Open . Honest . Accepting.
MELISSA A. NOVAK, LCSW, CST-S (she, her, hers)
Melissa Novak a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and Certified Sex Therapist-Supervisor, in Chicago, IL, specializing in the treatment of sexual dysfunction, personality disorders as well as depression and anxiety related disorders. She earned her Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Social Work from the University of Missouri-Columbia where she focused her studies on human sexuality and sexual therapy. During her master's practicum, she served as a staff therapist and sexuality educator for the South Palm Beach and Broward County Planned Parenthood clinics in South Florida. She then went on to work at North Broward Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, as a medical Social Worker, where she gained extensive experience working with those diagnosed with chronic diseases, chronic pain, and mental illness.
In 2009, Melissa moved to Chicago where she worked as a staff therapist for the Family Works program, providing group and individual psychotherapy for those in public housing. In 2011, Melissa completed a yearlong fellowship program at the Depression and Anxiety Specialty Clinic, focused on further developing skills within Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and other empirically validated approaches. She continued in private practice until launching MN Therapies in 2013. She has experience working adults, and couples on a variety of issues such as sexual dysfunction, depression, anxiety, OCD, and PTSD. Melissa has a particular interest working with those struggling with sexual dysfunction and/or concerned about some aspect of their sexual behavior. In addition to providing individual therapy, Melissa serves as an educator and supervisor within the Chicagoland community and currently teaches as an adjunct professor at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration. She serves as Secretary for the Board of Directors of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT), and is a member of the Association of Black Sexologists and Clinicians (ABSC), the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), PROS-Network Chicago, and the Society for Sex Therapy and Research (SSTAR). She has completed Levels I and II of Gottman Method Couples Therapy.
Melissa believes the therapeutic relationship is a safe place to explore, examine and assess where you are today versus where you want to be in the future. Together, you will identify the challenges that keep you from living a more satisfying life and develop concrete plans and skills to address these obstacles. Her style is always collaborative, in which you are the expert of your own experience and strengths. She is goal-oriented and takes time to review your treatment plan with you to ensure cohesiveness between her expertise in mental health and your expertise in your life. This means the sessions are focused and goals are clear.
The foundation of her approach is grounded in empirically-validated treatments, proven most effective in treating sexual concerns, anxiety and depression, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) and sexual therapy. This organized approach helps focus sessions, direct interventions and provides the structure needed to address a variety of issues clients may experience.
She is open to working with all forms of sexual expression and orientation and utilizes a sex-positive approach when working with sexual disorders. All treatment is confidential and follows ethical guidelines as defined by AASECT and NASW.
Click here to listen to a radio interview with Melissa discussing Pleasure vs Performance.
Click here to watch Melissa on Chicago’s the Jam Morning Show.
MARISSA BOHRER, MSW (she, her, hers)
Marissa Bohrer is a Master of Social Work (MSW) in Chicago, IL, passionate about working with the LGBTQIA+ population, as well as treating issues surrounding gender, sex, and sexuality. Born and raised in the Chicago area, she moved to St. Louis to complete her undergraduate degree in political science in 2014 at Washington University. She went on to graduate with her Masters in Social Work from WashU’s George Warren Brown School of Social Work in 2019. At WashU, she concentrated her coursework on the intersections of mental and sexual health. Her first practicum focused on research at Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region. Following that, she began a practicum at the Hope Clinic for Women in Granite City, IL, providing supportive counseling to people terminating their pregnancies, and was then hired on as a staff counselor at the conclusion of her practicum hours. While in school, she also worked with the on-campus Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention Center and was a member of the Brown School Sexuality and Gender Alliance.
To further hone her skills within the sexual health field, Marissa focused her coursework and research on the communities she hopes to serve, such as Social Work Practice with LGBTQ Populations, Women’s Issues in Social Work, and Sex, Society and Social Work. She has presented research on the use of kink and BDSM practices to heal from sexual trauma. She has experience working with older adolescents and adults around areas of guilt and shame, particularly as it relates to sexuality and reproduction. She is currently working towards her licensure and Certification in Sexual Therapy.
Marissa believes therapy should be a space for collaboration, exploration, and growth. She understands that taking that first step into a therapeutic setting requires enormous vulnerability, as well as a great deal of strength, and she strives to make every client feel warm and welcomed. She sees therapy as an opportunity to create the change in your life that has always been possible – even if it may not feel that way to you right now. Her style is straightforward, honest, and goal-oriented, and she believes that more often than not, there is room for humor and laughter in a therapy session.
Marissa operates from a cognitive-behavioral framework. She believes strongly in working together to create skills and resources that you can take with you to use out in the world, not just when you are in session. She is sex-positive, trauma-informed, and LGBTQIA/kink/BDSM-friendly. She is an advocate for social justice and human rights, and believes wholeheartedly in values of cultural competency, inclusion, and non-judgmental empathy.
KATIE JENSEN, LCSW (she, her, hers)
Katie Jensen is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) practicing in Chicago, IL, and anticipates earning her Sex Therapy Certification (CST) in 2019. Katie's multiple specialties include practice with both the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual (LGB) and the Trans and Gender-Nonconforming (TGNC) communities as well as people impacted by HIV. Further, Katie is experienced with treatment of sexual dysfunction, sexual trauma, and the intersections of physical health, culture, identity, and expression. Katie received her Master’s of Science in Social Work (MSW) from The University of Texas at Austin where she focused her work on the LGB/TGNC communities, specialized sex-positive care, and crisis therapy. After graduating with her Master's degree, Katie joined Howard Brown Health, one of the nation’s largest healthcare networks providing affirming care for the LGB/TGNC world. During her tenure with Howard Brown Health, Katie was able to join and eventually lead a team of Behavioral Health/Medical liaison providers skilled in providing brief, crisis-specific therapy.
Katie’s passion for studying sex and sexuality started while conducting HIV research at Providence College. Katie was fortunate to regularly interact with sex educators, therapists, and researchers who were breaking down stigma by speaking about sex and sexuality from positive, pleasure-centered spaces. Excited and buoyed by finding likeminded professional, Katie began to more intentionally strive toward her passion: providing sex therapy. Throughout her Master's program, Katie found opportunities to advocate for research and clinical focus on sexuality and the treatment of sexual dysfunction. She sees individuals struggling with a variety of issues such as concerns about sexual functioning and frequency, sexual pain, and sexual interests. Katie is currently completing her sex therapy certification with Modern Sex Therapy Institutes.
Katie believes in creating a welcoming therapeutic space that is both person-centered and affirming. She sees therapy is a space and time for you to define goals and explore new ways to address the issues you’re facing. Her services are always tailored to the individual and she works to maintain an environment that is collaborative and strengths-based. Her ultimate goals is to help you feel more comfortable and confident as you navigate the world.
Katie's expertise focuses on individuals and couple work, treating those struggling with anxiety, depression, and sexual dysfunction. She also has additional expertise in working with people of alternative and dynamic sexualities and relational expressions. She uses Cognitive Behavior Therapy as her foundational approach in which she integrates elements of trauma-informed, Humanistic, Relational/Rogerian, and Family Systems theories to provide you with the most effective, compassionate, and competent care.
Katie is an LGBTQ/BDSM/Kink-friendly therapist and completed the State of IL's 40-hour Domestic Violence Training and is experienced in providing care to people impacted by Intimate Partner Violence.
STACEY L. NADELHOFFER-SKOWRONSKI, LCSW, CST (she, her, hers)
Stacey Nadelhoffer is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) and certified sex therapist (CST) in Chicago, IL specializing in anxiety disorders, posttraumatic stress, sexual dysfunction, as well as sexual trauma, and those with identity or orientation concerns. Stacey earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Lake Forest College, her master’s degree in clinical social work from the University of Chicago, and is currently completing her doctorate degree in clinical sexology form Widener University located in Chester, PA. Her doctoral dissertation focuses on how posttraumatic stress disorder affects the sexual functioning, emotional intimacy, and relational satisfaction of veteran men and civilian women, post deployment.
Stacey has worked in private practice for approximately seven years, providing generalized therapy as well as sex therapy for individuals, couples, and families. She has experience working with sexual dysfunction and relational dissatisfaction facilitated by issues such as: performance anxiety, lack of sexual communication, codependency, difficulty with life transitions, inadequate nurturing of the relationship, highly-conflictual or conflict-avoidant couple dynamics, vulnerability fears, perfectionism, emotional numbness or insufficient emotional intimacy, ambiguous loss, genito-pelvic pain, power struggles within the relationship, sexual compulsive behaviors, a history of sexual abuse, a history of sexual shaming, commitment fears, unmet childhood needs, self deprivation, abandonment injuries, emotional reactivity, grief and loss, sexual orientation and sexual identity confusion, as well as gender dysphoria.. She has conducted various daylong seminars designed for groups of women or men who were interested in addressing sex and sexuality problems and concerns. With these seminars, Stacey provided a nonjudgmental and supportive environment to help normalize sexual issues.
Stacey is a strong believer in the therapeutic process because she feels that it can empower you to improve the quality of your life. For many people, the decision to begin therapy is scary. It takes courage to confront your pain. But by committing to and trusting the process, you can absolutely make progress. The benefits will provide you with not only a new perspective, but also the opportunity to develop a more positive and genuine sense of self. Living life as your best, most confident, and liberated self is extremely rewarding!
Her ultimate goal is to provide a nonjudgmental space and relationship that will allow you to explore your concerns. Sex therapy is not just behavior-based; rather, sexuality also encompasses our satisfaction with our relationships, our choice of partners and interactions with them, our ability to connect intimately with others, as well as sexual pleasure, self-esteem, self-image, and emotional-well being. Sex therapy is an opportunity to fully embrace yourself as a sexual being. Sexuality exists on a spectrum of varying feelings and experiences, so her approach is always individualized, exploring what sexuality means to you in order to address your goals. She is knowledgeable and experienced in the following therapies: family systems, narrative, communication, psychodynamic, attachment, schema, EMDR, and Herman’s model for sexual trauma.
Stacey uses a sex-positive approach, and LGBTQA and kink-friendly. Stacey is a member of the American Association of Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT). She has completed the basic training for Eye-Movement Desensitization Retraining (EMDR), and is continuing to receive her certification as an EMDR trained therapist. She has also completed the sixty-hour sexual assault training through Rape Victims Advocates located in Chicago. All treatment is confidential and follows ethical guidelines defined by AASECT and NASW.