Andrea Despotes, MA
Everyone has times when life calls on them to make changes. Perhaps current relationship problems, a recent loss or traumatic experience, or general life stressors have spurred a need for your life to be different. Or maybe you’ve been thinking for a long time that things aren’t the way you’d like them to be. Sometimes strategies that have worked well in the past are not well-suited to addressing new challenges.
Therapy can be a powerful tool for both dealing with and making significant life changes. In therapy, I strive to create a welcoming space where clients can explore authentically, and without judgment, how they want their lives to be different and what they can do to generate more of what they want. I see therapy as a collaborative learning and growth process, and I take a client-centered approach while integrating cognitive-behavioral therapy (including evidence-based treatments for PTSD) with elements of third-wave mindfulness-based methods (such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)).
After practicing law for more than 15 years, I began a change process that led me to earn my Master of Arts in Psychology from Northern Illinois University (NIU), where I am currently working to complete my doctoral degree. Prior to joining OakHeart, I provided individual therapy at NIU’s Psychological Services Center, culminating in a position as assistant to the clinic director. I also have served as a clinical extern within the OCD and Anxiety day program at AMITA Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital. In these contexts, I have worked with clients on addressing problems associated with the following:
Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)
General Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
In addition, I have pursued clinical research regarding meaning-making processes following stressful, traumatic, and loss events. I seek to continually grow my knowledge of effective therapeutic modalities through my membership in the following professional organizations:
International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS)
Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT)
American Psychological Association (APA)