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Our Staff

Karin Madsen-Lagacy, Psy.D, Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Karin

I believe that people face many challenges in their lives. I believe that with perseverance and with focus many challenges can be overcome. I believe that it is important to accept things that we may not like; and change our thinking when we cannot change our situation. That is why my approach to treatment is integrative with influences from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

I believe that people often try to avoid or suppress emotions, thoughts, or memories, which may result in unhealthy or maladaptive methods to further that avoidance. Often these symptoms, whether eating disorder behavior, self-injury, chemical dependency, etc., also serve some sort of purpose in the person's life and help them through difficult times in an unhealthy way. The purpose of treatment then becomes to replace ineffective and maladaptive behavior with functional and thoughtful responses. My approach to therapy emphasizes the acceptance and validation of your thoughts, feelings, and actions; while still challenging you to think of alternatives and practice acceptance of discomfort in the service of change.

Though I do practice using primarily the previously mentioned treatment techniques, my ultimate goal is to ensure a positive therapeutic relationship with each and every one of my clients. I am certainly flexible within my treatment approach and hope to work with you in a way that best meets your needs and helps you start living your life to the fullest.

Press: Voyage Chicago Interview of Karin Madsen-Lagacy

Nicole Miller, M.A., Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor

I believe that a successful therapeutic relationship is based on trust, teamwork, compassion and empathy. I work attentively to assist my clients in realizing their potential for positive change, and help to empower them to meet their therapeutic goals. I am comfortable utilizing a variety of interventions to meet each client's specific needs.

I work with individuals and groups on issues such as family problems, divorce and divorce recovery, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, anger management, eating disorders, parenting skills, grief and loss, physical and sexual abuse, and adolescent issues.

We all experience periods of distress in our lives that can fluctuate between intense grief and suffering to slight sadness and worry. Regardless of the stressor, I believe that most people can benefit from therapy services at one point or another. I assist my clients to feel safe and comfortable in the therapeutic process.

Nathan Lagacy, M.A., CMPC, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor

I am a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, and also a Certified Mental Performance Consultant for the Association for Applied Sport Psychology. I have spent the past six years working as a full time therapist dealing with a variety of mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, ODD, ADHD, anger management, Bipolar Disorder, and others. I also have experience with relationship issues and issues related to children's adjustment to divorce, and stress management. I have experience as a mental performance consultant in working with various sports teams, individual athletes, and performers in a multitude of sports/performance realms to develop skills to create consistency, and optimal performance. Concentrating on areas such as goal setting, mental toughness, emotional regulation skills (anxiety, anger, etc.), relaxation, managing pressure, motivation, focus, and improving performance.

I work with individuals to meet them where they are in life in order to help them find more effective ways to cope, and to maneuver through their life. We will work to identify areas for improvement and to challenge each person in order to improve their quality of life. I work to help individuals utilize their current strengths to help them find more success in managing stressors, painful emotions, and to navigate through difficult relationships.

As a therapist with training in sport and health psychology I understand the importance of how the mind and body interact with one another. I work to help individuals look at all areas of their life in order to increase their happiness, and work to achieve their goals in life. As a youth I participated in soccer, baseball, basketball, football, and track. I played collegiate football during my undergraduate degree as well. As an adult I continue to be very involved in health and wellness, along with playing sports recreationally. I am a big believer in the impact that health, wellness, physical activity and sports can have upon increasing happiness and overall life satisfaction.

Jennifer Earnest, M.Ed., NCC, CCMHC, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor

As your counselor, I am here to join along side you on your journey of growth and healing. My intention is to understand and care for your needs in therapy and for you to know that you are not alone. I believe the continual pursuit of growth is best understood as the relentless process of rediscovering and harnessing your strengths and revisiting the core aspects of your self that make you uniquely you. I am committed to being an agent of change for individuals during times of transition and personal development. During our time together, I intend for us to get to the core of your current challenges, realize and actualize your abilities, and begin moving towards optimum wellness. I am sensitive to the diverse needs of individuals/life stages and recognize that each person comes to therapy with their own story and desired outcomes. My hope is for each individual to leave with a desire to experience a more fulfilling and meaningful life; and most importantly, to feel equipped enough to do so!

I utilize cognitive behavioral therapy techniques, as well as others as needed to help you discover underlying challenges and hurts, work out past traumas, change thinking that is no longer serving you and makes gains toward inner peace and understanding. I use a variety of therapy modalities and tools, some of which include: Dialectal Behavior Therapy (DBT), Solution Focused/Strength based therapy, mindfulness and visualization, art and music therapy, psychoeducation, as well as journaling. Common challenges and reasons that individuals may see me include: body image issues, eating disorders, relationship concerns, spirituality and identity, life transitions, anxiety, depression, personal growth and mindset development, self harm, obsessive compulsive disorder, anger/stress management, bullying, perfectionism, postpartum support, and overall wellness/self care. I am currently working with preteens (middle school), adolescents and adults providing individual therapy.

My educational background began at Northwestern University, where I graduated Summa Cum Laude, earning a Bachelors Degree of Science in Education and Social Policy in Human Development and Psychological Services. I continued my studies in School and Community Counseling at Loyola University, where I earned my Masters of Education, as well as my certificate as a school counselor. I am a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC), and certified by the National Board for Certified Counselor as a National Certified Counselor (NCC), as well as a Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor (CCMHC). I have additional training in mindfulness and stress reduction for adolescents.

JoAnna Gutwein, M.A., CCM, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor

“This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor.” ~ An excerpt from “The Guest House”, a poem by Jalaluddin Rumi.

This poem encompasses human relation to emotions. Often times, we keep our emotions at an arms-length, not allowing those emotions to pass through us or to truly experience and feel them. Sometimes those emotions are too difficult or painful to allow in and truly experience on our own. At those times, we look for that outreached hand to help us, comfort us, safely challenge us. As a therapist, I want to be that hand. We can only get through it by going through it, so let’s grow together.

I earned my Masters in Community Counseling from Argosy University Chicago in 2013. I have experience with severe mental illness, post-traumatic stress disorder, personality disorders, depression, anxiety, OCD, self-image issues, eating disorders, divorce, couples work, grief, self-harm, and life stage transitions, specifically working with adolescents and the aging population. I am dedicated, uplifting, positive spirited, and passionate about the care of those in need. I exhibit this by creating a unified environment filled with empathy, patience, and understanding.

I come from a Rogerian based training, where the client is an expert in his/her own life. I am there as a lighthouse to help guide you through rough waters. To assist you in nurturing the knowledge and expertise you already have inside you; helping you water it so you can see it grow. Much of my philosophy is based in the Eastern way of thought; including mindfulness, yoga, and meditation. I support an exploration of feelings through words, music, and writing, whether as the artist or the viewer/listener. Much of what we find difficult to say out-loud, we can find written or in art and movement.

I thank you for inviting me and allowing me to be on your journey with you. Through counseling, we can build a therapeutic relationship together, building trust as we go along, and figuring this life out together.

Ashley Porter, M.A., Licensed Professional Counselor

Whether you're in the process of a major life transition, experiencing a loss or perhaps you could just use an emotional check-in, the therapeutic relationship can be a safe, judgement-free place to gain insight into those often challenging moments of your life. My approach to therapy is one that acknowledges that it is often a process of taking two steps forward, and, regardless of how large that one step back may be, you're still a step ahead of where you started from.

I work with adolescents and adults in both individual and group settings on issues such as anxiety/OCD, depression, bipolar disorder, grief and loss, and relationship issues. I am especially passionate about working with individuals who are first-generation Americans born in the United States and exploring the unique social and cultural challenges they may face.

I earned my Master's degree in Counseling from Northwestern University and have experience providing counseling in both private practice and hospital settings. My clinical approach to therapy stems from a combined lens of psychodynamic and cognitive approaches, including rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT).

Molly Kanaley, M.Ed., Licensed Professional Counselor

Molly

Life brings many stressors, and we could all benefit from a safe and supportive place to sort out our feelings and process our concerns. In counseling, I aim to provide my clients with a warm and non-judgmental space to be truly heard so that they can communicate their authentic experiences in a safe place. I use a person-centered and collaborative approach, providing clients with the opportunity to identify and clarify their own goals, gifts, and qualities. 

 I obtained my M.Ed. in Counseling from DePaul University in 2018 and have worked in Higher Education for the past 6 years. I have experience with an array of students and clients from adolescents to adults, and focus on issues such as anxiety, depression, identifying and setting boundaries, relationship and social issues, grief and loss, time management, and stress management. Additionally, I have a strong background and interest in learning styles and have assisted undergraduate and graduate students in exploring their academic needs by understanding how they learn and process challenging material inside and outside the classroom.

 My treatment approach is influenced by Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Solution Focused Therapy;  I enjoy working with individuals as they grow and face the challenges of life.

Kerry Hampton, M.A., NCC, Licensed Professional Counselor

Kerry

“Mental Health is not a destination but a process. It’s about how you drive, not where you’re going.” –Noam Spencer, PhD. My passion in life is to help others work through difficulty, finding the strength and resources they never knew they had. As a therapist, I believe each individual is the expert in their lives and counseling helps to find the answers to their problems from within through discussions, interventions, guidance, and support.

I have years of experience working in a variety of settings including inpatient psychiatry, outpatient therapy, and working with clients recently diagnosed with cancer and those experiencing losses. Working in private practice, I have worked with young children, adolescents, teens, adults, and couples.  As a therapist, I strive to help each individual feel supported, validated, and comfortable with the counseling process.

I am a licensed professional counselor and have a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling from Governors State University. I operate from an integrated theoretical approach, primarily person-centered, incorporating dialectical behavioral therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, reality theory, existential theory, as well as positive psychology. I see each client as an individual and work with each client determining together the goals and areas of concern that will be focused on in therapy. 

Kimberly Fitzgerald-Amend, M.S., Licensed Professional Counselor

Kimberly

As a Licensed Professional Counselor it has been my experience that even the strongest person can find themselves faced with challenging life events.  Whether it be relationship problems, the loss of a loved one, career stress, or caring for a family member with disabilities, life is full of hurdles and struggles. Although our lives are not always going to be optimally satisfying, never doubt they still have meaning.  As your therapist, my goal is to create a relationship in which you feel comfortable, accepted, and safe.

 I am an eclectic clinician, and rather than utilizing a “one-size fits all” therapeutic approach, I prefer to implement treatment plans based on the individual needs of my clients, which may include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Writing Exposure Therapy, Art Therapy or Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.  I do favor a client-centered approach, in which my clients choose their own goals, and with my guidance, work toward achieving them, because…. “It is your story, and you get to write the ending” --- Brene´ Brown

 I have experience providing individual and group therapy to those struggling with depression, anxiety, OCD, bipolar disorder, PTSD, eating disorders, grief and loss, and dissociative identity disorder.  My particular passion is working with caregivers and families of individuals with disabilities in order to assist them in coping with their unique life stressors.

 I hold a Masters in Science, Clinical Psychology/Clinical Counseling degree from Capella University, and am currently working on obtaining certification as a Play Therapist as well.

Veronica Monarrez, M.A., NCC, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor

Veronica

Today’s world, especially for youth and young adults, is more challenging to navigate and understand than ever before. Some days, you may feel like things are pretty all right and manageable. Other days, you might feel empty, hopeless, misunderstood, mentally and physically exhausted, and confused as to how it got “this bad”. As a parent, you may notice your child spending more time alone, preferring to stay home during family outings, angry and irritable for “no reason”, losing interest in activities they once enjoyed, or getting lower grades in school. While these feelings and behaviors can appear to affect your life in some of the worst ways, they’re also your body’s way of telling you it’s time for something different.

It’s time to realize that you too are strong, smart and capable of learning, growing and becoming the version of yourself that you may have never imagined you could be. As a therapist who recognizes that therapy is not a one size fits all, I bring together techniques, beliefs and treatment modalities offered through different therapeutic approaches to create a unique, personalized experience that will work for you. You are ready to take that next step and deserve to begin working on the most important person in your life, you. I believe that the relationship we develop with ourselves is the most crucial and influential in shaping how we experience our day to day. Allow me to help you get to know yourself in ways that will allow things like joy, understanding, love, compassion, and meaning be a part of your daily life. With my extensive background in working with teens, young adults and families who have been “dealt a bad hand” at one time or another, I am ready to be by your side and support you through your journey to a happier, more fulfilled life.

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