Biographies

NOVO's clinically licensed therapists and counselors are here to assist you in working through your life issues to allow you to grow, succeed, and find the JOY in life!
Vicki Alden, Ph.D., LCSW
Vicki Alden, Ph.D., LCSW

Sycamore, IL

I provide psychotherapy/counseling to individuals from 21 years of age and beyond. My specialty is working with anyone experiencing grief and loss and those dealing with life issues that make daily functioning challenging. I am part of the Novo Team on Brain Change Treatment for anyone struggling with psychological dysfunction and the Peak Performance Team for optimal performance in sports, professional and personal life. During my 30-plus years in the mental health and social service field I have had the privilege to work within family and youth service agencies, an inpatient mental health center, and three teaching hospitals.

I believe each person is a unique individual that must be treated with dignity, respect and empathic understanding. Each person's strengths need to be identified and utilized to solve problems and to achieve goals in both therapy and in daily life.

My practice is based on the holistic approach that stresses the need for mind, body, spirit to be in balance and harmony to enable each person to truly find joy in living.

Dr. Alden can be reached at (312) 305-3443 or Vicki@novocounsel.com.
Judy Thomas, LCSW
Judy Thomas, LCSW

Sycamore, IL & Hartland, WI

Judy Thomas is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) with extensive experience and success at working with adults and adolescents around the issues of depression, anxiety, ADHD/ADD, anger management, and substance abuse. She has long had an interest in understanding the biological basis of behavior, brain functioning and facilitating brain change to improve functioning. Judy offers traditional talk therapies grounded in the principles of cognitive-behavioral techniques and mindfulness as well as using neurofeedback when it would benefit.

My Interest in Neurofeedback

I first became aware of neurofeedback while researching brain-based treatments for anxiety and depression as an alternative to medication. Many individuals have difficulty taking cognitive-behavioral strategies out into the world and using them effectively. The explanation for this is frequently that these clients have less-than optimal access to their cerebral cortex (or ‘higher brain’), particularly their frontal lobes- an area in the brain responsible for executive functioning and relating to such activities as planning, judgment, emotional regulation, and memory, among others.

My experience as a practioner of meditation has taught me that conditions like anxiety and depression are not permanent, unchangeable states. Rather they are habits of the mind- and neural patterns in the brain- that become deeply entrenched.  Neurofeedback has been described as meditation on steroids, which allows me to bring the long-term benefits of meditation and mindfulness to a shorter-term clinical setting. I believe that neurofeedback can be helpful to a wide range of clients, from higher functioning individuals seeking peak performance to those who were too distressed to utilize the cognitive-behavioral strategies of talk therapy.

Judy can be reached at (773) 673-8745 or Judy@novocounsel.com         
Donna M. Rocha, M.A., CPC
Donna M. Rocha, M.A., CPC

Sycamore, IL

Donna M. Rocha is a Personal Coach trained to empower people and assist them in maximizing their skills and abilities. Ms. Rocha has a Masters degree in Counseling and Philosophy from the Institute of Pastoral Studies at Loyola University, Chicago. She has been active in the education and counseling fields for over 20 years. Ms. Rocha also has her certification as a Professional Coach from Coach Training Alliance.

You might ask what is Professional Coaching?

It is a professional service providing clients with feedback, insights, and guidance from an outside vantage point.

What Makes Coaching Unique?

Coaching is an ongoing collaborative partnership built on taking action. In this powerful alliance clients find themselves taking more effective and focused actions while creating momentum and consistency in their lives. Clients become more balanced and fulfilled as they affirm their skills and capabilities. Effective coaching motivates you to discover the clarity and balance that is within you.

Imagine creating the life you want to live.

Imagine clarifying your life values and passions.

Coaching will empower and energize you toward transformation and growth.

Donna can be reached at (630) 341-5335 or Donna@novocounsel.com
Katy DeHaven, LCSW
Katy DeHaven, LCSW

Sycamore, IL

Making the choice to seek counseling is a complicated and daunting decision, but it is worth it. Throughout therapy with me, I will aid you in finding a peaceful balance within your life once again or for the first time.  Sessions with me take place in a non-judgmental & empathic environment. 

I specialize in adolescents & young adults who sometimes feel lost or unheard. I see adult clients as well. My therapy style typically focuses on what’s not working well in your life, discussing your past and present coping skills, and figuring out ways to make life work better and feel better for you. I specialize in helping clients overcome challenges such as anxiety, depression, emotional pain, and relationship issues. I also focus on building confidence, overcoming insecurities, and stopping negative self-talk.  

Educationally, I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Family & Consumer Sciences from Eastern Illinois University. I received my Master’s Degree in Social Work from Aurora University. I have a background in forensics, sexual abuse victims, sexual abuse perpetrators, foster care, group therapy, and mental health hospital facilities.

Call Katy at (630) 418-1287 or email her Katy@novocounsel.com

Lakisha Hale, LCSW
Lakisha Hale, LCSW

Sycamore, IL

Lakisha Hale is a licensed clinical social worker with over eight years of experience working in the mental health field. Lakisha received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Jacksonville University before continuing on to obtain her Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana. Throughout her eight years working in community mental health, Lakisha has gained knowledge and experience in working with adolescents and young adults. Lakisha has extensive experience in helping her clients work through a variety of challenges including depression, anxiety, poor self-esteem, stress management, self-harming behaviors, and suicidal ideations. Lakisha also has experience working with clients who have a history of trauma.

Lakisha believes her clients are the experts of their own life and uses her role to help support, guide, and empower her clients to make positive changes and accomplish their goals. Lakisha focuses on creating a safe and nonjudgmental space in which her clients can feel comfortable speaking about their experiences and challenges. Lakisha’s therapy is rooted in client-centered perspective and she incorporates a variety of therapeutic approaches to help her clients including cognitive behavioral therapy, strength-based, and solution focused approaches.


You can contact Lakisha at 815-901-3371 or Lakisha@novocounsel.com


Tifarah Jackson
Tifarah Jackson

Intern

Are you in need of change in your life? You do not have to do it alone. Making an appointment with me is the first step to your journey to change. I am a graduate of the Community Counseling program at Northern Illinois University. I have worked in social services and education for over 15 years. I have broad experience working with couples, families, and individuals. Life sometimes has a way of shaking things up with unexpected twists and turns. I am passionate about helping individuals on their journey to stability and growth. My area of specialty is relationships. I believe that strong relationships are the foundation for a thriving life and it is important to have skills to successfully maintain healthy relationships. My goal is to help clients have passionate and connected relationships while also growing as individuals. I believe therapy can be the place where you build upon the foundation of your relationship, learn your role in the relationship and grow to enhance the relationship. You also learn how to navigate the bumps in the road as life has a way of bringing many unexpected challenges.  In doing therapy, individuals and couples have the potential for a fulfilling, connected, passionate, fun and long lasting relationship. My therapy styles are holistic, cognitive behavioral and solution focused.  I work based on best practice for the specific client(s).


In addition to my education in counseling,  I have a certificate in the Prepare/Enrich program. This is an evidence based program that uses an assessment to equip couples and families with insight and strategies to foster healthy relationships. Prepare enrich is used as a tool for Pre-marital as well as marriage counseling.


You can contact Tifarah at 815-764-4197 or email tifarah@novocounsel.com


Laura Ritchason, M.S., LPC
Laura Ritchason, M.S., LPC

Intern


When individuals experience trauma or severe life stressors, it is not uncommon for them to feel as if their lives have unraveled. My dedication is to bring healing to individuals who have experienced traumatic and stressful events. I know that no single approach is right for everyone, so I have been trained in a range of therapeutic techniques that include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Client Centered Therapy, Solution Focused and Mindfulness. Through these approaches, I am able to help my clients find healthy perceptions of themselves in order to make changes and find a more peaceful and calming place in their lives.

Opening up during counseling sessions can be difficult and sometimes scary for some, often times there can be apprehension in which individuals may feel they will be judged. I provide a safe, relaxing and compassionate atmosphere where individuals will immediately notice a calming atmosphere in which they can openly talk about difficult subjects. 

I specialize in working with adults and group dynamics that cover a range of issues, depression, anxiety, trauma, domestic violence, postpartum and other groups that provide renewed joy in one’s life.

You can contact Laura at 224-227-5684 or email her at homegirl2u2006@yahoo.com

"I am sure God guided me to NOVO."

K.L.

"I will always be grateful to NOVO."

J.H.

"I was sure my life was over. I attempted suicide. When that didn't work I decided I would just have to hang around and wait to die. I hoped that would come soon. Now with all the help I received from Dr. Alden, I can truly say life is good!"

For more information about our services, contact us today.