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Nick Lenderking-Brill

Assistant Therapist

Nick, a Boston native, began his journey west after earning a Bachelor’s of Arts in English from the University of Virginia. Since childhood, he remembers feeling a sense of solace in nature. That passion re-ignited when he moved to Colorado, ultimately leading to his decision to pursue a Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a concentration in Wilderness Therapy from Naropa University in Boulder.

In addition to his desire to help others using wilderness as a backdrop, Nick is also passionate about group and family dynamics. When he discovered Open Sky, Nick knew it was the perfect place to unite his personal values with his professional goals. Nick joined Open Sky in June 2018 as a Family Services Intern, which will help him complete his course of study at Naropa University.

Nick learned the value of interpersonal connection at a young age, having spent his summers in an intentional community. He later worked as a camp counselor leading backpacking trips for adolescents and serving as a mentor for a team of teenage boys. In college, he spent seven months in Brazil studying the local language in culture. During this time, Nick volunteered at an orphanage, taught English in an underprivileged neighborhood, and taught guitar at a local non-profit. It was in Brazil that Nick learned the values of service and social justice. After college, he thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. Along the journey, Nick delved into deep personal work of his own while held by the wilderness. Nick took his desire to work with others to Thailand, where he taught English to public school students. Yet something was still missing from his work.

During a meditation retreat, Nick realized that his purpose was to join nature, mindfulness, and interpersonal healing in his work. Naropa University’s Wilderness Therapy program offered just that, and it has been the bridge that led him to Open Sky. During Nick’s graduate studies, he has facilitated equine-assisted interventions, rock-climbing interventions, group work while actively canoeing, and therapeutic backpacking trips. He has also worked at a counseling agency leading groups and performing individual therapy with folks who struggle with addiction.

Nick works through a humanistic, family-systems-based therapeutic lens. He believes that all beings are basically good, yet we are subject to several difficulties simply by being alive. Through his experience, he has learned that healing occurs in relationship: a system working together to heal all of its individual parts is a beautiful thing. Nick finds the most value in life through interpersonal connection, and it is his goal as a therapist to have meaningful interactions with everyone he encounters. Rather than seeking to fix people’s problems, Nick hopes to empower people to reach their own goals.

At the end of the day, Nick just wants to understand why we do the things we do. He is curious and wants to learn. Over anything else, Nick appreciates a good conversation. If Nick wasn’t a therapist, he’d either be a songwriter in Nashville or a baseball statistician. Aside from his usual outdoor joys of snowboarding, backpacking, rock-climbing, and canoeing, Nick adores Boston sports teams, a quirky novel, and plays in a rock n’ roll band.

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.