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Episode 22

Polarized Parenting: Finding Harmony When You’re Not on the Same Page

Episode 22



Matthew Krugh

Matthew Krugh

Family Services Director

Matthew was born in Wyoming and raised in the South and Midwest, ever longing to return to the Rocky Mountains, where he would marry his passion for people with his purpose in counseling.

Matthew has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Dayton, Ohio. From 2004-08, he worked as a clinical research coordinator in the emergency room at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. After developing a strong appreciation for evidence-based practice, he longed to know more deeply the diversity of the common human experience. He joined the Peace Corps, volunteering as a community health HIV/AIDS educator in Swaziland, Africa, from 2008-11. In the small village where he lived, he worked predominantly with the youth and was continually reminded of the essentiality of family, community, and taking time to be present with one another as well as oneself.

Matthew’s enduring interest in a vocation of counseling was further inspired, and he returned to the States to pursue a Master’s in Social Work, which he acquired in 2013 from Texas State University in San Marcos. There he completed clinical practicums in hospice and a geropsychiatric treatment program for anxiety and depression. He spent a summer working with neglected and abused boys at Pegasus Schools, a residential treatment center employing experiential education in Lockhart, Texas. As a Graduate Research Fellow, Matthew examined the benefits of mindfulness-based practices with veterans. In a directed study in adventure therapy, he assisted in research exploring the impact of a wilderness program on the success of adolescents at an alternative boarding school.

Matthew believes in the robust healing potential of humans reconnecting with nature, fostering self-empowerment and moving through suffering via self-awareness and more mindful living. Upon completing his graduate studies, he joined Open Sky’s Family Services Team in 2013, excited to serve families with a systems approach, in the wilderness, incorporating mindfulness and spirituality. He finds it consistently humbling and inspiring, coaching families in an evidenced and holistic fashion toward transformative experiences. Matthew operates from a belief in the inherent goodness in everyone and values identifying an individual’s intrinsically motivated joy and strengths. He brings an intentional, compassionate presence to the therapeutic relationship. Celebrating the unconditional, positive regard and love in families, Matthew believes mindfulness, healthy self-regulation, and respectful communication are the keys to healing.

He cultivates personal peace through time spent in the wild and in his spare time enjoys skiing, running, meditation, music, reading, community, and family time—especially painting with his sister.


Emily Fernandes

Emily Fernandes

Executive Director & Co-Founder

On a wilderness trip in Alaska with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) in 1995, Emily discovered she could combine two of her passions: working with youth and being outdoors. Since then, she has worked for Aspen Achievement Academy, Hurricane Island Outward Bound School, and Connecticut Wilderness School. She was part of the founding team at Open Sky.

Emily worked as the lead therapist for adolescent girls for her first 5 years at Open Sky. Her areas of clinical expertise include depression, anxiety, grief and loss, trauma, self-harm, disordered eating, and adoption and attachment issues. Her clinical approach is informed by cognitive behavioral, psychodynamic, family systems, and attachment theories. Relationship building through letter writing is a major focus of her work with students and families.

As a founder and owner of Open Sky, as well as the Clinical and Executive Director, Emily brings a breadth of knowledge with her background as a therapist, field guide, trainer, logistics coordinator, emergency responder, and field director, Emily is known for her direct, caring leadership style, her ability to inspire excellence in others, and her team oriented approach. The student treatment plan is her compass for her decision-making regarding Open Sky’s students, families, and employees.

Emily loves reading, writing, yoga, mountain biking, telemark skiing, rock climbing, spending time with friends and family, and cooking with foods from the local farmers’ market.


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