Nina’s Office Hours:
In network with: Blue Cross PPO & Blue Choice Insurance
Hi, I’m Nina
I help children, teens, and adults by providing a calm, compassionate, and supportive safe space where you can be open and honest while we help you develop greater self-acceptance and confidence.
If you are a child 10 y/o+, teen, or quarter-life adult who has been dealing with stress, social anxiety, anxiety, depression, work/academic struggles, or friendship and relationship struggles, or feel like an imposter I would consider it an honor to help support you. Together we can help you find the solutions, skills, relief, and freedom you’ve been hoping for so you can be the person you strive to be.
During the first thirty years of our lives, we go through vast growth and change. With each age and developmental stage, we are faced with unique stressors and challenges. Sometimes we master these challenges and changes, and sometimes we experience difficulty or obstacles and can’t figure out the best direction for us to take or how to navigate moving forward. When this happens, it’s a sign that we can benefit from and may need some help and support.
Whether you’re having difficulty mastering social anxiety, figuring out friendships and relationships, handling all the pressures on your shoulders, navigating “adulting” or the teenage years, struggling with self-esteem, liking yourself, managing depression, anxiety, or uncomfortable feelings, or feel like an imposter, therapy can help. Therapy is a place where you can take the time and have the space to focus on yourself when life becomes difficult.
WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT and WHAT I AIM TO PROVIDE
In the beginning of therapy, our first task will be building a relationship. We will be new to each other, so it will take some time for you to trust, feel comfortable, and secure with me. When that happens, we will begin to form a kind of team so we can collaborate together to help you with what you’re struggling with. Most importantly, I want to create a comfortable, secure, and trusting space and environment for you. One goal of mine is to help you begin to feel that when we meet you are in a space absent of judgment and instead filled with acceptance, compassion, and support.
I’m a good listener, so I will certainly be listening while you share more about yourself. I always want the individuals I work with to feel supported enough to voice their concerns, feelings, thoughts, beliefs, and hopes. Our first session will include you sharing some details of your life, including what is happening in your life that led you to seek supportive therapy. I will also inquire as to what you hope to work on, what you value in life, what you would like to change, what you imagine your life may look like, and what you may feel once you are there. We will want to gather an idea and direction of what you strive to think, believe, feel, and experience and what you want to be doing in your life once you meet your goals.
We will work together to develop an understanding of the areas you are struggling with, along with identifying your strengths. Then we will create a few initial goals we can work on together that will help you begin to feel better. I believe that it is necessary to work together to figure out these goals in order to form a clear picture of where you want to get to in order to begin seeing change within yourself and within your life. Determining together what you need and want will be a continuous process, and it will guide our work — it will help you move forward to get to where you want to be.
COUNSELING FOR CHILDREN and THERAPY FOR TEENS
Growing up is hard enough, and the past two years have been incredibly difficult and challenging – you have been through a lot. Making the change to remote, hybrid, and then back to in-person school has been extremely stressful. Trying to make and keep friends without being able to see and spend time with them safely for much of these last two years has been one of the most abnormal and unimaginable experiences kids and teens have ever faced. Gaining those normal social confidences, getting comfortable with who you are and feeling good about yourself, and developing your talents and strengths is difficult and complicated when you and your world have been turned upside down.
If you’re feeling lonely, anxious, depressed, sad, misunderstood, stressed, or like you’re missing out, are struggling with academics or work, or feel like an imposter, and/or you don’t fit in, you are not alone. If you’ve tried different things to help you feel better, but they don’t seem to be working enough, counseling and therapy can help you put back some pieces holding you together so we can get you right side up again.
Even if you have close friends or family that you talk to, sometimes it can still feel like they do not completely understand, or maybe you just aren’t comfortable talking to them about certain things. If that is happening for you, counseling for children or teen therapy may be the next best step.
The great thing about therapy with teens is that you have some special rights to privacy. That means I need to hold your confidence with most, if not all, of the things that you share in your counseling sessions. That may be a different kind of experience, especially if you’ve ever had a friend betray your trust. You don’t have to keep it all inside anymore and be alone with it. What you think, believe, and feel is important, and I want to hear about it all, whenever and if ever you want to share those things with me.
You can feel the freedom to talk about whatever you need and want to discuss. Some of it may be what your family or friends know about you, but some of it may be information about your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, fears, or worries that no one knows about. You can share as slow or as fast or as little or as much as you want. During therapy you can choose to talk about things that are personal and private, and I will keep those confidential things you share to myself. Just know your safety is important to me as well as to you and your parents, so if something is happening that causes you to be or feel unsafe. Then you and I together may need to include your parent(s) into a conversation or session with us to make sure you are well taken care of and that you have everything you need.
Other than with safety concerns to make sure you can be your best you, you can feel free to talk about the stuff that runs through your head and causes you to feel hard and difficult feelings. Counseling can be work, but we will take it as slow or fast as you want. Therapy will provide you with the support and space to explore your thoughts, situations, feelings, and beliefs, while identifying different tools, skills, and perspectives that could be helpful to you. If and whenever you are ready and interested, I may share some feedback and/or suggestions that could help your situation.
I will encourage you to try to be open to making some adjustments and to try new things that may seem silly or like they won’t work at first, but, sometimes, it is surprising how little changes can make a huge impact. I often say, “You don’t know until you try.” If we don’t try new things, we will never know if they could have helped us in some way.
HOW I CAN HELP YOU – THE PARENTS
As a parent, you may have experienced similar situations to the ones your child has. Growing up, making friends, and trying to fit in can each be tough challenges. You may have also experienced similar feelings or thoughts that your teen has experienced in the last two years due to the pandemic. Thinking back to these time periods, relating with your children, and even sharing how you handled those experiences can be beneficial, but sometimes it can also be beneficial to have your child or teen talk to a therapist about these experiences. Sometimes kids and teens need to be taught and learn new skills, and often having a listening ear that has a different perspective is also helpful as they grow and change.
When in therapy, my goal is to develop a safe, trusting, and validating environment with your child, where they can be heard and I can teach them skills and provide feedback that can assist them with the issues and challenges that they are facing. I hope to provide your child with an opportunity to reflect on their strengths, to build their confidence and self-esteem, and to develop the skills they need so they can be their best self.
We can work together to help them through whatever they are struggling with. I will need your assistance in determining the most important goals for your child to work toward and to make sure their needs are being met. Although it can be scary to worry about what your child is experiencing and going through, you will not be left in the dark throughout the therapy process. The amount of time that is spent engaging with parents throughout the session varies depending on your child or teen’s age and maturity level, but encouragement and support as well as engagement from you is also needed in order to see your child succeed.
WHAT I HOPE TO PROVIDE DURING THERAPY WITH ADULTS
Navigating the life transition into adulthood, as well as getting used to it, is a journey unlike no other. Fulfilling your own expectations is difficult enough, let alone dealing with the pressures, expectations, and goals other people in your life may have for you. Building confidence in your own decision-making and navigating “adulting” sometimes isn’t as easy as we hoped, and it can be a lot harder than it looks.
It can be difficult to find time to fit everything you need to do into your daily schedule, let alone time for yourself. In order to grow and live the life we want, we need to be thoughtful and intentional about our lifestyle choices. It may be important for you to consider and examine:
- your values and goals
- the overall support system of current friendships and relationships you have
- how you communicate with others and yourself
- what expectations you have of yourself
- the negative beliefs you have about yourself and how those help or hinder you
- your self-esteem, level of self-care, and self-compassion.
By seeking help via counseling and therapy, we give ourselves the opportunity to receive some extra support and encouragement as we go through these uncharted territories. You deserve to allow yourself to receive help and support. If you’re feeling like life has thrown you a curveball, is extra difficult right now, or you are overloaded, stressed, and stretched to the max, I encourage you to seek support.
I use a client-centered approach to build a foundation within our therapeutic relationship by learning about what you like and need, and after building off of that foundation, we can then dive into working on skills that you can apply in everyday life to help you recognize thoughts and emotions and how to manage them in ways that are helpful for you. Whether you are looking for assistance in figuring out how to manage thoughts and emotions, how to build assertiveness skills, you are struggling with loneliness, lack of confidence, or anxiety, or navigating through a new experience, we can face the journey head on together. We can help you be more present in everyday life, and we can work together to build skills to work towards your goals.
I’m here to provide a safe place for you to be your authentic self, to talk about what is swirling around in your head, to make sense of your thoughts, feelings, and your behaviors, and to use that information to make a plan that will help you gain the wisdom, control, balance, and happiness you’ve been longing for.
MY PROFESSIONAL JOURNEY
From a young age, I knew that I wanted to work in the helping field. When I was in high school, I was one of those teens that other teens sought out to talk to about what was stressing them out. Even back then, I was a good listener, and I knew how to give support and encouragement to others. Those experiences were rather defining, and they helped guide me to realize I wanted to become a therapist. I figured out what to study in college and then went on to graduate school and studied clinical psychology.
I have been providing support therapy services for the past five years. I have worked with children who were challenged with Autism Spectrum Disorder, as well as with children who dealt with other disorders such as Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). In addition I worked at a university counseling center where I was able to work with emerging adults who were adjusting to college life, struggling with issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship stressors, independence, beginning their futures, and experiencing new life challenges. And finally before joining Health and Healing Therapy, I provided individual therapy, group therapy, and community supportive services to emerging adults and adults who struggle with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, substance use disorders, co-occurring disorders, and other severe and persistent mental illnesses.
COUNSELING AND THERAPY APPROACHES
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Motivational Interviewing (MI)
Stress Reduction Techniques
EDUCATION AND CERTIFICATIONS
B.A. Psychology, Lewis University
M.S. Clinical Psychology, Benedictine University
Licensed Professional Counselor, Illinois License 178.016474
Considering therapy and contemplating learning about yourself by exploring the areas of your life that aren’t working for you takes a lot of courage and is a sign of strength. If you believe I may be someone who you can connect to and who could help you create the life you want and become the person you hope to be, I hope you’ll reach out and contact me.