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Episode 34 – Creating Safe Spaces for LGBTQ+ Students in Wilderness

February 22, 2023 | 00:24:00

In this episode, Mariah Loftin, MA, LPC, Clinical Director and Senior Clinical Therapist, discusses the importance of providing support for LGBTQ+ individuals, challenges for family and friends, as well as how to create safe spaces for the LGBTQ+ community.  

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Episode 28 – Young Adults, Anxiety, and the Pandemic

April 07, 2021 | 00:24:00

In this episode, we discuss how the pandemic has affected mental health in young adults and how to manage these struggles.

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Episode 26 – Where the Magic Begins: Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone

March 10, 2021 | 00:24:00

How is it healthy and beneficial to step beyond our comfort zones?

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Episode 22 – How Can I Establish Boundaries When My Young Adult Child Is Struggling?

January 06, 2021 | 00:29:00

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.

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Episode 20 – How to Support your Child in Wilderness Therapy Treatment

July 22, 2020 | 00:27:00

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. 

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Episode 9 – Supporting Young Adults Navigating Gender and Sexuality

September 20, 2019 | 00:26:20

In this episode of the SKYlights Podcast, Clinical Director and Senior Clinical Therapist Mariah Loftin explores the often misunderstood differences between gender and sexuality, including sexual orientation and gender identity, and how families can best support young adults navigating these areas.

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Episode 6 – How Will Wilderness Benefit Me?

August 08, 2019 | 00:22:00

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.

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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.