Meet Our Providers

Psychiatry

Alfreda Grosrenaud, M.D.

Alfreda Grosrenaud, M.D.

I am a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist with over 25 years of experience working with children experiencing emotional, social, behavioral, and learning challenges. I completed my residency program in Psychiatry and my fellowship program in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Chicago. Following the completion of my clinical training, I spent 12 years as the Medical Director of Mt. Sinai Hospital’s Outpatient Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Program, where I continued as a consultant for the clinic for four more years. For more than 12 years, I served as the Medical Director of the Inpatient Unit for adolescent girls at Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center. In addition to my clinical practice, I also enjoy teaching and have had the pleasure of educating a variety of medical students, as well as, psychiatric and pediatric residents in the assessment and treatment of children with emotional and behavioral disorders.

My years of clinical experience in large medical groups left me searching for a new model of more personalized care for children, adolescents, and families struggling with emotional and behavioral problems. In 2007, I embarked on the journey of assembling a team of skilled professionals including psychologists, neuropsychologists, developmental specialists, and psychiatrists to provide comprehensive, scientifically-based assessments and treatments in a supportive and nurturing environment. The result of this journey is Afg Guidance Center. Over the past several years, Afg Guidance Center has rapidly grown into a unique and thriving program that allows our team the opportunity to collaborate and create personalized treatment to each of our patients. I am proud to be a part of this talented group of clinicians and look forward to continuously learn from them, as well as, from my patients.

 

Birju Patel, M.D.

Dr. Birju Patel

I am a Child, Adolescent, and Adult Psychiatrist experienced with the treatment of emotional, interpersonal, and behavioral disturbances. These areas include depression, anxiety, mood instability, and executive functioning dysregulation. I received my medical degree from Rutgers University-New Jersey Medical School. I completed my general psychiatry residency at Mount Sinai Beth Israel in New York City and my child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

I am drawn to the field of medicine and psychiatry by the prospect and desire to work with children, teens, and their families. I specifically welcome the challenge to work with young adults to implement lasting change and ensure they feel heard, understood, and accepted. I strive to draw out insights from clients, work together toward a shared understanding and discovery, and tailor treatment approaches in a strength-based model.

In the field of psychiatry, medications cannot take the place of support. In child and adolescent psychiatry, we tend to “start low and go slow” with medications. By doing so, children are on the least amount of medication necessary. I am fortunate to be surrounded by a group of diversely and highly trained clinicians, who can evaluate and support the educational and therapeutic needs of our clients. Their perspectives and expertise are invaluable in shedding light on the client’s needs, helping me to learn and grow in this field.

Meagan Maas, M.D.

Dr. Megan Mass

I am a board-certified Psychiatrist specializing in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry who strives to take an integrative and holistic approach to treatment by collaborating with patients and families to tailor treatment plans to their specific needs. I am detail-oriented, empathic, and take time to listen and understand patients’ strengths and cultural background as part of my approach to treatment. I see a wide range of conditions, including depression, anxiety disorders, mood disorders, ADHD, trauma, and specific concerns in the LGBTQ community.

I see a variety of age groups and individuals with diverse backgrounds. I have a strong interest in understanding how people think and behave, which sparked my undergraduate studies in Brain, Behavior, and Cognitive Science at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I obtained my Master of Public Health at Boston University, and continue to invest time in not only understanding the person as a whole, but also understanding the impact of social, economic, and environmental factors in shaping the health of populations. I feel comfortable collaborating with community agencies, schools, and other members involved in your care to best support our work together.

I completed my Psychiatry residency training through Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and went on to complete subspecialty training in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois. I am passionate about what I do, and am excited to work with you to achieve your goals.”

Rebecca Shukhman, D.O.

Dr. Rebecca Shulkman

As an Adult Psychiatrist, I am experienced with the treatment of mood and anxiety disorders (including depression, bipolar, OCD, PTSD) and ADHD. I received my undergraduate degree in Psychology from Loyola University Chicago with minors in biology and neuroscience. I went on to get my medical degree from Midwestern University Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine and completed my general psychiatry residency at Western Michigan University Homer Stryker MD School of Medicine.

I enjoy working with patients, often in conjunction with their families, in order to help them live up to their full potential. I strive to make sure patients feel heard and believe in working collaboratively toward an appropriate treatment plan that meets their goal using as few medications as possible. I also believe that not everything can be treated with medications alone and that no person exists as an island. Therefore, I am thrilled to be able to work in conjunction with highly and diversely trained clinicians who can provide additional support and therapies to ensure the best possible outcomes.

 


Psychologists

Kimberly A. Mula, Psy.D.

Kimberly A. Mula, Psy.D.

As a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, I have been working with many children, adolescents, and their families over the course of the past 20 years. I have gained an understanding of the numerous challenges my clients face in life, but I have also grown personally and professionally as a result of these interactions. I recognize how complicated life can be and how overwhelming it can become when a child or adolescent is struggling. I understand the importance of early identification, assessment, and intervention. I believe that change occurs with the assistance and support of family, friends, and others. I utilize a collaborative approach striving to create a safe and supportive environment for my clients and their families where concerns can be explored, individual, strengths can be recognized and personal growth can occur. I incorporate different modalities of treatment including the use of cognitive and behavioral interventions, art, and play therapeutic interventions to achieve clients’ individual treatment goals. I advocate for my clients’ needs by working together with school systems aiding in the development of educational plans designed to meet a clients’ cognitive, social, emotional, and behavioral needs.

I received a Master’s degree in psychology from Concordia University in 1995. I was awarded a Doctoral degree from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology, Argosy University in 2001. I completed my clinical training at a domestic violence shelter, at a therapeutic and residential program, an outpatient community health program, and completed by internship Advocate Family Care Network an affiliate of Christ Hospital. I worked as a psychotherapist within the foster care program and as a psychologist at Mount Sinai Hospital Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Program. Currently, I am working with an amazing multidisciplinary team at Afg Guidance Center where I continue to be focused on the assessment and treatment of children and adolescents. I have extensive experience working with complex problems specializing in the treatment of depression, bi-polar disorder, anxiety, parent/child relationships, school refusal, attachment issues, and trauma.

With respect to neuropsychological assessments, testing protocols are individualized for each client focusing on choosing relevant measures to answer the referral questions. As the psychological assessment program at Afg Guidance Center grows, we are specializing in the evaluation of executive functioning delays including ADHD, memory problems, and visual or auditory progressing problems. Additionally, we identify giftedness, academic challenges, and social/emotional struggles.

Finally, I am the director of training for doctoral-level psychology externs and postdoctoral fellows.


Morgan Lasley, Psy.D.

Morgan Lasley, Psy.D., Post-Doctoral Fellow

As a Clinical Psychologist, I have spent the majority of my training working with children/adolescent and young adult populations. I received both my masters and doctoral degrees from Adler University (formerly the Adler School of Professional Psychology) and trained in forensic, neuropsychological, private practice, and therapeutic day school environments. The experiences I have gained across these training experiences has prepared me for culturally-informed and evidence-based treatments.

Although I enjoy all aspects of working within the private practice, my passion lies with both group therapy and psychological assessment. The normalizing and supporting atmosphere that group therapy offers can be unlike any therapeutic intervention that a child experiences. At AFG, I have enjoyed the process of developing and implementing group therapy in the areas of Executive Functioning and Social Skills. In times when more information is needed, I turn to psychological assessment to gain a better understanding of the client’s overall functioning – particularly in situations in which he or she is unable to identify what they are experiencing. Additionally, I have had the opportunity to serve as a liaison between AFG and local school districts to identify and advocate for the educational needs of the child based on psychological testing and in-class observations. In doing so, our practice is able to commit to following the case through to completion, whether that means aiding in recommendations for an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), 504, or referrals to additional services.

My treatment approach is based in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), though I often implement different approaches (i.e. Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, or DBT) which allows for further exploration of the tie between thoughts and feelings. Additionally, I work from a strength-based perspective to help the client identify ways in which he or she is succeeding rather than focusing solely on the “problems.” I believe that therapy does not end with the child, and therefore make it a point to include family members in the process, while in turn striving to increase the communication among family members outside of the practice. In doing so, we are able to best support the client in as many ways and environments as possible.

 


Therapy

Danette Palomar, M.A., LCPC, CDS

Danette Palomar, MA, LCPC, CDS

As a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and Child Development Specialist, I have been providing individual, family and group psychotherapy for more than 20 years.  I have enjoyed working with children, adolescents and their families helping them develop more productive coping strategies, better communication skills, and building a stronger sense of resilience. I believe that early intervention for mental health is key to preventing potential mental illness or reducing its impact, thus contributing to better mental and physical health, learning and socio-economic outcomes throughout life. I approach each family as a unique entity and utilize a variety of treatment modalities to meet their needs. I have extensive experience with issues related to developmental disorders, ADHD, depression, mood/anxiety disorders, bereavement, and trauma. My proficiency in school advocacy allows me to support parents and their children when collaborating with school personnel in the development of individualized education plans and classroom interventions. Throughout the years, I have provided both trainings and consultation to a variety professionals focusing on issues such as early childhood development, childhood anxiety, effective school advocacy, trauma and forensic interviewing.

I hold a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from the University of Illinois. Immediately following graduation, I completed a 4 month internship at Children’s Memorial Hospital as a Child Life Specialist on the Oncology Unit. Following my internship, I developed and implemented apart-time Child Life Program at Lutheran General Hospital where the focus was on supporting families of children with acute and chronic medical illness. Soon after, I joined Mt. Sinai Hospital’s Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Program as a forensic interviewer/trauma specialist and psychotherapist. In 1999, I received a Master of Arts in Counseling and Child Development with a specialization in Early Intervention from DePaul University. For the past several years I have had the opportunity to work with a wonderful team at Afg Guidance Center where I continue my work as a psychotherapist and Child Development Specialist. Additionally, as the Master’s level training director for Afg, I find great reward and pleasure in sharing my years of knowledge and experience with our interns. I perceive learning as an ongoing process and the opportunity to work with these bright young minds, provides for me, as a clinician, the ability to continue to learn and grow.

Finally, I believe that creative expression is inherent to a child’s growth, development and healing processes, and incorporate my years of formal dance/movement training and experience in the expressive arts to promote healing and well-being.

Ben Spanner, M.A., LCPC, NCC

Ben Spanner

As a Licensed Professional Counselor, I have received extensive training in working with children, adolescents, and their families. Prior to pursuing my Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Adler University, I was employed as a Dean of Students at a Chicago college, where I worked with adolescents and young adults in an academic support capacity. This experience spurred my love for counseling and mentoring and prompted my decision to pursue a Masters Degree in counseling to enhance my own personal growth. I completed my clinical training in an inpatient psychiatric hospital setting, and most recently worked at a community mental health agency in the Pilsen community where I performed individual and family therapy with a diverse range of children, adolescents, and adults. I have a broad range of experience working with behavioral health issues such as depression, anxiety, ADHD, parent/child relationship problems, and family discord, and I also have a particular interest in helping adolescents and young adults navigate the stress of transitional environments (school, college, relationships, and emerging adulthood).

Throughout my work in higher education, clinical training, and psychotherapy, I have gained much appreciation for the value of supportive empathy in helping those who are experiencing difficulties. I strongly believe that each individual desires to be the best they can be, and I see my professional role as being to help that person or family obtain their goals with clear, empathic, and open understanding. I trust in a strength-based approach to psychotherapy, which incorporates elements of Solution-Focused Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Family Systems theories, delivered through a client-centered framework that emphasizes empathy and unconditional positive regard. I believe that children and adolescents are adaptable and full of potential, yet are at times lacking in their abilities to realize and achieve their fullest level of functioning. Additionally, I believe that the family system, with all its idiosyncrasies, imprints lasting values and beliefs among its members. I strive to provide a climate that is trusting, free of judgment, and oriented toward the achievement of goals, and also see my role as a therapist to reinforce the strengths of the family system, and to families navigate the ever-changing landscape of their emotional, behavior, and emotional needs.

I am happy to have joined the team at AFG Guidance Center, as the center has a strong multi-disciplinary dynamic, with specialties designed to help both the individual and the family unit. The work being done at AFG is as inspiring to me as it is intellectually curious, and I am honored to have become a part of this team.

Somer Totheroh, M.A., LPC​

Somer Totheroh, M.A., LPC

As a Licensed Professional Counselor, I have worked closely with children, adolescents, families, and young adults in various settings. My clinical experiences have been in a university-based clinic, outpatient community mental health, and private practice. During my pursuit of my Master’s Degree at Ball State University I was able to receive training in various types of therapy, as well as hone my specific interests of treating the young population. I am specifically drawn to assisting older children and adolescents form healthy identities and relationships with others. In each different setting I have worked in, I have treated individuals struggling with anxiety, depression, ADHD, peer relationships, and school/family problems. I believe in the power of empathy and a healthy therapeutic relationship in my client’s treatment. My first goal in treatment is to build a strong therapeutic rapport by engaging my clients in their own personal interests, whether through arts and crafts, sports, or play/games. It is very important for me to establish a calm setting to promote a sense of peace in my clients’ lives. I practice therapy from a Cognitive Behavioral lens, and I also integrate mindfulness into my treatment. In order to understand children and adolescents’ needs, it is necessary to treat them within the context of the family unit. I find that family therapy is often necessary for many children and young adolescents.

At AFG Guidance Center, I have experienced continued training and support from a comprehensive team of psychiatrists, psychologists, and therapists. I primarily work from the Lincolnshire office but continue to feel as one team between both locations due to our shared vision for our clients.

Parfait Kanam, M.A., LPC​

As a therapist, I have provided individual and family therapy to children, adolescents, and families. I have always had a passion to work with this population as I understand life’s daily challenges can be difficult to navigate. During my adolescence, I faced multiple changes including moving to the United States, navigating its unique academic system and culture while maintaining my own cultural identity. Experiencing these difficult transitions ignited a desire to pursue a career that will allow me to mentor young individuals through difficult chapters of their lives and help them find empowerment.

I hold a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from the University of Illinois at Chicago and received my Master of Arts in Counseling from Northwestern University.  Additionally, I completed my clinical internship at AFG Guidance Center where I received extensive training with children and adolescents diagnosed with a variety of disorders including Anxiety, ADHD, and Depression. Prior to rejoining the team at AFG Guidance Center, I worked at a private practice where I continued to develop my clinical skills providing therapy to children, adolescents, and their families. Throughout my academic and professional career, I have come to understand how experiences shape maladaptive behaviors, and how self-awareness is a key to making therapeutic change. I have developed a deeper clinical insight into helping families understand relationship dynamics, how these dynamics impact the family system, and helping them develop strategies to move forward in developing healthy, positive relationships.

My style of therapy is based on the concept of flexibility. I use an integrative approach including the use of Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Solution focused therapy, and Play Therapy. This allows me to adaptively address an individual or family’s presenting concerns and creatively design a treatment plan based on individual needs. I firmly believe that a healthy family system helps raise a healthy child and find it optimal to include all available members of the family in the treatment process.

I perceive each child and adolescent to be resilient and full of potential regardless of their obstacles or diagnoses. As a clinician, I believe in guiding them to discovering their unique, internal strengths and finding self-efficacy. While adversities can seemingly inhibit the development of these qualities, they also can provide opportunities to achieve growth and healing. Working at AFG as an intern helped hone my skills as a clinician. I am honored to be back as part of this team that ceaselessly contributes to my development.

Sabina Skupien, M.A., LPC

Sabina Skulpien

I am a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) who holds a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology with a focus on Clinical Child and Family Psychology. I am passionate about working with children, adolescents, and adults. I believe that therapy is an incredibly powerful tool which can help us understand the good, the bad, the happy, and the sad. I believe in creating a nurturing and supportive therapeutic relationship which can allow for self-discovery, exploration, and healing. My goal is to take a look at life through my clients’ eyes, to offer new skills, and to empower them to face challenges and overcome obstacles.

I attended University of Illinois at Chicago where I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Psychology. I earned my Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology with a concentration in Clinical Child and Family Psychology from Roosevelt University. I have completed my clinical training in an inpatient setting at Chicago Children’s Center for Behavioral Health at Saint Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center. Following my clinical training, I had the opportunity to continue inpatient work by working as a Program Therapist on the child/adolescent units. Additionally, I have worked as an Inpatient Child and Family Therapist and Social Worker at the AMITA Health Behavioral Medicine Institute. Along with my studies, I have made a personal commitment to bettering mental health needs in my own community by volunteering at a crisis hotline for a number of years. I have had the distinct pleasure of providing individual, group, and family therapy services for children and adolescents in need of inpatient stabilization, primarily utilizing evidence-based interventions. I have experience working with individuals struggling with depression, anxiety, suicidal and homicidal ideation, self-harm, psychosis, relationship concerns, peer relationships, self-esteem, job stress, and trauma.

My approach to therapy is more Integrative as I would describe myself as a person-centered Therapist that also utilizes more directive approaches such as Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy. As a clinician, I strive to provide a warm, welcoming, and non-judgmental space. My hope is to become a listening ear while providing a collaborative therapeutic relationship which can allow for the development of insight into my clients’ strengths and values. Additionally, my hope is to help find solutions to challenges that may be inhibiting my clients’ personal growth. In therapy, I am often reminded of a children’s song about going on a bear hunt: “We can’t go over it, we can’t go under it, we’ve got to go through it!” I understand that starting therapy may be a scary process at first, but I am here to walk you through it.

Let’s work together to create a safe, supportive, and therapeutic relationship which can allow for new growth and development. My hope is to create a space for my clients where pain can be shared, understood, integrated, and where joy can emerge once again. At times, we may struggle to cope with chaos, confusion, and transitions in everyday life. Whether you’re a parent, teen, or an adult it takes courage and vulnerability to take a deeper look within yourself and make changes. My goal is to listen to you, learn from you, and to become a fellow traveler who can be by your side as you navigate through your experience.

 

Megan O’Brien, M.A., LPC

Megan Obrien

My work as a therapist is focused on children and adolescents experiencing emotional, social, behavioral, and learning challenges. My clinical experience includes inpatient hospitalization, partial day programs, outpatient treatment, and in-home care. My aim is to improve mental health by changing cognitive distortions and behaviors while improving emotional regulation and the development of personal coping strategies to target current problems.

I received my Bachelor’s degree in Sociology with a concentration in Social Psychology from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan. I also hold a second bachelor’s degree with honors in Gender and Women’s Studies from WMU. These programs gave me the unique ability to understand the societal context of mental health and factors that may influence mental illness. They also provided me extensive learning opportunities on multicultural awareness in relation to diversity and inclusion.

Further development in the field of psychotherapy was achieved through my master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. I served as President of Chi Sigma Iota the international and professional academic honors society for counseling students, educators, and professionals. Aside from academic responsibilities, I volunteered my time in the university’s Social Justice Leadership Academy and mentored first-generation community college scholars in the south side of Chicago. This was completed with an effort to accelerate their progress on career pathways to reach economic mobility to change the education landscape to impact future generational success.

When I’m not counseling both professionally or volunteering, I enjoy trying new restaurants, skiing, and spending time with family and friends along Lake Michigan.

 


Neuropsychology

Elena Labkovsky, Ph.D., BCIA-EEG

Elena Labkovsky, Ph.D. BCIA-EEG

I am a passionate scholar-practitioner in the field of Clinical/Cognitive Psychology and Neuroscience, investigating neuronal mechanisms of our brains and trying to understand how patterns of the brain functionality determine people’s behaviors.

For over 20 years, I divide my time between clinical practice, teaching, training, consulting, and scholarly writing and research. My clinical work is based on psychological, neuropsychological, and psychophysiological assessment and interventions.

The specific areas include disorders and conditions associated with changes in the brain functioning as a result of developmental issues, genetics, trauma, infection, poisoning, etc., and they include:

  • Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
  • Learning Disabilities (LD)
  • Anxiety
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Depression
  • Bi-Polar Disorder
  • Sleep Disorders
  • Autism and Asperger’s Disorders
  • Attachment Disorder
  • Tourette’s syndrome and other Tic Disorders, and others.

I also have an extensive clinical experience working with patients in minimally conscious state, vegetative state, “locked-in syndrome,” and coma after severe brain traumas. I received my Master’s and Doctoral degrees in Psychology from St. Petersburg State University, Russia. I continued my education and specialized in Clinical Neuropsychology at Moscow University and later completed my post-doctoral training at Northwestern University, Institute of Neuroscience.

My clinical philosophy could be described in two statements. First, I believe that every patient can be helped. A combination of international training and long-term experience helps me to implement this belief. It is a matter of a correct and timely diagnosis, and tailored treatment to achieve success in helping a patient to overcome a psychological/neuropsychological deficit.

Second, I believe that it is important to be open to new ideas and approaches to treatment. With new achievements in psychology, psychiatry, neuroscience and the expansion of scientific methods, we get advanced and promising tools for dealing with all kinds of psychological problems.

My colleagues and I have developed a comprehensive and innovative approach called “Neurobehavioral Modulation” which allows through utilization of modern advanced neuro-scientific achievements and techniques bring a patient to a new level of neurophysiological functioning and reach peak performance in various areas.

 

Elena Davydova, Ph.D., Certified Neurofeedback Specialist

Elena Davydova, Ph.D, Certified Neurofeedback Clinician

I have always been fascinated by the incredible potential of the human mind and body. I have made it my mission to learn about and understand human physiology and psychological development.

At an early age in Russia, I challenged myself physically, cognitively, and emotionally as an elite gymnast on the national level. This early childhood experience of pushing myself physically and mentally was the start of my educational and research journey in the areas of psychophysiology and neuropsychology. After completing my undergraduate and master’s degree in Physiology, I entered a doctoral program for Physiology at Shevchenko State University (Ukraine), where my research focused on the physical and psychological learning process of adolescents. Upon completion of my doctoral degree, I returned to my hometown and began teaching undergraduate courses on human development while coaching my first love – rhythmic gymnastics. During this time, I continued my research, expanding my knowledge and understanding of the organic nature of attention, memory, learning, depression, anxiety, and developmental delays.

As a certified neurofeedback clinician (Biofeedback Certification International Alliance, BCIA), I am thrilled to be working with the clinicians and staff at AFG Guidance Center. I believe my work at AFG is further enhanced through my research at Northwestern University and subsequent publications in peer-reviewed journals. I believe that my time spent as an educator, researcher, and clinician has enabled me to provide the highest quality of individualized care to my clients, as well as support to their parents and extended treatment team.

Caroline Gaglio, B.A.

Caroline Gaglio, B.A.

I recently graduated from Northwestern University with a B.A. in neuroscience, concentrating in human behavior and cognition. I began an internship at Afg under Dr. Labkovsky during my senior year of college, and am thrilled to work with her during my gap years before pursuing a doctorate in clinical psychology.

Aside from my work at AFG, I am a behavior technician working with children on the autism spectrum, applying principles of behaviorism to guide social and self-help skill acquisition. I am also a research assistant for the Center for Community Research at DePaul University where I study neurocognitive symptomatology in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

My clinical and research experiences make me a dynamic member of the neurobehavioral therapy team where I provide supportive, innovative, and effective therapy to my clients.


Call us at (847) 853-0234