New Transitions

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Trent L. Culver, Psy.D., LCPC, CADC

Dr. Culver entered the mental health field after receiving his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Saint Mary’s University in 1999. At this time, he took a position as a youth counselor at the Township of Schaumburg. During employment, he went on to pursue a Master’s degree in Counseling and Organizational Psychology from the Adler School of Professional psychology, which he earned in 2005. While working at the Township of Schaumburg for ten years, he primarily worked with children and adolescents using a variety of treatment modalities, including individual and family counseling, group therapy, mentoring, informal counseling at local teen centers, as well as consultation with local high schools regarding substance abuse issues. In addition, Dr. Culver is a certified alcohol and drug counselor (CADC) and is strongly invested in providing a holistic treatment approach to this population. Most recently, Dr. Culver received his Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology in 2013.

Dr. Culver completed specialized training in therapy and diagnosis of children and adolescents in addition to his work with adults. His psychological assessment training was completed at the Counseling Diagnostic Center of Woodfield and his doctoral training internship was at New Connections Academy. While working at New Connections Academy, he provided individual and family therapy within a therapeutic day school with students diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders, ranging from Asperger’s Disorder to High Functioning Autism, who also exhibited a wide range of emotional and behavioral issues (depression, anxiety, oppositional defiant disorder, bi-polar disorder, sensory, speech and coordination problems).

Dr. Culver’s primary interests encompass working with children, adolescents and their families, and adult individual therapy. Specific areas of interest and training include working with autism spectrum disorders, anxiety related disorders, mood disorders, and addictions and substance abuse.

Dr. Culver is the founder and clinical director of New Transitions Counseling Center. He has assembled a dynamic staff that provides successful and meaningful interventions geared toward a spectrum of disorders.

Susan Richey, M.S., OTR/L

Susan is a licensed registered Occupational Therapist with experience in working with a variety of childhood disorders within the school system, clinic and home environment. Susan Richey has a Master of Science Degree in Occupational Therapy from Rush University and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from Marquette University. She holds a specialty certification from Sensory Integration International in the Evaluation and Treatment of Sensory Integration and Praxis Disorders. Susan began her work as an occupational therapist at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago’s Pediatric Unit and since then has dedicated her career to the application of sensory integration theory and practice to a variety of populations and settings. She has extensive experience in working with children with Sensory Processing Disorders, Pervasive Developmental Delays, Gifted and Twice Exceptional. Through her work in early childhood, preschool diagnostic, and elementary through high school within the Therapeutic Day School setting, Susan has gained specialized knowledge in working with children with a variety of childhood neurological and mental disabilities including Autism Spectrum Disorders, Attention Deficit Disorder, Anxiety, Childhood Schizophrenia, Tourette’s syndrome, Bipolar Disorder, and Obsessive Compulsion Disorder.

Susan is also the mother of a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder which has allowed her to gain deep understanding, empathy and knowledge in the challenges and joys of being a parent of a child with special needs. Susan has attended a vast array of special workshop and has learned many effective techniques in her quest for providing her son with the tools he needs to live a productive, happy life. Most recently, Susan has attended the Social Thinking continuing education seminars (by Michelle Garcia Winner MA, CCC-SLP) and has applied these concepts into her work and her own home life with children on the spectrum to enhance their social development and self regulation skills. She has discovered the benefits of these therapeutic interventions through watching her clients develop intrinsic motivation, self control and good feelings associated with connecting with others through play and recreation. Susan’s passion is in working with children, their families, and related school personnel in regards to the sensory processing issues and social thinking abilities which are often times an integral part of overcoming the challenges of these childhood disorders, which allow them to be the best they can be.

Anna Sponsel, M.S., LCPC, CADC, ATE

Anna began her work in the mental health field after receiving her Bachelor of Science in Family and Child Studies with at minor in Psychology from Northern Illinois University in 2003. She then successfully completed her Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy in 2005 also at Northern Illinois University.

Since 2003, Anna has worked with children, adolescents, and adults on a variety of issues including depression and anxiety, ADHD, trauma, family/marital conflict, and substance abuse. Her work has taken place in a variety of settings including OMNI Youth Services, where she spent a large portion of her clinical work specializing in gender specific issues with females, substance abuse, and individual/family counseling. Specifically, Anna has specialized training the following: parent-child relationships, marriage counseling, mood disorders, substance abuse, postpartum depression, trauma, and experiential learning.

Anna has led and developed an all female group for the last ten years, which was featured at an OMNI Youth Service’s Anniversary event hosted by Second City and featuring Jay Leno in April of 2012. She currently runs an adolescent and young adult women’s group designed to empower, teach, and transform their lives. These groups utilize therapeutic modalities such as wilderness therapy, experiential therapy, and recreational therapy.

Anna is genuine and provides meaningful and successful care to her clients. Her therapy empowers clients to learn and take control of the challenges that brought them into therapy, while providing a safe and non-judgmental environment to cultivate lasting change.

Jim Rentoulis, M.S.W., LCSW

Jim Rentoulis is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with experience in working within the school systems and private practice. Jim has a Master’s degree in School Social Work from Aurora University and obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Roosevelt University. He volunteered and worked for the Township of Schaumburg for several years providing a variety of mental health services. More specifically, he provided informal counseling at local teen centers, conducted youth outreach within local schools in the community, and facilitated a number of groups promoting positive youth development. Jim has extensive experience working Autistic Spectrum Disorders, Anxiety, Depression, Attention Deficit Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, and Obsessive Compulsion Disorder.

While at New Transitions Counseling Center, Jim provides individual, family, and group therapy to youth and adults. He currently co-leads the “Friday Night” Social Recreational Therapy Group with Dr. Culver. Jim is committed to building an effective therapeutic relationship with his clients by creating a safe nurturing environment and constructing a positive collaborative process. His specific areas of interest and training include working with autism spectrum disorders, anxiety related disorders, mood disorders, and challenging life transitions. Jim’s goal for his clients is to achieve and realize the power of their ideas, and thoughts for personal growth.

Cecily Kanter, Psy.D.

Dr. Kanter is Licensed Clinical Psychologist with extensive experience working with children, adolescents, and adults. She earned both a Master’s and Doctoral degree from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology in 2007 and holds a Bachelors of Science in Psychology and Sociology from Tulane University. Dr. Kanter has completed years of specialized training in therapy and diagnosis of children and adolescents in addition to her relentless work with adults and families. She completed her psychological assessment training at the Village of Hoffman Estates Department of Health and Human Services, later completed her Doctoral internship at New Connections Academy in 2007. At this time, she took the position of Clinical Director at New Connections Academy and provided individual and family therapy within a therapeutic day school with students diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders, ranging from Asperger’s Disorder to High Functioning Autism, who also exhibited a wide range of emotional and behavioral issues. While working a New Connections Academy, she was actively involved in supervision and providing a first-rate training experience for future psychologists.

Dr. Kanter has dedicated her career working with individuals who are diagnosed with the following: autism spectrum disorders, developmental delays, learning disabilities, anxiety related disorders, mood disorders, grief/loss, life transitions, and postpartum depression. Due to her extensive work in therapeutic day schools, Dr. Kanter collaboratively works with parents of children with Individual Education Plans (IEP) and other alternative needs in school by empowering them to advocate and obtain the best and most appropriate services afforded to their children.

Dr. Kanter provides a safe, comfortable therapeutic and nurturing environment for treatment, allowing the individual to grow and develop new strengths. She utilizes a number of strategies to engage individuals and families in treatment, including but not limited to client-center/individual centered therapy, cognitive behavioral and family therapies. She believes in and facilitates a strength-based approach to treatment, allowing the individual to develop and recognize their personal strengths. Dr. Kanter values insight from parents when providing therapy for their children and adolescents, which is evident by her successful individualized treatment plans, therapy schedules, and incentive plans.

Rebecca Irmen, M.S., LCPC, ATR-BC

Rebecca entered the field of mental health after receiving her Master’s degree from Mount Mary University in 2007. She is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor as well as a Registered Board Certified Art Therapist. She volunteered as an art therapist at the Depke Juvenile Complex Center and has worked extensively within the therapeutic school setting. Rebecca has been employed as an art therapist at New Connections Academy, a therapeutic day school for children and adolescents on the Autism Spectrum, and South Campus, a therapeutic school supporting children and adolescents with emotional and behavioral disorders. During her many years working in special education, Rebecca has provided counseling and art therapy services to individuals, facilitated many art therapy groups with children and adolescents, created public murals with the students to gain a feeling of connectedness within the community, and lead parent support groups to help introduce and incorporate expressive therapy into the home. Rebecca has experience working with Autism Spectrum Disorders, Anxiety Disorders, Mood Disorders, Oppositional Defiance Disorder, Conduct Disorder, and those enduring grief and loss. Rebecca has co-lead a Saturday morning play therapy group and a girl’s group at New Transitions, promoting social skills and the development of positive peer relationships. She firmly believes in providing a safe, non-judgmental environment while allowing her clients to identify and develop their own strengths through art-based techniques. She works from a client centered approach, which allows for the freedom to grow and expand upon the positive areas in life.