Dr. Sara Dittoe Barrett, Director and Licensed Clinical Psychologist
I am a licensed clinical psychologist with expertise in anxiety disorders and OCD, chronic pain and medical conditions, insomnia, and stress management. I received a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of Dayton in 2003 and a master's and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology with focuses in Health Psychology, anxiety disorders, and chronic pain from Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in 2008.
My pre-doctoral internship/residency was through the Cincinnati VA Medical Center and included intensive rotations in health psychology and chronic pain, trauma and substance abuse, and the Women’s PTSD program. It was while working with trauma survivors and individuals coping with chronic pain that I became interested in mindfulness how it can impact health and emotional wellbeing. I went on to complete a post-doctoral fellowship in chronic pain at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago’s Center for Pain Management (now named the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab), to gain more experience in mindfulness and pain management.
My graduate and post-doctoral work focused heavily cognitive and behavioral treatment approaches that are based in or supported by scientific research. I think it is important to be well-informed of the latest research on current and emerging treatments. I am a member of several scientific and professional organizations including the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science, the ACBS Chicago chapter, and the International OCD Foundation, and the Health Psychology Division (Division 38) of the American Psychological Association.
I feel lucky to be a psychologist. Therapy can be hard work, but has the potential for incredible payoff. I will do my best to make this a safe, collaborative, and challenging environment where you can experiment and grow. We will use evidence-based treatments including mindfulness-based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Compassion-Focused Therapy, and Positive Psychology. These are approaches that I am personally drawn to and that my clients tend to like. They are backed by science and can be fun and creative. These are also very active therapies where you learn new skills and practice them to improve your quality of life.
I also enjoy and value working with a diverse client population. I see race, ethnicity, ability status, gender identity, sexual orientation, and spirituality as important parts of our identity which impact how we move through the world and how the world sees us. I strive to be anti-racist and affirming of all identities. Cultivating anti-racist and anti-oppressive beliefs, practices, and policies is an ongoing and evolving process for all of us at CBA Chicago.
Dr. Julia Rubinshteyn, Licensed Clinical Psychologist
I am a licensed clinical psychologist with expertise in health psychology including chronic pain and medical conditions, insomnia, and managing stress. I received a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Marquette University in 2015.
My year-long pre-doctoral internship was at the Denver VA Hospital with a focus in working closely with medical providers to provide mental health services to veterans in a Primary Care clinic setting. During my internship and graduate school, I received intensive training working with individuals who experience chronic pain, insomnia, chronic health conditions such as diabetes, and individuals with spinal cord injuries/disorders. I enjoyed helping patients who were interested in making changes to improve their overall health and wellbeing.
Prior to working at CBA, I worked at the Edward Hines, Jr. VA for 5 years. I provided mental health services to veterans in their homes and later worked with individuals in the Spinal Cord Injury and Disorders program. During this time, I provided services to patients with medically complex backgrounds providing interventions for depression, anxiety, PTSD, and coping with difficult life changes, and stress. I also provided support to family members experiencing stress related to caring for a loved one with chronic health issues.
I have received extensive training in several evidence-based interventions including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for depression, anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). I often incorporate Mindfulness practice as a key component into my work.
I value working with individuals who have diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds. I welcome individuals who identify with various aspects of diversity including race, ethnicity, religion, country of origin, gender identity, sexual orientation, and ability status. I take a compassionate approach and work collaboratively with my clients to best understand their experiences and goals for therapy. I use evidence based treatments in a way that is consistent with the client's values and goals to enhance wellbeing and help you thrive in your daily life.
Charles Small, Licensed Clinical Social Worker
I am a licensed clinical social worker with several years of experience in treating trauma, anxiety, depression, and other emotional difficulties. I have specialized training and experience providing mental health care for veterans of the US Armed Services and first responder communities. I graduated with my Master’s of Social Work from Loyola University of Chicago in 2010. I have been a member of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) since 2011.
My post-graduate work involved working as a therapist in community mental health settings, as well as working with veterans at both Jesse Brown VA Medical Center and Rush University Medical Center’s Road Home Program. I gained specialized experience in treating post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), sexual trauma, and moral injury that can occur during traumatic events.
I work well with clients who feel that symptoms of anxiety, trauma, and/or depression are interfering with their ability to live a fulfilling life, and feel they may be ready to make important changes in order to engage meaningfully in all areas of their lives. I help clients in this process utilizing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Additionally, I am a certified provider of Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) and prolonged exposure therapy (PE), two of the most well-researched and effective therapies for treating PTSD. I also have a personal interest in the philosophical roots of Cognitive and Behavioral therapies, namely Stoicism, which- when discussed as part of therapy- many of my clients have found useful in navigating life’s uncertainties and tribulations.
In addition to providing psychotherapy, I also enjoy teaching. Since 2016, I have been a lecturer at the University of Chicago teaching social work graduate students skills in cultural competency and evidence-based therapies. I am currently completing a fellowship at the University of Chicago in ACT and other contextual behavioral therapies.
I remain professionally and personally committed to establishing a safe, inclusive, and supportive therapy environment that is rooted in cultural competency, evidence-based treatment, and respect for the inherent dignity and worth of all my clients.
Dr. Caryn Feldman, Licensed Clinical Psychologist
I am a licensed clinical psychologist with 30 years of clinical experience working with those struggling to find peace while living with chronic medical conditions. I am particularly interested in the application of Mindfulness and Buddhist Psychology approaches to psychotherapy. I am Assistant Professor at Northwestern University, where I help teach medical residents and fellows about psychological factors in chronic pain. I received my Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in 1989, when I first became interested in health psychology. I have worked over 20 years at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab (formerly the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago) at the Center for Pain Management and enjoy doing both individual and group therapy.
I have been interested in meditation since the 1970s and over the years pursued training in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy. I have my own meditation practice and have been fortunate enough to have participated in retreats locally and across the country. In 2013 I completed a 9 month specialty certificate from the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy. During this time I was able to learn directly from esteemed psychologists who specialize in Buddhist Psychology, Meditation and Self-Compassion work. Weaving mindfulness concepts and practices into my work is my passion.
I particularly enjoy working with individuals who are grappling with depression, anxiety and chronic stress. I believe the mind and body are one and my treatment is therefore holistic and body-centered. I also enjoy working with anyone who would like to take a deeper dive into the world of living mindfully with a chronic health condition. This year has shown us all how vulnerable we are and how we need tools for actively dealing with life’s uncertainties. Self-compassion is a key component of what I teach and practice.
My intention in my therapy practice is to embody mindfulness teachings. I view being grounded, compassionate, patient, and seeking wisdom as essential to the therapeutic process. I will ask you to be an active participant in your work and would welcome the opportunity to accompany you.
Dr. Lauren Ostarello (Benkoske), Licensed Clinical Psychologist
I received a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Eastern Michigan University in 2020 and am in the process of obtaining licensure in the state of Illinois. I have had extensive training in health and rehabilitation psychology and have six years of experience working with individuals with a variety of mental and physical health issues including depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, cancer, stroke, and various physical injuries. I understand the complex relationship between physical health, mental health, and quality of life.
I especially enjoy working with adults to manage their health, depression, anxiety, difficulties with sleep, chronic pain, life stress, as well as to mentally process and recover from a medical diagnosis or procedure. Prior to working at Cognitive Behavioral Associates of Chicago, I completed a one-year predoctoral internship and a one-year postdoctoral fellowship at the Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital. During my years at the VA, I focused on providing mental health services to Veterans in a variety of inpatient and outpatient medical settings including primary care, women’s health, transplant, spinal cord injury/disorders, blind rehabilitation, palliative care, and acute rehabilitation.
My training and experience are rooted in evidence-based interventions including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for depression, chronic pain, adjustment to serious health diagnoses, and anxiety. You are the one who knows yourself best. I collaborate with each individual to identify personal values and use supportive and validating techniques to help you identify and problem-solve around barriers and engage in behaviors consistent with your most important values in life. I am passionate about helping individuals move towards a life worth living!
Diversity and inclusion are critically important to my work and awareness of the many aspects of diversity and ability status is an ever-evolving process. In therapy, I work to integrate my knowledge of elements of culture, identity, and ability status with each individual’s unique experience. I am honored to take this journey with you to improve your quality of life.
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