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ACACIA'S FOUR PILLARS

Provide college students a safe, supportive space in which they receive quality and consistent mental health care that is highly accessible, affordable, specialized, and culturally sensitive.

COLLEGE STUDENT FOCUSED

We provide tailored, engaging, and student-centered services.

ACCESSIBLE

We provide long-term mental health treatment and accept major insurances, including UCSHIP.

DIVERSE

We are intentional when hiring diverse staff to better serve our diverse communities, recognizing the value of identity and specialties.

FRIENDLY & WELCOMING

Our staff and environments are inviting, energetic, and passionate.

Acacia was my safe place at school where I could get away and forget about the drama going on, navigate my issues in a healthy way, and process the challenges of life each week. [...] Acacia empowered me - showing me life happens for me, not to me. Now I feel I have such a healthy view of life experiences.

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ACACIA'S CORE VALUES

Our values are mirrored within every Acacia team member from the minute you walk in the door.

  • Passionate | We care about the students we serve and it shows in the quality of care Acacia students receive.
  • Inclusive | Different identities allow us to provide a more enriching environment and find more creative solutions.
  • Growth-Oriented | Acacia works to open new clinics, expand services, and promote personal and professional growth.
  • Fun |The work we do is very serious but it's important for us to laugh, smile, and have fun when we can!
  • Supportive | We know that no one can do it by themselves and it takes a community to do great things.

MEET OUR LEADERSHIP TEAM

Our team is what makes Acacia what is today. Learn about our Acacia team below!

Dr. Keith Higginbotham

Co-Founder | CEO | PsyD

Dr. Brett Donnelly

Co-Founder | CVO | PsyD

Jess Rodriguez

Business Director | CBO

Dr. Robbyn Jackson

Operations Director | COO | PsyD

OUR SERVICES

Our services are mental-health minded and college-student focused. Check them out below!

ACACIA BLOG

Explore the world of Acacia through our blog! We feature community highlights and personal journeys from clients and beyond!

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We love serving students! It is our passion and our life's work. There is nothing more fulfilling to us than to see students thrive in the face of adversity and develop into even more amazing versions of themselves. We feel so excited and privileged to have served so many students and cannot wait to watch them grow into tomorrow's leaders!

DR. KEITH HIGGINBOTHAM
HE/HIM/HIS | #PSY26572

Co-founder & chief executive officer (ceo)

ABOUT ME

I’m a co-founder and co-owner of Acacia and wear several hats including Chief Financial Officer, HIPAA Security Officer, contracts and leasing lead, construction management, and therapist. I helped start Acacia in 2014 to address the growing need to help UC Santa Barbara students connect with a qualified, affordable, and accessible therapist to meet their long-term needs for mental health treatment. I love being part of helping more and more students get the support they need and at the same time providing a fun, supportive, and rewarding work environment for our staff. When I’m not working, I enjoy being outdoors--hiking, biking, climbing, riding my motorcycle, or just hanging out at a local coffee shop.

What is your favorite children's story?

I actually have 2 books that I remember well from my early childhood--Curious George and The Little Engine that Could. I really connected with George’s curious mind and penchant for new adventures. As for the Little Engine, well I think I felt inspired by the courage and determination of this little character with such a giant heart.

What, in your opinion, is the most amazing animal?

The dog. We have so much to learn from their simplicity, ability to forgive, loyalty, and unconditional love.

dr. brett donnelly
he/him/his | #PSY26685/#LP6331

co-founder & chief visionary officer (cvo)

ABOUT ME

I'm originally from a small town in Wisconsin called Lake Geneva. Growing up, my family struggled with addiction and other mental health issues. We also were low-income and, as a first generation college student, I had a hard time finding the appropriate therapy services while I was in school. Services were either unaffordable or inaccessible, or both! I will never forget when I finally found a therapist who helped me work through a trauma I experienced while in college. It was life altering! It was through this personal therapeutic journey that I became passionate about college student mental health. It's what gives me the passion to work with young adults everyday and help them through their journey. I feel so excited every day that I continue to work at Acacia. I feel inspired by the students we serve and continue to feel motivated to remove mental health barriers for college students. Currently, I feel thrilled about our work in the telehealth arena as we can reach even more students than ever before!

If you had one extra hour of free time a day how would you use it?

I would definitely spend it outside! Although this might be challenging in the winter as I live in Minneapolis. During my free hour I would walk through the park to Lake Nokomis with my wife, Stefanie, and our dog Coda. We would all go paddle boarding with a cooler and music on us at all times! Coda loves the water and enjoys pulling us on the board (or tipping us over when he tries to get up on the board). After our time on the lake, time to head straight to Sandcastle for some food in the sun. That sounds like a perfect way to spend my extra hour - or more likely 90 minutes.

What’s your favorite car that you’ve owned?

Just last year I purchased a Tesla Model 3. I have to say that it is not only my favorite car, but the best purchase I have ever made (other than my house I suppose). Keep in mind, I LOVE to go on long road trips. There is nothing better than going out with my brothers, friends, or family and touring the country. I have already had the chance to take the Tesla, or "Elle" as we affectionately refer to her as, to the East Coast and the West Coast. My brother and I went on a college football road trip (I am a lifelong Wisconsin Badgers fan) last November and ended up going to Penn State, Gettysburg, Fredrick, Anapolis, Baltimore, DC, Roanoke, and finally West Lafayette. Then, Stefanie, Coda and I took a road trip to our favorite place last winter...California! It was so nice to put the car on auto pilot and cruise. Not paying for gas in an additional bonus! We have already made so many memories in Elle and can't wait for so many more!

Dr. Robbyn Jackson
she/her/hers | #PSY21576

Chief operating officer (COO)

ABOUT ME

I am a Clinical Psychologist of over 20 years, and the Lead Director for Acacia Counseling & Wellness. I oversee all of the Acacia offices by working closely with the directors to provide excellent mental health services to university and college communities. I play a significant role in the development of new locations and I strive to ensure that each office is filled with passionate, competent and diverse therapists. My favorite thing about working at Acacia is the people! We create teams of therapists and staff who enjoy coming to work each day, not only because they are eager to work with students, but also because they are part of a committed team that values mental health, as well as fun and laughter.

Prior to being the Lead, I was the Director of the original Acacia in Isla Vista, California which serves the UC Santa Barbara community. As an alumnus of UCSB, this was a special honor! I am also very proud to be the first therapist chosen by the owners to work for Acacia in 2015. I love spending time with my partner and sons, Max and Chase, as well as my family-of-friends, who bring me joy and realness.

where are you from and how did you get to acacia?

I am originally from a small town in Texas called Aransas Pass. My journey to Acacia started as a trainee at Northwestern University’s Counseling and Psychological Services, and then took me to DePaul University where I did my post-doc and became a senior staff psychologist. I later realized how these experiences shaped my career and passion to work with emerging adults.

What is something interesting about you?

Some interesting (or not so interesting) things about me are that I figured out the hard way that axe throwing is not as easy as it looks! In Texas, we grew up with archery and target-shooting, so I naturally assumed that I would impress my colleagues when we signed up to go axe throwing...Not so much! Another little-known fact about me is that I surf, and while I do not shred...I do LOVE to surf! I wish all of my dreams could be of me catching waves.

INDIVIDUAL THERAPY

Also known as psychotherapy, talk therapy, or counseling, Acacia individual therapy is a collaborative process between you and your therapist, aiming to understand problems, facilitate change, and improve quality of life.

A staple of every Acacia office, we believe that individual therapy is an incredibly effective process of healing through self-exploration, skills training, and other various forms of change. Ask your therapist how they view the change process. Remember, not every therapist is a good fit and it is important for you to find an Acacia therapist who you feel connects best to your specific needs. If you don't get a good fit, don't fret. You can ask for a change and we will accommodate you!

The therapeutic process can range in length from a few sessions to several years and is appropriate for goals ranging from focused on solving immediate problems to facilitating self-growth and discovery.

Sessions generally last 50 minutes and provide a safe, caring, and confidential space where you can deeply explore the challenges in your lives and, with the help of the therapist, find effective responses and solutions. The process of therapy is largely determined by your individual needs and the nature of each problem but will likely involve exploration of emotions, beliefs, behaviors, internal conflicts, relationships, and both current and past experiences.

Individual therapy can be effective in helping you better understand, manage and express your emotions, learn to deal effectively with stress and anxiety, improve relationships, heal from past traumas, change behaviors that are counterproductive to your goals and values, gain confidence and self-esteem, work through difficult family dynamics, and many other situations. Individual therapy has been shown to be highly effective for many mental health conditions.

COUPLES THERAPY

Would you like to explore relationship dynamics and change problematic cycles to improve interactions with others? If so, couples therapy might be just the thing for you! At Acacia, we allow you to decide how you would like to define 'couple'. It does not always have to be romantic in nature and it can be defined in multiple ways (parent-child, roommate-roommate, partner-partner).

In couples therapy, we will help you work through communication issues, loss of connection and intimacy, financial issues, affairs and betrayals, family issues, and more. Acacia therapists will work hard to understand each of you and we will not take sides. Rather, we will explore patterns and try to find healthy alternatives and positive change.

We also understand how life stressors and relationship issues can sometimes make sex a challenge. Sex therapy is used to help couples or individuals reach greater sexual/emotional intimacy and create a satisfactory sex life. Our therapists will work hard to understand your sexual drives, limitations, desires, traumas and more to help you find your sexual peace of mind.

WORKSHOPS

Sometimes you just want to sit, listen and gather skills. At Acacia, we like to bring in experts from the community to provide training on a variety of health topics from sexual health to interview skills to how to better cope with stress.

We also offer our space for community and student organizations to host their workshop, training, or meeting - it's opportunity to exposure members of your team to mental health and give you a cool space to interact in.

Want to see a particular workshop offered? Email your local Acacia office with ideas!

VIDEO THERAPY

Video therapy, also known as telehealth or teletherapy, allows you to connect with a therapist without having to travel anywhere.

Similar to services you receive in person, video therapy sessions generally last 50 minutes and provide a safe, caring, and confidential space where you can deeply explore the challenges in your lives and, with the help of the therapist, find effective responses and solutions. The process of therapy is largely determined by your individual needs and the nature of each problem but will likely involve exploration of emotions, beliefs, behaviors, internal conflicts, relationships, and both current and past experiences.

ACACIA REACH

Acacia Reach is our video therapy services that allows everyone access to video services, even when there is no physical Acacia location nearby. Check out the link below to learn more!

GROUP THERAPY

One of the secret gems of your personal change process could be group therapy. Group therapy is a highly effective and unique form of treatment and is appropriate for many of the same problems as individual therapy. It is well established as an effective treatment for many mental health issues including depression, anxiety, social skills/relationship building, and more!

Groups generally consist of 6-8 people, last 60-75 minutes and are led by a therapist who works to create a safe, collaborative, and confidential environment amongst group members. Groups are effective in helping individuals acquire better-coping skills, find support in their day-to-day difficulties, overcome anxieties about social interactions, explore past traumas, heal from internal feelings of shame and guilt, and modify problematic behaviors. Group members often report feeling relieved that others are going through similar problems and they often enjoy the experience practicing a new identity. For example, do you have problems asserting your needs? Group can be a great space for you to start practicing!

As groups inherently involve the interaction of members, groups are especially effective in helping individuals build, repair, and maintain more effective, supportive relationships with others. At Acacia, we believe in the power of group therapy and have significant experience in effectively running a range of different groups. Finally, in our groups, you can be assured that we will take precautions in not placing you in a group with someone who you might know on a personal level.

THERAPY ANIMALS

Depending on location, you may have a therapy animal at your local Acacia office. We believe animals can be great companions in the healing process. All of our therapy animals are or will be certified. If you do not want a therapy animal in the office with you, just ask!

PSYCHIATRY

At Acacia, we believe that psychiatry services and medication management are often an essential part of your treatment. As such, our psychiatrists focus on diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental, emotional and behavioral issues through psychotherapy and medication. Acacia psychiatrists and nurse practitioners are qualified to assess both the mental and physical aspects of mental health. We will help you understand the complex relationship between emotional and other medical issues. Your genetics and family history are evaluated along with medical and psychological data, to make a diagnosis, and to develop treatment plans suitable to your needs.

Psychiatrists and nurse practitioners use a variety of treatments – including various forms of psychotherapy, medications, psychosocial interventions and other treatments. Medication treatments may include the following:

Antidepressants – used to treat depression, panic disorder, PTSD, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, borderline personality disorder and eating disorders.

Antipsychotic medications – used to treat psychotic symptoms (delusions and hallucinations), schizophrenia, bipolar disorder.

Sedatives and anxiolytics – used to treat anxiety and insomnia.

Hypnotics – used to induce and maintain sleep.

Mood stabilizers – used to treat bipolar disorder.

Stimulants – used to treat ADHD.

Please be sure to speak with your psychiatrist regarding any of your concerns regarding medication use. Acacia psychiatrists and nurse practitioners will always listen to your needs and will be there to help you throughout the process!

MINDFULNESS & MEDITATION

Cultivating mindfulness will assist you in finding peace of mind. This Buddhist tradition is here to help you connect with the present and keep you aware of the moment to moment changes. While some forms of mindfulness and meditation are designed to help us relax, others are meant to be unconditionally present, helping you to be present to whatever is happening in the moment. Through this altered state of consciousness, you learn how to stop the unnecessary suffering that results from trying to escape discomfort and start experiencing suffering as a consequence of simply being human. This nonjudgmental awareness of experience doesn't reject your thoughts or feelings. Rather, the practice teaches you to sit with them.

If mindfulness is of interest, please ask your Acacia office or therapist about it today! Many therapists are trained in leading you through the practice and we also may have M&M groups to help assist you.

YOGA

Time to roll out your yoga mat! At Acacia, we recognize the importance of providing holistic treatment to genuinely care for our body, mind and emotional well-being. Yoga is an excellent resource for combining these various parts of the self to calm the mind and strengthen the body. Yoga is something that everyone can do and Acacia strives to provide very basic courses for beginner skill level.

Please ask your local Acacia office about Yoga practices!

ROOTS

Acacia Counseling & Wellness provides college students and young adults a safe, supportive space in which they receive quality, long-term, and consistent mental health care that is highly accessible, affordable, specialized, and culturally sensitive. We provide holistic care, workshops, and social programming geared toward enhancing student well-being.

We continually work toward destigmatizing mental health services and provide students with a positive space where they can obtain direct mental health treatment, as well as receive valuable programming and education to assist in their understanding of mental illness.