Admissions: 970-759-8324| Contact Us| Careers Parent Portal

Category: Adolescent Girls

 
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 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 […]

May 1st, 2020

Empowering Strategies for Managing Anxiety

Anxiety is a powerful force, and in this day and age, triggers seem to pop up everywhere. In fact, the National Institute of Mental Health reported that “an estimated 31.1% of U.S. adults experience any anxiety disorder at some time in their lives.” It shows up in many different ways for a variety of people […]

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 […]

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 19th, 2020

Where are they now? Alumni Student Nicole Embraces Her Inner Strength

Testimonial contributed by Alumni Student Nicole D. (2018, Team Firefly – Adolescent Girls)   The Challenges Leading Me to Open Sky I was sent to Open Sky at age seventeen for PTSD, depression, anxiety, and acute alcoholism. I had attempted to take my life three times over the course of two years. I was bullied […]

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? […]

November 5th, 2019

Partnering with Nature to Promote Health and Wellness: A Q&A with Adolescent Girls Therapist, Dr. Melia Snyder 

Q: What excites you most about working at Open Sky? A: As a clinical therapist, what excites me most is the opportunity to work with my students in partnership with the wilderness as a co-therapist. The wilderness removes us from the distractions, demands, and stimulations that often contribute to an imbalanced and unhealthy life. It provides an […]

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 […]

July 17th, 2019

From Across the Pond: Checking In With 2014 Open Sky Alumni Student, Izii T.

Open Sky alumni student Izii T. recently reached out to share her story with the greater Open Sky Community. Izii began a journey of self-love at Open Sky and has been pursuing big dreams since graduating the program in 2014. She hopes her update can encourage and inspire other Open Sky alumni and others thinking […]

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 […]

July 25th, 2018

A Natural Fit: Wilderness Therapy and Adolescent Girls Therapist, Kim Kelley, M.Ed., LPC

Q: Why do you choose to work in wilderness therapy? A: In the early 90’s when I was in graduate training, I had never heard the term “wilderness therapy” before. It was at that time that my younger brother experienced wilderness therapy as a student. He expressed that the experience changed his life. I and […]

June 22nd, 2018

How to Heal from Codependency

 What is a codependent relationship? Codependency is a clinical term used to describe a relationship dynamic in which two individuals mutually rely on each other to meet their own needs and wants. Although not a diagnosable condition, codependency is a relationship phenomenon that is quite common – and quite problematic.   Another clinical term we could […]

June 18th, 2018

Working with Grief & Loss: A Q&A with Adolescent Girls Therapist, Kim Kelley

  Q: What is the difference between grief and loss? Grief is the response to a loss. It’s the emotional suffering that occurs when we lose something or someone. For example, this could be the death of a loved one, a divorce, a move, or a relationship break-up. Typically, the more significant loss, the more […]

May 25th, 2018

From Distant to Connected: Effective Communication Strategies to Improve Parent-Child Relationships

It is common knowledge that adolescent boys and girls face many challenges during their exciting and trying developmental years. And it’s no surprise that those challenges can often persist into young adulthood. Many parents struggle to reach out, connect to, and partner with their child throughout this phase of life. Most of the students and […]

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 […]

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 […]

February 21st, 2018

Mindful Trauma Treatment in Wilderness Therapy

When an individual has experienced trauma in his or her life, a fundamental result is the belief that the world is not a safe place. The individual then internalizes and generalizes this belief, feeling personally unsafe even in safe situations. As you can imagine, this generalization breeds a distrust in one’s internal and external worlds. […]

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 […]

October 10th, 2017

Body Image Perception and Its Impact on Adolescent Girls

The words in the blue box below are from a song I wrote a few years ago, inspired by my counseling sessions with adolescent and adults struggling with body image. Summer was approaching, and for many, this meant heightened worry about their bodies ‘being seen’. After acknowledging that winter and spring provide ‘protection’ through layers […]

August 23rd, 2017

Evaluating Technology Use with Mindfulness and Intention

My husband is a software engineer who telecommutes and is passionate about technology. As you can imagine, our home hums with machines and gadgets powered by the latest and greatest software. One positive about this is our ongoing conversations about technology addiction. When he worked for a large video game company, I would (somewhat jokingly) […]

March 24th, 2017

Substance Use and Glasser’s Needs​

Substance abuse is a common issue that we work with at Open Sky, in both our adolescent and young adult populations. Substance abuse, while unhealthy, is a widely-used coping method for many young people. For some, substance abuse can be an occasional and short-term occurrence, and, for others, it can become a pattern that develops […]

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 […]