Jeff Bondora, LCSW, M.ED, BCD
Jeff earned his Bachelors degrees in Psychology and Social Sciences and Masters degrees in Clinical Social Work and School Social Work at Loyola University Chicago. He also earned a Masters in Education at Olivet Nazarene University. He has clinical experience working with children, adolescents and adults and treats individuals, groups and families. Jeff uses an empathic, consultative and collaborative approach to therapy. Jeff has experience addressing needs of diverse populations in settings including schools, agencies, psychiatric hospitals, residential centers and crisis centers. Some focus areas include anxiety, parenting issues, school-related issues, ADHD management, conduct issues and life coaching. He also offers supervision and consultation services for Masters level therapists and interns.
Jessica Zaucha, LCSW
Jessica earned her Master's degree in Clinical Social Work from Loyola University Chicago and has over ten years of experience as a therapist, supervisor and consultant. She believes that the purpose of therapy is to help you to unravel the factors that contribute to your distress, identify barriers to change, and to provide you with the practical skills that will enhance your ability to cope with your situation while recognizing and fostering your personal strengths and resources. Jessica has spent the bulk of her career working with adolescents. In particular, Jessica specializes in the treatment of adolescents that have engaged in high-risk behaviors including, but not limited to, suicidal thoughts and behaviors, aggression, self-injury, substance abuse, and poor judgment. Additional areas of expertise for Jessica include mood and anxiety disorders, behavioral management, treatment of trauma and abuse and life coaching.
Kate Oldenburg, M.Ed., LCPC
Kate earned her degree in Counseling from DePaul University and has clinical experience working in hospital, school, and community mental health settings. Kate treats adolescents (12 and over) and adults and works with individuals, groups, and families. Kate takes a warm, supportive and collaborative approach to therapy and incorporates a variety of therapeutic techniques including cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, family systems, crisis intervention and psycho-education. Areas of expertise include mood and anxiety disorders, family and relationship conflicts, school-related issues, stress management, self-esteem, adjustment issues and personal development.
Tristan Stewart, LCPC, CADC
Tristan earned his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a Minor in Health Education from Northwest Missouri State University, and his Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from Roosevelt University. Tristan brings a compassionate, optimistic, patient, and relational approach to therapy. He has experience working in community mental health, wilderness and experiential therapy, schools, and with special needs children in a residential program. Tristan has helped children, adolescents, parents, and families find solutions to their problems and develop skills to live healthier, more functional lives. Tristan works from a strengths-based, solution-focused, and family-oriented framework in collaboration with his clients to help them make changes in the way they think, feel, and behave. Areas of expertise include mood and anxiety disorders, ADHD, family and relationship problems, self-esteem issues, substance abuse, adolescent issues, grief and loss, and athletic performance.
Dr. Niki Wood, Psy.D
Dr. Wood earned a Doctoral degree (Psy.D.) and an M.A. in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Neuropsychology from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology. She also holds a B.A. in Psychology and Mathematics from Valparaiso University. Dr. Wood’s training has focused on children, adolescents, and adults in a variety of settings including specialty rehabilitation hospitals, community mental health centers, and private practice. Her practice includes pediatric neuropsychological assessments, as well as individual, family, and couples psychotherapy. Her areas of interest include brain injury, complex medical conditions, anxiety/depression disorders, ADHD, learning disorders, and social problems. Dr. Wood has experience working with individuals with brain injuries. She is a member of the National Register of Health Service Providers, the American Psychological Association, the Illinois Psychological Association, and the International Neuropsycological Society. Dr. Wood trains students at BZA, and often has an advanced student working with her. She is also an adjunct professor at Loyola University, and has previously taught at the Illinois School of Professional Psychology and Oakton College.
Amanda Winter, LCSW
Amanda earned her Bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and Communications at Purdue University and Master’s degree in School Social Work at University of Illinois at Chicago. Amanda has experience working with children and adolescents in a school setting as well as a background working in hospitals, residential facilities, and crisis centers. Amanda brings a compassionate and collaborative approach to therapy where the goal is to help individuals develop the skills needed to lead happy and productive lives. Amanda works from a strengths-based framework and incorporates techniques such as solution focused, family systems, and cognitive behavioral therapies. Amanda's areas of expertise include mood and anxiety disorders, family and relationship conflict, school-related issues, stress management, self-esteem and adjustment issues.
Rebecca Ciesla, LCSW
Rebecca Ciesla earned her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Saginaw Valley State University and her Master’s degree in Social Work from Eastern Washington University. Rebecca has a background in working in hospitals, crisis centers and outpatient community based behavioral health centers. She is trained in Crisis Intervention Stress Debriefing, Goals of Care Conversations and Crisis Intervention. Rebecca has clinical experience in working with adolescents and adults in various stages of life. Rebecca works from a strengths-based, recovery focused framework where she incorporates techniques such as solution focused brief therapy and cognitive behavioral techniques.
Jennifer Menegon, LCPC
Jennifer earned her Masters degree in Counseling Psychology from The Illinois School of Professional Psychology at Argosy in 2002. Jennifer has spent her career working in community based programs, adolescent residential programs, and hospitals. Jennifer has experience working with children, adolescents, young adults, older adults as well as families. Her areas of expertise include adjustment disorders, life transitions, depression, anxiety, bipolar, grief, parenting issues, and stress management. Jennifer uses a strengths-based approach, adding elements of CBT, and mindfulness to her work.
Jennifer believes in meeting clients where they are in their process and helping them find the tools to achieve their goals. Utilizing warmth, a sense of humor, and providing an emotionally safe environment for her clients, she uses the therapeutic relationship to help clients to feel heard.
Julie Sweeney, LSW
Julie earned her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and her Master’s degree in School Social Work at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She has experience working with adolescents, groups, and families in the high school setting. Julie takes an empathic, collaborative, and client-centered approach to empower her clients in session by incorporating cognitive-behavioral therapy, psychoeducation, and skill building techniques. In her work with clients Julie exhibits a therapeutic personality to convey an environment of care, partnership, and self-improvement. Her areas of interest include mood disorders, anxiety disorders, autism spectrum disorders, stress-management, self-esteem, school-related issues, and behavioral management.
Scott M. Cyphers, LCPC
Scott earned his Master's degree in Counseling from Denver Seminary and has been practicing in the state of Illinois for over fifteen years. His clinical experience has entailed both outpatient community mental health and inpatient psychiatric settings, with an emphasis in adolescent psychiatry since 1998. As well as providing individual, marital and family therapy, Scott has developed a method in working with the unique challenges today’s adolescents face. His therapy approach highlights the reality that, although we have little control over the circumstances life brings our way, the meaning we attach to life events, along with our response to them, is critical to examine.
Scott is authentic and approachable in his counseling style, with a technique aimed at unveiling aspects of personality that can interfere with relationships and intimacy with significant others. He also welcomes individuals looking to explore religious and spiritual dimensions of personhood.
Gerry Wetzel, LCPC
Gerry received her BA in Psychology from Monmouth College. She spent several years in education teaching from preschool to the 8th grade. Gerry was in the business world for a period. Gerry decided it was time for a career change. She received a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology from Benedictine University with a concentration in the elderly and grief. She also is a Certified Mediator, which was done with Northwestern University. Gerry is trained in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Insomnia (CBT-i). This is a short-term group or individual therapy for those with trouble sleeping.
Gerry worked in the community for doing counseling with people over the age of sixty. She then went on to work as a therapist at a behavioral health hospital. She has experience with a variety of populations including, adolescence, eating and self-injury disorders, and geriatrics. Her work with geriatrics are people with advanced dementia and helping their families cope with the changes in their loved ones.
Gerry believes the most crucial factor in therapy is the client/therapist relationship. She is warm, nonjudgmental, and empathetic. Gerry also believes a little bit of humor is important part of therapy.
Thomas Fitzer, LSW
Tom earned his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Sociology and his Master’s degree in School Social Work at Aurora University. Tom has experience working with people of all ages with a focus on adolescents. He works with students, families, and communities in a high school setting, with a major emphasis on crisis intervention. Tom practices a strengths-based approach, which allows the client to find what they need within themselves to be successful and empowered. He is guided by a multi-disciplinary approach using interventions such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, mindfulness, psycho-education and motivational interviewing. He believes in creating positive relationships with his clients so that they may find success. Some areas of interest include anxiety disorders, stress-management, self-esteem, school-related issues, mood disorders and personal development.
Carla Hulslander, MA, LCPC
Carla received her MA in Clinical Psychology from Wheaton College and has over 11 years of experience as a therapist working with children, adolescents, adults, and couples. Her past experience includes working as a crisis worker and child and adolescent therapist at a non-for-profit and in private practice. She has found Sandplay Therapy to be a safe and healing experience for victims of trauma and abuse and values the integration of one’s spirituality into therapy if one desires to explore his or her faith. Carla believes that each individual is unique and possesses the resilience to move forward from past hurts and suffering. By focusing on one’s strengths and gaining insight into unhelpful patterns, she believes individuals can live more fully in the present. Carla is committed to a client-centered approach, building a trusting relationship and a safe space where you feel heard and understood. She is able to treat depression, anxiety, anger problems, trauma, behavioral problems, family conflict, relationship concerns, communication difficulties, grief and loss, and self-esteem issues. Through an integrative approach she can help you gain awareness and develop healthy coping skills, which can provide relief from distorted thinking patterns and emotional distress.
Mary Lyttles, Psy.D.
Dr. Lyttles earned a Doctoral degree (Psy.D.) and an M.A. in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Forensic Psychology from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology. She also holds a B.S. in Psychology and Sociology from Northern Illinois University. Dr. Lyttles training has focused on children, adolescents, and adults in a variety of settings including domestic violence shelters, substance use treatment center, court services, community mental health centers, mental health hospital, and private practice. Her practice includes neuropsychological assessments, pre-employment psychological evaluations, as well as individual, family, and couples psychotherapy. Her areas of interest include trauma, neuropsychology, severe mental health illnesses, substance use, anxiety/depression disorder, ADHD, learning disorders, and social problems. Dr. Lyttles has experience working with individuals who have been court mandated for psychological testing and therapy. Additionally, she has experience in providing individual therapy and psychological testing with first responders. She is a member of the Society for Police and Criminal Psychology, the American Counseling Association, and the American Psychological Association. She is also an adjunct professor at Aurora University.
Debbie Smith, M.Ed., LCPC
Stephanie earned her bachelors degree in Psychology from Elmhurst College, and went on to earn her masters degree in social work from Aurora University with an emphasis in school social work. Stephanie treats clients as young as four through 22 as she has gained experience working working with both younger and older children and their varying needs. Stephanie has also had extensive experience working with children needing support with behavioral and cognitive needs. In addition, Stephanie takes a strengths based and supportive approach to therapy, and incorporates treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy, solution focused, mindfulness, and family oriented frameworks. Stephanie's areas of expertise include Attention Deficit Hyperactivity disorder, learning impaired, behavioral support, anxiety disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and grief and loss. Stephanie has an enthusiastic and warm approach to working with children and their families, and wants the best for her clients at all times.
Jess Enright, LCSW
Jess earned her Master of Social Work degree at the Jane Adams College of Social Work at UIC. She has a wide range of experience including inpatient hospitalization, psychiatric emergency services, and adult residential services. Her clinical experience includes working with LGBTQ+ clients, individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, children (7 and older), adolescents and adults with high risk behaviors. She is trained in Crisis Incident Stress Debriefing, Crisis Intervention, and holds a 40 Hour Domestic Violence Training Certificate. She understands that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to therapy, and uses guided approaches such as dialectical-behavioral and cognitive behavioral therapy to assist her clients in reaching their individual goals. She believes that behavioral and active physical health together can maintain balance and continued well being.
Brian Mason, LCSW
Brian Mason has a BA in Psychology from Albion College, a BS in Pre-Med from Tri- State University and an MSW from the University of Michigan. He has worked with children, adolescents and adults in residential settings, therapeutic schools, psychiatric hospitals, community mental health and private practice. Brian has expertise in CBT, DBT, Motivational Interviewing, Anger Management, Risk Reduction, and group therapy. Brian is passionate about helping people work through adverse childhood events, trauma, shame and identity; supporting the retelling of life stories so they empower clients and reflect their resilience, survival and courage.
Colleen Benson, Marketing Specialist
Colleen earned her BA in Political Science from the University of Iowa and has a background in marketing and operations. She is also a Licensed Massage Therapist and comes to our practice with a mind toward whole body and mind wellness. Colleen will be helping us build our practice through thoughtful and targeted marketing and welcomes client feedback as to how to make your experience as therapeutic and comfortable as possible.
Brenda Morales, Client Care Specialist
Given her experience in customer service for over 4 years, Brenda has gained fundamental core values not only as a person, but a leader as well. She has developed a significant amount of interpersonal skills from working with many different cultures, and many different age groups. Having all these traits, she is eager to learn and experience new areas here at BZA.
Fern Nava, Client Care Specialist
Fern has over 10 years of customer service experience as a long-term caregiver to elderly clients. She takes pride in giving to her community and helping those in need. Fern is eager to make a difference by finding kindness in others and treating everyone with the respect they deserve. She brings compassion, patience, and empathy to her role and looks forward to helping everyone who comes to BZA.