Location: Lakeview, Lincolnwood, Northbrook
Specialization: Adolescents, Couples, Assessments

David Rakofsky, Psy.D.

President

Dr. David Rakofsky, President of Wellington Counseling Group and licensed clinical psychologist, has extensive experience working with depression, anxiety, relationship struggles, and communication issues in traditional and non-traditional households. He frequently facilitates a weekly men’s group helping men at a mid-life crossroads work through career development and maintaining healthy relationships. Dr. Rakofsky has been in private practice since 2005 and served in a number of leadership roles for both public and private mental health agencies.

He’s most honored to be involved in the daily training of the next generation of psychologists and Master’s level psychotherapists, and has consulted within many varied segments of the community, including law enforcement, academia, and immigration and civil rights law. Dr. Rakofsky holds a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology, Chicago and a Master’s in Adult Clinical Psychology from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville. He is also a proud alumnus of Syracuse University, where he earned a Bachelor's degree in psychology and religion.

When he is not working, he enjoys the arts, films, playing and performing music, cycling, and spending time with his children.

 

Location: Lakeview, Lincolnwood
Specialization: Couples

Brandon Arbuckle, LMFT

Psychotherapist

Brandon Arbuckle is a licensed marriage and family therapist with more than two decades of experience in private practice. His primary focus is working with couples on conflict resolution and emotional dysregulation between partners. With a background in the intersection of neuroscience and change in couples, Brandon understands how the body responds to trauma and emotional distress as well as the effect this can have on the lives of those in intimate relationships. He works to help couples develop greater and more secure emotional connections, as well as identify opportunities for growth in their relationships.

Brandon is a certified facilitator of Prepare/Enrich™, as well as a supervisor approved by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. He regularly supervises and consults with those seeking to become an LMFT in Illinois. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Pastoral Theology, Personality and Culture with a focus in Neuroscience at Garrett Seminary on the campus of Northwestern University.

In his free time, Brandon enjoys movies, art, baseball, hiking, camping, and exploring the varied cuisine offered by the world’s most delightful city: Chicago.

 

Location: Lakeview
Specialization: Children, Adolescents, Couples

Sophia Burke, LCPC

Psychotherapist

Sophia Burke is a licensed clinical professional counselor working with adolescents, adults, and couples on a range of presenting issues. She’s worked with patients on struggles with depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and co-occurring disorders. Sophia specializes in working with patients affected by trauma and the symptoms associated with PTSD. She is trained in the therapeutic use of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), a highly researched and evidence-based approach to the treatment of PTSD.

Sophia earned her Master’s of Counseling Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology after completing her Bachelor’s degree in Cultural Studies at Columbia College, Chicago. During her studies, Sophia worked at the Center for Multicultural and Diversity Studies, where she provided consultation and support to working clinicians and students in psychology on multicultural issues and research in counseling.

In her free time, Sophia does street and documentary photography, urban sketching, and creative writing. She loves coffee, exploring new places, and cooking.

 

Location: Lakeview, Northbrook
Specialization: Children, Adolescents, Assessments

Alyson Byrne, Psy.D.

Post-doctoral Fellow

Dr. Alyson Byrne works with children, adolescents, families, and adults, offering psychological expertise throughout the lifespan. With extensive experience working with children, Dr. Byrne has helped patients navigate various challenges youths are exposed to at home and at school. Her focus areas consist of emotional and behavioral difficulties, including ASD, ADHD, difficulties with peer relationships, bullying, anxiety, depression, and adjustment issues. Dr. Byrne also works with infants and toddlers, performing developmental evaluations alongside speech and language pathologists.

Dr. Byrne is a graduate of Adler University in Chicago where she earned a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology with a Child and Adolescent emphasis and before that, a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She has extensive clinical experience in public schools, therapeutic day schools, and private schools. Dr. Byrne is also well-versed in conducting psychological, academic, and neuropsychological evaluations for children and adolescents.

In her free time, Dr. Byrne enjoys exploring the city of Chicago with her friends. She loves to try different restaurants, see live shows, travel, and spend time with her family.

 

Location: Lakeview
Specialization: Children, Adolescents

Ashley Hodges, MSW, LCSW

Psychotherapist

In Ashley’s role as a licensed clinical social worker, she works with children, families and adults through times of crisis. She also has experience working with young people who are experiencing anxiety, struggling with school, suffering from ADD or ADHD, are on the autism spectrum, have behavioral challenges, need anger management skill-building, or who suffer from lack of confidence.

She works closely with individuals, as well as small groups, to be a strong advocate and ally for every child and family she works with. Ashley is passionate about the role family function plats in a child’s social development and academic development. As a therapist, she gives children the tools to express themselves constructively and develop the confidence that enables them to be their best self.

Earning her Master’s degree in Social Work with a concentration in school social work from the University of Illinois in Chicago, Ashley began working in the school system in 2009, learning about individualized Education Plans (IEP), 504 Plans, and implementing special education services under the Disabilities Education Act. In her free time, Ashley enjoys traveling, exercising, reading, the outdoors, and spending time with family and friends.

 

Location: Lakeview
Specialization: Couples

Serena Houston, LCPC, NCC

Psychotherapist

Serena specializes in trauma, anxiety, stress management, and relaxation training. She’s spent much of her career working to understand the effects of these issues, especially as they relate to overall health. In addition to her primary specialties, Serena has extensive experience working with a number of chronic issues, including mood disorders, severe mental illness, substance abuse, anger management, relationship difficulties, and grief after loss. She believes therapy is a powerful healing tool to help a person bloom and reach their full potential. Her goal as a therapist is to help her clients slow down, stay in the present, and take in the beauty of life.

Graduating from Northern Illinois University with a BA in psychology and a minor in Art, Serena went on to work in a nursing and rehabilitation setting with adults diagnosed with chronic mental illness, as well as serving as a group facilitator in an intensive outpatient program. That experience encouraged her to pursue her MA in Clinical Professional Psychology from Roosevelt University, during which time she worked in the university’s counseling center.

In addition to working as a Licensed Professional Counselor in the group practice at WCG, Serena is also a Nationally Certified Counselor and a psychology adjunct faculty member within the City Colleges of Chicago network.

Serena loves animals, yoga, hiking, music, and travel. She’s a film and TV buff who loves surrounding herself with fun, positive people. In her free time, she enjoys spending time focusing on her painting and appreciating fine art.

 

Location: Lakeview
Specialization: Children, Adolescents, Assessments

Allison Lobel, Psy.D.

Director of Child & Adolescent Services

Dr. Allison Lobel has an extensive background working with children, adolescents, and families. She’s focused on helping children and families, with a specialty in diagnosing and treating children who are on the autism spectrum, have developmental delays, sensory and regulatory issues, ADHD, caregiver-child attachment issues, peer relational difficulties, anxiety and depression, adjustment issues, and grief and loss.

Dr. Lobel follows a developmental and relational approach to understanding and addressing the underlying difficulties people can experience throughout their lives. She believes in the adage that a family is only as happy as its unhappiest member, so she strives to support parents and help them understand their child better.

After earning her Master’s and Doctoral degrees from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology - Chicago, Dr. Lobel has gone on to shape a career both treating children, adolescents, and families as well as heading up the division at WCG that focuses on youth treatment. She currently serves with a number of agencies for children with special needs, as well as being a certified administer of the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) which serves to provide a more appropriate diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders.

In her free time, Dr. Lobel enjoys cooking, traveling, exploring Chicago, exercising and spending time with her family and friends.

 

Location: Northbrook

Paul Losoff, Psy.D.

Director of Training & Clinic Director - Northbrook

Dr. Paul Losoff works with people of all ages to treat a wide range of issues including depression, anxiety, self-esteem, identity, trauma, and relationship dynamics. In addition to a focus on psychotherapy, Dr. Losoff also teaches courses in personality assessment to Chicago-area doctoral students. He also has experience in psycho-diagnostic testing and oversees the coordination of all psychological testing and assessments within our practice.

Dr. Losoff sees psychotherapy as a creative and collaborative process during which he can help his clients set treatment goals and identify what is getting in the way of them living life to the fullest. He believes his role is to help clients navigate their path toward personal growth, self-awareness, and increased well-being.

Earning his Master's and Doctorate in clinical psychology from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology in Chicago, Dr. Losoff went on to complete his predoctoral internship at Bridge View and Challenger Day Schools. He also served as a crisis counselor in the emergency room at Northwestern Memorial Hospital where he conducted evaluations and interventions for people in extreme crisis situations, including intense anxiety, psychosis, and risk of self harm.

In his free time, Dr. Losoff enjoys biking through the city and spending time with his family.

 

Location: Northbrook
Specialization: Children, Adolescents

Aldona Marchese, MS, Ed.

Psychotherapist

Aldona Marchese is Chicago Psychoanalytic Institute-trained child and adolescent psychotherapist. She specializes in treatment of children, adolescents, and emerging adults. Aldona provides consultations and support for parents and families as they seek to enhance their parenting strategies. Aldona also provides cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for young individuals so that they can develop and maintain effective coping strategies and tools. Additionally, she is fluent in both French and Polish and brings to her practice a keen awareness and sensitivity of multicultural factors affecting many of her patients.

Aldona possesses extensive experience from both academic and clinically focused settings. She supports each child and their family through social, academic, and behavioral challenges and empowers them to gain insight into the emotional roots of their challenges. For some patients, Aldona also applies the principles of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) so that her patients can develop and maintain more effective coping strategies.

Aldona holds a Master's in Early Childhood Special Education from Dominican University and is a Board-Certified Educational Therapist. More recently, Aldona has embarked on extensive additional training in Mentalization Based Treatment at Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families and is working toward a Ph.D. at The Institute for Clinical Social Work in Chicago.

In her spare time, Aldona loves traveling and preserving nature with her husband, two active young sons, and their beloved rescue dog.

 

Location: Northbrook
Specialization: Adolescents, Couples

Ashley Plotnick, LSW

Psychotherapist

Ashley is a relationship-centered therapist who also draws upon family systems theory in her work with adults and teens. Ashley believes that the therapeutic relationship must foster a sense of warmth, authenticity, and acceptance, enabling clients to bring their full selves to the work, creating deeper awareness and a more connected, lived experience.Ashley's varied life experience has taught her that integration is essential on our journey toward wholeness. In this way, she creates safe space for people to bring the many aspects of their own selves—social, emotional, spiritual, and sexual—to the therapy process. Ashley’s extensive training in mindfulness practice enables her to hold each person’s story with compassion and to meet them with presence.

Ashley most recently earned a certificate in social emotional learning from Rutgers University. She holds masters’ degrees in Human Sexuality Education and Social Work from Widener University and is a trained Spiritual Director through the Morei Derekh program for Jewish Spiritual Direction. Ashley also earned a masters’ degree in Jewish Studies from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, where her thesis focused on mindful parenting. Her undergraduate degree is from Indiana University with a dual-major in Jewish and Religious Studies.

When not in her clinical role at WCG, Ashley is also the Director of Congregational Learning at Makom Solel Lakeside and privately offers Spiritual Direction.In her free time, Ashley enjoys reading, meditating, dancing, and most importantly, being with friends and family, including her three spirited children, rambunctious cat, and energetic dog.

 

Location: Northbrook

Eric Ornstein, LCSW

Psychotherapist

Eric works closely with clients experiencing conflict or distress. His approach is built on consistent, empathetic listening and compassionate support, helping his client identify options and prioritize goals as they find relief from pain. Eric specializes in depression, anxiety, trauma, relationship challenges, and life transitions.

Eric taps into a few key elements of the healing process - identifying strengths, finding new coping mechanisms, and bolstering resilience. All of this helps clients develop self awareness to help transform automatic behaviors into conscious deliberate choices. This methodology places a special emphasis on psychodynamic relational concepts, a framework his published articles were at the forefront of first integrating into the field of social work.

Eric earned his Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Cornell University and his Master’s degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Chicago. He currently teaches social work practice, psychopathology, and group therapy courses at a number of Chicago-based universities.

In his free time, Eric enjoys listening to a wide variety of music and is a passionate Grateful “Deadhead.” He likes to take walks with his wife and catch up with his son on the latest technology.

 

Location: Lakeview
Specialization: Adolescents, Couples

Dan Pardikes, LPC, NCC

Psychotherapist

Dan Pardikes is a licensed professional counselor whose own life was transformed by therapy. His work connects his clients with their inherent strength during warm and supportive conversations, particularly for those who may worry or feel sad often. Mr. Pardikes works with adults and late teens to help them get more out of relationships and to explore themselves, their past, and their goals. Mr. Pardikes examines the reasons behind the reasons to help organize your experience and create options. He always aspires to be a zealous defender of your confidence and a sworn enemy of your “inner-critic.”

Mr. Pardikes has worked in many settings, from community mental health settings and private practices. His native therapy-language is psychodynamic, but he incorporates an interpersonal style, a neurobiology knowledge-base, and goal-oriented elements like CBT and DBT. He is currently accepting clients for group therapy for those who learn best from each other.

Mr. Pardikes worked in the film industry for 10 years before changing tracks towards a career in the field of mental health. He graduated from Northwestern University’s counseling program at The Family Institute. He loves music and plays for fun. Mr. Pardikes appreciates the processes of artists and creatives towards deeper understanding of ourselves.

Location: Lakeview, Lincolnwood
Specialization: Children, Adolescents

Laura Perelman, LCSW

Psychotherapist

Laura works with children, adolescents, and adults who are feeling stuck in the course their life is taking. She specializes in treating depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, family discord, gender dysphoria, trauma, substance abuse, relationship issues, grief and loss, and life transitions.

Laura recognizes how challenging it can be to enter therapy and be vulnerable. This is why she works collaboratively with her clients to establish a safe place where they feel understood, supported, and encouraged to make substantive changes. Her goal is to help each person she works with nurture and appreciate their strengths whilst growing in their capacity for insight and acceptance.

Laura earned her Master's in Social Work from New York University and also achieved a Master's in Learning Sciences from Northwestern University. Her clinical internships included individual play therapy with children and psychotherapy with adults. She continuously participates in professional training and consultations to advance her education and clinical skills.

In her free time, Laura enjoys spending time with friends and family, reading, going to yoga, attending live theater, cooking, traveling, and spending as much time as possible outside.

 

Location: Lakeview
Specialization: Couples

Susan Silver, MBA, MA, LCPC

Psychotherapist

Susan works with individuals in all stages of life, helping them understand themselves better and feel more balanced, healthy, and confident. She specializes in helping people transition through periods of life, including dating, marriage, and bringing children into their lives, as well as on career changes, affairs, divorce, illness, and bereavement. Susan also has extensive experience in family advocacy, including adoption, surrogacy, learning differences, and disability.

Susan works to help clients make sense of their relationships, emotions, and view of the world. She employs a variety of different methods, sometimes combining multiple schools of thought in order to best serve her clients. She serves whatever role her clients need - a sounding board, a champion, or a supportive presence. Her goal is to create a warm, collaborative, empathetic, and genuine environment that is conducive to drawing out insight and inviting change.

Susan earned her Master's degree in Community Counseling from Argosy University in Chicago and an MBA in Organizational and Psychological Behavior from Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. Her clinical fellowships included roles in trauma, abuse, and the LGBTQI community.

In her free time, Susan is a presenter and mentor for Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project. She volunteers for a number of non-profits, while also serving as the founder of the Illinois Chapter of the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. She enjoys spending time with her family, hiking, snowshoeing, playing tennis, watching movies, and learning new languages.