Open Sky Wilderness Therapy is proud to be a Diversity Education Series sponsor at the upcoming Wilderness Therapy Symposium. The Symposium will take place August 23-25 in Park City, Utah. The Symposium brings together a cross-section of clinicians, field instructors, educators, educational consultants, professors, research specialists, students, and programs to share theories, insights and best practices in a collaborative manner.
Diversity Education sessions are free for all registered Symposium participants. These sessions advance the conference themes of promoting diversity and inclusion. Diversity Education sessions cover a range of topics, including sexual orientation, race, gender, culture, and more.
This year, the Symposium offers two Diversity Education sessions: “Cultural Competence: Understanding Implicit Bias and the Impact of Racial Stereotyping” and “Talking with Children and Youth about Race”. These sessions will be presented by Caprice Hollins, Psy. D., affiliate professor at The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology. Dr. Hollins has more than 20 years of experience working with ethnically diverse populations, providing mental health services, facilitating workshops, and teaching graduate courses at several universities. She also co-authored the book Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Strategies for Facilitating Conversations on Race.
Open Sky Family Wellness Counselor Norman Elizondo’s pre-conference workshop also contributes to the promotion of diversity and inclusivity in wilderness therapy. His workshop is titled, “Take the Heat and Hold your Seat: An Embodied Mindfulness Approach to Engaging Diversity and Inclusivity Trainings”.
According to the findings of researchers Frank Dobbin and Alexandra Kalev, most diversity training efforts at American companies are ineffective and even counterproductive because people often feel attacked, guilty, angry, and defensive. Mindfulness and the practice of meditation strengthen and develop distress tolerance and allow practitioners to go beyond their ingrained emotional reactions and biases. Participants in Norman’s workshop will begin with experiential learning of fundamental embodied awareness exercises and meditation practices that support emotional regulation. They will then practice these skills while discussing the emotionally loaded topics of power, race, and privilege.
Staff from Open Sky’s Leadership, Admissions, Clinical, Family Services, and Field Teams will be in attendance at the Symposium. The symposium offers us a place to explore, inform, and educate ourselves on a diverse range of topics all centering on wilderness therapy. We are honored to contribute, learn and participate!