We know you have hundreds of options for therapists, and know you want to find a therapist who is a good match for you. Our clients are real people, and so are we. We are not “blank slates,” but rather therapists who are honest, direct, active, and non-judgmental. While the topics discussed in therapy are focused solely on your and your needs, we think of our time with clients as a conversation with everyone talking, participating, and identifying ways to move forward. We value your time and want to make the most of it. Our clients usually see results and report feeling better after just a few appointments. Read on to see with whom we do our best work.
who we best help
We work best with people who are either new to therapy or have previously been to a therapist but are looking for a therapist who is more direct and solution oriented than their previous therapist. We understand you’ve reached out for help because you want feedback and we want to offer it, so we tend to work well with people who are open and motivated. While every appointment is unique, our clients usually report feeling better after their first appointment because they are working towards developing a plan and steps to take to move forward with achieving their goals in future appointments.
How we help
Are you interested in how exactly we help our clients? We value the usage of evidence based therapy techniques that have demonstrated positive outcomes and improvement in symptoms in large scale studies and research. In other words, evidence based treatments are backed by scientific evidence. We have extensive advanced training in these specific therapy styles. Our clients find these styles to be direct, empathic, and solution focused.
All the details and data are below for those of you that are interested in the science behind our therapy.
We are trained in the following therapy styles:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) encourages clients to better understand their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Unlike other forms of therapy, CBT is more present than past focused. CBT encourages clients to identify solutions and strategies for change.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) provides clients with skills to help them manage difficult situations and create more positive and meaningful relationships. DBT also focuses on increasing clients’ ability to cope with painful situations and stressors.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is similar to CBT, though focuses more on acceptance of things that potentially cannot be changed, creating action items for what can be changed, and living in accordance with your values.
Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)
Interpersonal Therapy IPT helps improve the quality of client’s relationships. IPT is less directive than CBT, and helps clients to identify how to strengthen their relationship through four areas that include: improving unfulfilling relationships, coping with loss in relationships, adjusting to transitions in relationships, and conflict management.
Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)
If you would like to know more about these types of therapy, please click on the above links. These types of therapy tend to be present and solution focused. Additionally, these types of therapy encourage clients to work with their therapist to develop tools and strategies to meet their goals and live a more fulfilling life.
Additionally, we will often recommend and provide additional reading, articles, or apps that we believe may benefit our clients. Some of these resources can be found here.
meet our therapists
Some clients want to know about our education, licenses and advanced training. We were supervised for thousands of hours and worked in a variety of settings before we arrived in this office. If you are interested in our education and training, please read more below.
Melissa A. Frey, LCSW
Melissa (she/her) received her undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison as a double major in Spanish Literature and Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies. During her undergraduate years, Melissa spent a year studying at the Universidad de Sevilla in Seville, Spain. Following this, she received her Master’s degree from the University of Chicago-School of Social Administration where she was awarded the Jane Mullenbach Moore Scholarship.
After finishing her Master’s degree, she completed a post-graduate fellowship in evidence-based psychotherapy at Rush University Medical Center where she received advanced training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Interpersonal Therapy. Upon completion of her first fellowship, Melissa was one of two social workers chosen nationally to complete a second fellowship in trauma treatment, psychotherapy, and treatment protocol development. During this time, Melissa also completed Executive Leadership Training at Harvard University, as well as the Chronic Pain Management Program at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Melissa then spent the next five years as lead clinical supervisor and clinician in the Department of Neurology at Rush University Medical Center, helping to establish the ALS Clinic, among other programs and projects.
Now in private practice, Melissa spends her time seeing clients, supervising other clinicians, and managing her practice. Melissa is focused on ensuring a “good fit” with clients seeking services in the practice and has worked to connect with colleagues who are direct, solution focused, educated in the practice areas of health and relationships. Melissa firmly believes that no clinician is a “one size fits all,” nor can one clinician be educated in all areas, and thus works to ensure clients are able to connect with a therapist who meets their specific needs. If this therapist isn’t in her practice, she will work to ensure you have an appropriate referral. Melissa truly enjoys working alongside her colleagues who offer their specific talents and skills to create a highly focused client centered practice.
How do Melissa’s clients describe her?
“Direct/to the point, non-judgmental, accessible, and truly invested in her clients’ wellbeing”
How does Melissa describe herself?
Conversational, authentic, and purpose driven
You can read more about Melissa’s clinical interest of reducing isolation and the power of collective storytelling here on her blog. She conducts interviews about experiences that people have had throughout their lives and asks for what advice and feedback they would offer to others in similar situations.
Becky Price, LCSW
Becky (she/her) attended and graduated from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon where she majored in Psychology. Becky then returned to her hometown of Chicago, Illinois to join her family’s manufacturing business. She spent four years doing Human Resources and Product Development until she realized that car mats were not, in fact, her passion and that she was destined for a different path.
In reflecting on a new path, Becky decided that working with people is what really brings her great meaning. Thus, she ended up at the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social Work, where she focused on the clinical track with a concentration in Marriage and Family Therapy.
In order to round out her education and clinical experience, Becky attended a two-year post-graduate program in Marriage and Family Therapy at Denver Family Institute. She spent several years working for the Denver Family Therapy Center, where she ran and eventually served as lead therapist for the Adolescent Substance Abuse Program (ASAP), an Intensive Outpatient program working with teenagers and their families.
Becky currently serves as the Clinical Director at the practice, offering supervision and consultation, in addition to seeing clients.
How do Becky’s clients describe her?
“Very focused in sessions resulting in a very good recollection of details, funny, solution focused and extremely helpful in motivating and encouraging change”
How does Becky describe herself?
Genuine, warm, and forthcoming
Jamie Bernstein, LCSW
Jamie (she/her) received her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan with a Major in Psychology and a Minor in Linguistics. Following this, Jamie went on to receive her first Master’s degree from Hunter College in New York where she received a Master of Science in Education with an emphasis on Special Education and General Childhood Education. While completing her Master’s degree, Jamie worked in the Bronx, New York as part of the Teach for America Corps. In public schools in New York, Jamie worked as a third and fourth grade special education teacher. Following her three years working as a teacher, Jamie began work in the public service sector of philanthropy with the Robin Hood Foundation.
During her time in these roles, she realized her passion of wanting to work directly with individuals and groups, supporting their social and emotional wellbeing, and decided to pursue a degree in social work. Jamie then went on to complete her second graduate degree, earning a Master’s degree in Clinical Social Work from the Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice (formerly the School of Social Service Administration) at the University of Chicago. During her time in graduate school, Jamie worked in school settings and inpatient behavioral health settings, enabling her to obtain advanced and comprehensive training in the mental health needs of children, adolescents, and adults.
Currently, Jamie spends her time both in schools and in private practice. In schools, Jamie sees clients for therapy, completes safety assessments, connects families to resources, oversees social work interns, and provides support for ongoing school challenges (COVID, safety, and general trauma). In private practice, Jamie translates and applies her school experience to work with parents, individuals working on creating balance in their lives, and overall stress management for young adults and adults.
Jamie’s clinical interests are centered around interpersonal relationships: particularly working with parents, family of origin dynamics, families in transitions, and relationships with partners. Jamie specializes in working with individuals in transitions (marriage, parenting, child rearing, separations, job transitions) and those that have interest in working through anxiety and/or depression. Jamie works with a Family Systems and Cognitive Behavioral approach to therapy. In addition to utilizing evidence based theories, Jamie also encourages her clients to add mindfulness and self care into their everyday lives in order to achieve their therapeutic goals.
How do Jamie’s clients describe her?
Compassionate, patient, thoughtful, and warm
How does Jamie describe herself?
Curious, outgoing and caring. When not at work, Jamie enjoys cooking, going on long walks with her dog, and watching somewhat questionable reality tv.
Judy Cohan, LCSW, ACSW
Judy (she/her) received her undergraduate degree from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and then received her Master’s Degree from the University of Illinois. She has advanced certifications in divorce mediation, pediatric bioethics, family therapy, aging, and adult learning.
Judy strives to create a safe place to help clients discuss their needs, identify goals, and create a plan to take the steps necessary to achieve their objectives. While we cannot change difficult circumstances from the past, we can work together to better understand and resolve current challenges in life. Judy bases her work on the Japanese concept of “kaizen” which emphasizes continuous improvement by taking small steps that may have the greatest impact.
Judy’s practice includes work with individuals, couples, and families who experience challenges in their relationships, anxiety, depression, chronic illness and the formation of new behaviors and habits, as well as “letting go” of habits and behaviors that no longer seem effective. Additionally, Judy has extensive experience in working with people who want to focus on stress management techniques to help achieve balance in their busy lives. She is trained in EMDR, as well as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
How do Judy’s clients describe her?
Calming, helpful in finding creative ways to get through extremely difficult situations, thoughtful, and a very engaged and active listener
How does Judy describe herself?
Optimistic, caring, and always looking for the best in people, even when they have a hard time seeing it in themselves and/or others
Agathe Ann Gabriel, LCSW
Agathe (she/her) earned her undergraduate degree in Anthropology at Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia (southern girl in an Illinois world). Agathe then attended the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine where she completed her Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work. She is also certified as a substance use counselor by the Illinois Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse.
Agathe began her career as a social worker as a mental health and substance use counselor for Nicasa Behavioral Health Services in Highland Park. Agathe then shifted her career to the field of Medical Social Work, working for Bluecross Blueshield as a Medical Management Specialist in Government Programs. Agathe areas of clinical interest include: chronic health condition coping and management, substance abuse, and managing interpersonal relationships (couples and families).
Agathe believes in a client centered and solution focused approach. She utilizes a variety of treatment approaches including Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to treat depression, anxiety, PTSD, adjustment disorders, substance use, chronic illness, cultural conflicts and life transitions. Agathe is currently working towards becoming certified in Equine-psychotherapy and training her beloved Rottweiler, Brody as a therapy dog.
How do Agathe’s clients describe her?
Straight forward, trustworthy, reliable and extremely approachable
How does Agathe describe herself?
Welcoming, funny, and reliable
Natalie Lorentz, LCSW
Natalie (she/her) received her undergraduate degree from the University of Miami in Florida with a double major in Psychology and Public Relations. After completion of her undergraduate degree, Natalie relocated back home to Chicago to complete her graduate degree at University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) Jane Addams College of Social Work. She graduated from UIC with high honors, earning a concentration in mental health and completing an advanced certificate program in evidence-based treatment with children and adolescents.
After graduate school, Natalie also pursued one of her passions and completed Yoga Teacher Training to become a Certified Yoga Instructor. This certification and training influenced Natalie’s work in the importance of the mind body connection. Natalie works within a Cognitive Behavioral approach to therapy and finds this therapeutic work to be goal oriented, direct, present focused, and interactive. She also incorporates mindfulness into her work through meditation, movement (walking, exercise) and yoga, when appropriate.
In addition to working in private practice, Natalie has worked as a crisis worker for NorthShore University Health System for nearly the past decade, working in the Emergency Room helping to address acute mental health needs. Natalie’s clinical interests are centered around working with individuals experiencing depression and anxiety, relationship needs including parenting transitions and communication improvement, health conditions and navigation of the healthcare system, and transitions through significant life changes.
How do Natalie’s clients describe her?
Direct, calm, funny, and compassionate.
How does Natalie describe herself?
Open minded, patient, and intuitive. When she is not working you can find her wrangling her three wild young boys, reading, watching bad TV, and cooking.
Samantha “Sam” Lunde, LCSW
Sam (she/her) earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Nebraska, receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree as double major in Psychology and Women and Gender Studies. Sam then went on to complete her Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration. She has advanced certifications in horticultural therapy, older adult clinical psychotherapy, and is a Level II Gottman certified couples therapist.
Samantha began her career as a private geriatric care manager where she provided full-time care, case management, and support to older adults and their families. She then focused on building upon her clinical skills in medical care as a social worker at Rush University Medical Center. Her time at Rush has resulted in expertise in working with chronic illness, disease support, preventing and addressing caregiver burnout, care management, and providing education on advanced directives. Sam spends her time working with patients, families and caregivers with a wide variety of chronic illness conditions, with an emphasis on neurological conditions that include: neurodegenerative conditions, cognitive impairment, stroke, multiple sclerosis and Huntington’s Disease. Samantha continues her work at Rush at present, which enables her to continue to stay up to date on clinical and medical advancements in the field, in addition to working in our office as part of our team.
Sam’s theoretical approach to working with clients includes the evidence based modalities of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Family-Systems work, and Gottman Theory when working with couples. Sam uses mindfulness in her work, as well, and finds it to be a natural complement to the evidence based work she does with clients.When not at work, Sam enjoys gardening (naturally, she has her certification in horticulture therapy!), walking her dogs in Chicago, biking, and cooking.
How do Sam’s clients describe her?
Warm, energetic, curious about the world around her and her clients, and extremely personable.
How does Sam describe herself?
Thoughtful of boundaries, warm, and insightful.
Claire Purkis, LCSW
Claire (she/they) is originally from Yorkshire, England, Claire received her undergraduate degree from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. Following this, Claire went on to receive her Master’s degree from the University of Wales, Cardiff, where she received her Master’s of the Arts degree in Social Work. Claire began her social work career working in housing, specifically working with those most vulnerable and in need of supportive housing and wrap-around services (group therapy, case management, housing, access to resources, individual therapy). Over the course of many years, Claire launched and oversaw various programs that aimed to reach and serve those most vulnerable and in need of emergency housing and mental health support, particularly women with children. Claire spent much of this time working on crisis management teams and then transitioning to supervising and overseeing interns, therapists, case managers and other support staff.
After spending nearly a decade in the Chicago area housing social work arena, Claire expanded her skill set from housing and crisis management into medically and employer based care management. Partnering with health care plans, employers, and hospitals, Claire began to work with individuals who had immediate stressors, provided needs assessment, and connected clients to services. She also was able to provide clients with individual counseling through this work. It was during this time that Claire found a passion for providing counseling to those facing immediate stressors and providing longer term care and therapy to her clients, versus the shorter term work of crisis management.
Currently, Claire spends her time between community based work and in private practice. In her community work, Claire oversees case management programs for older adults. In this role, she ensures that all programming is person centered and reaches diverse populations, including those in rural areas. She also conducts evaluations of the programs in terms of their reach, quality, and service. In private practice, Claire translates and applies her experience in crisis management and triage to being a solution focused therapist with individuals.
Claire’s clinical interest is centered around working with individuals, particularly with parents and families belonging to the LGBTQIA community. She enjoys working with parents, young adults, and older teenagers who are in the midst of transitions, dealing with anxiety and/or depression, and dealing with individuals who are dealing with life changes and coming to understand themselves more fully and deeply. Having worked directly with many aging-focused housing and care management programs, Claire also enjoys working with older adults. Claire works with a Cognitive Behavioral (CBT) approach to therapy, as well as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), mindfulness and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) frameworks. Claire is deeply invested in creating a safe and non-judgmental space for clients to feel welcome, seen, and heard in therapy.
When she is not seeing clients, she enjoys spending time with her family, kayaking, animal fostering, and spending time outdoors. She is often found singing jazz standards and drinking coffee.
How do Claire’s clients describe her/them?
Non-judgmental, empathic, and compassionate
How does Claire describe herself/themselves?
Down to earth, funny, caring, and hopeful
Ryan Rogulich, LCSW
Ryan (he/him) received his undergraduate degree in East Asian Studies and Japanese language from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. While in college, Ryan studied abroad in London, England and Tokyo, Japan. Post-graduation, he traveled back to Japan to live and work in a Zen monastery for one year. Throughout that year, Ryan cultivated a mindfulness practice living with a diverse group of people from around the world, meditating and working together each day to maintain the monastery. Upon returning to the Midwest, Ryan obtained a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Chicago Crown School of Social Work (formerly the School of Social Service Administration) with a focus on clinical and school social work.
He began his early clinical work predominantly with school-aged youth, from ages 4 to 19, in Chicago, Evanston, and Seattle. He spent his time in schools working with children, adolescents, and teens- individually and in groups- treating a variety of presenting problems, including: anxiety, depression, chronic illness and pain, trauma, grief, ADHD, and difficulty with interpersonal interactions within school, in the community, and at home.
Ryan found, throughout his time working in schools, that he enjoyed working with family systems, couples, and parents and shifted his clinical focus to incorporating work with adults. He is able to use his extensive knowledge of working with children, adolescents and teens to help support parents and see all families and couples as a holistic system. Now in private practice, Ryan works with families, adults, and couples, providing a safe space for his clients to process stressors, parenting, and relationship dynamics/stressors, while also focusing on providing coping skills and solution focused interventions.
Ryan works within a humanistic, client-centered framework, with an emphasis on evidence based theories including third wave behavioral therapies (including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy). He is also extensively trained in family systems theory, motivational interviewing, and mindfulness.
How do Ryan’s clients describe him?
Patient, calm, wise
How does Ryan describe himself?
Eager to grow and learn, observant, curious
Jennifer “Jenny” Scheiwiller, LSW
Jenny (she/her) received her undergraduate degree from Northern Illinois University as a double major in Psychology and Chemistry. Upon completion of her degree, Jenny spent her time working in the pharmaceutical industry as a researcher. After nearly two decades of working as a researcher, Jenny wanted a career change and the opportunity to help people in a more active and direct role.
As a result, she returned to school and obtained her Master’s Degree in Social Work at Dominican University. Her specialization at Dominican was in Mental Health, with additional certifications in Mediation and Divorce Mediation. Jenny began her social work career working in addiction counseling, which included working with substance usage, as well as gambling addictions. Following this, she expanded her specializations by working in a hospice setting where she helped both patients and their families. In a hospice and palliative setting, Jenny’s passion has been working in bereavement to help those who have lost loved ones, or those who are coping with chronic and/or terminal illness.
Jenny’s clinical interests are centered around interpersonal relationships, chronic illness and terminal illness, substance usage, chronic stress environments, and individuals, couples and families in the midst of transitions. Her vast experiences have helped her obtain a high level understanding of and insight into individual needs during high-stress events. Jenny works with a strength-based, client-centered approach to therapy- with an emphasis on evidence based theories. She prefers to work within the modalities of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).
Outside of her formal clinical positions, Jenny volunteers for the National Suicide Hotline and hosts a weekly meeting for a COVID-19 Widows Bereavement Group. When not at work or volunteering, Jenny enjoys hiking locally as well as visiting national parks across the United States. Her favorite national park is Zion National Park in Utah.
How do Jenny’s clients describe her?
Compassionate, trustworthy, dependable, and extremely warm
How does Jenny describe herself?
Thoughtful, and consistently holding onto hope for best possible outcomes that will improve the wellbeing of her clients
Kevin Stanford, LCSW
Kevin (he/him) earned his undergraduate degree in Social Work with a minor in Spanish from Providence College in Providence, Rhode Island. Following this, he then completed his graduate work by earning a Master of Social Work degree at the University of Connecticut School of Social Work. His focus in his MSW program was individual casework and counseling.
After receiving his graduate degree, Kevin worked in a variety of clinical settings including in-home work with children and their families, inpatient psychiatry, Employee Assistance (EAP) counseling, and outpatient counseling. Working for over a decade in different settings afforded Kevin the opportunity to work with a wide variety of individuals, families, and groups across the lifespan with varying clinical needs.
Now in private practice, Kevin works with individuals struggling with anxiety, depression, relationship issues, and negative habits they’d like to change. Kevin’s therapeutic approach draws from multiple evidence-based frameworks including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). Therapy with Kevin is a collaborative effort in which he and his clients are equals in moving toward a common goal.
Kevin particularly enjoys working with young adults and adults in the midst of transitions. His areas of specialization include behavioral changes, seeking balance in times of stress, health and wellness, compulsive behaviors, and increasing mindfulness to be more focused during difficult transitions and life events. Kevin also specializes in supporting and identifying ways to create sustainable behavioral changes in those looking to break habits, create new habits, and/or live a life more congruent with the client’s values.
Kevin strives to foster an inclusive, safe, and comfortable therapeutic environment, while at the same time challenging his clients to actively seek and embrace the change they want to see in their lives. Kevin firmly believes that no individual is “broken” and therefore does not need to be “fixed,” but rather that with the right help and guidance, individuals can become a version of themselves that enables them to live a life filled with purpose, meaning, and contentment.
How do Kevin’s clients describe him?
Laid back, easy to talk to, and “real.” Kevin is level headed and focused in his sessions. He makes therapy comfortable even if the subject matter may be uncomfortable for the person to talk about.
How does Kevin describe himself?
Open, honest, and takes a genuine interest in seeing his clients succeed.
Danielle “Dani” Weiss, LCSW
Dani (she/her) received her undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign in Human Development and Family Studies and holds a Master’s Degree from the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration.
In addition to working in private practice, Dani currently works as an outpatient social worker in the Department of Social Work and Community Health at Rush University Medical Center. Dani approaches her work with clients through a Cognitive Behavioral Therapeutic approach with pediatrics, adults and older adults. In addition to using CBT evidence based approaches, Dani also uses mindfulness practices into her work with clients. Dani’s clinical interests including with a range of presentations including mood disorders, anxiety, health issues, chronic health issues, loss, life-transitions, and trauma.
How do Dani’s clients describe her?
Flexible, an active listener, a calming presence and very thoughtful and thorough in her approach to ensuring she understands exactly what brings someone to her office
How does Dani describe herself?
Thoughtful, compassionate, and detail oriented