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

Dr. Juan (Carlos) Castillo

Carlos Castillo, Psy.D, 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.

Dr. Kim Villabona

Kim Villabona, Psy.D received her degree 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.

Provisionally Licensed Psychologists

Dr. Oscar Meléndez-Hernández

As a Hispanic male clinical psychologist, my utmost commitment lies in serving the people of my community. With a profound passion for helping individuals, couples, and families overcome challenges, I strive to empower them to achieve optimal mental and emotional well-being. Drawing upon a wide range of therapy models, including psychoanalytic theory and behavioral neuroscience, I offer a comprehensive and integrative approach to therapy. By delving into the depths of the human psyche, I assist individuals in exploring unconscious patterns and dynamics that shape their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Moreover, my background in behavioral neuroscience equips me with a deep understanding of how our brain and biology contribute to our mental health and well-being. By synthesizing these perspectives, I provide a holistic approach to therapy, combining insight-oriented exploration with evidence-based interventions. Whether working with couples navigating communication difficulties, individuals facing personal challenges, children grappling with developmental issues, or families in need of support, my primary aim is to foster growth, healing, and positive change in the lives of those I have the privilege to work with. 

Having proudly served the vibrant community of McAllen for approximately three years, I have had the opportunity to support individuals, couples, and families on their transformative journeys towards improved mental health and overall well-being. It is an honor to be an integral part of this community, and I remain steadfast in my dedication to providing compassionate and effective care to all those who seek my assistance.

Dr. Chris Carcamo

Dr. Carcamo is a first-generation-born American with parents born and raised in El Salvador. Throughout his life, he has lived in various areas within Texas, Michigan, and Virginia. Grateful for unique experiences and exposure to the constant balancing of being a first-generation-born American while preserving his Salvadorian culture, he navigates life in the U.S. academically, professionally, and personally. His interest in psychology stems from a fascination with the human experience and a variety of life experiences, motivating him to provide care, support, and education to those navigating life’s hardships, accomplishments, and transitions. Outside of work, he is a family man who spends time with his wife and two young boys. He enjoys listening to diverse music, dancing, specifically bboying (breakdancing), and cooking. Additionally, he considers himself a huge foodie, always seeking his next culinary adventure.

Describing his approach to therapy as strategically eclectic, he intentionally selects the most compatible and appropriate evidence-based psychotherapies for individual needs, often integrating aspects of multiple approaches. He specializes in both sex therapy and working with individuals with chronic pain and medical conditions. He takes a holistic, systems-based, relational approach, drawing from previous clinical experience in various settings. When engaging in therapy, he considers one’s unique diversity and values, acknowledging their invaluable assets in life’s journey. He also takes into account the various systems in people’s lives, such as partners, family, societal views, or laws and regulations. Exploring strengths, he uses them to achieve goals and highlights what clients bring to the table. Dr. Carcamo’s flexibility in the therapy room ranges from being warm and inviting to direct and thought-provoking, depending on the client’s preferences. His ultimate goal is that through the collaborative work, clients will learn to use their existing assets, develop skills, gain insight, and perspective, eventually reaching a point where they no longer need therapy, though his door is always open for those choosing to return.

Post-Doctoral Fellows

Dr. Suzette Lausell-Hernández

Dr. Suzette Lausell-Hernández is a clinical psychologist from Puerto Rico currently doing her post-doctorate fellowship in The Groves Assessment and Psychotherapy. Dr. 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. Through her practice she has also specialized in trauma work, OCD, mood disorders and couple’s therapy. 
 
With her systematic and evolutionary approach, Dr. 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. Finally, Suzette wants to help clients develop a profound awareness of their inherent value and dignity as humans

Dr. Christian Crespo-Rodríguez

Christian is a pre-licensed psychologist from the Ponce Health Sciences University in Puerto Rico. I have different experiences that have prepared me to give a service of quality. I’ve worked in diverse environments that include: hospitals, schools, and interdisciplinary centers. Also, I have experience with different populations and mental health disorders such as mood disorders (depression, anxiety), personality disorders, and trauma. I use a holistic approach according to the client’s needs and capabilities. I have experience with different therapeutic approaches such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (short, long-term, trauma-focused, play therapy) and mindfulness. But my main approach in therapy is depth psychology (psychodynamic approach) and schema therapy.  
 
My 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 me, is that as the therapeutic process goes by, my clients gain experience and independence.
 
Your pain is part of who you are but it’s not who you are. How you relate to your pain is what makes the difference. 

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-I) 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

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

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 an Independent Psychological Associate (LPA-I).

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.

Licensed Professional Counselors

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.

Vanessa Garcia, M.A.

I work with clients with anxiety, depression, mood disorders, and adjustment disorders. My client population ranges from early to late adulthood. I would like to assist people in regaining a sense of stability and contentment in their lives whether they are struggling emotionally or are going through a transitional phase through coping skills and by helping them gain insight into their life patterns.
 
I have worked with young adults, adults, and teenagers in the past, as well as, a group. I tend to take an eclectic approach to counseling based on the individual’s needs, but always keep a person centered, unconditional positive regard approach in mind. I have experience with cognitive behavior therapy, mindfulness, and some schema therapy.
 
I am a detailed oriented counselor who has a great appreciation for people’s vulnerability and willingness to gain insight. Through unconditional positive regard I hope to help individuals cope with whatever situation they may find themselves in. More than anything I enjoy listening to people’s stories and trying to help through different forms of therapy.

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.

Axel Bolaños, M.A.

Axel Bolaños is a compassionate and dedicated Licensed Professional Counselor committed to supporting individuals on their path towards emotional well-being and personal growth. As a counselor, he believes in the power of human connection and the transformative potential that lies within each person’s unique story. Throughout his career, Axel has had the privilege of witnessing individuals navigate through challenging times, overcome obstacles, and emerge stronger and more resilient. His role as a counselor is to provide a safe and non-judgmental space where clients can explore their thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Together, Axel and his clients collaborate to uncover strengths, develop coping strategies, and cultivate a deeper understanding of oneself. Beyond his qualifications and expertise, Axel values the importance of building a strong therapeutic relationship based on trust and collaboration. He approaches counseling with genuine compassion, empathy, and cultural sensitivity.

“I understand that seeking help takes courage, and I am honored to be a part of your journey. Together, we will work towards fostering insight, resilience, and personal empowerment.”

Brianna Escobar, M.S.

Brianna, was born and raised in the RGV and attended the University of Texas Rio Grande valley where she obtained her graduate degree in M.S. of Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling. She has a background education in General Rehabilitation studies focusing on individuals with disabilities. During her undergraduate studies she had the privilege to work with nonprofit CASA of Hidalgo County where she advocated for abused and neglected children in the court of law. Throughout her graduate studies she has worked on extensive research to provide community resources for individuals with developmental disabilities. In 2019 she was awarded for her outstanding research on behalf of UTRGV College of Health Science.

Brianna is currently working on obtaining full licensure and is a LPC- Associate under the supervision of Dr. Elizabeth Chavez Palacios, LPC-S, CRC, LCDC-I, CCMC, CCTP, CGIP. Since graduation Brianna has had the privilege to work in the ORR setting focusing on the mental health needs of unaccompanied minors. Brianna has worked with adolescents who struggle with Anxiety, Depression, PTSD, and crisis management. Brianna has now shifted her concentration in children and adolescent therapy where she has become versed in clients with Mood dysregulation disorders, ADHD, Anxiety disorders, and Depression.  Brianna utilizes multiple therapeutic modalities unique and tailored for each patient.   Therapy modalities may include, play techniques, person centered, cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy, she provides individual counseling and group counseling for children and adolescents.

“ As a born and raised native of the RGV I have seen first hand the need of my community when it comes to mental health. I am excited to provide my services to the next generation of trailblazers and provide the youth with the most appropriate techniques to leave their own mark on this community.”

Licensed Social Worker

Tania Torres, M.S.S.W.

Tania Torres is a provisionally licensed therapist and a licensed social worker. Tania is a Mexican immigrant and daughter of bakers. She is EMDR Trained and trained in the Trauma Conscious Yoga Method, both interventions focus on supporting individuals to process trauma. Tania continuously draws from the wisdom of mother nature and her Mexican culture and traditions in her work. Tania has worked primarily with adults in the clinical setting. Outside of the clinical setting Tania also works with youth and was an educator for 6 years. In her free time, Tania enjoys engaging in activities that connect her to her inner child, cooking, hiking, and working out.

Doctoral Residents

Eleyonzettah Bonilla, M.S.
(Doctoral Intern)

Eleyonzettah Bonilla believes that therapy is a profound journey of self-discovery and healing. It’s a space where individuals can feel seen, heard, and valued in their entirety, without judgment. She believes it’s essential because it offers a unique opportunity to work through personal challenges, understand and shift patterns that no longer serve us, and build resilience for the future. The therapeutic process is not just about alleviating symptoms; it’s about enriching one’s life, fostering a deeper connection with oneself and others, and nurturing an inner sanctuary of peace. Every individual deserves that kind of compassionate attention and care, which can lead to a more fulfilling and authentic life.

Recognizing that each person’s experience is as unique as their fingerprint, Eleyonzettah’s approach is highly personalized and empathetic. She strives to provide a safe, supportive, and nurturing environment where together, she and her client can explore their individual narrative at a pace that feels comfortable for them. As a listener and guide, she aims to deeply understand their perspective, offer insights, and arm them with practical tools to address life’s challenges. Integrating a range of evidence-based practices, she adapts their sessions to align with their specific needs and aspirations. The heart of her work is to empower her client to enact positive changes and to honor their journey towards growth and self-compassion with every step they take together.

Tim Hollinger, M.A.
(Doctoral Practicum Student)

Tim Hollinger, M.A. has dedicated his life to serving others, recently pursuing education and training to serve the community of the Rio Grande Valley as a mental health professional. Born and raised in the RGV, he has a wealth of experience working with diverse populations. Tim received a master’s degree in clinical Mental Health Counseling from Northwestern University and is working on the dissertation and internship requirements as a PhD student in Clinical Psychology at Walden University. Here at The Groves, Tim provides therapy through a number of approaches that include psychodynamic psychotherapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Emotion Focused Therapy and conducts psychological evaluation and assessment.

With a focus on helping others live life more abundantly, Tim aims to use his knowledge and skill to work with individuals who experience trauma, depression, anxiety, interpersonal challenges, and many more process and overcome the hurdles in their lives.

Masters Residents

Lorena Houghton (Masters Intern)

Lorena Hoguhton is a Master’s student in the Clinical Psychology Program at UTRGV, completing her practicum under the supervision of Dr. Felicia Garcia. Lorena is from McAllen, Tx and graduated with her B.S. in psychology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2022. 

Lorena’s interests include eating disorders, women’s issues, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), intellectual disabilities, and learning disorders. At The Groves, Lorena helps conduct psychological evaluations for foster children and bariatric patients and provides therapeutic services using an integrative approach which includes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Person-Centered Therapy.

Kallie Brooks (Masters Practicum Student)

Kallie is a practicum student from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center under the supervision of Delia Villarreal, M.A. She was born in Colorado into a military family and has lived all over the U.S. and in Germany. Kallie was  raised primarily in Northern Virginia and relocated to the Valley in March, 2022. She received her B.A. in Psychology from Texas Tech University and attended graduate school at Southern Methodist University before transferring to Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, where she is pursuing a Master’s of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Kallie works with children, adolescents, and adults. Through kindness, empathy, and sensitivity, she hopes to help clients find a sense of meaning in life.

 Kallie’s interests include mood disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), pediatric neurodevelopmental disorders, emotional disturbances, women’s issues, trauma, intellectual disabilities, and learning disorders. 

No single approach suits every individual, so she is trained in various modalities, including EMDR, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Play Therapy, and Sandplay. She works with children, adolescents, and adults.

Life Coaches

Frida Prazaline, M.A.

Frida Prazaline holds a master’s in clinical psychology from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) and is currently a life coach under the supervision of Dr. Carlos Castillo.

She prefers to take an eclectic or integrative approach when working with clients, rejecting the notion of one-size-fits-all forms of treatment. Clients, in her perspective, are the experts in their unique lives. Together, she and her clients form a plan that suits them and the goals they wish to achieve. She believes that each individual can determine the direction of their own lives, free from the chains of past traumas, current stressors, and the expectations of others. Through their collaborative work, they can explore, make connections, and take action towards building a life that is meaningful and satisfying.

Taking the first step to book an appointment can be scary and uncomfortable. By seeking help, one admits there’s an issue they’ve tried their best to deal with but ultimately feels out of their control. Furthermore, sticking to therapy means change, and even change that benefits individuals can be scary. For anyone beginning therapy or on the fence, her role is to help make that process easier. With time, she’s confident individuals will realize investing in their mental wellness is one of the best decisions they can make.

Office Staff

LaMara Martin, B.A.
Office Manager

LaMara Martin holds the position of Office Manager at The Groves, where she assumes responsibility for the comprehensive oversight of daily office operations, with a keen focus on ensuring optimal efficiency and seamless functionality. Boasting a distinguished academic background, LaMara possesses a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, which she earned from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Furthermore, she boasts an impressive career trajectory, amassing over eight years of managerial experience in the service and entertainment sectors.

In 2021, LaMara made the strategic move from Chicago, driven by her desire to embrace the valley’s beautiful climate. She exhibits an unwavering commitment to fostering a conducive, harmonious, and results-oriented work environment for both her colleagues and valued clients. This commitment stems from her profound belief in the transformative potential of mental health and well-being, which has spurred her to pursue a career that aligns with her academic background and passion.

Rebecca Castillo, B.A.
Community Outreach Coordinator

Rebecca Castillo has consistently demonstrated a deep passion for community engagement throughout her life. Her early experiences, such as volunteering at the George Brown Convention in Houston, actively participating in serving meals to the community on Thanksgiving mornings, have left a lasting impression. Upon relocating to the Rio Grande Valley (RGV), Rebecca was determined to continue her commitment to community involvement and support.

In her role as Community Outreach Coordinator, Rebecca actively oversees and collaborates on various events and donation initiatives aimed at bolstering our community. Her dedication to fostering community connections and facilitating support underscores her valuable contributions to our organization. 

Karen Castillo, A.A.
Billing Specialist

Karen, originally hailing from California and nurtured in the heart of Minnesota, has established a commendable career path marked by her educational accomplishments and extensive teaching experience. Holding an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education, Karen dedicated herself to the field of education for an impressive 12 years, including 5 years of specialization in Special Education.

In May 2020, Karen undertook a significant relocation to the Valley, embarking on a new chapter in her professional journey. Demonstrating her versatility and adaptability, she transitioned into the realm of Dentistry billing, where she honed her administrative skills. With a zest for professional growth and a keen interest in the field of Mental Health, Karen eagerly anticipates expanding her skill set in this dynamic domain.

Crystal Peguero,
Administrative Assistant

Crystal is a valley native who was born and raised in McAllen, Texas. She has always had a passion for helping others, and spent her spare time volunteering with various organizations, such as Habitat for Humanity and Southwest Key. She dreams of becoming an early childhood educator, and making a positive impact on the lives of the children in her community. Crystal is a compassionate, dedicated, and inspiring person who strives to make the world a better place. 

Karina Garcia, Administrative Assistant

Karina Garcia was born and raised in the RGV, a region that has shaped her identity and values. She is currently a student of industrial organizational psychology at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. She is passionate about understanding human behavior in the workplace and applying psychological principles to improve organizational performance and well-being. In her free time, she loves spending time with her family and friends and watching movies. 

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.