• RAGO THERAPY TEAM•


Maria Rago, Ph. D.

Maria is the clinical director and founder of Rago and Associates. She has extensive experience in individual, marital, & family therapy, supervision and professional consultation. Her advice is so sought after that Maria has been quoted in the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, Oprah Magazine, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Scholastic's Science World Magazine and by the Associated Press. In March 2008 Maria was awarded, "Health Hero" for Prevention Magazine. She was also selected as "December" for their 2009 calendar (see our "Rago in the News" section). She has appeared as an expert on the 10 o'clock news for both ABC and NBC in Chicago and nationally on Fox's "Live with Brian Wilson" show. Maria is proud to sit on the Board of Directors of ANAD (Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders), where she is now the current National, Executive Vice President. Maria has also served as clinical director of the eating disorders program at Linden Oaks Hospital since 2003. She is proud to have shaped the program into a national leader, including the opening of the clinically innovative Arabella House. Maria has spoken about eating disorders, spirituality and recovery from trauma across the nation. “Shut Up, Skinny Bitches!” (2010) is her first book, encouraging readers to love food and their bodies. Her most important job is raising her 2 children, Alex and Tia.


Lisa Szudarski, L.C.S.W.

Lisa has an aggressive, direct, very supportive counseling style. Her no-nonsense and caring approach helps her clients make progress quickly. One of Lisa’s specialties is assisting boys and men with recovery from eating disorders. Lisa also specializes in the treatment of compulsive overeating. And, for people with diabetes, Lisa is well known for her expertise in helping them with their special needs and concerns. As a certified life coach, Lisa helps clients reach both their emotional and physical goals, for any problem in life they may be facing. Lisa is known for her warm, practical, problem-solving advice. When not working, Lisa is busy raising two very active boys who have given her a vast range of experience with various therapeutic issues.




Patrick Trapp, L.C.S.W.

Patrick became interested in psychology after searching for and finding his biological mother and father in 1994. He is a national speaker on adoption issues, especially the identity struggle in adolescence. Patrick is renowned for his work with children with ADHD and has worked in school and hospital settings. Patrick enjoys outpatient therapy best because he can help people of all ages understand and appreciate themselves more and help them accomplish their goals. Patrick loves comedies, rock concerts, independent films and most of all his wife and two beautiful children.


 

Gina Graham, L.C.S.W.

Gina D. Graham, LCSW received her Bachelors Degree in Physical Education and Health from the College of Charleston in South Carolina. She then went on to receive her Masters Degree in Clinical Social Work at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Gina focuses on Women's Issues such as Depression, Anxiety, Trauma, Stress Management, and Life Changes. Gina's area of clinical expertise is Eating Disorders, helping people overcome every aspect of the illness, including body image and self esteem. Gina was previously a Case Manager on the acute unit of the Eating Disorders Program at Linden Oaks Hospital. Gina's private practice work now offers individual and family counseling, focusing on core values of health, strength, courage, change, spirituality, and respect. Therapy with Gina centers on empathy, support, empowerment, and problem-solving. Gina believes in the mind-body connection and is also a certified Pilates instructor. Treatment with Gina is recovery and wholeness-focused.


Lisa Hardekoph, L.C.P. and Mira

Lisa Hardekopf is a Certified Eating Disorders Associate and sits on the board of the Illinois Chapter of the Internation Association of Eating Disorder Professionals. Lisa firmly believes in being creative in therapy and uses a variety of expressive forms of therapy to break through verbal defenses. In 2008, with the help of her horse Wings, she created "On Wings" an equine therapy program designed specifically for the needs of eating disorder clients. Lisa has a long history of running intensive group therapies and is renowned for her innovative and effective body image work. She currently offers a variety of groups including body image groups and the ever popular "Lord of the Rings" group. She is often accompanied in the office by her German Shepherd, Mira, who puts clients quickly at ease and always brings a smile. Lisa was a former college runner and coach and has a long history of riding and showing Saddlebred horses.


Dr. Maria Rago is the founder of Rago and Associates. She personally selected each therapist in her group for their clinical excellence and effectiveness, combined with their genuine warm heartedness. All therapists in the group have expertise in working with depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, self-esteem and individual and family counseling. They are well-versed in the treatment of self-injury and well known for our work with adolescents. Each therapist has extensive training and experience with the treatment of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, compulsive overeating and other eating disorders across all ages, for males and females.
The therapists at Rago and Associates provide excellent quality services and wish to make the world a better place by empowering people to reach their fullest potential and overcome obstacles in their way.


"My favorite part about Rago & Associates is that it is not just my therapist who cares about me and my recovery. I have gotten to know most of the associates, and they all genuinely want to help."

Female, 20


"My therapist, Gina, has completely changed my life. She has helped me to rise above some of the most painful experiences of my life."

Laura


"The courage that Lisa Hardekopf has portrayed in her life has been truly inspiring to me. She has shown me the light at my darkest of hours and has supported me through times that I couldn’t have handled alone."

Ari


"Dr. Rago was put on this earth to help people and she does it out of the goodness of her heart. I have never met anyone more honestly supportive."

Todd


"The entire team is always willing to help out and they care tremendously about all their clients."

Melissa

 
 


Deborah Davero, Psy. D.

Dr. Dr. Davero brings 20 years of extensive experience working with adolescents and adults struggling with anxiety and mood disorders, conduct problems, and anger management issues. Her background includes clinical and management work at Maryville Academy, Allendale Association, CPC Behavioral Health Hospital, and at the Cardinal Bernadine Cancer Center at Loyola University. Dr. Davero has her EMDR certification through the EMDR Institute and utilizes this therapeutic approach to help heal trauma victims, including sexual abuse, rape, childhood neglect and emotional abuse, and other PTSD/phobic symptoms. Dr. Davero also specializes in working to heal young women of eating disorders. Her focus is on empowerment through building a strong self-identity and challenging women to discover their hidden passions and creative strengths. In addition, she offers expertise in the areas of parent consultation and family therapy.





Jill Jacobe, L.S.W.

Jill is a passionate therapist guiding clients toward goals, setting high expectations and achieving exceptional results. Jill’s degree in Art Therapy adds a rare quality of creativity in client sessions. She is an EAGALA certified equine therapist. Jill is a nationally acclaimed speaker having presented for internationally recognized associations including: The International Eating Disorder Association for Professionals, The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, and The Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association. Drawing on her experience as a Director of a celebrated residential group home facility, she now works as a clinical therapist in unique group home. This group home is a pioneering concept, working with and developing new methods that assist women and girls with eating disorders. Jill and her husband enjoy camping, scuba diving, music, wild birds and their golden retriever.


 

Josie Miller, L.C.P.

Josie is a creative, warm and direct therapist. Her expertise in individual and family therapy allows clients to solve any issues holding them back from true happiness. In her work with eating disorders, Josie has been a creator and leader in the " Real Meals" program, where eating disorders clients prepare, serve and share a meal with the homeless. She now coordinates the homeless meals program for her entire church! Thanks to Josie, eating disorder clients are able to participate in this powerful, refreshing part of their recovery and personal growth. Josie loves to travel, especially on trips where adventure can be found. Sky diving, bungee jumping, skiing and hiking are some of her favorites, but nothing beats the adventure of her young sons.





Heather Aviles, MA, AT, LPC

While working on her B.S. degree in Psychology, Heather began using art as a form of healing negative behaviors and expressing emotions. Art can transcend unconscious obstacles and barriers in a powerful way while healing the soul. She received her M.A in Art Therapy from Southwestern College in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Heather’s form of therapy allows her clients to develop and change in the ways they wish to, Overcoming resistance and responding differently to negative feelings. Heather has a passion for working with clients struggling to overcome severe depression, anxiety, and trauma. “I believe with Art Therapy you can creatively push the negative feelings out, which then allows you to transform into the unique and beautiful person you truly are.”


 

Stephanie Ciucci, R.D., L.D.

Stephanie is an energetic dietitian who is always looking for innovative ways to help her clients. Stephanie provides guidance in all aspects of nutrition but specializes her services in eating disorders. One of Stephanie's goals as a dietitian is to help her clients understand the role nutrition plays in physical, mental and emotional health. One approach is to look into food sensitivity testing through LEAP and Signet Diagnostic and have the nutrition tailored to your specific needs. ...“Our food should be our medicine and our medicine should be our food.” – Hippocrates

Stephanie loves doing hands-on sessions of experiential dining, grocery shopping and at home cooking sessions to help build life skills that are essential for a healthy recovery. Dieting is not a part of Stephanie’s vocabulary, she feels it is more important to find a healthy lifelong approach to nutrition and exercise that meets your individual needs and desires that encompasses the lifestyle of health that you seek.

Stephanie likes to spend her time watching her young twins grow and discover the world around them. She also spends her time exercising, cooking, traveling and spending time with friends and family.

Favorite quote: “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” – Hellen Keller


 



Kendra DeFrank, L.C.P.

Kendra is an energetic and passionate therapist who specializes in the treatment of eating disorders. She believes in full recovery and utilizes a variety of techniques to help her clients heal. Kendra used to work as a therapist in the Eating Disorder Program at Linden Oaks Hospital and became well known for her effectiveness with body image and self-esteem work. She also has expertise in the resolution of depression, trauma, and family conflict. Kendra works in our New Lenox office as well as in our Naperville location. When Kendra is not doing therapy, she enjoys traveling, interior decorating, and dancing.


Lindsay Calvario, LDN, MS, RD

Lindsay is a warm, friendly, and creative dietitian. Her passion is to help clients adopt a lifelong way of eating which is comfortable, flexible, and promotes optimal health and well-being. She believes healthy eating is an important aspect of life, but only a small aspect, and works to help clients gain a balanced and healthy relationship with food. As an eating disorder specialist, Lindsay helps clients restore and maintain health in the most compassionate, non-rigid way possible. She is also an expert in childhood feeding issues and hormone-related nutrition conditions, including Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. She particularly enjoys working with children, adolescents, and athletes. She is a former collegiate cross country and track and field athlete, which gave her a clear understanding of the role a healthy diet and positive body image play in performance. In addition to individual counseling, Lindsay believes in the power of group therapy and frequently runs groups such as experiential restaurant dining, challenge foods, intuitive eating, and groups with food-related volunteering opportunities. Lindsay is involved in the running community and has recently completed her first marathon. Tropical vacations and spending time outdoors with her husband are two of her favorite pastimes.

 
 

 



Eve Miceli, Psy.D.

Dr. Miceli is a warm, caring and creative therapist who utilizes an integrative approach while working with her patients. Her ability to provide empathy and quickly establish rapport with her clients allows them to process their thoughts and feelings safely and effectively. Dr. Miceli specializes in working with issues related to eating disorders, chronic pain, coping with death and loss, physical and psychological trauma, and interpersonal concerns. She also enjoys working with self-esteem issues and in providing assertiveness training to individuals and couples. When appropriate, she utilizes Hypnotherapy in order to help patients make mental and physical changes that aid in healing. Dr. Miceli is an active member of the American Psychological Association, The American and Chicago Societies of Clinical Hypnosis, and The International Society for Traumatic Stress. In her spare time, she enjoys working on creative projects, and spending time with her husband and son.

 

Lisa Carroll, MS, RD, LDN

Lisa is a companionate, enthusiastic, and dedicated dietitian. She is committed to improving the health and well-being of her community through nutrition and positive relationships with food. Lisa specializes in eating disorders and weight management and believes in helping her clients achieve full recovery through unique learning and recovery experiences. Her interactive approach with clients helps to promote health and nutrition. Lisa strongly believes that food and nutrition play a large role in physical, mental, and emotional health and allows the individual to enjoy life to its fullest. Her goal as a dietitian is to help the client build lasting relationships with food and a positive body image. As an animal lover, Lisa enjoys playing outdoors with her dog and cooking for her family and friends.

 
 



Erin Pufunt, Life Coach

Erin’s creative approach to life coaching holds finding simplicity and fulfillment at it’s core. Her sessions are client centered and directly focus on building life skills. Erin works to instill a sense of empowerment and encouragement in her clients while helping them set goals that are clear and attainable. Clients leave life coaching sessions passionate, motivated, and excited to make positive changes in their lives. Because life coaching looks at reaching goals in all areas of a person’s life, it has proven especially successful when used by eating disorder clients in addition to the traditional eating disorder treatment team. Erin uses a variety of unique experiential activities with clients that address important issues including body image, identity, time management, social skills, budgeting, and self esteem. One of Erin’s most popular activities with clients is personal shopping, a challenge that is often very difficult for people recovering from eating disorders to face alone. Erin has also been trained in medical and legal advocacy for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence by Mutual Ground, Inc. and is a helpful consultant to individuals dealing with such issues in treatment. In addition to individual coaching, Erin co-facilitates recovery focused group therapies and is a recognized motivational speaker sought after by health care professionals, universities, and national panels.

 

Meredith Sontez, LPC, CADC

Meredith’s passion is to provide the highest quality psychotherapy, direction and guidance to individuals and families suffering with an addiction. With all of the confusing choices to make, Meredith enjoys assisting the entire family to create a safe action plan to alleviate the addiction and its underlying issues. Meredith assists her clients through psychotherapy, recovery coaching and interventions. Meredith is a board-trained interventionist, so she is able to guide her clients professionally, so they will not feel lost or alone through the process. In her free time Meredith loves to run and spend time with her husband and three beautiful children.