We are the only center in the United States with a multi-dimensional approach to weight-loss designed to, in one program, provide you with all of the missing pieces necessary to create lasting change, achieve improved health and wellness, and build a better life.

Congratulations!

You’ve taken the first step by acknowledging the need to change your relationship with food in order to have the life you desire and achieve lasting weight loss.

Our Mission

At The Bariatric Counseling Center of San Antonio, we are here to help you by providing the counseling, education, and support you need to embrace the behavioral changes that will help ensure that the weight you take off, stays off.

We are an Intensive Outpatient Program geared towards assisting people whose prior weight loss attempts have not been successful because their dieting habits were unsustainable. We focus on creating that change through insight and awareness into one’s relationship with food and developing realistic habits that you can sustain throughout your life. In our program, you will establish adaptive coping mechanisms to reduce the use of food to cope with stress and emotions and eliminate binge eating and other problematic behaviors. We come together as a community to prepare and eat a meal at each session, learning new cooking and eating habits that support your success. You will do all of this in a community who understands the struggle and who are all working toward change and success.

Staff

Our staff is trained in helping patients identify and address the physical, emotional, societal, and psychological dynamics that are crucial for understanding the causes of obesity and binge eating. From cooking and nutrition skills, to physical fitness regimens, to understanding the personal needs or issues that drive overeating, our team will equip you with the tools to transform your life. With nearly 100 years of combined experience, we’re here to support your long-term success by providing the education, therapy, counseling, and insights you need to change your relationship with food, and to embrace healthier lifestyle choices in areas like eating, exercise and relationships.

Clinical Team

Dr. Sara Hamilton

Dr. Sara Hamilton

Licensed Clinical Psychologist - Director of Clinical Services

About
Dr. Hamilton believes long-term weight loss success comes from healing mind and body together. Much of Dr. Hamilton’s academic and clinical efforts have been devoted towards considering the ways in which practicing mindfulness facilitates improved emotional health, bodily awareness, and self-compassion. Dr. Hamilton particularly enjoys working with clients in the midst of life transitions and values the opportunity to help our clients as they explore new ways to meet their weight loss goals. To facilitate achieving and maintaining weight loss success, she is invested in helping clients explore how their relationships with food and with others impact their eating and exercise habits. Dr. Hamilton brings a compassionate and empathic presence to her work in which she seeks to empower clients as they discover new avenues of happiness in their lives. In addition to acting as a staff psychologist, Dr. Hamilton is tasked with researching and evaluating the success of our program.
Nancy Albus LPC, NCC, CEDS-S

Nancy Albus LPC, NCC, CEDS-S

Clinical Advisor

About

Nancy Albus joined the BCC in June of 2017 to assist with the expanding the clinical mission in San Antonio. She has extensive experience as a former Chief Executive Officer managing and growing nationally accredited eating disorder treatment facilities. Nancy is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) with extensive training and over 18 years of experience in eating disorders, depression, anxiety, relationships and family therapy. She is a Certified Eating Disorder Specialist and Supervisor by International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals and brings that specialization to the program, staff and clients as the Clinical Advisor.

She is passionate about access to mental healthcare, removing the stigma associated with therapy and assisting the clients with a process leading to empowerment and improved quality of life.

Marie Lewis LPC

Marie Lewis LPC

Outpatient Therapist

 

About

Marie Lewis is a Licensed Professional Counselor earning her master’s in clinical Mental Counseling from Troy University and is currently a Doctoral Student with Northcentral University. Before becoming a Therapist, Marie was a Chief Petty Officer in the United States Navy, who served honorably for 24 years. She was a Paralegal, Navy Master Training Specialist, and Military Guidance Counselor.

Marie specializes in Military Marriage and Family Therapy and regularly attends training sessions to showcase education and certification techniques. Her areas of focus are mental, emotional, and behavioral issues in a variety of healthcare settings. A strong believer in the power of positive thinking, she enjoys working with families, individuals, groups and couples on issues ranging from substance abuse, psychoanalysis, and learning disability counseling. Marie enjoys exercising, traveling and spending time with her husband and family.

Libby Benavides LPC-I

Libby Benavides LPC-I

Therapist

About
Libby is a Licensed Professional Counselor-Intern who received her Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from the University of Texas at San Antonio. Libby pursued counseling because she believes in the power of healthy, supportive relationships and empowering clients with the skills they need for life-long change. Libby combines her passion and background to support individuals who feel overwhelmed by life’s challenges and the stress that comes along with it. She does this by working collaboratively to assist in overcoming the barriers hindering success. Libby’s goal is to create a supportive space that helps you discover your own personal strengths and challenge distorted thought patterns or beliefs. Her holistic approach provides you with a new lens with which to see yourself and an experience filled with self-discovery without fear of judgment.
James M. Gemino

James M. Gemino LPC-I

Therapist

About
James often suggests to his clients that the first step to experiencing external change is to make an internal change. He also believes that adjustments in mentality and perspective are critical when hoping to achieve the long-lasting happiness he insists all people deserve. James was awarded his Master of Science degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling by Long Island University, where his holistic and person-centered approach helped clients to realize that they are so much more than just their diagnosis. He spent his early career working in a residential treatment center where he was part of a team that helped clients to manage the symptoms of their eating disorder, generalized anxiety, bipolar, major depressive disorder, and borderline personality disorder diagnoses. Having recently relocated to San Antonio from New York, James continues to help clients work towards finding their own self-love and inner peace. James is also a professional musician and is always considering how music can be used to enhance client experience.
 Christi Brooks LPC-I

Christi Brooks LPC-I

Outpatient Therapist

About
Christi is a Licensed Professional Counselor Intern. Christi graduated with a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy. Since being licensed as an intern, she has experience working with a variety of clients and in different settings. Centering on a belief in the Person-Centered theories, she applies a variety of techniques and theories to practice; this allows the client to set the goals and pace of treatment while applying techniques of practice that are applicable to their unique situation. As the outpatient therapist, Christi hopes to help clients continue their process of change by focusing on accountability, education and emotional support.
Lisa J. Boden Felchle, M.A.

Lisa J. Boden Felchle, M.A.

Therapist

About
Lisa is a Clinical Psychology Extern working under the supervision of Dr. Sara Hamilton. She is completing her final graduate coursework at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Washington, DC campus. Throughout her studies she has focused on health psychology, trauma, eating disorders, and evidence-based treatments for PTSD, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and other disorders. She has experience and enjoys working with the military and veteran populations. Lisa takes an integrative approach to therapy to meet the individual needs of clients, while using evidence-based interventions. She is compassionate about guiding and empowering clients to overcome their darkest moments and live their best life.

Medical Team

Dr. Nathan S. Johnston

Dr. Nathan S. Johnston

Psychiatrist

About

Dr. Johnston is a private practice psychiatrist that has recently moved to the Northwest area of San Antonio. He completed his psychiatry residency training at the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio (UTHSCSA) where he served as the chief resident in his final year of training. Dr. Johnston has been the recipient of multiple national and local awards, has published and presented multiple research projects of his own design, and remains an adjunct faculty member at the UT Health San Antonio campus where he gives weekly lectures to the psychiatry residents and medical students. Dr. Johnston is well known for his kind and empathic demeanor as well as his exceptional bedside manner.

When he is not practicing psychiatry, Dr. Johnston enjoys spending time with his family, including his two dogs Maverick and Primrose, going to the movies, golfing, surfing the gulf coast, and rooting for the San Antonio Spurs. Go Spurs Go!

Dedra D. Peterson

Dedra D. Peterson

Registered Nurse BSN

About

Dedra is a registered nurse who received her BSN from West Texas A&M University in 2009.  She has experience in many areas of nursing to include Cardiology, Mental/Behavioral Health and Home Health.  Dedra is passionate about nursing. She believes in taking a holistic approach to self-care, taking care of both mind and body. In her free time Dedra loves to draw and paint in her free time.

Dietitian Team

Chasley Fortune

Chasley Fortune

Registered Dietitian

About
Chasley is a Registered Dietitian who is licensed to practice in Texas. She was born and raised in San Antonio, attending private school from 4k-12th grade and participated in multiple sports growing up. She graduated from the University of Texas of San Antonio Coordinated Dietetics program with a Masters in May 2019. Chasley has a Fiancé, an older sister, and my two parents who also live in San Antonio. Chasley hopes to show everyone how to have a loving relationship with food in their lives and to spread to joys of nutrition knowledge.
Nicole Harris

Nicole Harris

Registered Dietitian

About

Nicole holds both a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and Master of Science in Nutrition. She has trained at some of the nation’s leading research institutes including the National Institutes of Health and Sanford Burnham Medical Research Institute conducting research in diabetes, obesity, and aging. She received her nutrition training at Bastyr University in Seattle, Washington with a focus on integrative and functional whole foods nutrition. There, she was trained to worked with an integrative healthcare team including Naturopathic doctors as well as Herbal and Chinese medicine practitioners, to provide holistic care to all her patients. 

Nicole is skilled at relaying complex scientific information to patients. She believes that when patients truly understand the science behind diet and lifestyle changes, they are more likely to follow through and make long term changes. She is passionate about empowering patients to be advocates for their own health. Through patient-centered counseling, she guides her clients through self-discovery with which they become informed and proactive members of their own health care. Nicole takes a holistic approach, not only focusing on nutrition education, but honoring how healthy mind and body are both required for lasting change.  

Nicole lives with her cat, Charles Darwin. She spends her free time emersed in activities that expand her mind.  She also enjoys reading, painting, and singing karaoke.

Executive Chef and Culinary Instructor

Chef Byron Young

Chef Byron Young

Executive Chef

About

Inspired by his mothers’ passion for cooking, Byron started his path in the industry as a busboy in a Fine Dining Hotel restaurant here in San Antonio, then eventually moving to prep and line cook prior to joining the Armed Forces. He served his country overseas in the Military and learned an array of Culinary Techniques from local Chefs and Restaurateurs on his off time. After returning home close to seven years later, he jumped back into the industry as a line cook and continued to further his education in Culinary School. He then moved on to be a Sous Chef at a newly built hospital for a few years.

Wanting to expand his knowledge and creativity, Byron ultimately went into the private sector as a Personal Chef and Caterer. In 2019, an opportunity of a lifetime was presented to him and he applied for a position at BCC. Byron is now the Executive Chef and Instructor for the Bariatric Counseling Center here in San Antonio, TX. He strives every day to bring his talents, artistry, and personal connection to food to our wonderful cliental. Byron’s dream is to one day have his own Cooking show on the Food Network and meet his idols he grew up watching.

“I feel so blessed to be a part of this team, and I am very thankful I can make a change in somebody’s life for the good”. Chef Bryon

Movement Instructor

Dr. Kimberly Tovar, PT, DPT

Dr. Kimberly Tovar, PT, DPT

Physcial Therapist

About
Dr. Kim Tovar is a Physcial Therapist that works at Texas Physcial Therapy Specialists in the same building as the Bariatric Counseling Center. She has been working with bariatric patients for almost 2 years now and has a strong passion for movement and wellness. Kim acts as the movement specialist at Bariatric Counseling Center, providing mindful movement sessions to get patients motivated to move and exercise. She leads group exercise sessions and provides education to patients to help them address their barriers to movement!

Intake and Admission Team

Toi Butler

Toi Butler

Intake & Admission Coordinator

About

Toi Butler is the Intake & Admission Coordinator at The Bariatric Counseling Center. She has been with the BCC for almost a year and is dedicated to educating clients on our services. Toi is here to assist in scheduling, billing, and answering any questions you may have as you embark on your journey.

Toi works closely with the physician’s offices to ensure all patients are scheduled and seen in a timely manner. She brings over 15 years of experience working in an office environment and managing the day today day of the office. Her personality helps with making everyone that comes in feel welcome as she does not meet a stranger. In her free time, she enjoys cooking and doing crafts.

Teresa Tipton

Teresa Tipton

Intake Coordinator

About

Teresa Tipton is an Intake Coordinator at The Bariatric Counseling Center and is dedicated to educating clients on our services as they embark on their journey toward sustainable weight loss and pursuing a greater quality of life. Teresa works with clients, along with physician’s offices and other professionals, to share program information and assist in client admissions.

Viewing intake as a valuable resource for those trying to figure out where to get support, Teresa is known for her friendliness and passion for working in this field. She brings over 11 years of experience working with behavioral health treatment centers in both intake and outreach roles and is grateful to be a part of the team at BCC. In her free time, she enjoys walking on the beach, yoga and traveling with her husband.

Autumn Hernandez

Autumn Hernandez

Intake & Admission Assistant

About
Autumn is the smiling face or the helpful person you reach when you call the Center or as most patients like to call her “the one who sends the emails”. She works with Intake team and the clinical team to coordinate admissions and client schedules. Autumn loves Sharks and her hobbies include hanging out with my family and friends, reading, swimming, and preaching. She looks forward to meeting each client and hopes to make your experience at BCC more enjoyable.

Facility

From the beginning, we set out to create an environment that is as comfortable as it is functional. Designed specifically to accommodate people of size, our therapy and counseling areas have a warm, welcoming ambiance. Our executive chef teaches healthy cooking in our teaching kitchen, on par with culinary schools around the country. We want our clients to be excited about enjoyable healthy options, avoiding the feelings of deprivation that often accompany the diets that lead to failure. If participating in person with our COVID safety precautions are not for you, we offer telehealth services over our HIPPA compliant platform that enable you to participate in all programming virtually, as if you were present. If you are interested in our services, we encourage you to visit our facility. Contact us to arrange a tour, so you can see firsthand the caring environment and positive results that await our patients.
Bariatric Counseling Center Lobby
Bariatric Counseling Center Kitchen
Bariatric Counseling Center Kitchen Corner
Bariatric Counseling Center Kitchen
Bariatric Counseling Center Dining Room
Bariatric Counseling Center Dining Room