Arón Bautista opened the Austin Center for Therapy and Assessment (ACTA) doors for the first time in the summer of 2007. It is his aim to provide the most comfortable and serene environment possible so that ACTA patients can confidently work through their concerns. He addresses patient concerns using a variety of approaches including cognitive behavioral, interpersonal, solution focused, and rational emotive techniques, as well as EMDR. In his counseling work, he tailors his approach for each client based on their concerns, personality style, developmental level, and the nature of their treatment goals. He specializes in the assessment and treatment of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, but is also quite competent in assessing and treating other mental health concerns.
Mr. Bautista developed ACTA after years of planning and preparation. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Austin College, a small liberal arts school north of Dallas. He continued his education at the University of North Texas where he completed the Master of Counseling Psychology program. His graduate school external practicum in Dallas, Texas focused primarily on neuropsychological and psychological assessment of adults with various concerns ranging from depression, to learning disabilities, to attention deficit disorder, to brain injuries.
After completing graduate school, Mr. Bautista worked at two private practices in the North Texas area completing internships in adult and child neuropsychological and psychological assessment. During that time, he strengthened his counseling skills, working with diverse populations and age ranges. He also supervised numerous undergraduate and graduate interns, as well as post-graduate interns in assessment work. Mr. Bautista returned to Austin in 2005 and began working at a private practice in Westlake. During that time, he developed skills in neurofeedback or EEG biofeedback and completed several training programs in the field.
Mr. Bautista is licensed by the Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors. He is a member of the American Counseling Association and the Austin Neuropsychological Society.
Dr. Jim Harrison graduated with his doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the University of North Texas, after an undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Texas at Dallas. He completed an internship in Child Psychology at the Child Study Center, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. A fellowship focusing on adult and child neuropsychology was completed at a consortium associated with the University of Texas Health Science Center in Dallas.
Dr. Harrison was the founder and Clinical Director of the Center for Psychological Development, a regional treatment and assessment center providing services to children and adults across North Texas and Southern Oklahoma. He has over 20 years of experience providing psychological and neuropsychological assessments for children and adults, with expertise in evaluating autism, ADHD, traumatic brain injury, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, as well as other neurological diseases affecting brain functioning. In addition, he has expertise is evaluation and treatment of psychological trauma, as well as the forensic evaluation of children’s outcries in child abuse cases.
He has provided inpatient consultations at various acute care, rehabilitation, and psychiatric hospitals, as well as providing services under contracts with the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, the Veteran’s Administration, Mental Health Mental Retardation programs, Juvenile Probation departments, and Juvenile Detention Centers. He has served as a court appointed expert in hundreds of cases in both civil and criminal trials.
Dr. Harrison has provided seminars and workshops on such topics as the neuropsychological evaluation of autism and dementia, forensically sensitive child psychotherapy, cognitive rehabilitation with ADHD and traumatic brain injury patients, developmental evaluation of preschool children, and the neuropsychological underpinnings of psychiatric disorders. He has provided supervision to psychology students, interns, and post-doctoral psychologists, including serving as the Training Director of an APPIC approved internship program.
He has been a member of the American Psychological Association, Texas Psychological Association, National Academy of Neuropsychology, and International Neuropsychology Society. He served as the President of the Texoma Area Psychological Association.
Dr. Wayne Dees completed his master's degree in Clinical Psychology at Pepperdine University in Los Angeles, CA, and his doctorate in Health Psychology at Spalding University in Louisville, KY. He completed his APA-accredited predoctoral internship in Clinical Health Psychology at Oak Forest Hospital in Chicago, IL where he provided neuropsychological assessments, treatment, and consultation to patients with neurological disorders, chronic diseases, developmental disabilities and general psychiatric disorders. He also completed a one-year post-doctoral training in traumatic brain injury services.
As part of his doctoral studies, Dr. Dees designed, implemented and supervised an innovative program that utilizes an integrative, system-of- care treatment approach to neuropsychological and chemical dependency services within the traumatic brain injured population. He also provided individual and group treatment interventions that focused on strategies and coping mechanisms for community reintegration, as well as neuropsychological and comprehensive psychological assessments, psychological evaluations, behavior treatment plans, and intakes. He was responsible for providing direction for the development and implementation of services, as well as supervision of staff and clinicians.
Dr. Dees has been providing individual and group treatment interventions and neuropsychological evaluations as part of his practice for the past 14 years, working with children, adults, couples, the homeless, and geriatric populations. He has worked in a variety of settings, including hospitals, counseling centers, outpatient clinics, nursing homes, and in private practice. He has extensive experience working with a multidisciplinary team to treat and manage patients with chronic emotional, behavioral and/or health problems, and assisting in the development of programs to prevent further psychological or physical decompensation of these patients.
Dr. Dees has provided neuropsychological assessments for the Department of Rehabilitative Services, Social Security disability, L & I, schools, attorneys, and other agencies. Assessments have been focused on examination of cognitive functioning, memory and attention deficits, academic skills, verbal and visuospatial functions, reasoning and judgment, personality traits, adaptive behaviors, and rehabilitation potential.
Dr. Amy Duckwall completed her Master's degree in Clinical Psychology at American University in Washington, D.C., and her doctorate in Child and Adolescent Psychology at Argosy University in Atlanta, Georgia. She completed her pre-doctoral internship in Orlando, Florida at the University of Central Florida's Counseling Center, where she worked with a culturally diverse population of graduate and undergraduate students on a wide variety of presenting concerns, including substance abuse, GLBTQ clients, and veterans returning to college after combat.
Dr. Duckwall has extensive experience working as part of a multidisciplinary team to help provide a holistic system of care to clients of all ages, from young children to older adults. She has a passion for and specialized training in working with mothers and their partners who are experiencing perinatal mood and/or anxiety symptoms, perinatal loss, birth trauma, or infertility. Dr. Duckwall has worked in both brief- and long-term therapy modalities with individuals, couples and families who present with concerns such as trauma, postpartum PTSD and related mood disorders, adjustment issues, relationship problems, and family of origin issues.
In her psychotherapeutic practice, Dr. Duckwall emphasizes the importance of a healthy, respectful and collaborative relationship between client and therapist, in which the exploration of presenting and underlying issues is grounded. Meeting the client where he or she is, Dr. Duckwall works within an integrative approach that incorporates cognitive, behavioral, affective, relational, and physiological aspects of each client's unique concerns and goals. Dr. Duckwall believes wholeheartedly in every client's potential for growth and change, and utilizes each client's unique level of self-awareness to identify any life areas upon which clients wish to improve.
Dr. Duckwall also provides comprehensive neuropsychological assessments as well as assessments of intellectual, academic, and psychological issues. She works under the supervision of James R. Harrison, PhD, Director of Neuropsychological Services, and Wayne Dees, PhD, Lead Neuropsychologist. Assessments are focused on a comprehensive evaluation of cognitive functioning and possible deficits in memory and attention, intelligence and academic skills, personality traits, and other referral concerns.
Dr. Duckwall is a member of Postpartum Support International (PSI), Pregnancy and Postpartum Health Alliance of Texas (PPHATX), and the National Academy of Neuropsychology (NAN).
In her free time, Dr. Duckwall enjoys spending time with her husband and their two daughters, exercising, traveling, exploring Austin and surrounding areas, cooking, and indulging her inner bookworm.
Dr. Becerril is a bilingual native-Spanish speaker who graduated in 2013 from Ponce School of Medicine at Ponce, Puerto Rico with a doctorate in Clinical Psychology. She undertook a Clinical Internship at Damas’s Hospital a consortium of Ponce School of Medicine and APA-accredited program since 2014. Her core training was in adult neurocognitive rehabilitation in an inpatient skilled nursing unit where she worked in collaboration with the rehabilitation team to conduct neuropsychological evaluations, as well as to develop and implement cognitive rehabilitation protocols for recovering patients. She also developed a pain management group therapy program for orthopedic surgery patients with comorbid mood disorders and chronic pain.
In addition, she delivered pre and post neuropsychological evaluations for the Cardiothoracic Surgery Department and Neurosurgery Department. She also contributed in neuropsychological consultation for the Emergency Department, Internal Medicine Department, Intensive Care Unit, and Coronary Care Unit. As part of a minor rotation, she worked in an outpatient community health clinic where she provided individual therapy and psychoeducational assessment for children and adolescents with mood and behavioral issues.
Following her internship, she completed one year of postdoctoral fellowship in Clinical Neuropsychology at Baylor Scott and White in Temple, Texas, were she worked with adults that presented with a variety of presenting concerns particularly Memory Disorders, Movement Disorders, Traumatic Brain Injury, Neuro-Oncology and general cognitive concerns related to complex medical and psychiatric comorbidities. Her training included minor inpatient consultation in the epilepsy-monitoring unit and pre-surgical clearance screening of orthopedic surgery candidates.
She moved to Austin to join the Humane Abilities in Bilingual Language Acquisition Laboratory in the Moody College of Communications at The University of Texas at Austin. She was a research associate for a NIDCD funded research project of “Cross-Language Outcomes of Language Impairment” were she conducted data collection and analysis with aims at understanding patterns of growth in phonology, semantics, grammar and learning in Spanish-speaking bilingual children.
Dr. Becerril is currently completing a two year postdoctoral fellowship in adult and pediatric neuropsychology at Austin Center for Therapy and Assessment under the supervision of Dr. Harrison and Dr. Dees. As part of her training she also provides neuropsychological assessment services and individual therapy to bilingual Spanish speakers.
Tara W. Lehew is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Texas and holds a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from the University of North Texas. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin where she studied the field of psychology and pursued a minor in business. While at the University of Texas, Ms. Lehew participated in an organization called 'Women in Psychology' in order to help educate students on campus about mental illness.
Ms. Lehew has experience working with diverse populations, including five years at the University of Texas at Austin Counseling and Mental Health Center providing individual and group counseling to undergraduate and graduate students, with a specialty in treating anxiety disorders. She also spent two years working with Collin County Mental Health/Mental Retardation providing counseling, skills training, and crisis management to adults of all ages with diagnoses of Major Depression, Bipolar Disorder, and Schizophrenia. As a graduate student, Ms. Lehew provided individual counseling and academic assessment services to students at the University of North Texas and Southern Methodist University. As a practicum student, she also helped develop and provide lectures for students, staff, and faculty at Southern Methodist University on topics such as the Psychology of Creativity and Conflict Resolution.
Ms. Lehew joined ACTA part-time in January 2008 and became a full-time employee in September 2012. She currently provides individual counseling services to adolescents and adults of all ages. Her diagnostic specialties include depression, anxiety, undergraduate & graduate students, body image concerns & social confidence, co-dependency, ACOA issues, and grief/loss. Additionally, she has extensive knowledge of and experience with intellectual, academic, psychological, and neuropsychological assessment. Ms. Lehew uses an integrative approach that borrows from relational, cognitive-behavioral, and mindfulness approaches when working with clients. She strongly believes that developing a trusting and respectful relationship with each of her clients is necessary for personal growth. In her free time, Ms. Lehew enjoys running, yoga, and spending time with her friends, husband and daughter.
Thad Cox is a Professional Counselor in the state of Texas and earned his Master’s Degree from the Clinical Psychology doctoral program at the California Institute of Integral Studies. He completed a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at Austin College, a small liberal arts school north of Dallas. At this time Mr. Cox is working to complete his PhD with a specialization in Health Psychology through Northcentral University while engaging in full time clinical practice.
Coming from a rich background in the therapeutic arts, which incorporates cognitive-behavioral, psychodynamic, existential-humanistic, and family-systems approaches, Mr. Cox seeks to provide clients with a strong and trusted ally with whom clients may join to facilitate the understanding, resolution, and healing of emotional wounds and relational turmoil. In this pursuit, it is his simultaneous goal to provide a foundation of trusting support and expertise while assisting clients achieve maximal progress toward their therapeutic goals.
In his clinical experience, Mr. Cox has conducted groups and provided individual treatment in the tradition of Dr. Marsha Linehan, known as Dialectical Behavioral therapy, which provides an in-depth format from which to develop some of life’s most important skills in emotional-regulation, mindfulness, and interpersonal effectiveness. Mr. Cox has worked extensively with couples, adolescents and individuals, including those seeking liberation from traumatic histories, substance abuse, and co-dependent relationships.
Mr. Cox is also a Level 2 practitioner of EMDR—a therapeutic modality which has been endorsed by the American Psychiatric Association and the Department of Defense as one of the most effective approaches to resolving acute and complex trauma in the treatment of PTSD and trauma-based anxiety and depression. Mr. Cox also has a special interest in working with children, adolescents, and families undergoing periods of transition and conflict. It is during these times, or immediately following, that new and sometimes difficult realities can be better integrated, thus reducing the duration and complexity of suffering they might otherwise entail. Often past wounds must be addressed later in life, and this experience can ultimately be profoundly liberating.
Mr. Cox is currently providing counseling services for adults and children who are six years old and older.
In his free time, Mr. Cox enjoys getting regular exercise, keeping up with world events, refining his culinary skills, maintaining quality relationships, and practicing cello, yoga, and the healing arts.
Claire Allen is a Licensed Psychological Associate (LPA) who provides psychotherapy, neuropsychological assessment, and psychological assessment services under the supervision of Dr. Wayne Dees and Dr. James Harrison. She joined the ACTA clinical team in February 2013.
Often it is beneficial to have a professional helper: someone who can listen, reflect, and validate you in your journey to find meaning and clarity as you deal with life’s struggles and complexities. As your mental health professional, Ms. Allen can help you eliminate negative patterns of thinking and behavior, and support you in your efforts to live a more productive, happy, and emotionally balanced life.
Her approach to therapy combines the skills and techniques she has learned throughout her education and professional experience with her insight, intuition, and passion for helping others.
More specifically, she frequently uses cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to help clients identify maladaptive thoughts and belief systems, and help foster and integrate a more realistic and positive belief system by gathering evidence from their lives. She also provides Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, a trauma-focused psychotherapy approach that has been found to alleviate, even resolve, symptoms of post-traumatic stress, anxiety, and other psychological conditions. She has been trained to use this therapy by the EMDR International Association (EMDRIA).
Above all, she is committed to providing her clients a safe, warm, and confidential environment for the purposes of improving mental health and well-being. She offers a complimentary 30-minute consultation to prospective clients to make sure that it is a good fit. If not, she will help you find a professional who can better serve your therapeutic needs.
Ms. Allen, a Louisiana native, earned a Bachelor’s of Science from Louisiana State University in Psychology in 2010. She chose coursework with a focus in biological psychology, completed an undergraduate practicum in cognition, and gained experience in a psychopathology laboratory. With an interest in the biological bases of behavior, she gravitated toward the study of health psychology. She enrolled at Texas State University-San Marcos and received a Master’s of Arts in Clinical Health Psychology in 2012. During her graduate studies, she completed a master’s thesis and worked as a graduate instructional assistant for undergraduate statistics and research methods. She is listed in multiple publications for her help in graduate research studies.
During her graduate practicum at Texas NeuroRehab Center, Ms. Allen participated in neuropsychological testing, psychotherapy, and research. She provided testing for individuals with traumatic brain injuries, strokes, other acute medical conditions, dementia, chemical dependencies, as well as children with intellectual, developmental, and behavioral concerns. She provided therapy, including emotional coping and resource gathering, for adults and seniors in the rehabilitation hospital.
Throughout her career, Ms. Allen has enjoyed working with people many different backgrounds. While providing services, she hopes her relaxed and open approach to interacting with clients creates a comfortable environment. During her personal time, Ms. Allen enjoys visiting her friends and family in Texas and Louisiana and exploring Austin’s music scene.
Kat Furley, a Masters level Licensed Psychological Associate, relocated to Austin in 2012 from her home-town of Houston. During her Masters education at Houston Baptist University, she completed her internship at Ben Taub General Hospital's Neuropsychiatric Center where she conducted a variety of psychological assessments and led skills training groups based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Her background includes fMRI research with OEF/OIF Veterans, clinical research with adults with diagnoses of Schizophrenia, Major Depressive Disorder, and Bipolar Disorder. In her spare time, Ms. Furley enjoys the Austin music scene with her husband, knitting, and training her dog.
Supervised by John L. Garcia, Ed.D., LPC-S
Steve Cheney has been a part of the ACTA family since 2013. He has completed a 240-hour clinical internship as a therapist at a local community mental health center serving children, adolescents, and adult individuals, as well as couples and families. Mr. Cheney has specialized training in several types of therapy, including play therapy, sand tray, and marital, couples, & family counseling. Mr. Cheney earned a Master of Arts degree in Professional Counseling from Texas State University – San Marcos, is a National Board Certified Counselor, and is an active member of the Austin Group Psychotherapy Society.
Mr. Cheney’s approach to clinical practice is drawn from a variety of life experience, along with clinical training, that has equipped him with a strong commitment to mental health counseling and a living compassion for helping others. Mr. Cheney believes that sometimes our circumstances can leave us unsure of what to do and how to be and that our relationship to self and other is the foundation to live effectively with this reality. Increased self-awareness, greater capacity for empathy, and a more authentic connection with ourselves and others are some of the potential benefits that can come from therapy.
As a two-time cancer survivor, one of the most difficult challenges Mr. Cheney faced was living day-to-day while experiencing fear, discomfort, and uncertainty. It continually influences him in ways that amplify his appreciation for the complexity of change and the need to connect with others. These experiences, along with his professional training, have equipped him with a strong commitment to mental health counseling and a living compassion for helping others.
Mr. Cheney’s areas of therapeutic focus include anxiety, depression, anger, grief and loss (death, illness, job, relationship, etc.), coping with chronic illness and medical complexity, relating with ones significant other, and working with teens who are experiencing intense emotions. He works with adolescents, adults, couples, and families, as well as parents of children under 12 years old for family consultation.