Dr. Sara Dittoe Barrett, Director and Licensed Clinical Psychologist
I am a licensed clinical psychologist and the Director of Cognitive Behavioral Associates of Chicago. 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.
At CBA Chicago, we use evidence-based treatments including mindfulness-based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Compassion-Focused Therapy, and Positive Psychology. These are approaches that we are all personally drawn to and that our 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.
We also enjoy and value working with a diverse client population. We see race, ethnicity, country of origin, 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. We strive to be anti-racist and affirming of all identities. Cultivating 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, as well as insomnia, anxiety disorders, OCD, managing perfectionism, and coping with 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, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) for OCD. 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.
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 am a licensed clinical psychologist and received a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Eastern Michigan University in 2020. I have had extensive training in health and rehabilitation psychology and have several years of experience working with individuals with a variety of mental and physical health issues including depression, anxiety, OCD, insomnia, 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, as well as Exposure and Response Prevention for OCD. 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.
Carly Uebel, Licensed Social Worker (she/her & they/them)
I am a licensed social worker with multiple years of experience treating trauma, anxiety, and depression, with particular focus in complex trauma, grief and loss. I also enjoy working with individuals who have OCD and have received training in Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) and mindfulness and compassion-based interventions for OCD.
I graduated with my Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Chicago Crown Family School, where I completed internships with Thresholds’ Assertive Community Treatment Program and the University of Chicago Medicine’s Violence Recovery Program.
Prior to graduate school, I received extensive training in sexual and domestic violence response, working directly with survivors and families. My experiences in these spaces affirmed my belief in a kind of core human resiliency, and have absolutely impacted what I hope to elicit in my therapeutic work. As someone who tends to get caught up in future-oriented thinking, I find mindfulness and third-wave behavioral therapies extremely useful. I enjoy drawing from modalities like Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), as well as Functional Analytic Psychotherapy (FAP). Most importantly, I believe the therapeutic relationship is key to cultivating impactful growth and change — I seek to foster relationships that feel safe, validating, and strengths-oriented.
As a social worker by training, I center anti-oppression as a core value in my clinical work and personal life. I aim to be accountable as a provider in a historically marginalizing field to my clients and the broader community, and welcome the opportunity to collaborate on this effort in the therapeutic space. This includes adapting our approach to treatment and change work to reflect your needs and experience as an individual. I believe you are the expert of your own life, and I am committed to operating with flexibility and creativity as we identify and move closer to your values. I also believe all individuals have capacity for change; they just may not know how. Together we can explore skills to enhance interpersonal effectiveness and emotion regulation that may be interfering with high quality of life.
I have a lot of empathy for individuals who feel things deeply, as well as those hoping to develop insight into their feelings and behavior. I understand the tremendous courage it takes to reach out to a new provider and to trust that individual with your story. I consider this work to be a great privilege, and I commit to holding nonjudgemental space for all individuals taking that first important step. I identify as highly relational, and will work to un-build the ‘power over’ dynamic that is so common in the therapeutic space.
Outside of the therapy room, I enjoy exploring Chicago’s vibrant art and food scene! I also spend a good amount of time goofing around with (I mean training, definitely training) my rescue pup Nelly. Pre-COVID, I was an avid international traveller — I’m hopeful the world will allow for this again soon, but in the meantime I’m seeking out adventures right where I am. I look forward to exploring your interests and passions as we build something meaningful together.