Psychotherapist & Clinical Supervisor

aprilkoppPhilosophy and Values

I believe we are all survivors who have developed a particular set of skills to cope and keep on. Sometimes our skillsets serve us, sometimes, not. I aim to provide therapy that validates the role of the survivor but also celebrates an ability to thrive in spite of adversity. I always begin with strengths as a starting place.

Above everything, I value our empathy, humility, and humanity. Here’s a lovely video that illustrates the difference between empathy and sympathy. Per the video’s narrator, Dr. Brené Brown, “Empathy is feeling with people… a choice.” I believe that social connection can illuminate the paths towards healing. Therapy allows us to feel “felt,” and hopefully as a result, empathize with ourselves (the people we were, are, or wish to become) and others. There is beauty in feeling uncomfortable, anxious, or simply not ok; these feelings are what beget growth and change.

Many of us who are in different stages of recovery from trauma have naturally gravitated towards helping others, whether as “good listeners,” caregivers, professionals, volunteers, etc. Sometimes people choose their vocations based on the necessary skills they acquired during times of chronic stress and pain. I believe we need a safe space to process our past experiences as they intersect in our daily lives and roles as helpers. That way, we can refuel our energy and continue to pursue courageous missions.

Training and Experience

I hold degrees in clinical social work and literature from the University of Chicago and a degree in writing from the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop. Prior to providing psychotherapy, I had the honor of working in diverse settings: the Hines VA Hospital, assisting with the publication of research and resources relevant to our veterans; The Joint Commission, researching how hospitals can become more culturally competent for the patients they serve; Teen Living Programs, supporting youth to obtain stable housing; and the University of Iowa, as a teacher working with undergraduate students and community members to express themselves through poetry and storytelling.

Prior to joining the Live Oak community in 2015, I worked for seven years as a therapist serving diverse clients who were in different stages of recovery from developmental and complex trauma, depression, and anxiety. I primarily worked at non-profits, including the Chicago Child Care Society, One Hope United, UCAN, and the Barr-Harris Children’s Grief Center. I worked extensively with families who were dealing with oppression and devaluation, challenges of child welfare system involvement due to abuse or neglect, educational issues, and other types of vulnerabilities. I also worked with children and their caregivers who were learning to live with losses due to death, divorce, or separation. I have provided clinical supervision and training on trauma, attachment, systems, expressive therapies, and cultural inclusion.

Therapy

Therapy can be a wonderfully weird thing. Two (or more, in the case of couple or family) strangers are invited to sit in a room together. The client is the expert of their self and in charge of their therapy. The therapist is somebody strives to build safety and hopefully, to co-facilitate a relationship with the client. They navigate, negotiate, and co-construct together.

One size does not fit all in therapy. I utilize an eclectic approach that includes exploration of thoughts and feelings, focus on our senses of connection and disconnection, grounding in our physical bodies and spaces, and access of our creative selves. It is important to me that my clients and I do the dance that is therapy together. We develop wholly unique rhythms for building trust, challenging patterns and behaviors, and integrating changes.

Based on the work of James W. Pennebaker, PhD, I believe that storytelling and writing can improve how our immune system functions, lower the stress hormones in our bodies, and help us pay attention to the “here and now.” When we work on what is happening right now, this process has the power to connect us to peace, solidarity, and acceptance. Everybody who comes to therapy tells the stories of their world, and the work of the therapist varies, as listener, witness, co-author, or interpreter. When things are lost, confusing, hopeless, or impossible, we still have meaning to make of it all. In meaning-making itself, sometimes there is quiet, laughter, a small step, or inspiration.

Range of Focus
  • Trauma Recovery
  • Sexual Assault/Childhood Sexual Abuse
  • Affirmative Practice with LGBTQ Individuals and Families
  • Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults
  • Parenting
  • Creative and Expressive Therapies
  • Loss or Grief
  • Divorce or Separation
  • Depression
  • Anxiety or Fears
  • Relationship Issues
  • Life Transitions
  • Families
  • Stress Management and Trauma Recovery for Helpers
Degrees and Licensure

Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Illinois – 2011
MA in Clinical Social Work – The University of Chicago – 2008
MFA in Writing – The University of Iowa – 2006
BA in English Language and Literature – The University of Chicago - 2004

Lakeview: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays
Downtown: Wednesdays, Fridays
Please call or email for availability. 

Contact Information
Contact image

1300 W. Belmont, Suite 401
Chicago, IL 60657

30 N. Michigan Ave, Suite 508
Chicago, IL 60602

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

773.880.1310 ext. 7615