Licensed Clinical Social Worker and received her Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Baylor University in Waco and her Master of Science in psychiatric social work from The University of Texas at Arlington.
With almost 20 years of experience as a therapist, Ms. Kim specializes in play therapy for young children, ages 0-12, as well as adolescent and family therapy. She has extensive training and experience in trauma, abuse, depression, autism, infant mental health, ADHD, Reactive Attachment Disorder, school and behavioral problems, among others. Ms. Kim is the author of Therapeutic Parenting: How to Raise an Emotionally Healthy Child, as well as numerous articles in various parenting magazines and newsletters.
Ms. Kim believes in providing a safe and nurturing place for children, where they can feel free to speak up and act out their needs through play. She has an innate understanding of children and their world, and is able to translate their language for their parents, as well as other adults in their lives.
To help facilitate both immediate and long-lasting changes, Ms. Kim works very closely with her clients' parents throughout the therapeutic process. She also teaches therapeutic parenting skills to biological parents, foster parents and various organizations committed to improving the lives of children and their families.
Ms. Kim is the Past President of the Hill Country Chapter of the Texas Association for Play Therapy, and she is a member of the Texas Association for Infant Mental Health. Her other distinctions include membership in the Psi Chi Honor Society and the Gamma Beta Phi Honor Society. In addition to these, she received her Certification for Effective Supervision for Social Work Practice in 1999.
Ms. Vergara has extensive experience working with very young children under the age of 9, providing play therapy and filial therapy, as well as teaching therapeutic parenting skills to parents and other caregivers. She also has a wide range of experience working with older children and teenagers, as well as providing marital and family counseling.
She believes that one of the effective ways of working and communicating with children is through therapeutic play. Therefore, she strives to provide a safe, supportive and nurturing environment for her clients where they can grow emotionally.
Ms. Vergara is a member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy, American Counseling Association, the Hill Country Chapter of the Texas Association for Play Therapy and the Texas Counseling Association.
Ms. Olczak believes in the importance of the therapeutic relationship and focuses on helping her clients build on their strengths and resilience during the sessions, in addition to addressing the symptoms. She uses a variety of techniques, such as EMDR and cognitive-behavioral approaches, to help her clients heal from trauma, abuse, grief and loss, stress, crisis, depression and anxiety.
In addition to these, she specializes in working with children and adolescent with PTSD, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, phobias, substance abuse issues, Bipolar Disorder, relationship issues, school or work-related problems, oppositional behaviors and ADHD. She uses a blend of effective therapeutic techniques and unconditional acceptance of her clients to bring about positive, long-lasting changes in their lives.
Ms. Olczak is a member of the National Association of Social Workers and EMDR International Association.
Ms. Spillar has over 9 years of experience working with children and families. She was a play therapist, as well as an individual, group, and family therapist for children and teens at a child advocacy center and at a residential treatment center. In addition to these, she was a direct care worker at a residential treatment center for children and teens, and a case manager for foster children and their families.
Currently, Ms. Spillar specializes in providing play therapy, as well as family and individual therapy, to children and adolescents. Her focus centers on family dynamics, including the parent-child relationship, as well as the marital and sibling relationships. Ms. Spillar is currently in the process of becoming a Certified Theraplay Therapist.
Ms. Spillar feels strongly that every child deserves the best opportunity for a happy and successful life, no matter what they have gone through. She uses a variety of techniques and approaches to help her clients with attachment issues, school and behavioral problems, ADHD, grief and loss, trauma, abuse, anxiety and depression.
Dr. Tracy L. Smith, Ph.D., LPC, is a Licensed Professional Counselor with a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Indiana State University and a Master of Art's degree in Counseling from West Virginia University.
Smith has over 10 years of experience counseling children, adolescents and their families with a wide variety of behavioral and emotional issues in multiple settings, including clients' homes, schools, residential treatment centers, psychiatric hospitals, university counseling centers, as well as community and outpatient settings.
She has extensive experience utilizing Behavioral Therapy, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Interpersonal and Family Therapy. In addition to these, she also has extensive experience providing therapeutic parenting skills to parents and other caregivers, as well as conducting psychological evaluations with children, adolescents and their parents.
Dr. Smith believes that her clients' behaviors and emotional concerns are often a symptom of the family, and she strives to incorporate other family members to help the entire family function more effectively. She also believes that a strong therapeutic relationship and connection are important to providing effective therapy with her clients.
Dr. Smith has been a National Certified Counselor since August 2005 and has presented at a variety of conferences on various topics, including the American Psychological Association, the Association for Women in Psychology, the Teachers' College Winter Roundtable on Cultural Psychology and Education, the Big Ten Counseling Center Conference, the Indiana Counseling Association Conference, as well as the Indiana School Counselor Association Conference.
is a current member and the Recording Secretary of the Hill
Country Chapter of the Texas Association for Play Therapy.
With over 8 years of experience working in the school setting, Mr. Barnhart has helped children, adolescents and families with a wide variety of issues. As a school social worker at a high performing, local school district, he has helped countless students work through various emotional, social and behavioral issues, and helped them transition back into the school system from residential treatment centers.
Mr. Barnhart specializes in working with children and teens with peer and family relationship issues, trauma, grief and loss, stress and anger management, anxiety-related disorders, depression, attachment issues, ADHD, communication problems, oppositional behaviors, conduct disorder, truancy, academic and behavioral problems at school, PTSD and parental divorce. He partners with parents and helps to empower them by providing therapeutic parenting support. In addition, Mr. Barnhart collaborates with other professionals in order to coordinate care and to advocate for his clients.
During the sessions, Mr. Barnhart utilizes cognitive-behavioral therapy and solution-focused therapy to help clients realize their goals. He is able to help young children through the use of play therapy where they can communicate their feelings and work through their issues. Mr. Barnhart communicates and relates to teens by building on their existing strengths and imparting problem-solving strategies. He is able to assist children, adolescents and families by offering unwavering support, understanding and acceptance.
During the sessions, Ms. Dolph is able to help her clients recognize and use their existing resources, whether they are seeking to increase their sense of social connectedness, improve academic performance or increase positive interaction within their family or other relationships. She also helps her clients cope with their present difficulties, as well as their past traumatic experiences, and helps them grow as individuals.
Ms. Dolph is actively involved in various professional organizations, including her role as the Treasurer of the Hill Country Chapter of the Texas Association for Play Therapy and the Conference Chair for the Texas Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.
As a EAGALA certified counselor, Ms. Bussey also provides Equine Assisted Counseling ("horse therapy") in Dripping Springs. At this location, she incorporates horses during the sessions to help facilitate and strengthen the emotional growth and healing for her clients. Equine therapy sessions are similar to office-based therapy and the goals are much the same. The main difference is that the path that the therapist and the client take together to reach those goals include gentle and therapeutic horses to help support the healing process. Equine Assisted Psychotherapy is an emerging field and is supported by a growing body of research on its effectiveness.
Additional Affiliate Therapists
Ms. Owukori has worked with clients in a variety of settings, including educational and community settings, as well as other agencies serving children, adolescents and their families. Her areas of focus include ADHD, anxiety, trauma, abuse, domestic violence, attachment issues, separation anxiety, grief and loss, depression and coping with significant life changes. In addition to these, Ms. Owukori also works with children with disabilities, school difficulties, low self-esteem, identity development issues, and truancy problems, among others.
Ms. Owukori believes in the importance of identifying strengths in each and every one of her clients, and provides a safe and trusting environment for children and parents, as well as the entire family as a unit. Through the use of therapeutic parenting skills, psycho-education and other therapeutic techniques, she strives to help empower families, improve their presenting and underlying problems, and ultimately provide tools for the long-term success of her clients.
She is a current member and an officer of the Texas Association of Infant Mental Health and a member of the National Association of Social Work.
Musarrat Yusufali, LMSW, is a Licensed Master Social Worker with a Master's degree from Columbia University in New York City.
Ms. Yusufali (affectionately known as "Ms. Ali") has worked with children, adolescents and their families in a variety of settings, including an inpatient hospital, child protective services, a refugee center and an outreach community organization.
Her specialties include trauma, abuse, family violence, PTSD, grief and loss, depression, anxiety, ADHD, school and behavioral problems, and oppositional behaviors. She also specializes in conducting psychosocial assessments and short-term counseling, as well as family and group therapy, conflict resolution, crisis stabilization and safety planning.
Ms. Ali utilizes an eclectic form of therapy, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, play therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy, and works of Dr. Daniel Siegel, MD in helping her clients to increase their coping skills.
Currently, she is a member of the Hill Country Chapter of the Texas Association for Play Therapy.
Ms. Ali is fluent in English and speaks conversational Gujurati.
Shelly Jennings, MA, LPC-I, has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Texas State University in San Marcos and a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from St. Mary's University in San Antonio.
Ms. Jennings specializes in working with children, adolescents and their families, as well as groups, in a variety of settings, including schools, private practice settings and in-home settings. She specializes in grief and loss, anxiety, depression, trauma and behavioral issues at home and in school. When working with children, Ms. Jennings encourages parents to be a part of the therapeutic process, through therapeutic parent consultations, psycho-education and family therapy.
During the sessions, Ms. Jennings integrates Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy with other therapeutic approaches to ensure that her clients are receiving the type of counseling they are needing at the time. She adapts her approaches as her clients move through the therapeutic process, with the main focus on short-term goals that ultimately lead into the long-term goals. She believes that small steps now create big leaps later. Ms. Jennings also incorporates techniques, such as play therapy, into the counseling sessions to open up new doors and ways for her clients to view and relate to the world around them.
Ms. Jennings is a Licensed Professional Counselor Intern and is currently under the supervision of Cristy Ragland, LPC-S and LMFT-S, in her work towards private practice licensure.
Kelly Nowotny, MA, LPC, is a Licensed Professional Counselor with a Master's degree in Counseling with a specialization in play therapy and family therapy from Texas State University. She has experience counseling children, teenagers and their families in a variety of settings, including clients' homes, schools and daycare centers, as well as outpatient settings.
Ms. Nowotny works with children as young as ages 3, providing play therapy and filial therapy, as well as teaching therapeutic parenting skills to parents and other caregivers. She also has extensive experience working with children in foster care and adoptive families. Additionally, she works with older children, teenagers and families, and specializes in a variety of issues, such as abuse, trauma, abandonment and attachment issues, relationship problems, social skills, ADHD, school and behavior problems, anxiety and depression, among others.
Ms. Nowotny believes that play is children's primary way of communicating and is committed to helping parents improve their communication and relationship with their children.
Ms. Nowotny is a current member of the Texas Sandplay Society.
Christina Carson, LPC, is a Licensed Professional Counselor. She received her Bachelor of Science in Therapeutic Recreation (Applied Life Sciences) from the University of Illinois in Champaign and received her Master in Education (Guidance and Counseling) from Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas.
With over 16 years of experience as a therapist, Ms. Carson specializes in working with children and adolescents, ages 3-17, who are affected by abuse, neglect, trauma, loss, divorce, depression, low self-esteem, ADHD, and behavioral and school issues, among others. She has provided therapy in numerous settings, including residential treatment centers, non-profit organizations, schools and in-home settings. She believes in the importance of working with parents and other family members, as well as teachers, to create a strong circle of support for her clients.
Ms. Carson uses various interventions to help facilitate the therapeutic process, including play therapy, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, experiential therapy, Adlerian Therapy, and strength-based activities to help children develop better coping skills. She also helps her clients to improve their communication and social skills so that they can express their feelings, wants and needs, as well as cultivate connections with their family members, friends and others out in the community.
Ms. Carson is the co-creator of the therapeutic game, "The Medicine Wheel Game," which helps people of all ages come to a closer understanding of their environment and relationship with others. She is also a recipient of the Golden Apple Award in the past years for her supportive work with children with special needs at AISD.
Hector E. Del Toro, LPC-S, is
a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Board-approved Supervisor. He
attended Texas State University in San Marcos and received his Bachelor
of Arts in Sociology in 2000 and his Master's degree in Professional
Counseling in 2006.
Mr. Del Toro has worked in a wide range of settings, including residential treatment center for children with learning disabilities, substitute teaching and facilitating abstinence eduction groups in AISD, as well as counseling children, individuals, couples and families in a local community-based agency.
Mr. Del Toro specializes in providing therapy to children and adolescents with various emotional and behavioral difficulties, both at home and at school. The focus of his work has been with oppositional behaviors, conduct disorder, ADHD, substance abuse issues, stress and anger management, assertive communication skills, grief and loss, family and peer relationship problems, anxiety, depression, academic and behavioral problems at school, trauma, PTSD and parental divorce.
His goal is to develop a therapeutic relationship with his clients in a safe and non-judgmental environment to help them achieve their goals and to improve their communication and relationship with others. Mr. Del Toro works to not only reduce the present symptoms, but also to help his clients gain coping skills so they can live a healthier, happier life.
Mr. Del Toro uses a solution-focused, strength-based approach to help his clients work toward their goals, and he is also trained in Level I EMDR. He is a bilingual therapist, and can provide therapy in both English and Spanish.
Dr. Richard Yuen, Ph.D., is a Licensed Psychologist in the State of Texas. He graduated cum laude from Carleton College with a B.A. in Psychology, his M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Southern Illinois University, graduating Phi Beta Kappa, and his Ph.D. in Applied Psychology from Loyola University in Chicago.
Dr. Yuen has worked in a diverse array of clinical settings and with clients from all ages. Trained in many different styles of therapy, he uses a holistic and eclectic approach when working with children and their families. He believes that no one clinical approach can ever meet the specific needs of all clients and that each client brings a unique perspective, insights and experiences to the table. Therefore, Dr. Yuen is highly adept at tailoring his approach to the personal strengths and specific needs of his clients and their families.
His expertise is in the area of conducting comprehensive psychological evaluations and in using strength-based, preventative psychology during the counseling sessions. Dr. Yuen specializes in helping clients with depression, anxiety, abuse, neglect, grief and loss, PTSD, school or behavioral problems, ADHD, crisis and trauma, as well as chronic pain and medical conditions. He focuses on using effective, evidence-based techniques, to not only treat the current symptoms, but to prevent other symptoms or problematic behaviors from resurfacing at a later time.
He provides assessment services for all age groups, including toddlers, children, teens and parents. The most commonly requested assessments include General Psychological Evaluation, Child Custody Evaluation, Substance Abuse Evaluation, ADHD Evaluations for both adults and children, Evaluations for Autism or Learning Disabilities, as well as Intelligence and Achievement Evaluations. Dr. Yuen works very closely with pediatricians, schools, psychiatrists and other providers out in the community to help advocate for his clients and to ensure continuity of services for his clients and their families.
Over the years, Dr. Yuen's excellence in scholarship has earned him a number of prestigious awards, including the Manuel Teurel Award, Heckler Fellowship, Dana Award, Okada Memorial Prize, Tanaka Fellowship, ACM Research Scholarship and a Ford-Mellon Foundation Fellowship. Dr. Yuen has also taught and guest lectured at numerous colleges and universities, including the Carleton College, Southern Illinois University and the Loyola University.