About Dr. Shantelle
Dr. Shantelle Whitehead
Owner & Founder
Shantelle Whitehead, Psy.D, is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and founder of Dr. Shantelle and Associates, Ltd. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Michigan and her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology. She also earned her certification in both Sport Psychology and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). Dr. Shantelle’s experience in the social services field is extensive, having worked in a residential home for children, community mental health agency, psychiatric inpatient setting, university counseling center, and school setting. She has also taught graduate-level seminars, authored a manual on play therapy techniques, and made numerous professional presentations on topics that range from parenting teenagers to recognizing signs of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Dr. Whitehead was the recipient of the 2022 Best of Naperville Award in the Psychologist category and has been featured in several editions of the Hinsdale Living magazine and the Chicago Tribune for her work in the mental health community.
Dr. Shantelle specializes in working with children, adolescents, young adults, and parents on various issues such as behavior problems, trauma/PTSD, depression, eating disorders, emotional dysregulation, self-harm, anxiety, OCD, LGBTQ+ issues, domestic violence, sexual assault/abuse, and relational issues. Using interventions specifically chosen for each individual, she is able to quickly develop rapport and help each client reach their full potential. She also has specific training in sports psychology and working with traumatized youth.
Dr. Shantelle’s therapeutic approach is characterized by warmth, humor, acceptance, and collaboration. She tailors treatment to meet a client’s individual needs through a variety of treatment modalities, which include Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, interpersonal therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization, and Reprocessing (EMDR), Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, and play therapy.
As a practice and as individual clinicians, our main goal is to provide our clients with the most effective and efficient pathway to healing and growth
As a practice and as individual clinicians, our main goal is to provide our clients with the most effective and efficient pathway to healing and growth. While we do rely on our training and skill, we ultimately believe it is the relationship between the clinician and client that leads to this desired outcome; thus, we focus on providing an environment characterized by empathy, acceptance, and safety so that this connection can develop. We also know that every client is unique and has different needs, which is why we individualize each treatment through various techniques and by frequently seeking feedback in order to provide the best care for each client.
Empathy is the ability to recognize, understand and share the thoughts and feelings of another person. We believe that this is a key component of the healing process and is vital to the establishment of a warm and trusting therapeutic relationship. When we feel seen, understood, and validated, our problems tend to feel a little more manageable and the intensity of our difficult feelings lessens. By feeling joined in one’s experience, it feels safe to process emotions, achieve a greater understanding of oneself and others, and begin the journey of healing and growth.
Relationships and mental health go hand-in-hand. Humans are relational beings—we want to need and belong. In order to grow and thrive, a person needs at least one safe relationship in their life. We believe that the therapeutic relationship can provide this safety, and we strive to carefully attune to our client’s needs and provide the support and understanding needed to facilitate a secure connection.
We believe that all individuals are unique, valuable, and deserving of acceptance for who they are; thus, we are committed to creating an environment that is inclusive for all people who are seeking support. One of the ways this is demonstrated is through our provision of affirming treatment and advocacy for our LGBTQIA+ community. Knowing that exploration of gender and sexuality can be complex and can lead to both internal and external stressors, we provide a safe space of nonjudgement and unconditional acceptance and support. We also provide consultation for parents and caregivers to develop the tools necessary to be their child’s best ally and advocate.
We believe that each client is unique and, thus, requires treatment that is tailored to their specific needs. This leads us to take an eclectic approach to each therapeutic. relationship through our choice of different methods and techniques as we get to know the client. We then use both verbal and nonverbal feedback to provide treatment that is developed to meet the client’s specific goals in the most effective and efficient manner.
Although the relationship between a clinician and client is an essential factor in facilitating growth and healing within the therapeutic context, we are aware that the community surrounding each client can have an even greater effect on their mental health. Communities can provide the social connections, sense of belonging, and value systems that are essential building blocks in development. That is why we believe that becoming involved in and trying to address the needs of the community is not only important but essential in our goal to help our clients. Participating in the chamber of commerce, sponsoring community events, and providing low-cost or pro bono services are some of the many ways that we actively support the community. DSA also believes in the value of community within the practice. We meet regularly to discuss practice matters and celebrate successes, attend social events to deepen relationships on a more personal level and hold clinical consultations to learn from one another. Ultimately, we believe that the more we can positively influence the community both within and outside of the office, the more healing and growth will occur overall.
In line with our goal to provide clients with the most effective and efficient pathway to healing and growth is our own commitment to personal growth and learning. Due to the complexity of the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of a person, there is always more research to be done, additional techniques to learn, and greater skill to attain. Therefore, we are committed to doing personal work to grow in knowledge and skill while also supporting and learning from one another on our clinical team.
Shortly before all of Illinois shutdown due to COVID-19 in March 2020, Dr. Shantelle Whitehead contracted COVID-19 and was forced to quarantine in her home. At that point, no one knew how to treat the illness or what the prognosis would be. It was during this frightening time that the idea of Dr. Shantelle and Associates began. This time spent away from the busyness of work gave Dr. Shantelle the space to better understand her values and future goals. As the pandemic continued throughout 2020, she watched the devastating effect it had on the mental and physical health of her family and friends along with the communities in which she worked, and she knew she had to do something more to help.
Dr. Shantelle began assembling her “dream team” of clinicians and in May 2021, the West office was opened in Naperville, Illinois. The team was small but diverse in their specialties and passionate about helping others. By the end of that summer, the practice was thriving and Dr. Shantelle quickly realized that although she had just opened the first office months earlier, she needed to expand her services. In November 2021, the East office of Dr. Shantelle and Associates was opened in Clarendon Hills.
While the second “dream team” was also relatively small, it further broadened the specialties offered by the practice. As the second office began to experience success, Dr. Shantelle realized that she needed to expand the access of mental health services to additional Chicagoland communities in order to reach the largest amount of people. Subsequently, the South office opened in Bolingbrook in December 2022 and the original office in Naperville expanded to double it's size in July 2023. Although both of these offices were staffed by a slightly larger “dream team” of highly competent and relationally oriented clinicians, their diversity and commitment to the approach and philosophy of the practice was the same as the others.
These three offices are the culmination of a dream that started during a challenging season of life for many and in the hope that more people could receive help that was
needed. Dr. Shantelle and Associates is now a thriving group practice of 16 clinicians that serves all ages of clients and almost all clinical diagnoses. By focusing on helping people heal and grow and committing to inclusivity and clinical excellence, Dr. Shantelle and Associates has helped hundreds of people and has become a leader in the
provision of mental health services within the Chicagoland suburbs.