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Zachary C. Bayer, PsyD grew up in Mary Esther, Florida. After graduating from Fort Walton Beach High School, he completed his bachelor's degree at Auburn University. Following graduation, he worked various jobs in the brain injury community, with adjudicated youth, and in outdoor seasonal adventures. He concluded this phase of life by traveling around the world, visiting 23 different countries in 18 months.  

Dr. Bayer obtained his Masters degree in Psychology at San Diego State University. His thesis focused on early signs of memory impairment and potential Alzheimer's disease in the geriatric population. Dr. Bayer completed his doctoral degree at Pacific University near Portland, Oregon. His dissertation examined the role of coping and executive functioning in individuals with brain injury, as well as their ability to reintegrate successfully into their community.  His predoctoral internship was completed at Mount Sinai Rehabilitation Hospital in New York City - an internationally recognized medical facility- where his training focused on inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation for individuals with neurological injury/illness. The final phase of Dr. Bayer's training was a 2-year post-doctoral fellowship at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Georgia- a nationally recognized brain and spinal cord injury rehabilitation hospital.

Dr. Bayer’s decision to return to his hometown and establish a clinical practice was twofold. First, throughout his travels and training, he has long desired to again be close to family. Second, he recognized the significant need for specialized neuropsychological services in the area. Dr. Bayer is excited about practicing in Okaloosa County and becoming an integral part of the mental health and medical community.


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Corissa L. Bayer, PhD, ABPP has been living in Mary Esther since January 2016. She grew up in Pennsylvania and obtained a Bachelor's degree in Human Development from Cornell University. After college, she worked at UCLA on a research team examining mood and anxiety disorders in young adults. 

Dr. Bayer completed her Masters and Doctorate at the University of Florida, where she obtained specialized training in assessment and treatment of childhood disorders, such as behavior disorders, learning disorders, and ADHD. During her 5 years at UF, she trained under the supervision of Dr. Sheila Eyberg, the developer of Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT). Early in her training, she decided to focus her training in the unique needs of military families, and thus completed her dissertation on resilience and coping in active duty combat-exposed personnel. She completed her predoctoral internship at Georgia Health Sciences University and Charlie Norwood VAMC in Augusta GA, where she combined her interests and developed a parenting skills for veterans with PTSD who wanted to strengthen their relationships with their children. She completed her postdoctoral residency at the UF Department of Psychiatry treating mood and anxiety disorders (particularly OCD) in both adults and children.

Before becoming a local, she was lead Behavioral Health Clinician at the Shepherd Center’s SHARE Military Initiative in Atlanta, providing assessment and treatment for service members and veterans with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and PTSD. During that time, she was awarded Board Certification in Clinical Psychology from the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) - a voluntary process of peer-reviewed examination to demonstrate competency one’s speciality. 

Dr. Bayer enjoys time on the water, paddle boarding, and spending time with her husband and 2 sons. Her dog often visits the practice. 

Melissa graduated Florida State University with a Master's degree in Social Work. Following graduation, she additional supervised clinical hours as a therapist to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). Melissa has worked as a therapist in a variety of settings including schools, homes, and community mental health agencies. Melissa has experience working with children, adolescents and adults experiencing challenges with depression, anxiety, personality disorders, trauma and troubles in relationships. Melissa strives to create a strong therapeutic relationship while maintaining an environment that provides a safe and empathetic place to encourage and nurture growth and healing. She believes in working collaborating with individuals to foster a healthier and happier quality of life. Melissa enjoys playing the guitar, woodworking, knitting and her 16 year old cat.

Amanda Dougherty, Psy.D. was born and raised in the Midwest and moved to the Florida area in 2016 to be closer to family.  In 2001, she graduated from Missouri State University with her Bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in criminal justice. After completing her undergraduate work, she worked at an inpatient acute care hospital with adolescents and then became a youth specialist for Division of Youth Services.  Desiring a better understanding of the psychological needs of the youth she was working with, she decided to attend graduate school in 2002. Thus, she obtained her Master’s and Doctorate degrees from Forest Institute of Professional Psychology.  

 Since graduation, Dr. Dougherty has worked in a variety of settings including community mental health, private practice, long-term care facilities, and the school setting.  She has completed a multitude of psychological evaluations for adolescent residential facilities, Children’s Division, psychiatrists, and individual therapists.  In addition, she has extensive experience working with adults and adolescents in therapy. At Bayer NeuroBehavioral Center, she provides therapy and psychological evaluations for a range of psychological and medical concerns, including evaluations for spinal cord stimulators and bariatric surgery evaluations. 

Although she truly believes that “life begins outside your comfort zone,” she understands that this requires a certain level of discomfort and vulnerability. Dr. Dougherty believes that everyone can benefit from therapy at some point in their life, as we all have room for growth and personal development.  Dr. Dougherty considers the therapeutic relationship to be the cornerstone of therapeutic change, emphasizing the layers of trust and cohesiveness that allow an individual to begin to change their perspective, develop healthier goals and expectations, and improve their overall functioning.  Dr. Dougherty enjoys spending time with friends and family, being on the water, walking her dog, and reading.  


Ashley Pratt is our Patient Care Coordinator - she schedules all appointments, verifies insurance benefits, greets our patients and generally keeps our office running!  She was raised in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. After graduating from Choctawhatchee High School, her college years were spent studying child development at Northwest Florida State College.  Prior to working with Bayer NeuroBehavioral Center, she provided assistance and counseling to individuals exploring difficult financial choices and housing needs.  She has always been passionate about helping people and prides herself with always having a compassionate and friendly attitude.  Ashley enjoys spending her time with family and friends and traveling.