“In 1997, I received my PhD in Clinical Psychology from Northwestern University where I was trained in the use of Psychodynamic and Cognitive Behavioral therapies with adults and adolescents. Since then, I have received training in EMDR, Internal Family Systems, and yoga, all of which I incorporate into my work.”
About Jennifer Diamond
My therapeutic focus includes transitions in adolescence and adulthood, trauma, navigating divorce and post-divorce relationships, and the anxiety and distress that accompany these experiences. I also help mothers and fathers navigate the difficult job of raising children, from infancy through young adulthood, in all types of family configurations. Together, with compassion, we can understand the origins of your distress, what keeps it present in your life, and what changes need to be made to let it go.
In addition to relying on traditional talk therapies, I offer EMDR therapy, a highly effective treatment for trauma, and also draw upon mindfulness techniques that I honed during my decades of practicing and teaching yoga and meditation. I was trained in EMDR through EMDRIA, and in addition to my 200-hour yoga teacher training, I have completed and taught specialized trainings in the use of yoga for healing from trauma.
Along with in-person therapy, I offer therapy via telehealth and can do both talk therapy and EMDR by video. While my physical office is in Chicago, I am a member of PSYPACT which gives me the ability to work by telehealth as a licensed psychologist in several states. Currently that list includes AZ, CO, DE, GA, IL, MO, NE, NH, NV, OK, PA, TX, UT, & VA.
I have worked with survivors of sexual violence/trauma for the past 30 years in hospitals, yoga studios, schools, and group & private practice psychotherapy settings.
My Interest in Working with Survivors
I find working with survivors to be incredibly hopeful and inspiring as it reminds me constantly of the incredible resilience and creativity of the human spirit. I also know first hand what it means to feel trapped by the impact of a past trauma and the incredible experience of freedom that comes from compassionate help with healing.
My Approach to Trauma-Informed Care
To provide trauma-informed care is to respect and honor the wisdom of the survivor in mind and body, and to honor the creativity and resilience they have drawn upon to survive, even when that shows up as a “symptom” or behavior that is often judged as problematic. Trauma informed care understands that symptoms are often behaviors that provided the best available means possible for protecting the self, and that the goal of care is to heal the underlying wound so that behavior is no longer needed, not to rip away that behavior because it is judged as bad. Trauma-informed care also understands that trauma impacts a person’s mind/body/spirit so that healing must be holistic.
I use a combination of talk therapy, EMDR, mindfulness techniques, & guided imagery. When working with trauma survivors, my approach to all of these modalities is primarily informed by psychodynamic theory and internal family systems model.
Psychodynamic theory prompts me to look at the impact of early experiences and relationships on current experiencing and perceptions.
The Internal Family Systems model encourages me to understand that each of us has many internal parts that, in response to trauma, develop various ways of trying to protect us, even outside of our conscious control and awareness. The power of this model comes in consciously connecting with, understanding, and forming a trusting relationship with these parts.
EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing and is a psychotherapy method proven to help people recover from traumatic experiences. Unlike traditional psychotherapy, EMDR doesn’t involve dissecting the distressing events through talk therapy. Instead, EMDR works on a neurological level, stimulating your brain’s natural healing process through bilateral brain activity activated through your eyes (watching a stimulus move from left to right), your ears (listening to sound move from left to right ear), or touch (feeling a buzzer move from the left hand to the right).
How My Practice Holistically Addresses the Impacts of Sexual Violence
The modalities I work with address one or several aspects of self, including mind, body, spirit. Talk therapy (mind), yoga, meditations, pranayama (body & spirit) and EMDR (mind & body). Depending upon the interest of the client, I will also process the socio/political aspects of their experience.
Modifications for Survivors
All of my work with survivors is led by the need for their experience of safety. While we draw upon my expertise in terms of the type of work we do together, I empower my clients with a thorough understanding of this work, and assure them that they have control over the if, when, and to a large extent, how we do that work. I also provide safety by approaching my work from an Internal Family Systems perspective. This perspective recognizes that behaviors that others might call defensive or pathological are the actions of protective parts of the individual, and we take plenty of time to get to know each client’s protective parts, what they are afraid of, what they worry about, and what they need in order to feel safe before proceeding. We check in with these protective parts on an ongoing basis to make sure we are doing what we need to do, so that the client is wholly on board with the work each and every step of the way.
Additional Areas of Expertise
I have worked as a volunteer and paid professional in schools – teaching social emotional learning, meditation, and yoga to children and teens who have experienced a variety of traumas including poverty, witnessing or experiencing violence, and being ongoing survivors of racial trauma. I have done volunteer work in those same communities to improve schools and create job opportunities and job training for teenagers. I am also on the Board of Personal PAC, an organization that works to support pro-choice candidates in Illinois. I am a believer that laws deny women the right to control their own bodies, reinforce rape culture. The fact that our control over our bodies is even debatable contributes to the problem of sexual assault and violence against women.
I offer sliding-scale spots within my practice. I also take BCBS PPO insurance.