Upswing Counseling

Uplifting kids and families through creative therapy–designed with a child’s age in mind, research informed, and unexpectedly fun!
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Therapy Designed for Kids of All Ages

At Upswing, we do therapy that connects with kids and impacts families. A child’s developmental age matters in therapy, and communicating with kids in a language they understand makes all the difference. We work hard to stay at the forefront of family therapy research, counseling techniques, and engage in creative ways to care for the whole family. Whether it’s through play therapy, fun activities with older kids, or exploring personal interests with teens, we are intentional about making therapy engaging, safe and impactful.

Take a closer look below to see how we will work differently to care for your kids!

Second and Third Trimester

For expecting families


During pregnancy, relationships between parents and child are already forming. In the womb, developing brains respond to the experience of movement, sounds, and the emotions of their families, with mother's heartbeat forming the background music of their world.

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Ages 0-2

Rapid developmental leaps

Infants & Toddlers

At this stage, children are discovering their world and developing a blueprint for what to expect in relationships.

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Ages 3-5

Separation and Tantrums


Children at this age are establishing their identity apart from mom and dad. This is a period of power struggle where children still lack the cognitive ability to process strong emotions.

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Ages 6-8

Capability and confidence


As children enter the years of middle childhood, a sense of self emerges and social relationships grow in importance. At this age learning disabilities and social skills deficits begin to clearly emerge.

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Ages 9-11

Social Integration


During these years children begin to have the ability to process complex situations, gaining a sense of right, wrong, and fairness. Identity development deepens as youth think about their place among peers, racial identity, and their relationship to authority.

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Ages 12-15

Responsibility and Freedoms

Early Teens

As youth move into their teenage years they face challenges from navigating puberty, dealing with emotional intensity, and increased experimentation. Learning to use healthy coping strategies is important for this age.

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Ages 16-18

Independence and Goal Setting

Late Teens

Late teens are characterized by a significant increase in independence, challenging the health of family relationships. During this period educational and professional goals start to form.

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Ages 19-25

Transitioning into Adulthood

Emerging Adults

Emerging adulthood is a characterized as an age of identity exploration, instability, self-focus, feeling in-between, and possibilities as individuals begin the transition to adulthood.

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What Our Community is Saying

Meet Your Team

Kristine Buelow, MSSW, LSW

Kristine's background in community development and volunteer programs compliments her clinical training in child and family therapy. She is driven to help kids through life's obstacles, such as: school anxiety, stressors at home, friendships, bullying and many other social challenges. Kristine utilizes play therapy, cognitive and expressive therapies, role-playing, sand tray, and art.

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Maga Passos-Hoke, MA

Maga loves to help hurting children, and rebuild family relationships. Her work involves young childhood issues, family conflict, blended families, couples and multicultural families. She has training in several relationship building approaches including Theraplay®, the Gottman Method, and Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT). Maga is also fluent in Brazilian Portuguese, Spanish, and English.

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Monique Johnson, MA, LCPC

Monique is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor who has experience working with anxiety, depression, stress, life transitions, trauma, family conflict, self-esteem, identity, and play therapy. She believes that the relationship with the client is a vital component in a successful counseling experience. Monique provides a safe space to allow her clients to discover their authentic self.

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Tyler Martawibawa, Clinical Intern

Tyler Martawibawa is currently pursuing his M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy at Wheaton College, IL. He was born in Singapore and has lived in Australia and Hong Kong before moving to the United States to complete a B.A. in Psychology at Wheaton College, IL. Tyler recognizes and values that each person and family carries a unique story and experience.

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Carissa Van Schooten, MA, LMFT, TBHP

Couples and Family Therapist

Carissa is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who has experience working with cross-cultural issues, trauma, and loss, as well as identity, emotional regulation, and relational issues. She values the opportunity to come alongside individuals and families and help them discover their strengths in their process of healing and growth.

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Melody Cline, MA, LMFT, CCTP

Early Childhood Child and Family Therapist

After working with children, teens, and parents, for over 20 years, Melody completed her M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy at Wheaton College. She actively enjoys volunteer leadership, speaking in the community, and providing innovative strengths-focused therapy for children and families at Upswing Counseling in Wheaton, IL.

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Brendan C. Bell, MA, LCPC

Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor

Brendan Bell, MA, LCPC has over 18 years of experience in private practice working with children, adolescents, and their families. With a background in sculpting, Brendan also enjoys counseling artists. Brendan is founder and owner of Upswing Counseling in Wheaton, IL and also Executive Director of a multi-site practice, Cherry Hill Counseling, headquartered in Lake Zurich, IL.

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Start Your Journey Today

Did you just hear your parent say C… C… Counseling?

Sound scary? Awkward? Or maybe just boring? That’s because you haven’t been to Upswing. We work differently here — toys, games, sandboxes, foosball, clay, music, Nerf basketball, and more!

We may even get your parents involved in the fun too! Click the orange button to get started.