Our Team in Ann Arbor
Welcome! Transformational Choices is a community-based professional service that provides a full range of life enhancing services in a holistic, mindful, and supportive setting.
Our mission is to support mindful change within individuals, groups, and organizations. We are proud to offer a diverse array of services, including mental health counseling for individuals, groups, families, children. We work to address relationship issues between couples, within small groups, and in families. We offer life and wellness coaching and consultation, as well as organizational evaluation and consulting.
We are committed to providing the best professional services by working with our clients and developing and implementing the most effective and customized life enhancing change plans, through the promotion of learning and personal growth.
Transformational Choices uses a natural and organic mind / body approach to restoring healthy emotional, behavioral, and cognitive functioning. The client and therapist are partners and work together to discover the choices necessary to reach new goals and break old patterns.
Our approach to the helping relationship is especially effective in dealing with depression, anxiety, emotional dysfunction, creative blocks, relationship concerns, and debilitating personality traits that interfere with love, work, and the knowledge to sustain health.
Louis Barry, LLMSW
I believe the first and most important step is to create a nonjudgmental space to process what is on your mind. I am here to empower you to become your own therapist in the end, by giving you tools for coping and by helping you learn and let go of what is not serving you. I will meet you where you’re at--you do not have to feel ‘prepared’ for therapy sessions. We will be able to genuinely explore your feelings and inner dialogue together, even if that’s not something you would normally consider.
Together, we can improve your current state of being, whether that involves strategies for making important decisions, or how to go through a change or loss, coping techniques for depression, feelings of hopelessness, struggles with PTSD, addictive behaviors, obsessive thoughts or actions, worry, insomnia, your relationship with food, your relationship with sex and others, concerns with relating to your family of origin or family of creation, or talks about your general wellbeing. I’m here for you, and I look forward to our first session together. Stay strong, as storms never last.
Michelle DeFrancesco, LMSW
We can all use someone to talk to, someone who will listen and someone to act as a guide through tough times. Often, problems in one area of life can affect many other areas, and can feel overwhelming. Coping mechanisms that served you well in the past may no longer work, yet are ingrained, unconscious and difficult to change. You are not alone and you can bring about positive change!
I have my MSW and training in interpersonal clinical social work. My background is eclectic and diverse. I have worked extensively with people who have experienced trauma, anxiety, depression and substance abuse issues. I believe that recovery is possible for everyone! My approach is strength based, client-directed, and wellness and recovery oriented.
I employ many modalities of therapy, depending on what the client wants and needs. Some of these are mindfulness based practice, cognitive reframing, focusing on holistic wellness and life coaching. Above all, I value your perspectives and experience and believe a strong therapeutic alliance is key to bringing about positive change. I look forward to your feedback along the way, as you work on your goals for therapy.
I look forward to hearing from you!
Emily Hagen, LMSW, Clinical Director
Welcome, I am glad you are here. I understand seeking therapy can be difficult, and I am committed to working with you to develop a therapeutic relationship that is safe, supportive, and trusting. You are the expert in your own life, and my role is to help you identify and access your own strength, and to support your healing.
I have a deep respect for my clients and understand the importance of the work we do together. Whether you are searching for meaning and recovery, or struggling with a recent change in your life, I am here to support you.
I have experience addressing addiction, co-dependency, interpersonal issues, family of origin issues, parenting, grief and loss, loss of a non-human companion, domestic violence, anxiety, depression, personality disorders, and trauma. My approach is trauma-informed and strengths-based. I utilize a variety of modalities, including Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR), CBT, and DBT.
Paula Leapheart, LLPC
In an uncertain and sometimes chaotic word, everybody needs somebody. Through bereavement, addiction, times of disappointment and mental health challenges, it is so vitally important that every individual seek the support and help they need.
One of the first steps is to build a healthy therapeutic relationship. Building a foundation of trust in a safe and non-judgmental environment is extremely important. I also believe in meeting all clients exactly where they are and assisting them on their journey to holistic wellness. Together we will focus on the mind, body, and soul; ultimately working towards a healthier you!
Julie Lovelace, LMSW
Change can be unfamiliar, scary, and difficult, but I can help guide the process. I believe it is important to work with individuals where they are at and go at their pace while encouraging and guiding them to reach their goals. Whether you need someone to listen or someone to gently and empathically nudge the change process, I will be that person while respecting your values and without judgment.
As a clinical social worker, I have over seven years of therapeutic experience, working with adults with severe mental illnesses to those in need of additional support and encouragement. I have experience in Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Trauma Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Solution Focused Therapy, and Mindfulness.
Mark Ragg, LMSW
In life, we are forever adapting to, and trying to manage our experiences. This requires us to make sense of situations with the information available and pursue options that seem possible in each situation. As we grow, repeated experiences start to form habits and automatic responses that largely operate outside of our conscious decision-making. Initially, these habitual ways of responding are more efficient because we don’t have to think about our responses, we just respond. As we grow or situations change we often find that our habitual ways of responding are not as effective as they once were. This is when we either decide, or others pressure us, to spend time with a professional.
All helping professionals develop an approach that works for them when they meet with clients. When I work with people, I try to help them slow things down in order to gain awareness and understanding of old habits and adaptations that may have outgrown their usefulness. We take time to understand how many adaptations have imposed on us based on other people’s priorities. We then build an awareness of internal resources that can empower our responses rather than being hi-jacked by old habits and past pressures. Basically, we form a partnership to help put you in a position where you can reflect on situations and generate a mindful or thoughtful response. We then try to support the integration of this approach into your life situations that seem challenging.
I try to maintain a short-term approach when I consult with people. I remain goal-focused because you need to be in control of what areas of your life we discuss. As we make progress toward achieving our goals, we can change the frequency allowing you to apply our discussions in your life. As much as possible, I try to keep you in control of our work operating as a consultant rather than someone who directs you in what you should do.
Kathy Stewart, LMSW
I strive to create a creative, mindful, and contemplative approach towards strengths based positive therapy, led by the client, and based on a shared respect between the client and clinician. I am committed to providing the best professional services by working with clients and developing and implementing the most effective and customized life enhancing change plans, through the promotion of learning and personal growth.
Nicole Pratt, LLMSW
Creating a safe space for honesty, transparency, and growth is my goal for our therapeutic alliance. It’s important to me to meet my clients where they are, and collaborate on achieving progress and sustainable life changes.
I utilize a person-centered, strengths-based, and trauma-informed approach. I have a background in addressing addiction and substance use issues, anxiety, depression, grief and loss, interpersonal conflict, personality disorders, and trauma. I utilize a number of modalities including Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Motivational Interviewing.
You deserve to achieve what you desire out of life! I’m glad you’re here, and I look forward to working with you.
Nicole Lopez, LLMSW
My goal is to support you while you create the change that you want in your life. Change can be a complicated process, and it can be made easier by finding an ally to create a non-judgmental space for you to process what is going on. My approach to therapy is body-inclusive, informed by an intersectional lens, and aims to be anti-oppressive. I want to focus on you and your goals, learn from challenges, and to support you while you create the life that you want to live. Each person is different and I want to tap into your unique strengths and hear what you are concerned about. You have made an important choice for yourself by deciding to get into therapy.
I specialize in working with people who identify as LGBTQIA2S+, consensually non-monogamous (including but not limited to polyamory, swinging, etc), kink-oriented or involved with BDSM, and sex workers.