Other Team Members


Ramona Cortez, M.Ed.

My name is Ramona Cortez. I have a Masters in Education with a Mental Health Counseling specialty.  I am a Certified Professional Coach and Somatic Experience Practitioner and excited to bring this practice to GCCS Trauma Healing and Recovery Center.   I am also a Practitioner of Reiki and Healing Touch Energy work. I am not a Mental Health licensed clinician. Being a Reiki Practitioner has helped me tune into clients which also helps to understand the body’s energy.  My SE training has guided me in assisting clients to become aware of what their body needs in order to return to the its natural ability to heal.

My medical background as an EMT -B and EMT -A, has helped me become familiar with how the body reacts to physical injury and trauma.  One of my passions is to provide a safe place for first responders to also do their own trauma healing. There is a stigma among first responders that in order to be in control of your emotions and protect your reputation, you are stronger when you disconnect from your patients or the incident that occurred.  This has caused an array of issues for our first responder, that many continue to harbor.  Studies have shown that cumulative traumas produce burnout and ultimately lead to PTSD.  This burnout and PTSD leaks into our personal lives at home with our families.  They receive the secondary trauma.   I feel very strongly about the work that first responders do and want to send a message that we are here to assist you to discharge the trauma, so you can go on with your work of saving lives.

Working in the mental health and addiction field for 18 years as a frontline provider, has allowed me to utilize brief intervention counseling and crisis counseling on a daily basis. The ability to be present and aware of where the client is at the time of their crisis is essential. This is a pivotal point for them, so understanding the role you play for each situation can be taxing and rewarding.

Another area that I am passionate about is helping those heal from human trafficking trauma.  ATA – Anti-Trafficking Alliance, first introduced me to Human Trafficking survivors and the many faces it affected.  Those survivors were dealing with sexual trauma, substance abuse and other mental health issues.  All areas that my training and experience has guided me to work with them in their healing journey.    I have gratitude for the dual learning that comes from working with these survivors.  Not only have I helped them, but they have helped me grow in my experience.

I look to forward to working with you where you are and get you to a place of peace in your mind, body, and spirit. Movement is progress so let’s move together!




Kate Kirages-Gordon, LCSW

I am Kate Kirages-Gordon (she/her) and I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. I obtained my Master of Social Work at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work in 2017. Through a winding path of navigating person-centered care within complex healthcare and hospice systems, legislative affairs, and acute psychiatric facilities, I have found a passion for translating and reshaping my systems-wired focus to provide direct psychotherapy interventions.

Over the course of my career, I have worked with clients who have experienced interpersonal, family, systemic, and complex trauma in a variety of settings, many times with different types of trauma overlapping and at different points throughout the lifespan. These settings and populations include: reentry resources to people who were incarcerated, addressing emergency response and substance use care coordination for patients, providing psychosocial support to women and families, working with patients experiencing acute medical and mental health crises in an emergency department, providing support to families and patients in hospice services, working as a clinician at an acute care psychiatric hospital, and working with adolescents at an intensive outpatient program for individual, group, and family therapy.

This vast range of my previous practice settings has allowed me to fashion a patchwork-style, eclectic approach to therapy in which the client remains centered as the expert in their lives. Drawing from an intersectional framework, I strive to create space for clients to build and find solace in strengthening coping skills while navigating both the chaos of life and their internal world.

My skill set and commitment to both personal and professional growth blend together to create a unique lens under which I practice. It is through this lens that I am able to maintain a fresh perspective with my clients and bring to light the power of vulnerability in action. With gratitude and excitement, I look forward to assisting and witnessing my clients’ growth as they cultivate their inner harmony at GCCS Trauma Healing and Recovery Center.




Derek Hess Intake Specialist

I’m Derek Hess and I am GCCS’s Intake Specialist and a current Masters in Education in Clinical Counseling candidate at the University of Houston. I’m a Houston native and have lived here a majority of my life. I got my Bachelors of Science in Petroleum Engineering at Texas A&M University in 2017 and decided to leave the engineering sector behind to dive into the mental health industry in 2022.

During 2022, I went to volunteer at Springbox Farms in Weatherford, Texas as an assistant therapist and farmhand. My responsibilities included helping the primary therapists help traumatized and mentally sensitive children nurture a sense of wellness though creative play, nature guided therapy, and other practices rooted in living in the present.  After volunteering within my home state, I decided to take myself abroad for volunteering opportunities. I ended up heading to Aberdeen Scotland to volunteer at Camphill School Aberdeen. While there, I provided full support and care to residential students with significant additional needs such as Level 3 autism, fetal alcohol syndrome, and reactive attachment disorder. These students, aged 9-18, have been given the chance to live as “normal” of a life as possible and I am glad and appreciative I could be there for a part of their journey. I partook in therapy sessions with my students that were specifically designed to help them express their emotional needs. Among the other volunteers, I was the second oldest and found myself mentoring the younger volunteers, fostering a sense of family and trust between our team.

Words cannot express how appreciative I am to be on the Trauma Healing Team here at GCCS as an Intake Specialist to start my career within the mental health industry!