Relationship Reality 312, 333 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 1010, Chicago, IL 60601 312-219-3399 hello@relationshipreality312.com

Our Team

Our Team

It’s not easy choosing the right therapist. We understand that. How do you know if you can trust us? What if a therapist makes things worse? You’re going to share with us your hearts, your relationships, your fears and doubts, and your hopes and dreams. It’s not easy meeting with a stranger and trusting them and what they’re going to say. We get it.

What we can tell you is that we are all passionate about our work and helping our clients. We are a team of highly skilled therapists who have gone through a lot of education, training, and experience to call ourselves experts. We continually seek out research-based trainings to make sure we are providing our clients with cutting-edge care.

We want you to work with someone who is a good fit. Some of us are gentle, some of us are direct. Some of us swear in session, some of us don’t. But one thing we can guarantee is that we’ll tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear, and be proactive in helping you achieve your goals. We won’t leave you hanging. Promise.

Hi, I’m Anita Chlipala!

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist & Founder

People often ask me how I could listen to problems all day. My response: I have a comfortable chair…just kidding. There’s nothing more rewarding than to hear my clients’ stories and to help them achieve their goals.

I founded Relationship Reality 312 to focus exclusively on romantic relationships – from getting one to maintaining one successfully. I use cutting-edge research in my work to bring you the latest information and tools to help you achieve a happy and healthy relationship. Whatever problems or issues you want addressed, I don’t just listen – I’ll teach you the skills you need so that you no longer need to see me anymore (or a twice-yearly check-in will suffice!).

I provide coaching and therapy not only in my Chicago-based office, but nationally and internationally as well. If you’re looking for a no-BS approach, contact me today.

Areas of Specialty:

Helping singles navigate dating and find love
Infidelity – emotional and physical affairs
Making the decision to stay or leave your relationship
High conflict couples

Credentials & Qualifications

  • Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
  • Author of First Comes Us: The Busy Couple’s Guide to Lasting Love
  • Emotionally Focused Therapy Externship
  • Level 2 Certification in Gottman Method Couples Therapy
  • Trained in Discernment Counseling
  • Certified in PREP (Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program)
  • Blogger for Verily Magazine
  • Former blogger for The Million Dollar Matchmaker, Patti Stanger: pattiknows.com

My Education

  • M.A. in Marital and Family Therapy from the University of San Diego
  • M.Ed. in Secondary Education from Arizona State University
  • B.A. in English and Religion from the University of Iowa
  • Clinical Fellow in the Illinois Affiliation of Marriage and Family Therapists

Hi, I’m Karen Washington!

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

I want to make the world a better place one sex life at a time.

I once had a therapist tell me figure out what you’re good at, and how to get paid for it. As it so happens, I am really good at talking about sex with people and helping them learn how to talk about it, too. From there, I also learned that I am fascinated by people, their own self-esteem, how they feel about each other, how they do (and don’t) communicate. Most importantly, I learned that I am completely enthralled with learning about and love to talk about sex. So now I do what I love, and it never feels like work.

I studied Sociology in undergrad, which rounded out my study of the individual and all it is impacted by from its environment. From there, I pursued my Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy at Adler University. The systemic foundation reflected my belief that, while sex is not necessarily the primary problem (although it can be), typically it is what suffers from all of life’s problems. I am committed to helping individuals and couples work through life’s obstacles in order to return to a fulfilling intimate life – whether or not problems exist – by teaching better communication and coping skills. I further incorporate psychoeducation on self-esteem and sex education to enhance my clients’ understandings and enable them to continue to thrive. I write advice and editorial pieces on sex/sex related topics for online publications.

I believe my clients are experts on themselves; sometimes they just get stuck and need someone else to help them problem solve. That’s why I do what I do – to help you get unstuck by collaborating on tools specifically designed for each of your unique problems, issues, and circumstances.

Areas of Specialty:

Sexual issues
Desire discrepancy
Sexual dysfunction
Consensual nonmonogamy
Kink/BDSM

Call me at 312.971.6846.

Credentials & Qualifications

  • Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
  • PREPARE/ENRICH certified
  • M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy from the Adler University
  • Candidate for M.Ed. in Human Sexuality at Widener University
  • B.A. in Sociology from DePaul University (Chicago)
  • Clinical Fellow in the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists
  • Clinical Fellow in the Illinois Affiliation of Marriage and Family Therapists
  • Early Career Professional in the Society for Sex Therapy and Research
  • Committeeperson for SSTAR
  • Freelance writer for Kinkly.com
  • Freelance writer for Sexology International
  • Adjunct Professor at Adler University
  • Interviewed by NBC News February 2015 about the social impact of 50 Shades of Grey
  • Interviewed by Kellye Howard Jue, September 2018, about practicing sex therapy for podcast, Kellye Talks. (Found on iTunes & SoundCloud)
  • Quoted on opinions for best sex mattresses

Hi, I’m Hollie Schmid!

Applicant for Associate Marriage and Family Therapist

Sometimes I joke and say that I started being a therapist way before I actually did. Being that go-to person for advice in most of my relationships with friends and family evolved into a passion for helping others. Furthermore, the naturally assumed role of being a listening ear and a voice of reason for many is what eventually lead me to pursuing my education in therapy. My intense desire to understand individuals and how their relationships can impact the way they think, feel, and act drove me to studying Marriage and Family therapy.

My approach to practice emphasizes emotional expression, building connections, finding support, validating emotions, and creating healthy and effective interactional patterns. My goal within each session is to always ensure that I am providing a warm, welcoming, and comfortable environment for my clients. Therapy can bring up a lot of emotions, and I believe that it is important for my clients to feel as if they have a safe place to share in these feelings.

The process of healing may not be an easy one, but I believe my role as a therapist is to put an end to the cycle of avoiding difficult topics, and dig deeper into them instead. Change ultimately begins and ends with you. You are the creator of your own journey to healing. My passion comes from helping people pave their way to growth and happiness.

Areas of Specialty:

Increasing emotional Intimacy
Post-baby relationship blues
Learning effective communication skills/how to argue fairly
Self-esteem issues
Codependency

Call me at 312.219.5721.

Credentials & Qualifications

  • Applicant for Associate Marriage and Family Therapist
  • M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy, Northern Illinois University
  • Member in the Illinois Affiliation of Marriage and Family Therapists
  • Level 2 Certification in Gottman Method Couples Therapy

Hi, I’m Apollonia Kang!

Licensed Mental Health Counselor

I’ve always been fascinated with human relationships. I consider it a privilege and an honor to hear people’s stories and be a part of their efforts to better their relationships, and to live an authentic and happy life. I believe that individuals being their best selves incrementally lead to a better world, just like ripples spread across the pond.

We yearn for fulfilling intimate relationships, but we don’t always know how to cope with relational challenges. I can help whether you see me individually or as a couple.

How we relate to ourselves profoundly impacts how we relate to others. I also strive to help my clients cultivate self-compassion, and connect them with their inner desire, power, and confidence, so that they can uncover the strength that’s always within them.

Growing up in China and now living in the U.S., I have developed a multicultural lens that allowed me to understand the unique challenges of identity, acculturation, studying abroad and immigration, and how those factors impact our relationships. In addition to the general public, I am passionate about working with Asians and Asian Americans who may be hesitant about therapy due to language barriers and cultural beliefs, in both Chinese and English.

Professional Instagram: @apolloniakangtherapy

Areas of Specialty:

High-conflict relationships
Nonviolent communication
Intimacy building
Interracial relationships
Multicultural counseling

Call me at 312.880.9656.

Credentials & Qualifications

    • Licensed Mental Health Counselor
    • B.A. in Psychology and Philosophy from Emory University
    • M.Ed in Psychological Counseling from Columbia University in the City of New York
    • Member of Asian American Psychological Association
    • Certificates in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
    • Currently training for Level 1 Certification in Gottman Method Couples Therapy

Hi, Sara Haynes!

Associate Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

Relationships are fascinating to me and are the fuel to my passion for helping others. From day one we have constantly been in relation with something or someone, whether it be with the self, romantic, friendship, or familial, and each one adds something different to us. A creative story full of different experiences and unique obstacles. These deeply personal stories create different layers to who we are and effect what we bring to a relationship. It is my passion to help families, individuals, and couples create and find the relationship that breeds curiosity of understanding ourselves and each other in order to create a deep and meaningful connection.

When working with clients my goal is to provide a safe space that is free of judgement and supporting of respect. I use a warm, nurturing, and empathic approach. Together we will take a look at you, your relationship, or family and observe what strengths are present and what your needs are. I consider myself to be a collaborative teammate that can help you gain insight and perspective into your early experiences and how they impact you currently, and most importantly provide you with effective tools to increase healthy interactional patterns to provide relief here and now. My background in early childhood provides specialization in helping couples and families who are in that phase of life with children. Change is possible and there is hope for you and your relationships!

Areas of Specialty:

Parenting
Blended family issues
High conflict couples
Dating

Call me at 312.463.9246.

Credentials & Qualifications

        • Applicant for Associate Marriage and Family Therapist
        • Certificate in Trauma Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
        • M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy, Northeastern Illinois University
        • B.A. in Early Childhood Education, Arizona State University
        • Member of American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy

Hi, I’m Matt Garman!

Licensed Professional Counselor/Associate Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist

Our lives are connected to the people around us, as well as the people no longer around. We process our personal lives while overlapping with friends, family, partners, coworkers, and even silently among strangers on the train. No one is alone, and yet feeling alone is sometimes a consequence of life in the city, a family, or a relationship. When I’m working with a couple or family, the entire unit is my client – not the individuals within the group, the entire group. When I’m working with an individual, they are my client, but I think about the relationships that may not be in the room.

Like you, I grew up in a family with parents and relatives. I have had relationships, experienced grief, celebrated wins, and gone through ups and downs. We can discuss what’s going on with you, and/or with your partnership. Let’s work together to uncover and examine your patterns – in your life and your relationships. This is not about the past — although it plays a role — this is about your present, and future.

Studies show that the strongest indicator of success in therapy is the quality of the relationship between the client and the therapist. I want to give us a strong start to build on, so we can help you get where you want to go. We can talk about your goals, expectations, hopes and fears. We can work on tangible steps for growth.

Areas of Specialty:

Dating
Parenting
Family relationships
Grief & Loss
Trauma

Call me at 312.600.7513.

Credentials & Qualifications

        • Associate Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and Licensed Professional Counselor
        • Board-certified National Certified Counselor (NBCC NCC 1096332)
        • M.A Family Counseling, Northeastern Illinois University
        • Certificate in trauma-focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Hi, I’m Jeannie Sytsma!

Applicant for Associate Marriage and Family Therapy

Relationships have always sparked my interest, and it was no surprise to my family and friends when I decided to pursue a career in marriage and family therapy. One of the reasons I chose to become a therapist is because I have always admired the resilience of people, which includes looking at the darkness in our lives in order to grow and move forward. As humans, we are wired for connection with one another and sometimes it can be challenging to let down our defenses and open ourselves up to vulnerability. I believe that being in therapy will allow you (and your partner) to understand your vulnerabilities, identify troublesome patterns, and make concrete changes in the present that will carry into the future.

I do this work because I care deeply about helping others and I believe that everyone deserves a skilled, fierce ally with lots of resources to support them when life gets tough (as it inevitably does). As a therapist, I strive to strike a balance between showing empathy and challenging you to move you towards transformation. I know therapy can be intimidating, which is why I practice from a non-judgmental and caring stance in order for you to feel safe and secure in our time together.

It is my belief that you have the strength inside of you to make the necessary changes in order to achieve the results you want; I am here to help you gain insight about what is blocking you from getting there on your own, and provide you with skills to sustain your growth outside of therapy. My goal for you is to have connection with others and I believe that happens when both people feel heard, seen, and valued. Lastly, I will leave you with the words of Brené Brown: “Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between people when it exists within each one of them – we can only love others as much as we love ourselves.”

Areas of Specialty:

Pre-Marital
Conflict Resolution
Intimacy and Sexual Issues
Religion/Spirituality
Couples with Life Changes

Call me at 312.625.8556.

Credentials & Qualifications

Applicant for Associate Marriage and Family Therapy
M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy from Adler University
B.A. in Theology from Wheaton College
Member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
Member of the Delta Kappa Honors Society
Level 1 Certification in Gottman Method Couples Therapy

Hi, I’m April Wang!

Associate Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

Growing up in a dysfunctional family, experiencing different forms of discrimination, and being treated by society in unfair ways are some of the unfortunate things we don’t get to choose. These events also have tremendous impacts on what we do and how we behave in our intimate relationships. We tend to turn to our partner first when we feel hurt and want to get our needs met, especially if those needs were not being met when we were younger. Witnessing the healing that happens when our needs are finally being met and our voices are heard is what drives me to work in this profession; and witnessing how my clients are able to break the cycle of their disagreements, help each other become better individuals, and grow together as a unit are what I am passionate about.

My approach emphasizes collaboration with you to understand and pinpoint the cycle of conflict that you are stuck in and work to identify what would be an alternative and more effective solution. During the process, I will be transparent, provide tools and skills that are tailored to work both as individuals and/or as a couple. It is also my goal to provide feedback that may be hard to hear (but necessary). This will be more than just a place where you can process and communicate with each other, but also a space where you and your partner will be equipped to make lasting changes.

Areas of Specialty:

Same-sex relationship/marriage counseling
Cross-cultural relationships
High conflict couple
Premarital counseling
Couples with complex trauma

Call me at 312.989.5432

Credentials & Qualifications

        • Associate Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
        • M.S. in Marriage and Family therapy, Northwestern University
        • B.A. in Family Human Service, University of Oregon
        • Level 1 Certification in Gottman Method Couples Therapy
        • Trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
        • Trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

“I came to Anita for input with my online dating profile. She helped me sell myself and helped me figure out who I need to be looking for. Now I have more women reach out to me and get more responses to my messages. Anita was a tremendous help!”
R.T.

“I was going to give up on my relationship until I turned to Anita and she convinced me that there were steps I could take to save it. I’m so incredibly grateful that she did, as we are working through our issues and becoming stronger than ever.”
L.M.

“My husband and I found Anita when we were at a very dark place in our relationship; we weren’t sure if we could ever get back to that place that brought us together.  But with Anita’s help, we are closer friends, better lovers, and our partnership as parents is stronger than ever.  We appreciate Anita’s patience, her amazing knowledge, and her practical tools which helped save our marriage! Thanks Anita!”
T&J

“My girlfriend and I saw Anita and working with her was a pleasure and produced tangible results. Anita’s approach is direct and she helped us understand that relationships need more than true love to survive. Anita provided us each with the tools to become better communicators and listeners and the results were significant.”
E.M.

“Often when you seek counsel after a breakup you get the same rote responses. “There’s other fish in the sea” or “you just have to move on.” Anita is different. She helped me organize my thoughts. She allowed me to validate my emotions and in so doing I was able to move on without anyone else’s urging. In addition, she methodically identified the red flags that I had previously missed, equipping me with the tools to engage a new relationship and not suffer the same mistakes of the past.”
A.S.

“Anita’s sessions helped me become more empowered by identifying my true needs in a relationship, determining the root causes of my relationship-sabotaging behavior, and most importantly, mitigating the negative thoughts I had of myself and situations around me.”
M.J.

“Anita has taught me many of the skills people often lack when it comes to dating successfully…l learned to set healthy boundaries in my dating life as well as relationships…I have truly come to appreciate my value not only as person, but as a woman…Thank you Anita.”
E.D.

Contact Relationship Reality 312

Book an appointment below. To ensure you will work with the best therapist for you, please let us know the following: a little bit about what you want help with, such as communication, trust, disconnection, dating, etc.; your general availability; and if you are planning on using insurance. Please leave your phone number as well as your email address as sometimes our email goes to spam. Your therapist will respond within 24 hours. Thank you and we look forward to working with you. 

312.219.3399

333 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 1010, Chicago, IL 60601