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 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.
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.
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.