On June 30th, 2007, responsibilities for Mary and Tom Leo Associates, Inc were transferred to Moira Baker, Chief Executive Officer and Jessica Kurland, Director of Operations. Mary and Tom Leo continue to contract with the new entity on a part time basis. An important asset of the agency is the education and experience of our therapists. Click below for details.
Founders - Master of Arts, Education Founders of MTLA
Mary and Tom Leo founded MTLA and developed their first contract with DCFS in 1975. They provided individual, couple and family therapy for clients involved in DCFS. This systemic family therapy focused on developing strengths in the nuclear, extended, and foster families. Collaboration with the families, social work agencies, and court personnel for the best interests of children has always been a high priority. The agency offers services in both English and Spanish. Parent groups started in the early 1980s. They have developed into a variety of parent training classes offered by the agency. Permanent planning assessments began in the late 1980s and parent coaching sessions began in the early 1990s.
In 2007 the legal, financial and administrative functions were transferred to MTLA, Inc. Mary Leo, M.A. provides a variety of supports to the therapists and trainers. Tom Leo, M.A., M.Ed. continues to supervise several therapists.
Master of Social Work, Chief Executive Officer
Moira Baker has had 30 years of experience serving children, teens and families. She has therapeutic experience in a variety of areas, from the child welfare system to family courts dealing with divorce, visitation, domestic violence, and child management. She brings all of this knowledge and experience to her private clients helping them work through the stresses of life. Her other duties at MTLA are in the capacity of CEO, working with the Director of Clinical Services to ensure all people that come to MTLA receive quality service.
Bachelor of Arts, Director of Operations
Jessica Kurland inherited the responsibilities as Director of Operations of MTLA in 2007. She is responsible for a variety of duties including overseeing the administration team. Jessica is a personable, client-focused person who loves MTLA, Inc. and the staff. With her busy schedule, she somehow finds opportunities to correlate information and to provide on going support. Project after project, Jessica can usually be found multitasking and on her keyboard through her office at MTLA.
Bachelor of Arts, Certified Parent Trainer
John Bedalow has been working in this field for over thirty years. He is the lead parent trainer for MTLA and is also certified in utilizing the Family Teaching Model. John specializes in behavioral interventions and motivational incentives to educate children to behave in effective and socially appropriate ways. Seeing parents develop self esteem and confidence in their ability to effectively interact with their children inspires him to continue to educate and motivate parents and families to live a satisfying family life.
Doctor of Psychology, Master of Social Work
Sylvia has worked with MTLA, Inc. for a number of years, as is now lead supervisor and the Therapeutic Consultant Coordinator of Clinical Services. She has extensive experience in providing services to families. Her multi-faceted skill base and her ability to provide thorough evidence-based therapeutic services to a diverse culture, makes her an asset to MTLA.
Master of Arts, Family Counseling
Kolleen Blume, MA, LCPC is an interactive, family systems-focused, cognitive-behvioral therapist that integrates a variety of practical techniques to provide feedback and support to educate and help clients effectively address life and relational challenges. Kolleen Blume provides individual psychotherapy as well as couples therapy, play therapy, parent coaching, and parent training. Ms. Blume can help a parent create structure and practice useful parenting techniques for parents who are experiencing difficulty with their child's negative behvior. As a therapist, she has worked with individuals experiencing domestic violence, addiction, divorce, and adolescents and their families. Ms. Blume has experience working with couples involved in multicultural relational issues and LBGT relationships.
Master of Arts, Community Counseling
Frank Gutierrez is a bilingual therapist that uses a variety of techniques to return a client's sense of wholeness. He specializes in the utilization of Existential and Spiritual approaches to assist the client in finding tries to let client's find for themselves where he or she belongs in the grander scheme of things and in finding out what a person can do to make themselves feel more complete. Mr. Gutierrez obtained his Master's and L.P.C in Counseling from Argosy University, will obtain his C.A.D.C in October and L.C.P.C in September of 2013. He is also an addictions counselor for groups and individuals, has worked with couples and family counseling, and has also counseled many other different client types to overcome personal struggles, behavioral and emotional difficulties, and the resolution of difficulties arising from a troubled past.
Master of Social Work
Elaine has over 22 years post masters experience empowering individuals, families and communities as they strive to process issues that impair their ability to function at their full potienical. She has served on three different boards which focused on early education for children. Besides her knowledge of family systems, she has also developed curriculum and taught Vanderbilt University Child and Family Law Clinic Symposium. Currently, she enables individuals and families seeking guidance to concur issues that challenge how they function by utilizing her training and experience working with Post Traumatic Stress, Addiction challenges, Domestic violence, Child abuse and Divorce.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Jim has been a Licensed Clinical Social Worker since 1996 and has worked 20+ years in Illinois Child Welfare. He is compassionate to all walks of life and has worked with clients from many different cultural and ethnic backgrounds. As a Social Worker, he believes in the philosophy of empowering the client to develop their own goals in therapy and assisting the client in developing strategies to improve their lives and become more self-sufficient and fulfilled in their personal life.
Licensed Professional Counselor, Associate Marriage and Family Therapist
Katerina graduated from Northeastern Illinois University with a Master's in Marriage and Family Therapy. Katerina works closely with individuals, couples and families in a manner that supports her clients' healing and self-awarness. She provides a warm, safe and accepting environment in which clients can better understand and manage their emotions. Through her international exposure, Katerina enhanced her cultural awareness and sensitivity. She is fluent in Czech, Slovak, Polish, Serbian, Croatian and Bosnian.
Katerina has education and experience in serving children, adolescents, adults, couples and families. She believes that every individual is unique. Behavior is adaptive and as such can be understood in the context of experiences. Katerina assists others in understanding patterns of behavior that may contribute to one's unhappiness. She utilizes techniques from a variety of therapeutic theories, including person-centered, cognitive behavioral, and solution focus.
Master of Arts, Human Services & Counseling
Sean Parker has over 20 years of experience working with traumatized youth and adults. He has worked almost exclusively in the inner cities of Chicago, Minneapolis, and Nashville. He also has a ministerial background with several years of theological training. Sean has worked with youth and adults in the correctional system in Illinois, Minnesota, and Florida. Obtaining a Master’s degree in counseling and human services from DePaul University, he has a history or working with churches around the country to improve their work with the most vulnerable among us. As gang specialist, Sean has performed assemblies with in the Chicago Public School District, worked as a case manager, clinical supervisor, mental health manager, and associate for behavioral hospitals, group homes, and residential treatment centers.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Monique A.L. Smith, LCSW is a licensed clinical social worker with over 23 years of experience in the areas of child welfare, family/individual therapy and training. She has received extensive exposure to evidence- based and evidence- informed practices that can be utilized to support children and families impacted by chronic exposure to traumatic events. Ms. Smith uses a variety of methodologies, such as Solution Focused Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Family Systems Therapy to address identified issues. The identification and use of family and individual strengths to address specific challenges provides the foundation for all therapeutic and parent training/coaching interventions.
Licensed Professional Counselor, Marriage and Family Therapist
Mr. Eugenio Flamand received his M.A. in Marital and Family Counseling from Northeastern University. He is an Illinois Licensed Professional Counselor. Mr. Flamand taught as an adjunct instructor of introductory family therapy at Northeastern University,Department of Counselor Education. Mr. Flamand has been a mental health consultant to diverse Head Start and Early Childhood programs in the Chicago area, providing consultation to teachers, school staff, and parents from a strong parental skills and family strengthening approach. As an English-Spanish bilingual, bicultural Mental HealthConsultant, Mr. Flamand has over 32 years’ experience working with Chicago’s ethnically-diverse and socio-economically disadvantaged families while focusing on family reunification and permanency planning from a strength-based and relational family-system perspective.