About Us

We BELIEVE- That you matter; whatever your age, stage in life, gender or background. That despite your successes or failures there is always room for improving your quality of life through mental and emotional wellbeing.

We UNDERSTAND That life is complicated and that loss, trauma, divorce as well as the battles we face in our mind whether big or small can disrupt an otherwise satisfying and productive life.

We STRIVE To give you exceptional attention starting with our comprehensive, diverse, evidence-based approach to our collaboration with the finest mental health team in South Texas.

We PROMISE to listen, to accept you, to be compassionate and supportive in a safe and professional space. We will always honor your utmost privacy and confidentiality.

We WILL Put you first; by offering days and hours that suit your schedule, by creating a unique plan of care suited for your needs and goals and by giving you meeting options such as in person, virtual or group settings as well as Spanish speaking sessions.

Mental Health Professionals

OUR THERAPISTS ARE LICENSED PROFESSIONALS WHO POSSESS GRADUATE DEGREES OR DOCTORATES IN THEIR FIELD OF PRACTICE AS WELL AS ADVANCED TRAINING EXPERIENCE

Clinical Psychologists

Juan (Carlos) Castillo, Psy.D

Dr. Carlos Castillo, owner of The Groves, is Valley born and raised. He obtained his bachelor’s degree from Sam Houston State University. He acquired his Doctoral Degree at the Texas School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University-Dallas. Dr. Castillo has notable experience in psychological and neuropsychological assessments acquired while training at Richland Oaks Counseling Center, a large community based counseling center in the DFW area and Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital-Dallas. Dr. Castillo utilizes an integrative approach to psychotherapy that combines Schema Therapy, Psychodynamic, Cognitive Behavioral, Experiential, Interpersonal and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy.

Dr. Castillo’s interests and experience include working with personality disorders, trauma, anxiety and depression. Additionally, he assists individuals with adjustment issues such as relationship problems, divorce, work problems and general stress.

Kim Villabona, Psy.D

Dr. Villabona received her Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology in 1986 from Forest Institute in Chicago. She studied at the Chicago Psychoanalytic Institute and completed her clinical internship with the Chicago Bureau of Mental Health. She did post-doctoral work in forensic clinical neuropsychology at the Federal Medical Center and was adjunct staff at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Dr. Villabona was a senior forensic consultant to the Chief Judge of the Criminal Courts in Chicago. Dr. Villabona is certified in the treatment of complex trauma.

Dr. Villabona offers psychodynamic therapy, which is effective for those who desire lasting change through an examination of the roots of emotional problems, especially problematic relationship patterns and self-esteem issues. Dr. Villabona also provides brief psychodynamic therapy, a time-limited approach with a circumscribed focus.

Dr. Oscar Meléndez-Hernández,

Psy.D

Oscar is a bilingual Clinical Psychologist. He received his Psy.D. from the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences (PHSU) Ponce, Puerto Rico. He also has a specialty track in Sex and Gender Diversity Populations.

Oscar’s specialty is working with prejudiced and disadvantaged populations. With his psychoanalytic ethics, affirming style, and humanistic model, he expects to help somebody who had been discriminated or has any mental health difficulties to achieving well-being in their lives. He has experience working holistically with children, families, couples, and adults.

Psychiatrist

Dr. Johanna Torres-Santiago, M.D.

Dr. Torres-Santiago is a Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in Adult Psychiatry. Dr. Torres-Santiago received her MD from the Universidad Iberoamericana School of Medicine Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic in 2010. She is a graduate of the University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus, Department of Psychiatry, where she specialized in Psychiatry.

Dr. Torres-Santiango has been a member of the Texas Medical Board since 2017 and has experience working with Tropical Texas Behavioral Health and the Hidalgo County Detention Center.

Licensed Professional Counselors & Licensed Psychological Associates

Felicia Garcia, Psy.D

Dr. Felicia Garcia was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley where she obtained her Bachelor’s of Arts in Psychology and Sociology from the University of Texas-Pan American. She earned her doctorate of psychology in clinical psychology (PsyD) and Master of Arts in clinical psychology (MACL) from the Texas School of Professional Psychology, Argosy University, Dallas.

 

Dr. Garcia utilizes an integrative approach that includes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Person-Centered Therapy, Solution-Focused Therapy and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. She has experience in a wide array of difficulties such as anxiety, depression, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), behavioral problems, trauma-related difficulties, relational/interpersonal difficulties, at-risk youth, developmental delays, learning disorders, and individuals with dual diagnoses. Dr. Garcia also has extensive experience in foster care and bariatric evaluations, in addition to cognitive, objective, and psychological assessments. As a supervised clinician by Dr. Castillo, she provides services for all ages.

Delia Villarreal, M.A.

Ms. Delia Villareal is an independent Licensed Psychological Associate (LPA) with nearly ten years of experience providing the community with culturally sensitive, highly specialized, holistic, and empirically supported psychological services. She is a native from Monterrey, NL, Mexico and have lived in South Texas for 25 years. As a fully-bilingual psychology practitioner, Ms. Villarreal offer comprehensive and thorough Spanish, English, and dual-language evaluations, brief examinations, and long-term treatment for children, adolescents, adults, and the geriatric population.

Her specialties are in pediatric neurodevelopmental disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), emotional disturbances, non-suicidal-self-injury and suicidality, adult personality disorders, anxiety and posttraumatic stress, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, conduct and behavioral disorders, intellectual disabilities, and learning disorders.

Cindy Gonzalez, M.A.

Cindy Gonzalez was born in Reynosa, Mexico. She was raised in the Rio Grande Valley and completed her Bachelor in Psychology and master’s in Clinical Psychology at UTRGV. She holds a License as a Psychological Associate (LPA).

Cindy now a LPA, completed her masters clinical internship at The Groves Assessment and Psychotherapy where she acquired experience working with different types of assessments, such as intelligence and achievement.

In her practice, Cindy utilizes a collaborative client-centered approach, where she incorporates Cognitive Behavioral therapy techniques. Cindy works with foster children, adults, and geriatric populations. Cindy is supervised by Dr. Castillo

David Karim, M.S.W.

David Karim was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. He spent the last 6 years living in southern Minnesota and jumped at the opportunity to move to Texas in August of 2021. David has completed a Bachelor of Arts in Child and Adolescent Development, a Master of Business Administration and is newly graduated with a Master of Social Work. David has an LMSW licensure and is in the process of accruing the needed clinical hours for his independent clinical license.

David has been fortunate enough to experience multiple international travels, and these formative experiences strengthened his beliefs in healing connection, the art of redemption, the power of vulnerability, and the sacredness of psychotherapy. David’s mission to help his clients on their healing journeys was created on the foundational belief that everyone deserves to live their truth and own their life. His diverse professional background has inspired him to construct an eclectic approach to his therapy modality so that he can tailor his clients’ experience to their individual needs.

Aitza Morales, M.A.

Aitza Morales is a Valley-born native. She is a graduate from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley where she earned her Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology with a concentration in behavior analysis. She completed her internship at The Groves where she served youth and adult populations in both their therapy and assessment needs. Aitza is supervised by Dr. Castillo

Amanda Chavez, M.A.

Amanda is a Licensed Professional Counselor, who specializes working with children and adolescents. She received her Masters of Arts in Counseling from St. Edward’s University, in Austin, TX. She has had the privilege of working in various clinical settings, such as hospitals, schools, behavioral centers, and nonprofit organizations, both in Austin and Houston, TX.

Amanda is a Registered Behavioral Therapist and has extensive knowledge working with individuals with special needs and their support systems. In addition, she is a trained Positive Discipline Parent Educator. She provides individual child and adolescent counseling, parent individual and group sessions, school observations, and social skills groups.

Andrew Dials, M.A.

Andrew Dials was born in Corpus Christi, TX and raised in McAllen, TX. He is a graduate from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley where he earned his Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology. He completed his internship at DHR Behavioral Health Hospital where he worked with various adult populations. He holds a License as a Psychological Associate (LPA).

He has experience administering a range of assessments for adults, adolescents, and children, including neuropsychological, ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, learning disability, differential diagnosis evaluations, dyslexia and accommodations for college or exams.

In practice, Andrew utilizes an eclectic approach where he incorporates multiple therapy modalities to best meet the unique and specific needs of his clients. Andrew works with adults and adolescents. Andrew is supervised by Dr. Castillo.

Venessa Lopez, M.A.

Venessa Lopez was born and raised in Rio Grande Valley. She completed her education at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley for her Minor in Rehabilitation Counseling, Bachelor’s in Psychology, and her Master’s in Education with a focus on Counseling and Guidance. She holds a license as a Professional Counseling Associate (LPC-A).

Venessa completed her internship at The Groves Assessment and Psychotherapy where she was able to gain experience with counseling and administration. Venessa is currently under the supervision of Jessica Riley, MA, LPC-S, AASECT. Venessa utilizes multiple therapeutic modalities unique for each patient. Some modalities she utilizes are Client-Centered, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Interpersonal therapy. She has focused her services on providing counseling for individual therapy and couple’s therapy. In couples therapy, a Gottman method approach and an Emotion-Focused approach are used in combination to improve the couple’s relationship.

Students

Suzette Lausell-Hernández, M.S.
(Pre-Doctoral Intern)

Suzette is a clinical psychology intern from Ponce Health Sciences University in Puerto Rico with a specialty track in forensic psychology studies. Suzette holds a certification in forensic psychology focused on forensic evaluation in cases of child abuse. She also specializes in the concept of parent alienation and the due process of assessment in cases of allegations of parental alienation.
 

With her systematic and evolutionary approach, Suzette hopes to provide her clients with strategies to learn how they can use their own resources and strengths to improve quality of life and to better their interpersonal relationships. Also, she hopes to help her clients recognize and cope with their past traumas, those that may interfere with daily activities and impact directly thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Finally, Suzette wants to help clients develop a profound awareness of their inherent value and dignity as humans.

Frida Prazaline, B.A.
(Intern)

Frida Prazaline was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley. She is currently a third-year Clinical Psychology Graduate Student at the University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) with a focus on counseling. She is expected to graduate in Spring 2022. She is in the process of completing her clinical internship hours at The Groves. She’s a graduate research assistant in the Family Violence lab at UTRGV under Dr. Arthur Cantos. She has 3 years’ worth of research experience working with men on probation for intimate partner violence (IPV) and teen dating violence. Frida is under the supervision of Dr. Castillo and pre-doctoral Clinical Psychology intern, Oscar Melendez-Hernandez.

Cristian Crespo-Rodríguez, M.S.
(Pre-Doctoral Intern)

Christian is a pre-doctoral intern from Ponce Health Sciences University in Puerto Rico. He has different experiences that have prepared him to give a service of quality. Christian has worked in diverse environments varying from hospitals, schools, and general centers. Also, has experience with different populations and mental health disorders such as mood disorders (depression, anxiety), personality disorders, and trauma. He uses a holistic approach according to the client’s needs and capabilities. Christian has experience with different therapeutic approaches such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (short-term, long-term trauma-focused, play therapy), mindfulness, and depth psychology (psychodynamic approach).  

 

His goal in therapy is to work with the client as a team to provide them with a place where they can feel safe and be themselves without fear of being judged. Also, help them rewrite their internal narratives. Finally, another important goal for Christian, is that as the therapeutic process goes by, his clients gain experience and independence. So they can use the tools and knowledge provided in therapy to grow and heal. 

 

Remember, your pain is part of you, but you are not your pain. 

Axel Bolaños, B.A.
(Intern)

Axel Bolanos is a bilingual internship student. Axel currently holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and is currently in the Master of Arts in Counseling program at Northwestern University. Axel extends a kind and supportive environment working through personal challenges. It would be his privilege to have an opportunity to help you work towards the life you envision; he embraces open mindedness and diversity. Axel is supervised by Dr. Villabona

Office Staff

LaMara Martin, B.A.
Office Manager

LaMara was born and raised in Chicago, IL, and she moved to the Valley in February 2021. She graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. LaMara has 8 years of management experience in the service and entertainment industry, but has since decided to shift her career toward her field of study in Psychology.

Karen Castillo, A.A.
Billing Specialist

Rebecca Castillo, B.A. Community Engagement

Vanessa Jenkins, CMA Administrative Assistant

Karina Garcia, Administrative Assistant

Therapy Dogs

Pavlov "Pav"

Pav is a Bernedoodle, half Bernese Mountain Dog & half Poodle. She is in the process of being certified as a therapy dog. She is available to sit in on therapy sessions upon request. Pav has a soothing way about her and she is helpful in elevating your mood. You’ll find her happily roaming our office. Be sure to say hello.

Luna

Luna is a hypoallergenic rare breed Coton du Tulear that was trained from a pup to be a therapy dog. Luna often accompanies Dr. Villabona in her consulting work and is always eager for attention around the office.