| Post Graduate Fellowship

Post-Graduate Fellowship Program (PGFP)

The Post Graduate Fellowship Program at Live Oak is a one-year program (running from June to June) for individuals having obtained a masters or doctoral degree in art therapy, counseling, marriage and family therapy, social work, or other related helping professions to gain further education and training. The focus of the program is on the development of advanced clinical skills highlighting our core values: Affirmative Practice with the LGBTQ community, Trauma Informed Practice, Multisystemic & Multicultural Practice, and Creative, Expressive & Body-Centered Therapies. This training is frequently more advanced and expansive than training received in graduate school. Post graduate training programs have existed at Live Oak since 2008. Graduates of these programs have gone on to continue their careers in personal private practices, group practices, and employment at reputable institutions throughout the region. Our training program faculty are composed of adjunct professors teaching courses at graduate schools throughout the area (including the University of Chicago's SSA, The Family Institute, Roosevelt University, and the Chicago School for Professional Psychology), experts in the field, and individuals from communities outside of Live Oak.

Program Overview

Live Oak’s PGFP provides new professionals with the opportunity to develop and strengthen clinical and training skills through two tracks:

1. Psychotherapy Track
The Psychotherapy Track is for individuals looking for advanced clinical training and supervision, with an opportunity to engage in clinical work and accrual of hours for licensure.

Trainees are provided with the following:

  • One hour of individual supervision and one and a half hours of group supervision, weekly, resulting in approximately 50 hours of individual supervision and 75 hours of group supervision, counting toward supervision requirements for LCPC, LCSW, LMFT, and ATR-BC licensure.
  • Participation in monthly 3 hour Friday trainings relating to the above mentioned areas, resulting in approximately 36 hours of CEUs
  • Attendance at any Live Oak training activities (such as LOGIC) at no additional cost, depending on space
  • Referrals, office space, marketing & support on caseload development
  • Opportunity to practice systemically focused psychotherapy with individuals, couples, families
  • Opportunity to co-facilitate group therapy and/or trainings provided to Live Oak or outside agencies

Requirements for successful completion of the Psychotherapy Track include:

  • Attendance at the Live Oak Wednesday staff meeting, second Wednesday of the month
  • Attendance at first Friday trainings each month, 9:00am – 12:00pm (2nd Friday in case of Holidays)
  • Attendance at a 3 day training/on-boarding, June 2017 (dates TBA)
  • Average of 15 hours/week on site at Live Oak
  • A total of 350 client contact hours are expected (Live Oak will attempt to offer as much flexibility as possible in determining schedule)
  • Commitment to the underlying philosophical values of Live Oak
  • Participation in weekly individual and group supervision
  • Completion of all case-related documentation
  • Payment of tuition before the start of the training year

2. Training Track
The Training Track provides advanced training in the areas of Affirmative Practice with the LGBTQ community, Trauma Informed Practice, Multisystemic & Multicultural Practice, and Creative, Expressive & Body-Centered Therapies. This track offers monthly trainings on site at Live Oak. After the completion of 12 months of training, participants will receive a certification to recognize their professional development and accrual of 36 hours of CEUs. Trainees are also provided with the opportunity to attend additional Live Oak training activities (such as LOGIC) at no additional cost, dependent on space.

Requirements for the 12 month PGFP (Training Track) include:

  • Attendance and engagement at monthly Friday trainings
  • Payment of tuition before the start of the training program


  • Graduate degree in counseling, marriage and family therapy, social work, or a related field
  • Licensure at the entry level (e.g., AMFT, LPC, LSW, LPC) preferred
  • Ability to function independently
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Prior work in social services, either as an employee or through volunteer experience
  • Preference given to bilingual clinicians, or those who have expertise in our primary areas of practice
  • Flexible schedule in order to complete responsibilities listed above

To Apply
Those interested in applying should submit a cover letter (explaining your interest in Live Oak and our values), resume or CV and three letters of reference via email (kgeorge at  We have a rolling deadline between February and May 2017, and will choose the top three candidates as they come in. Those with incomplete applications will not be considered.

After reviewing the written materials, we will contact applicants who will be moving forward with the application process. Candidates who participate in the next stage of the process will be asked to complete and return a few brief essay questions. 

Discounted tuition is available to those trainees who pay in full at the start of the training program
Psychotherapy track: $1900.00
Training track: $950.00

A non-discounted rate is offered to those requesting a payment schedule. Payment will be made over three months in the first quarter of the program
Psychotherapy track: $2100.00
Training track: $1125.00


Intern/Post Graduate Training Program
2017-2018 Modules


Introduction to Trauma Informed Practice
July 7th 

It is almost impossible to be anywhere in the world of mental health without hearing the phrase “trauma-informed practice.” Though the phrase is ubiquitous, there is no universally agreed upon definition. Individuals and organizations often claim a trauma-informed framework when actual practice might reflect something less than optimal. This workshop will explore several overarching tenets of trauma informed practice while also discussing the ways trauma impacts how we see ourselves, how we see our relationships, and how we see the world. Specific focus will be placed on various lenses through which we consider the impact of trauma. These include: intersectionality; definitions and types of trauma; attachment and development; neurodevelopment and neuroscience; the relationship between trauma and loss; and vicarious trauma/compassion fatigue. When possible, case material will be used to apply workshop concepts.


Acknowledging Systemic Privilege & Power in Clinical Practice
August 4th 

Many clinicians are either unaware of or struggle to understand how to approach power differentials between therapist and client as well as those between family members and/or partners. This module will focus on identifying power differentials in clinical practice as well as opportunities and tools for acknowledging these in clinical work. Additionally this participants will learn tools for assessing the impact of systemic privilege (or lack thereof) on the client system presenting in session. This interactive session will invite participants to become increasingly aware of their own privileges and biases, as well as systemic structures in place that reinforce power imbalances. Most importantly, this training will help participants identify, clarify, manage, and hold the tensions of power imbalances in clinical practice.


Creating an Affirming Space for Individuals of all Gender Identifications
September 1st 

Social pressure for gender conformity can be a source of distress for LGBT people. Studies suggest that over 80% of lesbians and gay men report significantly higher rates than heterosexuals of gender non-conforming behavior in childhood. Unfortunately, the mental health establishment has pathologized LGBT people for not performing gender in the way heterosexuals do, leading to such labels as Gender Identity Disorder (GID) and Gender Identity Disorder in Childhood (GIDC). Using theory and case material, this seminar will examine the range and fluidity of gender constructions in lesbian and gay cultures, their impact on identity development and emotional wellbeing, and gender issues that trans people confront. The seminar will also explore issues that arise in clinical work with trans clients.


Expressive Arts Therapy for Everybody: An Experiential Workshop
October 6th 

Sometimes our clients come to us for support to work through past and current experiences that cannot be expressed in words. Our use of creative interventions can help clients to express what might otherwise be “unsayable”. Additionally, expressive arts can be an integral part of professionals’ own self-care, to refuel in order to continue doing this difficult work. This workshop is for clinicians, supervisors, and any direct services staff with an interest in learning about, or building, their knowledge of expressive arts therapy. Topics explored will include:
· Theories that support expressive therapies
· Concepts of attunement
· Improvisation
· Rhythmic rupture and repair
· Creative interventions related to apology, accountability, and restorative justice
Participants will engage in experiential exercises through art, drama, narrative therapy, music, poetry, and mindfulness. We will utilize a working case conceptualization to help us understand how we work with clients to identify what expressive interventions could be most beneficial to healing, integrating, or just becoming “unstuck”. Participants are encouraged to bring a de-identified, confidential, creative or expressive artifact from clinical work to share.


Practicing Mindfulness: Applied Mindfulness in your Therapeutic Practice
November 3rd 

This workshop will provide counseling professionals (and students) with a foundational overview of body-based therapeutic mindfulness practice. We will work experientially with meditative techniques, learn fundementals of Buddhist psychology, and participants will leave with tangible mindfulness skills and interventions to share with clients. Therapist internal awareness and self-care will be explored as well.

A Restorative Justice Approach to Clinical Practice
December 1st 

When clients bring stories of harm to the psychotherapy encounter, therapists can feel helpless and stuck while wading through the fear, guilt, and anger associated with injustice. The “stuckness” can sometimes manifest as parallel to the lack of power clients have already experienced in the criminal justice system. Criminal justice is limited in its focus on crime as a violation of law and state and the need to determine blame and impose punishment. The criminal justice system has historically ignored the needs of victims and their communities as well as the needs of offenders to participate in repairing injury. When therapists are challenged by reluctance and fear in addressing clients’ experiences of harm, they can be unintentionally complicit in disempowering systems. Restorative justice strives to reconcile the needs of victims and offenders with the needs of the community. By courageously approaching harm and injustice in the clinical encounter, therapists can potentially enhance their empathic capacities and open up the space for client self-efficacy and empowerment. We will explore the history of restorative justice, characteristics that differentiate restorative justice from criminal justice, and concepts of mediation, conferencing, testimony, apology, and re-authoring. Participants will learn about de-identified, confidential examples of restorative justice in clinical practice. The workshop will culminate in participants building a case conceptualization for restorative justice, to develop tools to assess client needs and the function of repair in psychotherapy; to identify interventions that acknowledge the harm done; and to explore how the client and therapist can prioritize a sense of validation, justice, and restoration.


Affirmative Practice with Sexually Diverse Clients
January 5th 

Many clinicians believe that competent practice with LGBT individuals and their families is not significantly different than practice with any other client or population with the exception, perhaps, of additional sensitivity. While there are core clinical skills applicable to all clients, this module will explore how negotiating an LGBT identity poses unique clinical challenges and necessitates a unique body of knowledge and skill set. Discussion will include an overview of stigma and its relationship to identity development and the application of an affirmative model for clinical practice. Case examples will be utilized to illustrate principles discussed.


Unique Factors in Clinical Practice with First Generation Americans
February 2nd 

Many clinicians are aware of some of the challenges present for first generation Americans including varying language skills, inconsistencies in American cultural practices with those of the family and country of origin, and lack of awareness of the larger systems. While these are a few of the challenges that can exist for first generation Americans, there are many other challenges and strengths which are relevant to clinical work. Interactive discussion and case examples will be used to highlight both challenges and opportunities that can be used to help first generation Americans and their families balance and hold the tension of multiple countries and multiple cultures.


Vicarious Trauma & Vicarious Resilience
March 2nd

As helping professionals we are faced with the task of managing the psychological, physical, and emotional impact of our work. Historically, attention to vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue has been an afterthought to the clinical and administrative responsibilities that we face. This workshop will provide an opportunity to explore the benefits of developing a common language, and explicitly integrating on-going discussions around compassion fatigue, vicarious traumatization, and self-care into the fabric of your work.


An Introduction to Music as a Tool in Therapy
April 6th

This training will demonstrate the breadth and scope of music therapy practices, touching on origins of music therapy common practices, theory, and experiences. Attendees can expect to become acquainted and familiar with strategies and interventions music therapists use in their practice.


Peace Circles as a Tool in Therapy
May 4th

This workshop will explore the practice of Talking Circles as a tool for therapy. The workshop will utilize an experiential learning model for introducing Talking Circles, an overview of the philosophy and praxis of Talking Circles and Restorative Justice, case examples highlighting the effectiveness of Talking Circles, and a discussion of how Talking Circles and Restorative Justice are a trauma-sensitive practice. This is an introductory workshop that highlights the effectiveness of Circles with people who have experienced trauma, and an in-depth training in Talking Circle facilitation is recommended.

Experience Talking Circle with peers and colleagues
Become familiar with core assumptions of Talking Circle Practice and Restorative Justice Philosophy
Become familiar with essential elements of Talking Circle Practice
Identify elements of Trauma sensitivity in Circle Practice


Art in Therapy: Integrating creative interventions to enhance emotional regulation
June 1st 

Creativity is a core part of the self. Tapping into our creative source can help us make sense of what we may not be able to understand cognitively and communicate what we may not be able to say verbally. In addition to finding meaning in art, the process of creating in and of itself can be a vehicle for expression, catharsis, grounding, and healing.

In this training participants will be introduced to some of the basic approaches and principles of art therapy and learn how non-art therapists can integrate the creative process into their practice. The training will focus on integrating meditative art processes in therapy to help clients with emotional regulation and stress reduction. Participants will develop an understanding of how and when creative modalities are clinically indicated and reflect on how they can be used in different settings or with different populations. There will be an experiential component to allow participants to explore different art materials and develop a toolbox of creative based interventions to utilize in sessions and possibly in the clinician’s own self-care practice.

1. Understand some of the basic principles and approaches to art therapy.
2. Have a working knowledge of what to consider when integrating art in therapy
3. Learn the benefits of meditative art processes as a form of emotional regulation and stress reduction
4. Develop a toolbox of creative interventions to utilize in therapy and/or in the clinician’s own self-care practice


Toward the Future: Incorporating Live Oak’s Four Core Competencies in Clinical Practice 
June 8th

Roundtable discussion of the integration of the four core competencies presented throughout the year of training.


PGTP Faculty

Sarah Blaszczak, LMFT
Beto Chavez, LPC
Kelly George, LCPC
Stella Kiser, LSW
April Kopp, LCSW
Corina Mattson, LMFT
Michael Meyer
Clare Okubo, LCPC
Kristina Vogt, ATR, LCPC
Joanna Zakhem, LCPC