Staff Bios

Charley Smith, LCSW — Executive Director

As Haven’s Executive Director, Charley is responsible for ensuring that Haven provides quality, evidenced-based programs to youth and families in the community. He received his Master’s degree from the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration. He has over 15 years of experience as an administrator and therapist, including work as the Director of Outpatient Services in a large non-profit for adolescents in Chicago’s juvenile justice system.

Charley assess the evolving community needs and looks for solution-focused interventions to best meet the challenges families face today. Additionally, Charley provides therapy to youth and families at Haven.

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Katie McCarthy, LCPC, ATR-BC, CADC — Clinical Director

As Haven’s Clinical Director, Katie provides clinical supervision and training to staff and interns, as well as therapy services to families and teens. Katie received her Masters of Counseling Psychology: Art Therapy and Certificate in Substance Abuse Counseling from the Adler School of Professional Psychology in Chicago.    Katie is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, Board Certified Registered Art Therapist and Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor.   She assists with Haven’s grant-writing, marketing, program development and general oversight.  Katie brings to Haven experience providing therapy to clients with eating and mood disorders at Insight Behavioral Health Centers, supervising therapists in Chicago Public Schools, a clinical internship at Hazelden Chicago, advocacy in the domestic violence arena and experience as adjunct faculty at the Adler School of Psychology.   Katie is also a Certified Yoga Instructor.

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Nina Esshaki, LPC- Outreach Coordinator & Clinician

Nina is a Licensed Professional Counselor at Haven and coordinates outreach services at New Trier High School.  Nina received a bachelors degree in English and a masters in Marketing from Northwestern University. She then completed her masters in Community Counseling at National Louis University.  Nina is a long-time Chicagoland resident and very familiar with the community.

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Joan Madsen, LPC- Outreach Coordinator & Clinician

Joan Madsen is a Licensed Professional Counselor and coordinates outreach services at local middle schools. She completed her bachelors in Interior Design from Miami University and holds a masters in Community Counseling from National Louis University. Joan additionally has completed a certification in Spiritual Direction.

Her practice emphasizes a holistic approach to health and well-being through creative and proven therapies.  Her strengths-based work with clients includes coping with anxiety and depression, family systems, women’s issues and finding success in life transitions.

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Lauren Spehr, CCLS –  Crisis Intervention Manager & Clinician

Lauren is a therapist at Haven and the Crisis Intervention Manager. She manages the housing crisis line to preserve and stabilize families in crisis in our community.  She received her bachelors at the University of Iowa in the Child Life Program and will complete her masters in Social Work from Loyola University – Chicago in 2019.  Lauren is also a Certified Child Life Specialist.

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Ellen Switalski, AMFT  —  Outreach Coordinator & Clinician

Ellen is a Marriage and Family Therapist at Haven and provides informal counseling and support services at area schools.  Ellen graduated with a Bachelors in Psychology and Human Development & Family Studies from Michigan State University.  She then completed her Masters of Science in Marriage & Family Therapy from Northwestern University’s The Family Institute.

She seeks to support the individual on a social, emotional and cognitive level, as well as incorporate the family environment to explore their structure, narrative and beliefs in regards to their presenting problem.

Contact Ellen ::

Shalu Thakral, LCSW  — Outreach Coordinator & Clinician

Shalu is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker at Haven and provides informal counseling and support services at area schools.  Shalu graduated with a Bachelors in Psychology from John Hopkins University and a Master’s degree in Social Work from Catholic University of America. She then completed a post-graduate fellowship at the Yale Child Study Center. Shalu’s experience includes clinical work with individuals, groups and families in schools, hospitals and community-based mental health agencies.

Contact Shalu :: 

Kate Versage, MA —Clinician

Kate is an individual and family therapist at Haven.  Kate completed her Masters in Mental Health Counseling with Specialization in Expressive Arts Therapy at Lesley University.  She received her bachelors degree in graphic design from Carthage College.

Kate incorporates the creative arts in order to help others foster self-awareness, increase self-esteem, and work through social, emotional, physical, and psychological issues.  She is invested in helping her clients discover what lies beneath the surface of their emotions, and leave with the knowledge that they do not need to be professional artists, musicians, writers, or performers in order to create, grow, and heal.

Contact Kate ::


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Jeanne Kelso – Clinical Intern

Jeanne is currently working towards her Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology from Northwestern University. Jeanne’s previous clinical experience includes supporting individuals managing depression, anxiety, substance use, PTSD and sexual identity/orientation. She is inspired by her clients and their ability to continue to strengthen and grow, as they develop an understanding of who they are. She believes in the mind-body connection, and incorporates mindfulness and yoga as she finds it beneficial in the therapeutic experience.

Contact Jeanne ::



Job Openings:

At this time, there are no job openings

Our internships for the 2018-2019 academic year have been filled.