Christi Gardner is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and Certified Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor (CADC), in Chicago, IL, specializing in the treatment of addiction, trauma, and depression and anxiety-related disorders. She is originally from Chicago and has extensive experience working with persons battling addiction, trauma, and serious mental illness. In 2008, she started her career in mental health working as a case manager for women in recovery, at Catholic Charities’ SAFE Housing program. She earned her Bachelor’s in Psychology from North Park University and her Master’s degree in Social Work from Loyola University Chicago, where she focused her studies on addiction and psychodynamic orientation. During her master’s practicum, she served as a staff therapist at Deborah’s Place, providing group and individual psychotherapy to women with serious mental illness. During her second practicum, she served as an addiction therapist at Lutheran Social Services of Illinois Women’s Residence. In 2014, Christi completed the yearlong intensive narrative therapy training, under Jill Freedman and Gene Combs, at the Evanston Family Therapy Center. In 2014, she joined the staff at Jesse Brown Veterans’ Administration Medical Center, where she furthered her skills in CBT, DBT, IPT, and other evidenced-based treatment. She currently resides there as a therapist in the Drug Dependence Treatment Center. Christi has also served as an educator and supervisor within Chicago and adjunct professor at Northeastern Illinois University. She recently completed Part I & II of the HAP EMDR training and is expected to complete consultation hours for international certification in EMDR, by 2020.
Christi believes that effective therapy occurs by tailoring a treatment approach to your unique desires, needs, and interests. Christi draws from narrative and psychodynamic approaches in treatment, but also utilizes evidenced-based treatments such as CBT (cognitive behavior therapy), and DBT (dialectical behavior therapy). There is no standard prescription in therapy. The therapeutic relationship, as well as treatment, are collaborations between client and clinician that, when in harmony, will promote the positive change that you desire. Christi promotes the use of concrete goals to address stumbling blocks in our path, but ultimately, you are in charge of the direction of treatment. An environment of empathy and support is always maintained; however, she will acknowledge when it seems you are triggering your own impediments. Christi believes that therapy is not intended to be an indeterminately long solution and there are clear indicators when goals have been accomplished and you are ready to move on.
Mahalia Gilot is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC). She is originally from Haiti and emigrated to the U.S. at a young age; her subsequent worldwide travels sparked a passion for the human story! In 2010, she earned her BA in Psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Mahalia specialized in Clinical Counseling while completing her Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology, at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. During her Practicum, she worked closely with adolescents, providing intensive therapy to them and their families. She has extensive experience with school-aged children, facilitating therapeutic groups and later authoring curriculum for at-risk children. Since early 2015, Mahalia has served as a therapist for PEER Services, where she uses a collaborative approach to treat adults and adolescents battling addiction, depression, anxiety, and distress related to life transitions. She has a long history of volunteer work in youth-focused organizations and specialized knowledge in treating addiction among youth.
Mahalia has a passion for the unique story each person possesses! Her own story includes understanding and maintaining an identity in two very different cultures. Mahalia believes that the culture, family, successes, mistakes, and trauma in our lives, play a crucial role in the process of accepting and appreciating our past while gaining the power to move forward in the way we truly desire. By acknowledging events, relinquishing shame, and embracing this past, we have the power to reauthor our future! Mahalia utilizes CBT, Motivational Interviewing, Person Centered Therapy and other evidence-based interventions with a narrative focused approach. She uses a strength-based perspective and works collaboratively with clients to fortify and incorporate their own, existing coping skills and strengths into counseling. She provides an open, judgment-free space to encourage personal growth.
Joyce Mulford is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) originally from Chicago, IL, specializing in severe mental illness, and aging and end of life issues. Joyce started her career of service upon completion of her seminary degree at International Bible College in San Antonio, TX. From there, Joyce served the needy in various church driven community programs while attending university. Joyce obtained her bachelor’s in social work from Texas Women’s University and her master’s in social work from Our Lady of the Lake University San Antonio, TX. Joyce completed her master’s practicum at Mental Health Association of San Antonio, where she worked in community organization and advocacy. Joyce moved back to Chicago and joined the State of Illinois as a clinical social worker, working with persons battling severe mental illness. In 2007, Joyce transitioned to working with the elder community. She found a unique harmonization with this population and continues to serve them with psychotherapy. In addition to her work at CG Therapies, Joyce is contracted with other agencies to provide group and individual psychotherapy throughout Chicagoland. Joyce brings over 35 years’ experience in mental health to CG Therapies!
Joyce primarily uses solution-focused, supportive therapy in session. She believes empathy and compassion are key to healing and the therapeutic environment is one of unconditional positive support. Joyce is trained in solution-focused, supportive therapy and places a high emphasis on the importance of spirituality. She believes it is ultimately best to focus on the possibilities the future holds for you, despite current challenges that arise. She will provide, insight, empathy, and support during your time of navigation.
Sarah Schroeder-Lebec is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) with over 13 years of experience working with individuals, families, and groups to improve coping, promote resilience, and achieve recovery. A Chicagoland native, Sarah’s passion for social justice, psychology and holistic healing was evident from a young age. Sarah is also an alumna of the historic, Jane Addams College of Social Work at University of Illinois, Chicago. In 2006, she obtained her Master’s in Social Work from the Loyola University Chicago School of Social Work, specializing in clinical social work with a psychodynamic orientation. Throughout her career in behavioral health, Sarah has provided individual, group, and family therapy to a diverse clientele with a range of mental health issues. Her passion for knowledge and excellence in treatment led her to complete additional, specialized, training in multiple, evidenced-based, therapeutic interventions with a specific focus on trauma and recovery. Sarah is a trained practitioner of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) as well as Hakomi Mindfulness-centered Somatic Psychotherapy. She has extensive experience in treating parent/family issues, attachment difficulties, depression, sexual assault recovery, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, single and complex trauma, bipolar disorder, substance abuse/dependence, domestic violence, and schizophrenia. Sarah masterfully uses internal family systems (IFS) therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), acceptance commitment therapy (ACT), play therapy , mindfulness-based stress reduction, and trauma-informed care. She joined CG Therapies as a resident psychotherapist in early 2018.
The heart of Sarah’s approach to therapy is the belief that self-acceptance is the gateway to wholeness and freedom! Sarah seeks to help individuals connect to self-compassion as the foundation for the changes they desire. She is a holistic therapist who understands the power of the mind-body connection and its vital role in mental health. If allowed, Sarah will gently guide you in reaching a deeper level of awareness of this connection and teach you ways to promote balance and increase resilience. Therapy is always client-driven, and Sarah trusts the inner wisdom of each individual to guide the process of therapy at the pace and in the manner that is optimal for growth and healing. Connection, trust, safety, self-reflection, loving presence, mindfulness, empathy, and compassion are the most evident qualities in a session with Sarah.
“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.” – Carl Rogers
Marcus Han is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) who values the depth and breadth of humanity, while understanding the many challenges that come with it. Marcus started his professional career as a consulting actuary and worked for ten years in that field before deciding to change careers to pursue his true passion of helping others. Spurred by life experiences and genuine interests, Marcus earned his Master of Social Work degree in 2014 from Loyola University Chicago, with a specialization in Mental Health. During his graduate studies, Marcus worked at EdgeAlliance, where he assisted in providing emotional and resource support for individuals diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. He completed his clinical practicum at Harold Washington College, where he provided individual psychotherapy for people struggling with depression, anxiety, panic attacks, eating disorders, and acculturation and identity issues.
The majority of Marcus’ post graduate work has been with people struggling with major depression, bipolar disorder, severe anxiety, trauma, schizophrenia, and other serious mental health conditions. Marcus has a passion for volunteering and has done so, in a variety of settings, including sports and recreation. He also spent a summer working as a therapist in a youth program. Marcus has in-depth work experience with ethnic and racial minorities, individuals who identify on the LGBTQ spectrum, and the intersection between sports, exercise, and mental health. His goal is to continue working towards being a leader and innovator in the mental health field.
Marcus approaches therapy with the mindset that each person’s unique set of strengths, abilities, needs, perspectives, and experiences are vital to overcoming barriers and living a healthy and satisfying life. He values the diversity and complexities of life and is sensitive to how cultural factors can influence one’s own well-being. Through exploration and discovery, aided by the power of the therapeutic relationship, people can learn to identify the well of strengths and resources within and draw upon these facets to make positive changes and attain whole health.
These changes are facilitated by deeper self-insight, cultivating and enhancing resiliency, and fortifying determination and resolve. As new strategies, skills and tools are learned, we are better able to solve our problems which leads to a greater feeling of well-being and security in our identity.
Marcus has extensive experiencing using a vast array of effective, psychological interventions to assist in this process, including CBT, DBT, Humanistic Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Mindfulness, Client-centered Therapy, and Solution-focused Therapy. He strives to collaborate with each individual to develop a therapeutic strategy that will most effectively achieve their desired outcome.
Lorena Ornelas is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in Chicago, IL who earned a dual MSW/MA in Women and Gender Studies from Loyola University Chicago in 2015. While earning her degrees, she worked with grade school children and adolescents with socioemotional, developmental, and behavioral difficulties, as well as women in transitional housing, many dealing with issues of trauma, addiction, and chronic mental illness, combining each experience to formulate her approach to therapy as trauma integrated and person-centered. She has extensive experience working with children from immigrant and refugee populations, as well as adults struggling with anxiety, depression, attention and hyperactivity issues, oppositional/defiant behaviors as well as other behavioral challenges.
Lorena takes a comprehensive approach to each therapeutic relationship, considering the biopsychosocial aspects of each individual client’s well-being. Lorena works with her clients using a psychodynamic, intersectional, and culturally affirming approach that recognizes one’s lived experiences from a strength’s perspective, while also building skills in mindfulness in order to promote development of insight, greater self-awareness, and ability to manage difficult emotions.
“Caminante, no hay puentes, se hace puentes al andar.”- Gloria E. Anzaldúa
Estefanía Elías is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and Certified Clinical Anxiety Treatment Professional – Children and Adolescents (CCATP-CA) specializing in the treatment of trauma, anxiety, depression, familial discord, and life transitions in children, youth, families, and the emergent adult population. Estefanía was born and raised in Argentina, but has called Chicago home for many years. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the Universidad de Buenos Aires and worked at various companies in Argentina and Chicago. In 2011, she made a career change and pursued her MSW with the purpose of supporting others in a more personal way. During her studies, she completed her second practicum at Wellness Center at Truman College, where she provided individual therapy to students of diverse ages and backgrounds, facing various mental and emotional challenges causing distress internally as well as within their academic and social lives. In 2013, she earned her Master of Social Work at Loyola University Chicago, with a specialization in clinical mental health. Post-graduation, she completed extensive training to obtain certification as a clinical anxiety treatment professional for children and adolescents. Since 2014, Estefanía has been providing individual and family therapy at a youth development agency, in Evanston. Her work there focuses on treating the emergent adult population, youth, and children/families that face a variety of mental health issues. She has extensive experience in addressing trauma, anxiety, depression, relationship difficulties, life transitions, and identity issues.
Estefanía celebrates the uniqueness of every person and believes in the power of trusting working relationships between client and therapist. She personalizes her interventions based on the client’s needs, challenges, and goals. In her practice she uses diverse therapeutic approaches and techniques -such as psychodynamic approach, systems theory, person-centered therapy, solution-focused therapy, motivational interviewing, CBT, and exposure therapy-while applying a strength-based perspective. Estefanía is bilingual in English and Spanish.
“Being happy doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. It means that you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.”- Gerard Way