Serena HoustonTreatment Specialties & Clinical Interests: My clinical interests include trauma, anxiety, stress management, and relaxation training. I have dedicated much of my career to understanding the effects of these issues, especially as it relates to overall health. For me, the most rewarding element of working with survivors of trauma is the tremendous degree of relief that can be experienced through the use of holistic practices, art, and other creative outlets that have been proven effective in the past decades of psychological science. I have discovered that when a person is in a heightened state of emotion, talk alone may not alleviate stress. A person who feels relaxed is more able to work productively on deeper issues, develop improved perspective, and achieve a sense of clarity. This often leads a person to be better equipped to function in life, which brings about an increased sense of well-being. 

In addition to my primary specialties, I have a wide range of experience working with other chronic issues such as mood disorders, severe mental illness, substance abuse, anger management, relationship difficulties, and grief. In my work with people, the first priority is to understand their experience of their struggles so that I know how to effectively help them. I can then work to help my clients understand how they would like their lives to change. This gives me the framework to know how to guide them towards the fulfilling lives that they desire.

Clinical Approach: Therapy is a powerful healing tool to help a person bloom and reach their full potential. I believe in the importance of positive relationships and utilize this to aid my clients throughout their healing journey. As a nurturing person, my goal as a therapist is to assure that my clients feel warm, cared for, supported, and understood. Humor is important to me; therefore, I try to use this element to create a light, welcoming, and nonjudgmental environment that sets the stage for insight, growth, and joy.

The most successful therapy is found within collaboration; It is a joint process of discovery and growth between therapist and client where goals are naturally developed then met over time. It’s important for me to empower clients throughout their healing process by encouraging them to voice their wants, needs, and desires, especially as it pertains to the therapeutic process. For clients who wish it, I develop highly effective relaxation sequences, personalized to the needs and experiences of each individual. 

I aim to help my clients slow down, stay in the present, and take in the beauty of life. It is important to work through the past, but dwelling on it can prevent progress towards happiness. Making good decisions for the future is essential, but controlling it too much can lead to a path of worry and anxiety. Moderation is key; therefore, I encourage clients to live by maximizing the potential of the here and now.  

Education: I graduated from Northern Illinois University with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Art. I went on to work in a nursing and rehabilitation setting with adults diagnosed with chronic mental illness. I also spent a significant amount of time working as a group facilitator in an intensive outpatient program for adults with chronic mental illness. With that life-changing experience behind me, I decided to continue pursuing my passion for helping people by earning my M.A. in Clinical Professional Psychology from Roosevelt University (Chicago). During my graduate studies and associated training, I gained extensive experience in a university counseling setting where I helped students work through relationship difficulties, grief, anxiety, trauma, depression, and adjustment concerns. I have special training in multiple relaxation techniques, as well as art. Besides working in a group practice as a Licensed Professional Counselor and Nationally Certified Counselor, I am a psychology adjunct faculty member within the City Colleges of Chicago network.

Personal Interests: I love animals, yoga, hiking, music, and travel. I am an avid film and television series enthusiast. Friends are especially important to me; therefore, I surround myself with fun, positive people. As an artist, I enjoy spending time focusing on my painting and appreciating fine art.

Services Offered