Our Team

We’re the experts, but we’re in this together.

Are you really freaking stressed out?

You may be looking to overcome depression, to feel less anxious, or to improve a relationship. Maybe you’re trying to figure out how to achieve your dreams in quarantine. Maybe you’re trying to deal with loneliness. Or maybe you’re trying to manage a relationship that has gotten very tense, or is long distance. You may have tried therapy in the past and felt that the therapist was too passive, too judgemental, too inexperienced, or in some other way was unable to meet your needs.

Jason Best

LCSW he/him/his

Therapist. Educator. Nerd.

For ten years I worked at one of the most prestigious psychiatric hospitals in the country. As a core therapist at Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital, I gained an extensive background in treating depression, anxiety, and bipolar issues using a mix of CBT and DBT modalities. I am Level II Certified in Gottman Method Couples Therapy.

I specialize in working with gender and sexually diverse issues and enjoy working with LGBTQIAA individuals, poly people, nerds, kinksters, gamers, and trauma survivors.

In addition to my clinical work, I teach classes on a variety of topics, including ways to improve communication, how to live a healthy, more balanced life, and how to manage negative or unhelpful thoughts. I am a regular speaker at the Multiplicities of the Erotic and Chicago Non-Monogamy conferences, a recurring guest on Wild and Sublime, and am currently a Lecturer at the University of Chicago teaching “Working with Alternative Sexual Interests and Relationship Structures”.

I am a member of Chicago Kink and Poly Aware Therapists (KPACT).

This work is way, way too important to do with a completely straight face. Some times in therapy it’s important to cry, or feel your anxiety, or maybe to do the opposite of what you expect you’re “supposed” to do. There are other times where it’s important to be funny, or to laugh, or to even be a bit silly. I promise to be myself in our sessions, real and authentic with all of the wit and humor that implies.

 

CLARK HAZEL

LSW, AM They/Them/Their

Are you looking to make changes in your life but are unsure of where to start? It can be especially challenging to navigate life right now with the pandemic, economic uncertainty, and the unveiling of the multitude of intertwined systems of oppression we find ourselves in at this time. You are not alone in experiencing concerns, outrage, and fear. I am here to accompany you in navigating these challenges and also acknowledging the joy in life. You are deserving of support and a space to talk openly. I am someone you can trust to process your fears and anxieties with as well as cultivate hope for your future and to move towards your goals. Part of our work together will be establishing goals, and working towards a more fulfilling future.

My areas of experience include working with members of the Queer and Trans community. Specifically, those who are questioning their gender identity, navigating barriers to receiving gender affirming care, and working with folks experiencing difficult family relationships related to their transgender/non-binary/GNC identity. I have experience working with the D/deaf and Hard of Hearing community and children of D/deaf adults. It can be frustrating to navigate oppressive systems that hinder us from obtaining our goals, and I’m here to assist you in your journey.

You are valued, you are needed, and you are not alone during this time. Please take the first step and reach out today. I am offering telehealth appointments and phone calls at this time. I look forward to connecting with you soon and supporting you on your journey.

CAITLIN MILLER

LPC, NCC, MA she/her/hers

Do you feel lost in your thoughts? Are you losing a sense of purpose? Have you always felt a little different from everybody else? Utilizing openness and a therapy style crafted for each unique client, I will work with you to find your true self. I specialize in working with clients who are struggling with stress, giftedness, sexual and gender identity, creativity, perfectionism, boundaries, anxiety, bipolar disorder, relationship issues, and depression. I am passionate about not only building on the practical aspects of counseling such as coping skills and self-care, but also gaining insight to find your own inner wisdom to address your struggles to build a deeper connection and awareness of the self.

I have an extensive background in the arts, and I am passionate about integrating the creative parts of ourselves in the therapeutic process. I have performed research on the intersection between bipolar disorder and artistry. I am currently working on research that explores microaggressions and felt support for LGBTQIA+ folks. Collaboration is also consistent in my work with couples, where I am passionate about improving communication and connection, healing resentment, and working through shame. Informed from my work in an inpatient psychiatric unit, I am comfortable working with clients struggling on the spectrum from mild hurdles to major mental disorders.

I will help you through your current difficulties, explore your true self, promote love and acceptance, and find a sense of purpose. I believe in cutting through the unproductive aspects of therapy and connecting genuinely with clients. You are welcome to reach out to me with any questions. I am committed to helping you find a therapist who works well with you, whether it is me or another clinician. Take a deep breath and give yourself permission to focus on you!

ALYSE RURIANI

MAATC, Art Therapist & Pre-Licensed Counselor she/her/hers

Let’s face it—shit has hit the fan. Between the pandemic, systems of oppression, and so much uncertainty…we’re all trying to figure it out. Plus, you have things you were already dealing with– depression, anxiety, relationship issues, hopelessness, existential questions… Maybe you’re tired of “blank slate” therapists. You want to explore healing in a new way, like through art and creativity. You want space to process your past & present experiences, and to figure out how you want to live in your future. You’re looking for someone who “gets” it– who validates your lived experience and who has been on that side of the couch.

I’m a queer art therapist & counselor who provides therapy that is down-to-earth, collaborative, anti-oppressive, and affirming. I use a person-centered, trauma-informed, relational-cultural approach and incorporate harm reduction, attachment theory, DBT, and Health at Every Size. I believe art can be a vehicle for healing, exploration, and discovery.

I know how scary it can be to reach out for help–especially if you’ve been let down before by those who were supposed to help you. I’ve been there, too. But I also know how wonderful and fulfilling life can be when you get the help you need. So if you can muster up the courage to take that step, we can figure out the rest together.

KARLA SCHERF

LCSW she/her/hers

I spent five years at Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital working intensively with their adolescent population. To broaden my base of experience, I moved into nonprofit program management at the Association for Individual Development and Habitat for Humanity, working with trauma, case management, and community outreach. In private practice, I work with addiction, anxiety, depression, couples and adolescents, polyamorous individuals and the LGBTQIAA community. I have received Gottman Couples Therapy training.

I am also an adjunct professor at Aurora University, overseeing the clinical work of student therapists in the field.

I am passionate in helping you in making critical healthy choices as you walk your own path and forge your own identity. I want to help you feel empowered on your walk through life. In our work, we will look at learned behaviors that may be holding you back, as well as ways to positively rebuild those behaviors. Coming from a strengths-based approach, I believe that learning how to empower yourself and then restructuring these thoughts and habits is the key to success.

hannah schwartz

MA, LPC She/Her/Hers

I have spent my career serving the LGBTQIAA community, working as a clinician at the Stonewall Project/San Francisco Aids Foundation, and now facilitating group therapy at TPAN Chicago.

I employ a blend of therapeutic approaches, including harm reduction, CBT, motivational interviewing, mindfulness and relational approaches and am experienced with LGBTQIAA individuals, trauma survivors, people who use substances, kinky individuals, and poly individuals.

Common areas of focus in my sessions include: trauma, stress, anxiety, depression, substance use concerns, grief/bereavement, LGBTQIAA concerns, and interpersonal concerns.

I approach counseling with a client-centered and collaborative approach. Ultimately, I believe that you have everything you need inside of yourself to create the healing and transformation you seek in your life. Sometimes our journey takes us off course. We might feel overwhelmed, lost, confused, and afraid. My job is to help guide you through your journey and provide you with any additional skills/tools you may require.

You deserve a space dedicated to supporting you while on this journey. I welcome you into the therapy room. The therapy room is a safe space free from judgement for you to process, explore thoughts and emotions, heal, set goals, and grow.

CHRISTINA SHORE

MA, R-DMT she/her/hers

I am a trauma informed, somatic therapist with a social justice lens. This means that I  focus on the ways we’ve been taught to live only in our heads and ignore the rest of  ourselves, who we are, and what we need. I work with people to guide them into  noticing their senses, emotional cues that are felt in their bodies, and inner sensations.  This is often where we come to our own answers and our personal truths. This being  said I recognize, as a trauma informed practitioner, that the information in our bodies is  not always readily accessible to us for various reasons and sometimes it just doesn’t  feel safe to inhabit our whole beings completely. It is my job to work with each person  as they are in the moment, to always offer choice, and to provide a space to talk, share  and process.  

I have experience working as a perinatal therapist, helping folks navigate the joy and  also the grief involved with trying to conceive, going through pregnancy, and  experiencing their own metaphorical birth as new parents. This time of life is complex  and can be even more layered with LGBTQIA+ folks. I enjoy exploring the surprises,  setbacks, challenges, and joys that come with the perinatal timeframe.  

I am also excited to open my practice to people in the kink and poly communities.  Somatic therapy lends itself to exploring inner knowing, sensory understanding, and  relational exploration. There can also be an inherent wisdom to what our bodies want  and moving/healing trauma. There is space to explore this knowing without shame or  judgment.

SWATI SRIVASTAVA

MA, Pre-licensed Therapist She/Her/Hers

Change is difficult and can often feel like you are alone in unexplored waters. If you feel like your drowning then let’s talk about it. Enduring difficult times in our lives can be lonely and daunting unless we have support. I desire to support you as we discover how your body, thoughts, spirit, and emotions contribute to your well-being. For me, therapy is about healing and cultivating the skills needed to become one’s own healer. 

I have experience working with individuals concerning depression, anxiety, stress, relationship concerns, cultural and racial identity, and  LBGTQIA+ concerns. In sessions, I build trust, create a non-judgmental, compassionate, and comfortable atmosphere in which one can safely explore and work through various feelings, thoughts, and beliefs. Change is hard, and sometimes people need a little support to build hope for the future. 

One of the bravest things that we can do is to ask for help. Your bravery in reaching out for therapy will be met with care, passion, and a therapist who believes it a privilege to walk with you on this journey. I am offering teletherapy services through phone /video and look forward to connecting with you soon.

PATRICK STERK

Social Work Intern He/Him/His

After a prior career of helping people in a university setting, I did quite a bit of soul searching and refocused on my passion for counseling. I truly believe that each one of us is doing the best that we can each day with the tools and skills that we have. Change isn’t easy. If it was, we would have done it already. In my experience, change and personal growth come with guidance and training as well as support and understanding. That is what I can offer to anyone that would like to work with me.

I am a graduate student at DePaul University completing a Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. In addition to my studies and my position at Best Therapies, I also co-lead weekly Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) groups at another practice. I am trained in DBT and I employ its skills and concepts along with Narrative Therapy to help each client reframe their lived experience in a kinder, more forgiving light for themselves and to find their own meaning in their life. After all, your life shouldn’t be based on what people say you are “supposed to do” or “need to do”, your life should be yours to live in a way that makes you feel the happiest, authentic, and most complete.

The main focus of my work is with individuals and couples in the kink and poly communities, as well as individuals diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). I also work frequently with LGBTQIAA clients and people experiencing anxiety or depression. I am a member of Chicago Kink and Poly Aware Therapists (KPACT) as well as several similar national organizations.

As a member of the kink and poly communities myself, I have experienced the confusion, shame, doubt, and anxiety that comes with the process of self-discovery. As your therapist, I can’t promise that I have unlimited wisdom and all of the answers. What I can provide though is an abundance of patience, empathy, support, and encouragement. We all have our own journey to walk, but I would be honored for the opportunity to walk alongside you and share in your discoveries.

ROSANNA SUH

LPC, NCC, She/Her/Hers

Finding the right therapist doesn’t have to be a daunting task. My goal as a counselor is to bring my authentic and genuine self to ensure you can do the same in a therapeutic setting. As a Licensed Professional Counselor, I help establish trust and respect so clients of all walks of life can take the desired steps towards discovery, growth, healing, and wholeness. I work with couples and individuals to help reach short- and long-term goals, finding answers in the past and/or present, to pave way for a future filled with hope and possibilities. 

I began my career as a minister in a mainline denomination providing spiritual, pastoral, and crisis counseling in various religious and secular settings. While religion for some can be a source of healing and transformation, for others, it has become the source of their shame and trauma. Religious trauma is very real and pervasive leaving many people, including the LBTQIAA community, feeling crippled and full of shame surrounding their intersectional identities, sexuality, and desires. I can provide a safe and non-judgmental space to process the trauma and begin the healing process to regain faith in yourself.

My approach is client-centered and collaborative, utilizing an eclectic and integrative approach tailored to the unique needs of each client and couple. Austrian Holocaust survivor and psychiatrist Victor Frankl states, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” As a multicultural competent counselor and LGBTQIA ally, I am committed to meeting you in the space between stimulus and response. What happens next is up to you.

RESOURCES DURING COVID-19