Defiance and opposition can be normal and even healthy signs of adolescence. When do these patterns become unhealthy? How can parents effectively respond to their teen’s defiant behavior? What are the best strategies for parents who are at their wit’s end during this phase of parenting?
Many parents struggle with effective ways to set and maintain boundaries as their children transition from adolescence to young adulthood, especially when a young adult is struggling with mental health or other life challenges. In this episode, Mariah Loftin offers tangible strategies for establishing healthy boundaries that will help young adults launch into a life of independence.
While your child is in wilderness therapy treatment, a big question mark can be: “what next?” The transition after wilderness looks different for every family. Whether transitioning home, to school, or to an aftercare program, how can parents create or support a healthy environment for their child to continue thriving?
In this episode, we give guidance on how to support yourself and your child while he or she is in wilderness therapy. We explain how both students and parents can cycle through the stages of grief as they adjust to this new phase in their life. We address the common fears parents experience about sending their child to wilderness and the growth opportunities their family can expect.
A “communication toolbox”…it’s exactly what it sounds like! It is a set of skills and resources at our disposal to access at any moment to practice healthy communication and strengthen our relationships. These are tools to draw from when relationships get tense, confusing, or avoidant. They are also tools to practice regularly even when things are going smoothly.
In this episode, Clinical Therapist Brian Leidal walks us through his understanding, research, and expertise on the topic of trauma and addiction, and the link between. The foundation of any conversation or therapeutic work on trauma begins with a grounded nervous system and healthy connection: to others and to self.
In this episode of SKYlights, we talk to Robin about how his own journey led him to, away from, and eventually back to Open Sky. Robin shares why he believes that same journey prepared him for a career as our Transition Mentor, helping families to incorporate the skills learned in the wilderness into their lives at home.
In this episode of SKYlights, the Open Sky Wilderness Therapy Podcast, we talk with Clinical Therapist Morgan Seymour about how societal expectations can discourage or prevent boys from developing emotional awareness, the skills to express emotions and feelings, or seeking help for depression, anxiety, social issues, or challenges at school.
Turning 18 is one of the biggest milestones young people experience. Overnight, one goes from being labeled a child to an adult. However, the growth that occurs in that one day is not commensurate with the change in expectations, nor cognitive development.In this episode, clinical therapist Chris Blankenship discusses how Open Sky helps young adults and families navigate this transition.
In this episode of SKYlights, we talk about the effectiveness of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. EMDR is a treatment that has been used to address a wide variety of clinical issues and the underlying negative core beliefs about oneself.
In our conversation with Melia, we discuss how her background led her to therapy and education, her experience with nature-based expressive arts therapy, how this type of therapy promotes overall health, and how she helps her students craft a positive, productive, healthy and thriving life.
Sebastiaan Zuidweg knew early on that his calling was a life of being in service to others. Sebastiaan believes in Open Sky’s holistic family systems approach as a catalyst for change, and the power of the wilderness as an effective medium for therapeutic work. His clinical approach is rooted in the belief that every individual has the ability to activate his or her potential and pursue health and wellness.
In this episode of SKYlights, clinical therapist Kirsten Bolt explores the reasons people self-harm and the steps involved in treating self-harm. With assessment and reassessment, we start to understand the history, severity, circumstances, and intentions surrounding the behavior, allowing us to help students to develop the skills to regulate emotions and communicate their needs to others.
In this episode of the Open Sky Wilderness Therapy podcast, Clinical Therapist Mariah Loftin explores the often-misunderstood differences between gender and sexuality, including sexual orientation and gender identity; how unaddressed gender and sexual issues can result in health risks to young adults; and how families can best support young adults navigating these issues.
In this episode of the Open Sky Wilderness Therapy podcast, Family Wellness Counselor Norman Elizondo guides us through a 20-minute meditation. As a person develops mental strength via meditation, he or she may be better able to resist negative behavior. Ultimately, this non-reactivity and awareness are what lead people to live fulfilled lives.
“Lawnmower parenting” or “Helicopter parenting.” The common theme among these terms is a relationship in which parents aren’t allowing their kids to think for themselves or develop a sense of self-confidence. In this episode, clinical therapist Jonathan Mitchell explains how parents can shift out of these common parenting struggles and help their children build confidence and resilience.
What’s the point of wilderness therapy? In this episode, clinical therapist Mariah Loftin explains the benefits of therapy conducted outdoors. Among them, with wilderness therapy, instead of returning after a therapy session to the same ruts and patterns in your life, you are immersed in a supportive and healthy environment—the wilderness—which leads to lasting change.
One of the most common frustrations expressed by Open Sky clients and their families is the struggle to understand and “fix” a lack of motivation. In this episode of SKYlights, Dr. Aaron Wallis brings some clarity to the concept of motivation and an understanding of the neurological influences that affect our ability to turn desire into action.
In this episode of the Open Sky Wilderness Therapy podcast, Family Wellness Counselor Norman Elizondo guides us through a 10-minute meditation. As a person develops mental strength via meditation, he or she may be better able to resist negative behavior. Ultimately, this non-reactivity and awareness are what lead people to live fulfilled lives.
In this episode of the Open Sky Wilderness Therapy podcast, Family Wellness Counselor Norman Elizondo guides us through a 5-minute meditation. As a person develops mental strength via meditation, he or she may be better able to resist negative behavior. Ultimately, this non-reactivity and awareness are what lead people to live fulfilled lives.
The premise of meditation is learning how to have a healthy mind. Studies have shown that this can occur even on a biological level, recording the physical healing of the brain. In this episode, meditation teacher Norman Elizondo explains how, as we develop mental strength (and other superpowers!) we may be better able to resist negative patterns, allowing for a more fulfilling life.
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.
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.