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  • Writer's picturefranklindrob

Michael Handwerk, Ph.D : clinical psychologist

Updated: Jun 14, 2023

Michael Handwerk, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist with extensive experience helping children, adolescents, adults, and their families. Dr. Handwerk has been practicing for more than 25 years in diverse settings including as a director of psychological services at an area behavioral healthcare hospital, director of clinical services at a large residential facility, and coordinator behavioral health services in a primary care practice. In addition to providing therapy to clients in these settings, he has also trained and supervised hundreds of other practitioners during his career.

“I utilize an integrative approach to therapy that combines evidenced-based practices from several therapeutic methods to best meet the needs of my clients. There are numerous effective treatments, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, Acceptance & Commitment Therapy, Motivational Enhancement, Parent-Child Interaction Therapy, which I tend to utilize in helping clients. However, any therapeutic approach is only useful if the client feels validated and valued, and believes that the concepts and strategies we discuss can be effective. To that end, I believe establishing a strong rapport and collaborative relationship with patients and their families is crucial to the therapeutic process. There is no magic formula to accomplishing this, but I think genuineness, authenticity, empathetic listening and understanding, compassion, and, at times, even humor are qualities that I try to bring to every session with each client. When I work with children, I think it's important to try to incorporate parents and/or other family members into my sessions, as that can be valuable for improvements to generalize beyond the walls of the therapy room.”

After receiving his doctoral degree from the University of Texas at Austin in 1997, Dr. Handwerk began his career at Boys Town, a residential treatment facility in Omaha, NE, where he spent 10 years running the Clinical Services Department. Dr. Handwerk has been published in more than 30 professional journals and books, and has given numerous professional talks. Before leading a psychology department at local behavioral healthcare system, Dr. Handwerk was the coordinator for Outpatient Behavioral Health at Harrisburg Medical Center in southern Illinois where he conducted outpatient therapy for 11 years with children, adolescents, and their families.

Dr. Handwerk’s area of focus include anger management; anxiety; depression; child development; obsessive-compulsive disorder; parent-child interactions; school behavior/problems; self-harm; oppositional defiant disorder; ADD/ADHD; school refusal; enuresis/encopresis; social skills; and trauma.

Dr. Handwerk can be reached at 847-776-4500 or and is accepting patients at this time.


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