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Category: Skills Development

 

Back to School: Creating a Supportive and Structured Environment for Adolescents

It’s that time of year: school is starting again! As their children navigate the start of the school year, parents may grapple with how to set their kids up for success: academically, socially, emotionally, and physically. In this blog, Senior Clinical Therapist Jonathan Mitchell, MA, LPC shares tips for parents seeking to create a supportive […]

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. […]

Tuning Inward: Creating Meaning in the Midst of Challenge

Uncertain and unsettling times bring us face-to-face with our deepest anxieties, our most basic needs, and our often-neglected longing. When “business as usual’ is disrupted, we are confronted with a rare opportunity to see ourselves and our lives with new eyes. We remember that impermanence and interdependence are the nature of reality and that our […]

Managing Mental Health during the COVID-19 Pandemic

When the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown began in the United States last March, our “normal” routines of daily life were interrupted in countless ways. The home transformed into the office, the classroom, the gym, the church. Businesses closed or greatly altered their operations. Layoffs were abundant; gatherings and events were nearly nonexistent. Social distancing and wearing face masks became familiar ways of life. And […]

Purposefully Present (Pt. 3): Building a Meditation Practice

This is the third installment of our Purposefully Present blog series! In this article, Transition Mentor Grant Helmus gives an introduction to the basics of meditation, the ways it is applied at Open Sky, and tips for starting your own meditation practice. At the end of the article, you’ll also find a helpful list of […]

Purposefully Present (Pt. 2): Three Resources for Becoming Centered

Welcome to the second installment of Open Sky’s “Purposefully Present” blog series! Clinical therapist Nick Lenderking-Brill (adolescent boys) walks us through three useful skills and resources to mindfully center yourself. Being purposefully present with these practices can have a huge impact on personal wellness and relational health. (Click here to access part 1 of this […]

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. […]

Helping Young Adults Navigate a Not-So-Normal College Year

(Note: We refer to “your young adult child” as they/them throughout the article. As you read, feel free to adapt the writing to the pronouns that your child uses.)   Let’s imagine September 2020 without coronavirus. Football teams would be competing in front of packed stadiums. Music lovers would be dancing shoulder to shoulder at music festivals. College […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Do You Speak the “5 Love Languages”?

Do you want more love in your life? Don’t be bashful – of course you do! We all do. As a Family Services Therapist at Open Sky, I frequently work with students and family members who feel unloved, misunderstood, or unappreciated by their loved ones. It’s okay to experience these feelings. It means we care […]

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 […]

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 […]