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Capacity to Thrive

Open Sky is founded in the tradition of Humanism, which holds the belief that all humans are basically good, and with the right supports, will gravitate towards achieving their fullest potential. We combine core concepts from the humanistic tradition outlined below with our comprehensive clinical approach and wellness practices to support our students in accessing their capacity to thrive.

Hierarchy of Needs – Dr. Abraham Maslow

Dr. Abraham Maslow was one of the fathers of Humanism.  Maslow believed that all humans are motivated to achieve certain needs in order of priority.  He outlined a motivational theory of psychology often portrayed in the shape of a pyramid with the broadest, most fundamental, basic safety needs at the bottom progressing toward higher level needs at the top.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs:

  1. Physiological Needs: food, water, air, warmth, hygiene, rest, exercise, and sleep.
  2. Safety and Security Needs: shelter, fire, structure and routine, consistency, protection from danger, and safety in the outdoors.
  3. Love and Belonging Needs: connecting, being part of a group (family, friends, tribe, community), receiving and giving love, respect, trust, and acceptance.
  4. Esteem Needs: respecting oneself, feeling respected, feeling competent, achieving confidence through task accomplishment and skill mastery.
  5. Self-Actualization: achieving one’s full potential

Our most basic human need is the Physiological need for survival and well-being, so this need must be met before higher level needs can be effectively achieved.  Once our primary needs are met, we can move on to meet our Safety and Security needs.  Once these needs are met, the next level needs are Love and Belonging, followed by Esteem needs, and ultimately, Self-Actualization, or achieving one’s full potential.

Maslow’s Hierarchy is foundational to the Open Sky program because it so clearly demonstrates that in order to evolve, we must meet our needs in an intentional and progressive way.

Wilderness offers the perfect environment to practice, reinforce, and value the importance of satisfying our primary needs.  Every day, students work through their Student Pathway as a way of attending to and improving the foundations of the pyramid.  Once students have successfully tended to their primary needs, they can build on these achievements and find motivation to effectively seek more meaning and purpose in life.

Reality Therapy and Choice Theory – Dr. William Glasser.

Another influential person in the humanistic tradition is Dr. William Glasser.  Glasser’s ideas focused on personal choice and responsibility and held the belief that all behavior is our best attempt at the time, given our current knowledge and skills, to meet one or more of our five Basic Human Needs:

  1. Survival
  2. Love and Belonging
  3. Power and Control
  4. Freedom
  5. Fun

Glasser believed these five human needs are so fundamental that we will always find a way to satisfy them, whether in healthy or unhealthy ways.  Meeting needs in healthy ways honors positive core values, while meeting needs in unhealthy ways violates core values.

Glasser’s needs and values-based decision-making tools can help a struggling student better understand past decisions and ways to make value-honoring choices in the future. Consistently making healthy choices supports the individual’s behavioral congruence with their values, and leaves the person feeling more positive about him or herself over time.

At Open Sky, students reflect on the ways they have met their basic needs in the past.  They begin to practice ways to meet their needs in healthier, more adaptive ways.  They reflect that when they meet their needs in a way that honors their values, this results in generally feeling better about themselves, their relationships, and life in general.

Our focus at Open Sky is to facilitate the process of helping students identify their core values by posing questions instead of imposing answers.  This way, they can be more connected to who they are, what they believe, and how they want to show up in the world.

Areas of Impact

The Open Sky approach utilizes the application of evidence-based modalities with innovative, proven, holistic healing practices such as yoga, meditation, and mindfulness. Learn more about our other areas of impact.