Michelle Schaefer, MA, LCPC, PMH-C

Vernon Hills

I prefer to be contacted by: Phone

Personal Statement:

I am passionate about walking with others through the challenges that life can hold. In my own life journey I have discovered the value and importance of secure relationships in the healing process. Fear, shame, or wounds frequently become life-dominating issues that are difficult to process alone. I love to create an environment in the counseling relationship that is marked by high levels of trust, grace, and acceptance that I refer to as “hospitality of the heart.” It is my sacred honor and privilege to share an experience with clients through the counseling relationship where they heal, learn, explore, and grow, experiencing new levels of peace and freedom.

Who I Serve:

I work with adults, couples, teens, families and groups. I have a special heart for working with women through life transitions and other issues unique to women’s reproductive events such as infertility, pregnancy loss, abortion grief/shame, peripartum and perimenopausal mood disorders, and adjustment to parenting and maternal/infant bonding. To support this specialization I have an advanced certification in Perinatal Mental Health (PMH-C). Through my previous work and life experiences I also know that parenting can be tough at times and I love to support individuals and couples on the journey of parenting. Fathers are often overlooked in care settings which I believe is a flaw in the support of families during this transition. I aim to have father-inclusive practice in my treatment philosophy for the perinatal population, because I believe it is the best model for the flourishing of babies, mothers, fathers, and the couple’s relationship.

I’m passionate about working with couples to create healthier and more secure marital relationships, both emotionally and physically. My approach with couples is to work to understand the perspective of each partner, creating a strong therapeutic alliance with both, and then to assist couples with exploring, understanding, and changing relational patterns through increased empathy, vulnerability, and trust.

Treatment Specialties:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Marital Concerns
  • Mood Disorders
  • Family Relationships (parents/teens)
  • Grief and Loss
  • Women’s Issues
  • Life Transitions (adulthood, parenting, work/home transitions, empty nesting)
  • Peripartum/Perimenopausal Mood and Anxiety Disorders
  • Faith-based or Spiritual Concerns
  • Moral Injury
  • Health/Medical Crisis

Theoretical Approach:

My theoretical approach is tailored to the individual needs of my clients but is firmly grounded on the foundation of a secure client-therapist alliance. Once a strong therapeutic relationship is established, interventions are selected based on current empirically supported treatment options and the unique needs of the individual client(s). When working with couples, my primary treatment approach is Emotionally Focused Couple’s Therapy. Faith-based counseling is an additional layer that I provide for clients that desire this as a part of their counseling experience.


  • Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling from Trinity International University in Deerfield, IL
  • Master’s degree in Secondary Mathematics Education from DePaul University in Chicago, IL
  • Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Mathematics Education from Illinois State University in Normal, IL


  • Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor in the State of Illinois
  • Licensed Professional Counselor in the State of Wisconsin
  • Perinatal Mental Health Certified (PMH-C) through Postpartum Support International
  • American Counseling Association
  • International Center for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy
  • Chicago Center for Emotionally Focused Therapy
  • Association for Spiritual, Ethical, and Religious Values in Counseling