About Us

Counseling speaks was founded by professionals who love everything about counseling!

As highly involved and motivated counselors, presenters, authors, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, educators, supervisors, and leaders; we joined forces to create counseling speaks—a contemporary counseling clinic that offers much more than just counseling.

We offer clinical counseling, consultation, coaching, supervision, crisis intervention, and psychoeducational services and products to suit your needs as a client, consultee, or another professional looking to advance your skill set. Here we believe that everyone is capable of change, and by giving you the best of us, we hope to bring out the best in you!

We are a holistic practice with 15 therapists and a psychiatrist who serve a variety of clients. We offer individual, couple, family, and group therapy along with psychiatric services.

We also have a diverse team of multicultural therapists from a variety of backgrounds both nationally and internationally. About half of our therapists are multi-lingual.

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Our Clinicians


Desarae Coley Office Administrator

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Desarae Coley has completed her Associates of Science in Psychology at Northern Illinois University. Desarae plans on going back to school to further her education and complete her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Currently, she is working as an office manager at Counseling Speaks. She hopes to use this experience to help further her career in psychology.

Desarae has always held an interest in the inner working of the mind. Understanding a person’s situation and providing advice, learned though her own experiences, to ease their personal turmoil is a passion that drives her. She decided to take her interest in psychology and passion for helping people and pursue a career path.

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Monika Breidenbach, M.S., LPC, NCC

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A counselor with a Master’s degree from National Louis University. Her experience includes working with children, adolescents and adults in different settings including crisis intervention and community mental health.

Monika’s clinical interests include stress management and working with people with mood disorders, with a goal to help them navigate through anxiety, depression, self-esteem issues, and difficulties in life adjustments.

Her approach is strengths-based, and she believes therapy is an active, creative collaboration between the client and the counselor. She helps the client capitalize on existing strengths and develop a sense of self-awareness functional life skills, which empower them to develop their own vision for life while refining personal goals.

+ Clinician speaks English and Polish.
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Francis Burns, BA

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A clinical intern from Adler University. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Chicago, and after working in the mental health field for two years, he is now working toward his Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.

Areas of focus include cognitive behavioral therapy for depression and anxiety, and solution-focused therapy for working toward specific, achievable goals. As a believer in evidence-based practice, Francis uses client feedback to continually align the content of therapy with the goals of the client, and he pulls interventions from a wide range of clinically studied treatments.

To complement his research-based therapeutic techniques, Francis makes sure to get to know each one of his clients on a personal level. By being connected at an authentic person-to-person level, therapy has the ability to make clear the emotional and cognitive patterns that we currently use. An avid meditator, Francis incorporates mindfulness meditation into his therapy sessions, with the belief that consciously being present is one of the best ways to live an authentic life.

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Sonia Chand, BA

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A clinical intern working towards her Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Adler University. Sonia’s professional interests as a counselor stem from her experiences with the National Autism Society and Autism Speaks, both dedicated to helping individuals and families of individuals on the autism spectrum. Sonia is very involved with the autism community, and she runs marathons for Team Up with Autism Speaks.

Apart from the autism community, Sonia partook in a social justice practicum that helped underserved immigrant populations. She got to learn about and experience the wide variety of challenges immigrant populations encounter when trying to adjust to a new country and new culture. Moreover, she got to see how such challenges impacted their mental health.

Sonia is passionate about creating a safe space, as to allow for people to fully be able to express themselves in a non-judgment and empathic setting. She is passionate about helping people with various needs, and Sonia is dedicated to helping people live to their fullest potential. She has interest a variety of theoretical approaches in her clinical training and education, including CBT, REBT, Gestalt, Adlerian, and Psychodynamic Theories.

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Melody Chen, M.S.Ed, LCPC

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A Clinical Counselor with experience in working with a diverse client population in a variety of settings, including community mental health, home-based therapy, crisis intervention and residential treatment. Her clients presented with issues ranging from adjustment disorder, ADHD, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, complex trauma, autism spectrum disorders and psychosis.

Melody is culturally sensitive and believes in professional but authentic human contact. She is passionate about addressing mental health issues with a collaborative, strength-based and humanistic approach to promote problem-solving, self-awareness and resilience. She draws from her eastern cultural background the practice of mindfulness and distress tolerance, while incorporating the well-established knowledge on attachment by western psychology to help clients develop skills in symptom management, as well as healing from emotionally/psychologically damaging experiences in life.

In addition to individual work, Melody also take into consideration contextual factors that contribute to clients’ difficulties. That is why she collaborated frequently with schools, doctors, Department of Child and Family Services and probation, and explore external resources to strive for optimal treatment outcomes.

*Melody is bilingual, proficient in English and Mandarin Chinese.
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Mercedes Conus, M.A., LPC

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Mercedes is passionate about helping people find emotional, mental, and spiritual healing in their lives. With the pressures that can come from work, family and/or society in general, I make it my goal to provide people with a safe space where they can process their current life events and/or past issues that are troubling them.

Mercedes has had very intense experiences working with different cultures around the world. She has lived in France, Italy, Germany, England, and Spain before she moved to the United States in 2000. Since then she has been working with children, adolescents, adults, disabled children, the elderly, and families. Some of the fields she has worked in include physical/sexual abuse, parental neglect, life adjustment, stress management, anger management, self-esteem, grieving and school refusal. During the internship, she primarily worked with depression, anxiety, self-harm, ADHD, Bipolar, Borderline personality, Defiant personality, and post- partum depression. She has experience with individual, group, and family therapy.

Mercedes uses a holistic approach by engaging the whole person including different levels: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. Using personal traits such as empathy and compassion, she builds a positive rapport with her clients and families to shape a successful therapeutic process. She uses dialectal behavioral therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, person-centered therapy, and action-oriented approach to empower clients to bring their life on track. Yoga, mindfulness, meditation, and positive therapy is a big part of her life. She practices these techniques to help her clients heal their minds and bodies. I am fully bilingual (Spanish/English).

*Mercedes speaks English and Spanish.
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Princess Gabor, MA, LCPC, NCC

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A Licensed Professional Counselor at counseling speaks. She has Master’s degree from Argosy University, Chicago and is currently still attending that university where she is working on her doctorate in counseling education and supervision. She has experience working with intellectually disabled adolescents who were survivors of physical/sexual abuse and parental neglect, which were also dually diagnosed with disorders such as depression, schizophrenia, PTSD, ADHD, bipolar, and anxiety. She has experience with individual, group and family therapy as well as crisis intervention.

Princess’ integrated style of counseling and creativity allows her to help her clients get an individualized treatment plan which helps accommodate the clients learning style, and perception as they go through their process at their own capacity. She has worked with culturally diverse populations including the LGBTQA community using music, art, movies, role-play and experiential therapy.

Some interesting facts about Princess is that she lived in five states, went to two high schools, and five colleges/universities which has given her the wonderful opportunity of experiencing multiculturalism and taught her that there was a purpose for everything that fell into her life. Princess believes that the life that you live is not filled with mistakes- it is filled with knowledgeable experiences that bring forth wisdom.

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Matthew Glowiak, PhD, LCPC, CAADC, NCC

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A Clinical Counselor and Speaker at counseling speaks with experience in working with children, adolescents, families and adults. Matt works collaboratively with clients to set practical, achievable goals that ultimately yield sought after change.

Matt has experience working with children, adolescents, and adults through individual and group services in home, clinical, outpatient, and college campus settings. Matt’s clients have presented with a variety of concerns and issues including substance use disorders, dual-diagnosis, domestic violence, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, sexual trauma, bipolar disorder, et cetera.

Matt has a history of working with substance use and dual-diagnosis disorders, He has treated a wide variety of issues that range from mild to very severe in nature. In his role as case manager he has also become skilled at locating various client resources.

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Joseph Stirling Hamilton, MA, LPC, NCC

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A Licensed Professional Counselor with a Masters degree from Northwestern University. As a student at Northwestern University’s Masters of Counseling program, he completed an internship at The Family Institute, working with a variety of clients and using a range of modalities and interventions. These included client-centered and cognitive-behavioral styles. He has experience treating many different psychopathologies – including anxiety and depressive disorders. He also has extensive research experience in the psychopathological predictors of substance abuse. His clinical training and research experience provide him with insight into self-defeating behaviors and the research-based methods shown to effectively treat them.

Joseph’s clinical interests includes the treatment of substance abuse, narrative building, self-esteem issues, and the exploration and identification of the maladaptive schemas that often contribute to psychological discomfort.

Joseph strongly believes in the human capacity for change. He encourages this by working closely with the client to identify and address the persistent but often covert patterns of flawed thinking and acting that can lead to psychological and emotional distress. Building more constructive and realistic narratives is key to his approach. Joseph utilizes may different strategies and exercises to promote the healthy change of behavior and to give clients the tools they need to become effective agents of change in their lives.

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Jeanne Kelso Clinical Intern

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Jeanne is currently working towards her Master’s Degree in Counseling from Northwestern University.

Jeanne’s professional interests as a counselor stem from a background in non-profit organizations with missions driven towards education, adolescent and family issues, and the LGBTQ+ community. She is dedicated to creating an environment that is centered on trust, understanding and awareness as foundational pieces of the therapeutic relationship. She is inspired by her clients and their ability to continue to strengthen and grow, as they develop an understanding of who they are.

Jeanne has an interest in various theoretical approaches in her clinical training and education, including CBT, DBT and positive psychology. She believes in the mind-body connection, and incorporates mindfulness, yoga and other forms of self-care, as she finds it beneficial in the therapeutic experience.

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Lola Ladimir, LCSW, CYT

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A licensed clinical social worker and EMDR trained psychotherapist. Lola practices a client-centered strength-based approach, incorporating a focus on mindfulness to promote mental well-being and strength of Self. This approach encourages a collaborative therapeutic relationship to facilitate healing and growth.

Lola’s clinical experience includes therapy with children, adolescents, adults, and families, specializing in trauma, anxiety disorders, mood disorders, life transitions, grief and loss, and child and adolescent behavior counseling.

Informed by continuing education and experience in psychotherapy and counseling, she bases her interventions on unique presented needs, providing supportive guidance toward identified goals.

*Lola speaks English and Russian.
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Anya Ravitz, BA

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A clinical intern from Adler University. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in English and Architecture from Wellesley College. She worked as an architectural critic and housing advocate for several years before transitioning careers and entering a Master’s program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.

Anya is a SMART Recovery facilitator and has experience leading groups of clients with both behavior and substance addictions. Her clinical interests include: addictions, grief, and the mind-body connection.

In counseling, Anya takes a person-centered, strengths-based approach. She believes everyone is capable of creating change in their lives. She utilizes techniques from modalities such as cognitive behavioral therapy, solution-focused therapy, and sensorimotor psychotherapy to draw out clients’ resilience.

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Nicole L. Thompson, MA, LPC

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A Licensed Professional Counselor at counseling speaks. Nicole earned her Masters of Arts in Community Counseling at Argosy University after completing her undergraduate degree in Applied Psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Nicole has experience working with children, adolescents, families, and adults through individual and group services in home, correctional, and clinical settings. Nicole’s clients have presented with a variety of concerns and issues including substance use disorders, domestic violence, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, et cetera.

Nicole is a multicultural and gestalt therapist who is committed to the process of understanding and addressing societal issues that impact clients’ emotional and psychological health. Nicole works collaboratively with clients to connect to their authentic selves, step into their power, and set goals to achieve their desired holistic needs.

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Kasia Wereszczynska, MA, LCPC, RYT

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A Clinical Counselor, Speaker, and Yoga Instructor at counseling speaks with experience in working with children, adolescents, families and adults. Originally from Poland, Kasia has developed an appreciation for different cultures. She works to build a healing environment that helps facilitate personal growth and positive change. In addition, she empowers her clients by helping them set and achieve realistic goals in a nonjudgmental atmosphere.

Kasia has an extensive training and experience in crisis intervention, cognitive-behavioral therapy and positive psychology. Her areas of specialty include anxiety, depression, life transitions, addiction, trauma, self esteem concerns and stress management.

Kasia has provided counseling to a culturally diverse population serving the South Side of Chicago and the North Shore area. She has a history of working in various settings including the mental health court system, hospital emergency room, community mental health agencies, and both inpatient/outpatient psychiatric hospital settings.

*Kasia speaks English and Polish.
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Kathy Ziecik, ​MA, LPC, NCC

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A mental health counselor at counseling speaks. Kathy earned her Master’s degree in Counseling from Northwestern University and her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Boston University. Kathy was born in Poland and is able to provide Polish speaking counseling services.

Kathy is trained in psychodynamic as well as cognitive behavior therapy and utilizes an eclectic approach to tailor her treatment strategy according to the needs of each individual client. She is dedicated to helping others develop healthy and practical coping strategies and believes in a warm and collaborative therapeutic relationship as a foundation for developing trust and achieving desired outcomes. Kathy also utilizes creative art techniques throughout the treatment process to promote wellness and healing through a variety of mediums.

Kathy has experience working with individuals who present with self-esteem issues, addiction, trauma, and mood disorders. She enjoys working with clients of all ages as well as couples and families. Her clinical interests include cultural issues, life transitions, phobias, and relationship difficulties.

*Clinician speaks English and Polish.
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