Our Team


Josephine (Josie) Paul 

Josie is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist & Supervisor in private practice and is the founder and Director of the Counseling & Wellness Department at Xavier Academy. Josie holds a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from St. Mary’s University and a bachelor’s degree in vocational education, with emphasis on food and beverage preparation and students with disabilities, from Sacramento State University, CA. She holds a full-time vocational teaching credential in California and is a credentialed Trade and Industry Educator in Texas. Her background spans many disciplines, including working as a European-trained pastry chef and a culinary arts instructor in the San Francisco Bay Area for many years before becoming a licensed psychotherapist. In addition to serving as Director of Mental Health Services for Xavier, she is on faculty at the Houston Galveston Institute, a Taos Associate, and a junior researcher at the medical school of Vrije Universiteit, Brussels, Belgium where she will defend her doctoral thesis in Social Health Sciences in the spring/summer of 2024.


Janella Chu

Janella is a Licensed Psychological Associate, both as a therapist and a high school mathematics teacher. Janella has experience with various therapy modalities and a wide range of clients, from working in inpatient residential clinics to community mental health centers. Janella has been teaching high school mathematics for almost two years at Xavier.

Janella received a master’s degree in clinical psychology from the University of Houston-Clear Lake and a bachelor's degree in psychology with a minor in Health from the University of Houston-Main. Throughout her academic work, Janella was a research assistant for the Emotions in Marriage lab at UH Main, which focused on researching domestic violence within couples. She became a research coordinator for a study that researched the impact of the COVID-19 virus on the rates of domestic violence across the entire United States through daily diary submissions. In addition, she is also a second author of a book chapter that discussed the history of domestic violence research, available interventions for victims and perpetrators, and the impact of domestic violence on individuals as well as families and children. Other areas of research that Janella has participated in were obsessive-compulsive disorder and eating disorders and their relationship to anxiety.

In her graduate studies, Janella interned at the University of Houston-Clear Lake Counseling and Mental Health clinic, providing therapy services to adults, families, and children. She provided therapy modalities such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and The Modular Approach to Therapy for Children (MATCH). She also interned at The Center for Success and Independence, an inpatient facility providing services to struggling adolescents aged 12-18. The services included Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) centered group therapy, client-centered individual therapy, and family therapy.

Apart from work, Janella enjoys spending time with her partner and their two cats at home. She is passionate about all animals (except spiders) and loves talking about her cats to anyone who will listen. Janella occasionally engages in several sports, including rock climbing, weightlifting, tennis, and cycling. Other activities that she enjoys are reading, crocheting, and playing cozy video games on her computer.


Katherine Traxler-LaFrance

Katherine knew she wanted to work in the mental health field since she was thirteen and began to struggle with anxiety and depression herself. She was always outspoken about destigmatizing mental health disorders and LGBTQIA+ rights throughout high school. She started her journey to becoming a therapist when she went to Texas State University to major in Psychology and a minor in Anthropology due to wanting to learn about different cultures.

 After getting her bachelor’s degree in psychology, Katherine attended graduate school at Our Lady of the Lake University in Houston, where she could specialize in Marriage and Family Therapy. She began to come out of her shell in graduate school and eventually was asked to be the graduate assistant for the program. This led to her helping the program director directly and assisting with the accreditation process by gathering research and presenting it to the Psychology Department at their main campus in San Antonio.

 Katherine is finishing her hours as a Marriage and Family Therapy Associate. Since graduating, she has developed an interest in specializing in helping teens navigate their gender and sexual identities. When Katherine arrived at Xavier, she began teaching Psychology as an elective class and created a Comprehensive Sex Education Course to present to the school.

 Outside of work, Katherine enjoys spending time with her three cats, playing video games, reading fantasy novels, and spending time with her wife. She has a particular interest in gender and sexuality, learning about different cultures and random trivia about animals. While quiet, she is always listening and open to talking about other perspectives and hopes to guide the students to the best version of themselves through these conversations.


Florence "Flo" Bhatia

Before embarking on her current career path, Florence established a solid foundation in the legal field. She spent 14 years as an attorney in Australia, where she became head of the Commercial /Litigation section of the Legal Branch of the Maritime Services Board in Sydney. Her expertise was further honed during her tenure at the prestigious Brisbane law firm Hawthorn, Cuppaidge, and Badgery. She later founded her own legal practice, specializing in Family Law Mediation, a testament to her dedication and success in the field.

Upon arriving in the U.S., Florence became a stay-at-home mom while her children were small. Later, she earned her Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. This career change was partly the result of working alongside counseling mediators in Australia and seeing their powerful work. It also reflects her wish to give back to society in a meaningful way.

Florence is a Licensed Professional Counselor Associate furthering her studies to become certified in Neurofeedback to better serve our students, staff, and their families. She currently works part-time at Xavier and the Houston Galveston Institute (HGI). She has previously interned at HGI and the Fort Bend Women’s Center, where she later volunteered.