22 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

    • Places & Travel
    • 4.9, 46 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 19: How to Build a “Communication Toolbox” and Improve Family Relationships with Clinical Therapist Nick Lenderking-Brill

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

    PREVIEW:

    A “communication toolbox”…it’s exactly what it sounds like! It is a set of skills and resources at our disposal to access at any moment to practice healthy communication and strengthen our relationships. These are tools to draw from when relationships get tense, confusing, or avoidant. They are also tools to practice regularly even when things are going smoothly.

    On this episode, therapist Nick Lenderking-Brill walks us through a set of specific skills/resources to include in a “communication toolbox,” such as the “I Feel” Statement, reflective listening, empathy, and the feelings wheel. He gives tangible tips for implementing them into our real-life conversations. Download some of these resources at the links below.




    RESOURCES:

    Downloadable Feelings Resource Wheel

    Downloadable “I Feel” Statement and Reflective Listening guide

    Nick’s blog: Family Connection in the Digital Age: Tips for Reconnecting

    Open Sky blog: 10 Tips for Strengthening Family Relationships in the New Year

    Open Sky blog: From Distant to Connected: Effective Communication Strategies to Improve Parent-Child Relationships







    GUEST PROFILE:

    Nick Lenderking-Brill, MA, LPCC

    Nick, a Boston native, has always been fascinated by humans and how they interact. He earned his Bachelor’s of Arts in English from the University of Virginia, largely to delve deeper into the arts of communication and expression. His 12 years of experience working with individuals and families led him to a Master's Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Naropa University.




    From organizing and leading backpacking trips for teenagers, to supporting displaced families in urban Brazil, to teaching English to schoolchildren in Thailand, Nick has found joy and fulfillment in serving others through the connective tissue of human relationships. Since childhood, he remembers feeling a sense of solace in nature. In 2013, he thru-hiked the 2,180 mile Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. During this journey, Nick experienced his own "wilderness therapy," and knew he needed to help others heal, using nature as a backdrop. His passion took him to Colorado in 2015, where he decided to concentrate his Master's degree in the field of Wilderness Therapy. As a therapist, Nick has facilitated equine-assisted interventions, rock-climbing interventions, group work while actively canoeing, and therapeutic backpacking trips. Aside from his work at Open Sky, he has worked at a counseling agency leading groups and performing individual therapy with folks who suffer from addiction.




    Nick uses a humanistic approach in therapy. He believes that all beings are basically good, yet we are subject to several difficulties simply by being alive. He is direct but compassionate with his adolescent boys--he knows how to push them into their work in a playful way, because after all, he was once an adolescent boy too! Nick finds the most value in life through interpersonal connection, and it is his goal as a therapist and human 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.




    He specializes in addiction counseling, attachment issues, trauma-informed therapy, depression, anxiety, and screen overuse. His own research includes the ways in which screen overuse affects the developing brain. Nick is fascinated by neurology and mindfulness, and often brings current research into his work with students and families.

    • 28 min
    Episode 18: Understanding the Link Between Trauma, the Nervous System, and Addiction with Clinical Therapist, Brian Leidal

    Episode 18: Understanding the Link Between Trauma, the Nervous System, and Addiction with Clinical Therapist, Brian Leidal

    EPISODE PREVIEW:
    In this episode, Clinical Therapist Brian Leidal walks us through his understanding, research, and expertise on the topic of trauma and addiction, and the link between. The foundation to any conversation or therapeutic work on trauma begins with a grounded nervous system and healthy connection: to others and to self.
    According to Dr. Dan Siegel, trauma is some thing or event that overwhelms our ability to cope. Our ability to cope is dependent on life experiences, outside events, family, our practices. This is where substance use and other behavioral addictions come in—without the ability to cope effectively, these become short-term releases that can become destructive in the long run.
    The foundation to any conversation or therapeutic work on trauma begins with a grounded nervous system and healthy connection: to others and to self. Brian gives examples from his own clinical approach at Open Sky Wilderness Therapy of how to dig beneath the surface of substance abuse and addiction.
    RESOURCES:
    Brian’s blog: Exploring the Link Between Trauma and Addiction
    CDC-Kaiser Permanente Adverse Childhood Experiences Study
    Justin Sunseri’s Polyvagal Podcast
    Johann Hari’s Ted Talk: Everything You Think You Know About Addiction is Wrong

    • 26 min
    Episode 17: Heroes and Legends of the Field: A Conversation with Robin Wolthausen

    Episode 17: Heroes and Legends of the Field: A Conversation with Robin Wolthausen

    EPISODE PREVIEW:
    In his time at Open Sky Wilderness Therapy—starting as Field Guide, moving up to Assistant Field Director, and now as Family QuestTM Guide and Transition Mentor—Robin Wolthausen has been fortunate enough to know dozens of the personalities at Open Sky. He’s also as passionate as ever about wilderness therapy, wandering the land as humans amidst the wilderness and weaving the therapeutic experience into every aspect of the journey. Robin values Open Sky’s emphasis on whole health, mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual.
     
    In this episode of SKYlights, the Open Sky Wilderness Therapy podcast, we talk to Robin about how his own journey led him to, away from, and eventually back to Open Sky. Robin shares why he believes that same journey prepared him for a career as our Transition Mentor, helping families to incorporate the skills learned in the wilderness into their lives at home.
    GUEST PROFILE:
    Robin Wolthausen, BA
    Robin Wolthausen has been involved in wilderness guiding and education since 2003 and specifically in wilderness therapy—supporting students and families in crisis—since 2008. Robin’s worked with families in crises within the field of wilderness therapy for half-a-dozen well-known organizations. Additionally, he currently works with a number of family crises intervention support organizations. Today, at Open Sky, his chief goal is to support families and students during post-program reintegration to their homes.
    While specializing in wilderness therapy, Robin prides himself in his diverse vocational experience pointing to his many passions and loves in working with youth and young adults outside in an array of positive activities. He is trained in technical rock climbing, backcountry canoeing, naturalist studies, wildlife tracking, survival skills, primary handcrafts, conflict mediation and crisis de-escalation, rites of passage, permaculture, natural building and sustainable landscape construction and land management.
    In his free time, he loves baseball, shooting bows, learning about wild birds, and gardening. 

    • 29 min
    Episode 16: How Healthy Expression Fosters Healthy Masculinity with Adolescent Boys Therapist Morgan Seymour, LCSW

    Episode 16: How Healthy Expression Fosters Healthy Masculinity with Adolescent Boys Therapist Morgan Seymour, LCSW

    In this episode of SKYlights, the Open Sky Wilderness Therapy Podcast, we talk with Clinical Therapist Morgan Seymour about how societal expectations can discourage or prevent boys from developing emotional awareness, the skills to express emotions and feelings, or seeking help for depression, anxiety, social issues, or challenges at school.
    Additionally, Morgan explores how—in a new and unfamiliar environment in the wilderness—boys must face emotions they’ve previously avoided or covered up, and how wilderness therapy is an excellent way to strengthen, understand, and be aware of one’s entire self.

    • 31 min
    Episode 15: Emerging Adults: Supporting the Unique Needs of 18-20 Year-Olds

    Episode 15: Emerging Adults: Supporting the Unique Needs of 18-20 Year-Olds

    EPISODE PREVIEW:
    Turning 18 is one of the biggest milestones young people experience. Overnight, one goes from being labeled a child to an adult. However, the growth that occurs in that one day is not commensurate with the change in expectations, nor cognitive development. In this episode, clinical therapist Chris Blankenship discusses how Open Sky helps young adults and families navigate this transition.
    GUEST:
    Clinical Therapist, Chris Blankenship, LCSW

    • 34 min
    Episode 14: “Winter Safety: Best Practices Promote Opportunities for Empowerment and Resilience in Wilderness Therapy” with Program Director Danny Frazer

    Episode 14: “Winter Safety: Best Practices Promote Opportunities for Empowerment and Resilience in Wilderness Therapy” with Program Director Danny Frazer

    In this episode of SKYlights, the Open Sky Wilderness Therapy podcast, Program Director Danny Frazer discusses Open Sky’s winter course area in Utah. He describes what the winter climate is like, explains how our base camp infrastructure enhances the student and family experience, and talks about the training our field staff receive prior to and throughout the winter season.
    Danny details the winter gear our students receive—including insulated boots, long underwear and down jackets—and how students’ diets are modified to account for colder weather. He also explains the physical, mental and psychological benefits inherent to a wilderness therapy experience during the winter.
    GUEST PROFILE:
    Director Danny Frazer, BBA
    Danny graduated cum laude from Texas A&M University with a BBA in Management and Human Resources. He took his first wilderness therapy job as an intern while in college in 1996, working for a small, family-run wilderness program. This experience inspired him to pursue work in the field of wilderness therapy after graduating. In 1998, he began working as field guide for Aspen Achievement Academy, eventually becoming Field Director. For six consecutive summers, while guiding at Aspen, he worked for the Montana program of the Voyageur Outward Bound School, where he served as an instructor, course director, trainer, and logistics manager. In that early 8-year period, he accumulated over 700 field days working directly with adolescents and young adults. Since Open Sky’s inception, Danny has served in multiple leadership roles, starting as the field and operations director and then as the first marketing and business development director. He eventually landed in admissions, where he served as the director. He brings a vast history of working in the field with special emphasis on risk management, safety, wilderness programming, and personnel development to Open Sky’s leadership team. In addition, he chairs the Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Council, the field’s leading organization representing over 20 wilderness programs throughout North America.
    TOPICS COVERED:
    Wilderness Therapy, coping skills, emotional and spiritual growth, self-confidence, emotional support, healing, young adults, recovery support, empowerment, destructive relationships, substance use, personal trauma, family dynamics, oppositional defiance, adoption/attachment issues, treatment resistance, navigating non-traditional and complex family systems, substance abuse, substance addiction, depression, anxiety, winter wilderness backpacking, winter backpacking safety

    • 31 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
46 Ratings

46 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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