And the Day Came…

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“And the day came when the risk to remain tight as a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom” –Anais Nin

Welcome to the Studio for Change and our blog. The Studio for Change is a place for individual change. We know that that people are hurting on the inside, not living to their full potential, treating themselves and others badly, and many are just plain miserable. If this is you, we want to help you change and become the person you were meant to be. We believe that taking action to understand yourself, including your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors is the first step in helping you be happy and healthy. As the process continues, you will be ready to take more steps to improve your-self and your life. Together, we create the life you were meant to live feeling happy, joy-filled and free (on most days).

Each individual was born with the potential to create a life filled with meaning, passion, friends, and purpose. However as life happens, internal roadblocks are formed stopping us from growing into and being the person we want to be. It takes time and energy to understand and abolish these barriers. But all of the time and energy spent doing this personal work leads to having more energy and more life resources. So much energy is being used to maintain internal and external roadblocks, we can help you unleash this energy and use it to reach your daily and life goals.

We know we can do this because we have already helped many individuals move from a place of grief and despair to one where lightness of being and happiness is the daily norm. We do this by understanding what it means to be human, taking into account daily life stressors as well as understanding physical, mental and emotional well-being. We teach life skills to overcome hardships. We sit through painful experiences together, remembering times past and integrating life lessons into one’s daily being. We learn from mistakes and celebrate successes.

Change takes time and the process is filled with ups and downs, straightaways and curves. We urge you to make a decision to find a new way of living that works for you and together we can find and take the steps necessary to achieve your personals goals and receive the treasures life has to offer.

Has your day come?

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773.281.8130

Explore more about Therapy

And the Day Came…

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight as a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom” –Anais Nin

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Kathy Pukszta, MA, LPC

Individual & Couple’s Therapist

kathy@studioforchange.com

773-281-8130 x 814

Kathy believes therapy presents a unique opportunity and experience to feel deeply seen and heard, to process and make sense of innermost emotions and experiences, to recognize and unlock one’s inherent strengths, and to move toward a deeper sense of self awareness and compassion.

She views people as being capable of an enormous range of emotions, thoughts, and experiences, though often they can find themselves feeling stuck. Kathy further recognizes that people are inherently wired for healing given the right conditions. To that end, through her warmth, genuine curiosity, empathy, and grounded presence, she endeavors to create a safe, explorative, validating, and collaborative therapeutic space, one that always honors the unique worldview of the client.

Kathy is passionate about self-discovery and collaborates with clients to build needed skills and inner resources to work through factors that block one’s sense of freedom and motion, to allow oneself to be radically authentic, to pursue what is truly meaningful, and ultimately, to fully engage in life’s journey. She guides clients to examine past and present issues to achieve insights and new patterns that will help clients overcome adversity and promote change toward their unique goals.

Kathy identifies as a strength-based clinician, utilizing a variety of evidence-based practices, including mindfulness, solution-focused therapy, motivational interviewing, feminist therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and trauma/attachment informed therapy.

Kathy holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Northeastern Illinois University and a Master’s degree in Counseling from Concordia University Chicago. She recently received licensure as a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional (CCTP). Her experience in private practice has allowed her to work with a diverse range of populations, supporting adults, adolescents, and families experiencing challenges such as depression, anxiety, trauma, addiction, life transitions, identity development, relationship/communication issues, grief, and more.

In her spare time Kathy enjoys hiking and connecting with nature, playing in a tennis league, reading the latest contemporary fiction, and spending quality time with family, friends, and pets.

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773.281.8130 x812

Melissa Martin, LCPC

Individual & Couple’s Therapist

Melissa@studiofrochange.com

773-281-8130 x 812

The foundations of Melissa’s work are trust, safety, and vulnerability. Once trust is established, she uses diverse modalities to suit each client, such as acceptance and commitment therapy, client-centered, trauma-informed care, dialectical behavioral therapy, narrative therapy, the Gottman Method, cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure work, and symptom management.

Melissa actively collaborates with her clients to assess which approaches are working and which are not working. 

The goal of Melissa’s work with clients is for them to increase authenticity and vulnerability within the therapeutic relationship first, then translate that success to their lives outside of therapy. She empowers clients with coping skills, and provides a safe space for learning effective communication of and connection to emotions. Melissa helps clients to identify how past and current experiences could be contributing to current symptoms and challenges, and helps those who have suffered from trauma to heal. She challenges clients to see their capabilities and utilize their strengths. 

Melissa works with adults, couples, and families who are dealing with challenges including trauma, identity exploration, interpersonal conflict, struggles with body image/relationship with food and body, obsessive and compulsive behaviors, addictions, and mood disorders such as depression and anxiety.

Melissa completed undergrad at Illinois State University and received her masters in counseling from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Her past experience includes providing evidenced based care for adults in residential treatment, partial hospitalization programs, intensive outpatient programs, and outpatient therapy. Her experience includes individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy, couples therapy, and exposure therapy. She specializes in general mental health, eating disorders, and trauma. 

Melissa says she is in love with living in Chicago with her family and two rescue dogs. She craves adventure and is always looking to find it in her daily routine. If ice cream is included, all the better. 

START THE CONVERSATION TODAY

773.281.8130 x812

Bibiana Adames, Ph.D.

Licensed Clinical
Psychologist
Clinical Director
bibiana@studioforchange.com
773-281-8130 x 810

Dr. Adames embraces collaborative partnership in her work. She helps each client to increase awareness of the internal and external elements that influence their own well-being, factors that energize them or drain them. She guides clients as they explore their wishes, clarify their goals, and create and implement plans to attain their objectives.  Throughout the process, she supports and encourages, always maintaining genuine, straightforward, thoughtful, and non-judgmental dialogue.

For Dr. Adames, strong therapeutic relationships open opportunities to explore, in the company of another, new ways of going about life.


Dr. Adames incorporates cognitive behavioral, client-centered, systemic, and multicultural perspectives, as well as aspects of mindfulness-based practices. By carefully customizing her approach to the needs of each client, she helps them to identify situations and thoughts that do not serve them—and establish or increase thoughts and behaviors that can lead to greater fulfillment. Her overriding goals for every client is deeper understanding of themselves, the ability to work through challenges with kindness and acceptance toward themselves and others, and a richer, more joyful quality of life.

Having graduated from the University of Illinois-Chicago’s doctoral program in Clinical Psychology (with a minor in Community Psychology), Dr. Adames has more than 20 years in clinical practice. She has worked as a clinical assistant professor, a post-doctoral clinician, an adjunct professor, an independent life coach, a host/producer at Chicago Public Radio, and was the director of a MA training program in clinical psychology. She has extensive experience operating within multi-disciplinary teams, and in professional, organizational, community, and cultural groups. A native Spanish-speaker, she speaks, writes, and reads the language proficiently.  

Dr. Adames works with adults in individual or couples therapy, in Spanish and English.

Dr. Adames’ will is strong, but is always defeated by chocolate. She loves to dance, especially to music from her native country of Colombia! Just a few notes, and she can hardly sit still. In between dancing sessions, she’ll read nerdy books, listen to nerdy podcasts, and clear her mind by practicing heated yoga, barre and cardio. Above all, she loves to spend time with her son.

START THE CONVERSATION TODAY

773.281.8130 x810

Amanda Murphy, LCSW, CADC

Staff Therapist
amanda@studioforchange.com
773-281-8130 x 824

Amanda’s approach to therapy begins with creating a safe and trusting relationship that empowers you to make positive behavioral changes in pursuit of your goals and values.

Amanda is dedicated to helping you overcome obstacles so that you can engage in your life more fully and live in line with what is truly important to you. Amanda utilizes evidence-based coping tools to help you gain insight into harmful thoughts and patterns to lessen their impact on your daily life. Amanda values compassion, authenticity, and humor in her work and has a warm and empathetic style allowing you to deepen self-awareness and connectedness.

Amanda holds a Bachelor’s degree in Social Welfare and Gender Studies from University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Master’s degree in Social Work from Loyola University Chicago. Amanda specializes in binge eating disorder, compulsive over eating, body trust, HAES, self-esteem, substance abuse, stress management, and trauma informed therapy. Amanda’s experience includes being a sexual assault advocate, a domestic violence advocate, working with veterans, working as a counselor at a women’s halfway house, and working at Eating Recovery Center in the Binge Eating Treatment and Recovery Program.

START THE CONVERSATION TODAY

773.281.8130 x824

Cortney Kingsmill, LPC

Staff Therapist
cortney@studioforchange.com
773-281-8130 x 808

Cortney’s work focuses on helping others to feel empowered and to identify strengths within themselves in order to achieve a happier, healthier state of being. She offers an emphasis on mindful and holistic health and works towards a greater sense of self-awareness and self-love.

Cortney guides clients along their journey by offering a warm and supportive environment to process the challenges or stressors a person may be experiencing. Her person-centered viewpoint allows her to tailor her sessions to each specific client in order to explore what will work best. She offers empathy and direction while helping clients to challenge thoughts and behaviors that may be negatively serving them, while building on positive insight and the tools to cope with life’s ups and downs. Cortney encourages clients to explore the way they relate to themselves and the world around them and to improve relationships, awareness and self-love. 

She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Illinois and a master’s degree in clinical psychology from Eastern Illinois University. Her experience is in a variety of settings, including community mental health centers, residential facilities and private practice and holds a certificate in Trauma-Informed Yoga. 

Cortney is available to work with adults, adolescents and children providing individual and family therapy. 

Outside of the studio, Cortney enjoys spending time with her husky (Enzo), trying new fitness classes, listening to podcasts and exploring the food culture of the city. 

START THE CONVERSATION TODAY

773.281.8130 x808

Margo Abrams, Psy.D.

Clinical Psychologist
margo@studioforchange.com
773-281-8130 x 802

Margo brings a warm and empathic approach to her work with clients, striving to meet the unique needs of each individual in her care. She views every client as a complex individual with both strengths and areas for growth. Starting with creating a strong and trusting relationship, Margo engages each client in the therapeutic change or assessment process. Margo works with children, adolescents, and young adults providing individual, group, and family therapy.

Margo also provides comprehensive pediatric psychological diagnostic and learning evaluations for children and adolescents. As Margo has had many years of experience working in schools, she is available to consult directly with schools and help advocate for families regarding Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) as well as school behavior plans. She feels strongly that collaborating within the school system is an essential component when working with children. Furthermore, she believes regular communication with parents, schools, and other medical professionals is essential in supporting the child to do their best.

Margo holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and communication studies from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and a doctorate in clinical psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She completed her predoctoral internship and postdoctoral fellowship at a private school in Manhattan, New York. Upon receiving licensure, Margo was asked to stay as a licensed supervising psychologist for the school’s APA accredited training program. She has also worked in other settings including community mental health clinics, outpatient clinics, and a therapeutic day school.

Outside of work, Margo enjoys taking advantage of all the city has to offer! She can be seen walking by the lake, shopping at her local farmer’s market, attending street festivals, and spending time with family and friends.

START THE CONVERSATION TODAY

773.281.8130 x802

Julia M. Rahn, Ph. D.

Owner/Clinical Psychologist Julia@studioforchange.com 773-281-8130 x 820

Over more than twenty years, Dr. Julia Rahn has built a varied career in clinical practice, over the span of which a unifying theme has clearly emerged: to achieve the best outcomes, you must work with the whole person. This is the key to Dr. Rahn’s success in helping individuals and families to define personal goals and to make progress towards those goals. Harnessing the depth and diversity of her clinical experience, Dr. Rahn helps her clients to leverage their strengths to alleviate depression, manage anxiety or other difficult emotions, and to improve relationships with others—as well as with themselves.

Dr. Rahn’s own professional journey has taken her throughout the Midwest, with numerous clinical externships culminating in an internship at the University of Wisconsin, and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the Illinois Institute of Technology. Dr. Rahn has developed her practice as program director for a pediatric development center, professor of psychology at two universities in Illinois as well as an entrepreneur. As Director of Studio for Change®, Dr. Rahn has sought to create a space within which her clients have access to a rich variety of therapeutic efforts and resources; adding to the Studio’s primary focus on psychotherapy, Dr. Rahn’s practice makes frequent referrals to professionals in nutrition, fitness and hypnosis, and makes frequent recommendations for external resources such as books, art, and social or networking events.

Dr. Rahn is available for speakerships, and has experience in public speaking, television and radio appearances, as well as in publishing for both professional and lay audiences.

When Dr. Rahn isn’t wondering how the world could be a better place to live in and what her role in this change should be, she enjoys participating in spin classes, taking walks by the lake, and visiting her heartland in Northern Michigan.

Please note: Julia is not taking new clients at this time

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773-281-8130 x 820

And the Day Came…

Embracing change by empowering you

Michelle Garcia

Office Manager
michelle@studioforchange.com
773-281-8130 x 802

START THE CONVERSATION TODAY

773-281-8130 x 802

Danielle Zar, LCP.

Child Therapist and Parent Educator
Danielle@studioforchange.com
773-281-8130 x 818

Danielle helps children and adolescents achieve greater self-awareness and self-regulation, sustain closer relationships, utilize more constructive forms of coping, and achieve greater overall well being, inner happiness, and sense of self. She utilizes both interactive play and talk therapy, and her clinical interests and expertise include generalized anxiety, separation anxiety, oppositional defiant disorder, parent-child conflict, behavior regulation, and working with gender non-conforming and transgender children and their families.

In addition to her work with children and adolescents, Danielle specializes in parent education. She offers parent guidance to adult clients who are looking for coaching or support as caregivers. She helps parents utilize empathetic limits, model ideal interactions for their children, and regulate behavior in ways that foster resiliency, self-regulation and emotional security.

Danielle has extensive experience working within and collaborating with schools, and believes that incorporating children’s entire care team—school counselors, teachers, psychiatrists, etc.—yields the best results for her clients.

Danielle holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Northwestern University, a master’s degree in special and elementary education from DePaul University and a master’s degree in counseling from Loyola University Chicago. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), a Licensed School Counselor, a Learning Behavioral Specialist, and a Licensed Elementary Educator.

Outside of work, Danielle can be found pursuing her passion for growing, cooking and eating spicy foods.

 
 
 

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773-281-8130 x 818

Jodi Daniel, MA, LCSW

Licensed Clinical Social Worker jodi@studioforchange.com 773-281-8130 x 812

Jodi embraces a practical approach to therapy, encompassing a variety of therapeutic modalities, to address numerous emotional issues, including anxiety, depression, adjustment issues, adolescent issues, family dysfunction, LGBTQ issues, OCD, personality disorders, mental health disorders, and trauma. She has worked with individuals, couples, families, groups, and communities.

Jodi knows that we all view life through our own lens, and equally that all our lenses are cracked. Each experience adds a new “crack,” skewing our view (for better or worse) of ourselves, others, and the world around us. Exploring our own, unique context allows space for understanding, acceptance, forgiveness, empathy, healing, growth—and change!

Jodi’s practice begins where the client is at, and remains centered on the client and their strengths. She establishes safety and trust to allow for a collaborative and authentic therapeutic relationship, dynamically re-evaluating as therapy progresses to ensure that the client’s primary concerns and needs are met. Jodi firmly believes that successful therapy not only relieves symptoms but fosters inner capacity and resources to allow clients to live with greater freedom, contentment and possibility.

Jodi helps her patients to understand and accept themselves as the foundation for emotional insight, mood regulation and improved interpersonal patterns and attachment styles. She empowers clients with greater skills for communication and self-expression. Such self-acceptance, emotional insight and skillful communication combine to foster greater empathy for others.

Jodi is available for therapy with individuals (teenagers and adults), couples and families.

Jodi and her husband enjoy sharing their lives with their two mini-dachshunds (their “furry children”). The beach is Jodi’s happy place and she loves traveling as much as possible to broaden her concept of people, herself, and the world we live in.

START THE CONVERSATION TODAY

773-281-8130 x 812

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Judy Ranniger-Meza, LCSW

Licensed Clinical Social Worker
judy@studioforchange.com
773-281-8130 x 806

In a varied career spanning over twenty years, Judy has worked in foster care, residential therapy, adoption preservation, community mental health and in both group and solo private practice. Her roles in these settings have been clinical, supervisory and administrative.

The unifying theme of Judy’s work has been recognizing innate wholeness and potential within each individual—and then helping to unlock it. Judy guides others to discovering this wholeness and accessing it to facilitate their own healing. Those facing grief and loss, trauma, depression, anxiety, relationship difficulties and life transitions all benefit from Judy’s approach. In addition, Judy applies her strength-based, holistic approach to assist struggling families and in her individual work with children. She emphasizes that collaborative effort is key to meeting individual or family goals, such as increased functioning, clarity, sense of purpose, a greater sense of peace and an increased capacity for joy.

Judy holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Loyola University and a Master of Social Work from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has received training in Theraplay® and done advanced work in Internal Family Systems therapy.

Judy is available for work with children, adolescents, adults and families. She is also available to lead mindfulness groups and other psycho-educational groups.

Ordained an interfaith/ interspiritual minister in 2017, Judy pursues her lifelong commitment to living a spiritual life through creating and maintaining community, spiritual study and growth, spiritual activism, and assisting others in their life’s journey through spiritual counseling and performing marriage, funeral, and other sacred ceremonies.

Learn more about Spiritual Therapy

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773-281-8130 x 806

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Emily Brown, Psy.D.

​​Clinical Psychologist
Emily@studioforchange.com
773-281-8130 x 804

With a deep base of experience, Emily brings a focus on mindfulness and self-awareness to her clients, helping each to identify their authentic values and craft lives more fully in line with what is truly important to them.

Emily builds client relationships enriched by honesty, flexibility and good humor. Warm and direct, Emily helps each client to explore the thoughts and behaviors that shackle them, the patterns in which they feel “stuck”. She helps clients to build the insights, perspectives and coping skills needed to dislodge the patterns that serve them poorly, to accept conditions beyond their control, and to engage their lives authentically, intentionally and productively.

Emily holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Washington and a doctorate in psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She enriched her training during a pre-doctoral internship in addiction treatment and a post-doctoral fellowship at Regional Mental Health Centers in East Chicago. More recently, Emily has been a primary therapist and Clinical Manager of a program specializing in Mood, Anxiety and Trauma-Related concerns. She has employed Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) in her work. Emily’s work has exposed her to a wide range of practice setting and levels of care, to include residential, PHP, IOP, outpatient and community mental health.

Emily works with adults and adolescents providing individual, family and group therapy.

Outside of work, Emily waves the banners of Chicago and Seattle in her passion for sports, and nourishes her appetites for exciting food and exploration by scouting and sampling Chicago’s amazing culinary landscape.

START THE CONVERSATION TODAY

773-281-8130 x 804

emily-square

Emily Brown, Psy.D.

​​Clinical Psychologist
Emily@studioforchange.com
773-281-8130 x 804

With a deep base of experience, Emily brings a focus on mindfulness and self-awareness to her clients, helping each to identify their authentic values and craft lives more fully in line with what is truly important to them.

Emily builds client relationships enriched by honesty, flexibility and good humor. Warm and direct, Emily helps each client to explore the thoughts and behaviors that shackle them, the patterns in which they feel “stuck”. She helps clients to build the insights, perspectives and coping skills needed to dislodge the patterns that serve them poorly, to accept conditions beyond their control, and to engage their lives authentically, intentionally and productively.

Emily holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Washington and a doctorate in psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She enriched her training during a pre-doctoral internship in addiction treatment and a post-doctoral fellowship at Regional Mental Health Centers in East Chicago. More recently, Emily has been a primary therapist and Clinical Manager of a program specializing in Mood, Anxiety and Trauma-Related concerns. She has employed Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) in her work. Emily’s work has exposed her to a wide range of practice setting and levels of care, to include residential, PHP, IOP, outpatient and community mental health.

Emily works with adults and adolescents providing individual, family and group therapy.

Outside of work, Emily waves the banners of Chicago and Seattle in her passion for sports, and nourishes her appetites for exciting food and exploration by scouting and sampling Chicago’s amazing culinary landscape.

START THE CONVERSATION TODAY

773-281-8130 x 804

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Lauren Roda, LCPC

Child & Family Therapist
lauren@studioforchange.com
773-281-8130 x 816

Lauren’s approach to therapy is collaborative and family oriented. Emphasizing integration, Lauren builds relationships not only with the child and family, but also with schools, physicians and other members of the child’s community. Lauren helps your child to build skills and behaviors to guide them to their fullest potential.

Because she understands the process can be intimidating. Lauren creates a safe, inviting environment for children and their families to explore and grow. Throughout, strengthens communication and attachment between the parent and child.

Lauren’s practice includes parent-child relationships, early childhood, parent training, behavior management, divorce, and autism spectrum disorders. Lauren has experience providing individual, family, and group therapy in an array of settings, including private practice, behavior hospitals, and schools as a therapist and coordinator.

Lauren holds a Bachelor of Arts from DePaul University, with honors in Psychology, and a Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology (Counseling Practice) from Roosevelt University. Lauren is a published author in the Child and Care Youth Forum, based on research with Parent-Child Interaction Therapy.

Lauren is available to work with toddlers, children, and parents. She will also provide parent training and social skills groups for children and their families.

Outside of the studio, Lauren enjoys spending time with her family and dog, Charlie, and participating in winter and summer activities in Northern Michigan.

START THE CONVERSATION TODAY

773-281-8130 x 816