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Logos Team

Robert Hilliker, PhD, LCSW-S, LCDC

Dr. Robert Hilliker is driven by a deep commitment to serve others and is passionate about the subject of hope and despair in clinical treatment. His over 20 years in the field of addiction and mental health encompass private practice, clinical supervision, the creation and management of
clinical programming, and the co-founding of The Lovett Center in 2014 and its parent company Ethos Behavioral Health Group in 2018.

Throughout his educational and professional careers, Dr. Hilliker has gained valuable
experience. He earned his Master’s degree from the University of Houston’s Graduate College of Social Work and his education includes a fellowship at the Center for Psychoanalytic Studies and a Postgraduate Social Work Fellowship at The Menninger Clinic. His resume includes longstanding
leadership positions at The Council on Alcohol and Drugs Houston, The Menninger
Clinic and The Daring Way LLC, where he worked with Dr. Brené Brown and served as the Chief Clinical Officer. Currently, Dr. Hilliker serves as Ethos Behavioral Health Group’s Chief Clinical Officer and is a doctoral candidate at the Institute for Clinical Social Work in Chicago.

Dr. Hilliker’s career has been marked by meaningful recognitions. He earned a Menninger Clinic Pillar Award for Integrity for his work in the Professionals in Crisis Program, an honor meant to recognize those who best exemplify Menninger’s core values: excellence, teamwork, hope, integrity and caring. The Houston Business Journal named Robert a 40 Under 40 Class of 2018 Honoree. In 2019, University of Houston’s Graduate College of Social Work honored him as a 50 for 50 Alumni for embodying the college’s social justice vision. Robert lives in Houston with his wife, Maria, and their daughters, Anna, Carmela, Mary, Emelia and Francesca.

Alana Smith, LCSW, LCDC

Alana Smith is a graduate of the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. Her career has been dedicated to the treatment of those with substance use disorder (SUD) and the
corresponding impact on families.

At national conferences, Alana has presented on aspects of denial, grief and family healing as related to SUD. In residential treatment centers, she has served as clinical director and family
program director and has had various roles in program development and staff training. Currently
with a Texas-based private practice, she has also developed the family program and facilitates family therapy for us here at The Prairie Recovery Center.

Alana’s clinical training in Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP) and Coherence Therapy informs her work with those impacted by SUD to move beyond a mere
behavioral approach into one that is more emotionally experiential and healing-focused.

In 2018, Alana completed a year long travel and volunteerism sabbatical which included
traversing India and trekking in Nepal. She currently lives in San Diego, CA.

Ernest Patterson, MS, LCDC

In addition to being a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor (LCDC), Ernest received both his undergraduate degree in Business Management and his master’s degree in Addiction Counseling from Grand Canyon University. Ernest has worked in the field of Addiction for about 19 years. Working with individuals who struggle with the disease of Addiction and their family members. In 2012, Ernest was awarded The Houston Chapter TAAP counselor of the Year award and in 2015, Ernest was awarded the Elves Smith Counselor of the Year award of Texas. Through the provision of education, relapse prevention, intervention and hands on treatment, and through teams of professionals in the clinical field, community and volunteer opportunities, Ernest has helped design proven treatment programs with successful results. Ernest also belongs to an amazing men’s organization, The Mankind Project (MKP), that helps men become the best they can be. Ernest’s role in the organization is a Full Leader. As a Full Leader, Ernest help create space for men to transform their lives and find their gold within. Lastly, sports have been a huge part of Ernest’s life as a child and as an adult. Because of the great passion Ernest had for basketball, he accepted a full scholarship to New Mexico State University. After college, Ernest was blessed to be drafted into the National Basketball Association (NBA) by the Chicago Bulls in 1983. Eventually, Ernest played professional basketball in Brazil for 13 years. While living in Brazil, Ernest learned how to speak Portuguese.

Leigha Ortego, LCSW-S

Leigha Ortego is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker-Supervisor. She is a seasoned therapist with
over 15 years of experience in the social work and mental health field. In addition to her private
practice, she has held roles such as school counselor, case manager, in-home therapist,
residential treatment clinician, intensive outpatient program director, field instructor for Master’s
level students and clinical supervisor. She has a particular interest in working with clients
struggling with anxiety, depression, perfectionism, body image/disordered eating behaviors,
relationship issues, addiction, trauma, grief, clients during pregnancy and parenthood and the
LGBTQ+ population.

With a relaxed, nonjudgmental and sometimes humorous approach, she welcomes clients into a
collaborative journey of finding hope, using an eclectic combination of evidence-based
treatment models to target the specific needs and goals of each individual. She specializes in
helping people face life transitions or struggles with a self compassionate lens. She is
passionate about helping to expose behavioral and thought patterns that no longer serve you.

To Leigha, therapy is about gaining a deeper understanding of yourself and learning to build on your strengths. It is important to find trust, safety and compassion with one’s therapist in order to feel supported enough to do the necessary work. Her primary goal is to provide that space for her clients.

Matt Russell, PhD

Matt is an academic, activist, pastor, professor and teacher. He is on staff at Chapelwood United
Methodist Church in Houston and is the Executive Director of Iconoclast Artists and
projectCURATE (a non-profit educational and social enterprise incubator that seeks to build
bridges across cultural, economic, religious and racial divides in Houston).

He has taught at Duke Divinity, Fuller Seminary and completed a two-year postdoctoral
fellowship at the University of Cambridge in Psychology and Religion. In 2010, he completed
his Ph.D. at Texas Tech University in Human Development where he explored how women
construct alternative narratives of redemption from years of sustained trauma and abuse.

Prior to this he planted and pastored a church called Mercy Street, a “church for people that
hated church”.

Matt has worked extensively with ex-offenders and recovering addicts. In collaboration with
Marlon and other Houston educators he is developing innovative curriculum for public schools
which seek to provide pathways of learning and economic opportunity for kids in the inner city.

Matt is married to Michele and they have three wonderful, crazy boys: Miguel, Lucas, and

Julie Cunningham, LCSW-S, LCDC

Julie is a long-time veteran in the behavioral and mental health professional community. It is her mission to change the way we view relationships and how we treat the individuals who are affected by addiction and mental health issues. For over 25 years, Julie has been helping individuals, couples, and families who are interested in creating lasting positive change. Julie uses a combination of evidence-based approaches which are client-centered. Drawing on her rich body of experience, Julie is able to connect with and create authentic relationships with her clients. Additionally, Julie is a Level 3 trained Gottman Method couples therapist. Valuing and supporting diversity allows Julie to work with a wide range of couples and partners from all walks of life. By engaging couples in a unique way, Julie is able to cultivate a deep understanding of partnership systems and work to effectively improve contact, communication, understanding, and intimacy. Julie believes that each person and family system is unique with their own set of challenges and strengths, which can both complicate and enhance the paths to healing and recovery. She knows that healing and recovery are possible for anyone who is suffering and will not give up until a successful path is found for her clients. Julie graduated from Columbia University with a Master’s degree in Social Work. She also has advanced training in Motivational Interviewing, Relapse Prevention Counseling, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and has worked extensively with people who are struggling with addiction and who are dealing with childhood trauma and/or mental illness. In her free time Julie enjoys spoiling her two dogs and two accidental cats, painting, tinkering and belly laughing with the people in her life who get her.

Tyler Ward, LCDC, CCTP, CGCS

Tyler Ward is a licensed chemical dependency counselor, a certified clinical trauma professional, and a certified grief counselor specialist. Tyler is driven by his passion for assisting individuals and families in achieving recovery from substance use disorders and other co-occurring disorders. Additionally, Tyler works to help others heal from trauma and grief and to help individuals find their purpose and mission in life. With more than a decade of experience, his own recovery, and extensive training in facilitating a specialized way to treat trauma and grief, Tyler works to heal the whole person.

Bill Kerley, PhD

Bill Kerley, in addition to his private practice as a counselor and spiritual director, has also
served as an instructor at Baylor College of Medicine, where he taught beliefs and behaviors
necessary to enhance and prolong the lives of ‘at risk’ heart patients. He has held the position of
past president in both the Houston Association of Marriage and Family Therapy and the
National Speakers Association, Houston Chapter. A significant portion of his life energy is
dedicated to writing and delivering ‘life talks’ designed to contribute to individual psychological
and spiritual growth.

Bill Kerley likes to view himself as someone who understands the principles and practices that
individuals can employ to enhance and enrich every aspect of their lives.