Staff Biographies: Training and Experience
David Fireman, MSW, LCSW, Director: In addition to directing the Center, David holds a practice grounded in Self and depth psychologies. His extensive background helping others grows out of a sincere respect for inherent individual differences, social learning, the interplay of Love and Loss throughout the life span, finding purpose and meaning, and placing value in the power of the therapeutic relationship. He is an active and involved therapist who believes that the rare combination of honesty and courage bring about lasting change. He is a proponent of pragmatic empathy, which entails working in partnership with the therapist, to understand and explain core organizing beliefs about self and others, and practicing realistic ways to both manage and transform non-productive habit patterns into compassionate and useful actions. In tandem with his client work, he also provides professional consultation services to therapists in private or agency settings. Finally, to round out his traditional training in social work and psychotherapy, David draws from his experience as a practitioner of Iyengar Yoga, Tibetan forms of meditation, and Jewish spirituality.
David is an active and sought-after workshop presenter and blogger. His work has been published in various sources. He is a graduate of Matrix Leadership Institute, Victories of the Heart, and The Center's Guided Imagery Training. He was social work lecturer at The University of Chicago and Jane Adams College of Social Work, UIC. As past president of the Transpersonal Psychology Network Chicago, David is committed to values and practices that nurture creativity, compassion, and pragmatic action.
Paul M. Martin, Assistant Director, a licensed clinical psychologist, has a genuine passion for being a psychotherapist and a deep respect for the healing process that ensues when people are able to express their feelings without fear, discomfort, or inhibition. He is also very sensitive to the traumatic experiences of hurtful relationships throughout life that continue to haunt people. By helping people move beyond these disappointments, Paul has been amazed to see how well people can make sense of what once seemed confusing and disorienting while also gaining a better understanding of how they function in relationships. Ultimately, Paul’s aim is to nurture the growth of individuals as whole people who are able to be themselves and enjoy their lives as they unfold. Paul draws heavily from his training in psychodynamic theory and psychoanalysis. To this end, he encourages dream interpretation, analysis of the unconscious, and expression of repressed emotions as avenues towards change. Paul also draws from his lifelong experiences as a musician to help people access their intuition and foster creativity in their lives.
Over the years, Paul has developed a specialization in grief counseling, particularly for individuals who lost a parent or loved one early in life. His experiences have taught him that losses in one’s past can continue to have a profound impact on one’s present functioning and happiness. Much of his work has and continues to address instances when a more recent loss triggers past, insufficiently processed feelings about an earlier loss. Paul continues to assist and support individuals in the painful, yet productive work involved in grieving multiple losses.
Paul received his Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. He has also completed a fellowship in the study of psychoanalysis through the Chicago Center for Psychoanalysis. Paul has extensive experience providing psychoanalytic psychotherapy, emotionally expressive psychotherapy, relaxation training, and couples counseling. His clinical experiences have focused on helping people who are struggling with grief, chronic depression, and feelings of loneliness or isolation from others. Paul is also enjoying teaching graduate level psychology classes at his alma mater, including lifespan development, interviewing skills, and psychotherapy coursework.
Kathryn Conway "KC" received her Masters in Social work at
Loyola University of Chicago after a 20 year career in business and a brief
career in the arts. She graduated with highest honors and was inducted into the
international Jesuit honor society, Alpha Sigma Nu. In addition to 8 years in
private practice at The Center for Grief recovery, KC's clinical experience
includes 3-1/2 years of work with homeless families at he former Dehon House, a
second stage shelter; 3 years of part-time work with individuals, groups and
families at St. Francis Hospital/Resurrection Health Care Adult and Child
Guidance Center; 2 years of consultation and work with children of the Gold Star
Families through the Chicago Police Department including completion of the
public art project and film, A Special Grief.
KC has provided clinical
supervision to professionals at Travelers and Immigrant's Aid and has provided
clinical supervision and coordinated field study to masters level students as
adjunct faculty at the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois
She is an active lay minister at St. Gertrude's Parish and
has a particular interest in women's liturgy and sacred music. She has
retained her ties to the creative community through musical performance and
writing. Her most recent work, Our Lady of Guadalupe: A Miracle Play, was
performed at St. Gertrude's on December 12th, 2003. Other publications
include: Rethinking the Needs of Homeless Families, with the Partnership to End
Homelessness; Nothing More, Nothing Less: A Proposal Toward the Establishment of
a Code of Professional Ethics and Conduct for Priests with the Association of
Chicago Priests; The Phenomenon of Burnout Among School Social Workers and the
Importance of Co-Worker Relationships; The Secular Origins of Marianism.
KC has developed specialties in traumatic loss and posttraumatic dissociative
phenomena. She is the most interested in the intersection of art, science
and spirituality in understanding people. She has post-graduate training
in Jungian psychology and is currently enrolled in advanced trauma training
through The National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children.
Allan Schnarr is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist with training in spirituality. He has been a psychotherapist
since 1983. Allan has been the Co-ordinator of the counseling internship at Claret Center since 1985. He has also taught courses on relational awareness at Loyola's Institute of Pastoral Studies (IPS) since 1983. Allan's life purpose and teaching are focused on embodied spirituality. His devotion to the sacredness of the body comes out of his own journey. Allan has been a faithful student of Yoga and Tai Chi. He has also spent fifteen years invested in a personal healing journey through Reichian bodywork. Allan thoroughly enjoys working with students and clients who have a dedication to the embodied truth of their lives. He offers workshops to help others clarify awareness, deepen understanding, and make conscious choices to claim the uniqueness and appreciate the commonality of their path. His approach to therapy is psychodynamic and experiential: he helps clients to feel and understand in the present what has been disallowed in their experience due
to past trauma. Allan works with individuals and couples. He has a wealth of experience working with anxiety, depression,
post traumatic stress, relationship difficulties, life purpose, and spiritual struggle.
Allan is currently looking for a publisher for a book entitled Emotional Discipline; Complete Your Life Purpose, an integraed understanding of emotion, relationships, and spirituality, along with exercises to support the use of feelings as vital information for making wise choices.
Mary C. Schneider is a licensed clinical psychologist with a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology. She has maintained a private practice since 1991.
Mary specialized in work with incest survivors and domestic violence victims. She worked ten years with homeless women and children in the Englewood area of Chicago; was consultant for the Lawyers Assistance Program for distressed lawyers; co-authored, “Family Violence: Effective Judicial Intervention,” a curriculum for the education of judges on domestic violence issues published by the National Association of Women Judges; counseled a man on death row in Texas the last four years of his life (cf. A Saint on Death Row, Thomas Cahill, 2009); and has conducted numerous training workshops for medical and legal groups on mental health issues. She was the recipient of the 1997 Illinois Psychological Association Humanitarian Award.
Mary’s approach is person-centered and focused on the needs and goals of the individual client. She has a background in the arts and is interested in the intersection of the emotional, physical, and spiritual to help people achieve their greatest potential and sense of well-being. Mary works with individuals and couples.
Megan Kelleher, LCSW. With a second Master's degree in English Literature in addition to her education and licensure in clinical social work, Meg is skilled in helping clients identify and then reimagine the themes and storylines of their lives. Her clinical experience spans from helping incarcerated individuals and people with criminal records in Cook County Department of Corrections build healthier and more empowered lives, to providing guidance and support to individuals with disabilities in a university setting.
Meg's overarching therapeutic objective is to help clients rediscover their potential and lead a more satisfying, self-aware existence by helping her clients to better understand and resolve past and current challenges and meet the goals that they identify. She assists clients in uncovering and changing long-standing behavior patterns in order to help them write their new life story.
Meg's areas of specialization include life transitions, loss and grief, LGBTQ issues and gender concerns, sexuality, teens and young adults, disabilities and chronic illness, eating disorders, work/career/educational challenges, spirituality, and integrative and holistic approaches to wellness. In her free time, Meg is an avid cyclist and explorer of the city who enjoys music and visual arts.
Meg Eifrig, LCPC, is a licensed clinical professional counselor working with adults, adolescents and families who struggle with issues related to grief, loss, depression and anxiety. Her therapeutic style is one that is continually mindful of her clients’ needs and strengths while creating a safe environment that promotes emotional growth, insight, and self- understanding.
Our emotional distress is often rooted in patterns of our experiences, past and present. Meg believes that the therapeutic relationship is one that helps to cultivate an understanding of those patterns and the client’s unique self–experience, by responding with empathy and genuine presence.
Meg’s intuitive connection with compassion is fundamental to her therapeutic philosophy and informs the process by which she cultivates relationship as a pathway for healing. This core philosophy lead her to pursue additional study at the Center for Loss and Life Transition in Fort Collins, Colorado, where she is completing her Certificate in Death and Grief Studies under the direction of Dr. Alan Wolfelt. Dr. Wolfelt is a nationally recognized leader in grief therapy and is best known for his model of providing an environment of compassion for mourners versus prescribing a “treatment.”
Meg’s specialties and interests include: Grief and Loss, Anxiety, Depression, Family Conflict, Family care-giver issues, and Adoption. When not working, Meg enjoys listening to music, creating hand-crafted greeting cards, and taking walks with her dog.
Elizabeth M Cerven, LCPC has a profound respect for the journey we are each a part of. She is passionate about the work she does as a counselor and feels a deep sense of gratitude for those clients allowing her to walk a part of their journey with them. Elizabeth is aware of and admires the differences in others, works towards social change and promotes empowerment with the use of advocacy. Elizabeth does not feel therapeutic change can occur until the relationship between client and counselor is developed. She is a radical idealist, working towards freedom through the development of meaning and purpose. Elizabeth not only believes in the healing powers of empathy, but of admiration.
Elizabeth engages in an integrative style of therapy for the betterment of her clients. Elizabeth is passionate about the healing benefits of meditation. With a generalist background, she has had the honor of exploring her passions and feels inspired to work with those who have experienced the death of a parent, trauma and loss from having had an abortion or miscarriage, anxiety, depression, LGBTQ issues and gender concerns, development or evolvement of one’s identity, spirituality, sexuality, relaxation and meditation, adolescence and adults.
Elizabeth was previously a high school special education teacher and later obtained her masters in Clinical Counseling at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She is currently working towards her Doctorate in Philosophy of Counselor Education and Supervision at Adler University. Elizabeth relishes in time with loved ones, walks with her dog, artistic endeavours of writing, painting and photography along with quiet moments at home. She enjoys experiencing life and connects this to the experiential process within her work as a counselor.
Chris Lucia Rothman, Psy.D., Director, Emeritus; Clinical and Administrative Consultant and Board President. Chris continues her presence at The Center with quarterly on-site visits as well as regular telecommunications with Center staff and clinical consultations with clients. Chris is presently anchored in West Palm Beach, FL, where she offers clinical services to clients, and consultations to professionals and agencies. Steeped in depth psychotherapy from a Self Psychology perspective, Chris brings with her a wealth of experience from an eclectic history in the creative arts, higher education, and Buddhist philosophy and practice. With foundational beliefs in compassionate action, empathic attunement, and appreciation of differences, Chris specializes in work to relieve grief and traumatic loss, to enhance relational development in couples and individuals, to engage creative and spiritual skill development across the lifespan, and to alleviate emotional and psychological distress. Chris holds great respect for the courage of introspection and the challenge of change. She has companioned a village of women and men in their healing journeys. You may reach Chris through The Center and in Florida at 561/964-9003.
Jerry Rothman (1939-2002) was a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with his Doctorate in Educational Administration from
Northwestern University. He earned his Masters Degree in Social Work from the University of Missouri. Jerry co-founded
The Center in 1985 and served as President and Director of The Center until his unexpected death in March, 2002.
He was Past Executive Director of Comprehensive Mental Health Service for Children and Adolescents. Also past Executive
Director of a Residential Treatment Center for Teenagers. He had extensive experience in Community Organizing, and
Business Consulting and also extensive training in Hypnosis, Imagery and Meditation. Jerry was Past President of
the Transpersonal Psychology Network. Past member of many Boards of Directors including the Chicago Metro Goodwill
Industries, International Aikido Association, White Crane Wellness Center. Jerry also authored a workbook and audiotape
series on Guided Imagery and many pamphlets and articles on Grief and Loss. He is listed in Who's Who in the Midwest
and Nation as well as International Biographies.