About Us

Through the Eyes of a ChildSM

We’ve seen all too often how families who are struggling can feel isolated and overwhelmed. This leads many families to feel that they will never regain control of their lives. This period of crisis can be extremely difficult but it’s also the most critical time for interventions and learning new ways to cope. Our commitment is to assist children and families during these times so that their struggles can become more manageable.

Using a unique approach called Through the Eyes of a Child℠, we strive to view the world from the child’s perspective. We also engage with parents, siblings, and, if necessary, teachers, coaches, or other people of influence in a child’s life to understand what challenges they’re experiencing. Coordinating with these important people in a child’s life gives us a deeper understanding of a child’s struggle and allows us to best help them overcome those challenges.

Our Mission

It is the mission of Individual and Family Connection to empower families to more deeply connect with one another and to assist them in maintaining that connection through difficult times. We guide caregivers to better respond to their children’s behavioral and emotional needs through providing direct service, education, advocacy, and by building strong alliances in the community. Together with their support systems, we work to promote balance and well-being for children by providing quality pediatric mental health services.

Our Team

Colleen Carraher, MSW, LSW

Colleen finds that her relationship with her clients is the most important part of her practice. She prioritizes developing genuine connections with each one, and her calm and welcoming presence continuously strengthens these relationships. Colleen creates a space for her clients to be open and honest without fear of judgment. Her inviting personality helps her engage with her clients and encourages them to practice the skills they work on together. Meeting her clients where they are at individually is critical for Colleen, as she knows every need is unique. Not only for the children, teens, and young adults she works with, but also for the families who need a little extra support. She values psychoeducation and taking the time to explore and get curious with families to learn and better understand their concerns, worries, their child’s challenges, and plan what interventions might be beneficial in achieving their goals. With every client and family, Colleen strives to help them all feel encouraged, empowered, safe, and understood.

Erin Fisher, MSW, LCSW

Erin’s passion for people is evident in the therapeutic bonds she forms with her clients. She believes that individuals of all ages are ever-changing, and growth is limitless even in the moments when it may not feel like it. It is through her empathetic and fun spirit that she connects with her clients and is able to form a safe and open environment encouraging of exploration and growth. Erin uses a variety of therapeutic approaches to create a treatment plan unique to each client that will harness their individual strengths to work toward positive growth and a positive sense of self. When working with children, Erin understands a child’s social and emotional needs and the impact environmental and relational influences have on their development. As a result, she works to provide a therapeutic process that is inclusive of the child’s family, builds on their strengths, and addresses the child’s needs on a multitude of levels.

Advice from Erin:

Yvonne Gutierrez-Villafuerte, MSW
Yvonne is an empathetic and warm provider who is committed to cultivating a nurturing environment where healthy relationships can flourish. She understands that children communicate and make sense of the world around them through play. Yvonne takes the time to understand each client’s experiences, and through a strength-based lens, she is able to build strong partnerships with children and their families to support them through challenging times. Yvonne uses a variety of evidence-based therapeutic approaches to promote growth and resilience. One of Yvonne’s strongest qualities as a therapist is her ability to support parents in feeling empowered in their ability to respond to their children’s needs and support their regulation. Every family has their own story, and Yvonne is here to help families write the next chapter.

Andrea Good, MSW, LCSW, RPT

Andrea’s calm and compassionate presence makes her approachable to children of all ages. She connects with children and families by providing a warm and nonjudgmental environment in which she validates individual experiences and instills hope that change is possible. Andrea recognizes how difficulties in behavioral and emotional health can impact all areas of life and limit one’s ability to grow. She works in collaboration with parents and teachers to meet the unique needs of each child and family system. Her therapeutic approach centers around the identified individual needs of each child and family, as well as the strengths they possess.

Kamryn Hinkle, MSW


Families that work with Kamryn will feel at ease and accepted by her patient, thoughtful manner. Kamryn feels a sense of admiration for each child, teen, and parent she works with, knowing that every story is experienced, felt, and shared distinctively. By fostering genuine bonds and creating environments filled with openness and playfulness, Kamryn aims to be a safe support for clients to build a foundation for continuous exploration and consistent empowerment. For every child she sees, she will make sure that they feel understood in a way that’s natural for them. For every parent she sees, she will ensure that they feel validated and appreciated for the dedication and love they hold for their families. Kamryn hopes to help families find that even through life’s toughest moments, a devotion to caring, connection, and consideration for one another can be one of the most powerful sources of resilience.

Kathleen Kaufmann, MSW, LCSW
Kathleen, a compassionate and insightful therapist, specializes in working with children, adolescents, parents, and families. Her expertise lies in cultivating and strengthening relationships, aiding individuals in rebuilding trust and reconnecting. As such, Kathleen is dedicated to nurturing familial bonds, making sure to focus on ways to repair fractured connections. Passionate about teaching mindfulness practices, Kathleen champions mental wellness for both children and families. Her exceptional listening skills and unwavering support enable her to swiftly identify strengths, instilling hope for growth, and encouraging clients to take advantage of tools that will enrich their self-discovery. Her approach combines warmth, optimism, and a goal to foster healing and progress.

Tess Kihm, MSW, LSW

Tess is the embodiment of warmth and connection within our team. Her unique talent lies in creating a safe and authentic space for her young clients and their families. As a certified child yoga instructor, Tess is driven by her passion for weaving mindfulness and playfulness into her therapy sessions, fostering deep connections with the children and families she serves. With her inviting demeanor and unwavering commitment to nurturing playful bonds, Tess dedicates herself to fostering an environment that promotes growth and well-being.
Kurtis Klein, MEd


Kurtis’s approach to therapy centers around spotlighting the stories in which all his clients have lived and developed. He has found that it is through play that a child’s most visceral expression of emotions comes to life. With this, he emphasizes constructing narratives and cultivating genuine connections for every family, teen, young adult, and caregiver he works with. It is vital for Kurtis to transform what he witnesses from clients into therapy sessions that are meaningful to them on a personalized level. Such values make it evident that in Kurtis’s work, he chooses to prioritize creating a space for clients that supports their vulnerability, challenges their negative thoughts and behaviors, and allows them to pursue mindfulness in a safe way.

Ritamaria Laird, MA, LCPC, NCC, RPT, Certified Theraplay Therapist and Trainer

We love having Rita’s warm, supportive presence around IFC. Even our most shy and anxious clients feel immediately at ease when they meet Rita for the first time. Rita is able to connect with some of the most ‘hard to reach’ clients by validating their struggles and taking the time to understand the unique way they view the world. She is often quick to identify her client’s strengths (even when they can’t find them for themselves) and is able to help them utilize these strengths to reach their fullest potential. Rita views therapy as a collaborative effort to create positive change and strengthen family systems and relationships.

Ritamaria also offers workshops and seminars on a variety of topics. To have Ritamaria speak with your group or school, please contact us at 773-270-0469 or [email protected].

Advice from Rita:

Morgan Marchant, MSW, LCSW


During your sessions with Morgan, you will feel supported no matter what challenges you or your child bring to the table, whether that be difficulty with understanding your neurodiversity, regulating, anxiety, depression, and more. She is deeply passionate about fostering a child’s innate ability to play freely. In her practice, Morgan creates a safe space for her clients to shed inhibitions, make mistakes, and develop crucial life skills, ultimately nurturing their resilience. Morgan’s sessions are infused with creativity and engagement, which she finds enhances the therapeutic experience. With a playful spirit and boundless curiosity, she guides each child, adolescent, and family towards growth and empowerment.

Mary Clare McGraw, MSW, LSW


Mary Clare provides therapy to her clients in a way that allows everyone to feel empowered, informed, and engaged. Sessions with her are filled with opportunities for children and teens to have fun, resolve roadblocks, discover, and continuously contribute to their unique toolbox of coping skills. Mary Clare’s understanding of individualized perspectives and positions ensures that her clients have therapeutic experiences precisely aligned with who they are and what they may carry. Clients struggling with anxiety, depression, ADHD, and other life challenges are sure to find solutions and feel supported by Mary Clare. One of the reasons Mary Clare is such an exceptional therapist for families is the lens through which she views each of her clients: as the people of tomorrow. Whether it impacts your family or the world at large, she is honored to work with clients who have the ability to create such everlasting and rewarding change.

Ruth Mills, LCSW


Ruth approaches each relationship in a collaborative, positive, and brain based way and uses an expressive, artistic, and playful approach in her work with children and families. Her creative and welcoming manner allows her to quickly connect with her clients and help them feel safe.

Julianne Neely, MSW, LCSW


As the Founder and Executive Director of IFC, Julianne is passionate about providing families in Chicago with a quality pediatric therapist who understands their child’s unique needs. She believes that each family goes through seasons of life where extra support is needed. She considers it a privilege to step into others’ struggles and challenges in order to offer a listening ear and a helping hand. She is approachable and easily establishes rapport with children and their families.

Julianne also offers workshops and seminars on parenting and pediatric mental health. To have Julianne speak with your group or school, please contact us at 773-270-0469 or [email protected].

Advice from Julianne:

Peyton Phillips, MSW


Dedicated to fostering strong therapeutic connections, Peyton recognizes the crucial role of both clients and families in a client’s growth. Ensuring individualized treatment for each client, Peyton tailors interventions to best suit their unique needs. Peyton specializes in aiding children, teens, and young adults dealing with anxiety, trauma, depression, ADHD, and more, prioritizing ongoing learning and development. She empowers families with resources beyond their counseling sessions, and she creates inclusive and supportive spaces for such collaborative efforts to enhance a family’s ability to thrive. Committed to holistic well-being, Peyton guides individuals on their unique paths to resilience and happiness, emphasizing unyielding and reliable support.
Savannah Raines, MSW


Savannah is dedicated to creating a nurturing environment where connection and collaboration are at the forefront. With a knack for making therapy fun and validating, she believes in the power of laughter and play in the healing process. Savannah’s passion lies in working closely with parents and caregivers, understanding that a strong partnership is essential for a child’s growth. She uses her client’s worldview and environments to inform her work with them, understanding how influential and regulating it can be for clients to make sense of their everyday experiences. Additionally, she uses this information to assist children, teens, young adults, and parents in identifying and overcoming distressing emotions and challenges they may encounter. Savannah has a genuine love of helping her clients flourish, and she will ensure that they are given a space to thrive and authentically discover their unique potential.
Kelsey Suglich, MA, LPC, NCC (National Certified Counselor)
When connecting with clients, Kelsey cultivates a warm and calm environment that encourages honesty and vulnerability. She has a presence that leads others to her when they need support – whether this be for clients experiencing stress in school, athletes with high anxiety, those making important decisions about college, or clients going through the process of exploring their identity. Kelsey has a natural ability to connect with  and hold a space for her clients no matter the challenges they may be facing. She works restoratively with her clients to manage big emotions and improve executive functioning skills. Kelsey empowers clients to discover their own resiliency, gain insights into themselves, their relationships, and feel comfortable enough to explore their needs, worries, and strengths. She has this special way of asking just the right questions to get any child, teenager, emerging adult, or parent to experience their lightbulb moment.
Natori Walters, MA, LPC
Natori resonates most with therapy practices that offer empathy, congruence, and unconditional positive regard. By instilling those traits into her practice she is able to offer a comfortable space for individuals to feel at ease and begin the process towards change. Natori believes it is important to meet both children and families where they are at and move at a pace beneficial to all. Natori advocates that communication is a powerful tool and that being heard opens doors to understanding with hopes of alleviating tension. Natori has an easy-going nature, which helps to create initial bonds with children and teens. This connection increases the chances for collaboration on goals throughout the time spent together.

Lauren Widaman, MSW, LSW


Clients who work with Lauren will undoubtedly feel the positive effects of her devotion to and advocacy for them. One of her most impactful qualities as a therapist is her dedication to learning. Lauren knows that there is always something new to learn about every client, and she aims to discover new research and methodologies uniquely suited for each child, teen, parent, and family. She is eager to embark on this process with caregivers, supporting them as they learn even more ways to make strong connections with their children. Families find that working with Lauren transcends traditional approaches – her inquisitive and creative personality allows her to build thoughtful, playful, and genuine relationships. Lauren also dedicates herself to strengthening community relationships. Because even though she is ready to work with clients who arrive at sessions carrying trauma, anxiety, depression, behavior challenges, and more, she also understands that her role as a therapist does not stop in her office.

Our Locations

Oak Park / River Forest

7357 W North Avenue
River Forest, IL 60305

Free parking lot


1806 N Damen Avenue
Chicago, IL 60647


Monday 1:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Tuesday 1:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Wednesday 1:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Thursday 1:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Friday 12:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Saturday 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Sunday 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

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