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. In counseling work, he tailors his approach for each client based on their concerns, personality style, developmental level, and the nature of their treatment goals. Mr. Bautista also provides psychological assessment services in conjunction with Dr. Byrne and neuropsychological assessment services under the supervision of Dr. Jim Harrison.He specializes in the assessment and treatment of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity 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 is a third generation native Austinite with a strong personal connection to the diverse culture, natural beauty, and rich history of the town. When he is not at the practice, he enjoys spending time with his wife and dogs, scuba diving, traveling in Central America, and teaching karate to children and adults.
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. Claudia D. Byrne graduated with her doctorate in Counseling Psychology from the University of Minnesota and undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Colorado, Boulder. She has completed traineeships at the Veteran’s Administration Medical Center in both St. Cloud and Minneapolis, Minnesota in Substance Abuse Treatment, inpatient psychiatry, and behavioral medicine. Other rotations in behavioral medicine were completed at St. Paul Ramsey Hospital within the intensive-care and burn units.
Dr. Byrne’s predoctoral residency was conducted at the Veteran’s Administration Medical Center in St. Petersburg, Florida and her postdoctoral residency was at IMPOWR Chronic Pain Program in Austin, Texas.
Dr. Byrne’s clinical experiences include serving clients in a Chronic Pain Management Clinic, Medical Practice, Hospital, Veterans Administration Hospital, University Counseling Center, Community Mental Health Agency, nursing home, and in Private Practice.
Dr. Byrne has conducted workshops on treating sexual abuse for the Veterans Administration and on coping with Alzheimer’s Disease for the Alzheimer’s Association.
She is a member of the American Psychological Association, American Society of Clinical Hypnosis, American Academy of Pain Management, International Association of Pain and Chemical Dependency, and Capital Area Psychological Association. She is listed with the National Register for Health Service Providers in Psychology. She is also a member of the Health Psychology and Trauma Psychology Divisions of the American Psychological Association.
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.
Tara L. Hooks is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Texas and holds a Masters degree in Counseling Psychology from the University of North Texas. She earned her Bachelors 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. Hooks participated in an organization called 'Women in Psychology' in order to help educate students on campus about mental illness.
Ms. Hooks has experience working with diverse populations, including two years working with Collin County Mental Health Mental Retardation providing counseling, skills training, and crisis management to low-income individuals of all ages with diagnoses of Major Depression, Bipolar Disorder, and Schizophrenia. She has also spent time working in the private practice setting in Austin. As a graduate student, Ms. Hooks greatly enjoyed counseling and using various psychological assessment tools to provide students at the University of North Texas and Southern Methodist University with the opportunity to develop career aspirations and learn coping skills to manage issues surrounding adjustment to college life. 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. Hooks provides individual, couples, and family counseling services. Additionally, she has extensive knowledge of and experience with intellectual, psychological, and academic assessment. She works primarily with adolescents and adults of all ages. Her diagnostic specialties include depression, anxiety disorders, Bipolar Disorder, women's issues, ADHD, adjustment disorders, co-dependency, ACOA, self-esteem and social confidence, and grief/loss. Ms. Hooks uses an integrative approach that borrows from relational, cognitive-behavioral, and humanistic 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.
Currently, Ms. Hooks works full-time at ACTA providing counseling and assessment services to the South Austin community. In her free time, Ms. Hooks enjoys spending time with family and friends, kayaking, running, and yoga.
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 neuropsychological assessment services under the supervision of Dr. James Harrison. She joined the ACTA clinical team in February 2013.
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 (the scientific relations among psychological factors, behavior, and physical health and illness). 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 with major physical and mental health conditions. She also participated in research on healthcare recidivism. Additionally, Ms. Allen also provided support and guidance for 6th through 12th grade students as a youth mentor for AIM Truancy Solutions, an organization designed to improve school attendance. She is a member of the Austin Neuropsychological Society.
Throughout her career, Ms. Allen has worked with people of all backgrounds, and enjoys doing so. 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.
Kim Wolfgang began her counseling career as an undergraduate at George Washington University majoring in psychology and focusing her attention on studying sports psychology and the effects of media on self-esteem and body image.
Following graduation Ms. Wolfgang worked in the helping field as a coach at an Inpatient drug and alcohol rehabilitation center and then as a personal aid to a high school student with cerebral palsy. Her experience in these positions motivated Ms. Wolfgang to study more about the human condition and provided her with valuable insight into working with others struggling with various life challenges.
In 2006, Ms. Wolfgang earned a Master’s of Science degree in Counseling from the University of Vermont and moved to Austin to begin her counseling career. Over the past 8 years, Ms. Wolfgang has worked with pregnant teens and families at Lifeworks, held a counseling position at the University of Texas, and held a small private practice. While working with the UT student body she focused primarily on students who had eating disorders.
Ms. Wolfgang joined the ACTA clinical team in 2013. Currently, she is focusing her attentions on helping clients find balance and awareness in their everyday lives. She enjoys supporting individuals in addressing anxiety, helping develop insight into relationship concerns, and working with individuals who are searching for healthy weight management and improved body image through intuitive eating and lifestyle modification.
In her free time Ms. Wolfgang enjoy spending time with her family and friends, chasing around her dogs, running, and exploring new places to get coffee and great food in Austin.
John Cooper holds a Master of Arts degree in Professional Counseling from Texas State University in San Marcos. He completed a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as well as a Master of Arts degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the University of Texas at Austin.
Mr. Cooper has a wide diversity of experience in the helping professions of education, medical therapeutic rehabilitation, and psychotherapy. Prior to his formal entry into the field of counseling, he taught middle school math and social studies in North Carolina. His work in public school settings included experiences in schoolwide behavior management, serving students with special academic and emotional needs, and alternative school program development.
Following completion of the Masters program at UT-Austin in Communication Sciences and Disorders, Mr. Cooper entered the field of medical speech/language therapy and cognitive rehabilitation. He amassed a broad range of experiences along the entire continuum of care, from acute hospital to inpatient/outpatient rehabilitation, home health, and interdisciplinary day program settings. In addition to his work at ACTA, Mr. Cooper continues to work on a part-time basis with adult survivors of stroke and brain injuries at St. David’s Outpatient Rehabilitation Day Program.
In his clinical psychotherapeutic practice, Mr. Cooper emphasizes the development of the relationship between therapist and client as a framework for change and growth. Within this framework, his areas of specialty are twofold. Mr. Cooper’s work in cognitive rehabilitation encourages an emphasis on utilizing behavioral and cognitive approaches to facilitate neuronal regrowth and brain rewiring. It is this process of synaptic regrowth, associated with the brain’s capacity for plasticity, which allows for the changing of thought and brain response patterns. These pattern changes, in turn, make it possible for clients to strengthen brain function and maximize their potential for success in work and relationships.
For clients who are seeking longer term work in developing deeper and fuller relationships with themselves and others, Mr. Cooper approaches therapy from a neurobiological and attachment perspective. As part of his ongoing commitment to personal and professional growth, he has been an active participant in his own psychodynamic individual and group process therapy since 2000. He is currently actively involved with the Austin Group Psychotherapy Society.
In his free time, Mr. Cooper enjoys cooking, home renovations, getting regular exercise, outdoor activities, and spending time with family, friends, and his dog.