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 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.
Judy Cohan, LCSW, ACSW
Judy 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 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
Samantha “Sam” Lunde, LCSW
Sam 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.
Becky Price, LCSW
Becky 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.
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
Danielle “Dani” Weiss, LCSW
Dani 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.
see our office
We welcome you to our office! We are located at 400 Central Ave, in the Chase Bank Building in downtown Northfield.