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Category: Family Services

 

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? […]

The Neuroscience of Connection: Applying Polyvagal Theory in Family Therapy

  If you have ever engaged in your own therapy, enrolled a child in wilderness therapy, or have accessed Open Sky’s blog or SKYlights podcast, you have likely been introduced to the process of recognizing, naming, and feeling your emotions. The nervous system actually informs your emotional response before you are consciously aware of it. […]

Moving Forward with Self-Compassion: A Q&A with Alumni Parent Tessa

Tessa’s young adult son was enrolled in Open Sky from November 2019, to February 2020. Through this experience and the time since, Tessa and her family have found new ways of practicing self-compassion and supporting each other through communication, emotional awareness, and living in the present moment. Below, Tessa shares what it was like for […]

Virtual Wellness Weekend: An Opportunity for Personal Growth and Connection

Wellness Weekend has been a foundational component of family programming at Open Sky since our inception in 2006. It is one of the hallmarks of Open Sky’s family-centered approach. Guided by a team of Open Sky professionals, families participate in rejuvenating and healing activities that our students participate in each day, including yoga, meditation, and […]

Family Connection in the Digital Age: Tips for Reconnecting

It is an amazing time to be alive. We live in a world where we can keep in touch with friends, family, and co-workers around the world, at any time of day or night. Yet, so many of us lack family connection with our loved ones living under the same roof. So often, the very […]

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 […]

Parent Support Throughout (and Beyond!) Wilderness Therapy

Now more than ever, we are in need of ways to center ourselves, share with others, and be part of a community. The Monday Night Parent Support Call provides a structured space for parents to attend to these needs and cultivate personal wellness. As the world continues to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, the Open Sky Team […]

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 […]

Guided Meditation Series with Family Wellness Counselor Norman Elizondo

Amidst the stress the world is experiencing in the face of COVID-19, we encourage you to pause…breathe, and come into the present moment. Click on the links below to access episodes from Norman Elizondo’s four-part meditation and mindfulness series on the SKYlights Podcast. Or, CLICK HERE to access the entire series. By tuning in, you’ll […]

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 […]

Open Sky Expands Family Services and Support

We recently sat down with Open Sky Family Services Director Matthew Krugh, MSW to learn about new services for families, exciting infrastructure developments in the field, and his growing team.  Q: What ways do Family Services Team Therapists contribute to the overall treatment team? A: Some parents may decide they want additional, individualized support from the […]

10 Tips for Strengthening Family Relationships

Are you ready to strengthen family relationships in 2020? At Open Sky, we inspire people to learn and live in a way that honors values and strengthens relationships. This is a key component of our mission. Below, members of our Family Services, Clinical, and Alumni Relations teams share tangible tips to enhance, enrich, and strengthen […]

“Stories From the Field” Podcast Features Norman Elizondo, Open Sky Family Wellness Counselor

Open Sky Family Wellness Counselor Norman Elizondo was recently featured on the podcast, “Stories from the Field: Demystifying Wilderness Therapy”. In this podcast episode, listeners get a glimpse into Norman’s past and how he found his way to a career in wilderness therapy.   Norman immigrated to the U.S. from the Philippines when he was six years old. A “city […]

Navigating the Transition Process After Open Sky

  At Open Sky, students are immersed in a new environment and removed from many of the distractions that kept them from thriving at home. This is an essential part of stabilization, assessment, and initiation of real change. When students leave our program to return home or continue treatment at an aftercare program, they find […]

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 […]

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 […]

Family Care Coordinators: Experienced and Steady Support

At Open Sky, family support begins on day one. Our Family Care Coordinators are dedicated to supporting parents from the day a student arrives, through graduation. A Family Care Coordinator (FCC) is a family’s administrative point person at Open Sky throughout their entire journey in the program. They are a friendly and familiar voice on […]

Open Sky Wilderness Therapy Launches SKYlights Podcast

Open Sky, a wilderness therapy program nestled in the mountains of Colorado and the canyonlands of Utah, is excited to announce the launch of its podcast.

Tradition, Feasts and Fun: Celebrating the Holidays at Open Sky Wilderness

  Holidays in wilderness are an important time for students and field staff alike. They are fun and filled with joy; they offer unique moments to reflect on love and gratitude for family and the simple things in life. Staff put a lot of intention into programming for the holiday season. And it all starts […]

Pursuing Their Heart’s Work: Assistant Therapists Jenny McDermed and Nick Lenderking-Brill

Open Sky Wilderness Therapy is committed to advancing the standards and evidence-based, best practices of the wilderness therapy industry. Part of this commitment is expressed through the clinical internship experience Open Sky offers. We are grateful and excited to have clinical interns Jenny McDermed and Nick Lenderking-Brill on our team as Assistant Therapists. Jenny and […]

The Invaluable Support of Open Sky Transition Mentors

A student is nearing the end of his or her stay at Open Sky. For the past 10-12 weeks, this student and the family have grown in immeasurable ways. So, what happens next? How is this growth integrated into life beyond Open Sky? Transition Mentors, part of the Open Sky Family Services Team, are entirely […]

Family Matters: Parenting with Distinct Styles

  A United Front At Open Sky, we are committed to our vision of being the premier family-centered wilderness experience. This means we support the entire family system, rather than just focus on the student’s experience. We come alongside parents in their endeavor to grow personally and better lead their family system. This involves addressing […]

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 […]

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 […]

Enhanced Family Services: Parent Coaching

Article contributed by Family Services Therapist, Jessica Chacon. At Open Sky, we live with the core purpose of activating the potential of the human spirit and by the belief that all people have the capacity to thrive. We apply this purpose and belief to our work with not only students, but families as well. Parent […]

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 […]

Three Ways for Open Sky Parents to Engage in the Process

Updated November 2019 Open Sky was founded with the desire to actively engage parents in their child’s therapy experience. To pursue healing for the family system, parents with children enrolled at Open Sky are encouraged to look inward, to engage in their own work through Open Sky’s Family Pathway workbook and to utilize the many […]

Family Matters: Involving Siblings in the Family Quest™ Experience

Are you curious about how the Family Quest™ could work for your unique family system? Do you have questions or reservations about including siblings on this endeavor? Can they even come along? By and large, the quick answer is a resounding, yes. The Open Sky Family Quest™ experience is a rich opportunity with the potential […]

Family Matters: The Family Quest™ Experience

Updated October 2019   A Family Quest™ intensive is a multi-day family therapy intervention in the wilderness with the individualized attention of a Family Services Therapist and Wilderness Guide. The concept comes from the age-old Native American practice of the “vision quest”, a rite of passage in which an individual enters the wilderness to gain […]

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 […]

Open Sky Alumni Reunions: Coming to a City Near YOU!

We are pleased to announce Open Sky will soon begin hosting Alumni Reunions across the United States! Open Sky Alumni Reunions will provide unique and meaningful opportunities to reconnect with Open Sky staff, alumni students, and alumni parents. “I am struck by the strong bonds we share through our individual, yet connected Open Sky experience,” […]

Breaking Down the Barriers to Love 

Article contributed by Family Services Therapist, Jessica Chacon. “We are as attracted to love as we are intimidated by it. We are motivated by love, controlled by it, inspired by it, healed by it, and destroyed by it. Love is the fuel of our physical and spiritual bodies. Each of life’s challenges is a lesson […]

The Transformational Practice of Meditation: a Q&A with Family Wellness Counselor, Norman Elizondo

Mindfulness is a key component to a student or family member’s journey of overall healing. In 2006, Norman Elizondo helped found Open Sky with an emphasis on mindfulness practices like yoga, meditation, and other tools. Norman created the original programming for Wellness Weekends and served as Open Sky’s first field guide, a senior field instructor, […]