TAHEAD FY2024 Leadership
President – Dr. Liesl Hecht, PhD, LPC, NCC
Greetings, I am Dr. Liesl Hecht and I am thrilled to serve as president of TAHEAD for the 2023-2024 fiscal year. I have had a passion for learning about human development and humanistic therapies since the beginning of my journey in higher education. I have my Bachelor Science in Human Development and Family Sciences from the University of Texas at Austin. I received my MS in counseling and PhD in counselor education from Texas A&M University- Corpus Christi, a CACREP accredited university. I am a licensed professional counselor in the state of Texas and a nationally certified counselor. I am an assistant professor at Grand Canyon University (GCU). I appreciate the opportunity to work as a humanistic focused educator in an online learning environment. I enjoy serving in various leadership and service roles, as well as publishing and presenting on current research.
President-Elect – Dr. Pedro (PJ) Blanco
Hello, my name is PJ Blanco and I am excited to be President Elect of TAHEAD. I have been a member of TAHEAD for since 2008, and have served on the board of this organization in the roles of Treasurer and Board Member at Large. As the future President Elect of TAHEAD, I see my role as an opportunity to continue the mission statement of the organization in promoting positive human growth and development through counseling, education, and advocacy. As a counselor and counselor educator I value the innate potential of all my clients and strive to provide an environment where each person is inherently accepted. This is infused in my teaching of future counselors and in my desire to aid the profession. My hope is to continue to promote the principles and ideals of humanism, and to help serve the division in empowering members to continue to make a difference in all they do.
Past President – Wannigar Ratanavivan, Ph.D., LPC, NCC
Dr. Ratanavivan is a clinical assistant professor and clinical coordinator of the Counseling and Educational Psychology Department at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. Dr. Ratanavivan served on TAHEAD board as a president for the 2018-2019 fiscal year and has continued to support the division in various capacities. Dr. Ratanavivan has over 7 years of clinical experience working in schools and community settings where she incorporates humanistic principles into her work with clients. Dr. Ratanavivan is looking forward to serving TAHEAD as the 2023-2024 past president and being a contributing member to the division.
Director – Dr. Rachelle Morales, PhD, LPC
Dr. Rachelle Morales received both her MS in counseling and PhD in counselor education at Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi, where she is currently an adjunct professor. Dr. Morales has also served in a variety of clinical settings as a licensed professional counselor in Texas since 2016. She currently works in a private practice setting in San Antonio after working in a foster care setting for unaccompanied minors and a residential treatment center for troubled youth. Dr. Morales' specializes in trauma informed care for PTSD and dissociation. She is EMDR Certified, TF-CBT Certified, and an EMDRIA approved Consultant-in-Training. Dr. Morales's passions lie in working with the Hispanic population; she has dedicated her teaching and research to Latine studies and bilingual counseling. Dr. Morales is looking forward to continuing her leadership with TAHEAD. She is currently serving her second and final term as Director of TAHEAD after serving as Membership chair for the Gulf Coast Counseling Association for 3 years.
Senator – Dr. Kate Rodriguez, PhD, LPC-S
Dr. Kate Rodriguez earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from George Washington University, then returned to Texas to earn a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Counseling and doctoral degree in Counselor Education and Supervision from Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi. Dr. Rodriguez is a Forensic Mental Health Evaluator and Traumatologist, a Licensed Professional Counselor - Supervisor (LPC-S) and adjunct professor at Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi. With a decade of clinical, forensic, and academic experience, Dr. Kate Rodriguez provides testimony as an Expert Witness in critical cases including child abuse, domestic violence, immigration cases, and capital murder prosecutions. Dr. Kate Rodriguez founded her private practice and built her business into a group practice, Youvolve Healing Center, offering individual, couple, family, and group counseling services.
Treasurer – Dr. Ryan Foster, PhD, LPC-S, CHST
Ryan D. Foster, PhD, LPC-S, CHST, is associate professor of counseling at Tarleton State University in Fort Worth and founder of the Humanistic Sandtray Therapy Institute. He has been a practicing psychotherapist since 2007 and a counselor educator since 2010. Dr. Foster is an active researcher in the areas of humanistic sandtray therapy, transpersonal experiences, and contemporary issues in counselor education and supervision. He has co-authored a treatment manual on humanistic sandtray therapy (HST), a model of expressive arts counseling, and is engaged in multiple treatment outcome studies with children and adults.
Board Member at Large – Julia Dell’Aquila-Linares, Ph.D., NCC
Dr. Julia Dell’Aquila-Linares is a Nationally Accredited Counselor, and Counselor Educator who has worked in the field of mental health counseling for over 8 years where she has served in a variety of clinical settings. Dr. Dell’Aquila-Linares’ passion and clinical experience is rooted in supporting children and adolescents in emotion regulation, coping skills, and self-expression to increase overall adjustment and development. Dr. Dell’Aquila-Linares has served the counseling field through active membership and leadership roles in several local, state, and national level organizations. In 2019, Dr. Dell’Aquila-Linares was the recipient of the Association of Assessment and Research in Counseling Emerging Leader award.
Dr. Dell’Aquila-Linares’s research agenda and passion includes a focus on practical community engagement and integrated primary and behavioral healthcare to increase optimal outcomes for client mental health and wellbeing. Additionally, her research interests have centered around coping strategies in overcoming negative peer influence, gender bias and optimal individual and team functioning with adolescents and high performance first year student athletes. She regularly presents on a variety of adjustment, and life transition focused topics specific to child and adolescent development. Dr. Dell’Aquila was born and raised in Toronto, Canada and now lives in South Texas with her husband, son, two dogs (Max and Copper), and their cat (Goldie). As a former collegiate student athlete, she continues her love for soccer as a player and coach within her local community as well as spending time with her family, being outdoors, and traveling.
Secretary - Jennifer Gerlach, Ph.D., NCC
Jennifer Gerlach, Ph.D., NCC is an assistant professor in Counselor Education at Longwood University. Prior to arriving at Longwood, Dr. Gerlach served as an assistant professor and school counseling liaison at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi for five years. Before moving to Texas, Dr. Gerlach was a high school counselor in Chesterfield, Virginia and contract bereavement counselor at Full Circle Grief Center in Richmond, Virginia for six years. Her research interests include student-athletes, wellness, school counselor preparation and issues, suicide prevention, and bereavement counseling. She is a proud graduate of both the University of Tennessee-Knoxville (B.A., 2007) and Virginia Commonwealth University (M.Ed., 2011; Ph.D., 2017).
Graduate Student Representative
Salutations, my name is Zykeith Hinton and I am a graduate student at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology pursuing a masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Currently, I am an intern at NRSH Wellness where I prefer to take a humanistic and postmodern approach to therapy. Humanistic approaches emphasize the human experience, empathy, unconditional positive regard, and a safe environment which are essential components to reach harmony with growth and healing. I believe that everyone gravitates towards growth and living a meaningful life. I am so excited to begin the work as the Graduate Student Representative in a field where service is key.