Higgins & Carter LLC was founded by Ryan Higgins and John Carter in 2010 with the goal of creating a multi-disciplinary staff of psychologists, social workers and psychiatrists. Our staff is comprised from varied experience, education and expertise. Please review the bios below to learn more about the clinicians at the practice.


Ryan J. Higgins
Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor

Ryan provides a supportive and collaborative approach to psychotherapy. Ryan has been providing mental health services in hospitals, community mental health centers, and private practice to a variety of populations since 2006. His specific areas of interest include the treatment of mood and anxiety disorders, adolescent transitional issues as well as the treatment of PTSD and complex trauma. Ryan has acted as a consultant to non-profit mental health programs in Chicago as well as provided supervision to graduate level students and post-graduate clinicians.

Ryan completed his graduate work at Benedictine University earning a Master of Science degree in Clinical Psychology. He has also completed additional training at Northwestern University and the University of Chicago earning certificates in Art Therapy and Advanced Psychodynamic Clinical Practice.

John C. Carter
Licensed Clinical Social Worker

John completed his master’s at the University of Chicago in Clinical Social Work, with a concentration in Cognitive-Integrative Therapy. John has worked with breast cancer research and is certified by the National Institute of Health. The International Sociology Honors Society recognizes him for his scholarship in the field. John has practiced psychotherapy for a number of years working with individuals in hospitals, community settings and private practice.  John’s areas of specialty include complex trauma, anxiety/panic, depression, relationship negotiation, social/family roles, physical and sexual abuse, emotional regulation, frustration tolerance, compulsive behaviors and child/adolescent development. John works with couples, families, children and adults.


Courtney Emery
Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor

Courtney earned a MA in Counseling Psychology from Northwestern University in 2008.  She is warm, collaborative and strengths based in her therapeutic approach, carefully attending to the context of her clients’ lives.  She has extensive experience working with adults coping with severe and persistent mental illness, depression and anxiety, and she has received specialized training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia.  She is interested in the needs of women and LGBTQ people throughout the adult life course.

Courtney has held multiple leadership positions at area community mental health centers, and she brings to the practice considerable experience providing clinical supervision to graduate students and new professionals.  She recently co-authored two papers on alternatives to Emergency Departments for crisis intervention.

Jennifer Hull
Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor

Jennifer is a graduate of the Chicago School of Professional Psychology with a Masters degree in Clinical Counseling.  She has experience in working with a variety of anxiety and depressive disorders.  Jennifer has experience working with individuals, couples and families of all age groups.She comes from an Existential/Humanistic background and believes very strongly in the healing power of the therapeutic relationship.  Jennifer works from a warm, empathic, collaborative approach.

Jennifer also has experience working with adults on adapting to various life transitions including careers, aging, marriage, divorce/separation, health, etc.  In addition, Jennifer is a sex positive therapist with training in alternatives sexualities. Jennifer has worked in community mental health, private practice and program management.

Dr. Sarah Sarhaddi
Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Sarah Sarhaddi holds a Doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, as well as a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from Benedictine University. Dr. Sarhaddi has experience working within various therapeutic settings, namely private practice, community mental health centers, hospitals, and medical clinics, conducting individual and group therapy, along with administering psychological testing. Dr. Sarhaddi specializes in helping individuals with adjustment issues, grief and loss, depressive and anxiety disorders, identity development, trauma and resilience as well as with issues related to attachment. Dr. Sarhaddi is a member of the American Psychological Association.

Kyla Kachman
Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Kyla developed an interest in mental health while serving as a Peace Corps volunteer working with children coping with grief and trauma.  After completing her service, Kyla completed a masters degree in clinical social work at the University of Chicago.  During her time there, Kyla worked with returning veterans.  Since graduation, Kyla has completed additional training in cognitive-behavioral and psychodynamic therapies, constantly striving to provide therapy which is evidenced based while still being supportive and collaborative.  Kyla spent several years providing behavioral health services to children, adolescents, and emerging adults coping with anxiety, depression, and PTSD.  Kyla also has experience working in primary care, where she develops behavioral health services for adults with chronic illnesses.  Additional areas of experience include substance abuse, grief and loss, group therapy, adjustment, and cross-cultural behavioral health.

Karen Caldwell-Littleton
Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor

Karen has more than 18 years of experience as a mental health professional working with children, families and adults.  She has worked in community mental health, college counseling centers and private practice.  An integrated approach, tailored to individual client need is utilized by Karen.  There is a particular focus on Existential/Humanistic, Psychodynamic and ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy).  This means the therapeutic relationship is honored and used to affect change and assist clients to better understand relationship patterns.  Clients can also learn to work with tangible tools, including mindfulness to enhance awareness, acceptance and create a more meaningful life.  Karen’s clinical areas of specialization include treatment of depression, anxiety, trauma, relationship struggles and adjustment to other life stressors.

Nina Coletta
Social Worker

Nina earned a master’s degree in both Social Work and Child Development, and utilizes a psychodynamic, client-centered approach to therapy.  Nina views psychotherapy as a collaborative process between client and clinician, putting an emphasis on the relationship in the here and now.  Nina views therapy as a safe place to explore the clients’ experiences and emotions in a way that helps the client to gain self-understanding.  Nina has experience helping clients who are experiencing depression, anxiety, ADHD and family dynamics issues.

Daniel Serpa
Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Daniel Serpa earned his MSW from The University of Southern California School of Social Work in 2006.  He has an extensive background as a therapist assisting individuals and families with issues of complex trauma, depression, anxiety, ADHD and relationships.  Dan’s clinical training and work has focused on developing an integrated and flexible approach to treatment, utilizing a trauma-informed perspective when appropriate, and incorporating components of Family Systems, Relational, CBT, Expressive Therapy and Mindfulness approaches.  Through his authentic style, Dan firmly believes that honesty and a sense of humor can go a long way in supporting individuals on their path.  Equally, he believes an individual’s life experiences both inform their current perspective and can be harnessed to inspire innovative thinking, new perspectives and more accurate problem solving that encourages future growth.

Deborah Janos
Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Deborah takes a caring, holistic approach that treats each person as a unique individual.  She views her role as being a guide in partnership with the client to help them define their goals in order to meet their full potential.

Deborah earned her Master degree in Social Work from Loyola University, Chicago and has 20 years of experience working with people of all ages.  She most recently worked in hospice and has a particular focus in helping people overcome feelings of grief and loss due to illness, divorce or death.  She also has extensive experience and enjoys working with children and teens coping with a wide range of concerns including school refusal, ADHD, getting along with peers, teachers and parents, as well as working with children with learning disabilities.

Deborah enjoys helping each client find their way to the path of self-determination by meeting each client where they are in their particular journey and or struggle.

Dr. Brandon, Markel
Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Brandon Markel Holds a Doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from The Illinois School of Professional Psychology, a Master’s in business Administration from Cardinal Stritch University, and a Master’s in Clinical Psychology with a Counseling Specialization from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.  Additionally Dr. Markel is certified through the Academy of Cognitive Therapy as a cognitive behavioral therapist and certified by The American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress.  Dr. Markel completed his advanced training at Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital’s Center for OCD and Anxiety Related Disorders, postdoctoral residency at St. Louis Behavioral Medicine Institute in collaboration with St. Louis University’s Department of Family and Community Medicine in the Center for OCD and Anxiety Related Disorders, and had directed an anxiety and related disorders program within a hospital system in Wisconsin.  Dr. Markel had also trained and worked in several Veterans Administration Hospitals with veterans who suffered from PTSD and anxiety related difficulties.

Dr. Markel’s specialties and clinical interests include working therapeutically with individuals who suffer from complex traumatic stress syndromes, body focused repetitive behaviors (like hair pulling and skin picking), obsessive compulsive disorders, and other anxiety related difficulties, dissociative disorders, challenges with attachment, and psychological assessment.  he is committed to using evidence-based treatment strategies to help individuals re-integrate and move toward living a fuller life.