Joni Ogle, LCSW, CSAT
CEO of Transcend Texas

Joni has over 25 years of clinical experience, management, and leadership in working with adults and young adults suffering with addiction and trauma.

She is licensed clinical social worker and a certified sex addiction therapist with additional training in Recreational Therapy, Pia Mellody’s Post Induction Therapy, and Dr. Brene Brown’s The Daring Way Shame Resilience curriculum.

Guy Bender, LPC
Clinical Director

Guy brings a unique blend of clinical sophistication, creative program design, and practical business development experience to his role as Clinical Director at Heights Treatment. Heights Treatment offers Partial Hospitalization program (PHP) Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) Supportive Outpatient (SOP) levels of care for Addiction and related issues in Houston TX.

Additionally, Guy has served as a Treatment Placement Specialist to Psychiatrist, Psychologist, and therapists throughout the United States and Internationally. Guy offers extensive program knowledge and clinical experience to help find the most appropriate programs for adolescent and adults seeking treatment of all types related to addiction and other mental health issues.

Merilee Minshew
Intake Coordinator and Program Therapist

Merilee is an LPC-Intern, supervised by Joanna Smith, LPC-S, with a Masters of Art in Art Therapy. Merilee serves as Intake Coordinator and Program Therapist at The Heights Treatment. Her welcoming spirit and warm nature help clients feel safe and cared for from the moment they come into treatment.

When facilitating groups, she uses an assortment of knowledge and skills gained from life experience as well as experience in art psychotherapy, trauma focused cognitive-behavioral therapy, somatic awareness, and mindfulness.

Jon Carapezza
Facility Technician

Jon Carapezza provides a safe and supportive environment as the client care coordinator of Heights Treatment. He is CPI certified from the Crisis Prevention Institute and draws from years of knowledge coupled with personal experience in the recovery community. In 2008 Jon started mentoring for an IOP program in which he helped facilitate support groups, led program provided sober activities in the community, as well as personalized individual assistance to teens and young adults in early recovery. In 2015 Jon began working as the Lead Alternative Peer Group (APG) facilitator for an IOP treatment center. There he led a multitude of recovery engagement support groups for IOP/PHP clients along with weekend hangouts for adolescent, young adult, and adult clients.

Renee Sanwald, LPC, LCDC
Primary Therapist

Renee holds a Masters of Science degree in Counseling from the University of Houston – Clear Lake and a Bachelors of Art degree in Psychology from Texas A&M University. Renee began in the counseling field in 2011 working with victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

In 2012, she transitioned to working with primarily young adults in a substance abuse residential and outpatient treatment facility. Renee’s training in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) helps her to utilize much of the theory to inform her counseling practice. Along with DBT, Renee also uses Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) to guide much of her work.

Dani Peltier, LMSW, LCDC
Primary Therapist

Dani is a Licensed Master of Social Work and a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor with 5 years of experience specializing in addictions. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Sociology at the University of Texas at Austin, and her Master’s degree at the University of Houston. Dani’s experience consists of working with adolescents and adults in both residential and outpatient settings. While in graduate school, she interned with The Daring Way where she was trained in shame resilience theory based on the research of Dr. Brené Brown, and later became a Certified Daring Way Facilitator. Developing a better understanding of how shame, vulnerability, empathy, and authenticity impact people’s daily lives and interactions with others has helped her to grow both professionally and personally. She enjoys incorporating these concepts into her practice because she believes it addresses some of the core issues that lead to addiction and other mental health disorders.

Austin Lieghton, MA, LPC Intern, LCKC, CSAT Candidate
Primary Therapist

Austin Leighton has earned a Master of Arts in Counseling from Dallas Theological Seminary, and is a Licensed Professional Counselor Intern under the supervision of C. Huston McComb, Jr., MA, LPC-S. Austin is also a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor, and has been involved in addictions and recovery since 2008.

He has currently completed his training through the International Association of Trauma and Addiction Professionals to become a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist, and is currently under supervision of a CSAT-S. He has a passion for healing and recovery, and seeing the restoration of broken and damaged relationships due to sexual compulsivity and emotional betrayal. Austin’s training and experience has prepared him to offer the highest quality of recovery care for those struggling with many different process addictions including: sexual compulsivity, love addiction, pornography addiction, emotional/intimacy anorexia, gambling addictions, codependency, and work and money disorders. Austin also offers treatment and support in our program for those family members suffering from betrayal trauma and PTSD as a result of an addicts infidelity.

His class, “Healthy Sexuality, Love, and Relationships” is offered to clients as an exploration of their unhealthy and destructive patterns of sex, love, and relationships, and works with changing and building healthy support and new patterns of intimacy. Topics include: Betrayal Bonds, Addiction Interaction, How We Love, Intimacy vs. Intensity, Love Languages, and more.

Ely Pugh

Born and raised in Mexico, Ely Velázquez Pugh found herself in the lone star state in the late 90’s after her mother re-married. With a broad range of interests and intellectual curiosity, she earned a dual-degree in Human Resources and Organizational Management from Ashford University. Throughout her studies, she gained experience in various areas in Human Resources, Office Management, Marketing and Program Accreditations in industries in the Energy sector, Healthcare, and Oil and Gas.

With her love for HR, she found a home in Transend and provides support to the organization as the Director of Human Resources. Ely has a natural ability to connect with those around her and remains steady and assured even in the most stressful of situations. Sometimes she enjoys her job way too much… a passionate HR gal, that is for sure!