Larisa LeaderLCSW

Headshot of Larisa Leader LCSW


In Eastern Time

What was your path to becoming a therapist? What inspired you to choose this profession?

I don't really think of it as a path, but more of a crazy journey with lots of different crossroads and people who influenced me and helped me learn who I am and who I want to be. I learned how to survive my childhood by being perfect, anticipating what others wanted from me and always doing what they wanted me to do. And I've spent my entire adulthood so far (and will continue) learning to undo all of that and learning how to be authentically me. I want to help others learn to do the same and that brought me to Social Work and supporting others reaching their ideal life through their goals by being a therapist. But I want you to learn how to be your authentic self and live with integrity based on your beliefs and culture and ethics though, not mine.

What is your style/approach to therapy?

I think it's important to get to know you, my client, as a whole person and to learn more about what you want from therapy. What your goals are, where you are struggling, and how I can best support you. Once I start to understand you, I will start learning how to support and challenge you so that you can grow towards who you want to be.

What does a first session with you look like?

The first session is required to be more of a question and answer type of format for learning about you and your background. This is because most insurances require that I do an assessment and treatment plan with you immediately. While it's a bit more formal than a normal session because I need to gather specific information that is required, it does help me learn who you are and help you get a feel for who I am as well. If it is a good match and you feel I can support you, I help you determine what your treatment goals are for therapy and we go from there. Goals can always be tweaked or changed as we go along, so don't think it all has to be exact or perfect--we'll make changes as you want and need to along the way. :)



Adolescent mental health

Gender identity & transgender health

Identity development

LGBTQIA related issues

General Expertise




Gender identity & transgender health

Identity development

LGBTQIA related issues

Parenting issues



First Session


Individual Therapy

Types of Therapy

Individual Session


Young Adults (18-24)

Adults (25-65)

Treatment Approaches / Modalities

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Humanistic Therapy

Narrative Therapy

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)

Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy


IL, LCSW, 149.016961


Masters in Social Work (MSW), BA in Honors Psychology

Work History

I have been a Social Worker for over 20 years and graduated with my MSW from the University of Michigan School of Social Work. I have worked with adults and children/adolescents as a therapist, a school social worker, and an intake assessment specialist in both Michigan and Illinois. I have experience supporting individuals who happen to have Autism Spectrum Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Depression, PTSD, Anxiety Disorders, and other mental health disorders as well as those who have Dual Diagnoses (Mental Health and Substance Abuse Disorders). I specialize in working with those who are non-heterosexual, transgender, non gender conforming, and those who practice ethical non-monogamy


307 S. Wulff Street, Cary, 60013, IL