Sure—according to the calendar, spring started months ago, but the signs are finally appearing in the high country of Colorado. Trees are in bloom and the landscape is turning green; a sure sign of rebirth, life, and new possibilities! Check out this month’s SKYlights to find out what we've been up to at Open Sky. As always, we're hard at work and dedicated to our culture of therapeutic excellence. We've managed to have some fun, too!

Assessing and Addressing Complexities in Wilderness (Part 1):
Borderline Personality Disorder

Mariah Loftin, MA, LPC - Young Adults Therapist

The American Psychiatric Association defines Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) as a mental health condition that results in a pervasive pattern of instability in relationships, a negative self-image, as well as impulsive and self-damaging behaviors. What is evident from this definition and my work with individuals with BPD is how they can struggle in many aspects of their lives. Overcoming those challenges can, oftentimes, be impossible on their own.  Appropriate therapeutic treatment is essential so individuals can find relief from their symptoms and have successful lives. At Open Sky, our goals for students and families with BPD are to experience the supportive environment within which we are able to accurately assess what is happening, provide education and understanding of BPD, and support individuals learning skills to manage their symptoms after Open Sky.

Deconstructing Motivation:
Understanding the Neural Mechanisms Behind Behavior Apathy

Aaron Wallis, Ph.D., LP - Young Adults Therapist

One of the most common frustrations I hear from my clients and families is a struggle to understand and “fix” a lack of motivation. For example, “Why can’t I take action to actually achieve my goals?” or “Why doesn’t my child change an obviously unhelpful behavior?” These conflicts can feel obvious, paradoxical, and insurmountable, which often leaves clients and families feeling mystified at the behavior. Discussions about motivation typically end with some version of “Yes, I know it’s difficult, but you have to do it anyway.” While this sentiment is often true, it misses the struggle involved in translating desire into action.

From Canyons to Pines: 
Annual move to Open Sky's Colorado Course Area is Complete!

Our Operations Team worked hard to prepare for our annual move to our Colorado base camp. Though each year we are sad to say goodbye to the Utah desert, the annual move is always met with excitement by staff and students. This year was no exception!

Among the ponderosa and lodgepole pine trees, at the southwestern tip of the San Juan National Forest, lies our spring/summer base camp in Colorado. This area is shaded, dry, and usually not too warm or too cold in the spring, summer, and fall. At an elevation of around 7,000 feet, crisp mountain air greets our students and guides each and every morning, with cool evening breezes helping to refresh and facilitate sleep at the end of the day. Visit locations on our website to view our spring/summer field area video!

FAMILY MATTERS: 3 Ways for Parents to Engage in the Open Sky Experience 

Brian Carr, MA, LPCC - Adolescent Boys Therapist

Open Sky was founded with the desire to actively engage parents in their child’s therapy experience. To pursue healing for the family system, parents are encouraged to look inward, to engage in their own work through Open Sky’s Family Pathway Workbook and to utilize the many resources available through our Family Services.....READ MORE.

FAMILY MATTERS: Creating Systemic Change for Lasting Success

Brian Leidal, MA, LPC - Family Services Therapist

Now that your child or family member is enrolled at Open Sky, do you find that you are asking yourself, “what now?” While your loved one is hard at work in the wilderness, rather than simply waiting to see what happens, you also have a unique opportunity to also look inward and to reflect on your family system through a new lens.....READ MORE.

Taking it Outside 
Staff from the office have the valuable opportunity to head out to the field and experience a “day in the life” by meeting students, observing staff exchange, attending group meditation, and more. Quarterly visits to the field keep us all connected to the work we do so that we may best serve our students and families!

Senior Guide Retreats Promote Teamwork and Collaboration
Open Sky's annual Senior Guide Retreat was held in April. Senior Guides lead their co-guides, help to form team culture, and work closely with our clinical therapists to facilitate therapeutic goals and interventions. Senior Guide Retreats are a chance for Senior Guides to collaborate with each other, with Field Leadership, and with the Clinical Team in order to provide the best possible care for our students. The retreats end with music, a morning meditation, and a hearty meal open to all departments.

Open Sky's Medical Team: Safety First
The Medical Team has implemented a new tracking system for Illness and injury—a great tool for analysis and system improvement. This data will allow us to evaluate patterns and how best to direct resources toward prevention of illness and injury.

Open Sky Represents at IECA
Admissions Counselor, Tanya Dalebout; Clinical & Family Services Director, Dr. Tony Issenmann; Assistant Admissions Director, Shahara Davis; and Young Adults Therapist, Dr. Aaron Wallis represented us well at the 2018 spring IECA Conference in Austin, TX.  

Open Sky's Annual Bowling Party 
Open Sky takes the words “costumes encouraged” very seriously! Company-wide events are a great way to strengthen our tight-knit community across all departments and blow off some steam. 

Anniversaries: Celebrating 5 Years of Excellence
Congratulations to Operations Director, Greg Ooley and Psychiatric Assistant, Jessie Mogler (pictured left to right, above) on 5 Years at Open Sky this April! We are grateful for your dedication to students, families, and the Open Sky team!

Matthew Krugh, MSW, Promoted to Assistant Family Services Director Matthew joined the Open Sky team in 2013 as a Family Services Therapist. Since then, Matthew has been passionately and diligently helping families and parents of Open Sky students find healing and a positive way forward. We are thrilled for Matthew to bring his passion, expertise, and leadership to his new role!