Nick Alder, PhD (she/her/hers)
Dr. Nick Alder is a Staff Therapist at IntraSpectrum. Nick believes change happens in relationships and community. She uses a strength-based approach to build collaborative and growth-fostering therapeutic relationships and assists her clients in creating meaningful connections within their communities. As a clinician, Nick works to cultivate a brave and empowering space for her clients to explore the unique intersection of their cultural identities. In this process, clients are supported in integrating generating new pathways to their mental health and wellness. She engages her life’s work grounded in her identity as a Black queer femme. As a community organizer and social spacemaker, Nick creates spaces that not only center, but also privilege, the queer spectrum, women of color, and other marginalized voices.
Nick’s approach is agile, responsive, and attuned to each client’s individual experience and needs. Her style is holistic, and informed by an integrative approach to therapy, applying Systems, Feminist, Narrative, and, Interpersonal/Relational theories. Areas of specialization include body image, social media, sexuality, gender identity, relationships, and trauma. Creativity, mindfulness, expressive arts, and storytelling are all techniques she incorporates in her work with clients. Prior to IntraSpectrum, Nick trained in forensic, integrative, and community mental health outpatient settings. She received her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Loyola University Chicago after completing her pre-doctoral internship at The Chicago School Forensic Center. As a doctoral candidate, she trained at the NorthShore University Health System, Mount Sinai Hospital Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health, and, the Cook County Sheriff’s Women’s Justice Program. Nick earned her Ed.M. and M.A. in community mental health from Columbia University, Teacher’s College. She received her B.A. in Psychology and Africana Studies from Binghamton University.
Missi Alston (she/her/hers)
Director of Operations
Missi is the Director of Operations for IntraSpectrum and keeps IntraSpectrum running smoothly. Bringing over 10 years of administrative experience in Office and Program Management, Human Resources and Operations, she assists in the on-boarding process of new hires, maintains the conservation of our 3 locations, as well as manage and create content for our social media and marketing.
Missi is a Chicago native professionally trained ballet dancer, a wellness life coach, and a certified Reiki practitioner – levels I & II. She is a mom to 4 great fur babies, and is in pursuit of her Bachelors of Science in Integrated Health Sciences.
Mario Alvarez Serrano, JD, LCPC (he/him/his)
Mario Alvarez Serrano is a bilingual (English/Spanish) Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor at IntraSpectrum Counseling. Mario is amazed by what therapy can bring to someone’s life and has experienced this personally and as a practitioner. His goal is to provide each client with an emotionally safe environment where they feel comfortable exploring even the biggest challenges, whether it is how to manage overwhelming emotions such as anxiety or depression,
learning to recognize and fight unhealthy or toxic patterns in life and relationships, or confronting past trauma or abuse. He strives to create a warm, empathetic, and non-judgmental atmosphere in therapy while utilizing a collaborative and strengths-based approach to identify goals and facilitate growth, change, recovery, and healing.
Mario has extensive clinical experience working with children, adolescents and adults. He has worked in community mental health centers, schools, and substance abuse treatment facilities. He is passionate about multicultural counseling and working with adults and adolescents with diverse expressions of gender, sexuality, and relationships. He has experience treating mood disorders, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, substance abuse and severe mental illness. Other areas of clinical interest include life transitions and relationship issues, as well as cultural issues, LGBTQI+ individuals, individuals with disabilities, and immigration and assimilation/acculturation considerations. Mario believes that the client is the expert in their own life and works to be an agent of change for those seeking comfort, healing, and purpose. He uses Client-Centered Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Solution-Focused Brief Therapy, and Existentialism to assist clients in discovering the barriers to their authentic happiness.
Before joining IntraSpectrum, Mario worked for a non-profit integrative behavioral health community agency in Chicago. He was a program administrator for a methadone clinic, a chronic homelessness men’s transitional housing program, and a men’s residential program. He also has several years of clinical supervision experience across several behavioral health programs. Mario graduated with a Master of Arts in Community Counseling from Argosy University in Chicago and obtained his Juris Doctor degree from Temple University School of Law, in Philadelphia.
Caleb Chadwick, PhD (he/him/his)
Caleb Chadwick (he/him) is a Staff Therapist at IntraSpectrum. Caleb takes an interpersonal approach to therapy and his practice is informed by theories of human development and multiculturalism. Caleb’s background training in psychology has a strong social justice orientation and he holds a deep appreciation for the negative consequences of marginalization, discrimination, and bias. As such, he values the diverse intersections of identities that his clients bring into the therapeutic relationship and is mindful of how those identities (and his own) inform the experience of therapy.
Caleb has a particular passion for helping individuals navigate life transitions and strives to cultivate a trusting therapeutic relationship where individuals feel safe exploring their emotions and thoughts without fear of judgment. Caleb has experience working with highly diverse client populations and an array of presenting concerns (i.e. mood related concerns such as depression and anxiety). Overall, Caleb aims to create a safe, collaborative, and dynamic therapeutic experience for his clients.
Prior to joining IntraSpectrum, Caleb completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Georgia and worked in HIV clinical trials at the University of Washington. He went on to complete his counseling M.Ed. at Vanderbilt University and Ph.D. in counseling psychology at Georgia State University. He is trained as a generalist and has completed clinical training experiences at a number of university counseling centers, including Georgia Institute of Technology, Kennesaw State University, and the University of Maryland. Caleb also completed clinical training at Emory University’s Faculty and Staff Assistance Program, as well as two HIV service centers (Positive Impact Health Centers; Nashville Cares) and a cancer support center (Gilda’s Club Nashville).
Sarah Carter, Postmaster’s Fellow (she/her/hers)
Sarah Carter is a Postmaster’s Fellow at IntraSpectrum Counseling, where her goal is to create space for clients to feel safe and reduce shame. She believes that healing is birthed from mutually empowering relationships, as well as connectedness to one’s identities and community. Heavily influenced by relational-cultural theory, Sarah navigates the world through a feminist, sex-positive lens and aims to be anti-racist in her personal and professional life.
Prior to IntraSpectrum, Sarah was an intern at Erie Neighborhood House where she provided trauma-focused counseling to individuals and families, predominantly young children in immigrant families. During her internship, she provided therapy for clients with a wide array of issues, such as coping with the threat of parent deportation, anger management, sexual exploration, anxiety, identity development, child abuse, PTSD, and domestic violence.
Originally from North Carolina, Sarah received a Bachelor’s degree in music at Salem College. She recently graduated from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, where she earned a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology with a concentration in Latinx Mental Health. Outside of the work realm, Sarah enjoys art, photography, the lake, friendship goofs, and hanging out with her two doggos.
Leesa Contorino, Psy.D. (she/her/hers)
Dr. Leesa Contorino is a staff therapist at IntraSpectrum Counseling. She believes change and healing occur within the context of authentic, mutually empowering relationships. Leesa views herself as a co-pilot in the therapy room with clients and she strives to create an environment where clients feel safe to bring in all aspects of their identity. She takes a relational-cultural approach to therapy and feels passionately about working from a feminist, anti-racist, sex-positive, and body inclusive framework. Her approach is collaborative, warm, and shame-reducing while attending to experiences of marginalization and oppression that can often lead to isolation and disconnection from others.
Leesa is dedicated to serving the LGBTQIA community of Chicago where she has personally and professionally grown into herself. As a therapist, she has a particular passion for working alongside queer women, queer POC, Latinx individuals, the kink and poly community, and folks from working class backgrounds. Leesa has experience working with young adult populations, individuals managing substance abuse, survivors of trauma, people managing relationship stress, grief and loss, anxiety, mood disorders, body image concerns, family of origin issues, and navigating major life transition. While the stress of life can be serious and overwhelming at times, Leesa enjoys incorporating humor where appropriate and slowing down to express gratitude.
Originally from upstate New York, Leesa earned her BA in psychology from Marist College. She went on to attain her Psy.D in clinical psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, where she sought out opportunities to work in LGBTQIA-affirmative settings. Her background includes working with individuals managing substance abuse concerns at various levels of severity and working within college counseling settings where she focused on LGBTQIA-affirmative programming.
Toni Eldemire, LCPC (she/her/hers)
Toni Eldemire is Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) with a Master’s in Art Therapy. In her therapy sessions, Toni provides a safe environment where she will tailor your sessions to meet your unique needs, facilitating personal growth based upon your goals. Toni focuses on creating a supportive, collaborative relationship built on trust.
Toni’s work as a psychotherapist is informed by a relational – cultural, feminist, narrative theories, with a trauma – informed approach to care, and a social justice lens. She believes art-making is a way to externalize oppression, call out injustice, and promote the healing process. Art Therapy can assist people to express themselves in ways that sometimes talking cannot. This nonverbal modality in mental health treatment provides a way to creatively express yourself. One does not have to identify as an ‘artist’ to find art therapy useful, so Toni may incorporate art therapy work into the therapeutic process where appropriate and desired by clients.
Toni has seven years of experience providing psychotherapy and is equally versed in talk therapy and art therapy. She has a Master’s in Community Counseling from Argosy University and a Master’s in Art Therapy and Counseling from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has experience working in middle/high schools, Lurie Children’s Hospital, and Jesse Brown Veteran Medical Center. She works with individuals, couples, and families and regularly addresses a wide range of concerns in her work, including but not limited to: stress management, relationships, self – esteem, anxiety, LGBTQ concerns/identities, trauma, grief/loss, depression, chronic medical issues, developmental disabilities, severe and chronic mental illness and substance use disorders. Toni strongly believes that as individuals, we never stop growing and evolving, and learning from each other.
Michelle Emerick, PsyD, Clinical Director (she/her/hers)
Dr. Michelle Emerick is a licensed Clinical Psychologist and the Clinical Director at IntraSpectrum Counseling, offering individual, couples and group counseling. Michelle prefers therapy to be approachable, collaborative and supportive. She provides a warm and supportive space, is grounded, but has a sense of humor. She sees her clients as having untapped potential that is worthy of support. She will attend to your strengths, while also considering creative, accessible, and sometimes challenging ways to move towards your goals. Michelle uses an integrative approach, which means she blends Humanist, Interpersonal, Psychodynamic, Feminist, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy perspectives to tailor your unique needs and identity. Her professional interests include gender and sexual identity development, kink, and polyamory; supporting multicultural and international individuals; exploring intersectionality of identities; family of origin issues; trauma; navigating unfair relationships with healthy communication, assertiveness, and boundaries; stress and anxiety management; couples counseling; and helping others benefit from the unique opportunity for connection, normalization and relief found in group counseling. Her personal interests include exploring the world, being in nature, spending time with family and friends, movies, reading for fun, finding joy in small things, petting puppies, and laughing.Prior to joining the staff at IntraSpectrum, Michelle was the Co-coordinator of Clinical Training and the Coordinator of Group Counseling at the University of Chicago’s Student Counseling Center. While there, she focused on supporting LGBTQ young adults who were working to meet academic milestones while also navigating coming out in personal and professional spaces. Prior to that, for a decade, Michelle served as the Director of Clinical Training and Staff Psychologist at Howard Brown Health Center. Although she worked with clients of all ages, she specialized in working with TGNC young adults as well as individuals newly diagnosed with HIV. While she earned a BA in Broadcast Journalism from Columbia College Chicago, Michelle pivoted careers so she could offer more support to those in her stories. This led to her earning her MA and PsyD in Clinical Psychology from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology in 2006.
Kaera Enoch, LCPC, CADC (she/her/hers)
Keara Enoch is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) and Certified Alcohol and Other Drug Counselor (CADC). Keara believes that all individuals have the potential and capacity to live a life they find satisfying and fulfilling. She also believes in working collaboratively with clients to navigate and overcome the challenges they experience in their daily lives in order to achieve their dreams. Keara’s clinical work is guided by her passion to empower those with whom she works, to treat others with dignity and to provide a nonjudgmental, interpersonally engaging, and therapeutically challenging environment. She utilizes a holistic approach that incorporates cognitive-behavioral, solution-focused and motivational enhancement approaches. Keara earned a Master of Arts in Clinical Counseling from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She has nearly eight years of clinical experience in Chicago, providing therapy and supportive services to adolescents, adults and elderly individuals across a wide spectrum of ethnic and cultural groups. Keara has worked with the LGBTQI community through organizations such as PFLAG and Chicago Lakeshore Hospital’s outpatient programs. Additionally, she has worked with individuals with chronic medical issues, developmental disabilities, severe and chronic mental illness and substance use disorders.
Dr. Joel Filmore, Ed.D, LCPC, Senior Staff (he/him/his)
The therapist you need is not necessarily the therapist you want… this is the motto of Dr. Joel Filmore. Dr. Filmore is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and Senior Staff-Clinical Supervisor atIntraSpectrum Counseling and offers individual, couples, and group counseling. Joel’s approach to counseling t ends to be direct and sometimes even confrontational. Dr. Filmore believes that change only happens through dissonance, dissonance is discomfort, discomfort is pain, and as humans we expend an inordinate amount of time, energy, and money, trying to avoid pain… but pain is there for a reason… Joel will work with you to find the source of your pain, reconcile you with that emotion, and help you find the best path forward for you.
Joel specializes in LGBTQIA+ Counseling, as well as Multicultural Counseling, Trauma Counseling, Couples Counseling, Addictions, and Sex and Sexuality Counseling. Through the use of cognitive behavioral, narrative, solution-focused, as well as Choice Theory, Dr. Filmore uses a mix of humor, relationship, and scientific research to assist his clients in finding their ‘true north’.
Prior to joining IntraSpectrum Counseling, Dr. Filmore was the owner/operator of Lighthouse Professional Counseling Center, the largest Black-Owned group private practice in the state of Illinois. He is also a former Professor and has taught in Masters-level counseling programs such as Northern Illinois University, National Louis University, Winona State University, as well as Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.
Dr. Filmore received his BA in Psychology from the University of Illinois-Chicago, his MA in Clinical Psychology from Roosevelt University, and his Doctorate from Northern Illinois University. He is a highly sought-after Keynote Speaker, trainer, lecturer, and author. He is an expert in Human Sex Trafficking and has had the pleasure of speaking on the subject all over the world. His first book, Affirmative Counseling with LGBTQIA+ People was published in 2016, he is working on the follow-up to that book, Affirmative
Counseling with Queer People of Color, and he has a Counseling textbook coming out this Fall.
Jamie Gayle, PhD, Executive Director (she/her/hers)
At the heart of IntraSpectrum Counseling is Dr. Jamie Gayle. Dr. Gayle founded IntraSpectrum in 2009 in support of her vision of offering integrative, strength-based approaches to help clients develop their own authentic voices and pursue their unique paths to individual fulfillment. She is deeply devoted, professionally and personally, to the empowerment of disenfranchised groups. As such, Dr. Gayle is highly attuned to the issues facing minorities and other victims of discrimination in our culture as well as the immense pressures to minimize diversity and difference to which they are subject.
Dr. Gayle’s approach is warm, collaborative, insight-oriented and attuned to each client’s specific needs. Her work is highly informed by psychodynamic, feminist, relational, humanist, attachment, and existential theories. Areas of specialization include LGBTQI-affirmative therapy, disordered eating and body image, gender identity, sexuality, relationships and intimacy, mood and anxiety disorders, and trauma.
Prior to founding IntraSpectrum Counseling, Dr. Gayle served from 2007-2009 as Intake and North Shore Eating Disorders Program Coordinator at Insight Psychological Centers. She spent her post-doc year as Staff Therapist and Coordinator of Eating Disorders services at YellowbricK, Inc. Dr. Gayle received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology (2006) from Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine, following completion of her pre-doctoral internship at the University of Illinois at Chicago Counseling Center. As a doctoral candidate, Dr. Gayle trained for three years at Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s Stone Institute of Psychiatry, in the Outpatient Treatment Center. She received her B.A. in Psychology (2000) from Duke University.
Jamie is honored to be recognized as an innovator and catalyst by Northwestern University’s Office of Global Marketing and Communications to mark the 150th year of coeducation at Northwestern.
Kim Grimes, LCSW (she/her/hers)
Kim Grimes is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker at Intrspectrum Counseling. She believes in creating a safe space for clients to explore their views of themselves, their relationships and community to heal and grow. Through LGBTQIA affirming, feminist and trauma informed lenses, Kim helps clients navigate where their negative views began and how they continue to impact the client today. Kim utilizes multiple interventions, including EMDR, cognitive behavioral therapy, strength-based and mindfulness-based approaches to help clients live and grow authentically.
She attended the University of Rochester for her Bachelor’s in Psychology and returned to Chicago for her masters in social work from Loyola University Chicago. Kim has extensive experience working with multiple types of trauma through her work with the Hephzibah Diagnostic Treatment Center, a residential facility for children struggling with mental health issues from abuse and neglect. She continued her work supporting adults who struggle with depression, anxiety and complex trauma while working at Compsych Guidance Resources.
While growing up in Oak Park, IL, Kim developed a passion for diversity and inclusion for BIPOC and LGBTQIA communities. Kim recognizes how societal views on these communities and how they impact client’s day to day experiences. Kim’s personal mission is to help each client feel heard, seen and feel they are not alone in this fight for social justice and equality.
Tegan Hullinger, MAEd, LCPC (she/her/hers)
Tegan Hullinger is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor offering individual and group therapy services at IntraSpectrum Counseling. Tegan is passionate about providing trauma-informed services to her clients to promote healing and holistic wellness. Her integrated therapy approach is influenced by existential and relational models that are strengths-based and person-centered. She believes that building an authentic and collaborative relationship in therapy results in a supportive environment that empowers clients to navigate through life’s challenges and attain personal goals.
Tegan is experienced and excited about working with diverse populations coming to therapy with a wide variety of concerns. She is dedicated to working with survivors of trauma and being a witness for those needing a healing space. She also works well with folks navigating mood/anxiety concerns, overcoming experiences of stigma, processing grief and loss, managing distressing emotions, and seeking increased support within and around relationships. Tegan also has an interest in mindfulness techniques, theories influenced by Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, the impact of trauma and stress on the brain, and other psychoeducational practices that promote wellness.
Before coming to IntraSpectrum, Tegan had the privilege to work in non-profit community mental health settings, both in Washington D.C. and Chicago. She began her career working with U.S. military veterans facing chronic homelessness, and became passionate about supporting those with complex trauma histories. Subsequently, she worked with survivors of sexual assault, childhood trauma, and chronic mental illness. An advocate for LGBTQ communities, she is interested in better understanding the complexities of gender, sexuality, language, and identity in today’s culture. Tegan is currently a fellow with the Chicago Center for Psychoanalysis. She graduated with a Master’s of Arts and Education degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from the George Washington University.
Kat Johnson, MSW, LCSW (she/her/hers)
Kat Johnson is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker offering individual and couples therapy services at IntraSpectrum Counseling. Kat is passionate about utilizing mindfulness-based therapies to promote holistic healing and her approach is heavily influenced by Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). She believes that more deeply understanding the ever interconnected mind and body can help clients connect to what is important in their lives. Kat creates a warm and empathic space in which to explore, identify self and interpersonal goals, and take steps toward greater authenticity.
Kat is experienced in working with adults, young adults, and adolescents. She enjoys working with diverse populations with a wide variety of needs. Clinical interests tend to center on mood/depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, LGBTQ+ issues, and adjustment issues/life transitions.
Kat graduated from Loyola University, Chicago in 2014. During that time she worked with veterans and survivors of domestic violence. Kat lived in Los Angeles working with the homeless population for three years before returning to Chicago. She recently worked at a private practice in Evanston with undergraduate, graduate, and PhD students as well as high school students. Kat is currently completing the Contextual Behavioral Fellowship with University of Chicago.
Kristin Kazyaka, Interim Training Director (she/her/hers)
Dr. Kazyaka approaches supervision through a relational lens. As a supervisor, she deeply values the supervisory relationship, and believes that trust and support allow for risk-taking and growth. Dr. Kazyaka believes that supervision should be a space in which supervisees are free to explore their own unique experiences, identities, and reactions in order to foster both personal and professional development. Further, she is passionate about attending to social locations and the complexity of identities for clients, supervisees, and herself. She believes that people (and presenting concerns) cannot be removed from their greater cultural context, and that identity inherent impacts our relationships with our selves, with others, and with our communities. Additionally, when attending to clinical work, Dr. Kazyaka strives to help supervisees zoom both in and out – in order to examine new ideas for interventions as well as ways in which they can deepen their conceptualization and understanding of their clients.
Dr. Kazyaka utilizes interpersonal/interpersonal process theory and feminist theory as her primary clinical theories. However, she also readily incorporates somatic and mindfulness-based interventions, as she believes the body is a primary source of healing. Further, Dr. Kazyaka strives to maintain a trauma-oriented perspective, and is EMDR-trained.
Prior to joining Intraspectrum, Dr. Kazyaka worked primarily in university counseling centers and at a nonprofit, wherein she worked with surivivors of sexual assault, childhood sexual abuse, intimate partner violence, and with perpetrators of intimate partner violence. Her passion is working with trauma, but specifically in bridging the gap between LGBTQ community and trauma-informed care. She readily works with individuals and couples presenting with a variety of presenting concerns, including identity development, particularly related to sexuality, gender, race/ethnicity, and class; non monogamous relationship structures; trauma; and anxiety-related concerns. She earned B.A.s in Women and Gender Studies and Psychology from Texas A&M University, an M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Texas Woman’s University, and a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Texas Woman’s University (yes, she’s from Texas). As a human, she enjoys art (creating and experiencing), spending time with her puppy-bear, and going to concerts.
Shanti Kennedy, MA (she/her/hers)
Shanti Kennedy is a billing specialist at IntraSpectrum Counseling, directing client financial services. Shanti manages client accounts, tracks balances, verifies insurance benefits, and diligently resolves billing issues when they arise. Shanti is responsible for working closely with insurance companies to ensure that claims are processed correctly and promptly, according to member contracts. She has worked for over ten years in medical billing, insurance claims and invoice management, with a consistent concentration in the mental and behavioral health field.
Elizabeth Klicker-Nicklay, MA, LCPC (she/her/hers)
Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, IL #18001949
Elizabeth takes a collaborative and integrative approach to supervision. Her goal is to establish a safe working relationship where the supervisee feels comfortable exploring all avenues of being a therapist. Elizabeth encourages supervisees to not only examine what is going on with their clients, but to also bring awareness to the supervisee’s own experience and related feelings. She believes supervision should be a space to celebrate successes as well as process challenges and vulnerabilities. Elizabeth sees supervision as an opportunity to unpack the personal and professional complexities of being a therapist. She approaches her work with supervisees with empathy, humor, and a genuine desire to help supervisees learn and grow in multiple ways.
Elizabeth works with individuals and groups at ISC. She is grounded in a psycho-dynamic framework and tends to be process oriented in sessions, but also integrates cognitive behavioral, relational/interpersonal, feminist, and queer theories as clinically appropriate. She works with clients on a variety of concerns including gender identity, sexuality and sexual orientation, depression and anxiety, grief and loss, interpersonal relationship dynamics, and family of origin trauma.
Elizabeth received a Bachelor of Science in mortuary science from the University of Minnesota. She completed her Master’s in clinical counseling at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She has completed sexual assault advocacy training and participated in a professional fellowship with the Chicago Center for Psychoanalysis. Outside of the office, Elizabeth loves to spend time with her chihuahua and cats, binging Netflix, cooking, and reading.
Gil Minor, LPC (he/him/his)
Gil Minor is a Postmasters fellow at IntraSpectrum Counseling. He aims to develop trust and safety in the therapeutic relationship, and to meet people wherever they presently sit on the continuum of identity development and self-acceptance. He firmly believes each person is the expert on their own experience, and cultivates a non-judgmental and welcoming space in the therapy room. Gil encourages and empowers his clients to nurture and develop the resources they already possess, and use those to cope with difficulties and struggles.
Gil is passionate about working within the LGBTQI+ communities, and helping folks explore authenticity, leading them to create meaning and find value in their daily lives. He works collaboratively with clients, incorporating body awareness, mindfulness, and a bit of humor, among other things. He guides his clients through the processes of integrating their held identities and navigating their connections to other people and the world around them in order to promote psychological well-being.
Gil earned his bachelor’s degree at the Virginia Military Institute and recently completed his Masters degree in counseling (MACP) at The Chicago School for Professional Psychology and a one year internship at Provena St. Joseph’s Behavioral Health Intensive Outpatient Program. He has enjoyed living in Chicago for the past 20 years has been an active member in The Chicago Metropolitan Sports Association. He also enjoys music, theatre and art, and is an avid lover of dogs.
Trent K. Owens, Postdoctoral Fellow (he/him/his), (they/them/theirs)
Dr. Trent Owens is a psychology Postdoctoral Fellow at IntraSpectrum Counseling. Trent utilizes psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, and humanistic principles in his practice. He believes the relationship between clinician and client is an integral part of the therapeutic process. He supports clients by capitalizing on their strengths and celebrating their unique ways of being in this world.
Trent has centered his clinical work around advocating for underserved groups particularly people of color, sexual and gender minorities, individuals from low-income backgrounds, individuals with autism spectrum disorders, the kink community, and those engaged in non-traditional relationship structures. Trent has experience working with varied age and ability populations managing acute stress, ADHD, anxiety, body acceptance, depression, dissociative disorders, emerging adulthood, identity development, life adjustments and transitions, severe mental illness, and trauma.
Prior to joining IntraSpectrum, Trent completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Pittsburgh and a M.S. degree in counseling psychology from Chatham University. He completed training at the Persad Center, Inc., the nation’s second oldest licensed mental health center specifically created to serve the LGBTQ+ community. There, he focused on working with youth and adults who identified as LGBTQIA+ and adults living with HIV/AIDS. Trent recently completed a PhD in Psychology at Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, CA where he also attained a M.A. degree in clinical psychology. His research has focused on internalized stigma in transgender and gender diverse populations, implicit bias in diagnosing older adults, and the utilization of archetypal imagery for emotional health and spiritual awareness. Trent is trained as a generalist and has completed clinical training experiences at multiple university counseling centers and private practices across the country.
Pablo Pagán Rivera, Postdoctoral Fellow (he/him/his)
Dr. Pablo Pagán Rivera is a bilingual (English/Spanish) Postdoctoral Fellow at IntraSpectrum Counseling. He takes a collaborative approach to psychotherapy, promoting a positive and meaningful alliance with clients that serves as a source of healing. Pablo sees the therapeutic relationship as the context for growth, and strives to create an environment that promotes hope, trust, connection and choice to help clients live meaningful and valued lives. His interpersonal style is warm, compassionate, genuine, open-minded and non-judgmental, assuring that the client’s voice and perspectives are valued, and their resources and capacity for change are recognized.
As a clinician, Pablo aims to provide a secure base for clients to explore their pain and accept their vulnerability in a way that leaves them stronger and more flexible. He seeks to help clients gain a greater awareness of their emotions and provide strategies to effectively cope with, regulate, and transform their emotional experience. His approach to therapy also promotes the inclusion of clients’ spiritual beliefs and personal values in their personal journey towards healing. As a Latino, Pablo has become an educator and advocate of social justice and anti-racism. He advocates to protect and uplift people from different racial, ethnic and sexual minorities, and other marginalized groups experiencing multiple and converging forms of stigma. His areas of clinical interest include but are not limited to: gender and sexual identity development, exploring intersectionality of identities, body image issues, trauma, family of origin issues, relationships functioning and intimacy, grief and loss, religion and spirituality, and the impact of HIV/AIDS on the lives of individuals and communities.
Originally from Puerto Rico, Pablo completed a bachelor degree in Psychology with a minor in Secondary Education at Universidad del Sagrado Corazón. During his undergraduate studies he conducted research for understanding the neurobiology of trauma, anxiety and mood disorders. Pablo went on to complete his M.S. and Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology at Albizu University in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico. He is experienced in working with highly diverse clients coming to therapy with a wide variety of concerns. Over the course of his graduate studies, Pablo received specialized training in evidence-based treatments including Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy for the treatment of a myriad of mental health disorders. Prior to joining IntraSpectrum, Pablo completed his pre-doctoral internship in Clinical Forensic Psychology at the Illinois Department of Human Services, where he provided therapy and conducted psychological assessments in a treatment and detention facility for men convicted of sexual offenses.
Ryan Rollison, AM, LCSW (he/him/his)
Ryan Rollinson is a staff therapist at IntraSpectrum Counseling, offering individual, relationship, and group therapy. He approaches therapy through an integrative lens, incorporating elements of both psychodynamic and behavioral theories, tailored to each client’s individual needs. His aim in therapy is to help clients discover and build upon their strengths as they work towards their goals. Ryan specializes in working within LGBTQI communities, and is a kink-aware therapist, comfortable with diverse expressions of sexuality and relationships. His clinical areas of focus include sex therapy, mood disorders, recovery from trauma, identity, interpersonal relationships, body image, substance use, and the intersection of HIV and mental health.
Ryan received his Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration, and is a Licensed Social Clinical Worker (LCSW). Before joining IntraSpectrum Counseling, he provided individual, relationship, and group therapy at Center on Halsted. He has also worked with students at Northwestern University to help them address problematic substance use. In addition, he led an HIV prevention program at the Minnesota AIDS Project, using Motivational Interviewing to help young gay and bisexual men make safer choices regarding substance use and sex.
BJ Rudd, Postmaster’s Fellow (he/him/his)
BJ Rudd is a Postmaster’s Fellow at IntraSpectrum, where he’s intentional about creating a safe, honest and nurturing environment that encourages the use of humor and curiosity in your journey towards healing. BJ is passionate about helping individuals find their voice by recognizing that one’s softness and tenderness is a valuable strength–not a weakness. He believes that in order to understand people, we must also be aware of the systems they reside within and how they impact an individual’s access to resources and, overall, mental health. Because of this, he seeks to hold space especially for BIPOC individuals who find it difficult to explore vulnerability with someone who hasn’t experienced otherness, oppression, and trauma unique to persons of color.
BJ draws from a relational-cultural approach, believing that connectedness and connections to others are the gateways to growth and healing. Through a power-with dynamic, he works with clients to break cycles of transgenerational trauma in order to create new paths, traditions, and coping strategies that make sense for them and their truth(s). Believing that our past selves deserve grace, just as much as our present and future selves, BJ aims to assist clients in navigating the unexpected and negative feelings that oftentimes come up during one’s mental health journey.
Before joining IntraSpectrum, BJ completed his BA in Psychology at Greenville University, with a minor in Sociology. He recently graduated from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, where he earned his Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology. In his previous clinical experience as an Intern at Urban Balance, he worked with clients coping with body image concerns, trauma, grief/loss, men’s issues, guilt and shame, (racial) identity development, and navigating oppressive systems. Outside of therapy, BJ enjoys spoiling his pitbull rescue, classic & modern anime series, and discovering new music with retro/nostalgic undertones.
Vernice L. Thorn, MA, LPC (she/her/hers)
Vernice is an ordained clergywoman of CWACM; a national, justice oriented faith group whose focus is the intersections of oppression. Initially ordained in the AME Church, Vernice holds Masters Degrees in Christian Education and Pastoral Care and Counseling from Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary, Evanston IL. Vernice pastored at Broadway UMC, Chicago for fifteen years. In retirement Vernice hopes to continue to use her gifts to dismantle systemic oppression and help build places of trust and equity where people can embrace and celebrate their whole identity without fear or apology.
Vernice joins the Intraspectrum Staff as the Intake Coordinator and brings years of experience working in the LGBTQ community. Vernice is also a proud mother and grandmother.
Dr. Torres, PhD (he/him/his)
Dr. Torres is a clinical psychologist and staff therapist with a diverse professional background, including work as a clinician, educator, administrator, and researcher. He has published research on mentoring and resilience in GBQ male youth, taught a myriad of college courses in psychology, including LGBT Psychology; and provided leadership as DePaul University’s inaugural Coordinator for LGBTQA Student Services. Clinically, Dr. Torres has treated a spectrum of mental health challenges but is specialized in the treatment of mood and anxiety disorders. He has worked with children, adults, families, and couples. While committed to promoting the mental health of all people, he has purposeful focus on serving the mental health needs of LGBTQIA clients.
Dr. Torres’ therapeutic approach is integrative with cognitive-behavioral theory serving as the therapeutic foundation for the incorporation of ideas and strategies from other therapeutic models, including relational-cultural, interpersonal, and acceptance. His therapeutic style is warm, accepting, and non-judgmental. Clients working with him will be invited and challenged to work collaboratively to construct a growth-promoting therapeutic relationship characterized by combinations of gentleness and firmness, criticality and creativity, and dependence and independence.
Born in Mexico City, and fluent in three languages (English, Spanish, and French), Dr. Torres was educated in Mexico, the United States, and France. He has a PhD and MA in clinical child psychology from DePaul University, a second MA in the social sciences from the University of Chicago, and a BA in Russian Studies from Hamilton College. He completed his clinical internship in child psychology at the UCLA Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences of the David Geffen School Medicine, the Semel Institute for Neuroscience & Human Behavior and the Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital; followed by postdoctoral training in adult psychology at the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University.
Deb Zutty, LCPC, CADC, Senior Staff (she/her/hers)
Deb Zutty is a Staff Therapist at IntraSpectrum Counseling, offering individual, couples, and group psychotherapy to adults and adolescents. Her approach is warm, collaborative, and strength-based. She realizes that the process of entering therapy, whether for the first time or after multiple attempts at finding the right therapist or managing issues effectively, is an intimidating and overwhelmingly emotional process; thus, Deb fosters a trusting environment filled with compassion and acceptance to build a supportive relationship. Deb conceptualizes the therapeutic process as a way to integrate the various masks that an individual present to the world into one cohesive whole. Incorporating the pieces of one’s history and personality leads to greater satisfaction with oneself and those around them. Deb utilizes an integrated approach to therapy that is individualized and evolves over the course of therapy. She draws on psychodynamic, relational, narrative, and resiliency techniques and theories in her work.
Deb has had the privilege of working with highly diverse clients from a variety of backgrounds. With specialized training and certification in addiction, Deb understands the effect that substance abuse can have on an individual’s mental health, interpersonal relationships, career, and overall sense of fulfillment. She is passionate about helping clients to assess their own need for change and working collaboratively toward sustained growth. Deb also specializes in supporting those who have experienced trauma, as well as those who are transforming their narratives of gender identity or sexual orientation, navigating grief and loss, and struggling with mood or anxiety issues. She is dedicated to providing affirming services to the LGBTQI community.
Through her work at Haymarket Center and Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, Deb is experienced in providing counseling to adults struggling with moderate to severe mental health issues and substance use disorders. She is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) and Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC). She received her MA in Counseling Psychology from the Adler School of Professional Psychology and her BS in Communication Studies from Northwestern University.