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. 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.
Tara W. Lehew is a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor 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. 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. He earned his PhD in Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine from Northcentral University and a Master’s in Psychology from the Clinical PsyD 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.
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 late adolescents who are sixteen 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.
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.
Steve Cheney has been a part of the ACTA family since 2013 and has experience in a variety of clinical settings working with children, adolescents, adults, couples and families. He has specialized training in Imago marriage/couples/relationship therapy as well as individual and group counseling. He is a Licensed Professional Counselor with a Master of Arts degree in Professional Counseling from Texas State University – San Marcos.
Mr. Cheney works with individuals and couples who are seeking relief from anxiety and stress in their lives. Clients who are needing a safe and supportive environment to vocalize their inner experiences find therapy empowering and helpful to explore those issues important to them. Some of the potential benefits are increased self-awareness, a greater capacity for empathy, and a more authentic and honest relationship with themselves and others.
If you are needing to talk about frequent frustration, obsessions, anxiousness, anger, stress, or unhappiness, Mr. Cheney is equipped with several therapeutic approaches to help work through these concerns. In his practice, he can offer a clinically trained and empathic ear while exploring different therapeutic opportunities that will encourage you to experiment with different ways of thinking, acting, or feeling.
If you are ready to make an appointment or would like to know more about the counseling process, please feel free to call our counseling intake coordinator at 512-282-2282 and menu option 2. If you’d like to speak to Mr. Cheney directly, he can be reached at the same number and then dialing 305 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Supervised by Tara W. Lehew, MS, LPC-S
Nicole Hoffman is a Licensed Professional Counselor Associate (LPCA), under the supervision of Tara Lehew, LPC-S. She is currently providing neuropsychological and psychological assessment services under the supervision of Dr. Amy Duckwall and Dr. Wayne Dees. Ms. Hoffman earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Texas A&M University. With a desire to continue her pursuit of working in the mental health field, she enrolled in the University of Texas at Tyler where she received a Master of Science in Clinical Psychology.
During her pre-graduate internship experience, she provided individual and group therapy at Terrell State Hospital for children who had diagnoses of various mental health disorders as well as extensive trauma histories. While she was there, she also administered neuropsychological assessments to children and adults. Ms. Hoffman completed her second practicum at local non-profit community mental health clinic, Capital Area Counseling, where she provided individual therapy for adults of various ages on presenting concerns such as depression, anxiety, social anxiety, relationship issues, anger, self-exploration/identity development, grief, self-esteem, and coping skills. She also co-facilitated a group for new and expecting mothers.
In therapy, Ms. Hoffman strives to provide an accepting environment conducive for her clients to experience growth and change. It is important to her that her clients feel truly heard and have a warm, open, and safe space to explore their concerns and process their emotions. She understands that the therapeutic relationship is a critical component of therapy in order to assist clients and makes this a main priority. Ms. Hoffman utilizes an integrative therapeutic approach that pulls from cognitive-behavioral therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, mindfulness, and solution focused therapy.
In her free time, she enjoys exercising, listening to music and her favorite podcasts, cooking, as well as spending time with friends and family.
Michaela Hernandez is a Masters level psychometrist who provides neuropsychological and psychological assessment services under the supervision of Wayne Dees, PsyD and Amy Duckwall, PsyD. She earned a Master of Science degree in Clinical Psychology with a specialization of neuropsychology from the University of Texas at Tyler in December 2018. Shortly thereafter, she joined the ACTA clinical team in January 2019.
During her graduate practicum experience at NeuroRestorative and Martin Neurobehavioral Center in Tyler, Texas, Ms. Hernandez administered a variety of neuropsychological and psychological assessments, provided counseling services, and instructed a Life Skills class where she discussed and presented on topics such as emotional identification, resilience, stress & anger management skills, relaxation techniques, coping skills, and resource gathering.
At Neurorestorative, she obtained experience assisting adults with brain, spinal cord and medically complex injuries, illnesses and other challenges in rebuilding their lives. She worked with clients to increase their independence and their chances of smoothly returning to their homes and communities.
At Martin Neurobehavioral Center, she obtained experience assisting individuals with traumatic brain injury, stroke, dementia, spinal cord injuries, learning disabilities, chronic pain, and other neurological disorders.
As a clinician, Ms. Hernandez is committed to providing a safe and non-judgmental environment during testing to assist clients to obtain the information they need in order to take the recommended steps forward.
Supervised by Tara W. Lehew, MS, LPC-S
Daniela Castano is a Licensed Professional Counselor Associate who provides counseling under the supervision of Tara W. Lehew, MS, LPC-S., as well as neuropsychological assessment, and psychological assessment services under the supervision of Drs. Wayne Dees and Amy Duckwall. She completed her Master of Science degree in Clinical Psychology at The University of Texas in Tyler. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Texas State University where she graduated with the highest honors. Ms. Castano graduated from her master’s program in December 2018. Shortly thereafter, she joined the ACTA clinical team in January 2019.
While at the University of Texas in Tyler, Ms. Castano carried out an independent correlational research design to study the relationship between engagement in meaningful activities and the symptoms of depression. Her research findings concluded that an active, meaningful, and socially integrated lifestyle may protect against major depression.
During her graduate practicum experiences at Rusk State Hospital and Austin State Hospital, Ms. Castano provided individual and group psychotherapy services, along with a variety of psychological and neuropsychological assessments, to individuals experiencing severe mental illnesses.
As a therapist, Ms. Castano is committed to providing a safe, confidential, and non-judgmental environment to help clients overcome adversity and lead more meaningful lives. Her approach to therapy combines the skills and techniques she has learned throughout her education and current supervised training. Ms. Castano uses an integrative approach that borrows from cognitive-behavioral, existential, and mindfulness approaches when working with clients.
Supervised by Tara W. Lehew, MS, LPC-S
Emily D. Harrington-Cheney is a Licensed Professional Counselor Associate in the state of Texas and holds a Master’s degree in Professional Counseling from Texas State University, with a concentration in Marriage and Family Counseling. She completed her graduate counseling internship at Kaleidoscope Counseling and Assessment, where she enjoyed working with adolescents, adults, and couples. Before beginning a career in therapy, Ms. Harrington-Cheney earned a Master’s degree in Spanish Linguistics from the University of Texas and has taught Spanish for 15 years in both high school and university settings.
Ms. Harrington-Cheney joined ACTA in August 2019 and divides her time between her duties as Assessment Coordinator and counseling. As a therapist, she believes that many in our society feel lost and alone, disconnected from the greater whole. Change happens within the context of a safe, caring relationship with another human being, and individual healing can ripple outward to friends, family, and eventually the wider world. Ms. Harrington-Cheney utilizes a humanistic, attachment-based approach to help her clients explore anxiety, depression, and relationship struggles brought about by family of origin issues, developmental trauma, and chronic disconnection.
In her free time, Ms. Harrington-Cheney enjoys table-top and video gaming, crossword puzzles, knitting, spending time with family and friends, and avoiding laundry.
Supervisada por Tara W. Lehew, MS, LPC-S
Emily D. Harrington-Cheney es Licensed Professional Counselor Associate en el estado de Texas y tiene una maestría en Consejería Profesional de Texas State University, con una especialización en la Consejería de Parejas y Familias. Completó su pasantía durante la escuela de postgrado en Kaleidoscope Counseling and Assessment, donde disfrutó su trabajo con adolescents, adultos, y parejas. Antes de empezar una carrera de consejería, la Sra. Harrington-Cheney se ganó su maestría en la lingüística hispana de la Universidad de Texas y ha enseñado español durante 15 años tanto en la preparatoria como en la universidad.
La Sra. Harrington-Cheney se unió con ACTA en agosto de 2019 y divide su tiempo allí entre sus responsabilidades como Coordinadora de Evaluaciones y la consejería. Como terapeuta, cree que muchos en nuestra sociedad se sienten perdidos y solos, desconectados del mundo en su conjunto. Los cambios se realizan dentro del contexto de una relación segura y cariñosa con otro humano, y la curación individual puede formar ondas que tocan a los amigos, familiares, y con el tiempo, a todos nosotros. La Sra. Harrington-Cheney utiliza un método humanístico basado en el apego para ayudar a sus clientes a explorar la ansiedad, la depresión, y los problemas relacionales ocasionados por la historia familiar, el trauma del desarrollo, y la desconexión crónica.
En los días de ocio, a la Sra. Harrington-Cheney le gustan los juegos de mesa y los videojuegos, los crucigramas, tejer, pasar tiempo con familia y amigos, y evitar lavar y doblar la ropa.