Hi, I’m Salena.
I provide counseling for adolescents, emerging adults, and adults in their 20s and 30s.
I can help you care for yourself more, navigate hard relationships, build more confidence, and heal from past experiences that cause you pain. Together we will work towards helping you feel better, manage your difficult emotions, and meet your overall goals.
No matter where you are in life, you are facing and experiencing things that are challenging. Therapy can be a space you give yourself to be you when your life is feeling very hard. Whether you think therapy can help because you don’t feel like yourself anymore, you’re not sure what you want, you feel misunderstood, you’re experiencing a lot of anxiety, or you’re feeling unmotivated or depressed, I’m here to help you figure it all out.
Therapy can be a place where you can totally be you without expectations, pressures, or the need to keep it all together. You can be open, honest, vulnerable, and authentic. You won’t be judged or criticized, and I will do my best to listen, understand, and support you.
We all have times in our lives when we feel down, lost, or stuck, and therapy can be a great place to work through those emotions. Together we can understand you, make sense of the things you feel confused about, and figure out what you need.
First, we will build a partnership. As we work together, my hope is you will feel less alone and more understood and supported. We will determine what your goals are and what you want in your life, and then we can begin to help you make it happen.
We’d start by getting to know each other and what brought you here. I want to hear all that’s been happening for you, what you’ve tried in the past to help, what’s worked, what hasn’t, and what you are hoping therapy can help with. I will ask about what is important to you and who are the people in your life who are most important to you. This will help me learn about who and what you value. I hope to become a person you will grow to trust, as when we can trust another person, it helps us be open and honest. When we share things about ourselves, it opens the window for us to feel more supported and cared for, which is what I want you to experience.
Together we’ll explore your strengths, difficulties, challenges, relationships, and life experiences. We’ll talk about your thoughts, feelings, and choices and how those may or may not be in tune with your goals. We’ll talk about what you hope to gain from therapy and how you want it to help you in addition to what your goals are for our time together.
My hope is that you’ll never have fear about judgement or feel judged in any way. Our time together will provide you a time and space where you can feel safe and be able to be who you are. If and when you are open to it, I can share with you encouragement, feedback, and supportive guidance. Most importantly, I will cheer you on as you make positive, healthy choices that reflect your goals.
HOW I CAN HELP YOU – THE PARENTS:
It is common and easy for parents to wonder if they are doing and getting it all right. It is a heavy burden when you feel like your child’s health, welfare, and future is in your hands. That can feel overwhelming and intimidating. As I work with your child or teen, I will also be working with you. It’s important that we all feel like we are on the same team working toward the same goals. I don’t want only your child/teen to receive support, validation, and guidance – I will also offer that to you as well.
I know you want the best for your child/teen, and I’m sure you are doing everything you can think of to help support their emotional well-being. If you’re a parent of a teen who felt comfortable enough to come to you and ask if they can talk to someone like a counselor – that’s huge! It means you have a supportive connection with your child and they feel comfortable talking with you about tough things. I encourage you to take this opportunity, reach out, and get them the help they’re asking for.
Or, if you are a parent who has tried all the things you know how to do to help your teen, but you are at a loss as what to do for them next, I encourage you to pay attention to that. Kids’ and teens’ emotions can be so big and so overwhelming that it is, at times, really difficult for a parent to be confident and capable of helping them through all their heavy emotions day in and day out. If this is what you are experiencing, I encourage you to allow your child to have another safe and supportive adult to help them navigate through some of the difficulties they are experiencing.
If any of the above sounds like what you’ve been experiencing, I encourage you to reach out to me. I’d love to help. Together we can help your child/teen with any anxiety, depression, social challenges, and relationship struggles they are dealing with.
Sometimes the emotions of sadness, anger, fear, and worry are so big and deep during adolescence. Its important for kids to learn about the connections between their thoughts, feelings, and actions. Often, children/teens struggle with self-esteem, figuring out who they are and what they want, and feeling connected and accepted for who they are. In addition, they often need help finding their voice and being able to learn how to ask for what they need while teaching people how to treat them. Those are many of the issues and challenges I help pre-teens and teens with in therapy.
COUNSELING TEENS, AND ADOLESCENTS:
I’m not sure if you have ever struggled with those difficult and painful feelings and thoughts inside that tell you that every else has it all together, always knows what to say, and never loses it, never seems depressed, always seems calm and never anxious, is good looking, has a ton of friends, has people to hang out with, gets good grades, knows who they are, has cool parents, will get into a good college, doesn’t ever do anything wrong, and always is perfect.
When our minds tell us these kinds of things, it’s usually because we aren’t feeling confident, capable, or good about ourselves and what is happening in our lives. In that confusion and difficulty, it always seems like when you look around at other people, everyone seems to have it all together.
Yet, I promise you – they don’t. We’re all just a bunch of people just trying to figure it all out. But sometimes it is super helpful when we have someone who can work with us to help us figure out some things in our life that are super stressful, annoying, and stuff we tried to avoid even though we know it won’t go away.
If you happen to be open to the idea of someone else helping you try to work through some of the feelings, decisions, thoughts, beliefs, and fears that are difficult for you to manage, I’m here to help.
I’ve helped a lot of teens:
- learn how to not feel anxious and afraid most all the time, to talk comfortably, become socially confident, and create supportive friendships
- feel more in control by finding ways to calm their intense feelings and emotions
- navigate how to learn to trust people again after someone close to them has hurt them
- realize their uniqueness and worth while learning how to love and care for themselves
- learn and master helpful coping skills that ease depression and anxiety
- develop confidence in themselves and their own capabilities
- figure out how not to feel so mad at the world all the time
- determine their identity and who they are, how to tell others, and how to navigate through the changes they want to make
- learn how to recover from a break-up that felt devastating and caused them to feel incredibly alone
- navigate adult-ing and all the challenges that come with it when everything changes
Maybe one of the issues above resonates with you, or maybe you are wanting to work on different goals in therapy. You can talk about any situation that you’re struggling with or any of the stuff that keeps swirling around in you head that you can’t stop thinking about. You will be able to find relief when you share your burdens with someone you can trust. You can feel comfortable sharing your thoughts and feelings without judgement. Therapy is about you. It’s your space, and you get to decide what you want to talk about and what you want to work on.
Since you are here reading this, I can assume you are thinking about finding someone to talk to about maybe one of the above things I listed or something similar. Hopefully, all of what I’ve told you about myself and how I help will help you determine if I may be a good person for you to talk to. My guess is that you are close to reaching out for support. If you are ready, you know where to find me. Once you are ready to start the process, give a call or complete the contact form on the schedule now page and we can meet soon. If you’re down for a challenge and want to feel better while improving your situation, let’s connect.
COUNSELING AND THERAPY FOR ADULTS IN THEIR 20S AND 30S:
Maybe you’ve been in therapy before, and you are thinking it is a good time to return. There is so much happening in the world – no wonder you are feeling stressed, tired, anxious, and possibly depressed.
Or, maybe you have been reading self-help books or listening to podcasts hoping you’ll find that thing that will help you figure out what’s missing or how to be different. Whatever is bringing you here, I hope you realize and give yourself credit as it takes courage and a commitment to yourself to seek help.
I’ve helped many emerging adults and adults in their 20s and 30s:
- navigate relationship needs, wants, and boundaries
- learn skills to reduce and cope with anxiety, worry, sadness, and depression
- develop helpful skills and approaches to navigating adult-ing and other life transitions
- create new positive self-beliefs and patterns of self-care while replacing their self-critical voice
- work through complex feelings, thoughts, and beliefs about past trauma(s)
- identify values, goals, and purpose to help them get where they want to go and become who they want to be
Part of healing is daring to try something new. We’re often comfortable in the patterns we’ve created and dynamics we’ve fallen into. I will encourage you, support you, and (if helpful) push you to become who you want to be so you can achieve your goals.
MY PROFESSIONAL JOURNEY AS A THERAPIST:
As a therapist, I love learning and hearing about other people’s stories, so I thought I’d tell you a little about mine. During my undergraduate studies, I traveled and lived in Italy for several months. There, I studied more about human rights. Another interesting tidbit about me is that I also studied opera.
That experience helped guide me to know that I wanted to help families through their times of struggles. It was there that I was able to see first hand how important it is for us to connect to our inner strengths and realize and build on our resiliencies. After finishing my undergraduate degree and graduate degree, I knew I was deeply passionate about helping youth and families.
During my years in the social service and counseling field, I’ve worked in child welfare with an office on the west side of Chicago, youth residential centers, and another private practice before I joined Health and Healing Therapy.
I specialize in working with teens and emerging adults who struggle with anxiety, depression, ADHD, and bipolar disorder. I also work with those who have experienced traumatic and painful experiences and have a passion for working with LGBTQ+ youth.
I value the trust that people extend when they talk about the most confusing, painful, and difficult things they experience. It’s important for all of us to figure out who we are, find the people who can understand us the most, and determine where we fit in this world.
COUNSELING AND THERAPY APPROACHES
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
- Trauma Informed Techniques
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
- Motivational Interviewing
- Strengths-Based Therapy
- Client Centered Therapy
- Solution Focused Therapy
- Narrative Therapy
EDUCATION AND CERTIFICATIONS
- B.S. Developmental Psychology, Loyola University Chicago, Chicago IL
- Masters in Counseling Psychology (M.A.), Adler University, Chicago IL
- Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC), Illinois License #180.010364
- Certified Clinical Trauma Professional (CCTP)
- 40 Hour Domestic Violence Advocacy Trained
- Therapeutic Crisis Intervention Trained (TCI)
I’m so glad you are willing and ready to seek support. Life is difficult, and you don’t need to figure it all out alone. We can identify what you want to improve and develop a plan to help you take steps towards living life on your terms. I welcome the opportunity to be an advocate for you. Together, let’s take some steps forward to make things easier and better for you. I look forward to meeting you!