Best described as supportive, compassionate, mindfulness and strengths-based, yet solution-focused
Therapeutic Goals: I aim to help clients understand and be open to their emotions, as well as gain clarity, tap into their own strengths, and build the skills needed to move forward - towards the life they envisioned, even in the face of struggles and obstacles.
Therapeutic Approaches: I utilize a variety of counseling methodologies, including Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Family Systems and Solution-Focused to assist clients in building skills that help with coping, decision-making, growing resilience and developing an empowered mindset. Learn more about counseling services.
Clinical Focuses:Women, moms, young adults, phase of life transitions, life balance goals, stress/anxiety management, psychosocial support for those managing food allergies [primarily parents/caregivers/young adults]
Thoughts on Life:Life presents us with challenges along the way. Rather than thinking about them in terms of failures or successes, seeing them as opportunities to makes choices - to learn and grow from - can help us from getting stuck in the struggles. Life truly is a series of stories that you get to help shape. So if there’s a particular chapter you don’t like, you have the choice to alter its meaning or outcome. Even when you think altering your story isn’t possible, it is!
Thoughts on Therapy:Therapy can be both proactive and situation/time-specific in nature. Some may think counseling is solely for those dealing with serious mental health issues or intense situations. But therapy can also be beneficial for typical life scenarios and tasks - to help navigate stress, relationships, decisions, and visions for the future. Coaching and guidance are additional aspects of counseling that are also valuable. I truly enjoy helping others understand themselves and their situations better so that they can gain the insight and confidence needed to make adjustments or move forward in a direction that aligns best with their values and visions.
Training and Experience
License:Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) in IL since 2006
Education/Training: Masters of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy from Adler School of Professional Psychology; Bachelor of Science in Education
Post-Graduate Trainings:PSI/2020 Mom Maternal Mental Health Certificate (pursuing PSI Perinatal Mental Health Certification [PMH-C]); ongoing ACT Theory Workshops; 2-Day Intensive on Treating Child/Adolescent Anxiety; Gottman Level 1 Training module (Couples Therapy); Narrative Therapy seminars
Clinical Experience:Various levels of care, including hospital (inpatient/outpatient), partial/intensive outpatient programs (PHP/IOP), community agency, and private practice settings. Experience working with parents, couples, families, groups, and individual clients [adolescent through adulthood]
Food Allergy Parent:I am the mom of a child managing a food allergy. Therefore, I get it - I know firsthand what it's like to navigate life with this chronic illness as part of the family system. I understand the daily nuances, the overwhelming feelings, and the need to find accurate food allergy information in order to create action plans and resilience.
Content & Resource Creator:After identifying a gap in accessibility to food allergy-knowledgeable clinical counseling professionals, I set out to create a remedy. As such, I created the Food Allergy Counselor Directoryin 2018, the original listing of food allergy-knowledgeable licensed clinical behavioral health clinicians in the US and other countries. I routinely try to locate and connect with other allergy-informed clinical behavioral healthcare providers in order to expand this resource. [Allergy-informed clinical behavioral healthcare providers are able to connect through the networking group I created known as the Food Allergy Behavioral Health Networking Group and the associated monthly peer consultation meetings]. Additionally, I developed the Food Allergy Mental Health resources pageand a variety of therapeutic worksheets, both ofwhich are housed on theFood Allergy Counselor website, as well as an online support group for food allergy trial families. In 2020, I also launched the Exploring Food Allergy Families podcast, found on all major podcast apps! [See full list of projects here]
Advocate: I am passionate about highlighting food allergy mental health, empowerment/resilience, and focusing on patient/family advocacy and education any chance I get. Therefore, in 2013, I proposed recognizing Food Allergy Awareness Week at a village meeting, which resulted in my town's Mayor officially acknowledging it through a proclamation. Additionally, my advocacy efforts helped my local library coordinate a food allergy awareness community education session during that same week.
Speaker: I regularly present at conferences, primarily focused on food allergy mental health and family systems, including the 2018 & 2019 Midwest FACES Conference at Lurie Children's Hospital and FAACT events. I have also presented workshops to food allergy support groups, and a primer workshop about working with food allergic clients at clinical counseling networking events.
2022 Speaking Schedule:
Podcast and article interviews
National webinar for largest allergy advocacy organization
2022 Food Allergy Conference for Education & Science (FACES)
2022 Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) Conference
Panel member for Zestfull's Teen Allergy Mental Health webinar (Fall 2021)
Presentations to allergy/immunology healthcare teams at multiple hospitals
Multiple allergy support group workshops/webinars
Experience Within Schools
I have experience volunteering and working within school systems. These positions have allowed me to work closely with a variety of staff, including nurses, teachers, principals, and administrators, including superintendents. My previous roles have included:
High school career advisor
PTO President & committee chair
District referendum committee member
[Information on the media projects, articles and interviews Tamara has been included in can be found here]