Brooke Halpern, Psy.D., Licensed Psychologist
I view therapy as a tool that can help create the emotional space so a person can identify and work towards personal change and goals. I take into account that often times the path someone is attempting to carve out for their future is shaped by their past, and also a reflection of who they hope to become. I incorporate a Stages of Change model, which helps me to meet someone where they are in their change process. While some people walk into therapy knowing what they want and ready to implement changes, others are still contemplating their goals and may lack the hope that anything can change. By meeting each person where they are, I am able to tailor my approach and draw on various interventions and theories to help each person move toward their goals.
I work with adolescents, emerging adults, and adults to assist in a variety of presenting concerns, including anxiety and depression, relationship concerns, recovery from addiction, and working through experiences of trauma, grief and loss. Listed below are some additional areas of interest.
Survivors of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE)
Experiences in childhood and adolescence can have meaningful and profound impacts throughout one’s entire life. When children are exposed to adverse incidents, such as abuse, assault and neglect, it can have a long lasting impact that radiates to areas of one’s life that do not appear directly linked to the original experience. Some areas that may be impacted include interpersonal relationships, difficulty with trust, a sense of guilt, challenges accessing emotions or challenges in containing emotions. Together, using a trauma-informed approach, we can work on strategies and skills to deal with challenges in the present and increase resiliency. For some, there is a desire to explore experiences in the past and make connections to the present, while for others there is a desire to focus on skills that will help in the present and future. I respect each person’s autonomy and pace and encourage people to make choices that feel right and safe for them in this process.
The Taoist Philosopher Lao-Tzu said, “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” This quote reminds me of what occurs when our identity becomes challenged by life changes. Whether society dictates it as a “positive” transition such as a new relationship, parenthood, or a new job or a “negative” transition, such as a death, divorce, or loss, generally these transitions can impact each of us in complicated and profound ways. Additionally, often times our expectations and hopes of what may happen during a transition are not met by the reality of the experience. This gap between what is and what was hoped for is a felt loss that sometimes needs to be worked through. I have a particular interest in working with new parents for whom this is the case. My doctoral research dissertation was titled “On becoming a parent to a child with an unexpected medical condition: An existential-phenomenological analysis.” Witnessing the experiences of family and friends who entered parenthood with a discovery at birth that their child had a medical condition inspired this topic and my passion for working with parents.
I was born and raised in Chicago and completed my education and training in the Midwest. I received my B.A. in psychology and journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1999. Following graduation, I was torn about what career path to pursue. I ultimately chose to attend the University of Chicago Law School and graduated with my J.D. in 2003. I spent the next 6 years as a corporate litigator and legal recruiter, before I took a leap of faith and went back to school to pursue my passion in psychology. I received by M.A. in Clinical Psychology in 2011 and my Psy.D. in 2016, both from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. I completed training rotations in a variety of settings, including Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center’s Behavioral Health Services, Cook County Jail’s Sheriff’s Women’s Justice Program, DePaul University’s Counseling Services, and at a Chicago based private practice. I completed my predoctoral internship at Indiana University’s Counseling & Psychological Services where I was a part of the Sexual Assault Crisis Services (SACS) team and a SACS individual and group therapist. In my personal life, I am passionate about change and cultivating presence in each aspect of my life. My husband and I work to make the most of our free time and love live music, spending time with our dogs, being outdoors and exploring restaurants.