LifePath Therapy Associates

Couples Counseling

Therapy Services for Couples

We provide collaborative guidance to couples, anchored in evidence-based approaches, including Gottman’s Method and Emotionally Focused Therapy. Nurture your relationship through Couple’s therapy today!

Specialties Include

LifePath Couples' Therapists

Jack Lionberger
AM, LCSW
Sacha Olan
MA, LMFT
Deanna Pacelli
AM, LCSW
Samantha Perry
AM, LCSW
Xaviera Gomez Pimienta
MA, Master's in Clinical Psychology
Anuradha (Anu) Spain
MSW, LCSW
 
Kim Vander Griend
AM, LCSW
 
Payton Willis
MA, LPC
 
Alicia Wilson-Thomas
MA, LCPC
Kiernan Wright
AM, LCSW

About Jack

Jack Lionberger is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who earned his master’s degree from the University of Chicago’s Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice where he was a member of a program of study that focused on the newest forms of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

Jack enjoys working with both individuals and couples, and draws most from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT). Jack takes an approach that looks beyond diagnoses, and explores the larger patterns and processes of behavior and thinking that get in the way of people’s lives and relationships. He believes that challenges like conflict, uncertainty, worry, sadness, anger, grief, loss and more, are the natural outcomes of being alive, and often contain important information for what matters most to us.

Jack has extensive clinical experience in community mental health, inpatient psychiatry, and working with frontline and healthcare workers. He has a proven record of helping people who experience acute anxiety, OCD, suicidality, PTSD, moral injury, addiction, interpersonal difficulties, chronic pain, death and grief, and more. Beyond any one theory, Jack believes that therapy should focus on a client’s values and strengths to help them get closer to a life that is authentic and purpose driven; he makes it his mission to show up to every therapy session with empathy, authenticity, care, and humor.

In his personal life Jack enjoys simple pleasures like cooking, baking, good coffee, playing bass, time with his dog, eating pizza, and beach days.

insurance accepted

Aetna PPO
Aetna Medicare Advantage
BCBS PPO
BCBS Choice PPO
BCBS HMO (Only Site 475 and 489)
Humana
Medicare
United Healthcare/Optum

About Sacha

Sacha is a Licensed Marriage and Family therapist who believes healthy relationships are the stepping stones to healing, processing, and understanding not only each other but also ourselves. While utilizing Gottman, emotion-focused, strategic, and experiential approaches, she seeks to create a space for clients to feel safe in their therapeutic process. She also provides a space for couples to reconnect, rebuild, and redefine their relationship at each stage of their lives.

Sacha acknowledges each client’s experiences as their own while providing a systemic perspective to assist them in their process to self-discovery. She has experience with guiding both individuals and couples through life transitions, anxiety, depression, relational challenges, and emotional healing. Sacha often works closely with clients to build skills around communication, healthy boundaries, and interpersonal relationships. She understands for people to process life’s challenges they need to experience a supportive, earnest, and genuine environment. Sacha provides that with empathy, cultural sensitivity, humor and a deep care for human nature.

insurance accepted

Aetna PPO
Aetna Medicare Advantage
BCBS PPO
BCBS Choice PPO
BCBS HMO (Only Site 475 and 489)
Humana
Medicare
United Healthcare/Optum

* provides therapy in Spanish and English

About Deanna

Deanna earned her Master of Arts in Social Work at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration and a Bachelor’s in Theatre from New York University. Prior to coming to LifePath, Deanna worked in community-based mental health treating violence intervention and prevention, child welfare, crisis intervention, LGBTQ+ identities and their intersections, foster care and adoption, grief and loss, complex trauma, and intensive outpatient treatment.

Deanna believes a person’s identity, values and beliefs guide their path of healing. Therapy can be a way of liberating ourselves from limiting ideas, societal messages, oppression and isolation. Deanna sees the client as the expert in their experience and collaborates with them to develop a space to learn and grow. Her therapeutic approach is both systemic and person-centered with a focus on inherent strengths and resilience. Deanna pulls from relational, attachment, family systems, racial trauma and polyvagal theories while using such modalities as ACT, DBT, CBT, TCI-F and Motivational Interviewing. She also draws, when appropriate, from her own life experiences.

Deanna’s peace comes from walking her dog, cooking, singing, connecting with my community and attending weekly meetings to continue recovery from addiction and oppression.

insurances accepted

Aetna PPO
Aetna Medicare Advantage
BCBS PPO
BCBS Choice PPO
BCBS HMO (Only Site 475 and 489)
Humana
Medicare
United Healthcare/Optum

About Samantha

Samantha (she/her) is a Licensed Social Worker, who became a therapist because she believes that change is always possible, and that humans have an inherent ability to heal and transform when they feel safe, heard, and connected. She understands that sometimes patterns of thinking or difficult emotions feel like they pull us away from living life fully. In session, Samantha works with individuals to identify their strengths, increase self-compassion, create safety in their bodies, and expand their capacity to respond in the face of life’s difficult moments. She’s also a big believer in the power of humor, and encourages her clients to bring their full selves into their work together.

Samantha specializes in working with young adults and adults as they move through life transitions. She has worked with individuals experiencing complex trauma responses, processing grief and loss, working through identity related concerns or religious deconstruction, and those struggling with shame, self-esteem/body image, suicidal ideation, depression, and anxiety. In her couples and relationship work, Samantha helps partners strengthen connection, navigate deep-seated conflict, and improve day to day communication. She has experience working with couples preparing for marriage/life transitions, and partnerships navigating the impact of trauma on their relationship.

Samantha shows up to sessions with compassion, curiosity, honesty, and hope, creating a space to slow down and tune into emotions, beliefs, and responses. While she often works in the present moment through using mindfulness and coping skills to manage immediate needs, she understands the impact our histories have on our sense of self and current challenges. She therefore takes a holistic perspective to treatment, and provides space to challenge societal messages and experiences related to sexism, racism, oppression, and marginalization, and their impact on your mental health.

She earned her Master of Arts in Social Work at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration, and her Bachelor’s degree in Human Service Studies from Elon University in North Carolina. Prior to coming to LifePath, Samantha worked with college and graduate students at Columbia College of Chicago Counseling Services, with children and adolescents experiencing community violence and trauma, and in the field of community development, where she partnered with a health center in Uganda to conduct human-rights focused HIV/AIDS research.

practice approaches

  • NeuroAffective Relational Model
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy
  • Emotion Focused Therapy
  • Trauma Informed (Neurosequential Model of Treatment)
  • Somatics and Mindfulness
  • Integration of faith and spirituality when requested

memberships

  • National Association of Social Workers
  • Association for Contextual Behavioral Sciences
Away from work, you can find her by the lake with a good book, in a pottery or dance class, or taking a meandering stroll through Chicago’s neighborhoods (in the pursuit of great coffee).

insurances accepted

Aetna PPO
Aetna Medicare Advantage
BCBS PPO
BCBS Choice PPO
BCBS HMO (Only Site 475 and 489)
Humana
Medicare
United Healthcare/Optum

About Xaviera

Xaviera, MA (She/Her) earned her Master of Arts in Clinical and Health Psychology in Instituto Superior Estudios Psicológicos.

Xaviera brings warmth and empathy to her work allowing the therapeutic space to feel safe and comfortable. She is oriented in a multicultural perspective of care and engages therapeutic work with cultural humility and curiosity. She utilizes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and blends evidence-based practices such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. With a trauma-informed lens, Xaviera acknowledges the profound impact of the past on the present and ensures a holistic and tailored approach to each individual’s needs. Her commitment to providing compassionate and expert care sets her apart as a valued resource for individuals navigating the complexities of this life-changing journey.

Xaviera works with adults and young adults navigating the varied stages of life. She has worked with clients experiencing trauma, grief and loss, chronic illness and chronic pain as well as depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation. Xaviera also specializes in providing support for a wide range of perinatal challenges, including pregnancy-related anxiety and depression, postpartum depression, infertility and pregnancy loss, parenting stress, relationship changes, self-discovery, and self-fulfillment for individuals and couples during this life-altering period.

With couples, Xaviera utilizes a compassionate and understanding approach where she empowers partners to strengthen their connection, deepen intimacy, and improve their day-to-day communication

Xaviera provides therapy in both English and Spanish.

Outside of work, she enjoys reading, cooking, writing poetry and practicing archery.

practice approach

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy 
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy 
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy 
  • Client-Centered 

specialities

  • Perinatal Period 
  • Infertility 
  • Stillbirth and Miscarriages 
  • Trauma 
  • Depression 
  • Anxiety
  • Grief and Loss 
  • Chronic Illness
  • Suicide Ideation 
  • Self Injurious Behavior 

insurance accepted

Aetna PPO
BCBS PPO
BCBS Choice PPO
BCBS HMO (Site 475 and 489)
Humana

* provides therapy in Spanish and English

About Anu

Anu is a licensed clinical social worker with 15 years of psychotherapy experience. She received dual master’s degrees in Social Work and Women’s Studies from Loyola University, Chicago. She previously worked as a hospice and palliative care social worker for 7 years at Midwest Palliative and Hospice CareCenter (now Journeycare) where she provided care for individuals and families coping with with terminal and life limiting illnesses. Anu was a therapist at Thrive Counseling Center in Oak Park for 8 years, working with older adults providing at home psychotherapy, and also doing individual and family therapy with adults across the lifespan. There, she started and facilitated a support group for individuals struggling with death, loss and grief. She was one of the co-founders of the agency’s BIPOC group. She currently teaches core courses at Dominican University’s Graduate School of Social work. Anu’s previous experiences include running a shelter program and counseling women escaping partner violence.

As a clinician drawing from Family Systems theories, Anu has been utilizing concepts of a person in environment perspective to recognize and incorporate knowledge of systemic “isms.” She sees the therapeutic relationship as a collaboration between the individual and the therapist while exploring and creating supportive systems in the community which continue to aid the client and family in their recovery. She works with clients struggling with chronic mental illnesses and focuses on depression, anxiety, trauma and PTSD, marital and partner dynamics and challenges of individuals on the neurodivergent spectrum. She uses narrative and feminist therapeutic models to recognize intersectional challenges experienced by women, people of color and LGBTQI populations. Her therapeutic style is empathetic yet directive. Anu often utilizes her background in yoga teaching to help clients learn ways in which trauma manifests in the human body and incorporates mindfulness and meditative practices in her work.

practice approach

Her therapeutic style is empathetic yet directive. Anu often utilizes her background in yoga teaching to help clients learn ways in which trauma manifests in the human body and incorporates mindfulness and meditative practices in her work.

insurance accepted

Aetna PPO
Aetna Medicare Advantage
BCBS PPO
BCBS Choice PPO
BCBS HMO (Only Site 475 and 489)
Humana
Medicare
United Healthcare/Optum

About Kim

Kim Vander Griend, AM, LCSW is a strengths-based, client-centered psychotherapist who focuses on partnering with clients while moving at their own pace. Her collaborative style utilizes an integrative, solution-focused approach where concrete skill development is addressed. Kim’s approach to therapy emphasizes the importance of seeking and creating healthy relationships. She believes strongly in utilizing the therapeutic relationship to explore positive change and growth. Kim draws from family systems, cognitive behavioral, motivational interviewing and psychodynamic theories in her practice.

Kim earned her Bachelor’s of Arts in Communications Arts and Sciences from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She earned her Master’s of Arts from The University of Chicago, The School of Social Service Administration. She completed her post-graduate clinical training at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in Baltimore, Maryland. She also was a Field Consultant and graduate student instructor at The University of Chicago, The School of Social Service Administration.

clinical and teaching experience

  • The University of Chicago, The School of Social Service Administration
  • Symmetry Counseling, PLLC
  • The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
  • Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
  • Pillars Community Services
  • Mandel Legal Aid Clinic, The University of Chicago Law School
  • Completed Level 1 and Level 2 Training in Gottman Method Couples Therapy
Kim is ABE Board Certified in Clinical Social Work and is a member of the Illinois Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers

practice approach

  • Creating safety
  • Collaborative partnership
  • Strengths-based approach
  • Empirically validated interventions
  • Client-Driven
  • Insight Oriented
  • Custom-tailored and individualized treatment plans
  • Relational Models
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

insurance accepted

Private Pay Only

About Payton

Payton is a Licensed Professional Counselor who is passionate about providing care for individuals and couples experiencing a wide variety of challenges. Payton creates a safe place for clients to feel valued, heard, and empowered helping to foster personal growth. As a relational-cultural therapist, Payton helps clients gain insight into how relationships impact life experiences. Payton has had substantial experience working with adolescents and young adults navigating anxiety, depression, life transitions, interpersonal relationship issues, and substance abuse. Payton focuses on exploring values to aid clients in uncovering their life compass directing them towards a more fulfilled and purposeful life.

We face many challenges and stages in life’s journey and navigating through its different phases can sometimes be a difficult process. Payton focuses on supporting clients through this difficult process and collaborating with a strong therapeutic relationship. The beauty of therapy is that it will look different for each person and will be tailored to specific needs. Payton also specializes in facilitating sustainable empowerment and personal growth for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) community.

Payton is building interest in working with couples who are experiencing disruption in their relationship. Payton utilizes Emotion Focused Therapy and the Gottman Method to provide structure, space, empathy, warmth, and compassion. Payton is focused on helping couples increase awareness, intimacy, acceptance, regulation, respect, effective communication, and connection.

Her therapeutic approaches are centered around Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Mindfulness, Attachment Theory, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Client-Centered, Solution-Focused, and trauma-informed care.

Payton earned her Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology and Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Criminal Justice from the University of Northern Colorado. Payton gained invaluable experience as an intern in the Weld County, Colorado Public Defender’s Office and at Hartgrove Hospital where she provided counseling services to a myriad of individuals experiencing life transitions, anxiety, depression, interpersonal relationship conflict, gender-identity questions, and trauma history.

Outside of work, Payton enjoys reading, pilates, yoga, hiking, traveling, and good food!

insurances accepted

Aetna PPO
BCBS PPO
BCBS Choice PPO
BCBS HMO (Site 475 and 489)
Humana

About Alicia

Alicia A. Wilson-Thomas is an experienced clinician and a (former) global leader, who brings a wealth of expertise in counseling, multicultural team development, and consumer research.

Alicia is an EMDR trained licensed clinical professional counselor (LCPC) with certification in Dialectic Behavioral Therapy (DBT). Alicia specializes in trauma-focused therapies, working with diverse age groups and family systems across the Chicagoland communities. Her clinical areas of focus and interest include adjustment to trauma, anxiety, depression, and grief (loss) and bereavement for adults, couples, and families. Alicia has an expressed passion for providing services to older adult populations (55+). Prior to coming to LifePath, she co-created the Meaningful Living for Older Adults groups (sponsored by the village of Oak Park/River Forest & Concordia University) which were designed to facilitate and support this population as they navigate life transitions including grief, loss, and bereavement.

Alicia brings a unique blend of mental health expertise, leadership, consumer research acumen, and humor to drive positive change with and for her clients. Alicia’s mixed approach of humor, authenticity, and empathy cultivates a “come as you are” environment with her clients which facilitates their ability to feel heard and begin the process of healing and positive growth.

Her career spans leadership roles at UCAN and the Concordia University Counseling Center, where she led trauma-focused CBT sessions and facilitated grief counseling. She received her master’s degree (MA) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Concordia University-River Forest and her bachelor’s degree from Purdue University majoring in biology with a minor in psychology. Outside of sessions, Alicia enjoys sewing, music (she was a former gospel soloist), and active participation in several national service organizations, namely Delta Sigma Theta, Inc, NCNW, and NAACP.

practice approaches

• EMDR
• Trauma Focused Therapies
• Dialectical Behavior Therapy
• Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
• Relational

insurances accepted

Aetna PPO
Aetna Medicare Advantage
BCBS PPO
BCBS Choice PPO
BCBS HMO (Only Site 475 and 489)
Humana
Medicare
United Healthcare/Optum

About Kiernan

Each person is an expert of their own experience. Believing someone and accepting them as a human being worthy of love is the foundation for a successful therapeutic relationship. Kiernan deeply believes that when this supportive environment is provided, a person can begin to more fully listen to and trust in their own experience. This promotes greater self-awareness, and the ability to care for oneself. Kiernan works with trauma survivors and is committed to trauma-informed work.

Therapy is not just about addressing the unpleasant and troubling though; it also involves clarifying values and determining what gives your life meaning. Kiernan aims to help people discover what underlying stories they tell about themselves and explore alternative narratives.

Kiernan completed his Bachelors of Social Work at Goshen College and his masters from The University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration. He previously worked as a substance abuse counselor in Virginia, and documented Human Rights abuses in Southern Mexico for two years.

practice approach

In addition to a Person-Centered approach, Kiernan uses an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy framework for addressing human suffering. Distressing thoughts and feelings are an inevitable part of life; understandably we often try to suppress these painful experiences. He uses mindfulness and other experiential exercises with his clients to change how they interact with their thoughts and feelings. With couples, Kiernan uses a mix of the Gottman Method and EFT.

Other approaches used in therapy include Motivational Interviewing and Functional Analytic Psychotherapy. He works with individuals living with anxiety, depression, trauma, mood disorders, problematic substance use, and more.

insurances accepted

Aetna PPO
Aetna Medicare Advantage
BCBS PPO
BCBS Choice PPO
BCBS HMO (Only Site 475 and 489)
Humana
Medicare
United Healthcare/Optum