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Category: Adolescent Boys

 
September 28th, 2020

Purposefully Present (Pt. 1): Understanding Mindfulness & Interoception

Welcome to Open Sky’s “Purposefully Present” blog series! By sharing the basics of mindfulness practice, we hope to empower you to regulate your nervous system, center yourself, and be in the present moment. To kick off the series, clinical therapist Brian Leidal (adolescent boys and young adults) gives us an introduction to mindfulness and interoception. […]

September 25th, 2020

Back to School, Pt. 2: School Refusal and Truancy

School refusal, truancy, and motivation issues may be exacerbated by this most unconventional school year. In the following Q&A, clinical therapist Jonathan Mitchell addresses these topics. Whether your child is skipping Zoom classes, ditching in-person school, or consistently withdrawing from school and extracurriculars, Jonathan shares tips to help families during these unprecedented times. (If school […]

September 8th, 2020

Back to School, Pt. 1: Navigating Virtual School with your Adolescent Child

It’s that time of year. School has started up again…but with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the start of the school year is anything but typical. With many schools moving to virtual school, parents are grappling with how to set their kids up for success: academically, socially, emotionally, and physically. In part 1 of our “Back […]

August 28th, 2020

Academics at Open Sky

Students at Open Sky have the opportunity to earn 3.5 high school credits in six academic areas. In the following article, Education Director Dr. Melia Snyder describes the philosophy of Open Sky’s academic program, the ways it intertwines with the organization’s clinical approach, and the types of credits available. Melia has a Ph.D. in counseling […]

August 25th, 2020

Full Circle: A Conversation with Sam Verutti, Clinical Therapist for Adolescent Boys

Meet Sam Verutti, MSW, clinical therapist for adolescent boys at Open Sky Wilderness Therapy. Sam’s clinical approach is enriched by his childhood immersed in the outdoors, his experience as a wilderness therapy student, and over three years working as an Open Sky field guide. His journey has come full circle since earning his Master’s of […]

June 19th, 2020

Morgan Seymour Featured on the Smart Social Podcast

Catch Clinical Therapist Morgan Seymour’s interview on the Smart Social Podcast! In the episode, “Identifying Warning Signs of a Gaming Disorder,” released on June 18, 2020, Morgan speaks with podcast host Josh Ochs about gaming addiction, warning signs, and what parents can do. Josh Ochs founded Smart Social to “keep kids safe on social media […]

May 26th, 2020

Opening Doors and Building Connection: A Conversation with Therapist Nick Lenderking-Brill

Get to know Nick Lenderking-Brill, therapist for adolescent boys! Nick began his time at Open Sky Wilderness Therapy as a Family Services intern while pursuing his Master’s degree at Naropa University. With family services, guiding, transport, operations, and clinical experience, Nick’s depth of knowledge and expertise is a huge asset in his work with students […]

April 23rd, 2020

Let’s Clear the Air on Vaping

Clinical Therapist Brian Leidal (young adults and adolescent boys) addresses the topic of vaping, a form of substance use that has surged amongst teens and young adults in recent years. With four years at Open Sky, previous work experience in inpatient drug and alcohol rehab, and a Master’s degree in Community Counseling with an emphasis […]

March 30th, 2020

5 Steps to Grounded Response to Stress

As the world continues to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, the Open Sky Team is committed to providing supportive resources for this unprecedented time. To access Open Sky’s COVID-19 resources, CLICK HERE. We will continue to add new articles from our clinical experts in the weeks ahead. In this article, learn how to develop a healthy […]

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 […]

March 3rd, 2020

Finding the Way to Self-Love: A Father Reflects on His Son’s Transformation

Testimonial contributed by Alumni Parent Charlie H. Our 15-year-old son went to Open Sky Wilderness from January 17, 2019, to April 17, 2019. Leading up to that point, my wife and I had grown increasingly worried as we watched him lose his way. We continually observed him making poor decisions, often not telling the full truth, […]

February 25th, 2020

Therapeutic Excellence in an Integrated Role: A Q&A With Therapist Mary Zaunbrecher

Mary Zaunbrecher, MS, LPC is a therapist for students and families on both the Clinical and Family Services Teams. In this integrated role, Mary works with students in the field, provides clinical coverage for primary therapists, and comes alongside families through our variety of family services. In the Q&A below, learn more about Mary’s clinical […]

February 3rd, 2020

Open Sky Celebrates Clinical Therapist Jonathan Mitchell’s 10-Year Anniversary

Open Sky is proud to celebrate Clinical Therapist for Adolescent Boys, Jonathan “Badger” Mitchell’s 10-year anniversary at Open Sky Wilderness Therapy. For the past decade, Jonathan has shared his extensive expertise serving adolescents, young adults, and families, while delivering an unmatched positivity and passion for his work. Following his undergraduate education in math and physics, Jonathan […]

January 27th, 2020

Exploring the Link Between Trauma And Addiction

Trauma and Health Risk Let’s start with a definition. What is trauma? We often quote the work of Dan Siegel, MD at Open Sky. Dr. Siegel defines trauma as an experience that overwhelms our capacity to cope. In other words, if one doesn’t have sufficient coping skills or resources to deal with an overwhelming experience, […]

December 11th, 2019

Wilderness Therapy and the Nervous System: How Slowing Down Promotes Healing

A Different Emphasis Wilderness therapy is an acute intervention through which students step out of the pressures of life and reevaluate their relationship with themselves and others. Most often, our students come from environments with a bombardment of stimuli and social pressures. There are pressures from work, school, social media, phone notifications, emails, and oh, […]

December 5th, 2019

The Power of Intentional Time Alone in Wilderness

Senior Clinical Therapist, Jonathan Mitchell, MA, LPC (adolescent boys) addresses common questions about the “solo” experience at Open Sky, from purpose to impact, and logistics to supervision. Jonathan celebrates his 10-year Open Sky anniversary this month. He has facilitated more than 1000 solos over the course of his tenure at Open Sky.   Question: What […]

November 26th, 2019

Clinical Team Attends Training: How to Talk About Cannabis Use in the Age of Legalization

Open Sky Clinical and Family Services staff recently attended the training: “How to Talk about Cannabis Use in the Age of Legalization.” Attendees walked away from the training up to date on the latest research on cannabis use. They were educated on the risks associated with use amongst a clinical population or for those with […]

November 22nd, 2019

A Systemic Approach for Lasting Success

A Systemic Approach to Family Therapy Now that your child or family member is enrolled at Open Sky, do you find that you are asking yourself, “what now?” While your loved one is hard at work in the wilderness, rather than simply waiting to see what happens, you also have a unique opportunity to also […]

November 19th, 2019

Adoption, Attachment, and Wilderness Therapy

Parents considering Open Sky for their adopted child often have a unique set of questions pertaining to their relationships, family dynamics, and clinical concerns. Below, we aim to answer common questions regarding our work with adopted students and their families. (article updated November 2019) Q: What is Open Sky’s approach to working with adopted students? […]

October 22nd, 2019

Digital Media Overuse: Clinical Training for Assessment, Intervention, and Treatment

As our society adapts to the expanding presence of technology, researchers and professionals have been looking at its effects on mental, social, and behavioral health. In fact, the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases will list “gaming disorder” for the first time in its 11th revision, taking effect in 2022. Recently, Open Sky primary […]

October 14th, 2019

Boys to Men: How Healthy Expression Fosters Healthy Masculinity

Q: Society and media floods us with – at times – unrealistic messages about what it means to be a man…. What are the implications of these messages?  A: Biologically, males and females at birth do not display many differences emotionally. Societally and culturally, we begin to treat them differently. In general, we tend to expect more emotional expression from girls and  […]

August 29th, 2019

Activating Potential: A Q&A with Clinical Director & Therapist, Sebastiaan Zuidweg

Q: What are you most passionate about in wilderness therapy and your role as Clinical Director & Therapist? A: One of the most amazing things about wilderness therapy is the way it cultivates community and connection. Within the safe therapeutic environment created in the wilderness, there is space for self-reflection and increased self-awareness. There are […]

May 16th, 2019

Game Changers: Utilizing Wilderness Therapy to Treat Adolescent Gaming Disorder

In my experience as a wilderness therapist for adolescent boys, students who spend the majority of each day behind a screen struggle with interpersonal relationships, low school performance, avoidance of emotions, and other unhealthy behaviors. Wilderness therapy can be a highly effective intervention that can support students in addressing not only their gaming and screen time use but the important underlying issues associated with excessive use.

January 30th, 2019

Step Into Your Potential: A Conversation with Adolescent Boys Senior Therapist, Jonathan Mitchell, MA, LPC

Q: What led you to choose a career in wilderness therapy as opposed to working in a more traditional setting? A: I began in this industry as a field guide in 2001. To be honest, the reason I took the job was that I couldn’t find work living in Bend, Oregon at the time. But […]

November 16th, 2018

Instagram Takeover: Morgan Seymour’s “Week in the Life”

We love to give our Instagram followers a glimpse into life at Open Sky. We highlight events, shine a spotlight on staff, and draw attention to the wilderness therapy experience. It’s also a wonderful way to connect with our alumni and the greater Open Sky community. (So drop us a note in the post comments or in […]

September 7th, 2018

Planting the Seeds of Change: How Morgan Seymour Helps Adolescent Boys Flourish in Wilderness

  Q: What led you to become a wilderness therapist? A: In my senior year of undergrad, I did a NOLS backpacking and pack rafting trip in Alaska for 32 days. I learned an immense amount about myself. I came out of that experience a completely different person with a whole new level of confidence. […]

August 13th, 2018

The “Yes” Within the “No”: How to Parent So Your Teen Trusts You

  The Infamous Hair-Cut At dinner one night, a friend of mine and I were speaking about our teenage years and how much we pushed the envelope of our parents’ rules and boundaries. She lightheartedly recounted a vignette of what occurred years before when her son came home after smoking marijuana for the first time […]

July 12th, 2018

Self-Harm & Suicidal Ideation in Adolescent Boys

Misconceptions In our society, boys and men often grow up without being taught the skills necessary to manage emotions. They are sent the message that it’s best they don’t talk about their feelings. Therefore, when a young man is struggling internally and feels he can’t discuss his emotions openly, self-harm can become a means of […]

April 19th, 2018

Open Sky Launches New Adolescent Boys Group with Therapist, Brian Carr, MA, LPCC

Open Sky is pleased to announce the launch of a new adolescent boys group lead by therapist, Brian Carr, MA, LPCC.  Brian joined Open Sky’s clinical team in January 2017 as an Assistant Clinical Therapist. For the past year and a half, he has been immersed in Open Sky’s comprehensive therapist training and development program […]

March 20th, 2018

Mindfulness and the Adolescent Boy

Research shows that the average person has more than 50,000-70,000 thoughts a day (Davis). That’s about 35-48 thoughts per minute! Imagine if we fixated, focused, or acted on each thought we had, not only would we be overwhelmed, but everyday tasks would become more difficult and almost impossible. Interestingly, “nearly 50% of our awake life […]

March 2nd, 2018

Family Matters: Family Programming in Wilderness Therapy

Since its founding in 2006, Open Sky has transcended traditional wilderness therapy by emphasizing treatment for the whole family (not just the adolescent or young adult), and the application of evidence-based clinical modalities. Our family systems therapy approach also includes innovative, well-researched, holistic healing practices such as yoga, meditation, and mindfulness. When a family partners with […]

November 14th, 2017

Parenting the Healthy, Independent Teen: Pitfalls and Tools (Part II)

In Part I of  Parenting the Healthy, Independent Teen: Pitfalls and Tools, I discussed how parents can listen so that their teens share more with them, as well as how to accept feelings, not behavior. Now, we move on to a few other critical points I have found in my work with teenage boys, and […]

November 7th, 2017

Teaching and Modeling Respectful Male-Female Relationships for Adolescent Boys

In wilderness therapy, we often address the topic of healthy relationships and how male students view and treat the women in their lives. In the field, we are able to witness students’ attitudes and behaviors toward women through their stories from home, their words, and their daily interactions with female staff. How does Open Sky […]

February 28th, 2017

Parenting the Healthy, Independent Teen: Pitfalls and Tools (Part I)

When I was a teenager, I had an insatiable desire to “fight.” Nearly any directive or request that came from adults, authority figures, or anyone who seemingly had “more power” than I, was met with an indelible resistance wrought with righteousness. For example, the more I saw my parents squirm when I listened to music […]