integrative mind-body psychotherapy solutions for children, adolescents, and adults
call 847-337-2377 or email
For more than two decades I’ve created a warm and inviting setting to help children, adolescents, young adults, families and couples tackle a range of issues. Using a combination of traditional and progressive therapies, I work closely with my clients to restore a true sense of healing and balance.
My goal goes beyond helping my clients to regain confidence through therapy to showing them how they can access their own inner resources — a powerful tool for life.
And since no two people are alike, I draw on a range of integrative techniques, from art and play therapy, to mindfulness, EMDR, and brain science.
My techniques are holistic and customized to each client, providing a very different experience to traditional talk therapy. Our creative, free-flowing session frees clients, and helps address a range of issues, from parenting to bereavement, divorce, and sibling rivalry, to anxiety and depression, OCD, Sensory Integration disorder, and ADHD.
My areas of service include: Chicago, Evanston, Wilmette, Winnetka, Glencoe, Glenview, Northfield, Northbrook, Niles, Buffalo Grove, Highland Park, Deerfield, Morton Grove, Skokie, Lake Bluff, Lake Forest and Waukegan, Illinois.
I was fortunate to be able to combine my passion for art and healing through the Master’s program in Art Therapy at the School of the Art Institute — Rush Medical School in Chicago.
Since then — for more than two decades — I have drawn on my experience as a licensed clinical professional counselor, a board certified art therapist, and a certified EMDR therapist to customize an approach for each client. I also draw on my role as a mother of three, a wife, daughter, and friend to bring empathy and understanding to every session. Whether I am teaching special needs children within the Niles Township School District, presenting parenting options to local community organizations, helping a child deal with the pervasive symptoms of OCD, or helping couples to overcome personal obstacles, there is no one fit for all. My art background is my launch pad. It’s a gateway — a non-verbal access to deep-seated emotions when talking isn’t getting to the heart of the matter. And when art isn’t the right approach, I use a combination of integrative, progressive therapies to tackle the issue at hand.
It’s never too early or too late to begin therapy. Healing paths can start at any point in your life. My mission is to steer my clients to emotional health by building their sense-of-self and confidence in how they connect to those around them. One of my greatest pleasures is a client who is ready to leave the practice using the tools that I offer. Launching you into the world is my goal. And being there, whenever you need me, is one of my main points of difference.
Whether it has been a year or several since we have met, once we connect, I offer an ongoing resource, for you and your family — by email, by phone, or in person. In the same way that you call on the family physician for medical support, I am always available, even for the briefest check-in, to help you on the journey to healing.
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When it comes to dealing with life’s challenges, there is no cookie-cutter approach. When we begin a program of therapy, each session typically last between 50 and 90 minutes. We begin with an interview that gives me important information about your needs, and we take it from there.
When the process of making art is combined with psychoanalysis you have a powerful tool for children and adults who struggle to express themselves verbally. It’s an enjoyable, soothing, and effective tool for children with cognitive delays. It helps to strengthen their self-confidence and eases anxiety. While clients are focused on their art, I am gently able to address specific psycho-emotional goals to release important thoughts, feelings, and emotions.
Young, pre-verbal children frequently express their feelings and life experiences through play. It is Nature’s instinctive, self-guided, self-healing process. Play is how children learn and it’s how they integrate developmental steps and challenges. It lets them control and explore their world from a safe position. While they focus on play, children let their guard down. They relax and begin to interact with me as a guide and playmate to resolve psychosocial difficulties. In this way I can steer their growth and development in a healthy direction.
Who doesn’t love to kick off their shoes and feel the freedom of walking on sand. As an effective therapy sand offers a hands-on, tactile experience that children are drawn to naturally. Sand exploration often prompts a story that connects their inner and outer worlds through imagination. As figures and objects are chosen and arranged, their sand tray world reflects their inner world. Through free and creative play, this inner world becomes three-dimensional, allowing me to interpret recurring themes. As I guide the child to emote, the sand’s soft and soothing texture helps to keep them in a calm, relaxed, and playful state of mind.
EMDR is known as an information processing therapy. It uses an eight-phase approach and is highly effective for clients who have suffered a traumatic or disturbing incident, causing memories of the event to be stored within the brain negatively. When elements of a trauma are locked in and unprocessed memories of that event create a sense of having to actually relive it, with thoughts, feelings, body sensations, or flashbacks.
Once we have identified the cause of a traumatic memory the goal of EMDR is to desensitize it. We use specific eye movements, sounds, and hand sensors. The process helps to unlock and release deep-seated, disturbing memories and reduce the emotional charge that is attached to it. In short, we teach the brain how to reprocess specific memories. They are not forgotten but disabled, so that they no longer cause the original trauma.
EMDR therapy is designed to provide the most profound and comprehensive treatment in the shortest amount of time with minimal emotional disruption to the client.
In our digital age, with the dizzying, non-stop flow of information from smartphone, tablets, TV, computers, and so much more, the ability to unplug can offer a calming and therapeutic release from a mind on overdrive.
As a Hakomi*-trained therapist — a somatic, healing psychotherapy system — I often draw on specific mind-body techniques that help you become aware of specific feelings within your body and how your body typically reacts to them. I teach you how to recognize the physical sensation of safety and the opposite to help you cope when they are triggered. It’s a way of responding to pure emotion because deep-seated feelings don’t lie.
*The Hakomi Method of Experiential Psychotherapy, created by therapist and author, Ron Kurtz, in 1981.
Mindfulness is an effective, behavioral coping therapy, inherited from the Buddhist practice of intent focus. It is used increasingly to great effect in Western psychology to relieve stress and its mental and physical symptoms. Practicing mindfulness until it becomes second nature helps to reduce anxiety, the cause of many behavioral challenges that get in the way of daily living. Children and adults learn how to breathe correctly and slow down enough to observe the world around them in more focus, with compassion and without judgment. As they master the therapy, especially in times of tension, they acquire a powerful tool to help reduce their anxiety. I show clients the technique and encourage them to practice it as often as possible between sessions.
How it works: We begin once we have set up a relaxed environment and my client feels comfortable talking to me with their eyes closed. We work on reaching a state of mindfulness, where they can become curious without judgment. Some people see colors when they feel a certain way. It’s a physical roadmap for your emotions and when you master it, you can control how you react to anxiety, stress, and a host of other issues. Mindfulness techniques are an especially potent tool for young children.
A powerful treatment modality, children through adults hypnotherapy is an integrative psychotherapy that addresses complex trauma, anxiety disorders to smoking cessation.
To learn more, visit: heartcenteredtherapies.org
“Elena Kaiser feels like my personal angel. She’s kind, compassionate, wise, and patient, tirelessly supporting my brain to somehow magically come to terms with disabling physical and emotional pain. Though I use a variety of treatments for chronic pain from RSDS, EMDR with Elena is the cornerstone that’s pulled me from the rubble so I can rebuild my life. Thank you, Elena.”
Art is something that can be enjoyed by a person of any age. The same is true of art therapy. Children, teenagers, adults (and everyone in between) can express themselves nonverbally, through art therapy, in order to connect with themselves on a deeper level. Art therapy is calming, integrative, strength-based, fun and freeing.