Carissa Van Schooten, MA, ALMFT

“Perhaps strength doesn’t reside in having never been broken, but in the courage required to grow strong in the broken places.”

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Carissa Van Schooten, MA, ALMFT

Personal Statement

I am fascinated by people’s stories, largely due to having grown up in multiple countries. In integrating our different cultures into a cohesive whole, my own family has faced challenges of communication and language as well as developing individual identities while still appreciating the value of our differences. Bringing together the challenges and opportunities of our experiences lends a richness to life.

Navigating different cultures and various challenges has convinced me of the importance and value of family. In my clinical work, I have seen the power of the family when those closest to the situation can be a support and a resource. I count it a privilege to support families as they struggle to find this type of support in each other.

Who I Serve

My work focuses on couples and families who are struggling to relate to each other. I also work with children, adolescents, and adults who are struggling with emotional regulation, grief, loss, transition, past trauma or anxiety. My work focuses especially on bringing restoration to broken relationships and negative patterns of interacting by fostering an understanding of the emotional experiences underlying our actions.

I especially enjoy working with families who are trying to navigate different cultural influences within the family. Among these, I have a heart for blended families from different cultures, or those struggling with racial identity, adoption from other cultural or racial groups, cross-cultural marriages, and military or missionary families.

Treatment Areas and Competencies

  • Adjustment and Transition issues
  • Anxiety/Depression and Emotional Regulation/Family Issues
  • Grief and Loss
  • Missionary families
  • Ministry families
  • Military families
  • Multicultural families
  • Marital/Couple relationships
  • Racial Identity
  • Trauma

Treatment Modalities and Theoretical Orientations

  • Emotionally Focused Therapy
  • Attachment Therapies
  • Family Systems
  • Narrative Therapy
  • Solution Focused
  • Expressive Therapies
  • Play Therapy

Approach to Session

I see my role primarily as that of a translator, sifting through what is being said to discover the underlying influences, and then working with the family to learn to communicate in a way that each person understands. Whenever possible, I incorporate play therapy and other expressive forms of treatment to engage the whole person. Above all, I am convinced that people make sense – if they don’t, then I simply don’t have all the pieces. I work with people to discover these pieces, their strengths as well as areas in need of growth, and to give them the tools they need to promote change in their lives.

Experience

My work with children, adolescents and families has taken many different shapes over the years. I have worked in a variety of settings including teaching English to children and adolescents in China, working with families in Tanzania and the Philippines, translating for mission teams in Germany, and helping run international summer classes and retreats. As a result of my own cultural background, I have spent a lifetime navigating cultural nuances. I have also had clinical experience working with expatriate families in Thailand, and multi-stressed families from diverse backgrounds in Carol Stream, IL.

Education

  • BA in Christian Studies and Psychology, with a minor in Music (2013) from Crown College in St. Bonifacius, MN
  • MA in Marriage and Family Therapy (2016) from Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL with additional training in Play Therapy

Licenses/Affiliations/Memberships

  • ALMFT: Associate Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
  • AAMFT: American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy
  • APT: Association for Play Therapy
  • ILAPT: Illinois Association for Play Therapy
  • TESOL – Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (2013)
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