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About Us

Read about our Board
Read about our Staff
Read about our Therapists

Porchlight Counseling Services was started in 2004 by a group of community members who were very concerned about the high incidence of sexual assault among college students. These community members gathered together and began discussing what could be done about this problem. They partnered with a Psychologist and conducted a feasibility study to find out what college sexual assault survivors most needed. They also formed a small Board of Directors and became a 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation. Once the feasibility study was completed, it was clear that many college students did not seek out the services they needed. Why? The students feared that their peers would see them going into the college counseling office and might start asking questions. Thus the shame they felt about what happened to them kept them from seeking the very services that could ease their pain. It was then decided that Porchlight Counseling Services would offer off-campus advocacy and services to this underserved population.

Anne Bent of Lake Bluff, Illinois, is the founder of Porchlight Counseling Services. Ms. Bent was introduced to the topic of college sexual assault when she took her youngest child off to college. The university that she visited talked openly about rape on campus. Anne, a Chaplain, started asking her friends in the field about this topic, read a lot, attended national conferences, sought guidance from the Institute for Clinical Social Work in Chicago and met with staff, Deans and other university officials in the Chicago area to learn more about the scope of sexual assault. She was appalled to learn about the great scope of this problem and the devastating and lifelong affects that it can have on a young person. However, she was uplifted to hear about the great amount of healing that can happen via counseling and other supportive services.


Board of Directors

Founder/President: Anne Bent

Vice President: Frank Massolini

Treasurer: Kathleen Christy, CPA

Members: Kelly Frey Siddiqui, Rosanna Gomez, Yolaine Dauphin, Ameet Patil


Staff

Diana Newton, Executive Director
Diana Newton has a background in non-profit fundraising, journalism and public relations. Diana is committed to raising awareness about the epidemic of sexual assault on college campuses. Through her work in the non-profit sector, Diana has witnessed the devastating effects of violence. However, she also has been privileged to know many courageous people who have demonstrated that healing is possible after trauma, especially with the support, guidance and love of community.


Therapists

Mary Beth Ryan


Kate Giandonato


Denise Duval, Ph.D
Denise Duval is a psychotherapist with over thirteen years experience working with young adults and college students concerning issues such as surviving violence and trauma, self-care, relationships, and substance abuse. She received her Ph.D. from the Institute for Clinical Social Work. Her dissertation examined the experiences, relationships, and needs of homeless young adults. She earned her Masters of Social Work degree with a Mental Health Concentration from the Jane Addams College of Social Work at the University of Illinois.

Denise teaches social work and child development classes at a graduate program that is offered through a partnership of the Erickson Institute and Loyola University. She has written articles on the neurological effects of exposure to violence and has conducted numerous studies and training seminars for therapists such as "Therapist's Lifeline: The importance of Consultation when Treating Trauma" along with Gail DeLyser. She is currently working on several publications including, "Understanding and Treating Young Women Survivors of Sexual Assault: Self Psychology and Relational Perspectives". She also worked as a therapist at the Chicago Women's Health Center providing individual therapy to women addressing mood disorders, interpersonal relationships, career, and other life issues.

"I think it is important for survivors of sexual assault to know that trauma elicits a sometimes overwhelming number of memories, feelings, and beliefs about the self. In order to not only deal with the trauma of sexual assault but experience a sense of wholeness and self understanding, longer-term treatment in a safe, consistent, empathetic environment with someone who can guide them through the self exploration process is highly beneficial."
-Denise Duval, PhD, LCSW

Maria Nanos, Ph.D.
Maria Nanos has twenty years experience as a psychotherapist working with children and adults concerning issues such as sexual abuse, sexual assault, intimacy problems, trauma, and substance abuse. She recently earned her Ph.D. at the Institute for Clinical Social Work. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and earned her Masters of Social Work degree from the Jane Addams College of Social Work at the University of Illinois.

Maria's experience includes clinical supervision of psychologists and social workers at several different programs. She has been a visiting lecturer at the Jane Addams College of Social Work on numerous occasions. She is also an adjunct professort at Loyola University. She has conducted many training seminars on topics such as child sexual abuse and therapeutic approaches to treating children with sexual behavior problems.

Maria's approach to therapy is to provide a safe, trusting, and empathetic environment for non-intrusive therapy.

"Everyone deserves to be happy. Everyone deserves to feel well."
-Maria Nanos, LCSW

Bernadette Hayes
Bernadette Hayes is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor who provides therapy to individuals and families. In her practice, Bernadette focuses on early attachment, anxiety, sexual assault/ abuse, incest, grief/loss, life transitions, and relationship issues. She received her Masters degree in Counseling and Human Services from DePaul University and received additional training in Domestic Violence through the Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women's Network.

Bernadette views the therapeutic space as an environment that offers clients a safe haven and the opportunity to make discoveries, find hope, develop self-awareness, and gain clarity through exploration. "I support clients in recognizing their inner voice as they discover their strengths, gain insight into self-defeating patterns, and work toward self-acceptance."

Bernadette trusts her clients' pace in the healing process and respects their choices in the therapeutic setting while bringing her experience to guide each session. Bernadette works with clients in guiding them to explore how they create meaning from their personal experiences to help them each find their own answers. Bernadette believes each individual has the internal resources and the ability to live a fulfilling and authentic life.

"At different points in our lives, many of us find ourselves "stuck." I collaborate with clients to help them identify barriers that keep them stuck and together we work to transition beyond them. It is possible to move forward and toward our greater potential."
–Bernadette Hayes, LCPC

Gina Shropshire
Gina Shropshire is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist in private practice in the Loop and Rogers Park. She is a licensed clinical social worker and a candidate at the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis. She is also an advanced doctoral student at the Institute for Clinical Social Work and an instructor in ICSW’s PhD program. One of Gina’s specialties is helping young people navigate the passage between youth and adulthood.



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