Angeles. These experiences allowed him to develop assessment and clinical skills in an environment where people experienced a life of crisis on a regular basis. Chris brought wilderness therapy to this urban population when he developed and implemented an outdoor-based therapeutic intervention for children of parents struggling with addiction. Chris’ clinical approach draws from cognitive behavior therapy and family systems theory. His areas of clinical knowledge include unmotivated individuals and families, attachment issues, substance abuse, depression, anxiety, and youth who are struggling to launch. When not at work, Chris enjoys hiking with his dog, riding his bike, mountaineering, cooking with friends, and playing and watching team sports.