About Us

Our therapists are relatable, warm and caring.

A therapist’s ability to quickly connect with others is not something that’s taught, it’s a unique quality. As we’ve expanded our team over the years, finding therapists who are engaged and supportive has always been the top priority. We are not here to judge or nod in silence, but rather relate to your struggles and collaborate on ways to overcome them and find meaning.

Therapists:

Michael Vernon, LCSW

Michael Vernon

LCSW
(he/him/his)

I grew up in a small town in Iowa, where my dad was a dentist and my mom was a social worker. Both of my parents showed me the joy of working directly with people and the importance of serving the community. I settled in Chicago over 20 years ago and live with my family in the North Center/Irving Park neighborhood. I founded PAC in 2001 with my good friend, Jonathan Levy, and we continue to direct the practice together. I am proud that our office has been helping people in the neighborhood for over 20 years. 

I feel fortunate to have a job that I really enjoy. I like meeting clients, learning deeply about their lives, and working together on their goals. My style could be described as down-to-earth, empathic, and actively engaged. I was once described by a friend as, “You’re a dude who has feelings and can talk about feelings.” Although this character trait was not so helpful when I was in junior high, it seems to have worked out OK for my profession. In addition to my traditional Western training, I have a particular interest in Buddhist psychology, which I have been studying for 30 years, including the completion of a two-year Contemplative Psychotherapy Program at Nalanda Institute. More recently I enrolled in a one-year certification program for psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, which is an exciting field of practice and poised to become a mainstream tool of treatment following FDA approval.

What do you want your clients to get out of therapy?

Therapy has been described as a process of finding the story of your life that you can live with. Although we cannot change past events or the facts of our life, I see therapy as an opportunity to help you better understand these pieces, integrate them together, and move forward with greater acceptance and purpose. 

Specialities: 

Anxiety and Depression, Healing Shame, Trauma, Mindfulness & Buddhist Psychology, Couples, Therapy for Therapists 

Education:

  • MSW Social Work – Smith College
  • BA Asian Philosophy, Religious Studies –  Macalester College

Certifications:

  • Nalanda Institute, Certificate in Mindfulness-Based Psychotherapy
  • Gottman Training, Levels 1 & 2
  • EMDR Training, Levels 1 & 2  

Affiliations:

  • Institute for Meditation & Psychotherapy
  • Nalanda Institute
Jonathan Levy, LCSW

Jonathan Levy

LCSW
(he/him/his)

Through my own experiences, I can confidently say that I believe in therapy and the power of providing support and acceptance to others. I am authentic and warm with my clients, using my training and my own life experiences, both good and bad, to help others. I help folks feel comfortable with themselves, as they are now, while also utilizing tactics and strategies to help you move forward in the right direction.

To assist in the process, I strive to be comfortable in my own self, which happens to be a guy who feels things deeply and likes hearing other people’s life stories.  I co-direct the practice here, which I founded with my good friend Michael, who I met in graduate school many years ago.I am also a married, Jewish father of three kids who likes to watch Sports Center and the Gilmore Girls. 

What do you want your clients to get out of therapy?

I’d like you to feel more comfortable with yourself, more confident and feel less burdened by those things that are weighing heavy on your mind.

Specialities: 

Couples & relationships, Parenting, Anxiety, Adolescents, Families, Addictions

Education:

  • MSW Social Work –  Smith College
  • BA Psychology – The Ohio State University

Certifications:

  • Gottman Training, Level 1
  • EMDR Training, Level 1
Nicolette Avery, LSW

Nicolette Avery

LSW
(she/her/hers)

My approach to therapy is warm, positive, holistic, and collaborative. I strive to provide a safe and non-judgmental trusting environment to allow clients to tell their story. My goal is to remove the stigma related to therapy and provide a clinical approach to everyday life stressors. As a therapist I can help individuals leverage their strengths and to understand life experiences better. I seek to work with clients to build a trusting relationship, be a listening ear and provide effective coping skills when things become overwhelming. I utilize the core values and skills of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Mindfulness, and Motivational Interviewing to guide clients to a more fulfilled place internally.

What do you want your clients to get out of therapy?

I want to remove the stigma surrounding therapy and reinforce the importance of mental health.  My goal is for clients to receive the foundation and tools to heal from past trauma and learn the ability to cope.

Specialities: 

Depression and Sadness, Coping Skills, Anxiety and Stress, Women’s Issues, Relationship Issues and Communication, Self Esteem, Trauma

Education:

  • Master of Social Work (MSW) – Northeastern Illinois University
  • BS Business Management – Elmhurst College
Megan Lehmann LPC

Megan Lehmann

LPC
(she/her/hers)

Megan earned her M.A. in clinical counseling from Roosevelt University. She has 15 years of experience in the social services field, working in different environments with diverse populations ranging in age from 14 to 104. Megan has a passion for social justice issues and intersectionality. As a member of the queer and neurodivergent communities, she welcomes clients from all backgrounds and walks of life. 

In addition to being a PAC counselor, Megan also works with the Cook County Department of Corrections offender population, facilitating re-entry into the community. This not only allows her to have a meaningful impact on an underserved, high-risk population, it provides her with unique insight into the difficulties that accompany total life shifts and re-entering society after an extended period of time.

What do you want your clients to get out of therapy?

I work to help clients utilize all available resources to identify and address their mental health issues in order to improve their overall health and well-being. I strive to offer a safe, inclusive space in which her clients can heal and grow. 

Specialities: 

LGBTQIA+ issues, ADHD coaching, Communication, Community Re-Entry, Anxiety, Depression, Adjusting to Major Life Changes

Education:

  • MA Clinical Counseling – Roosevelt University
  • BA Psychology – Southern Illinois University at Carbondale

Affiliations:

  • American Counseling Association
Vanessa Guillen, LPC

Vanessa Guillen

LPC
(she/her/hers)

My approach to therapy is strength-based and I aim to guide you in recognizing how your patterns of behavior, thoughts, and emotions impact you and your relationships with others. 

I believe in the power of the therapeutic relationship, which can be curative in and of itself. To make this possible, it is important to me to be my most genuine self in order to have an authentic experience in session with my clients. I believe together we can identify, understand, and process the things that may be interfering with your overall quality of life. 

I was born and raised on the Northwest side of Chicago. And it is my passion to help people become more knowledgeable about themselves, while encouraging self-compassion in the process. 

What do you want your clients to get out of therapy?

Life is a journey with both highs and lows. I am here to help you through this process, and offer a safe and non-judgemental environment for healing and self-improvement. I want you to have a space where you can put down the weight you have been carrying and my hope is that we can lessen the weight during our time together.

Specialities: 

Addiction, Anxiety and Stress, Depression, Couples, Relationships and Communication

Education:

  • MA Counseling Psychology, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
  • BA Clinical Psychology, Dominican University

Affiliations:

  • Certified in Narcan Administration –  The Alliance of Coalitions for Healthy Communities
Emily Deaver, LCPC

Emily Deaver

LCPC
(she/her/hers)

I have wanted to help others ever since I can remember.   I grew up watching my father operate his own healthcare practice in Chicago’s Loop.  His caring approach to his patients inspired me to pursue a career in which I could help make a difference in the lives of others. 

I have worked with children, adolescents, college and graduate-level students, and young adults; as well as parents and families.  As a former teacher and school counselor for both Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and Chicago charter schools, I am intimately familiar with the ways in which school stress and anxiety can impact academic and other areas of functioning for students of all ages and levels of education.  One of my most transformative professional experiences was through my work at The Orthogenic School at The University of Chicago, where I received both formal training and extensive experience in relational therapeutic treatment modalities and crisis intervention strategies. 

I also work with young adults in their twenties and thirties seeking guidance in navigating life transitions. My therapeutic style can be described as laid-back, genuine, relatable, and down-to-earth. Most of my formal training and theoretical and clinical approach incorporates Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT), with influence and techniques of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and positive psychology framework as well.

What do you want your clients to get out of therapy?

My goal is to provide a safe, welcoming and nonjudgmental space for clients to express and process their emotional experiences and to find ways to make meaningful changes in their lives. Through counseling, I want to help people address their concerns in a way that promotes growth and healing on an individualized and personal level. I believe that through therapy, I can help people grow and reach their desired goals in a confidential and empathetic therapeutic environment.  

Specialities: 

Working with Young People, Working with Students, Academic Stressors, Life Transitions, Children, Adolescents, Young Adulthood, Depression, ADHD, School Refusal, Anxiety, Gender/Sexuality Identity, Abuse and Trauma, Addiction, HIV/AIDS

Education:

  • BS Elementary Education, Applied Psychology – DePaul University
  • MEd School Counseling – DePaul University
  • MEd Clinical Mental Health and Community Counseling – DePaul University

Professional Educator Licenses – PEL:

  • K-9 Self-Contained General EDucation
  • Middle School Social Sciences (Grades 5-8)
  • School Counseling (Pre-Kindergarten through age 22)

Affiliations:

  • National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC)
  • National Certified Counselor (NCC)
  • Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE)

Kimberly Koralewski

MSW
(she/her/hers)

Kim Koralewski received her master’s degree from Jane Addams College of Social Work at University of Illinois in Chicago.  Kim is also a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor.  She has worked in a variety of settings including an emergency room, hospital-based clinic and chemical dependence treatment facility.  Kim has experience working with primarily adults with a variety of challenges including but not limited to, depression, anxiety, trauma, bereavement and substance abuse and recovery.  She also has experience in supportive issues relating to work, parenting and divorce.  Kim meets people where they are and helps them get to where they want to be.

What do you want your clients to get out of therapy?

My goal is to provide a safe, supportive environment for clients to express themselves.  I possess an incredible capacity to tolerate a great deal of intense emotion and can hold space for people to express difficult emotions and experiences.  I am creative when working with clients, breaking down difficult concepts by utilizing a variety of tools including art, video and journaling. I am invested in hearing a person’s story, helping them navigate difficult situations and develop positive coping skills to manage their emotions going forward.    

Specialities: 

Depression, Anxiety, Trauma, Bereavement and substance abuse and recovery

Education:

  • Master of Social Work (MSW) – University of Illinois at Chicago

Affiliations:

  • National  Association of Social Workers

  • National Association for Addictions Professionals

Amy Roth, LCSW

Amy Roth

LCSW
(she/her/hers)

I believe that people are the experts on their own lives and that we all have strengths and basic goodness that we sometimes don’t see, but that we can learn to recognize. I employ  mindfulness practices and other body based modalities to facilitate this process of discovery  and integration. As we familiarize ourselves with the way our minds work, we discover that our  ideas about the way things are might be less solid and more workable than we had previously  believed. My style could be described as collaborative and direct. I believe that incorporating a  sense of humor and curiosity is integral to the work I do with clients. I have been a social worker for over 20 years. In addition to psychotherapy, I have experience as a family mediator and hospice social worker.

I grew up in the suburbs of Kansas City and have lived in Chicago for over 20 years. I live with  my family in the Albany Park neighborhood. I have been a practice leader and facilitator with the Tergar Meditation Community for 12 years. I am very passionate about bringing meditation  to families and have developed a meditation curriculum for parents to bring awareness,  compassion, and wisdom to all that comes up for us in the adventure that is raising children in  the 21st century.  

What do you want your clients to get out of therapy?

I’d like my clients to become more familiar with the ways their minds work and more compassionate toward their inner experience. I believe that with awareness and compassion, we increase our ability to tolerate distress and transform long standing patterns into wisdom. This enables us to stop automatically reacting out of old habits of mind and to start making choices about our lives from a more present, centered perspective.

Specialities: 

Mindfulness, Self-compassion, Anxiety, Depression, Trauma, Grief 

Education:

  • MSW – University of Kansas
  • BA Psychology – University of Kansas
Annette Iskra, PhD, LCSW, CCTP-II

Annette Iskra

PhD, LCSW, CCTP-II
(she/her/hers)

I believe that each person is an expert in his/her/their own life. Each person has the strength and resiliency to transcend “limiting” past events to embrace a life of thriving. Using curiosity, open-mindedness, and willingness to experiment I invite you to collaborate with me on your road to self discovery. I use mindfulness and body based practices along with cognitive based modalities to explore, understand and resolve difficulties, views of yourself and others, learn how to regulate your body, and turn emotionally painful experiences into coherent memories of the past.

What do you want your clients to get out of therapy?

My hope is you realize that you are more than your past, learn how to forgive yourself and shed limiting beliefs that hold you back so that when you end therapy with me, it is because you have the confidence and belief in yourself and the tools you’ve learned to handle anything that comes your way.

Specialities: 

Simple and complex trauma, Narcissistic abuse, Anxiety, Depression and sadness, Mindfulness and other coping skills

Education:

  • PhD in Psychology & Human Development – The University of Chicago
  • MSSA Master in Social Science Administration (social work) – Case Western Reserve University
  • MA Experimental Psychology – Cleveland State University
  • BA Social Work – Cleveland State University

Affiliations:

  • Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute
  • National Association of Social Workers
  • American Psychological Association
Christine Duffy Levy, LCSW

Christine Duffy Levy

LCSW
(she/her/hers)

Christine (she/her/hers) has lived in Chicago since completing her Master’s degree and LCSW. She chose Social Work for its strong devotion to social justice​ which is a ​core value in her work and in her everyday life. She worked for many years in community mental health​ and ​outpatient programs for adults with chronic mental illness. 

She began working at PAC after staying home with her children​ and ​ works mostly with individuals and ​families​. Christine works to alleviate distress and improve coping and functioning around a wide variety of issues: anxiety, depression, family and relationship issues, navigating adjustments to adulthood and parenting. Her approach is warm and relational, she likes to create a safe space for her clients.

Currently she also works part-time in the Perinatal Family Support Center at Evanston Women’s Hospital, working with women and families in high-risk pregnancies. She has experience with perinatal mood disorders and their treatment. 

What do you want your clients to get out of therapy?

I want to create a space where clients can feel safe, can work on concerns, and build lasting change. 

Specialities: 

Anxiety/Depression, Relationships, Transition to adulthood, Adjustment to parenthood, Pregnancy and fertility concerns, Perinatal mood disorders, Fetal and infant loss, Grief and grieving

Education:

  • MA Clinical Social Work – University of Chicago
  • BA Psychology – St.John’s University

Affiliations:

  • Perinatal Social Worker, NAPSW
  • Trained Rape Victim Advocate, RVA
Amy Block, LCSW

Amy Block

LCSW
(she/her/hers)

Amy has over 30 years of experience with adults, children, and couples. Before moving to Chicago and joining PAC, Amy ran a private practice in New Jersey. Amy has significant experience with children/adolescents, having spent over seventeen years working as a social worker on a school’s Child Study Team. In addition to being a seasoned therapist, Amy is a certified yoga instructor. She regularly integrates yoga and mindfulness into her therapeutic work with clients. 

What do you want your clients to get out of therapy?

My goal is to create a supportive environment for my clients and help them recognize and eliminate the patterns inhibiting the pathway to a happier, more fulfilling life.

Specialities: 

Depression, Anxiety, Trauma, Grief and Loss, Relationships and Communication 

Education:

  • MSW Social Work – Smith College
  • BA Sociology – Ithaca College

Affiliations:

  • National Association of Social Worker
  • Academy of Certified Social Workers
  • Certified School Social Worker – NJ
Susan Haarman, LPC

Susan Haarman

LPC
(she/her/hers)

As a queer therapist committed to social justice, it’s my mission is to create a space in therapy where all folks feel affirmed and heard, especially if that is not their experience in daily life. I’ve lived in six different states and I’ve been a camp counselor, a hospital chaplain, a waitress, a designated driver for hire, and an improviser. Our unique life experiences make us who we are and I love supporting folks as a therapist and talking about how to make meaning from those experiences.  I firmly believe that good netflix and podcast recommendations are essential to the good life and my stack of sci-fi and fantasy books keeps growing faster than I can read them.

What do you want your clients to get out of therapy?

I want clients to know they have already done the scariest part of this whole process, which is deciding that they want support and taking action. That takes incredible strength and humility, even if it may not feel that way right now. From here, it’s my job to work together with my clients to find ways to channel that strength towards the goals they have and help reframe the way they are approaching challenges through support, humor, and compassion.

Specialities: 

Anxiety and stress, Grief and loss, Burnout, LGBTQIA issues, Spirituality, Couples – Kink and Poly Affirming, Major life changes

Education:

  • Masters in Community Counseling – Loyola University Chicago
  • Masters Divinity – Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley
  • BA Journalism and Theology – Marquette University
Alexis Michael, LCPC

Alexis Michael

LCPC
(she/her/hers)

My philosophy is that emotional pain is a result of feeling broken and incomplete. Therefore, therapy focuses on healing what is broken and seeking what is missing. Generally, we hope that something outside of ourselves will fill the emptiness — job, money, relationship, food, etc. In my experience filling the emptiness is an inside job. Accepting yourself, with or without those things, allows us to heal and enjoy the “stuff” so much more. My approach is collaborative, working together to explore and remove the obstacles in the way of your happiness and peace of mind. I have been in the mental health field since 1991 and specialize in all mood disorders, trauma recovery and addiction. 

What do you want your clients to get out of therapy?

I want my clients to feel understood and accepted in therapy. Through our working together, I want them to eventually feel more integrated and complete, thereby improving the quality of their lives and deepening their relationships with others. 

Specialities: 

Anxiety, Depression, Couples therapy, Addiction, Life transitions

Education:

  • M.A.  – Illinois School of Professional Psychology
Anna Wlodarczyk, MS

Anna Wlodarczyk

Practice Manager
(she/her/hers)

Anna received her undergraduate degree from Northeastern Illinois University and her master’s from DePaul University in Public Service Management with concentration in Health Care Administration. She has over 15 years of experience working as a practice manager in different medical and mental health settings. Anna has been working as PAC’s office manager since 2008. In addition to her work in office management, Anna has given presentations for health professionals on ethical and efficient billing practices.

Join the PAC team!

Are you a licensed therapist looking for an opportunity to make a difference in people lives? We would love to talk!