Teresa Gregory, MAAT, LPC, ATR-P

Psychotherapist
Licensed Professional Counselor 

Art Therapist 

Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP) Practitioner

847-908-8700 x106
terrig@illuminatingyou.com

Teresa’s Specialties

  • Adjustment to Phase of Life Issues
  • Art Therapy
  • Anxiety
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
  • Depression and Mood Dysregulation
  • Family & Relational Conflict
  • Grief/Loss
  • Parenting
  • Sensory Processing/Integration Disorders
  • Spirituality
  • Trauma/PTSD

Teresa, known by friends and family as Terri, is passionate about the healing potential of art, creativity, and visual expression alongside the guided didactic dialogue in the counseling relationship. Terri’s beliefs surrounding the connection between psychology, creativity, and spirituality led her to pursue her Master of Arts in Art Therapy and become a Licensed Professional Counselor. Terri possesses a gentle, skillful approach incorporating the creative process in the counseling relationship. Over the past 10 years, she has helped individuals of all ages connect creatively with their true selves. 

As a mental health professional, Terri worked with children, adolescents, and adults in many various diverse settings. Most recently, she worked with Afghan refugees as part of Operation Allies Welcome using art therapy as a modality to process their issues of trauma, loss, and uncertainty of resettlement; an experience she describes as “extraordinary.” Her experience in both the inpatient and outpatient sector of mental health assisted her in honing her specialty of treating trauma, anxiety, depression, and ADHD with a holistic approach. 

Terri embraces an eclectic and wellness based approach to therapy, incorporating elements of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), DBT, Mindfulness, Play Therapy, visualization and a full spectrum of expressive arts to help her clients better navigate their life’s journey. She seeks to provide her clients with tasks to work on outside the counseling session to further their growth and self-awareness in-between sessions, such as journaling, meditation, and other mind/body/spirit disciplines. Terri is trained in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), which she combines with Art Therapy to help children and adolescents understand and process traumatic experiences. For adults, she understands how Adverse Childhood Experiences (high ACE scores) can negatively influence successful adult functioning and assists clients to heal so they can reach their true potential. 

Terri describes Art Therapy as using visual expression to intuitively tap into right-brain knowing—often bypassing the left-brain’s world of ego defenses. In a society that can place too much emphasis on logical and practical (left-brain) thinking, the right brain’s holistic, experimental, and playful nature is more stimulating to mental and emotional growth.  By implementing art techniques, clients are able to express themselves artistically and examine the psychological and emotional undertones in their art. With Terri’s guidance, clients can “decode” the nonverbal messages, symbols, and metaphors often found in their art, which leads to a better understanding of their own feelings and behavior so they can move on to resolve deeper issues.

 

In addition, Terri is a certified Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP) practitioner. Based on the Polyvagal Theory by Dr. Stephen Porges, the SSP helps people learn to regulate their nervous system and reduce anxiety and stress.  It is an auditory, “bottom-up” treatment that helps regulate the nervous system of those individuals who, through no fault of their own, seem stuck in “fight, flight, or freeze” behaviors. The SSP is a supplementary treatment within psychotherapy and is helpful for children, adolescents, and adults who have experienced trauma, struggle with anxiety, or have sensory processing issues. 

Terri has roots in the community and believes in the power of connecting by supporting and improving the well-being of those around her. Recently she joined other community members to form the Backyard Caucus, a grassroots anti-racism group. She is a contributing author to Stories of Race in Elmhurst, a collection of personal essays. The book is now a popular read in the community and taught at York Community High School. 

To refresh herself, Terri enjoys reading books for personal and spiritual growth. Her hobbies are painting, gardening, yoga, and nature walks. A big fan of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, Terri has been writing her “morning pages” (i.e., journaling – three pages, longhand) each morning for more than 25 years, a practice that she says helps keep her grounded.

If in-person sessions are unavailable due to COVID-19, she has extensive experience with telehealth and can determine the best session format. She understands the current climate and the need for appointment times outside of 9 am to 5 pm and thus, reserves several evening and weekend appointments to accommodate busy schedules.

Personal Quote:

“I love the symbolism of the lotus flower. The lotus plant often grows submerged in mud and darkness, yet the flower emerges each day and unfolds into the purist blossom—making it a perfect metaphor for the human condition. As we work to overcome our life’s challenges, we grow as spirits. As we change and grow, that energy creates a ripple effect, and we help others to change and grow as well. Our lives have meaning and purpose.”