Chief Clinical Officer Robert Hilliker Weighs in on Acquiring Presence Wellness, Expanding Our Footprint in Austin, Texas

Presence Wellness is now part of Ethos Behavioral Health Group. The Presence team brings a wealth of skills and experience, along with a complimentary mindset to the Ethos continuum of care, ensuring a seamless integration and exciting new offerings for our clients.

We sat down with Ethos Chief Clinical Officer Robert Hilliker, LCSW-S, LCDC to talk about how this came to be, why it’s a great fit, and how it will benefit our clients and team members. Read on to learn more about our newest healing center.

"...the acquisition of Presence Wellness is completely in-line with how we approach our business— it’s relational."

Q: How did you come to acquire Presence Wellness? (What’s the story here?)

A: First and foremost, the acquisition of Presence Wellness is completely in-line with how we approach our business—it’s relational. I was lucky enough to meet Jev Sikes, Ph.D. at the American Group Psychotherapy conference years back. Long story short, this led to an introduction to John Howard, who was looking to sell his practice, Presence Wellness. It was a very organic, natural progression, and one based on relationships that we already saw as very compatible.

Q: Why is it important to increase Ethos’ presence in the Austin area?

A: Within our system of care, we understood the need to have a larger presence in Austin, not only to serve the community, but also to provide more support to those returning from our residential treatment center, The Prairie Recovery Center in Round Top. We have such a large network of supportive, outpatient options in and around Houston; we want to continue caring for our Austin clients the same way—within our network of healing centers, because that’s the system of care we are set up for and have worked so hard to create. 

Q: What is it about their philosophy of care that makes Presence Wellness a good fit for Ethos?

A: The philosophy of care at Presence Wellness is extremely complementary to ours. We’re both interested in an integrative approach to healthcare and in overall wellness; not just dealing with the symptoms of a presenting problem, but really helping people to get and stay well. Any good partnership is one where each component grows as a function of the other. We have certain skill sets that we knew would help them grow, just as they have certain skills within their team we feel will help us grow. We’re excited to share with you what comes from this collaboration going forward.

"This will feel like a very seamless integration into a system that shares a lot of the same values when it comes to the work we do."

Q: What will Presence Wellness bring to both our team and our clients?

A: To begin with, while in the past we have had psychologists and psychiatrists that work in collaboration with us, this acquisition brings to Ethos an entire department of psychiatry and psychology. I’d also love to mention how this partnership will expand our footprint for offering direct primary care. With internal medicine doctors and general practitioners joining our team, this is in-line with the larger vision we have for integrative wellness, in which people’s mental health and physical health needs are seen as complementary and connected. We will truly be able to honor and care for the whole person.

Q: What is one thing that really stands out to you when it comes to Presence Wellness?

A: Their team members. They have an absolutely stellar team of people. Second to that would be how complementary their approach to care is to ours. This will feel like a very seamless integration into a system that shares a lot of the same values when it comes to the work we do.

If you or a loved one could use support related to self-growth, wellness, substance use or mental health, please reach out to our care team in confidence.

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