All Kinds of News for December 07, 2016
Open Sky welcomes Aaron Wallis, Ph.D. and Sierra Williams, MA, NCC to Clinical Team. Both clinicans will begin to take clients in early spring 2017.
Dr. Wallis will be working with Young Adults and has had the privilege of living in many fascinating places due to being part of a military family. He received his B.A. in Psychology from Texas Tech University before he moved to his beloved state, Colorado. He earned his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Northern Colorado. While in graduate school, Dr. Wallis was able to explore a few areas of clinical interest through research: substance use (marijuana), social skill development and social media. Not only did he study these concepts through research, he was also able to hone his clinical skills working directly with young adults in several college counseling centers including Grand Valley State and University of Colorado.
Dr. Wallis has a strong interest in the myriad issues that face young adults as they transition into a demanding and complex adulthood. He has a particular passion in working with young adults to address social anxiety, substance use, anger and emotional management challenges and the development of a healthy relationship with social media. Dr. Wallis is drawn to Open Sky because he is a scientist at heart and values Open’s Sky focus on research, efficacy, and techniques that actually work. He is invigorated by the opportunity to move beyond talk therapy; Dr. Wallis believes the power of wilderness therapy creates healing experiences that young adults can incorporate into their character as they heal. Dr. Wallis also understands that no member of a system can completely change without the support of the whole system. For this reason, he values Open Sky’s emphasis on supporting families healing together.
When he’s not working, Dr. Wallis likes to take his dogs and wife and get lost in the wilderness. He enjoys biking, swimming, exploring new food and places and generally being outside. He is also actively trying to bring Texas BBQ to Colorado, which appears to be a lifelong challenge!
Sierra Williams, MA, NCC will be working with Adolescent Girls and is a Pennsylvania native. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a specialization in Mental Health from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. It was during this time that she discovered her strong desire for working in the counseling field. To that end, she continued her academic pursuit and earned her MA in Community Counseling, specializing in Addictions, from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania.
Clinically, Sierra has a background in substance abuse and mental health treatment; prior to working at Open Sky, she worked at an inpatient drug and alcohol rehabilitation center. Her therapeutic approach is solution focused, strength based, and person-centered. She motivates even the most resistant students with her warm, direct, and collaborative manner. Sierra is passionate about working with individuals who have not yet reached their potential. Her areas of clinical expertise include substance use, mood disorders, oppositional behaviors, unsuccessful developmental transitions and family struggles.
Sierra likes to help those she works with internalize courage and act with bravery, as exemplified in one of her favorite quotes: “Great people do things before they’re ready. They do things before they know they can”- Amy Poehler. She strives to help students access their true selves and live in harmony with the world around them.
Outside of work Sierra likes to explore the world around her by hiking, kayaking, and site seeing in the Durango area. She enjoys spending quality time with friends, discovering new restaurants, and leisurely sitting outside while reading in the sun.
About Open Sky Wilderness TherapySince 2006, Open Sky Wilderness Therapy has been providing the premier family-centered wilderness therapy experience through its programs in the mountains of Southwest Colorado and Canyonlands of Southeast Utah. 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. 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.