About Us

Cathy Woodyard

Personally

Energetic, creative, caring — all are words to describe Cathy, founder of A Sheltering Tree. Nothing brings her more joy or life than creating — whether that is a workshop, a page in her journal, a painting, or a new recipe. Cathy loves nature and travel and is always finding ways to combine the two on trips she plans for her and her husband. She has a strong, life-long connection to trees (her mother was an Oaks, she is a Wood Yard, and the beauty of changing leaves sends her soul soaring), so creating a healing place on Chestnut St. seems only natural.

Professionally

Cathy is a counselor and a teacher. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor who has been in private practice in McKinney for over twenty years. As a teacher, she has taught on the high school, community college, and university levels and has led workshops and retreats throughout the United States.

Education

Cathy is a life-long learner, seeking new creative techniques to bring to her practice. Cathy received a BS and MS in English from West Texas State University. This prepared her for her years of teaching high school and college English. In 1987 she moved to Texas A&M–Commerce where she began her studies to become a counselor. She obtained a doctorate in counseling and became a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor (LPC-S). Cathy is not finished learning — she is currently in a psychodrama training group where she continues to learn new methods for working with clients.

Her Joys

Cathy has many joys, beginning with exploring Hawaii with Jim, being greeted by Scamper and Trixie, going on twice-yearly retreats with her group of “sisters,” conversations with long-time friends, capturing an experience in written words, reading a well-written book, catching sight of a soaring hawk, experiencing the holiness of life’s process, and sacred moments of silence. And many, many more . . .

Make an appointment with Cathy.


Bill Nichols

Personally

Bill has been described as “laid back, calm, genuine, and easy to talk to.” He dresses very casually, and he explains, “When people come to see me for counseling, I want them to feel like they’re sitting at home in their living room visiting with a friend.”

When Bill was a kid, he dreamed of walking around town rescuing stray dogs. He wanted to give them a home – make them feel loved. He didn’t realize until later that his dream had been sparked because he, too, had looked for a safe home and had wanted to be loved. This became his purpose – to aid others in finding and fulfilling their own dreams. His own recovery journey started in 1988 when he was 19. Since that time, he has been challenged to deal with his own issues related to addictions, abuse, and abandonment. Using the Twelve Steps and his own therapy, he now lives a life he always hoped for.

Professionally

Bill’s dream led him to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor. He has had the opportunity to counsel in many settings and various populations. He began by working at an inpatient psychiatric hospital for seven years; there, he started their first intensive out-patient program. He also worked in a residential treatment center for adolescents and young adults for six years; the last year and-a-half there, he served as the clinical director. Bill began doing private practice work in 1992, but it became his primary focus in 2007. Occasionally, Bill also co-leads workshops and retreats. Bill continues to seek out a strong professional network of other professionals who are committed to working on their own issues just as he is. He enjoys working with, referring to, and learning from professionals whose work reflects their own personal growth and maturity.

Education

Bill is a student – always eager to learn new methods of healing. He received his Certified Alcohol and Drug Counseling Certificate (CADAC) in 1989 and became a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor (LCDC) in 1990. He received his Bachelors of Social Work in 1997 and his Master’s in Social Work in 1999. Strongly influenced by working on treatment teams with excellent psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, nurses, and social workers, Bill also seeks out wisdom from many different individuals and clients – regardless of their title or educational background.

Joys

“My first and foremost joy,” Bill states, “is my family.” Married to Denise for almost 20 years, Bill and Denise have two children, Andrew and Mariah. Most of Bill’s friends and family describe him as a big cut up who loves to pull jokes on them. A man who loves the outdoors, Bill loves playing and coaching sports, fishing, four-wheeling, swimming, and camping out. Outside of time with his family, Bill feels one of his greatest joys is “when someone honors me by letting me be a small part of their healing process. There is nothing more spiritual or holy than being present as someone faces and heals old wounds.”

Make an appointment with Bill.


Heather Wallis

Personally

Heather has been said to possess a deep soulfulness coupled with an adventurous optimism. She believes in embracing the profound things in life and creatively expressing growth, healing and wisdom. One of her greatest joys, both professionally and personally, is her two dogs: Sasha and Kaya. They serve as reminders to live in the moment, find joy in small things, and love with abandon.  Heather enjoys exploration through travel, reading, art, and embracing whatever adventures life may bring.

Professionally

As a therapist, Heather loves to explore creative healing experiences and strength-focused therapy. As a Licensed Professional Counselor – Intern, she has already had a great deal of experience working with people who have experienced trauma or crisis situations. Heather is also fluent in sign language, and after working as an interpreter for several years, now offers therapy to clients who are deaf or hard of hearing. Heather also seeks to facilitate healing for those dealing with grief and loss. She loves facilitating groups, training, and teaching experiences to promote community and individual learning.

Education

Heather received her bachelor’s of science degree in psychology as well as her Master’s of Science in Counseling and Development from Texas Woman’s University. She is a Nationally Certified Counselor and is working on completing her postgraduate hours for her LPC licensure. One of her great passions is continued learning, and she has attended multiple trainings and conferences. Included in those is the Animal Assisted Therapy workshop and she hopes that her dog Sasha will soon pass her test to become a certified therapy dog.

Her Joys

Along with her love of family and her love of animals, Heather enjoys exploring a wide variety of creative experiences. From art museums to cake decorating classes, she seeks the new and beautiful adventures. She has a great love for reading, and always has a book (or three, or five) in progress. She also loves moves, video games, and exploring “geek culture” with her husband. Most of all, whether with an old friend, or a new acquaintance, Heather loves to connect with people. It is what spurs her love of counseling. To her, it could be a counseling room, a local coffee shop with a friend, or a road trip across the country that facilitates relationships. It is her heart to connect that provides motivation, energy, and overwhelming joy.

Make an appointment with Heather.