29 episodes

This is a podcast from Open Sky Wilderness Therapy. Nestled in the mountains of southwest Colorado and the canyonlands of southeast Utah, Open Sky Wilderness Therapy transcends traditional wilderness therapy programs by emphasizing treatment for the whole family. Our clinical approach integrates the latest in evidence-based clinical treatments with innovative and well researched holistic healing practices. On each episode of the SKYlights podcast, we speak with an expert in the field of wilderness therapy and explore the unique value the outdoor provides on the journey towards wellness, self-discovery, and growth. Open Sky treats at-risk adolescents, young adults, and their families. To learn more about Open Sky, visit us at www.OpenSkyWilderness.com

Welcome to the podcast! We're glad you're here.

SKYlights Open Sky Wilderness Therapy

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.9 • 50 Ratings

This is a podcast from Open Sky Wilderness Therapy. Nestled in the mountains of southwest Colorado and the canyonlands of southeast Utah, Open Sky Wilderness Therapy transcends traditional wilderness therapy programs by emphasizing treatment for the whole family. Our clinical approach integrates the latest in evidence-based clinical treatments with innovative and well researched holistic healing practices. On each episode of the SKYlights podcast, we speak with an expert in the field of wilderness therapy and explore the unique value the outdoor provides on the journey towards wellness, self-discovery, and growth. Open Sky treats at-risk adolescents, young adults, and their families. To learn more about Open Sky, visit us at www.OpenSkyWilderness.com

Welcome to the podcast! We're glad you're here.

    Episode 28: Young Adults, Anxiety, and the Pandemic

    Episode 28: Young Adults, Anxiety, and the Pandemic

    PREVIEW:

    It has now been more than a year since our lives changed drastically due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While we’ve learned to live with this new normal, the impacts on mental health and development have been significant. In this episode, clinical therapist Mariah Loftin discusses how the pandemic has affected mental health in young adults, how they and their parents can identify and manage mental health struggles, and what hope and transformation can be gained in the midst of it all.

    GUEST PROFILE:

    MARIAH LOFTIN, MA, LPC

    Senior clinical therapist Mariah Loftin has been working with young adults and their families at Open Sky since 2012, with years of clinical experience prior. She skillfully blends her background as a psychotherapist, behaviorist, and art therapist. Melding a variety of clinical modalities, Mariah helps young adult clients and their families examine and appreciate the many dimensions of themselves, including their mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual wellbeing.

    TOPICS COVERED: anxiety, depression, isolation, mental health, pandemic,parenting, substance abuse, therapy, young adults

    SELECT QUOTES:

    “I think it's a uniquely challenging time for young adults because they’re not being able to graduate, not being able to go to classes at college, not being able to actually launch from their homes because developmentally, that's where they are in their lives. So there's this sense of a lot of young people feeling stuck, stagnant, and like they’re being robbed of those opportunities.”

    “Let'sreflect on where we've been. Let's look at how has this last year unfolded and where are we at this point so that we can move forward.”

    “As a family, both individually and collectively, let's get honest with ourselves about what's been happening and what's not healthy. I think being able to define and even write it down: what's been going on, what are the things that we're concerned about for ourselves, for our families? And ask, what are the strengths from being together, so that we're not just caught and stuck in here are all the negative things that are happening.”

    “I think all of us have experienced some unhealthy behaviors perhaps emerging or increasing. And it's about asking, when does it cross a line? When does it become a concerning behavior? That, to me, is an important thing for parents and kids to be looking at.”

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 24 min
    Episode 27: The Rise of Online Exploitation of Adolescent Girls

    Episode 27: The Rise of Online Exploitation of Adolescent Girls

    PREVIEW: With the closure of schools and the isolative nature of pandemic-life, the last year has clearly been challenging for teens, sometimes in unexpected ways. An emerging issue we’re seeing more and more is the online exploitation of teens online.

    Here to talk about the risks, signs, and prevention of online sexual exploitation is senior clinical therapist Kirsten Bolt.

    GUEST PROFILE: KIRSTEN BOLT, MED, LMFTKirsten has been working with adolescent girls at Open Sky since 2011. With her firm and direct approach, Kirsten confronts presenting issues and holds students and families accountable to their therapeutic work, while circumventing the shame that can interfere with progress. She incorporates humor and playfulness and quickly develops strong therapeutic relationships.

    TOPICS COVERED: adolescent, adolescent girls, teens, sexual exploitation, online exploitation, parenting tips, core values, therapy, wilderness therapy, treatment, parenting

    SELECT QUOTES: “First and foremost, if we can help our girls see their value in who they are as people, not how they look, that's number one in my mind. If we can help them recognize the sexual objectification that occurs for girls and women, that's a really great starting place. And if we can teach them to value themselves for their brains, for their strength, for their creative ability, for whatever it is.”

    “Have proactive conversations early with your children about online sexual exploitation. Have these conversations with your sons, have these conversations with your daughters. How they can honor their values? How can they protect their hearts and minds? Is this good for me? Or is this short-term satisfaction of that social connection that you're talking about?”

    “While this is certainly a concerning topic, there are lots of ways to intervene and to work with our kids. And the more that we're talking about this with each other, the more that we can actually help. The more that we teach our kids, they can spread the word.”

    “I don't want to downplay the gravity of this because it is dangerous and very, very risky. And there's a way forward, and it's actually through connection... Let's be in connection with our kids. Let's be in connection with other parents. Let's support our kids being in healthy connection with each other.”

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

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

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

    PREVIEW:

    We’ve all become familiar with our own personal comfort zones; where we operate and interact with the most ease and predictability. Some of us are more inclined than others to step outside of their comfort zones, and maybe even crave the feeling of pushing those limits. Others find it difficult and sometimes even debilitating. How is it healthy and beneficial to step beyond our comfort zones?

    Clinical Therapist Mariah Loftin is here to discuss this topic in SKYlights episode 26. In her work at Open Sky, Mariah helps young adults launch into adulthood and independence by building confidence, grit, and resilience outside of their comfort zones. We’re grateful to have her back on the podcast!

    GUEST PROFILE:

    MARIAH LOFTIN, MA, LPC

    As a Licensed Professional Counselor, Mariah skillfully blends her background as a psychotherapist, behaviorist and art therapist. She is quickly able to assess and appropriately treat students, masterfully illuminating the issues that are difficult for them to face. She then pushes them to their edges to start working on those core issues. In her work, she melds a variety of modalities such as Art Therapy, Behavior Analysis, Relational Psychotherapy for Trauma, DBT, Family Systems Therapy, MI, and Acceptance & Commitment Therapy to best meet the individual therapeutic needs.

    TOPICS COVERED: young adults, comfort zone, grit, parenting tips, core values, therapy, wilderness therapy, treatment, parenting

    SELECT QUOTES:

    “However, if we stay in that place of predictability, of familiarity, of safety, life is not going to be particularly rich and we're not going to be able to build up the ability to deal with whatever it is that life throws at us.”

    “I love this idea of the wilderness itself being a place that people in general, but particularly young people, can come to heal because those trees, those mountains are not going to judge you.”

    “There are huge comfort zones that I would say most people bump up against when they're emotional challenges. Things like talking about our emotions and our feelings, and actually allowing other people to see us like that, to me, is vulnerability.”

     

    “For a lot of people, asking for help is actually outside of that comfort zone. And that's my biggest encouragement: look at what's going on, make a plan and accept support where you need it.”

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 24 min
    Episode 25: Parenting the Defiant Teen

    Episode 25: Parenting the Defiant Teen

    PREVIEW:

    Defiance and opposition can be normal and even healthy signs of adolescence. When do these patterns become unhealthy? How can parents effectively respond to their teen’s defiant behavior? What are the best strategies for parents who are at their wit’s end during this phase of parenting?

    Here to help us answer some of these questions is Open Sky Senior Clinical Therapist, Jonathan Mitchell. Jonathan will also share helpful examples from his work at Open Sky Wilderness Therapy and from his own experience asa defiant teen.

    GUEST PROFILE:

    JONATHAN MITCHELL, MA, LPC

    Jonathan has been working with adolescent boys and their families at Open Sky since 2009.

    His clinical approach draws on the teachings of dialectical behavioral therapy, Gestalt therapy,

    cognitive behavioral therapy, and years of experience as a field guide. As a therapist, he is appreciated for his pleasant and direct nature, intuitive connection with clients, and knack for working with defiant and strongly guarded adolescents.

    TOPICS COVERED:

    Parenting, defiance, opposition, oppositional defiance, defiant teen, defiant child, behavior problems, parenting tips, core values, therapy, wilderness therapy, treatment

    SELECT QUOTES:

    “Defiance is - in its roots - an exaggerated expression of independence or differentiation from the family.”

    “This is all the anatomy of defiance. It comes from a place of powerlessness and not being seen and heard by the world around them.”

    “It feels powerful but it’s so isolating. I know from myself and the kids that I work with who are really defiant, they’re really lonely. It’s the double edge sword of defiance in that it’s powerful but it also ostracizes us from the world around us and from relationships. We’re not connected to people when we’re defiant.”

    “The other tenet of what has worked for families who have been successful navigating this defiance issue is being consistent about leaning into the process and not giving up. Remaining patient, remaining open, continuing the healthy pressure on the child, and finding some support in the world around them.”

     

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 27 min
    Episode 24: How to Stay Grounded During Times of Stress

    Episode 24: How to Stay Grounded During Times of Stress

    PREVIEW:

    Stress is something we humans cannot avoid. From being cut off in traffic on our way to work, to navigating a global pandemic, we all face it regularly to some degree. So, how do we respond to stress?

    How do we prevent our thoughts from spiraling, our emotions from taking control, and our actions from causing even more damage? Open Sky Clinical Therapist Brian Leidal will address these questions and more in our conversation today. He’ll also provide five actionable steps for grounding the nervous system and responding to stress in alignment with core values.

     

    GUEST PROFILE:

    BRIAN LEIDAL, MA, LPC

    Brian joined Open Sky in 2013 as a Family Services therapist and now works as a primary therapist with young adults. He loves to help his students witness and understand how thoughts and thought patterns influence emotions, which then influence behaviors. He is on the podcast today to do the same for you, our listeners!

     

    TOPICS COVERED:

    Stress, nervous system, responding to stress, breathing techniques, coping skills, core values, therapy, wilderness therapy, treatment, emotion regulation

     

    SELECT QUOTES:

    “Under chronic stress, under a great deal of emotion, it’s normal for our stories that we’re telling ourselves to be skewed toward the negative. Even with people that we love; especially with the people we love. The practice here is to recognize when that’s happening, do something that’s more constructive for your relationships and your values, than acting impulsively.”

    “When those thoughts become repetitive and pervasive, they actually do have an effect on our nervous systems. And as a result, that’s where these negative core beliefs can become reinforced and entrenched.”

    “Try from that grounded space to think of a more compassionate alternative story than the one you just made up. By doing that last step, this is a way to reprogram these chronic stress stories that we tell ourselves about ourselves, the world, our families, our friends, the situation.”

     

    “It’s a constant practice for myself to not jump to the conclusion of the negative bias. This requires mindfulness, it requires practice, just like any skill that we learn. And it’s one that I continue to aspire to as well.”

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 25 min
    Episode 23: How to Talk to Your Kids in a Way They Can Hear It with Clinical Therapist Nick Lenderking-Brill

    Episode 23: How to Talk to Your Kids in a Way They Can Hear It with Clinical Therapist Nick Lenderking-Brill

    PREVIEW:

    How often do we find ourselves in communication with someone where we realize we’re just missing each other? Where the person we’re talking to isn’t actually hearing what we’re trying to communicate? When it comes to parent-child communication, especially during the adolescent years, this can often become the norm.

    In this episode, Clinical Therapist Nick Lenderking-Brill offers perspective on why this stage is so hard for both kids and parents and how parents can improve their communication and listening skills to have more effective and meaningful conversations with their children. He outlines some of the most common communication mistakes parents make and offers tools and strategies they can use instead, providing plenty of examples of what these methods might look like in real-life conversations.

     

    RESOURCES:

    SKYLights Episode 19: How to Build a “Communication Toolbox” and Improve Family Relationships with Clinical Therapist Nick Lenderking-Brill

    Open Sky blog: Family Connection in the Digital Age: Tips for Reconnecting




    GUEST PROFILE:

    NICK LENDERKING-BRILL, MA, LPCC

    Nick Lenderking-Brill is a Clinical Therapist who works with adolescent boys at Open Sky Wilderness Therapy. He specializes in addiction counseling, attachment issues, trauma-informed therapy, depression, anxiety, and screen overuse. Rather than seeking to fix people’s problems, Nick hopes to empower people to reach their own goals.  His curiosity about people and their relationships drives his desire to help people heal, internally and through human connection. With extensive experience on both our the Clinical and Family Services team, Nick is well-equipped to provide insight on this important topic of parent-child communication.

     

    TOPICS COVERED: Parent-child communication, identify formation, basic needs, communication styles, reflective listening, lecturing, advice-giving, comparison, judgment, shaming, unconditional love, acceptance, emotional regulation, self-care




    SELECT QUOTES:

     “I think kids, like all of us, want to be understood. This isn’t always possible. And sometimes we simply don’t understand. And sometimes that’s okay. All that we and kids really need is to be heard, simply to be validated, simply to be listened to.”

    “What kids really need from their parents is a deep sense of unconditional love, knowing that no matter what they do, their parents are going to be there for them. Their parents are going to love them. It doesn’t need to mean a parent accepts all their kid’s choices. It doesn’t need to mean a parent agrees with all their kid’s choices. But a kid does need to know that a parent is going to love them for who they are and not for what they do.”

    “First and foremost, it’s so important to be gentle with yourself. Be patient with yourself, and be patient with your family too. It is totally OK to make mistakes. The point is not perfection…It’s so much more beneficial to try and make mistakes and maybe not totally hit the mark than not try at all.”

    “I think that kids love to hear that their parents aren’t perfect. I think they need to hear that their parents aren’t perfect, that they’re walking this path together.” 

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 25 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
50 Ratings

50 Ratings

alice_pb ,

Great podcast & helpful for connecting with family

Listening to this podcast was super helpful for me, as I have a close family member who attended wildneress therapy recently. The "Deconstructing Motvation" episode shed new light on her journey and gave me a deeper understanding of what she went through. This podcast is super helpful for parents, anyone with younger siblings/family members, and really anyone interested in learning more about mental health & wilderness therapy.

Stefanie Hawkins ,

A refreshing listen!

This podcast is super insightful for anyone spending time outdoors and wanting to stay up on best practices, trends and current issues we’re facing. Highly recommend!

ShaynT77 ,

Love listening!

Can't wait to hear more episodes! Our daughter's wilderness therapy experience was transformative and to stay connected to Open Sky in this way and continue to learn from the incredible staff is so valuable to us. I especially loved the episode with Jonathan Mitchell about rescuing our kids and robbing them of the opportunity to grow and learn from experience. The message is a good reminder and delivered with such compassion. Thank you Open Sky!

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