Durango, CO, October 22, 2019Open Sky, a wilderness therapy program nestled in the mountains of southwest Colorado and the canyonlands of southeast Utah, is excited to share the first 10 episodes of their SKYlights podcast. The bi-weekly series explores the unique value that nature and adventure therapy programs provide on the journey toward wellness, self-discovery, and growth. 

Every other Thursday, Open Sky Co-founder and Executive Director Emily Fernandes thoughtfully guides conversations with Open Sky clinical therapists, family counselors, directors, field guides, and other experts about the most important topics facing adolescents and young adults today. Some of the most prevalent issues discussed so far include adolescent gaming disorder, how to cultivate resilience in young people and how to support young adults with gender and sexual issues.

Curious about how wilderness therapy might benefit your child and family? Episode 6 explains the benefits of therapy conducted outdoors. Among the many benefits of wilderness therapy, instead of returning after a therapy session to the same ruts and patterns in your life, you are immersed in a supportive and healthy environment—the wilderness—which leads to lasting change. The benefits of wilderness therapy were recently revealed in a University of New Hampshire Research Study, showing the positive impact of outdoor behavioral healthcare, which showed almost three times the improvement after one year than youth who remained in their communities for more traditional treatment.

“After working as a mental health professional for years, it’s incredibly refreshing to hear a podcast so accurately depict the benefits of this kind of therapy. The benefits of outdoor therapy are unequivocal, and this podcast does an amazing job at highlighting the benefits of this type of program,” said AMA_Wildlife from iTunes Reviews.

The full list of episodes released to-date include: 

  • Episode 1 – Game Changer: Utilizing Wilderness Therapy to Treat Adolescent Gaming Disorder, with Clinical Therapist – Adolescent Boys Group, Morgan Seymour, LCSW
  • Episode 2 – Mindfulness Meditation and Other Superpowers! With Family Wellness Counselor, Norman Elizondo, BS
  • Episode 3 – A 5-minute Guided Meditation, with Family Wellness Counselor, Norman Elizondo, BS
  • Episode 4 – A 10-minute Guided Meditation, with Family Wellness Counselor, Normal Elizondo, BS
  • Episode 5 – Deconstructing Motivation, with Clinical Therapist for Young Adults Group, Aaron Wallis, Ph.D, LP
  • Episode 6 – How Will Wilderness Therapy Benefit Me? With Clinical Therapist for Young Adults Group, Mariah Loftin, MA, LPC
  • Episode 7 – Preparing Your Child for the Road (Not the Road for Your Child): How Challenge Cultivates Resilience in Young People, with Clinical Therapist for Adolescent Boys Group, Jonathan Mitchell, MA, LPC
  • Episode 8 – A 20-Minute Guided Meditation, with Family Wellness Counselor, Normal Elizondo, BS
  • Episode 9 – Supporting Young Adults With Gender and Sexual Issues, with Clinical Therapist – Young Adults Group, Mariah Loftin, MA, LPC
  • Episode 10 – Understanding and Treating Self-Harm in Wilderness, with Clinical Therapist – Adolescent Girls Group, Kristen Bolt, M.Ed., LMFT

The next episode of the SKYlights podcast will launch Thursday, November 14, and will cover how health, hygiene, and nutrition is addressed in a wilderness therapy setting, with Health Director, Margaret Kelso, W-EMT. The following episodes will cover topics such as considerations for winter safety such as proper quality gear; student education and course area management; as well as how to promote growth through nature-based expressive arts therapy. To learn more about the SKYlights podcast and to subscribe, please visit Open Sky’s podcast page which provides episode previews, guest profiles and more information about the topics covered in each episode.  

About Open Sky Wilderness: Nestled in the mountains of southwest Colorado and the Canyonlands of southeast Utah, Open Sky transcends traditional wilderness therapy with an approach that emphasizes treatment for the whole family. When a family partners with Open Sky, they embark on a rewarding adventure of self-discovery and learn a range of strategies that promote lasting success. The Open Sky clinical approach utilizes the latest in evidence-based clinical modalities integrated with innovative, well-researched mindfulness and holistic healing practices. Therapists develop treatment plans, provide individual and group psychotherapy, and update families each week via teleconference. Students participate in daily process groups and a wide range of experiential activities designed to increase awareness and facilitate healing.