Our identities influence how we perceive ourselves and navigate through life. Having an understanding of who you are and how you identify, internally and externally, will allow you to live to your full potential.

If you often find yourself questioning who you are and how you want the world to perceive you, you may be struggling with identity related issues. Struggling with your identity can leave you feeling isolated, confused, and depressed. It is essential to start answering those questions you might have about yourself.

What classifies as “identity”?

There are many ways that we as humans identify. Understanding and being at peace with ourselves is essential to becoming a complete and functioning individual, and is often modified as we gain experience and perspective through life. Some of the more common identities we see here at Cherry Hill include, but are certainly not limited to:

  • Gender
  • Race/Ethnicity
  • Religion/Spirituality
  • Body & Self Image
  • Vocation

If you find yourself saying “hm, I might have some questions about one of those listed or something similar”, you may be experiencing an identity concern or crisis. This can mean questioning yourself as a whole, or related to a specific identity of you, as we can identify in many ways. These concerns can arise from major life stressors, or due to other factors such as your age. Identity concerns can make you feel lost, confused, and isolated; constantly wondering if you’ll ever find your meaning and purpose in the world. Unresolved identity issues can lead to depression, anxiety, addiction, and sometimes even suicide.

How Can I Explore My Identity?

Experiencing an identity concern or crisis can be a scary and heavy experience. It will likely bring up questions or thoughts about yourself that feel uncomfortable or confusing. Who am I? What do these feelings mean? How can I express myself? What makes me, me? What does my identity or identities mean to me? How do I want to be perceived? How can I show the world who I am? I don’t understand myself. No one will ever understand me. I’m confused about myself. If you are having these thoughts, it may be time to reach out for help. You might now be wondering, “where do I even begin?”

Supportive Therapy

You do not have to walk on this journey alone, and we are here to help. At Cherry Hill, our therapists are here to guide you in answering all the daunting and challenging questions you may have about yourself, while also helping you cope with any negative feelings and experiences that may come up on your self-discovery journey. There is a being inside of you wanting and waiting to be discovered and revealed to yourself, and the world around you.

If you or someone you know is struggling with identity related concerns, do not wait to reach out to one of our therapists here at Cherry Hill Counseling. We are eager to help.

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Related Therapist Profiles

The following therapists specialize in Identity / Self-image

William Burton, Intern Therapist


Bill is an intern from National-Louis University pursuing his Master’s of Science in Counseling. He brings a unique background in animal behavior research from his undergraduate studies in Psychology. He uses the insight gained from working with animals to enhance his understanding of human behavior. He enjoys working with individuals and couples and strives to help people reach their full potential.

Timothy Robinson, Ed.D.


Tim Robinson has been a licensed psychologist for over 25 years and served as the Chair of the Psychology Department at Trinity International University for most of three decades.

Kayal Swaminathan, MSW

Deer Park

Kayal has a Master of Social Work degree from Loyola University. She is a passionate mental health professional dedicated to empowering her clients through play and creativity.

Julia Gold, MSW, LSW

Vernon Hills

Julia is a Licensed Social Worker that treats clients across the age continuum. She has a Masters in Social Work, Concentration in Advanced Clinical Mental Health from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is passionate about creating a safe, non-judgmental space for all of her clients.

Lisa LaBute, MS, LPC

Teletherapy Only

Lisa LaBute earned her bachelor's degree in Psychology from Brigham Young University in 1984 and her master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling from Saint Francis College in 1996. She’s had the opportunity to work in several states as well as doing an internship in London. She’s been a licensed professional counselor in the state of Illinois since 2007.

Jennifer Thelen, MA


Jennifer works with teens, adults and couples. She is devoted to creating a safe relational environment to encourage self-exploration while supporting clients through life’s challenges.

Alexis Mathews Carr, MA, LPC

Vernon Hills

Alexis strives to make her clients feel safe, welcome, and accepted through the use of empathy, genuineness, and humor. Her counseling approach is rooted in CBT, DBT, and a strengths based approach. Alexis works with clients to identify their strengths in order to find growth and healing.

Luke Bruschuk, MSW, LSW

Vernon Hills

Luke Bruschuk is an MSW intern from Western New Mexico University, set to graduate in May 2024. Specializing in emotional recognition and response therapy, he adopts a strengths-based approach with elements of cognitive therapy and mindfulness. Dedicated to promoting self-awareness, Luke works with both youth and adults. A NASW student member, he enjoys meditation and biking outdoors.

Jackie Kendall, MA

Deer Park

Jackie is acquiring an MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from National Louis University. Jackie is a nature and animal lover who enjoys spending her free time with friends and family. She feels that counseling picked her well before she decided to pursue a career in the helping profession. She was taught at a young age that the greatest gift in the world is helping others.

Valerie Dobrow, MSW, LSW

Deer Park

Valerie utilizes a strengths-based approach when working with children, adolescents, teens, and young adults. She has specialized training in Trauma-Focused CBT and play therapy techniques. She strives to empower clients to focus on reaching their goals through therapeutic techniques and skills development.

Veronica Gillen, MSW, LCSW


Veronica Gillen is a licensed social worker with a Masters Degree from West Chester University of Pennsylvania with an emphasis on trauma informed care and strengths-based recovery support. Veronica is a bilingual therapist and provides services in both English and Spanish. Veronica enjoys working with women, children, and teens as well as families.

Cris Goodfellow, MA


Cris is an intern therapist, seeking completion of her Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling from Trinity International University (Graduation May 2024). Cris is passionate about working with teens and adults, couples, and families, helping all people to seek individual and relational health.

John DeArvil, MSW, LSW

Vernon Hills

John studied psychology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and earned his master’s degree in social work from Loyola University Chicago. He has experience working with adolescents, adults, and families in outpatient and residential treatment settings. John is motivated to work with people to help them progress towards their goals and see genuine improvement.

Joshua Flanagan, MA, LPC

Vernon Hills

Josh earned his MA in Mental Health Counseling from Trinity International University. Josh is a compassionate and energetic individual who has a lot of passion for helping others. He loves to express himself through creative avenues such as photography, design, etc. and always will do life within community.

Shannon Landon, MS, ALMFT


Shannon is a passionate couple and family therapist who earned her M.S. in human development and family sciences at Northern Illinois University. Her background includes work with adolescents, adults, couples, and families in both outpatient and residential treatment settings. She enjoys supporting adults recovering from childhood trauma and couples looking to form more satisfying relationships.

Deb Landeene, MA, LPC

Lake Zurich

Deb is a Master’s level counseling intern from Concordia University Chicago. She provides treatment to clients of all ages, but has a passion for working with adolescents and their parents. She is a wife and a mother to 2 grown children. She enjoys her animals, gardening and making jewelry. Deb considers herself a life-long learner.

Caitie McCormack, MA, LPC


Accepting clients from both IL and WI, Caitie works with individuals ages 15+ and relationships of all kinds. She particularly focuses on processing trauma (religious, medical, and relational), coping with chronic pain, navigating life transitions, and using experiential techniques in sessions to create transformative experiences. Caitie brings to therapy nearly a decade of experience as a researcher in the business world, resulting in a strong sense of duty to stay current on new treatments and techniques. She is committed equally to research and creativity and will work diligently to find the most effective strategies for your individual needs.

Juan Torres, MSW, LSW, CADC

Vernon Hills

Juan is a Licensed Social Worker in the State of Illinois and can provide services in both English and Spanish. He specializes in treating substance use disorders and mood disorders. He works with adolescents and adults in both individual and group settings.

Michael Albert, MA, LCPC

Grayslake | Vernon Hills

Michael is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor in the State of Illinois. He has nearly 2 decades of experience in the mental health field. He has provided services in many different settings including agency and hospital settings before private practice. Michael works well with a broad age range of clients, but has a special affinity for adolescents and young adults.

Clark Barshinger, Ph.D.

Lake Zurich | McHenry

Practicing clinical psychology for over 50 years, Dr. Clark Barshinger has broad and deep experience counseling patients. His graduate education includes a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Northwestern University and a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology from DePaul University, and Master’s Degree of Divinity from McCormick Theological Seminary. He works mostly with adults, teens and couples.

Brendan Bell, MA, LCPC

Deer Park | Wheaton

Brendan Bell is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor in Illinois. He has worked in private practice for the last 20 years, with offices in both Deer Park and in Wheaton. His expertise involves working with middle schoolers, adolescents, and their families, with extensive experience addressing behavior disorders. Brendan also works with adults and particularly enjoys counseling artists.

Diane Geiser, MSW, LCSW

Lake Zurich

Diane Geiser is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 20 years of experience working with adults, adolescents, couples and families. Diane is a highly skilled clinician who can work with clients in identifying goals and change strategies that promote growth. She also has experience conducting wellness seminars with corporations and executives.

Rick Coffaro, MA, LPC

Teletherapy Only

Rick Coffaro’s work experience prior to Cherry Hill includes twenty-eight years in sales, marketing, and management. The theme of his career was making, building and maintaining relationships. Rick offers first-hand knowledge of life and career transitions. He enjoys working with individuals, couples, adults, adolescents and young adults, and groups.

Michelle Schaefer, MA, LCPC, PMHC


Michelle Schaefer, LCPC, has experience working with adults, couples, teens, and families. Michelle has an advanced certification in Perinatal Mental Health and specialized training in Emotionally Focused Therapy for individuals, couples, and families. Michelle strives to create a secure client-therapist alliance in order to support people as they navigate life challenges and heal relationships.

Elizabeth Haines, LCPC, NBC-HWC, YACEP

Teletherapy Only

Elizabeth is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor. She values a strong therapeutic alliance and believes that a supportive and collaborative working relationship is instrumental in helping clients improve their overall quality of life. She uses her expertise in yoga and mindfulness to assist clients in learning to calm and relax the stressed body and mind.

Maria Statkus Ritchey, MA, LCPC, CCATP-CA

Deer Park | Wheaton

Maria is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor. Maria is enthusiastic about working with different populations, including children, adolescents, young adults, and families. Maria has experience utilizing non-directive play therapy and her approach is client-centered based, while integrating client strengths within the process.

Kristine Buelow, MSW, LCSW

Deer Park | Wheaton

Kristine has had the honor and opportunity to help many individuals and families over the past 25 years as a social worker. She truly enjoys working with seniors, family caregivers, adults, families, and parents. Her approach is genuine, full of grace and with a sense of humor.

Liz Lattof, MA, LCPC, CCATP

Deer Park | Lake Zurich

As a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor at Cherry Hill Liz works with a wide variety of clients, children, adolescents, families, and adults. She has additional training in play therapy and groups. She enjoys helping people with anxiety, depression, grief, relationship issues, and other challenges and transitions.

John Kim, MA, LCPC

Deer Park

John received his MA in Mental Health Counseling from Trinity International University where he gained experience doing therapeutic work through the university's counseling center. John is committed to building warm, authentic, and meaningful relationships with his clients as he helps them work toward their unique goals. He works with individuals, couples, and groups.

Risa Becker, MA, LCPC


Risa is a Licensed Professional Counselor who has a passion for seeing people come into the fullness of what their life could be. Sometimes life takes an unexpected turn, and having someone alongside can make a difference. Other times we need to make a change and need support to make that happen. Either way, I am here for you.

Alessa Rosati, MA, LMFT

Deer Park

Alessa Rosati is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She graduated from Adler University with a Master’s Degree in Couple and Family Therapy. Along with her work in private practice, Alessa has experience working in school environments and hospital settings. She specializes in helping adolescents and adults with relationship difficulties, issues of low self-esteem, grief and loss, anxiety, and stress.

Arielle Miree, MA, LPC

Teletherapy Only

Arielle received her M.A. in Mental Health Counseling from Trinity International University. She has a passion for helping people heal and grow in order to live a meaningful life. She values authentic relationships and creating a safe space for clients. She has experience working with those struggling with addictions and co-occurring disorders. Arielle enjoys working with a variety of clients including athletes and artists.

Alison Yu, MA, M.Div., LCPC

Teletherapy Only

Alison Yu, M.Div, MA, LPC, is a bilingual (English and Mandarin Chinese) counselor who is experienced working with individuals, couples and families. She has a special heart for immigrant families. Trained in both psychology and theology, she is passionate about helping people to integrate the Christian faith in their healing process.

Justin Feinberg, MA, M.Div., LCPC


Justin’s Graduate education includes both a Master’s degree in Mental Health counseling as well as a Master’s of Divinity from Trinity International University. He works with individuals, couples, and families and has a heart to see relationships flourish and people become who they were meant to be. He has training in Emotionally Focused Therapy and utilizes this toward helping marriages, families, and individuals thrive.

Jennifer Flanagan, MA, LPC


Jennifer has a masters degree in Mental Health Counseling from Trinity International University. She has a passion for helping people see their strengths and potential. She believes this is accomplished through authentic relationships and support for and collaboration with others.

Rebecca Wiegman, MA, LCPC


Rebecca received her Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling from Trinity International University. She has experience working with children, individuals, families, and within groups. Rebecca is enthusiastic about working with different populations and has prior experience in the fields of education, health & fitness, and substance abuse.

Debbie Levine, MSW, LSW

Vernon Hills

Debbie has worked in both the medical and clinical fields and has amassed much experience helping people navigate their unique life journeys. Her preferred therapeutic approaches include CBT, holistic and mindfulness.

Katy Robb, MSW, LCSW

Vernon Hills

Katy Robb is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and received her master’s degree in social work from the School of Social Work at the University of Michigan. She has over a decade of training and experience treating individuals across the lifespan in community-based services, college counseling, and private practice. Katy has been recognized for her work building a community college mental health center.

Emily Salomon, MS.Ed., LCPC

Deer Park

Emily earned her MS.Ed. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Northern Illinois University. Emily holds deep value for the safe space that exists within the therapeutic relationship. She embraces the importance of being provided with new lenses with which a client may see the world a bit differently.

Elaine Iwicki, MA, ALMFT


Elaine has an M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy from Wheaton College. She enjoys working with adolescents, adults, families, and couples. She believes that relationship health is crucial to healing and she is passionate about being a part of that healing process.

Laura Ronkoske, MSW, LSW

Lake Zurich

Laura has been a school social worker for 23 years. Nothing brings her more joy than helping young children, adolescents, and adults through life’s most challenging times. She has recently moved to private practice to help others outside the school environment to be their best selves and help give them the tools to be able to do so.

Nicole Taylor, MS.Ed., LPC


Nicole is a licensed therapist who is passionate about working with children, adolescents, and young adults. She specializes in anxiety, depression, and self-esteem.

Julie Berry, MA


Julie is passionate about working with women, young adults, and individuals helping them find the power within themselves to navigate any struggle they may be facing. She loves forming a strong trusted relationship with her client. She focuses on helping people name their struggles or pains and identify ways to take action toward healing and wholeness. She believes we can learn from life’s experiences as helpful information to understanding ourselves more.

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Here are some groups we recommend to get started

V.I.B.E. Groups for Children

We're not just a therapy group; we're a revolution, where psychoeducation meets connection. Get ready to catch the VIBE.

Date: Beginning of Summer. Dates/Times TBD. Group sessions will be 1 hour 15 minutes in length.

Location: Cherry Hill - Deer Park (21925 W. Field Parkway, Suite 215 Deer Park, IL 60010) and Cherry Hill - McHenry (5435 Bull Valley Road, Suite 230 McHenry, IL 60050)

Cost: $75 per session for 6 weeks ($100 deposit due at time of registration. Remaining $350 in fees are due by week 1.)

Contact: Deer Park Groups: Haley Kaimakis: haley@cherryhillcounseling.com or Val Dobrow: vdobrow@cherryhillcounseling.com; McHenry Groups: Nicole Taylor: ntaylor@cherryhillcounseling.com,

View more info

V.I.B.E. Groups for Teens

We're not just a therapy group; we're a revolution, where psychoeducation meets connection. Get ready to catch the VIBE.

Date: Beginning of Summer. Dates/Times TBD. Group sessions will be 1 hour 15 minutes in length.

Location: Cherry Hill - Deer Park (21925 W. Field Parkway, Suite 215 Deer Park, IL 60010) and Cherry Hill - McHenry (5435 Bull Valley Road, Suite 230 McHenry, IL 60050)

Cost: $75 per session for 6 weeks ($100 deposit due at time of registration. Remaining $350 in fees are due by week 1.)

Contact: Deer Park Groups: Haley Kaimakis: haley@cherryhillcounseling.com or Val Dobrow: vdobrow@cherryhillcounseling.com; McHenry Groups: Nicole Taylor: ntaylor@cherryhillcounseling.com,

View more info

BeYOUtiful Women’s Group: Empowering women to embrace being their authentic selves without judgment

Women deserve the support, tools, and unity offered through our transformative therapeutic group. We meet group members where they are, not where others want them to be.

Date: 11-12:30 on Tuesdays, starting soon and pending minimum enrollment

Location: Cherry Hill Counseling - Grayslake: 1100 E Washington St, Suite 100, Grayslake, IL 60030

Cost: $50/week for a total of $300 paid upfront; Reach out to discuss payment options

Contact: If interested, please contact April Wazny at april@cherryhillcounseling (847) 438-4222 x 169 OR Diann Pomeroy at diann@cherryhillcounseling.com (847) 438-4222 x 165,

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R.A.I.N. Space

A safe place for women, ages 18+, to become empowered through mindfulness-based meditation while also tending to our mental health and wellness.

Date: Tuesdays, 7-8:30pm in 4 week cycles - can attend continuously

Location: Cherry Hill Counseling - Deer Park, 21925 W Field Parkway, Suite 215, Deer Park, IL 60010 and via Zoom - hybrid group for accessibility

Cost: $60/session. Sliding scale available upon request.

Contact: Emily Salomon: emily@cherryhillcounseling.com or Emily Nikfar: enikfar@cherryhillcounseling.com,

View more info

S.A.G.E. Space

A safe place for identity exploration through group processing, developing self-advocacy skills, and learning how to cope with identity related stressors. For adults approximately 18 years and up.

Date: Mondays, 7-8:30pm, virtually running in 4-week cycles. Can attend continuously.

Location: Cherry Hill Counseling via Zoom

Cost: $60/session, sliding scale available upon consultation

Contact: Emily Salomon or Alessa Rosati, emily@cherryhillcounseling.com or alessa@cherryhillcounseling.com

View more info

Connections Group for Women

Our Wednesday Women’s Connections group is accepting new members. The group is led by therapists Diane Geiser, MSW, LCSW and April Wazny, MA, LPC.

Date: Wednesdays, 3:30-5:00pm

Location: Zoom

Cost: $195/month. Reach out to discuss payment options

Contact: April Wazny, 847-438-4222 x169

View more info