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Friday, December 09, 2022

Staff

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Erica Leibrandt

LCPC, RYT

Adolescents and Adults

Hi there! My name is Erica Leibrandt, founder of Sound Mind Counseling. You’ll often hear me say, and this is true, talk therapy changed my life… and it can dramatically improve yours as well.

I believe the best therapists are those who are not just educated in the finest programs, but who are seasoned by the real bumps and bruises life can dish out. Someone who can understand on a deep personal level things like grief, depression, anxiety, work stress, low self esteem, and relationships. Whatever you’re going through, you want a therapist who can relate and understand your story— no matter how crazy or terrible it may seem.

I love my job because I get to help clients change the pain that everyone experiences into an opportunity to heal, to grow, and to become the person they were meant to be.

I was lucky to attend both Loyola and Northwestern Universities, and develop my professional identity as a psychodynamically informed psychotherapist with expertise in mindfulness. That’s really just a fancy way of saying I care about all the parts of my client’s lives; past, present, future, mental, emotional, and physical, and I encourage practices that help bring self awareness into focus.

If you’re ready to get unstuck and start feeling hopeful, empowered, and alive again, reach out. I, and the other talented Sound Mind Counselors, are ready to help you do your work.


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Tara Parker

ALMFT, C-IAYT, RYT-500

Adults and Couples

Tara is a warm and empathetic professional, who unconditionally supports clients as they consider who they are, what they want for themselves, and what is meaningful in their lives. She is a depth-oriented clinician helping clients get at the heart of their issues to cultivate the self-awareness needed to create long lasting change and transformation in their lives. She believes that the most effective way to engender meaningful growth requires being willing to discover and connect with one’s soul longing and purpose.

Doubly educated as both a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and as a Professional Counselor, Tara has dedicated her life to learning about how to help people lead more authentic and meaningful lives. She loves working with all adults but has a special place in her heart for inspiring couples to recapture the love that originally brought them together— or helping them sort out that it’s time to move on.

With over twenty years of experience as a yoga teacher, Tara brings not just clinical expertise to Sound Mind Counseling but offers an expansive knowledge to her clients on how to use mindfulness and the yogic perspective to manage and heal anxiety and depression in their daily life. Like me, Tara credits great therapy with putting her on the path to personal fulfillment, and she is eager to share that gift with others.


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Michelle Waters

LCPC, ATR

Children, Adolescents and Young Adults

I am so proud to have Michelle Waters on staff at Sound Mind, and tell people who are wondering whether they or their children should try Art Therapy, “Don’t walk, run!”

Michelle believes that "art gives us space to explore the messiness of life, and a language that can transcend words.” She notes that it is not only therapeutic in the standard ways of talk therapy, but that it is also “fun, relaxing, satisfying, and a great way to learn problem solving, perseverance, and self expression.” Many people, especially kids, are just not comfortable sitting in a room and being “forced” to talk, but this modality, combined with Michelle’s gentle wisdom, opens up worlds of exploration and self discovery.

An accomplished artist in her own right, Michelle stresses that you don’t have to have any artistic skill to benefit from this work— all that’s required is an open mind. She has particular expertise in helping clients manage ADHD, trauma, gender issues, and relationships, and loves seeing the transformation of those who come in feeling lost or overwhelmed, but are able to build— in time— strength, self awareness, and resilience.


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Jennifer Stranski

LCPC

Adolescents and Adults

Some people are lucky enough to have a true vocation, and Jen is one of them. She recently shared that she feels “genuinely called” to counseling because she is fascinated by the human condition and deeply appreciates the power of human connection to heal. She believes that with the right therapist, people can begin to see themselves differently, and find resources within that they didn’t know they had.

Jen focuses her considerable skill on individuals ages sixteen and up managing life transitions, trauma, relationships, anxiety, and depression. With over 10 years of clinical experience, she has a sharp instinct for what might be holding her clients back, and a gentle but direct hand when it comes to helping them develop the insight required to create change.

She is unwaveringly dedicated to the people with whom she works, and that commitment creates an atmosphere of hope and possibility. Sometimes we just need a place to feel safe with a trusted professional to explore the stuff that keeps us stuck, and Jen is a master at creating that space and welcoming her clients in.


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Kaki Voss

MA, LSW

Adults

From the moment you meet Kaki, you understand that you are in the presence of a consummate professional. Her expertise in treating older adult populations dealing with things like grief, troubled relationships, and chronic illness comes both from her personal and her clinical experience. She is uniquely well rounded culturally, and loves to work with clients of all ethnicities, particularly those of Indian or Hispanic descent.

Kaki believes that therapy provides much more than simple stress relief, but that it cultivates an understanding of “the bigger picture” and ultimately allows clients to get more enjoyment out of life. A natural problem solver, she enjoys helping people put together the pieces of their own puzzle and working together to find solutions to the tough questions that we all have about ourselves.

Kaki is a true psychodynamic therapist, and gives clients the chance to examine where they came from, where they are, and where they’re going. Through their work with her they will develop increased levels of self awareness and emotional intelligence, and the ability to see themselves anew, as the person they are meant to be.


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Kelly Scafidi

MSW, LCSW, DT

Children and Adolescents

A born empath, Kelly brings unmatched energy and compassion to every client she sees. Specializing in working with children ages three and up dealing with trauma, behavioral issues, anxiety, and depression, she is able to use her warmth and intelligence to create strong therapeutic bonds. This is not easy work, and few people are as skilled as she is with these age groups.

She is not only great with kids, but with their parents too. She understands that every child is part of a family system, and as such, that the whole system should be engaged in the treatment process.

Kelly believes that trust is the foundation of successful therapy, and that each client has highly individualized needs. As a result, she incorporates many different modalities including play and experiential therapy, CBT, and role playing. I never see Kelly happier than when she has a meaningful break through with a client, and is able to help them find their voice and get their lives pointed in a healthier, more joyful direction.

In my opinion, the ultimate test of a pediatric clinician’s excellence is whether or not I’d send my own kids to them. Though they are older now, my kids would have been lucky to have her, and yours will be too.


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Debbie Levine

LSW

Adolescents, Adults and Couples

As soon as I met Debbie, I knew she had to be a part of the Sound Mind Counseling team. She has the hard won wisdom only those who have endured (and survived!) the ups and downs of life can have. As someone who values personal as much as professional experience, I knew that she would be able to connect with, guide, and inspire clients.

Debbie uses CBT and DBT therapies to encourage people to reframe issues in ways that might never have occurred to them before. The reward for her, she says, is “those lightbulb moments when everything clicks and we find new ways to solve old problems.” She helps clients rediscover their own personal strengths, stressing that those strengths are already innately within them, but that sometimes they need an impartial witness to tease them out. As such, she is a great believer in the human spirit, and the ability of people to transcend their circumstances, whatever they may be, to find balance, a return to health, and the chance to live the life they truly want.


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Stephanie Warda

LPC, MSC

Adolescents and Young Adults

I wish I’d had a therapist like Stephanie when I was younger! Her calm yet charismatic personality instantly puts clients at ease, allowing them to let down their defenses so they can start unraveling the riddle of why they are there in the first place.

It takes a certain kind of person to do this work with teens and even young adults, who are used to keeping their cards close to the vest for fear of being judged, ridiculed, or simply not believed. With extensive experience as a school counselor, she has first hand knowledge of the spectrum of issues that kids face today. She encourages families to get involved with treatment and hones in on communication, behavioral health, skill building, self esteem, and social/emotional health.

Uniquely informed by her Assyrian background, she will (rightly) say that her multiculturalism is one of her strongest assets. Rooted in a CBT, Person-Centered/Strengths Based and Mindfulness approach, she aims to empower clients to make the “unconscious conscious”, build self awareness, and encourage creative change.


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Bhodi and Enzo

Therapy Dogs in Training

Like lots of people, I credit animals with helping me stay mentally healthy, and there is nothing quite like pure dog love to alleviate depression and anxiety!

After losing my beloved therapy dog Bruno, a big German Shepherd with an old soul with whom I practiced until his passing in 2019, I rescued Bhodi and Enzo, two White Swiss Shepherd puppies, to help take his place. As energetic as they are, it’s taken a bit longer than I anticipated to bring them into the office! Nevertheless, I know that with hard work and patience they will soon be ready to join me as I work with clients, and bring them that spontaneous sense of joy that they bring to me.

Meanwhile, Sound Mind Counseling is a dog friendly space, and any client who wishes to visit us with their pet (assuming they are friendly) is always welcome!

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