Our Therapists

Dori J. Mages, MSW, LCSW

Dori Mages, MSW, LCSW

Dori, a licensed clinical social worker, is the founder of North Shore Family Services.  She earned her Master of Social Work from The University of Illinois at Chicago’s Jane Addams College of Social Work in 1997. She also has a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dori has been utilizing effective strategies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), DBT (dialectical behavioral therapy), and play therapy with children, teens, parents, and families since 1994. She has worked in various areas of social work including: foster care, schools, hospitals, and private practice.  Dori earned her Type 73 school social work certification in 1997 and has worked with children of all needs in the public schools for 7 years, so she understands the 504 and IEP process.  She collaborates with school staff and other professionals/therapists working with her clients to provide the most beneficial services. Dori has appeared on ABC and NBC news as an expert discussing therapeutic topics and articles she has written. She earned the coveted title of Amazon best selling author for her chapter in the third book in the Amazon Best Selling Series, Overcoming Mediocrity: Strong Women.

As a wife and mother of three, she understands the challenges and rewards of raising children and is compassionate about helping children and families navigate the difficult times. Dori strives to give children, teens, parents, and families the tools they will need to improve their quality of life long after therapy ends.

Dori is a professional speaker who offers presentations to businesses, professional groups, parent organizations, school-based programs, continuing education, and in-services. She speaks on topics related to building better relationships and productivity within the workplace and home. Some examples of topics she presents:

For businesses, schools, professional groups, and business owners, Dori speaks about: effectively marketing your small business, from pajamas to power suits: networking made easy, having difficult conversations, productivity, motivation, and hiring and keeping the best employees for your company.

For parents, children, teens, families, and parenting groups, Dori offers presentations on bullying: how to spot it and what to do, appropriate consequences for kids and teens, addressing behavioral concerns, stress and the middle schooler/high schooler, helping your child manage school work and time management, social skills training, and much more.

Lisa Marie Carlson, MSW, LCSW

NSFS Lisa Marie picLisa Marie is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who earned her both her Master of Social Work  and Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Since 2005, Lisa Marie has been working with children, teens, parents, and families in schools, hospitals, and community counseling centers. She works with kids, teens, and adults, specializing in anxiety (whether due to every day stressors or trauma), mood disorders, social and behavioral issues, coping skills deficiencies, and school-related issues. Lisa Marie uses a mix of cognitive-behavioral, talk, and play (for the younger kids) therapy. She strongly believes that focusing on positive and healthy interactions is the bedrock of improving disruptive and unhelpful behaviors and thoughts. She helps empower families by teaching them strategies on how to: become attuned to their struggling child’s emotions, improve communication skills, and develop routines to increase success at home and school.

Lisa Marie lives in Chicago and spends her free time enjoying cultural activities and walking and biking the Lake Shore path.

Elyse Dombrowski, MA, LMFT

NSFS Elyse Headshot 2016Elyse earned her Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy at the Adler School of Professional Psychology. She also has her Bachelor of Sciences in psychology from Illinois State University.  Since 2010, Elyse has worked with children, teens, families, and couples in various schools, private practice, and community mental health settings.  

She recognizes that a safe, trusting, and supportive environment is needed for any change to occur, and she creates this with her compassion, warmth, and understanding of her clients’ needs and strengths.  Elyse works with children and teens who are struggling with anxiety, distractibility, impulsivity, depression, trauma, self-esteem, emotional regulation, and school refusal issues.  She actively collaborates with each client to overcome obstacles that mayseem too big, or too hard to manage, and uses the unique qualities and strengths that each client already possesses to produce change and growth.  Elyse loves when she sees clients gain more effective coping skills and build confidence in themselves to face their challenges.

With couples, Elyse is also trained in Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy and PREPARE-ENRICH and is passionate about empowering couples (dating, premarital, and married) to address areas of hurt, frustration, and disappointments in order to build a happier, healthier, and an overall stronger relationship.  By carefully bridging each partner’s relational concerns, and laying a foundation of trust, Elyse helps couples forgive past mistakes, learn to accept differences, and to understand their partner from a new perspective.  Areas Elyse addresses with couples are: conflict resolution, difference in parenting styles, communication skills, infidelity and forgiveness, premarital counseling, and separation. 

Elyse loves helping clients of all ages to achieve their goals so that they can thrive and find joy in their relationships.  When Elyse is not working, she loves spending her time taking her dog on long walks, spending time with loved ones, and trying new workouts that keep her active.

Jean Hausmann, MSW, LCSW

North Shore, child therapistJean is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who earned her Master of Social Work from Rhode Island College in 2008. She also has a Bachelor of Science from Roger Williams University. Since 2004, Jean has been working with children, adolescents, young adults and families in a variety of settings, from residential to community mental health centers. Most recently she has spent the past five years working in K-12 schools.

She has specialized training with anxiety, mood disorders, social and behavioral issues, trauma, body image/eating disorders, and academic and classroom supports. Jean believes in utilizing a blend of therapeutic approaches based on her clients’ needs. She often utilizes cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and play (developmentally young) therapy. She aims to provide an open and holistic forum to work through life’s challenges. Jean understands that therapy can be overwhelming, but she has been told that her calm demeanor and warmth quickly engages clients and puts them at ease. During the therapeutic process she helps empower families by offering strategies on how to improve communication, gain healthy coping skills, and navigate the educational system. As an active person, Jean also certified as a Childlight Yoga instructor, who understands the importance of the mind-body connection.

Jean also works closely with school personnel to provide emotional and behavioral support and accommodation suggestions and strategies. Jean also enjoys presenting  on social-emotional learning in educational settings, anxiety and depression in youth, and self-care for young professionals. Jean likes to spend her free time with family and friends, sailing, running, and attending cultural events in the city.

Haley Jossel, MA, LMFT

NSFS Haley picHaley earned her Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy at the Adler School of Professional Psychology. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in psychology from Indiana University. Since 2009, Haley has worked with children,  teens, and families in healthcare, schools, private practice, and community mental health settings.

She specializes in helping children and teens with anxiety, depression, learning and academic difficulties, attentional, behavioral, and relationship struggles. Haley recognizes that school or home struggles may create self-esteem problems, family conflict, or other stress for the child, teen, and family.  She is passionate about helping children and adolescents find new solutions and acquire new skills, to empower them to be successful with family, in school, and with peers. Haley uses a collaborative and warm approach with her clients, advocating for positive change and self-empowerment. For Haley, there is nothing more rewarding than witnessing the transformation that occurs when clients feel supported and confident to tackle their problems.

Haley is also trained in Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy and prides herself on her ability to address marital distress and the underlying issues within the relationship. She helps couples who are struggling to cope with life-cycle transitions, including parenting issues, family of origin conflict, infidelity, and separation or divorce. She guides couples to restore the balance within the relationship. She gives them tools to learn healthy communication and conflict-resolution skills, develop intimacy, and emotional awareness in a safe, non-judgmental environment. When she is not with clients, Haley often attends fitness classes, dines at new restaurants, and spends time with friends and family.

Sarah Rudek, MA, LPC

Sarah Rudek, MA, LPCSarah is a Licensed Professional Counselor who earned her Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology (Counseling Practice) with a credential in Clinical Child and Family Psychology at Roosevelt University.  She also has a Bachelor’s of Science in psychology with a minor in child development and family studies from Purdue University. Since 2011, Sarah has worked with children, teens, young adults, and families in a variety of different settings including day care centers, educational settings, healthcare facilities, and community mental health settings.

Sarah’s professional experience spans all ages Her work with children, teens, and their families includes assisting her clients in tackling emotional, behavioral, and developmental challenges to reach their highest potential. She believes in providing a safe and non-judgmental environment where clients work in a collaborative relationship with their therapist to develop specific skills to achieve a positive outcome.  She works with children and teens who are struggling with depression, anxiety, self-esteem, impulsivity, defiant behavior, attention issues, school refusal, trauma, low frustration tolerance, and emotional regulation.  Sarah often utilizes cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectic behavioral therapy (DBT), and play therapy in her sessions.   She is passionate about encouraging children to communicate their emotions while understanding that their family needs to feel heard and be able to leave the session with a solution.  Sarah believes that empowering families to continue to work with their children in stressful situations is a key element in helping families achieve positive outcomes in the therapeutic process.

Sarah is also trained in working with young adults and couples and works collaboratively with them to cope and problem-solve with life-cycle transitions, family conflict, communication problems, infidelity, separation, and divorce. She provides an open, non-judgmental, empathetic, and compassionate setting to allow young adults and couples to feel safe to talk about difficult issues. Sarah strongly believes that anyone who has the motivation and willingness to ask for help shows qualities of bravery and courage, and has her respect. When she is not with clients, Sarah enjoys the city of Chicago, working out, attending sporting events, and spending time with her family and friends.

Mehnaz Siddiqui, MA, LCPC

Mehnaz Siddiqui North Shore Family Services therapist

Mehnaz earned her Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at the Adler School of Professional Psychology. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Since 2009, Mehnaz has worked with children, teens, and families in various settings including daycare, healthcare, schools, and community mental health.

She specializes in helping children and teens with anxiety, depression, trauma, learning and academic difficulties, attentional, behavioral, and relational struggles. Mehnaz recognizes that it is crucial to build a safe, warm, non-judgmental, and supportive environment for each client and to work collaboratively towards goal achievement. Mehnaz utilizes a blend of therapeutic approaches including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), solution-focused therapy, and play therapy to help clients reach emotional balance, cognitive clarity, and find a sense of purpose.  She aims to be a culturally competent clinician focused on fostering growth, personal change, and self-empowerment. Mehnaz loves nothing more than knowing that a client and family are able to find new solutions and acquire new skills to achieve positive outcomes through therapy.  

Mehnaz is highly trained with working with young adults, couples, and parents in providing them the tools they need to appropriately cope, problem-solve, and achieve emotional awareness. She provides a warm, open, non-judgmental environment to work collaboratively on various issues including life-cycle transitions, family conflict, differences in parenting styles, communication problems, separation, and divorce. Mehnaz believes that by using strength-based approaches and by empowering individuals and couples, they will be able to achieve more satisfaction in their lives and relationships.

Mehnaz loves helping clients of all ages and embraces and acknowledges cultural diversity. When she is not working with clients, Mehnaz enjoys traveling, trying out new restaurants, and spending time with her family and friends.

Kendra A. Vargas, MA, LPC

Kendra headshotKendra is a Licensed Professional Counselor who earned her Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology with a child/adolescent specialization from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She also holds a Bachelors degree in Dance from Columbia College of Chicago.  Kendra has worked with children, teens, adults, and families in a variety of settings including homes, schools, daycare centers, healthcare settings, and community mental health facilities. 

Kendra employs a variety of approaches based on the individual needs of her clients.  She utilizes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), strength- based approaches, and play therapy in her sessions.  She works with individuals who may be struggling with depression, anxiety, mood disorders, impulsivity, difficulties with attention and focus, behavioral issues, gender identity, self-esteem, stress management, and trauma.  She feels it is important to ensure understanding through psycho-education throughout therapy, and works collaboratively with her clients to facilitate change. Kendra works to build healthy and appropriate coping skills to better manage her clients’ symptoms and stressors. She supports  all her clients  throughout the therapeutic process as they strive toward achieving their desired goals.

When working with children and teens specifically, Kendra feels it is crucial to get on their level and incorporate humor, art, music, play, movement, and any other creative resources to connect with them.  She assists families in exploring and modifying family dynamics, helps them to learn effective ways to communicate, and teaches conflict resolution skills and problem solving skills for interpersonal effectiveness.  Kendra feels honored and privileged  that clients allow her the opportunity to trust her with their inner thoughts and feelings, and to be a part of their journey.  Kendra understands that it can be a difficult decision to start therapy, but  has been told that she is warm, welcoming, supportive, and creates a non-judgemental environment.  When Kendra is not working with her clients, she enjoys cooking, traveling, spending time with friends and family, and “brunching.”