Our Team

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James Matson

Licensed Clinical Social Worker


Currently Accepting New Clients

The most common question I’m asked by prospective clients is, “Why did you choose this profession?” While I feel great satisfaction helping people grow, what’s also kept me engaged for the last thirty years has been my consistent curiosity about the brain. Its hidden capacities to heal and enliven the mind, spirit and body continue to inspire me.

Intent on pursuing those mysteries, I became expert at clinical hypnosis. The American Society of Clinical Hypnosis certified me as an Approved Consultant, their highest level of recognition, in 1999. Through that training, I learned the value of working safely, deeply and directly with the unconscious mind. I discovered the profound link between symptoms of the mind and symptoms of the body. Continued training in EMDR and Mindfulness opened up other non-hypnotic paths to wellness.

I am a licensed Clinical Social Worker and have practiced in Houston since 1990. I specialize in treating ‘stress sensitive imbalance’. This means that, in addition to treating the emotional challenges of depression, anxiety, PTSD and dissociation I also treat conditions like IBS, chronic pain and fibromyalgia. I enjoy working with individuals, couples and groups.

I’ve conducted accredited workshops and seminars for helping professionals since 1989. My interests in blending Eastern and Western psychologies evolved into the creation of Stillstate Wellness, a research-driven approach to maintaining brain health. I offer regular classes and retreats for the general public.

Beyond my work day, I enjoy practicing and teaching Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido, a gentle martial art that has greatly contributed to my deeper understanding of mindfulness, calmness and meditation. I earned my first black belt in 2004.  

Dr. Renata Nero

Licensed Psychologist


I am a graduate of Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee where I earned a B.A. degree in Psychology. As an undergraduate I studied Medieval Literature and History at Oxford University and was elected to membership in Phi Beta Kappa. I earned a Master of Arts degree in Afro-American Studies from the University of California at Los Angeles and was awarded Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Clinical Psychology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. I completed pre- and postdoctoral internship training in Clinical Psychology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.

I am active in the community and the recipient of numerous awards and honors.   Such recognitions include being honored as a Trailblazer in Education by the Ivy League Educational and Charities Foundation, being presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award for Community Service by the General Alumni Association of Fisk University, Inc. and being listed in Who’s Who among America’s Teachers.  Since 2013, I have served on the Board of Directors for the Ashley Jadine Foundation.  In this role, I helped to facilitate workshops that increase awareness about teen suicide among parents, teachers and mental health professionals.

Presently, I am a Professor of Psychology, Director of Graduate Programs in Psychology, Chair of the Behavioral Sciences Department, and the Sharon K. Burrows Professor in School Counseling at Houston Baptist University. In addition to my teaching and administrative responsibilities, I am a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice. I am a former president of the Southwest Region Board of Directors for the Christian Association for Psychological Studies (CAPS) and hold professional membership in the Texas Psychological Association.

Dr. Jennifer Norten

Licensed Psychologist


I am a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and have been practicing for over 20 years. I completed my undergraduate degree in psychology at Northwestern University and my graduate training at UNC, Chapel Hill. I worked at Duke University Medical Center in health psychology before moving to Texas in 2004. I have worked in university counseling for 10 years and have extensive experience working with young adults. I also see adults across the lifespan. I have specialized training in treatment of depression, anxiety, and trauma using cognitive-behavioral therapy. I have interests in adoption, coping with fertility issues and medical illness.

I believe that how you think about yourself, the world and others profoundly influences how you feel. I encourage clients to develop a deeper understanding of how and why they think, behave and feel as they do. With this understanding, clients are then actively encouraged and supported in trying out new ways being. My job is to help you gain insight and to translate that insight into real change so that you can feel better and lead the life you seek.

I understand the pressures of modern family life and the challenges facing adolescents, young adults and their families. I can help you develop positive coping strategies for navigating a variety of distressing life experiences. 

Kamau Richard 

Licensed Professional Counselor


I am a Licensed Professional Counselor with experience helping people deal with situations such as exploring career goals, managing grief and anxiety (including PTSD), handling addiction issues, improving communication skills and working together as a team or couple. My approach to counseling is a combination of Motivational Interviewing, Solution Focused Brief Therapy, Positive Psychology, and Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy. I received my Bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Science degree from Tarleton State University. I have worked with a variety of clients from children to soldiers to couples with communication and connection issues. I am here to help you reach your goals.

Amanda Trost, Graduate Student Intern

Supervised by Kiran Mishra, Ph.D.


Currently Accepting New Clients

We all have a story that takes courage to be told. I am here to listen to that story and help you work toward a better understanding of what you’ve been through, what you’re going through, and obstacles that lead you away from the life that you want to live. My vision is to provide you with the space to feel heard and unconditionally accepted and for our work to develop skills in resilience and motivation to set you on the path toward living an extraordinary life. 

We will use self-discovery as a tool to overcome issues such as trauma, grief, destructive patterns and difficult situations or relationships. We will look backward to understand who you are today but also prepare and practice new ways of thinking and dealing with the challenges and opportunities the future holds. Let’s start the healing process today. I’m looking forward to hearing your story. 

I am currently a clinical counseling student intern, a graduate student at the University of Houston, and hold a Bachelor’s degree from UH in Political Science. Prior to counseling, I was in education for 14 years which equipped me with insight and experience to assist children and their families as they overcome both personal and education-related challenges. The majority of my years in education were spent coaching high school speech and debate which allowed me to follow a passion for helping others find their voice. I have experience in coaching children, teens, and adults to understand themselves better through the use of words and have an interest in working with students from elementary age and up. Additionally, I have an interest in counseling teachers and enjoy helping them navigate the unique emotional identity that comes with being an educator. I am currently accepting children, adolescents, and adults as new clients.    

Dr. Nicole Dorsey

Licensed Psychologist


I have been a licensed psychologist since 2002. I completed my graduate studies at Ohio University, in Athens, Ohio. I moved to Houston to complete my doctoral internship at Baylor College of Medicine and I have remained in Houston for the past 18 years.

I have experience working with children, adolescents, adults, and older adults in a variety of settings. I have worked extensively with children and adults who have been victims of trauma, including physical abuse, sexual abuse, and domestic violence. I have worked with children who are struggling with issues such as Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and who are experiencing behavioral concerns at home and at school. I also have experience with individuals of all ages who are dealing with significant depression, anxiety, and relationship issues. Although I tend to utilize a variety of Cognitive-Behavioral techniques in my work, I believe it is important to use an individualized and collaborative approach for each client and his or her presenting concerns.

In addition to private practice, I currently work with adolescents who are involved in the Juvenile Justice system. I have extensive experience in supervising students and interns and I enjoy helping new clinicians learn to develop their own therapeutic style. I am also a member of the Texas Psychological Association and have been an officer of the Houston Psychological Association for the past two years, as I believe that it is important to stay current with the constant changes in the field.  

Dr. Danielle Hale

Licensed Psychologist


I’ve been working with men and women for over 15 years, helping them get on the right track so that they can understand themselves and begin to enjoy their lives again. I’ve worked with older adults and their companions and caregivers as they try to negotiate the end of life; with men and women who have been incarcerated, rightly or wrongly; with people who have been traumatized as children as and as adults and who are trying to manage their relationships and survive successfully; with people who don’t fit into stereotypical gender roles, and with people who are recovering from serious mental illness and who are trying to stay in recovery. I also specialize in helping people with anger management problems, particularly men, or who have worry and anxiety that feels out of control. Although I am not a substance abuse counselor, I have worked with a lot of people who are struggling with various addictions and bad habits or impulse control problems.

I’m a licensed Clinical Psychologist, trained first at Abilene Christian University and later at the University of Houston, a Texan, and a mother of three grown children with children of their own, and an adjunct professor, teaching graduate students at a local university. I use Cognitive Behavioral treatment strategies most of the time, along with Mindfulness and Insight-oriented strategies. I have been through some hard times and want to help you get through them too. I try to practice my own wellness through yoga, music, spirituality and maintaining positive relationships. Come see me. We’ll figure out where to go from here. 

Adriana Gonzalez

Licensed Professional Counselor


I am a bilingual English/Spanish Licensed Professional Counselor and have thorough experience in dealing with trauma and crisis related issues as well as extensive knowledge in individual therapy, family therapy, couples counseling, and group counseling. I received my Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Texas A&M University in 2007, and went on to receive my Masters of Education degree in Counseling and Guidance from the University of Texas at Brownsville in 2009.

I am looking to encourage my clients so that they may adapt to any life challenges or struggles that they may undergo and to offer them effective skills in order adjust well to any issue pertaining to their lives. Throughout my life I have always been motivated to help people on a daily basis and I thoroughly enjoy working with people from all walks of life because I believe that our experiences shape who we are as individuals. I work hard to be understanding of all of my client’s needs and to help them understand their own personal growth process throughout any difficult times that may affect them. My goal is to help the client effectively resolve any struggles in which they may be going through in order for them to be able to live a calm and fulfilling life.

My experience includes doing Play Therapy with children from ages 2-10 years old and giving Individual and Family Therapy to both adolescents and adults. I have experience in working with individuals who have difficulty coping with anxiety, depression, past traumatic events, the loss of loved ones, substance abuse, physical and sexual abuse, family conflict and relational problems. I use an Eclectic approach to counseling in that I use a wide range of cognitive behavioral approaches which include but are not limited to: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectectical Behavior Therapy and Solution Focused Therapy. 


Life Coach & Spiritual Guide 


Currently Accepting New Clients

Seeking truth is my mission, and I believe that these truths apply across humanity.  Rather than being led by blind faith, I choose questioning and knowledge to gain an understanding of these truths and an understanding of oneself.  Stress and suffering can diminish when we learn to manage the mind by understanding ourselves and by managing our thoughts and our senses.  This can help us to become enlightened and achieve liberation from worldly stressors.  Being in harmony with nature, spirituality,  and higher consciousness can help to achieve a calm mind.  Rather than formal educational training in psychology, my training is a lifelong contemplation of life itself.  Let's explore philosophically and use (un)common sense and questioning to find your own answers and truths.               

Michelle Mitchell

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist


As a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist I find genuine joy in helping others discover, cultivate and nurture their unique gifts and personal strengths. With over 10 years of counseling experience, I specialize in treating all ages and backgrounds, ranging from children aged 4 to those in retirement years. I specialize in Couples and Family Therapy, Depression and Anxiety, Grief and Loss, Personality Disorders, Eating Disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorders/ Developmental Delays, and Trauma.

I received my Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from San Diego State University in 2006, and my Master of Arts Degree in Marital and Family Therapy from the University of San Diego in 2008. My practicum was completed at UCSD's Family Medicine. My therapeutic approach utilizes Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Attachment theory, Bowen and Systemic Theory, Emotionally Focused Therapy, Structural Therapy, Humanistic Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Logotherapy, and the Gottman Method.  However, as each person, couple, and family are unique and complex, my overall approach is holistic and integrative.

Dr. Sunetra Martinez

Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor, 

Licensed Specialist in School Psychology


I earned my doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Fielding Graduate University and earned a Masters degree from the University of Houston-Clear Lake in Clinical Psychology. Prior to that I graduated with a double Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Zoology from The University of Texas in Austin.

I am Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor and Licensed Specialist in School Psychology. I have over 16 years of clinical experience working with children and adults. I also supervise interns. My pre-doctoral training and work experience include working at Texas Children’s Hospital, Small Steps Nurturing Center, Baylor College of Medicine and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. I completed my pre-doctoral internship and post-doctoral fellowship at the Houston Independent School District doing crisis, consultation, counseling and conducting psychological and psycho-educational evaluations for children and adolescents with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, and other mental health and learning difficulties.

In my perspective, therapy is an investment in your personal growth and a dedication to your overall well-being. I take a cognitive behavioral approach to therapy and help individuals explore and identify strengths and personal successes. I believe that understanding our past and our current life patterns helps to foster internal growth. 

Dr. Kiran Mishra

Licensed Psychologist


I have been a licensed psychologist since 1999 and received my doctorate degree (Ph.D.) in Clinical Psychology from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas in 1998. I attended the University of Texas in Austin for my undergraduate training, and graduated magna cum laude with special honors in psychology.  I am  proud to be a Sugar Land native, and graduated from Dulles High School.  

I have 25 years of counseling experience.  I began private practice in Sugar Land in 2006. Prior to that, I worked as faculty at Stanford University Medical Center in California, and I was also on staff at Stanford Hospital.  More recently, I enjoyed working with producers in Los Angeles, doing psychological evaluations for the award-winning, reality show 'Intervention'. I have been a guest psychologist on radio programming in Houston, and have published articles in academic journals. 

Angie Severino

Licensed Professional Counselor-Intern

Supervised by Sunetra Martinez, Licensed Professional Counselor- Supervisor


I am a Licensed Professional Counselor-Intern currently pursuing full licensure in the state of Texas. I received my Master’s degree in Forensic Psychology from the University of Denver and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology (with a minor in Criminal Justice) from the University of Texas at San Antonio. 

My experience includes working with intellectually developmentally disabled individuals who struggle with aggression, conduct, anxiety, unhealthy sexual practices, and boundaries. I have special experience treating juvenile and adult sex offenders, as well as working on interdisciplinary interventions with clients’ family members. I have also worked as an investigator in the Denver county’s medical examiner's office, in which I was given opportunities to de-escalate intense emotions, provide brief support from grief, and establish trauma-informed care.

I am currently interested in working with children and adolescents in both individual and group settings. I enjoy finding creative ways to help younger clients understand and navigate through difficult and uncomfortable topics, particularly through elements of art and play therapy. I work with treatments related to coping with childhood trauma, school and family-related stress, culturally-sensitive topics, and life changes/transitions at a young age. Clinical orientations utilized depend on what best fits the client as well as evidence-based treatments. Creating a trusting environment is essential to my work as a child counselor and I value the importance of early, proactive interventions to ensure the future mental well-being of a child.

Dr. Balwindar Kaur

Licensed Psychologist


As a Licensed Clinical Psychologist who has worked in a variety of settings, I use a holistic approach in conceptualizing the client’s specific needs and strive towards providing a unique approach. Treatment is tailored to the different experiences that each client brings into their own work in therapy. 

I believe that each of us have very unique experiences and, as a Psychologist, I work towards creating a safe space for each individual to be able to work towards fulfilling their goals that helps them feel they are living their full potential in their lives.

I am licensed to practice as a Psychologist in both California and Texas and I obtained my doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology at the University of La Verne, in Southern California. I completed a postdoctoral fellowship with Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, providing treatment to both inmates at the Los Angeles County Jail and clients seeking services within the outpatient clinic. 

I also have experience working with a wide range of individuals; including, children and adults across all life-spans, in a variety of settings: corrections (county jails, state prison, federal prisons), community outpatient clinics, inpatient state hospitals, and nursing homes. 

Dr. Kumar Venkatachalam

Hypnosis Practitioner


I am a firm believer in hypnosis. As a certified hypnosis practitioner, I have over 25 years of experience in the field. I began practicing hypnosis on medical students when I was obtaining my M.D. in India. I took further interest after finding that it helped my classmates significantly with test-taking anxiety. Over the years, I have implemented hypnosis to treat a multitude of conditions, ranging from psychological to physiological. While my M.D. certification remains active as a psychiatrist in India, I did not pursue a license to practice as an M.D. in the U.S.

I am a certified member of the National Guild of Hypnotists, a member of the American Academy of Medical Hypnoanalysts, a member of the International Society for Hypnosis, a life member and executive board member of the Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis in India, a Diplomate and credentialed member of the American Academy of Pain Management, a member of the International Society for Traumatic Stress studies, and a certified practitioner of the HypnoBand Weightloss System. I have also completed intermediate level training in Brief Therapy using hypnosis at Milton Erickson Institute.

I specialize in hypnosis for weight loss/weight control, smoking cessation, migraines, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, IBS, mind/body issues, anxiety, shyness, and stress. 

Russel Distefano

Practice Manager


Russel deals with the day to day operations at Sugar Land Counseling Center. He has a double Bachelor's degree in business and fine arts from Lamar University. His background is in management, construction, and design.