As electronic screens become ever more pervasive, researchers and parents wonder: How much is too much? Studies show that adolescents who use screens excessively experience an increase in impulsivity, distractibility, and relationship struggles, and a decrease in self-worth and well-being. In this episode, Clinical Therapist Morgan Seymour explains how wilderness therapy helps students address the underlying issues associated with excessive gaming and screen time use.
Morgan earned her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from the University of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. After completing a 30-day backpacking/packrafting trip through the Alaskan backcountry, she developed a love for the outdoors and gained knowledge of how nature and wilderness can assist individuals in their mental, physical, and emotional growth. She was introduced to wilderness therapy when she became a field guide, and working as a field guide gave Morgan insight to how the wilderness can help support change in both herself and others.
She received her Master’s degree in Social Work at Colorado State University and has been working as a wilderness therapist since 2014. With the wilderness as her co-therapist, Morgan loves to get creative with her interventions, challenging her students to find comfort in the uncomfortable.
At Open Sky, Morgan works with adolescent boys who internalize their feelings, avoid conflict, and struggle with social skills. She tends to work with the students who have severe anxiety, depression, gaming abuse, non-verbal learning disorder, and substance use as a secondary issue.
When Morgan is not working, she is exploring with her blue heeler Riley and her husband Austin. They spend their time climbing, hiking, backpacking, and listening to the lessons that nature has to offer all of us. Morgan continues to learn more about herself each time she is exploring and hopes to share this with every student that she works with at Open Sky.
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.