Family is the centerpiece of Open Sky’s program. Research has shown that a student’s success is proportional to the involvement and growth of the student’s family. By investing in the process, parents increase the potential of improved relationships and family reunification. Led by our Clinical and Family Services teams, Open Sky provides the most comprehensive family experience available in wilderness therapy. A summary of Family Services included with a Student’s tuition is provided below.
Weekly Clinical Update Calls
Each Open Sky student is assigned a clinical therapist who provides weekly individualized therapy and clinical guidance for the duration of the student’s stay. Therapists conduct weekly phone calls with parents to discuss the student’s clinical treatment objectives and progress and to review family assignments in the Family Pathway workbook.
Secure Parent Portal
Enrolled families have 24-hour access to a private and secure Parent Portal. The Parent Portal provides valuable resources and support throughout the student’s stay, such as:
- weekly photos of the student in the field.
- a chronological archive of all parent-student correspondence.
- a vast resource library designed to facilitate continued education and growth.
- detailed information and registration guidance for all Family Services events, retreats and program offerings.
- an archive of documents including enrollment application, treatment plans, discharge summaries, Family and Student Pathway workbooks, and financial statements, all in one convenient place.
Dedicated Clinical and Family Services Coordinator
Open Sky provides a dedicated, single point-of-contact to support families throughout their Open Sky journey. Open Sky’s Clinical and Family Services Coordinators assist in answering questions, scheduling weekly calls, coordinating Wellness Weekend participation, updating weekly communications, and helping families to navigate resources within the Parent Portal and Family Pathway.
Weekly Family Communication
Letter writing serves as the foundation for communication between the family and student while at Open Sky. Mail is hand-delivered weekly to students in the field. This thoughtful form of communication provides an opportunity for the family to engage in meaningful and intentional communication with one another. Student letters are updated weekly in the Parent Portal. Clinical therapists provide guidance in effective letter-writing throughout your child’s stay.
Monday Night Parent Teleconference Support Group
Every Monday evening, parents are invited to call in for the Monday Night Parent Support Group. The first 30 minutes of the call is a guided meditation and mindfulness exercise led by one of our Wellness Facilitators. The second half of the call is an open-forum format, providing parents the opportunity to ask questions, share comments or feedback, and ask for or offer support.
The Family Pathway Workbook
The Open Sky Family Pathway is a comprehensive workbook which guides parents through the week-by-week process of treatment at Open Sky. The Family Pathway allows parents to engage in a parallel process with their child through a series of assignments which closely align with the student’s assignments and process. The Family Pathway provides valuable education, stress management techniques, parenting tools, and individualized assignments designed to complement the student’s work in the field.
Each month Open Sky offers a Wellness Weekend experience in Durango for parents of students currently enrolled at Open Sky. Wellness Weekends provide parents the opportunity to re-focus their energy, rejuvenate, and connect with other families experiencing similar challenges, in a supportive atmosphere and with the guidance of professional facilitators. Parents also engage in a sampling of their child’s day-to-day experience at Open Sky by participating in some of the foundational components of the program.
Once students are ready to transition from Open Sky, they are honored and supported in this transition with a special graduation ceremony at base camp. During this two-day, one-night experience, families reconnect with the support of Open Sky’s graduation team and therapists. In process groups and through ceremony, the family shares safely and openly with one another, rekindling bonds, and enjoying the experience of being in nature together.
Open Sky’s Transition Mentors provide coaching to support families immediately before and for the initial period following graduation. Transition Mentors help families to prepare for reunification prior to graduation and the child’s first night after graduation. Transition Mentors answer questions and provide guidance and support to parents during a student’s transition from Open Sky.
Enhanced Family Services
Enhanced Family Services are an additional fee and offered to families that want to dive deeper into in to issues and patterns within the family system, to more intensively explore their parenting skills, and to receive therapeutic support during and after their Open Sky experience. Like all of our family services offerings, the goal is to improve family communication, connection, and engagement. For additional questions, please contact your admissions counselor.
Family Quests are utilized to intimately address family dynamics that are contributing to a student’s current struggle. These might include parent-child relational issues, blended families, unresolved family grief, or needing to strengthen the individuation process for young adults. Families and students come together for this powerful and life-changing three-day/two-night wilderness intensive guided by a Family Services Therapist. Family Quest participants engage in a more in-depth process to re-establish healthy family bonds. For more information on Family Quests, please speak with an admissions counselor.
Families who engage in Parent Coaching services receive a weekly, 50-minute call with an Open Sky Family Services Therapist. This call is unique in that it is not focused on the student’s progress. Instead, Parent Coaching calls are designed to support the parents’ growth and address issues within the family system. During this call, parents speak with a trained mental health professional about topics related to the health of their overall family system. Parent Coaching can also include a Family Assessment and/or a Genogram (see below) to support greater engagement. For more information on Parent Coaching, please speak with an admissions counselor.
“Parent Coaching support was critical! It was an incredible luxury to be in relationship with our Family Services Therapist; they were so helpful. It made our experience at Open Sky so much richer on many levels. At the aftercare program our child attended, we didn’t have parental support and we noticed the difference. I wish other places did the same, it’s a really great thing. The combination of having someone who knows the process at the program and can support the family is tremendously unique and helpful.” Open Sky Parent
The Family Assessment is an evidence-based assessment tool which explores and explains the nature of family relationships. The Family Assessment is a helpful tool that can be utilized early in the child’s treatment process and/or when a parent engages with Parent Coaching services. For more information on the Family Assessment Tool, please speak with an admissions counselor.
A Genogram maps relationship patterns through generations in a family. Through this process, parents often discover things about their family of origin, or understand dynamics between family members in a new light with the entire family system to reflect upon. For more information on Genograms, please speak with an admissions counselor.