Child and Family Therapist Northshore New Trier Wilmette

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.

Contact Charley ::

Shalu Thakral, LCSW

Clinical Director

Shalu is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and the Clinical Director at Haven.  Shalu graduated with a Bachelors in Psychology from Johns 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 :: 

Ellen Switalski, LMFT

 Deputy Director of Program Operations 

Ellen is a Licensed 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 ::

Jimena Escurra, LCPC

Clinician & Outreach Specialist

Jimena is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor at Haven. She received her MS in community counseling from University of Wisconsin-Madison and her undergraduate degree in clinical psychology from University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. 

Prior to joining Haven, Jimena’s clinical experience includes working in community counseling agencies and school settings.  Her approach to therapy is strenght-based, drawing on existing strengths and resilience while also providing new skills to help clients navigate life transitions, healing and growing. Jimena is bilingual/bicultural in English-Spanish, utilizing culturally competent and trauma-informed therapy techniques.

Contact Jimena ::

Nina Esshaki, LCPC

Clinician & Outreach Specialist

Nina is a Licensed Clinical 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.

Contact Nina ::

Jeanne Kelso, MA, MS


Jeanne received 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 ::

Joan Madsen, LPC

Clinician & Outreach Specialist

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.

Contact Joan ::

Lauren Spehr, CCLS 

Crisis Intervention Manager & Outreach Specialist

Lauren is 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.

Contact Lauren ::

Kate Versage, MA

Intake Coordinator & Outreach Specialist

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.

Contact Kate ::


Employment Opportunities:

Haven is currently accepting applications for a Part Time Therapist position.

Interested applicants can send an updated resume to Shalu Thakral, LCSW.

Internship Experience:

Haven is currently accepting application for Bachelor level interns for Summer 2019

Interested applicants can send an updated resume and cover letter to Ellen Switalski, LMFT