Amber Johnson, Psy.D. is our Travis County Restorative Practices TTAP working out of Travis County Juvenile Probation Department. Amber was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, and has lived in Texas since 2021. Amber has come to us with various academic and professional experiences within clinical mental health and criminal, juvenile, social, and restorative justice. Amber has earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a minor in Leadership Studies from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, a Master of Arts in Criminology, Law, and Justice with a concentration in Violence from the University of Illinois at Chicago, a Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology and Doctor of Psychology from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology.

Amber enlisted and served in the U.S. Army in April 2008 and was commissioned as an Officer in May 2013, with areas of concentration in the military intelligence, human resources, and medical branches. She has earned various academic achievements and service awards related to these experiences, including completing her dissertation examining restorative practices during the reunification process of African American families impacted by incest.

In between and throughout her academic endeavors, she has had the privilege of working for underserved and marginalized individuals and communities in various roles, including as a graduate assistant for diversity and inclusion, medical and legal advocate for survivors of sexual violence, and mental health professional in an assortment of settings from forensic outpatient behavioral health centers and trauma clinics to juvenile detention and residential facilities, all of which she specifically focused on ways to address social injustice and implement culturally sensitive practices.

Amber is passionate about trauma-informed care and restorative practices because she believes change is created by changing hearts and minds. Amber believes it gives us a lens to see each other as human beings, as the experiences that we’ve had, not biases and assumptions we hold. Amber believes it allows us to see each other for who we are and gives us voice to say who we are for ourselves. Amber is excited to transition to the STEP-UP Texas team in hopes of using her unique skills, knowledge, and experience to work closely from a trauma-informed lens with youth, their families, schools, law enforcement, direct care staff, and other stakeholders to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in juvenile justice. When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with her family, accumulating meaningful experiences for her daughter, and dancing.