Bilingual Couple and Family Therapist

corina.greener“My own ‘root’ metaphor for migration, survival, and adaptation is that when we pluck a plant from the earth, some residue of soil always remains attached to the roots.  Gardeners replant the plant in the new soil with this residue included, and perhaps this small amount of soil contributes to the success of the transplantation.  Although immigrants no longer have the depth and the expanse of the native soil to nourish their roots constantly, the little bit of original native dirt is represented in the type of households one creates, the children one raises, the language one speaks, the foods one cooks, and the friendships one cherishes.  When indulging in occasional sentimental moments, I believe these little bits of old soil eventually mix and integrate with the new soil to give its particular fruits and flowers” 

–Celia Falicov

Values and Philosophy

Even in my earliest childhood memories, I can recall looking for opportunities to know people in a deep and meaningful way.  I remember interviewing my grandma, who lived with us, when I was about seven years old. Using a tape recorder, I asked my grandma to tell me about her life in Italy prior to immigrating to America.  My fascination with culture, relationships, identity, and intersections led me to travel, volunteer, and study abroad. 

As I have grown, I have sustained that interest in people, relationships, culture, identity, and particularly the intersection of the four.  The experience of learning about my grandma, and her life in Italy, got me wondering about the ways that culture impacts our choices, relationships, identities, and our paths in life. This question is one that I find myself asking often.

In my work as a therapist I attempt to support Individuals, Couples, and Families in navigating these intersections within one's self and within relationships.  I work to support people in living a life that is experienced as healthy and connected, with few self-judgments.

Therapy

I work with individuals, couples, and families (which can include multiple generations in the room at one time).  While therapy may start out with one person attending, it is often useful to include other members of the family or support system as a way to increase the likelihood of achieving the goals that the individual, couple, or family is working towards.  The system of people participating in therapy work together to create goals for our work.

When an individual begins therapy,  initial concerns often involve a person’s sense of self;  almost a relationship with oneself.   In addition to gaining an understanding of how we see ourselves, in individual therapy we also look at the relationships in which we are involved.  Relationships, including those with peers, partners, children, extended family, and acquaintances are an indicator of the way in which personal challenges are impacting life.  

Individuals often find that while they love and appreciate unique characteristics of their partner(s), they also find that differences in viewpoint create challenges for the relationship.  This is particularly evident during conflict.  

When individuals enter into a relationship with one another, they bring along their own past experiences, values, communication patterns, and many other parts of self that have been formed over years of experience with contributions by our individual biology.  These parts of self are impacted by the behaviors, attitudes, languages, practices, and rules associated with the families, peer groups, communities, and even larger geographic groups in which we live.  Couples in which the partners come from very different communities, or have very different life experience, sometimes find that they have completely different interpretations of the same situation.  We may ask ourselves: "Are we even discussing the same interaction".

When families come in to therapy with concerns about children, we begin by using a variety of tools to engage the child and the family.  At the beginning, therapy is focused on creating a space that feels safe and supportive for all family members. This involves connecting with each individual in the family as well as the family-as-a-whole.  Art activities, board games, and storytelling are just a few of the tools that we use to help family members begin to relate in new ways.  These tools allow us to address the concerns that have brought them to therapy.

Multicultural Therapy

It is not surprising that people from different communities might have different beliefs, and that those beliefs may occasionally cause conflict.   Significant changes...moving to a new country, or region, and/or living with people whose values are different can challenge the belief system we have grown up with.  The new geographic location or region may have customs and practices that feel foreign or uncomfortable.  There may also be characteristics of the new culture that are desirable, and may have contributed to the choice to move.  Even partners who grew up in the same location can experience culture clashes related to the values, education, and cultural norms of their family of origin.  What is unfortunate is that people can be hard on themselves when confronting different viewpoints. Multicultural therapy with couples and families requires a therapist's investment in acknowledging, valuing, and understanding differences.  When we work together to understand the roots of differences, we have the opportunity to intentionally choose from the ranging cultural practices and values to co-create a new family culture, informed by the histories of all members.

Why Therapy and Why Now?

We find that the reasons for starting therapy vary greatly from person to person, couple to couple, and from family to family.  In my practice some of the most common reasons for starting therapy include:

  • Intimate Relationship Challenges
    • Between Aging Parents and Adult Children
    • Navigating Conflict
    • Communication Difficulties
    • Intimacy struggles
    • Sexual challenges
    • Affairs
    • Navigating the range of relational structures (open, poly, etc)
    • Fertility challenges
  • Work Relationships
    • Employee Management challenges
    • Navigating middle and upper management
    • Navigating Leadership as a Woman
  • Depressive symptoms
  • Grief
  • Anxiety or excessive worry
    • Recurring thoughts or memories
    • Witnessing and experiencing trauma
  • Personal Identity Challenges
    • Challenges with identifying and/or achieving life goals
    • Difficulty establishing a clear sense of self 
Resolving Misunderstandings

My clinical work focuses on supporting individuals, couples, & families in listening and speaking intentionally.  Often a member of a family may find certain words hurtful while another member of the family is unaware that the words are causing hurt.  Many times it is out of an effort to feel heard that people engage in communication efforts that are not effective.  It is also often true that the patterns that are causing conflict have resulted from attempts to resolve previous relational struggles.

I ask individuals, couples, and families to educate me about cultural rules and values that I may not be aware of.  While I have a great deal of experience working with multicultural families, couples, and individuals, I expect that the families I work with know themselves better than I do.  With this in mind, I ask the people I work with to teach me about their own beliefs and experiences.  By teaching me about their culture, behaviors, & language; couples and families often find they are teaching one another.  The exercise of teaching can also help to clarify the values and beliefs that are held.  Even though we may live together, we may not spend time learning about one another on a day-to-day basis.  

Professional Training, Consultation, & Workshops

For almost a decade I have been facilitating workshops, providing consultation, & facilitating supervision for other professionals.  Topics of such workshops and consultations include, but are not limited to: Multicultural Couple and Family Therapy, Integrated Healthcare, Spanish Language Therapy, Relaxation as a Tool in Therapy, Positively Reframing Reluctance and Resistance, Therapy with First Generation Americans, Cross-Cultural LGBTQ Affirmative Practice, Clinical Practice with First Generation Americans, Leadership, Women in Leadership, Navigating Work Dynamics

Training and Experience

I received my Masters Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy at the University of Wisconsin, Stout.   I am Licensed as a Marriage & Family Therapist, and I identify as a Couple and Family Therapist with a focus on understanding the impact of culture on relationships.  I have worked in community-based mental health settings with individuals, couples, & families.  I have facilitated therapy, case management, workshops, and outreach as well as supervision to staff and student interns.  In my current role at Live Oak I do a combination of clinical work, individual and group supervision facilitation, program development, organizational management and planning.  At the Family Institute at Northwestern I facilitate group supervision for the first year students.  I also facilitate group supervision for second year students with a placement in the community program.

Range of Focus
  • Intimate Relationship Challenges
  • Fertility challenges
  • Navigating Work Relationships
  • Depressive symptoms
  • Anxiety or excessive worry
  • Trauma
  • Personal Identity Challenges
  • Multicultural Couple and Family Therapy
  • Anxiety
  • Life Transitions
  • Therapy with Older Adults
  • End of Life Therapy
  • Affirmative practice with LGBTQ Individuals and Families
  • Navigating leadership as a woman
  • Supervising Marriage and Family Therapy clinicians
  • AAMFT Approved Supervisor (Hours completed, application submitted in September 2015)
Degrees
  • Master of Science Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy at the University of Wisconsin, Stout, Menomonie, WI
  • Bachelors of Science Degree in Family and Social Science at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

Certifications
  • Certificate in Primary Care Behavioral Health through the University of Massachusettes
  • Certificate in Non-Profit Business Administration through Notre Dame University
Licensure
  • Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation
  • AAMFT Approved Status (Application submitted, hours completed, September 2015)
Relevant Training
  • 40 hour trained, Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
  • AAMFT Approved Supervisor Course through The Family Institute, Northwestern University
CV

Click the link to see Corina's CV for more information on Corina's training and educational history

Office Hours

Monday: 9:00am-9:00pm
Tuesday: 11:00am-9:00pm
Wednesday: 12:00pm-9:00pm 
Thursday: 9:00am-9:00pm

Contact Information
Contact image

1300 W. Belmont, Suite 400
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. 7624