Christine Widuger, PsyD
PsyD, Post-Doctoral Resident, she/her/hers
When choosing a career path, Christine Widuger had one motivation: to find her voice and to share it with others. Originally, she thought that meant singing and performing on stage. However, she discovered something more important: finding her voice and then helping others to find their voice too. Dr. Widuger earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Loyola University Chicago. She went on to earn her masters in counseling and doctorate in psychology from the Adler School of Professional Psychology. Her focus became advocating for populations who struggled to have their voices heard. Her attention was drawn to working with families involved in the legal system and youth populations to provide additional support and advocacy of mental health needs. She continues to work with a wide range of age groups from young children to adulthood through individual and family therapy services.
Dr. Widuger has worked in multiple settings including: private practice, outpatient clinics, partial hospitalization programs, in school services, specialized behavioral programs, and nonprofit community outreach organizations. She focused her experiences on supporting individuals with symptoms of anxiety, depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Selective Mutism, Autism Spectrum Disorder, developmental delays, learning disabilities, divorce reaction, eating disorders, self-injury, and adjustment difficulties. She primarily utilizes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Family Systems Theory in the therapy sessions.
Strength based treatment and positive psychology is the driving force behind Dr. Widuger's approach to providing therapeutic support. She believes that by focusing on a person's strengths anyone can discover their voice and achieve their goals. Therapy is designed with smaller, attainable goals to increase an individual's confidence and self-awareness as they continue moving towards greater opportunities and success. Dr. Widuger encourages each person to take a moment in the spotlight and let their unique voice be heard.
Manuel Meza, LCSW
Manuel is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who completed his master at Jane Addams College of Social Work. He believes we all have the capacity to change and grow given the appropriate tools and skills.
Manuel prioritizes creating a safe and trusting environment in which a client can work towards their goals in a comfortable, supportive setting. He uses Trauma Focused- Cognitive Behavior Therapy, motivational interviewing and family systems theory as a way to help his clients achieve their goals.
Manuel has worked with teens and young adults in a residential setting. He has experience helping others work through their depression, anxiety, trauma, and anger. He currently works with adults experiencing homelessness who have a mental health diagnosis and also conducts crisis assessments at Cook County Hospital ED.
Jessica Piña, LSW
Jessica Piña is a Licensed Social Worker with a Masters in Social Work from Lewis University. As a clinician, Jessica believes that therapy should be a process where the client works together with the therapist to gain an increase of self awareness and personal growth. She works with every client through an empathetic and strengths based perspective to create a trusting and safe environment. Every person deserves to feel seen, heard and empowered to embrace one’s self. To do so Jessica believes in utilizing a variety of treatments tailored to best fit each person’s needs and goals.
Jessica has experience working with children, adolescents and adults across different cultural backgrounds. She has experience working with a variety of mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, self harm, trauma, self esteem and family systems.
He/Him/His, Student Clinician
Jesus Javier Ruan is completing his Doctorate degree in clinical psychology at Roosevelt University. In the past year, Jesus has worked as a therapist across three schools in Chicago as part of his practicum with United Stand. Now, he is entering his diagnostic practicum at Hartgrove Hospital and working as a therapist for AMS Wellness. Jesus is under the supervision of Dr. Alicia Viera, Illinois licensed clinical psychologist.
In therapy, Jesus places an emphasis on establishing an accepting and mindful approach to treatment; while also helping clients to identify and work towards their goals. Individuals who struggle with difficult emotions often find themselves ‘stuck’ and unsatisfied. Jesus relies on his expanding knowledge of current and credible therapy approaches to provide clients the tools to live a more fulfilled life.
His clinical interests include working with adolescents and adults with a variety of struggles (Depression, anxiety, relationships, and more). Jesus’s experience with working with individuals across many cultural backgrounds and mental health difficulties have prepared him to adapt to the needs of his clients.
Alex Taheri, M.A.
Alex Taheri, M.A.
He/Him/His, Doctoral Extern
Alexander Taheri is currently completing his Doctorate degree in clinical psychology at Adler University Chicago. In the past year, Alex has completed his diagnostic practicum at a private practice specializing in neuropsychological assessment. During his time administering psychological assessment, he worked with a diverse population across the lifespan presenting with a wide array of symptomatology. Previously, Alex earned his master’s degree in psychology from Pepperdine University in California.
In therapy, Alex focuses on a strength based, humanistic approach where he fosters a safe, non-judgmental, and accepting stance when working with clients. Knowing therapy can be new territory for many individuals, he aims to meet clients where they are comfortable and embark on a collaborative journey to achieve any goals. Alex enjoys incorporating mindfulness-based interventions when appropriate in recognizing the importance of emotional regulation and the mind-body connection. Alex continuously works under the supervision of Dr. Melissa Salinas and also engages in consultation with other experienced clinicians at AMS Wellness to further develop his clinical skills.
She/Her/Hers, Doctoral Extern
Cindy Martinez is completing her Doctorate degree in clinical psychology at Adler University. Currently, Cindy is a Therapy Extern under the supervision of Dr. Salinas. Cindy has worked in multiple settings including: in school services, residential care, domestic violence shelter, and nonprofit community outreach organizations.
Cindy has experience working with children, adolescents, and adults across many cultural backgrounds and settings. Her clinical interests include working with adolescents, adults, and couples with a focus on trauma, grief, life transitions, depression, and anxiety.
Cindy’s approach to therapy is nonjudgmental, evidence-based, and tailored to each individual and the challenges they face. She feels it is essential to create an inclusive safe space for individuals to feel heard, encouraged, and accepted. Cindy works collaboratively with clients to develop resources, insights, and experiences with greater choices, flexibility, and connection to their values.
Dr. Carmen Gallegos-Barkat
Carmen Gallegos-Barkat, Psy.D.
She/Her/Hers, Clinical Psychologist
Dr. Carmen Gallegos-Barkat is a bilingual and bicultural licensed clinical psychologist who has worked with individuals from 6 months to 70 years old. She has provided an array of therapy services including dyadic, individual, family and group therapies. Her clinical focus has primarily been with the child and adolescent population, with further specialization in early childhood. She has extensive experience in treating a myriad of mental health changes through the use of a variety of therapeutic techniques while being rooted with a person-centered spirit. The core values of this theoretical framework (empathy, unconditional positive regard, and congruence) are embedded and a part of who Dr. Gallegos-Barkat is and who believes are integral components in providing a safe and healing place for one to grow.
In assessment, Dr. Gallegos-Barkat has experience conducting psychological and psycho educational evaluations for children and adolescents within outpatient and school settings. She has a passion for exploring, understanding, and helping families in their search for improving the educational and socio emotional setbacks their children face. A big component of assessment for Dr. Gallegos-Barkat is providing solid recommendations that will help these individuals above and beyond the evaluation itself.
Dr. Gallegos-Barkat received her masters and doctorate in clinical psychology from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology. She completed her internship at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles with an area focus in early childhood and her postdoctoral fellowship at Under the Rainbow at Sinai Chicago hospital.
She/Her/Hers, Doctoral Extern
Rachel Goluboff is completing her Doctorate in clinical psychology with a child and adolescent emphasis at Adler University. Currently, she is a therapy extern under the supervision of Dr. Viera. Rachel has worked with children and families in diverse environments, including preschools, elementary schools, developmental research, and community mental health with individuals ages 1 to 26.
Rachel enjoys working with clients of all ages but has a particular interest in working with children and adolescents, especially in early childhood. Her clinical interests include trauma, mood disorders, anxiety, neurodevelopmental disorders, transitions, and family conflict.
Rachel's therapeutic approach is client-centered, collaborative, and goal-oriented. Building strong connections with her clients and their families is crucial to creating a safe and supportive space for open expression. She believes in building strong connections with her clients and their families, as well as creating a safe and supportive environment for open expression. Rachel aims to support her clients and their loved ones as they learn to navigate the complicated and sometimes scary years of childhood and adolescence.
She/Her/Hers, Doctoral Extern
Bailey has a passion for working with individuals ages 0 to 21 and considers it an honor to be able to accompany them on their journey through life. She has experience working with many diverse clinical presentations including complex trauma, anxiety, depression, ADHD, autism, and substance use. Within the therapeutic setting, she takes a trauma-informed, attachment-focused approach which involves working collaboratively with clients, parents, and teachers. She provides traditional psychotherapy as well as psychological assessments, parent guidance, and family therapy.
When working with clients, Bailey aims to provide a warm and empathic space for the exploration of lived experiences through artistic expression, play, narrative work, and traditional therapeutic models. Through her numerous experiences across settings, she has come to know the intricacies that are associated with differing settings including inpatient units, substance abuse treatment facilities, and educational settings.
Through her work, she has come to appreciate the level of resiliency everyone possesses and considers it a great privilege to be able to accompany individuals throughout their life journey. Bailey strives to help my clients regain control of their lives and to come to better understand themselves within the context of their world and experiences.
Vanessa Ayala, MA.
Vanessa Ayala, M.A.
She/Her/Hers, Student Clinician
Meet Vanessa, a dedicated and empathetic third-year doctoral student in the clinical psychology program at Roosevelt University. Vanessa’s journey in psychology has been marked by remarkable experiences that have shaped her into an exceptional clinician.
Her expertise as a therapy extern at Mt. Sinai Outpatient Behavioral Health and St. Casimir Outpatient Behavioral Health clinic, affiliated with Holy Cross Hospital, deepened her understanding of therapy’s transformative potential and enriched her clinical skills by offering insights into a diverse range of human experiences. Presently, Vanessa finds herself immersed in a diagnostic practicum with Cook County Health, a role that has her working within both Stroger and Provident Hospital. This dynamic position focuses on conducting neuropsychological assessments, unraveling the intricate connections between cognitive functioning and observable behavior.
Guided by a humanistic philosophy, Vanessa’s therapeutic approach is characterized by its holistic embrace. She wholeheartedly collaborates with her clients, recognizing their innate capacity for growth, empowerment, and self-discovery. At the heart of Vanessa’s practice lies an unwavering commitment to fostering a safe and nurturing environment. She wields the tools of unconditional positive regard and empathy to create a space where clients can authentically explore their challenges.
Vanessa’s professional journey has been marked by a rich tapestry of experiences, allowing her to adeptly navigate a wide array of mental health struggles and disorders. Her clinical interests include working with diverse lifespan populations, including English and Spanish speakers. At AMS Wellness, Vanessa is under the supervision of Dr. Melissa Salinas and frequently consults with other professionals to further her clinical skills.