what we offer


Therapy is a big commitment and we want you to have plenty of information about our services to help you make the right decision for your family.

Below is information regarding our successful treatment styles and theories.

We welcome any and all questions and concerns.



couple & family therapy


What is relational vs. individual therapy

Relational therapy (couple and family therapy) focuses on the multiple individuals that make up a family unit. Family therapists value observing the patterns, dynamics, and environment; all this information helps them interpret how to best help the individuals that make up the family. Individual therapy tends to have a narrow focus on the client in the office and the issues they are bringing to session, a relational therapist realizes that an individual is a single member of a much more complex family system. Relational therapists know that an individual’s systems greatly impact their successes and struggles.

Couples & parents

Family therapy most often includes all the members of the family, even those that are less than willing or able to participate (such as reluctant teens and babies). Having all the players present helps the therapist understand the full scope of the patterns at play. Empower Family Therapy proudly works with couples to address various areas of conflict, especially communication and intimacy. We utilize similar family therapy theories and tools in our notable work with parenting couples, as they are the leaders of their families. When couples become parents it adds a unique set of challenges in balancing their new roles and duties, on less sleep!

fish bowl

Let's use a fish and a dirty fishbowl to further illustrate what we mean:

Imagine that you have a fish, and both the fish and the bowl are dirty. You may start by taking the fish out of it’s dirty fish bowl and then cleaning the fish off. Once the fish is clean, would you put it back in the dirty fish bowl? NO! You would clean the fish bowl and then put the clean fish in the clean bowl. The whole environment matters. A therapist must address the family system itself, to create a more supportive and sustainable environment for each individual member to flourish. Empower Family Therapists address the environment and the individuals that make up the family unit.



home-based therapy


In addition to traditional office-based services, Empower Family Therapy gladly offers home-based family therapy services.

Why home-based?

Home-based therapy offers convenience for you, and provides the therapist with a comprehensive understanding of your family system and it’s patterns. It allows the therapist to connect with your family on a deeper level and see how patterns play out. Having a more vivid picture of your family's dynamics ensures your therapist has a more solid grasp on your family's patterns and offers more attainable solutions.


why oak park?

Oak Park is a diverse and family-focused community. Tina Shrader, the founder of Empower Family Therapy, is a proud Oak Park resident who shares these values. There is a myth that therapists should not be seen as real people out of the therapy setting, and that they should avoid interactions with their clients outside of their scheduled hour at all cost. Because of this myth, many therapists choose not to work in the same town that they live in. But, Tina believes it is important for the families in her community to see her, and her family, as real.

Remember seeing your elementary school teacher at the grocery store as a kid? You were so shocked that she ever left the school or even existed on the weekends. But, if somehow by magic, that next day at school she looked and seemed more real to you. Therapists are real people who struggle to manage their kids at the grocery store, who pick  up dog poop on walks, and who drink wine on dates with their partners. At Empower Family Therapy we combat this myth by striving for authenticity, rather than perfection. 


Interested in home-based services, but don't live in Oak Park? 

Although we are based in Oak Park, we gladly provide home-based services to neighboring towns in the Chicagoland area. For more information on fees associated with travel to other neighborhoods, click here. Home-based services are offered on a limited basis, Contact us to get more information on when Empower Family Therapy can come to you.





Systemic family therapy

Systemic family therapy focuses on the multiple systems that each individual is a part of, and how those systems impact the person's experiences interacting with the world, as well as how the world interacts with them. Your teenage daughter is a part of your immediate family, your extended family, a member of her friend group, a resident of the village of Oak Park, a student at Oak Park River Forest High School, and a teammate on the lacrosse team. On a larger scale, she is a part of the systems that she culturally identifies with - her age, race, religion, gender, and sexual orientation. All of these dynamic and shifting systems make up who she is, how she relates to others, and how others relate to her. Systemic therapy is successful because the therapist is in tune with the impacts and pressures from these various dimensions of identity.

Rather than isolating an individual in a therapy office and disregarding the rest of their world, Empower Family Therapy greatly values the depth and richness of systems, and harnesses their influence to create long-lasting change.

strength-based & solution-focused

Empower Family Therapy encourages families to maintain appropriate focus on their strengths and their abilities to reach their desired goals. We are committed to creating and reinforcing hope in the midst of problems. Your therapist will assist you in identifying your strengths, and coach you through shifting your problem-focused outlook to one that has more room for hope and opportunity. Some people spend years in therapy reliving the problematic past without ever moving towards the future. Empower Family Therapy is dedicated towards identifying strengths, and finding solutions, to create change.


Empower Family Therapy is a welcoming community, we believe that everything in therapy is related to culture. We are aware that your culture impacts the way you view the world, the way the world views you, and your experience in seeking therapy. We invite our families into the discussion of culture in the first session, and every subsequent session, in a diligent effort to provide the best care.We look forward to providing quality therapy services to you regardless of your race, ethnicity, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation, ability, class, or culture. We value the inherent right of every individual to desire happiness and health, regardless of their background or challenges. Empower Family Therapy utilizes a person-centered, culturally systemic model to effectively incorporate cultural factors into treatment.



what to expect


What to expect from family therapy

Therapy is a difficult journey for many, as their comfortable patterns and behaviors are analyzed and challenged in hopes of seeing change. Those that succeed in therapy are open-minded to new strategies, willing to try new methods, and dedicated to their scheduled treatment. Therapy is client-led, your therapist will not carry you. Their role is to walk alongside you, at your pace, with guidance and support.

In the first session your therapist’s main focus to get to know your family, gain a clear understanding of what you’re looking to change, and learn more about why you're looking for help now. Your therapist will guide you through the expectations of therapy: both what your therapist expects of you, and what you can expect from your therapist. You will discuss confidentiality, different policies, and get your other questions answered. Next, your therapist will assist you in determining your goals and you will make a plan to achieve those together.

In subsequent sessions be prepared to laugh, cry, stretch, grow, and reach goals you thought were impossible.

what will we work on?

Most importantly, your therapist will work with you and your family to achieve goals you have determined. The therapist will address topics such as communication patterns & styles, parent & child expectations, responsibility, trust, fair & loving consequences, family routines & distribution of household duties, power dynamics & family structure, and what you'd like your family legacy to be & how to go about living your family legacy. Your therapist will provide you with tools to address these issues, and will assist you in practicing and implementing them for future success.


You have the right to keep all information regarding your treatment private. Your engagement in services will not be disclosed by your therapist without your written permission. For youth 12 and under, guardians have the right to see or know what is put in their child's records. Information will be shared without client consent in situations of someone saying they are going to hurt themselves or someone else, if there is any concern or belief of abuse or neglect, or if you request services to be covered by your insurance via a superbill receipt. Your therapist may be receiving supervision from a trusted mental health professional to assure they are providing you the best care, your name may or may not be changed during this case presentation. Empower Family Therapists will further discuss confidentiality more in-depth in your first session. 


check out tina’s video on what to expect from your first call to your first session with empower family therapy!