My Background

I have been working in the field of psychology since 1984. While in graduate school I worked at Lutheran General Hospital on the adult and adolescent units and was part of a team that created a new general program for the child psych unit.

In the late ‘80s and early ‘90s I worked in clinics in Englewood, Evergreen Park, and on Division Street in Chicago. Clinic days included working with gangs, individual gang members and their families, as well as supporting the staff of an HIV testing clinic and responding to clients who received a positive test result. I was also part of a team that worked out Crisis intervention initiatives for children and teens for the City of Chicago.

Headshot of Melissa Perrin
two chairs at rustic table with mountains in background

Throughout the ‘90s I worked at a Community Mental Health Center in the child and adolescent program doing individual therapy, family therapy, couple therapy, student supervision, and crisis intervention. During this time I chaired the Skokie Youth at Risk Task Force, which created some exciting and productive programs with grants, including the Violence Prevention Initiative in Skokie and the first Peer Jury Program in our area.

In 2001 I opened my private practice and worked with children, adolescents, families, and adults of all ages. About that time I also began my teaching career as an adjunct professor at the Illinois School of Professional Psychology [now known as Argosy University] teaching about Community Mental Health and Prevention. My teaching career now focuses on continuing education for clinicians through seminars and workshops. Knowledge is power and I love learning and relaying my knowledge. Visit for more information on my seminars and workshops.

Current Practice

Currently I work primarily with teens and adults, ages 15 to 99 [and beyond!]. Clients come to therapy with me to address mood disorders including trauma and PTSD, addictions, living in recovery, sex addiction, eating disorders, as well as living with major life transitions. 

Many of my clients work 12 Step programs. Others are working on Life Transitions. Both issues bring up all sorts of existential thoughts and concerns. As a result, spirituality and spiritual direction are also part of my current practice. Spirituality, in my practice, is defined as that very human need we have to connect with something that is larger than us, whether it is with a community of people or with a Supreme Being. It is almost impossible to work with Life Transitions and Addiction and Recovery issues without addressing existential needs, longings, and struggles. When we discuss spiritual issues in my office, we can discuss it in religious terms and/or simply in spiritual or existential forms. My focus is primarily on helping you understand the relationship you have with God, the Universe, Nature, Your Higher Self [you get to name it, not me] and deepening that relationship to the point that your existential needs are managed. We can also talk about spiritual matters if you do not believe in God, the Universe, Nature, etc.

Treatment strategies include but aren’t limited to:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing)
  • DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) Enhanced Therapy
  • 12 Step Enhanced Therapy
  • Psychodynamic Therapy
  • Systems Approaches
  • Meditation Techniques
  • Problem Solving Strategies and Techniques
  • Assessments and Recommendations

Those of you who have walked a labyrinth know that there is no way to get lost, there are no hidden paths and the exit path is free and clear. However, the experience of walking a labyrinth is that it is full of twists and turns, some of them surprising and feeling unpredictable. Even though I have walked the labyrinth for years I am almost always surprised when I find myself heading farther from the center when I thought I was so close.

The Labyrinth is a powerful symbol for the work we do in my office. Clients often experience themselves as on a path of transition. Daily life, examined with new understanding, feels full of unexpected twists and turns. I believe strongly that there are no mistakes in our lives, but learning opportunities. We may not choose to learn a lesson or accept a new understanding. If this happens we will repeat problematic behavior again and again. If we choose to learn a lesson and accept a new awareness we move forward into unknown territory but often feel guided or unable to return to the older understanding. This is much the same experience a walker has on the labyrinth.

Botanical Garden

Many local Labyrinths are on the grounds of local churches. Please know that you do not have to belong to a church, believe in a specific set of religious tenets, or attend the church in question in order to walk a Labyrinth.

  • St. James Cathedral
  • 65 E. Huron
  • Chicago, IL. 60611
  • Westlake Hospital
  • 1225 W. Lake St.
  • Melrose Park, IL 60160
  • St. Elisabeth’s Church
  • 556 Vernon Ave.
  • Glencoe, IL 60022
  • First United Church of Oak Park
  • 848 Lake St.
  • Oak Park IL 60301
  • Mary Queen of Heaven Church
  • 426 N. West Ave.
  • Elmhurst, IL 60126
  • St. Gregory’s Church
  • Deerfield and Wilmot Rds.
  • Deerfield, IL 60015