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.

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 Leighton, MA, LPC Intern, LCDC, 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.

Shannon Tantillo
Primary Therapist

Shannon Tantillo is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a Supervisory certification and is Licensed in Chemical Dependency Counseling. Shannon serves as a primary therapist, facilitating group and individual therapy at Heights Treatment. She has worked over 27 years in the behavioral health field in all levels of care spanning through research, detox, residential, PHP, IOP and OP with adults, couples, families as well as with children and adolescents. She has owned and operated young adult alternative peer groups and has a high aptitude in cultural sensitivity with specialty populations in the GLBTQ, HIV and alternative lifestyles.

Andrea Shiflet, LMFT
Family Therapist

Andrea has 10 years of experience working in the mental health and substance abuse field. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Texas Tech University. Andrea has extensive experience in supporting family members and loved ones through the difficulties of experiencing addiction in the family system. She is passionate about helping people struggling with addiction and mental health issues to find healing in their family relationships. She also enjoys utilizing Emotionally Focused Therapy as well as Gottman methods to aid family members in creating trust and emotional safety in their relationships.

Kelley Morgan
Client Care Specialist

Kelley is an LPC-Intern, supervised by Julia Ayraud LPC-S, and holds a Masters of Art in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Kelley’s passion and research spotlights how the intersection of race, gender, and sexual orientation shape our identity, self perception, and how we relate to the world. Incorporating her understanding and sensitivity to these topics is foundational for treating mental health challenges related to addiction, substance abuse, and trauma. She has used her warmth and authenticity to quickly connect in both an inpatient setting and a private practice tackling challenges like depression, anxiety, grief, and couples work. Because substance abuse has affected the lives of many people she loves, Kelley sees her work at The Heights as a privilege and an opportunity to support others who have been impacted as well.

Ely Pugh
Director of Human Resources

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!

Kari Pledger
Admissions Specialist

Kari, an Alabama native and Houston transplant, serves as an Admissions Specialist for The Heights Treatment. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Auburn University in 2013, but decided to pursue her true passion in helping people struggling with addiction and mental health issues find their path to recovery. She uses her personal experiences in recovery to connect with individuals, as well as families, seeking support in the treatment process.