Founder and CEO
Justin is a committed member in the recovery community of Austin and an avid supporter of quality treatment for alcohol and drug abuse. Displaying the highest level of integrity in his personal and professional life, he is a former marine and has worked in the addiction field and commercial construction management. His passion for helping others struggling with addiction brought him to The Arbor. His leadership skills and compassion for others make him excellent with client care and 12-Step support services while maintaining a safe and therapeutic treatment environment.
Jim has been actively working in the alcohol treatment and drug treatment field for over 30 years. He has provided executive leadership in multiple capacities and organizations, including the Greater Austin Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, La Hacienda treatment center in Hunt, Parkside treatment centers, and Heartland Health Systems. Jim recently provided consulting services to Memorial-Hermann Prevention and Recovery Center for marketing, patient access systems, and call center development. Jim has a degree in Education and has been a certified alcohol and drug counselor and a graduate of Johnson Institute of Intervention.
Texas native Eloise DeJoria is an owner of The Arbor Behavioral Healthcare in partnership with her son Justin Harvey and recovery expert Jim Walker. Having seen the transformation of recovery in friends and loved ones, Eloise has been an ardent supporter of holistic healing programs for more than 30 years. She uses her philanthropy and platform to ensure that more people have access to recovery. A film and television actress, Eloise also contributes to the arts through organizations like Paramount Theater, The Austin Film Society, and Girls Impact the World Film Festival. Through global and local efforts, Eloise is committed to helping people lead healthy and fulfilled lives.
Brian Samford (PhD, LMFT, LCDC)
I started the journey of recovery in 1990 upon entering a treatment program. At that time, my life was completely out of control and full of pain. During my first week of treatment, I was assigned a counselor who assisted me in changing life paths. I do not remember much of what he told me, but I do remember something much more valuable. He demonstrated the highest levels of love and concern for this stranger that presented in front of him. His compassion so impacted me that I decided to be a counselor just like him once I became stable in life.
My first job in mental health was in 1991 at Vernon State Hospital as a nursing tech. I also began studying to become a chemical dependency counselor at the time. I learned a tremendous amount from both endeavors. In 1994, I received a scholarship at Texas Tech University in the Center for the Study of Addiction. The program was for students who had a history of addiction and demonstrated a strong commitment to recovery. I graduated with my undergraduate degree in Human Development and Family Studies in 1996. I achieved a master’s degree in 1996 and was eventually able to complete a doctorate degree in 2006 in Marriage and Family Therapy. My initial intent was to stop at the undergraduate degree. What led to continued study was the desire to become more proficient in working with families. I had some challenging experiences early on while working with families.
I became a licensed chemical dependency counselor in 1997 and a marriage and family therapist in 2001. Over the years, I have worked in a variety of capacities, including, but not limited to, counselor, therapist, clinical director, executive director, and owner. Facilities of work included Vernon State Hospital, Lubbock State School, Lubbock MHMR, Southwest Institute for Addictive Diseases, John T. Montford Psychiatric Unit, DePaul Center, Starlite Recovery Center, and Creekview Counseling. I am currently honored with being the executive director at The Arbor Behavioral Healthcare. Much of my career has been focused on creating more effective methods for treating persons struggling with addiction and mental health issues. I have also focused on creating supportive ethical work environments that allow employees to feel part of something special.
Russell H. Carter (MD, MBA)
Dr. Carter is a diplomate of the ABPM&R with a subspecialty certification in pain management and a diplomate of the American Board of Addiction Medicine. He graduated from the St. George’s School of Medicine and received his MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. He completed a fellowship in pain management at the Allegheny General Hospital, Pittsburgh, PA.
Casey Coton (DO)
Dr. Coton is board-eligible in general psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Dr. Coton attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and completed his residency in general psychiatry at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center in Temple, Texas. Dr. Coton completed his Master of Science in Clinical Psychology from the St. Mary’s University in San Antonio with a focus on addiction populations in drug court programs, neurorehabilitation, and counseling. He has contributed to research in addiction in various patient populations. Dr. Coton is trained in cognitive-behavioral therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, and motivational interviewing. He approaches treatment from a holistic, non-judgmental, inviting, and empathetic position. Dr. Coton also has interest in neuromodulation, including transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), to further treat problems with mood, anxiety, and addiction.
Director of Admissions and Business Development
After battling addiction for many years and having been through several other treatment centers, Matt found himself at the Arbor in 2014. Here he began to understand his addiction and learn to transform his life. Matt began developing a passion for helping others on their journey toward recovery as the Arbor had helped him on his journey.
He became a house manager for one of the Arbor’s sober living houses then program director for their extended care services. In 2016, he joined the Arbor admissions team. First as a representative, then manager and now the Director of Admissions and Business Development. Matt has so much gratitude for the Arbor community and the family they have become, for giving him not only a fresh start at life, but also for encouraging and believing in him through the transition from client to staff.
Born and raised in Austin, Matt has always had true passion for sports. He loves to play and watch football, basketball, baseball, and golf. He was a championship winning quarterback at Reagan High School, then he went on to play college baseball at Concordia University while studying business management. In his off time he loves to vacation and spend time with his family. He has been blessed enough to marry the love of his life, Kara. They share their home in Hutto with their 2 cats and 10lb Rat-cha (rat terrier-chihuahua). Matt loves to jog the trails with his dog, Doby, and practice meditation.
Melissa Rivera (MSN, RN, PMHNP-BC)
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
Melissa is a board-certified psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner, licensed and trained to treat behavioral health concerns across the lifespan. Through her practice, she aims to reduce the stigma in mental health and promote healing with culturally competent care. Melissa is bilingual and fluent in Spanish, with a particular interest in serving diverse populations.
Melissa graduated with her master’s degree in Nursing from The University of Texas at Austin, where she completed a scholars program in Integrative Behavioral Health. Melissa is trained in multiple therapeutic modalities, including: psychodynamic psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, play therapy, and motivational interviewing. Prior to entering into advanced practice nursing, Melissa served as a critical care nurse in the emergency department for various Austin area hospitals, where she treated acute medical and psychiatric needs. Before her entry into nursing, she received her master’s degree in Counseling and worked as a licensed professional counselor in the Austin Area. Her experience as an LPC spanned from working with severe mental illness through the local mental health authority doing community-based outreach, working with adolescents in the juvenile probation system, as well as working with families and children who were victims of abuse through the Child Advocacy Center in Travis County.
Melissa’s approach to treatment is to work collaboratively with her patients to support their treatment goals with evidence-based practice while fostering an empathetic and non-judgmental environment.
Austin Weber (MS, LCDC)
Clinical Services Manager
Austin received his bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Quincy University and his master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy with a specialization in couples therapy from Northcentral University. Austin’s treatment career has been enhanced by a variety of roles, including intensive outpatient counselor, residential treatment counselor, and family services manager. He believes that addiction is a family disease; therefore, treatment is necessary for the whole family.
Austin entered the field of addiction treatment after his own personal experience with family members in addiction. His adolescent experience motivated him to commit his professional career to helping those suffering from addiction and alcoholism.
Austin is a United States Marine Corps veteran, a former collegiate basketball player, and a devoted dog dad. In his free time, he enjoys a variety of sports and being outdoors.
Kris Gonzalez (M.S., TRI, ESMHL)
Kris has over 20 years of experience in cognitive-behavioral therapy and over ten years of experience in equine-assisted services and therapies. She has worked with children and adults with disabilities, at-risk youth, children in foster care, abused children, veterans, parolees, and the homeless. Kris joined The Arbor in 2012 under the mentorship of Mary Lynn Szymandera, LCDC, CEIP, founder of The Arbor’s equine program. Kris is a therapeutic riding instructor (TRI) and equine specialist in mental health and learning (ESMHL) certified by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH International). She has received training from the EAGALA (Equine- Assisted Growth and Learning Association) and Natural Lifemanship™. Kris oversees the care and well-being of The Arbor horses and facilitates weekly one-on-one equine therapy sessions and weekly gender-specific group equine sessions for The Arbor clients. She also facilitates equine therapy for The Arbor’s monthly family program.
Debbie Fowler (LCDC)
Intensive Outpatient Program Manager
Deborah “Debbie” Fowler is a licensed chemical dependency counselor. I started my personal research into substance abuse after losing my Dad at an early age. After graduating from North Texas State University with a B.F.A, I continued my research until I reluctantly surrendered to the 12 Steps of recovery after unsuccessfully changing my alcoholic. I also learned how the effects of living with active alcoholism had affected myself and my family. While working in the corporate world, I had the honor of volunteering at the city jail with women with trauma and substance use disorders. I saw and felt the healing power effects of their sharing their experience, strength, and hope, as well as mine. They made my heart grow bigger. I left the corporate world, went back to school, became an LCDC counselor, and never looked back.
I was born and raised in Dallas, Texas but decided to be closer to my family in Austin last year. I am grateful that I found a job steeped in the 12 Steps of recovery. I am a proud mom of two grown sons and two “Frenchies.”