Our Therapists

Katie Augustyn

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Katie Augustyn is a licensed clinical social worker with over twenty years of clinical experience working with children, adolescents, families and adults. Katie is the Clinical Director of Augustyn Family Services, a North Side agency that serves children, adults and couples.

Katie previously worked at the University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital, where she provided therapeutic services to children and families dealing with chronic illness and disability. Katie received her Master’s Degree in Social Work from Loyola University Chicago. Katie has experience working with a broad range of mental health issues, including anxiety, trauma, grief, domestic violence and family conflict.

Katie is also a founding member of a non-profit organization that provides services to disabled children, KT’s Kids.

Diane Pelegris

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Diane received her Masters in Social Work from Loyola University Chicago’s School of Social Work. She is a clinical social worker with experience in providing grief counseling for children 3-12 years old, using therapeutic recreation with children and adolescents with special needs aging from 8 to 21 years old, providing therapy for women and children survivors of domestic violence as well as for adolescents residing in a group home setting and in therapeutic schools with students with special needs ranging in ages 14-21 years old.

Diane has provided services to individuals ranging from early childhood to adulthood through individual, group, and family sessions.

Michael F. Mallory

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Michael Mallory is a licensed clinical social worker with experience working with adolescents, couples, families, and adults. Michael received his Master’s Degree in Social Work from New York University. Michael works with a variety of mental health issues and provides therapy to those struggling with life’s tribulations. His experience also includes providing couple’s therapy to LGBT identified clients as well as providing guidance in navigating family development.

Michael’s experience also includes the facilitation of a parenting class for individuals and families who are interested in becoming more effective parents. Michael also provides co-parenting sessions to guide parents in finding comfort in each other’s differing parenting philosophies.

Noam Ostrander

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Dr. Noam Ostrander is a licensed clinical social worker and the department chair for social work at DePaul University. Noam’s clinical experience includes working with individuals and couples on an array of issues including anxiety, depression, trauma, and life transitions. In addition, he has worked for more than a decade with members of LGBT communities within Chicago.

Noam received his Master’s degree from the University of Chicago and his PhD from the University of Chicago at Illinois. Since that time he has actively engaged in research on trauma and community violence, as well as trained hundreds of social workers and clinicians in a variety of settings.

Melanie F. Lerchen

Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor

Melanie is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor with over 15 years of experience providing therapeutic services to children, adolescents, adults, and families. She has experience treating a wide range of mental health issues including anxiety, depression, trauma, and difficult life transitions. Melanie received her Master’s degree in Clinical Counseling from Northeastern Illinois University in 2000.

Melanie takes a holistic and collaborative approach in her practice, focusing on making connections between the mind, body and soul, resulting in inner harmony and balance for her clients. She is committed to the belief that every person has the potential to work through trauma and problems to live a more meaningful, fulfilling and happy life.

Laura Perelman

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Laura is a licensed clinical social worker with experience providing therapy to children and adults. Laura received her Masters in Social Work from New York University and a Masters in Learning Sciences from Northwestern University. She works with a diverse range of mental health issues including anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, as well as with those who are coping with grief, loss, trauma, and difficult transitions. Laura’s experience includes providing individual therapy, facilitating support groups and parenting workshops, as well as counseling children and their parents in a school setting.

Nicole Elman

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Nicole is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who works with children, adults, and couples working through anxiety, depression, identity confusion, relationship issues, loss, and difficult life transitions. Nicole graduated with her Masters of Social Work from University of Illinois at Chicago’s Jane Addams College of Social Work. Nicole has worked in Chicago’s Group Homes, gaining experience working with children and teenagers with a wide range of emotional and behavior disorders. She has also worked in therapeutic recreation centers and with Chicago’s Homeless population, providing her understanding and sensitivity in working with all populations.

Nicole uses a gentle and collaborative approach, placing emphasis on the importance and balance of physical health, social health, and mental health. She focuses on each client’s individuality; utilizing CBT, DBT, Play Therapy, and Mindfulness approaches to cater to each client, couple, or family’s specific needs. Nicole is also certified in Yoga Therapy for ages 3-18 through Kidding Around Yoga.

Sophia L. Biesanz

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Sophia Biesanz is a licensed clinical social worker with experience providing therapy to children, adolescents, and adults. Sophia received her Master’s degree from Loyola University Chicago and began her clinical career working with individuals struggling with traumatic stress and treating symptoms associated with anxiety, depression, mood dysregulation, and problematic behaviors. She has deep interest in family/marital relationship problems, challenging life transitions, and women’s issues.

Sophia emphasizes each client’s inherent strengths and unique attributes, allowing her to take a highly collaborative and individualized therapeutic approach. Utilizing CBT, DBT, and mindfulness techniques, her goal as a therapist is to lead people to satisfying changes, restoring balance, and living a more meaningful life.

Jim Hayes

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Jim Hayes is a licensed clinical social worker who works with children, adolescents, adults, and couples. He received his Master’s Degree from Columbia University and has experience treating the symptoms of numerous mental health conditions, as well as difficulties with adjustment, challenging emotions, and problematic behaviors.

Jim approaches treatment by focusing on a client’s inner strength as a pathway to problem solving. Prior to joining Augustyn Family Services, Jim received training at the Psychotherapy Center for Gender and Sexuality and worked closely with members of the LGBTQ community at Callen-Lorde in New York City. Although Jim has concentrated experience working with issues related to identity and orientation, he welcomes clients from any background, experience, and narrative.

Lisa Dadabo

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Lisa Dadabo is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Oberlin College, and her Master’s Degree from the Jane Addams School of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Lisa has over 6 years of experience providing counseling to children, adolescents and adults in inpatient and outpatient settings. Lisa is experienced in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, and Harm Reduction approaches to substance use. She is a provider of trauma informed therapy for adolescents and adults, has facilitated activity based and therapeutic groups, and works with people experiencing depression, anxiety, and substance use issues. Lisa has volunteered at the Chicago Abused Women’s Coalition, as an athletic coach for youth and adults, and is a long-time advocate for improving trauma informed and strengths-based services in the state of Illinois.

David Gasper

Licensed Professional Counselor

David is a Licensed Professional Counselor who received his Bachelor’s Degree in Social Science from Shimer College, and his Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Adler University. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision at Adler University, and his dissertation work focuses on transgender clients’ experiences of therapy. David is experienced in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Existential Therapy. David believes that the power to change lies in every individual and that the therapeutic relationship is there to unlock our potential to lead a more fulfilling life. David has experience working with transgender and gender nonconforming clients experiencing anxiety, depression, and identity crisis. Additionally, he has worked with couples experiencing infidelity and navigating the process of becoming non-monogamous. David has volunteered with Darkest Before The Dawn and runs a support group for entertainment and nightlife industry employees. He has also done work with The Night Ministry to support their shelter programs for youth. David believes that therapy provides a space of growth, healing, and self exploration.

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