ABOUT OUR CLINICIANS
Elise Banks, M.S.
Licensed Professional Counselor
Elise is a native Houstonian, who has a passion for people’s mental and emotional wellbeing. She completed her undergraduate degree from Baylor University and finished her Master’s Degree, with honors, from the University of Houston. Elise began her career working at a psychiatric inpatient facility. With this clinical experience, she has worked with individuals struggling with depression, anxiety, addictions, and severe psychosis. Elise now works in the private practice and school setting, where she works primarily with children, adolescents, young adults, and families. Elise uses techniques from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Solution-Focused Therapy, and Person-Centered Therapy to help individuals see the strength they possess to take control of their life.
Elise is an advocate of mental health, and believes there is so much to be done to break the stigma against mental illness. In 2015, as Miss Texas, she went on to win Miss International. With her platform Healthy Mind – Successful Life, she traveled all over the world discussing issues affecting people’s ability to get the help they need towards mental stability. Elise continues her advocacy work in meeting with legislation on the state and national level. She uses her blogs and social media to “continue the conversation” in mental health. She also serves as a National Ambassador for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), is an Executive Board Member for NAMI Texas, and is also a Foundation Board Member for The Menninger Clinic.
Jenna Cook, M.Ed.
Licensed Professional Counselor-Intern, National Certified Counselor
While connecting with someone new can be vulnerable and challenging, I believe there is power and healing in stepping out of your comfort zone to share your story. Helping individuals own, explore, and write new pieces of their story is the creative process of therapy I know and love. In utilizing a person-centered approach to therapy, my goal is to meet you wherever you are in your story with empathy and genuineness.
While my work encompasses all ages and stages of life, I especially enjoy working with individuals on the pathway to adulthood and who are in life transition periods, such as career changes, forming new relationships, moving away from home, and establishing independence. I have partnered with clients as they face anxiety, depression, relationship and interpersonal communication problems, academic stress, dating, gender and sexuality questions and concerns, and feelings of not belonging or feeling “not good enough.”
Prior to choosing a career in counseling, I worked in numerous roles in the summer camp setting. From leading fun and growth-filled games for children to facilitating powerful team-building activities for high-school students, these experiences instilled in me a passion for human growth and connection through shared experiences.
I completed my undergraduate degree in Family Studies with a Psychology minor and my Master of Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Lamar University. I am a Licensed Professional Counselor-Intern and National Certified Counselor. My LPC-Internship is supervised by Cynthia Powell, Ph.D., LPC-S. In addition to providing individual and group therapy, I serve as the Adulting Program Director at The Conative Group, where I work with a variety of young adults, including those on the Autism Spectrum, who are on the pathway toward adulthood and independence.
Please give our office a call to learn more about how we can help. In searching for someone to share your story with, you have taken the first, and often most difficult step. For that, you should feel empowered.
Thank you for your interest in learning about me and my work. I consider it an honor and a
privilege to collaborate with those who have made the decision to take action toward
improving and enhancing themselves as individuals, parents, educators or business
professionals. It takes courage, commitment and determination to work solve problems and
enhance lives, whether those problems be psychological, emotional, behavioral,
interpersonal or professional. I admire those that undertake these challenges and it is
fulfilling to work with you in a manner that is user-friendly, respectful, client-centered,
experienced and professional.
I am a licensed clinical psychologist with over 25 years of training and professional
experience. I provide therapeutic, counseling and consulting services to individuals,
couples, families, within group therapy context and to schools and businesses. Those I
serve generally range in age from late elementary to elderly adults. I also am an Advanced
Certified Trainer in the Nurtured Heart Approach, an EMDR Certified Provider (Eye
Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), and an Interactive Metronome Certified
Prior to joining The Conative Group, I spend the past 14 years founding and operating my
private practice, LifeTrek Psychological and Academic Solutions, which primarily served the
Southwest Houston/Sugar Land/Stafford/Fort Bend/Katy areas. We recently closed our
office in Stafford so that we could join The Conative Group. In addition to providing general psychological services, areas of special interest include: Children and adolescent behavioral, social, emotional, mental, or academic concern; autism spectrum disorders in children and adults; couples, including those that include a spouse or partner with or suspected of having ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, or a Substance Abuse problem; Trauma Resolution; Dependency issues with alcohol and other substances; and Consulting with parents and teachers regarding Behavior Management at home and in the classroom.
I earned my PhD in Clinical/Community Psychology in 1999 from The University of South
Carolina in Columbia, SC. I moved to Houston with my wife and then 5th grade son in 1997
and completed my internship at Baylor College of Medicine in 1998. I completed a two-post
doctoral fellowship at The Briarwood School, where I served as the Lower School
Counselor. I also started working in private practice at that time.
Prior to pursuing a career as a psychologist, I worked as a newspaper reporter and worked
for 10 years in commercial real estate in San Antonio. Having worked in the business world
and owning my own business has provided for me a rich understanding of the demands and
complexities associated with these areas of life and the challenges they can present to
individuals, couples, families, and within a business itself.
I look forward to meeting you and having the opportunity to join with you in setting and
accomplishing your goals and overcoming your challenges.
Trent Everett, Ph.D.
Advanced Trainer, The Nurtured Heart Approach
Patricia R. Hamilton, MS
I am a Marriage Family Therapist and have been in practice for over ten years. I am licensed in both Texas and California. Prior to becoming a psychotherapist, I worked in Advertising and Public Relations and raised a blended family of four, two sons and two step daughters. I am now "Gram" to nine grand children between the ages of 3 and 11. My undergraduate work was in Speech pathology and Audiology and I attended graduate school in Counseling Psychology with an emphasis in Family Therapy at Dominican University in northern California.
We all struggle. It's universal. Sometimes we're able to get by on our own, or with the support of friends or family. Other times, additional support is needed - either to learn new coping skills, consider a different perspective or explore new insights. Compassion, connection and trust will be the foundation of our work. I will be your ally and your champion as you heal yourself. I consider it an honor to provide such support as a therapist.
I enjoy helping teens, couples and individuals heal from old pain, create lives they love, and manage anxiety, stress, and life transitions. I provide therapy to people who want to create positive, lasting changes in their relationships and lives. The goal of therapy is to promote healing, deepen your understanding of yourself and others, unlock potential, and discover healthy ways of coping.
Unresolved emotional challenges can stifle creativity, ambition, confidence, and relationships. Loss and trauma can cause depression, sadness, and pain that inhibit real potential. My approach to therapy will vary based on your needs. I believe all people have the ability to improve their lives and heal their wounds.
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist - Supervisor
I believe that effective therapy is based on a strong foundation of trust, empathy and a genuine commitment to achieving positive outcomes. Through a combination of Cognitive Behavior Therapy with a solution focused approach, I help individuals determine root issues and discover practical solutions. My work with children incorporates a variety of techniques to help them learn to identify and share their feelings. Whether I am working to help children and young adults overcome social, emotional and family challenges to reach their goals, or whether I am supporting school faculty and administrators pursue strategic objectives, I find a collaborative approach is integral to success.
Much of my professional career has been dedicated to teaching and student development in the Houston Independent School District (HISD) and school counseling in Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District (CFISD). In this capacity, I have helped create courses and programs designed to enable the best possible environment for education as well as help individuals develop personal growth goals though the therapeutic process.
My abilities to listen, understand and communicate without judgement allow me to create transformational relationships with my clients. These same qualities allowed me to connect with students as both counselor and teacher, earning two Teacher of the Year awards at HISD.
My passion for helping people is supported by an extensive academic background in these areas. I completed my undergraduate degree in Psychology at the University of Houston, and my Master of Arts in Counseling at Prairie View A&M University. Over the years, these qualifications have been further augmented with specific certifications in teaching and school counseling. I believe that this strong foundation helps me understand my clients’ needs from variety of perspectives. As the loving wife to a former professional athlete and mother to three beautiful children, I am more than familiar with the various challenges that can develop when balancing the many demands of your personal and professional life.
*LPC-Internship is supervised by Cynthia Powell, Ph.D., LPC-S
Ande Hampton, MA
Licensed Professional Counselor- Intern
Thanks for stopping by the website to learn about what we do around here. As for me, I am a clinical psychologist who offers individual and group therapy as well as psycho-educational and psychological assessments. Because I believe in the value of professional collaboration, I founded The Conative Group, PLLC, which is a collective of independent mental health practitioners. Another professional endeavor includes my work on research projects relating to executive functioning deficits and autism spectrum disorders.
Prior to earning my Ph.D., I was a master's level clinician working as a therapist and psychological associate. In these roles I provided therapy and psycho-educational testing services for over seven years. I hold two master's degrees: one in general psychology and another with an emphasis in clinical psychology.
I went back to school as an adult because of a passion for getting to know unique life stories, and for helping individuals use their strengths to overcome difficulties. I know firsthand how challenging it is to try something new, and I also know firsthand the sense of accomplishment that takes place when you step out in faith. It's not easy, but ultimately change can be rewarding.
Before my career as a therapist, I worked in sales and marketing for over 20 years, and then became a women's and children's ministry director. I am open to bringing spiritual issues into our therapy sessions upon request. I think you will find this diverse background helps me relate to a number of issues. I understand about the pressures and nuances of business and working for a large corporation. I also know what it is like to be a working mother.
As a clinician, I have a broad range of training. My Ph.D. internship was through The University of Texas Health Science Center in the Texas Medical Center. I received extra training in helping persons with high functioning autism (Asperger's type), and individuals with ADHD. I also trained with both Houston Independent School District and Harris Country Psychiatric Center.
I am passionate about helping parents and children get to root issues that are causing difficulty at home and school. Teenagers are also an age group that I work with especially well. You'll find that I believe in no pretense. Teenagers can see through a fake image very quickly, so I try to be as transparent as possible to help them navigate those issues that are especially troubling.
On a personal note, I am married to my best friend, and have an adult daughter. In my spare time I enjoy painting and writing.
Awards: Houston Psychological Association 2019 Psychologist of the Year
Affiliations: Houston Psychological Association - Board Member At-Large, Attention Deficit Disorders Association - Southern Region (ADDA-SR) Professional Advisory Council, Autism Resource Network, Founder, American Psychological Association, Texas Psychological Association
Kimberly B. Harrison, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychologist, Founder of The Conative Group
Licensed Professional Counselor
Merrissa Hughes, M.Ed.
Kerite “Merrissa” Hughes is a native Houstonian. She holds a Bachelor of Psychology degree from Stephen F. Austin State University, and a Masters in Counseling degree from Texas Southern University. Merrissa is a Licensed Professional Counselor who works with children, teens, and women.
In addition to being a counselor, Merrissa has been in the field of education for over 10 years as both a teacher and vocational counselor. She has worked with children as young as 3, and every age through adults. Merrissa combines insight learned through working with students and applies it to her Person Centered Approach to Counseling. An area of particular interest is helping teens and young adults discover career goals.
Merrissa is also a dynamic speaker for health and wellness topics. She has lost over 50 pounds and loves helping others create and achieve a healthy lifestyle.
In her spare time she enjoys teaching group fitness classes and spending time with her family. Merrissa is a wife and a mother of two children. She loves the arts and believes in living life to the fullest.
Andres Tapia, Ph.D.
Andres Tapia, Ph.D., is bilingual in English and Spanish. He is a therapist who works with children, teens and adults, and conducts immigration, bilingual neuropsychological, and presurgical (bariatric, spinal cord stimulator, etc.) psychological evaluations. His professional experiences include providing clinical services to and research with refugees, private practice, community mental health services with children, adults, and geriatric populations, inpatient clinical services, counseling and psychological services in the university setting, and adjunct teaching. His Ph.D. internship was through the University of Texas Health Science Center in the Texas Medical Center. Dr. Tapia's post-doctoral fellowship was at Harris County Psychiatric Center where he helped establish bilingual psychological assessment systems. As a LPC-S he also provides supervision for licensed professional counselor interns, and does training and teaches certification courses for licensed professional counselor supervisors. He also provides consultation for school districts and agencies. Additionally, Dr. Tapia has held board positions at various professional organizations, including the Rio Grande Valley Counseling Association and the Houston Counseling Association. Dr. Tapia also serves his community as a youth pastor and has been involved in a number of outreach ministries for almost two decades. He and his wife have two children.
Erin Whitney, MA
Congratulations on taking a bold step to seek assistance for yourself or your family! Your family’s story is unique and important to me. Having been in clinical practice since 1998, I have the experience to quickly work together with you to make a very effective plan for change. It takes courage to seek help and experience is important when it comes to your or your family’s emotional and mental health needs. I’d love to meet you in person to explore how I can help you in your situation.
My background includes a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology, clinical practice with children, adolescents, and adults, and I am one of the most experienced Advanced Trainers in the world for teaching The Nurtured Heart Approach®, a highly effective parenting and classroom management approach for children, adolescents and young adults. With life experience that includes working on Wall Street and teaching music, I returned to school and obtained my Master’s Degree from Argosy University in Chicago in 1998. Since then, I have enjoyed working with people from many walks of life.
My areas of expertise include:
Children and adolescent behavioral, social, emotional, mental, or academic concerns
ADHD or other learning disabilities, oppositional/defiant/disruptive or explosive behavior
Children, adolescents, or adults with anxiety, depression, trauma, PTSD, OCD, or grief issues
Autism spectrum disorders
Self-harm, bullying, somatic symptoms, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, and bipolar disorder
School classroom behavioral management and academic motivation
Clinical supervision for LPCs
It will be my sincere pleasure to meet with you and work together to return you or your loved-one’s life to the path of emotional, behavioral, and life success! Feel free to give me a call if you have any questions.
Licensed Professional Counselor, Supervisor
Advanced Trainer, The Nurtured Heart Approach