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Kirsten Bolt, M.Ed., LMFT

Assistant Clinical Director and Senior Therapist - Adolescent Girls

Kirsten is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She graduated from Syracuse University in 1999, Summa Cum Laude, with a BS in Health and Exercise Science. Instead of following her projected course to study Biomechanics, she turned West, seeking something that felt missing. That trip landed her in Utah amid stunning red-rock canyons, wide sandy rivers, and abundant sunshine. Kirsten finds wilderness to be a uniquely powerful setting for young people to connect to themselves, to others, and to their means of contributing to the world.

Her wilderness therapy career began as a field guide in 2004. In that role, she felt drawn to the deeply intimate, interpersonal work that occurred with families, and in 2009 she completed a graduate degree in Couple and Family Therapy at the University of Oregon. Her other clinical experiences enable her to understand complex intra- and interpersonal dynamics. Her clinical background includes working at the Center for Family Therapy in Eugene, Oregon, with couples, families, and individuals of all ages experiencing a wide variety of struggles. She facilitated bereavement support groups for elementary-aged children, served high school girls in an impoverished community, led mother-daughter support groups, and provided individual and family therapy services at a center for girls aged 10-18. Kirsten is particularly passionate about family therapy, and she believes family growth is vital in working with young people individually.

Following graduate school, she worked for two years as a wilderness therapist at Aspen Achievement Academy and then, in 2011, joined Open Sky to deepen her holistic approach to wellness. Since then she has worked with adolescent boys and girls, as well as young adult men and women. Kirsten’s expertise and passion manifest most in working with adolescent girls. She works with a wide range of students, from clinically complex, treatment-resistant girls with complicated family systems and externalizing behaviors to over-functioning girls who internalize their emotions and hurt themselves as a result.  She is adept in addressing LGBTQ+ issues. And as a family therapist, Kirsten is skilled in clarifying complicated family systemic issues and helping formulate a concrete diagnostic assessment. With her firm and directive approach, Kirsten confronts presenting issues and holds students and families accountable to their therapeutic work, while sidestepping the shame that can interfere with progress.

Kirsten evokes peer confrontation and challenge as an additional means to elicit change. Common themes she emphasizes are emotional regulation, assertive communication, identity development, authenticity and vulnerability, and healthy relationships. She incorporates humor and playfulness and quickly develops strong therapeutic relationships. She works collaboratively and uses the entire treatment team (the family system, Open Sky staff, home professionals, therapeutic and educational consultants, etc.) to help students stabilize, assess clinical issues and needs, and treat presenting issues while developing an appropriate longer-term treatment plan.

Most of Kirsten’s childhood was spent in Maryland, but she also was privileged to spend five years overseas in England and Germany. Still living in Utah, Kirsten finds inspiration mountain biking, running whitewater rivers, climbing sandstone cracks, making music, drawing, and spending time with her family. Kirsten is humbled daily by her personal experiences as a mother, stepmother, and partner, and she believes her clinical work is significantly deeper as a result.

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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.