Contact Us| Careers Parent Portal

Family Systems Approach

Open Sky is a family-centered wilderness therapy experience. While many of our students and families have struggled to work together to find success, we believe that all have the capacity to thrive, and our mission is to help family members work together to identify and achieve their goals. We provide numerous ways for family members to be involved in the therapeutic process: weekly phone calls with the treatment team leader, Family Pathway assignments, Wellness Weekends, Family Quests™, weekly family support group teleconferences, parent-child phone calls, and Graduation.

Open Sky places such a high value on the family systems approach that we have a Family Services Department with a team of therapists entirely dedicated to serving the needs of Open Sky families.


At Open Sky, we are systemic in our clinical approach and believe it important to consider the way each family member is a part of the greater family whole. The behavior of one family member is often informed by and inseparable from the functioning of the family.

Family systems theory suggests that we try to understand an individual not in isolation, but as a part of his or her family. Following a family systems model means we are working not only with an individual student, but also with the family. We work with the student to understand who they are and the issues that need to be addressed both individually and in the context of the family.

Our research has supported the systemic approach, showing that students make greater gains and maintain those gains after their wilderness therapy experience when their parents actively engage in the process.