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October 7th, 2020

Understanding Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy

Earlier in my career, I felt something missing from the treatment I was able to provide some of my adolescent girl clients. Many of these clients had experienced traumatic events that often manifested in the field. Therapy sometimes was particularly complicated because those incidents tend to be deeply intertwined with other treatment issues (identity, interpersonal […]

August 18th, 2020

Treating Emerging Cluster B Personality Disorders in Wilderness Therapy

People with personality disorders historically have been misunderstood and pathologized as having character faults. In reality, it’s not that one has a “broken” personality, as the name might suggest. Rather, this diagnosis typically results from childhood coping strategies that eventually become entrenched behavioral and emotional patterns if not otherwise interrupted. Individuals who don’t believe their […]

March 25th, 2020

How to Take Care of Yourself in the Midst of a Pandemic

In an effort to “flatten the curve” and halt the spread of COVID-19, public health officials are asking people to shelter at home, drastically alter their daily lives, decrease physical interaction, and engage in rigorous hygiene practices. A few weeks ago, the term “social distancing” wasn’t even on our collective radar. Today, schools, businesses, and […]

December 2nd, 2018

Strength and Confidence: How Therapist Kirsten Bolt Helps Adolescent Girls Thrive

Q: What led you to pursue a career as a wilderness therapist? A: I fell into wilderness therapy as a field guide during a transitional time in my life. I was drawn to the individual mentorship and intimate, personal conversations with students. I also enjoyed the often dynamic and challenging work with families. My heart […]

May 8th, 2018

Finding Connection Beyond the Screen

Over the past few years, I’ve been struck by the increasing number of Open Sky parents who report feeling exasperated regarding their child’s “excessive use of social media” and “cell phone addiction.” Though students at Open Sky live outside without access to electronic devices and social media, I witness its impact on the students’ relationships […]

December 16th, 2017

Understanding Self-Harm and Treating it in Wilderness

Q: What is self-harm? A: “Self-harm” refers to “non-suicidal self-injury,” or intentionally harming one’s body without suicidal intent and in a manner that’s not socially-sanctioned. Often self-harm includes cutting, scratching, burning, or carving words into the skin. Those tend to be the most common methods but there are more extensive forms of self-harm. Socially-sanctioned body […]

March 3rd, 2017

Four Common Layers of Girls’ Communication

Throughout my experience of working with adolescent girls and boys in wilderness therapy, one theme emerges clearly and repeatedly: girls are so much more complicated! Girls typically communicate and express their emotions, thoughts, wants, and needs in seemingly more layered and complex ways than boys. A simple Google search about differences between men and women […]