Amy Freier, LCPC, CST
Pronouns: She, Her, Hers
Amy Freier, LCPC, CST is an AASECT-Certified Sex Therapist, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and the owner of Spark Chicago Therapy. She has years of extensive clinical experience in relationship and sex therapy, addressing common goals including enhancing the experience of sex and sexuality, improving empathy and emotional connection in a relationship, and reducing relational conflict. She holds a special interest in helping both men and women feel empowered in their sexual selves and relationships. As an LGBTQ-, kink- and non-monogamy-affirming therapist, Ms. Freier works with individuals and couples experiencing sexual desire discrepancies, male and female sexual difficulties, genito-pelvic pain, premarital counseling, and the overall improvement and revitalization of intimacy and sexual satisfaction.
Amy freier, lcpc, cst
Owner of Spark Chicago Therapy
Ms. Freier is a certified Prepare/Enrich facilitator, allowing her to dedicate focused sessions with couples looking to prepare themselves for marriage. She also supplements her interest in female pelvic pain dysfunction by serving as the group leader of the only Pelvic Pain Support Group for women in the Chicago area.
Ms. Freier received her Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Santa Clara University, and her Masters degree in Counseling Psychology from Northwestern University. Prior to launching Spark Chicago Therapy, she was the Senior Clinical Associate at Enliven Couples Therapy for nearly a decade, where she was personally trained by Kimberly Sharky, LMFT, CST-S, along with other leading specialists in the couples and sex therapy communities across the country. She is a Professional Member of the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT), as well as the International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health (ISSWSH). Ms. Freier finds it crucial to personal and professional growth to stay up to date on the latest research in the field of sexuality and relational health.
Ms. Freier views the experience of therapy as a way for her clients to identify and challenge undesirable aspects of their lives and relationships. She believes strongly in integrating mindfulness, humor, directness and warmth in therapy, and that the most effective therapy experiences are those in which her clients feel truly seen and understood.
amy berrafato, lmft, cst
Amy Berrafato, LMFT, CST
Pronouns: She, Her, Hers
Amy Berrafato is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and AASECT-Certified Sex Therapist specializing in relationship issues with individuals and couples throughout various life stages. She guides clients toward improved communication and conflict resolution skills, enhanced understanding of values and beliefs around sex and intimacy, and a strengthened foundation of emotional resilience when navigating stress. She holds a particular interest in helping high-conflict couples stabilize, addressing family of origin dynamics, making authentic relationship decisions, and integrating spiritual and religious values into relationship work around sexuality.
Her expertise includes a wide range of issues related to anxiety, depression, and stress within dating, marital preparation, relationship ambivalence, transition to parenthood, desire discrepancy, infertility, infidelity, divorce contemplation, and grief/loss. She also enjoys working with those in the helping professions, offering support within the unique blend of personal and professional worlds.
Amy’s therapeutic approach is direct, emotion-focused, curious, and insightful. She challenges clients to prioritize their relationship goals, and holds them accountable as agents of change. She also holds a deep respect and understanding for the vulnerability required in therapy, and is honored to be a part of the process.
Amy earned her Bachelor’s degree in psychology and Spanish from Saint Louis University and her Master’s degree in marital and family therapy from the University of San Diego. Her early training included clinical work at the Department of Veterans Affairs in San Diego, with a focus on individual and couples therapy with military veterans and their families, followed by further experience working within mental health organizations providing a wide range of clinical services to adolescents, families, and adults of all ages.
In addition to her previous clinical work at Enliven Couples Therapy, Amy currently serves as Adjunct Professor in the Couple and Family Therapy program at Adler University. She is fluent in Spanish, and has extensive experience treating clients of various cultural backgrounds, including interfaith, interracial, and bicultural individuals and couples. Amy is a Clinical Fellow of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT), and a professional member of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT), and continues to expand her clinical range through ongoing commitment to personal and professional growth.
Amy Stewart, LMFT, CST
Pronouns: She, Her, Hers
Amy K. Stewart, LMFT is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and AASECT-Certified Sex Therapist with years of experience working alongside clients to cultivate their authentic sexuality and embrace healthy intimate relationships. She utilizes a very honest, open and sex-positive approach to assist clients in identifying their own unique goals, ultimately accompanying them in developing more positive and fulfilling relationships- with themselves and with partners.
Ms. Stewart practices from a deeply systemic perspective with a robustly feminist lens, regularly incorporating both humor and research into sessions. She has a special interest in empowering women to foster their own distinct relational and sexual identities. She also enjoys helping individuals and couples navigate the challenges of consensual non-monogamy,
amy stewart, lmft
ethically open and non-traditional relationships, as well as working to create a sense of equity in relationships that lean a bit more toward the conventional.
In addition to general sexual and relationship work, Ms. Stewart is adept at helping folks shift from feeling stuck in relationships. She is trained as a Level One Relational Life Therapist, a mode of therapy that focuses on joining clients through the truth and directly challenging assumptive roles and the losing strategies that couples utilize within relationships. Amy also enjoys working with clients as they transition through different phases of life and relationships. This includes offering premarital and precommitment counseling as a trained Prepare Enrich facilitator, creating space for assessing and developing skills that lay the groundwork for lasting relationships.
Ms. Stewart has been steeped in studying and working with sexuality for over two decades. Prior to obtaining her Masters Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from The Family Institute at Northwestern University, she studied Psychology, Sociology and Gender Studies at Indiana University, while also holding a research position at the world-renowned Kinsey Institute. Following graduate school, she was personally trained and mentored by Dr. Laura Berman as the primary psychotherapist at The Berman Center. Ms. Stewart then went on to run her own boutique Sex and Relationship Therapy practice for many years before joining Enliven Chicago and ultimately transitioning with the team to Spark Chicago Therapy. She is also a member of Kink and Poly Aware Chicago Therapists (KPACT) and the International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health (ISSWSH).
rachel zar, Lmft
Rachel Zar, LMFT
Pronouns: She, Her, Hers
Rachel Zar, LMFT is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who specializes in couples and sex therapy. She knows that sex and relationships can be among the most difficult topics to talk about, and she strives to create a safe, non-judgmental place for these intimate and essential conversations. Her clinical interests include intimacy issues, sexual dysfunction, dating and relationship concerns, and non-traditional relationships. For clients working on general anxiety, depression, major life transitions, or other relational issues, she offers a sex-positive and sex-inclusive approach. She is experienced in working with couples and individuals of diverse cultures and backgrounds, and she is an LGBTQ- and kink- affirmative clinician. She also has a background in dance, and enjoys working with clients in the arts.
Her integrative approach is both warm and direct; it’s both creative and based in current therapeutic and medical research. She strongly believes that the most progress comes from a good client-therapist relationship, so her style is non-judgmental and collaborative, meeting clients where they are and working with them to access their unique strengths and empower them to reach their goals.
Rachel earned her Bachelors Degree from Tufts University, and she worked for several years as a journalist, focusing on relationships, women’s health, and sexuality. She then obtained a Masters of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy from The Family Institute at Northwestern University. She holds a Certificate in Sex Education from University of Michigan’s Sexual Health Certification Program. Rachel practiced for several years at Enliven Couples Therapy in Chicago before transitioning to Spark Chicago Therapy. In addition to Spark Chicago Therapy, Rachel also provides therapy at The Center for Sexual Medicine and Menopause at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. She is a pre-clinical fellow member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) and a member of Kink & Poly Aware Chicago Therapists (KPACT).
Rebecca patterson, Msmft
Rebecca Patterson, MSMFT
Pronouns: She, Her, Hers
Rebecca Patterson, MSMFT, is a clinician specializing in marriage and family therapy, in addition to the specialized practice of sex therapy. She is dedicated to helping clients of all identities and sexual preferences rewrite the relational narratives that are no longer in alignment with their values, life stage, or desires. Her clinical interests include intimacy issues, sexual dysfunction, dating and relationship concerns, and non-traditional relationships, and her clinical approach is both collaborative and direct. Rebecca is a genuine systemic thinker, which is enhanced through cognitive behavioral techniques, mindfulness, and an emphasis on understanding her clients comprehensively, from childhood to the present.
Mindfulness is a powerful thread throughout all of Rebecca’s clinical work. She believes the body keeps the score, and prioritizes a strong mind-body connection in her clinical work. As a practitioner of traditional Ashtanga yoga for over a decade with a honed personal meditation practice, Rebecca’s use of mindfulness interventions is intentional and supported by personal training. Rebecca particularly enjoys working with clients who are healing from trauma, struggling with desire, or are experiencing anxiety and guides clients to create a more connected relationship with their full authentic selves. Similarly, Rebecca helps couples navigate mindfully consensual non-monogamy, Kink, BDSM, and other co-created and consensual relational dynamics. Rebecca encourages clients to craft their own scripts that fit their unique relational landscape, and her interventions are informed by the view that sexual expression can enhance intimacy and facilitate personal growth.
Prior to obtaining her Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy from The Family Institute at Northwestern University, she received her undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan. Her specialized training through her graduate program allowed her to provide individual and couples therapy to clients working on intimacy issues, infidelity, life transition, LGBTQ+ identity issues, sexual concerns, among myriad other concerns. In addition to her work in couples and sex therapy, Rebecca has a special interest in Mindfulness Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Rebecca has been actively involved in the field of relational and sexual health for years, working as a Teaching Assistant in the highly popular course Marriage 101 at Northwestern University, facilitating events and trainings for Esther Perel, and gaining training in Gottman Method Couples Therapy.