Dale Williams, PhD


It’s the brain! That’s the conclusion I have come to after 40 years of clinical work. It’s the brain that adapts to the type of caregiving which children are exposed to as they try to make sense out of their world. Am I safe? Can I depend on others to meet my needs? It’s the answers to these questions that determine early brain development. Our brains are created to heal themselves yet traumatic experiences overwhelm the brain and nervous system’s ability to do that. Traumatic memories are not processed and stored in the same way non-traumatic memories are. Traumatic memories pop up as fragmented through intrusive thoughts, nightmares, and flashbacks. It’s the brain! People with chronic pain have brains that have expanded the amount of territory in the brain to process persistent pain. That process of adaptation –a normal brain function – becomes part of the problem. It’s the brain! Advances in our ability to see and understand how the brain functions have informed the way I do therapy. I use brain and body/nervous system based interventions to treat trauma and persistent pain. I’m excited about being able to teach brains (and people) how to use strategies themselves to reduce the impact of pain and trauma on their lives. The brain is constantly changing itself via a process known as neuroplasticity. Change is normal! We can break old habits and learn new ones! For me, this is the neurological basis for hope.

Treatment Specialties

Dale Williams, PhD

About Me

I received my PhD from the University of North Texas in 1976 and was licensed as a psychologist in 1978. My first six years of practice was spent in community mental health centers around the state of Texas. At one point, I was the Chief Psychologist at Wichita Falls Stated Hospital for four years. These early experiences prepared me to function in a variety of clinical settings with a widely diverse population of patients.

In 1989, I entered the private sector, as a staff psychologist at the Center for Psychiatric Medicine in Houston, Texas, treating patients with chronic pain both as inpatients and outpatients. Patients were taught self-management skills and educated about pain and maximizing the quality of life with pain. I also ran a group for family members with a focus on adjusting to the impact of chronic pain on the family. My experience there strengthened my awareness of the connection between mind and body and the importance of addressing both in treatment.

In 1992, I joined the staff at St David’s Rehabilitation Hospital in Austin, Texas as a psychologist in the inpatient pain management program. That program was similar to the one at CPM. Three years later, the program was discontinued and I was absorbed into the inpatient rehabilitation program. For the next eighteen years, I worked with literally hundreds of patients and their families who suddenly found themselves facing adjustment to life changing, often catastrophic, injuries and illnesses. Most of the patients there were experiencing severe trauma and pain as well. Many patients and families were delighted to be treated by a Christian psychologist at a time of crisis in which their faith was seen as a resource and incorporated into the adjustment and healing process.

Since 2013, I have maintained a private outpatient psychology practice with a focus on treating individuals with trauma, PTSD, persistent pain, and chronic, often debilitating illness. My interest in chronic pain is personal. I experienced persistent low back pain for thirty-five years as a result of two motorcycle incidents. I know firsthand how limiting pain can be and how important it is to do regular self-maintenance such as exercise, pacing, stretching and practicing good body mechanics, good nutrition and stress management. I practice what I preach. I have exercised most days since September of 1976. I love hiking and photography. Rocky Mountain National Park is one of my favorite places in the world. The trails in Georgetown, Texas are pretty great, too.

As I work with people, I view them through the lens of adaptation, i.e., always doing the best they can, given their life experiences rather than seeing them as being sick, dysfunctional or some other way that engenders guilt, shame, or blame. I carry hope, encouragement, humor and joy and share those with my patients. My goal for each person I treat is to release them to be able to choose to be the best version of themselves that they can be.

I maintain my vision of hope and joy through my faith in God, my loving wife and family, exercise and my childlike fascination with nature – where I spend as much time as I possible can.

Services & Fees


Individual psychotherapy is the primary modality of treatment provided. Family consultation may be a part of the therapy as an adjunct to address the impact of the client’s condition on the family.


The fee for services is $150 per session. Self-pay and insurance are accepted. I am a provider for:

  • Medicare
  • Tricare
  • Blue Cross
  • Aetna

Scheduled appointments must be canceled at least 24 hours in advance in order to avoid a $50 service charge.

Helpful Resources


If you are worried about your immediate safety or the safety of a loved one call 911.

National Suicide Prevention

Lifeline: 1-800-273- 8255
TTY: 1-800-799-4889

National Suicide Prevention Website

Text HOME to 741741 from anywhere in the United States, anytime, about any type of crisis.
Crisis Text Line Website


Getting Past Your Past: Take Control of Your Life with Self-Help Techniques from EMDR Therapy
Francine Shapiro, PhD

The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma
Bessel van der Kolk, MD

Local Community Resources

Bluebonnet Trails Helpful Links

Mental Health Resources for Texas

Pain Management

Neuroplastic Transformation: Your Brain On Pain
Michael H. Moskowitz, MD and Marla D. Golden, DO

Change Your Brain, Change Your Pain: Based on EMDR
New edition 2016 Mark Grant, MA

Contact Me


I work extensively with people who have experienced trauma including recent and remote events as well as current stressors. Traumatic events may include abuse, accidents, illnesses, deaths and military experiences. Any life event which causes or results in unwanted major life changes can be traumatic and benefit from treatment. I am trained and experienced in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing) and use that approach in helping clients resolve trauma.

In 1987, psychologist Francine Shapiro, Ph.D. made the chance observation that certain eye movements can reduce the intensity of disturbing thoughts, under the right conditions. She went on to develop her observation of this effect through scientific research and in 1989 published a study in the Journal of Traumatic Stress. Her research study reported success using EMDR therapy to treat victims of trauma. Since then, EMDR therapy has developed and evolved through the contributions of therapists and researchers in a variety of research and clinical settings all over the world. Today, EMDR therapy is a set of standardized protocols and procedures that incorporate elements from many different treatment approaches.

In addition to having been scientifically validated as being effective for post- traumatic stress, EMDR therapy has been reported as being helpful in treating a variety of clinical conditions including:

Panic attacks and anxiety
Complicated grief
Disturbing memories
Performance anxiety
Stress reduction
Traumatic effects of sexual and/or physical abuse
Chronic medical conditions
Persistent or chronic pain

According to the EMDR International Association (EMDRIA), no one knows exactly how any form of psychotherapy works in the brain. However, we do know that when a person is very upset, their brain cannot process information as it does ordinarily. One moment becomes “frozen in time,” and remembering a trauma may feel as bad as going through it the first time because the images, sounds, smells, and feelings are still actively stored in the nervous system. Such memories have a lasting negative effect that interferes with the way a person sees the world and how they relate to other people.

EMDR therapy has a direct effect on the way the brain processes and stores information. Normal information processing is restored such that following a successful course of EMDR therapy, a person no longer relives the images, sounds and feelings when the event is brought to mind. What happened is remembered, but it is much less upsetting if at all. In essence, the brain is allowed to process the memory as it processes normal non-traumatic memories. EMDR can be thought of as a brain based approach that helps a person recall disturbing events in a new and less distressing way.

An actual EMDR therapy session as described by EMDRIA looks like this. A client and therapist identify a specific problem as the target of the treatment session(s). The client is instructed to bring to mind the disturbing memory, what was seen, felt, heard, thought, smelled, etc., and what thoughts and beliefs are currently held by the client about themselves as a result of that event. The therapist directs movement of the eyes or other dual attention stimulation of the brain such as alternating bilateral auditory tones, or vibrations usually accomplished through small hand held paddles. While noticing the back and forth bilateral stimulation, the client also focuses on the disturbing memory and reports whatever comes to mind without editing the content or trying to control the flow of thought. Each person will process information uniquely, based on personal experiences and values. Sets of eye movements are continued until the memory is reported as less disturbing and is associated with positive beliefs about one’s self such as, “I did the best I could.” During the EMDR therapy, a client may experience intense emotions, but by the end of the session, most people report a reduction in the level of disturbance. The EMDR protocol is standardized across therapists however, the client is in control of the process and arrives at their own creative solution to the disturbing memory or event in their own unique way.

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Persistent pain is experienced by 100 million Americans according to a study conducted by the Institute of Medicine of The National Academies in 2011. The definition of such pain is pain persisting for longer than 3 months. Chronic pain is the number one cause of long-term disability in the U.S. Additionally, the psychological impact is significant with major losses often associated with chronic pain including: loss of quality of life; loss of function, loss of meaning and purpose of life, loss of work, loss of identity in family and society, and loss of the sense of control over one’s body and life. As a result, feelings of isolation, worry, helplessness and feeling out of touch with the world may be present. Treatment approaches are widely variable and frequently ineffective. However, recent advances in neuroscience – how the brain processes pain – have given rise for hope in providing treatment that can be transformative. One such approach is called Neuroplastic Transformation.

It is founded on the principle of neuroplasticity – the brain is constantly changing itself in response to input from internal and external sources. Essentially, the brain learns pain like it learns anything else. Repetition of constant nerve pain input reinforces the strengthening of brain pathways causing physical changes in the brain to take place. Over time, pain moves from being a symptom to a disease. Treatment consists of using the basic principles of neuroplasticity to change brain pathways back to normal function and anatomy. By learning how our brains work, we can begin to use our conscious brain to modify the experience of our lives. This can be accomplished by using such resources as thoughts, images, beliefs, sensations, memories, calming emotions, and movement.

Additionally, I use EMDR as a foundational intervention along with a variety of strategies all designed to reduce physiological arousal and to minimize the effects of stress. Treatment also includes education about how the brain works as well as homework for the patient to learn and practice new ways of responding to pain. The goal is for the patient to learn to be able to manage pain on their own. This is an active and collaborative effort between therapist and patient. Patients are thus able to improve the quality of their lives.

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An important and life changing part of my experience as a psychologist was gained through my practice at St David’s Rehabilitation Hospital in Austin. I was a team member in that physical medicine setting for 21 years along with physicians, nurses, physical and occupational therapists, speech language therapists and others. I saw hundreds of patients with a wide variety of conditions from strokes and spinal cord injuries to amputations and hip and knee replacements. It was there that I developed a keen sense of the hardiness of the human body and spirit and the importance of imparting hope. I learned a profound respect for the connection of mind/body. I did my first EMDR treatment there with a burn patient who was injured in an industrial accident.

Many of the strategies and interventions used with trauma patients are also used with this population in that most have suffered a trauma either at the onset of the condition or certainly as a consequence of it. Additionally, there are often multiple losses associated with these conditions such that grieving is an important part of recovery. Learning to manage anxiety and stress are critical as is, of course, often pain management. The needs of families are addressed as a result of sudden and dramatic changes in family roles and functioning.

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My faith as a Christian informs everything I do; for me it is a lifestyle not just something I believe. I see each person as a unique creation of God with inherent value and potential. I apply biblical principles including scripture, prayer and God’s love, grace and hope in counseling with fellow believers. I apply these same principles in my work with non-believers. However, I do not force my own views on others and treat those who do not believe as I do with absolute honor and respect. .

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