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.
Michael Vernon, LCSW
Michael is the co-founder of Psychotherapy Associates of Chicago. He earned his graduate degree from Smith College in 1999. Prior to entering private practice in 2001, Michael worked in a number of area clinics, including the University of Chicago and University of Illinois at Chicago Hospitals. He has worked extensively with clients on overcoming depression, anxiety and trauma. Michael has a strong interest in the clinical use of mindfulness and Buddhist psychology. He is also the co-director of The Mindfulness Clinic, which offers workshops to laypeople and continuing education to professionals. In addition to his work with individuals, Michael has worked extensively with couples and received advanced training through the Gottman Institute.
Jonathan Levy, LCSW
Jonathan is the co-founder of Psychotherapy Associates of Chicago, having met Michael Vernon while both attended graduate school at Smith College. Jonathan is one of the most experienced clinicians on PAC’s team, having nearly 25 years of practice in the field. Jonathan has a warm and direct approach with his clients, instilling a sense that everyone is capable of achieving a greater sense of happiness, regardless of life circumstance. Jonathan has specialization in a number of areas: couples therapy; parenting strategies; working with teenage boys and young men; helping individuals facing potential indictment or prosecution; EMDR; and helping Jewish individuals/families with issues around conflict, closeness, and identity. Jonathan does not accept insurance but will provide you with an invoice which you can submit to insurance as well as a number of sliding-scale sessions to clients who demonstrate need.
Vanessa Guillen, LPC
Vanessa received her master’s degree in Counseling from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology and her bachelor’s degree from Dominican University. Vanessa has experience helping adults cope with anxiety, depression, relationship conflicts, illness, and unexpected loss. She has also worked extensively with children and their parents on issues related to education, socialization, behavior problems, as well as those on the autistic spectrum. She is also a certified alcohol and drug counselor who has assisted many people in exploring how to better navigate their relationship to substance use. As a member of the Latinx community, Vanessa has a particular passion for helping clients from multicultural backgrounds. Her style is emotionally supportive and engaged, helping all people to recognize their strengths and achieve their long-term goals.
Susan Haarman, LPC
Susan received a master’s degree in community counseling from Loyola University Chicago, a master’s in divinity from Santa Clara University, and a bachelor’s from Marquette University. Susan has experience working with adults and couples dealing with many issues including: anxiety, depression, LGBTQ+ issues, grief, identity development, and navigating unexpected life changes. Prior to working at PAC, she interned at the Replogle Center in Chicago. As a queer identified therapist, Susan’s personal mission is to create a space in therapy where folks feel affirmed and heard, especially those who do not have that experience in their daily lives. Susan also has extensive experience in higher education and also works at Loyola University Chicago. In her treatment she uses elements of CBT, mindfulness, humor, storytelling, and for interested clients, incorporating their spiritual path as an aspect of well-being. When not practicing as a therapist, completing her PhD, or working at Loyola, Susan can sometimes be found doing improv around Chicago.
Amy Block, LCSW
Amy Block has over 30 years of experience with adults, children, and couples. She received her MSW degree from Smith College and, prior to moving to Chicago, ran a private practice in New Jersey. In her work Amy has spent many years helping people through a wide variety of challenges, including depression, anxiety, trauma, and grief. She also has significant experience with children/adolescents, having spent 17 years working as a social worker on a Child Study Team. She is a certified yoga instructor and interested in the use of mindfulness. Amy’s extensive training and experience have fully prepared her to work with people in all stages of life.
Amy Roth, LCSW
Amy attended college and received her MSW degree at the University of Kansas. Prior to becoming a psychotherapist, she worked as a hospice social worker and a family mediator. Amy believes that people are the experts on their own lives and that we all have strengths and basic goodness that sometimes we don’t see, but we can learn to recognize. Mindfulness practices can help facilitate this process. 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. Amy has been a practice leader with the Tergar Meditation Community for the last decade. In addition to her graduate degree, she is trained in Sensorimotor Psychotherapy and completed the Contextual Behavior Therapy Fellowship Program at the University of Chicago. Amy has experience helping individuals and couples as they grapple with issues around depression, anxiety, grief, and trauma.
Christine Duffy Levy, LCSW
Christine received her Masters of Social work from the University of Chicago and has worked at Illinois Masonic Medical Center, Lutheran Social Services, and Grant Hospital. Christine believes that feeling comfortable and developing a positive rapport with clients is essential to successful treatment and has experience in working with adults struggling with issues of anxiety, depression and relationship issues. She utilizes supportive psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral techniques, and goal-setting as part of her clinical approaches, and has worked in a variety of settings including hospital outpatient and inpatient day treatment programs, private practice and community mental health centers. Christine is also highly experienced, skilled and supportive in issues of parenting and families. She has done work with adults with mental illness, focused group therapy and skill-building for adults. In addition to her work at Psychotherapy Associates of Chicago in North Center, Christine also sees people at her office in Evanston.
Alexis Michael, LCPC
Alexis has been working in the mental health field since 1991. Prior to joining PAC, she worked in a variety of settings, including private practice, community agencies, intensive outpatient programs, and teaching at both graduate and undergraduate levels. Alexis has extensive experience with individuals or couples and her specializations include depression, anxiety, trauma, and substance abuse recovery. She has a deep understanding of the 12-Step program, how it can be uniquely adapted to each person’s needs, and how recovery and psychotherapy can best work together to promote lasting change. Alexis offers supportive therapy that helps her clients improve the quality of their life and deepen their relationships.
Annette Iskra, PhD, LCSW, CCTP-II
Annette received her Doctorate degree in Psychology/Human Development from The University of Chicago, her Master’s degree in Social Science Administration from Case Western Reserve University. Annette has expertise in trauma, posttraumatic growth, homelessness and culture. In addition to working at PAC, Annette provides psychotherapy to clients and clinical supervision to MSW student interns at Sinai Hospital. Annette’s humanistic approach combines positive psychology, strengths-based, harm-reduction philosophy with therapeutic techniques such as CBT, mindfulness, and Gestalt therapy. Her areas of specialization include anxiety, depression, physical/sexual/emotional, narcissistic abuse, and both simple and complex trauma. Annette believes that if a person seeks help, the person has the strength and resiliency to surpass recovery to a life of thriving.
Emily Deaver, LCPC
Emily earned both her master’s and bachelor’s degrees from DePaul University, where she had a concentration in elementary education and counseling. During her time at PAC she has worked with many adults in their 20’s and 30’s who are dealing with depression, nervousness, trauma, and life-transitions. Emily’s style is very genuine and down-to-earth, relating to people quickly. Prior to being a therapist, Emily worked as an elementary school teacher and she has a particular interest working with children, teenagers, and their parents. Since the pandemic, Emily has spent significant time helping kids and their parents navigate the challenges of remote learning, social isolation, and the loss of normal routine. Although she is primarily doing teletherapy, Emily continues to have a limited number of in-person sessions available. Interested clients should contact the office directly with requests to be seen on-site.
Anna Wlodarczyk, MS
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.