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The Open Sky Team

April 2nd, 2020

Parent Support Throughout (and Beyond!) Wilderness Therapy

The Open Sky Team

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 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 and program team experts in the weeks ahead.

Seeking Calm and Connection

The wilderness therapy experience can be an emotion-filled journey for parents: from making the decision to place your child; to awaiting the weekly therapy updates, letters, and photos; to doing your own work and learning new skills at home; to watching your child graduate and transition to a new setting…

As parents, the journey doesn’t end at graduation. Your love, concern, and hope for your child—and all the associated emotions—persist as your child progresses through aftercare or transitions home. Add to the mix: the anxiety, overwhelm, and the general unsettledness present today with the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of us would agree: we are all in need of some calm and connection.

At Open Sky, we recognize the toll these natural emotions and unprecedented times can take on your mental health and your other relationships in and outside of the home.

If you are a parent of a currently-enrolled or alumni student at Open Sky, we encourage you to participate in the Monday Night Parent Support Call. These weekly calls provide an opportunity for parents at all stages of the journey to come together and practice many of the same skills their children are acquiring in the field or have gained post-graduation.

The Monday Night Parent Support Call is one of our foundational family services, facilitated by our Family Services counselors and offered at no additional cost. Regular participation helps parents to process their emotions, practice mindfulness, and take comfort in knowing they are not going through this experience alone.

 

Mindfulness Practice

One emphasis of the Monday night support group call is the importance of mindfulness. During the first portion of the call, the facilitator will lead parents in centering skills, breathing exercises, meditation, and interoception.

Interoception is the process of bringing mindful awareness to physical sensations throughout the body. Acknowledging these sensations helps the nervous system to “re-set” when triggered. This mind-body awareness builds emotional regulation, which supports purposeful actions and speech. Additionally, by practicing proper posture and breathing techniques, parents feel a sense of relaxation. Interoception occurs when one is physically and mentally relaxed and able to step back from the world’s pressures, deadlines, and stress.

During the call, we also take time to acknowledge and release any tension in the body. As humans, we tend to ignore physical tension. Instead of ignoring it, we intentionally bring our awareness to it and the tension begins to loosen. This process of bringing our awareness to physical tension is called breathing through the sensation. These simple mindfulness practices can bring relief to parents during and long after the Open Sky journey. These are also practices that the students learn in the field. For parents of current students, learning these skills alongside their child is an important part of the parallel parent experience at Open Sky. For alumni parents, maintaining these skills is an invaluable way to role model for your family and take care of yourself all at once.

 

Open Forum to Seek and Lend Support

The second half of the Monday Night Parent Support Call is an open forum to provide and receive support and encouragement. This is a space for parents to share emotions and experiences, ask questions of one another, and offer input. A variety of topics are covered during this portion of the call. These topics often include information and guidance about letter-writing, what to expect at various stages during and after the program, family and alumni services, and other helpful resources for parents. 

For alumni parents, this is an opportunity to revisit the tools and practices gained through your Open Sky experience, realign with your personal and family values, and benefit from the camaraderie built through this shared experience.

Now more than ever—as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic— 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.

Call Details:

Who:

Current and alumni parents may join the call, facilitated by an Open Sky Family Wellness Counselor.

When:

Every Monday, 7:00-8:00 PM Mountain Time.

How:

Current Parents – contact your Family Care Coordinator for dial-in information.
Alumni Parents – contact alumnirelations@openskywilderness.com for dial-in information

 

The Open Sky Team

April 2nd, 2020

The Open Sky Team