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.
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 is also trained and certified in the treatment of trauma. 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.
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.
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.
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.
Children, Families and Adults
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.
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.
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.
Adolescents and Young Adults
As soulful as she is smart, Stefanie is deeply invested in helping her clients discover themselves. She believes in the alchemy and the power of counseling, having experienced it both personally and professionally.
Her own time in therapy, she says, “has greatly enhanced [her] self-awareness, empathy, and sensitivity as a counselor” and her optimism and approachability make for easy connections with clients, who are able to let their guard down and get to work on what matters.
Stefanie focuses her considerable skill on helping adolescents and emerging adults with anxiety and depression. She understands what makes young people tick and the specific challenges they face in a world filled with social dissonance, the constant presence of technology, and the stressors associated with engaging in healthy, meaningful relationships as well as the struggle to find one’s true purpose.
Though she is grounded in Psychodynamic Therapy, she also pulls from Motivational Interviewing (which we have found is a great modality to help clients in this age group clarify wants and needs and get moving in the right direction) as well as Narrative Therapy (another excellent age specific treatment that helps kids and emerging adults become the “heroes of their own story).
Social Work Intern
Maureen comes to Sound Mind Counseling as a second career therapist. With extensive experience in schools and special education, her ability to form strong nurturing relationships with others was critical to her excellence in that role. Her transition to counseling is a natural progression for someone who wishes to continue working alongside those who seek to improve their lives through self awareness.
Maureen notes that she has an “innate talent for connecting with people and a curiosity to uncover their stories and strengths,” which is exactly the reason I asked her to join our team. Within moments of meeting her, clients find themselves surprisingly at ease, and able to start unpacking whatever it is that has brought them there. She knows that “each of us has a story” and that it is understanding, accepting, and transcending our stories that helps get us to the next, more fulfilled and joyful chapter of our lives.
Though her expertise to date is in working with school age children and adolescents, Maureen is eager to broaden her therapeutic scope. Her life experience as a wife, mom, and working woman make her well suited to counseling adults and couples of all ages. Don’t let the term “intern” fool you! Under Maureen’s care, clients will develop the insight and the courage to tackle the issues that are weighing them down, allowing them to move into a happier, more peaceful place.
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!