Carly is a Licensed Social Worker and psychotherapist with Cognitive Behavioral Associates of Chicago. She earned a Masters Degree in Social Work and Social Administration from the University of Chicago. Her clinical approach draws heavily from contextual behavioral therapies, including Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT),  Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) for OCD, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I). Carly is a member of the Association for Contextual Behavioral Sciences (ACBS) and the International OCD Foundation (IOCDF), where she also attends annual OCD conferences. Before joining the team at CBA Chicago, Carly worked as a social worker with the University of Chicago Medicine’s Violence Recovery Program. 

What drew you to the profession of psychotherapy?

Prior to becoming a therapist, I worked with survivors of sexual and domestic violence. Supporting survivors and building community with other advocates committed to ending gender-based violence was a life-changing experience for me, and had a significant impact on my decision to pursue psychotherapy as a career. I continue to seek out ways of staying connected to this work by providing trauma-informed services to individual clients, as well as volunteering and engaging in continuing education. 

Like many in my field, I also came to the work of psychotherapy for some fairly personal reasons. My introduction to therapy was as a client. There, I was able to explore how big emotions could be a strength, and how self-shaming narratives were keeping me stuck. Now as a therapist myself, I strive to do the same for my clients. I teach ACT because I practice it in my own life, and I really believe in its core aims: Psychological flexibility and value-based living. Being able to “ride the wave” of difficult emotions and explore private experiences with curiosity has helped me weather tough transitions with a little more compassion. 

As I see it, my work as a therapist is to help people get to the root of what it means to be human, how to belong, how to be free. I feel grateful to do this work, and to accompany others on their journey toward fuller self-understanding. 

Are there other personal/professional experiences that inform your work?

I studied biological anthropology as an undergraduate, and worked as a researcher of non-human primates in West Kenya and Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo. Studying non-human animal behavior opened my eyes to diverse perspectives and other ways of existing in the world. I believe animals can teach us a lot about our own humanity, and deepen our appreciation for what is possible in this life. 

Books you recommend to clients: Definitely check out the list of recommended reads under CBA’s Resources tab! In addition, some books I’ve recommended over the past year include:

What My Bones Know, by Stephanie Foo: We can do better than The Body Keeps the Score when it comes to literature on complex trauma. This is a powerful memoir that combines the personal and the scientific to explore the author’s journey toward healing from childhood neglect and abuse. 

Strangers to Ourselves: Unsettled Minds and the Stories That Make Us, by Rachel Aviv: Part memoir, part case study, part exploration of the unsettling history of psychiatry and how medical-models alone can’t set us free.  

You Could Make This Place Beautiful, by Maggie Smith: Another memoir (maybe there’s a theme here…) by a poet processing divorce and forging a new relationship with herself in the aftermath. 

Travelers to Unimaginable Lands: Stories of Dementia, the Caregiver, and the Human Brain, by Dasha Kiper: Having lost a family member to dementia, I found this book to be a helpful and compassionate resource in navigating the complex grief of cognitive decline. 

Pleasure Activism, by adrienne maree brown: Essays, poems, interviews, and more, exploring the intersections between pleasure and transformative justice. 

An Immense World, by Ed Yong: If you’re an animal-nerd like me, you’ll love this one. <img draggable=” />

Books you’re currently reading: 

There’s Always This Year: On Basketball and Ascension, by Hanif Abdurraqib

Body Work: The Radical Power of Personal Narrative, by Melissa Febos

Podcasts you love: 

Your Anxiety Toolkit 

Hidden Brain

We Can Do Hard Things (check out Ep. 306 for an interview with OCD specialist Alegra Kastens)

Maintenance Phase

Tara Brach (podcast and guided meditations)

To schedule an appointment with Carly, click here to complete our intake form.