Dr. Jayne Braden
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Jayne A. Braden, has been working in the court system since 1993. She earned her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology in 1999 and was licensed as a psychologist in 2000. Regular training with the American Academy of Forensic Psychology helps keep her skills up to date. Evaluations she completes for the court include Child Custody and Psychological, Specific Forensic Psychological, Fitness to Stand Trial, and Criminal Responsibility. FOID reinstatement evaluations as well as those for DCFS are also completed by her. She completes evaluations in several county courts including Boone, DeKalb, Kane, Kendall, Lee, Ogle, Whiteside, and Winnebago. Pre-employment, fitness for duty, and promotional examinations are also completed for local police and fire departments. Fitness for duty evaluations are also completed for local companies. The Braden Counseling Center opened in 2002 and has been providing services to individuals with different challenges with evidence-based treatments since that time. Dr. Braden is now offering EMDR therapy.
Dana Eason has 13 years of experience in the field of Psychiatric Nursing. She has been a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner since 2014. Dana is a graduate, Magna Cum Laude, of the University of Illinois at Chicago’s College of Nursing, and is a member of Sigma Theta Tau, the National Honors Society for Nursing. She achieved Board certification from the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Psychiatric & Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, specializing in treating clients across their lifespan. Additionally, she’s obtained Post-Master’s training including a Master of Psychopharmacology Certification from the Neuroscience Education Institute in July 2019.
Chief Operating Officer & SMART Facilitator
Brenda graduated from Kishwaukee College with a degree in Office Systems in 2013, and has since worked at BCC. Brenda continues to push herself to learn and grow as the demands of her job do.
As a SMART Facilitator, Brenda is dedicated to helping people gain independence from harmful addictive behaviors through our safe, friendly, mutual support meetings, our science-based and secular SMART Recovery 4-Point Program® and our principles and tools, all of which are proven to help people overcome their addictive behavior.
Brenda is your contact for any of your SMART Recovery, financial issues or general questions. As she greets everyone with a smile you can rest assured you will be her most important client. Brenda is a valuable part of Braden Counseling Center.
CRADC, SAP, PAIP
Mallory Ludwig is a Certified Reciprocal Alcohol & Drug Counselor (CRADC), a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP), and a Partner Abuse Intervention Program Facilitator (PAIP). She has been employed with Braden Counseling Center since August 2007.
She specializes in: DUI Evaluations, Alcohol and Drug Evaluations, Secretary of State Hearing documents, Substance Abuse Treatment, Partner Abuse Intervention (Domestic Violence Offenders)
Counseling is a second career for Jane Gaitskill. For ten years she worked as a market research analyst in downtown Chicago, but found that to be increasingly unrewarding. At the age of 36 she entered Loyola University’s Masters program in Social Work.
Upon graduating, Jane’s first job was in Evanston Hospital’s Outpatient Psychiatry Department/Crisis Department. Subsequent positions included doing Emergency Room psychiatric evaluations for NorthShoreUniversityHealthSystems, doing in-home counseling with senior citizens and seeing clients in her private practice. She has been at Braden Counseling since 2018.
Jane has extensive experience working with people from a variety of religious, racial and ethnic backgrounds. She has worked with adults of all ages, couples, families in crisis, and children 11 years old and older, addressing relationship issues, mood disorders and psychotic disorders.
Jane primarily uses CBT and supportive therapies, but realizes that a “one size fits all” approach to treatment simply does not work. Given this, she brainstorms with clients to determine what works best for them.
She encourages input from her clients about the therapeutic process, regardless of whether or not that input positive or negative.
Chrissy is a Licensed Social Worker. She completed her Bachelors Degree in Psychology in 2018, and then went on to complete her Masters in Social Work in 2020. Throughout her graduate studies, Chrissy’s emphasis was mental health and counseling. Chrissy has had experience working in schools, hospitals, non-profit organizations, and private practice. Post grad, Chrissy worked as a Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services Coordinator where she assisted her residents with coping through day to day life with a severe mental health diagnosis.
Chrissy believes that the therapeutic process is a collaborative one, both client and counselor work together towards a common goal. She challenges her clients to do the work both inside and outside of sessions. She works under the notion that all things in life are fluid, it’s how we move and progress through the fluidity that will determines our outcome.
James Michael Mannion
MSW, CADC, PAIP
James Michael is an MSW Counselor and Certified Alcohol and other Drug abuse Counselor (CADC) practicing psychotherapy to help individuals, couples, LGBTQ, and multicultural groups challenged with issues of anxiety, depression, addiction, trauma, grief, self-harm, relationship, and career issues. James Michael is able to view a person’s struggles as opportunities within the context of their personal life story and current situation.
James Michael graduated from Aurora University with a Masters degree in Clinical Social Work, and then completed WCC’s Post-baccalaureate Addictions Counseling program, and is certified by IAODAPCA as an addictions counselor (CADC) . He has trained and worked with Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault victims and perpetrators and is a trained PAIP Facilitator. James Michael is certified in Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) and has worked with adolescents, teens, and adults who contemplate suicide or practice self-harm. He is an active volunteer on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and supports the NASPL as a safe place for anyone to call (800-273-8255) anytime.
James Michael leverages techniques from various therapy and non-therapy modalities to help clients achieve their goals within an integrative framework that includes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Motivational Interviewing (MI), addictions counseling, compassionate inquiry, mindfulness practices, and traditional wisdom.
Jessica Cash is a Pre-Licensed Therapist, and PAIP Facilitator. Jessica completed her Master of Arts Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Judson University, and Bachelor of Science in Psychology, minor in Criminal Justice from Upper Iowa University. Jessica has experience working with a wide range of clients from young children through adults. Jessica’s areas of clinical interest and experience include, but are not limited to, anxiety, depression, life adjustment issues, domestic violence, foster care and adoption, and trauma treatment.
Jessica utilizes a range of therapeutic approaches when working with clients to assist them with the challenges that may bring them into counseling. Jessica also believes in using the client’s inner strengths to create change in their lives. Jessica’s therapeutic approaches include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR), Trauma Focused CBT, and Motivational Interviewing. Jessica is a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional and Child Forensic Interviewer.
Dwayne Thomas is a Certified Alcohol and other Drug abuse Counselor (CADC), whose previous clinical experiences have all been within long-term inpatient treatment, or correctional settings. In helping to meet the treatment needs and goals of various mandated target-populations (DCFS, Drug-Court, IDOC, etc.), Dwayne brings years of case-management experience to the Braden team. Dwayne has successfully worked with many clients who were initially resistant to implementing change in their lives during treatment, by utilizing both Motivational Interviewing (MI), and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy CBT) treatment modalities, to help clients resolve their ambivalence to change, and engage in the treatment process.
Clinical Mental Health Intern
Darcella Blalark is a counseling intern working to obtain her Master of Arts Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Judson University, in Elgin Illinois. Darcella has experience as Hospital Advocate for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault and Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for children.
Clinical Mental Health Intern
Amanda Cimaglia is a counseling intern working to obtain her Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Bradley University. Amanda completed her Bachelor of Arts in history and secondary education at Bradley University in 2013. Amanda spent the first part of her career teaching high school in Arizona and pre-school in Illinois. Amanda has experience working with a wide range of clients from children to adults through her experience in education and non-profits. Amanda believes that the therapeutic process is collaborative with both the client and the clinician working together to help the client achieve their goals. Amanda utilizes cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), strengths-based approaches, and motivational interviewing (MI) to encourage clients to grow both during and outside of sessions.
Clinical Mental Health Intern
Amy is a counseling intern at Braden Counseling Center. She completed her bachelor’s degree (B.A.) in Psychology in 2018, at Northern Illinois University (NIU) and graduated summa cum laude. Amy is in the third year of her master’s program in counseling- with a specialization in clinical mental health counseling, at NIU. Amy has prior experience working as a counselor in training at the Community Counselor Training Center (CCTC) at NIU, where she primarily worked with students.
Amy believes unconditional positive regard, empathy, and acceptance are essential to the therapeutic relationship. Amy takes an integrative approach to counseling but likes to utilize cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and person-centered theories the most. Amy also likes to work collaboratively with the client to find an approach that best meets the needs and concerns of the client.
Clinical Mental Health Intern
Laura Lahay is interning with Braden Counseling Center for the summer. She is in her third year at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School getting her Masters in Mental Health Counseling. She completed her bachelor’s degree from Moody Bible Institute in 2019 majoring in Children and Family Ministries. She has experience working with kids and teenagers in counseling groups and in a church setting. She also has experience working with teens who struggle with eating disorders, depression, anxiety, and self-harm.
Laura believes the counseling relationship is a partnership, where both counselor and counselee work together to move the client toward healing and growth. She primarily uses cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness, person-centered therapy, and strength-based work when working through the clients’ struggles. Laura is excited to empower her clients and walk alongside them in their journey toward living a fuller life.
Jacquelyn Irelumary Espinoza is a bilingual intern working towards her Certified Alcohol and other Drug abuse Counselor (CADC) certification. Currently attending Elgin Community College (ECC) for an Associates in the Art, an Associates in Applied Science and Spanish Certification. Jacquelyn plans on continuing her education in hopes of transferring to Northern Illinois University (NIU) in the Fall of the year 2022. She hopes to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development and Family Sciences with an emphasis on Family Social Services.
I came to DeKalb in 1991 to attend NIU. I met my husband there and we have been happily married since 1997. We made our home and raised our children here. I rejoined the workforce in July of 2017 after an extended absence as a stay at home parent. I was excited to land here at the Braden Center as an administrative assistant, and I am very proud to now hold the position as the Office Manager. I have drawn great inspiration from the wise words of Maya Angelou, so I share them with you, our clients, as you too begin journeys towards healing and brighter tomorrows.
“I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.”
~ Maya Angelou