Meet the Team

Your Journey, Our Passion: Meet the Dream Team Behind Your Transformation

smiling adult woman

Brittany Harder
Intake Coordinator
Your First Point of Contact

Introduction & My Unique Path:
Welcome to the DBT Center of Chicago! I'm Brittany, your dedicated intake coordinator. My journey to this role is as unique as the clients we serve. With a PhD from the University of Miami in Medical Sociology, I have a rich background that intertwines holistic health and academia. Whether lecturing at the University of Tampa or engaging in groundbreaking research, my career has been driven by a passion for understanding and improving mental wellness.

My Connection to DBT:
My introduction to Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) was deeply personal, inspired by a close connection and my own health challenges. Battling Hodgkin’s lymphoma, I discovered the power of holistic practices, mirroring the core principles of DBT. These experiences not only shaped my recovery but also deepened my commitment to supporting others on their wellness journeys. Today, as a cancer survivor and advocate for holistic health, I’m here to guide you through the first steps of your healing process at our center.

Life Beyond the Calls:
Outside of the office, my life is a vibrant tapestry of interests and activities. From the tranquility of meditation to the thrill of exploring ancient civilizations, my passions are as diverse as they are enriching. Holistic health is more than my profession; it's a lifestyle that manifests in my love for culinary arts and wellness practices. My creative energy also finds expression in podcasting, running a side business, and hosting a YouTube show. In every endeavor, I seek growth, knowledge, and a touch of magic, always eager to explore and expand my horizons.

Dr. Kate Sowder
Founder & Licensed Clinical Psychologist
DBT-Linehan Board Of Certification Certified Clinician™

The Significance of My Certification:
Hello from Chicago! As a DBT-Linehan Board Certified Clinician, I am deeply committed to the highest standards of therapy. This certification is a reflection of my dedication to providing expert, compassionate care.

Why DBT Resonates:
DBT is more than a method; it's a philosophy that deeply resonates with me, particularly its approach to handling intense emotions - an experience I personally relate to. This connection enhances my ability to empathize with and effectively treat my clients.

Exploring Life Beyond Work:
Outside the office, my life is filled with adventures and peaceful moments. I enjoy traveling, spending relaxing times with my dog and a good book, and immersing myself in horror movies. Writing is a reflective practice for me, and I cherish the time spent with family and friends. Also, I have a playful side that enjoys comedy, having tried both improv and stand-up myself.

Outside the Therapy Room:
Away from work, you might find me globetrotting, unwinding with my pup alongside a compelling book, or getting a thrill from a spine-chilling horror movie. I often turn to writing for introspection, and nothing beats the quality time I spend with family and friends. And for those seeking a lighter tidbit: comedy isn't just amusement for me—I've dabbled in both improv and stand-up!

At the Helm of Our Team:
As the founder and leader of our dynamic clinical team, I strive to uphold the highest standards of care. My extensive DBT knowledge shapes our center's compassionate and effective treatment approach.

The Journey So Far:

My journey in clinical psychology, starting with my doctoral studies at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, has been rich in insights, particularly in areas like borderline personality disorder and emotion regulation. My training in DBT from the organization founded by Dr. Marsha Linehan, along with mentorship in DBT-PE under Dr. Melanie Harned, has been crucial to my professional growth. These experiences enable me to offer unmatched care, combining academic expertise with a practical, empathetic approach.

Hannah Swenson, LCSW
Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Supervisor, and DBT Clinician

A Quick Introduction:  
Hello! I'm Hannah, deeply engaged in the fields of clinical social work and DBT, and serving as a supervisor at our center. My professional journey has spanned from crisis intervention to a specialized focus on substance use.

DBT and Me:  
I’ve always navigated intense emotions, a path that led me to the powerful world of DBT. This therapy has not only been a beacon in my own life but has also shaped my approach to helping others find balance and resilience.

More About Me:  
Beyond my clinical role, I'm a fervent advocate within the LGBTQ community, a passion that enriches my work. My leisure time is often spent with memoirs, history documentaries, and my cat, accompanied by the uplifting tunes of Broadway. These pursuits underscore my belief in the power of authentic laughter and deep connections.

Guiding Our Rising Stars:  
In my supervisory role, I am passionate about nurturing the growth of our social workers, infusing my experiences with empathy and guidance.

Tracing My Steps: 
Starting in crisis intervention and substance use, my path led me to intensive DBT training with Behavioral Tech, LLC, under the umbrella of Dr. Marsha Linehan’s methodology, and further specialization in DBT-PE for trauma care. Each step has enriched my skillset, enabling me to offer effective, compassionate therapy to those we serve.

Lena Nguyen, LCSW
Licensed Clinical Social Worker, DBT Clinician

Introducing Lena:  
Welcome! I'm Lena, a licensed clinical social worker deeply committed to broadening access to high-quality mental health care. My experience spans a diverse range of clinical settings, with a particular focus on supporting QTBIPOC individuals through intake, crisis management, and therapeutic interventions.

My Journey with DBT:  
My path to DBT was illuminated by my work with the queer and bicultural community, facing environments often lacking in validation and understanding. Motivated by the transformative potential of DBT, I immersed myself in comprehensive training to better equip these individuals to find acceptance, balance, and meaning amidst their unique challenges. My approach blends professional rigor, personal empathy, and a touch of humor to foster a supportive therapeutic environment.

Why DBT Resonates: 
Raised in a culturally Buddhist home, the tenets of acceptance, change, and non-judgment in DBT echo my core beliefs. This synergy between my upbringing and DBT empowers me with practical tools to navigate life's hurdles, enhancing my ability to connect with and support my clients.

Beyond the Therapy Room: 
My passion for social justice extends beyond individual therapy, often leading me to participate in community advocacy and political action. When I'm not advocating for change, I unwind with the immersive worlds of video games, from metroidvanias to survival horror. I find joy and mindfulness in these digital adventures, affirming that self-care and relaxation come in various forms. My life is a balance of cherished connections with others and valued moments of solitude.

Madison Adams, LCSW
Licensed Clinical Social Worker & DBT Clinician

A Glimpse into My Background:  
Hello from the center! I'm Madison, a licensed clinical social worker with a journey that has led me from residential treatment for troubled youth to adolescent programs addressing severe mood and anxiety disorders. Discovering DBT marked a significant turning point in my professional life.

Why I'm Drawn to DBT:  
My path to DBT was fueled by its life-changing impact. Having navigated my own challenges with intense emotions, I not only incorporate DBT skills in my daily life but also share these transformative tools with enthusiasm and dedication.

Life Outside the Clinic:  
Outside of the clinic, my commitment to holistic well-being extends to both mind and body. I find my balance in nature, whether it's through running, paddleboarding, hiking, or kayaking. These activities are integral to my life. Yoga is how I start each day, grounding and centering me for whatever lies ahead. Spending time with friends and family is deeply cherished and serves as a source of rejuvenation and joy.

My Professional Evolution:  
My commitment to DBT led me to comprehensive training with Behavioral Tech, LLC, inspired by the work of Dr. Marsha Linehan. This in-depth training has sharpened my abilities to deliver therapy that is not just effective but also empathetically attuned to each individual. My goal is to empower clients to manage their emotions and carve their path to wellness, drawing on both professional expertise and personal insights.

cute little dog on couch wearing a bandana around its neck


Meet Karma: Your Furry Co-Therapist:
Hello! I'm Karma, the small but mighty Dorkie (Dachshund/Yorkie mix) at the office. As your official four-legged co-therapist, I bring a unique blend of cheer and calm to our center. Expect a friendly welcome from me, but I'm also quite skilled at knowing when it’s time for you to focus on your session.

Off-Duty Fun:
Away from my therapeutic duties, I'm a professional at playtime. My favorite activity? Convincing my mom to endlessly throw my squeaky toy—it's the best game ever! My playful spirit and endless energy make every catch as exciting as the first.

Dog-BT Enthusiast
I've been part of the Dog-BT (Doggie Behavioral Therapy) team since day one, developing a keen sense for supporting our clients. My cheerful demeanor and wagging tail bring an additional layer of comfort and joy to the therapeutic environment.

So, when you're here for a visit, look out for me—I'll be ready to offer a wag, a woof, and a bit of extra happiness to brighten your day!