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Chris Blankenship, LCSW

Clinical Therapist - Transition Age Young Adults Group (18-20)

Chris is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. He has a BA in Psychology from the University of Colorado and a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Southern California. A Colorado native, he has enthusiastically explored the peaks and valleys of the natural world while simultaneously dedicating his professional career to working with struggling youth.

In college, Chris conducted research on inherent racial stereotyping and the stress-reducing properties of nature. After college, he spent a summer volunteering to clean up the ravages of Hurricane Katrina and decided to move to New Orleans. There he spent years teaching at an inner-city school, where his calm confidence enabled him to successfully educate and guide a traumatized population of at-risk youth. Chris also envisioned and then facilitated a school-based club with the goal of assisting young men transitioning to adulthood.

While in Southern California, Chris counseled adolescents living in individual and group foster-care settings, and worked as a child welfare investigator in an inner-city setting. These experiences allowed him to develop assessment and clinical skills in an environment where people regularly experienced a life of crisis. Chris brought wilderness therapy to this urban population when he developed and implemented an outdoor-based therapeutic intervention for children whose parents were struggling with addiction.

At Open Sky, Chris works with transition age young adults, 18-20 year olds, who have not been able to find a healthy sense of self. These young adults often experience depression, anxiety, trouble launching into adulthood, destructive relationships, substance use, personal trauma, and problematic dynamics with family members. Chris’ clear and direct therapeutic approach helps students deepen their understanding of their presenting issues as well as the underlying processes resulting in these symptoms. Using a relationship-based approach, Chris provides direct and supportive techniques that help families to understand not just their child, but their entire family system. He strives to help his young adults stabilize, to give them the tools necessary for growth, and to provide a sophisticated assessment for future treatment options to effect positive change and growth.

Alumni Parent (2019)

“Chris is outstanding, thorough, kind, assertive, and direct. He is responsive and approachable - we will miss working with him. He connected with our son in profound ways that I believe he'll continue to draw on.”

When not at work, Chris enjoys hiking with his wife and dog, backpacking, mountaineering, cooking and sharing meals with friends, and playing and watching team sports.

Alumni Student (2017)

“Chris is amazing. I'm thankful for everything he did to help me through and how well he did it. I also appreciate how he challenged me.”

Alumni Parent (2018)

“I loved that Chris figured out what was driving some of my daughter's issues and then came up with innovative ways for her to deal with them head-on. Chris was a steady, calming force for me, which I really appreciated.”

Alumni Student (2018)

“Chris pushed me to extents I didn't know possible. He was creative in assignments towards helping me, and was overall a comfortable person to be around.”

Alumni Parent (2017)

“Chris did an outstanding job. Really superior work - I can't say enough thank you's or give high enough praise. He is patient, kind, funny, insightful, compassionate, and just a quality human being who we really appreciate for all the help he's given us. Thanks so much!!”

About Open Sky

Since 2006, Open Sky Wilderness Therapy has been providing the premier family-centered wilderness therapy experience. The Open Sky approach transcends traditional wilderness therapy by emphasizing treatment for the whole family not just the adolescent or young adult, and the application of evidence-based clinical modalities with innovative, well-researched holistic healing practices such as yoga, meditation and mindfulness.