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.

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.

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
Licensed 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.

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.

Alison Oh
Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor

Alison earned her master’s degree in clinical counseling from Eastern Illinois University. Alison has experience working with diverse populations ranging from child, adolescent, adult and geriatric clients suffering from various diagnoses including depression, anxiety, mood disorders, PTSD and substance abuse. She has previously provided individual, group and family therapy while conducting assessments in residential treatment centers and psychiatric hospitals. Her area of specialty include trauma focused therapy and managing relationship issues while utilizing CBT and psychodynamic approaches.

Michal Shapiro-Hogan
Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Michal has been a mental health professional for 28 years. She holds a Master’s degrees in Social Work and Theology from Columbia University/Union Theological seminary, and a certificate in psychotherapy from Blanton-Peale Institute. Her focus, while eclectic, is most strongly on relational therapy, in which the therapist and client work together to create a warm, supportive, secure relationship that can be a helpful model for the client’s future relationships. Michal’s area of specialization include treatment of addictions, depression (including post-partum depression), chronic illness, college-related issues, family/partner relationships, life changes and spirituality.

Mallory Bender
Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Mallory’s lifelong passion for mental health and wellness inspired her to pursue a master’s degree in clinical social work at the University of Chicago. During that time, Mallory worked with survivors of sexual assault and clients with severe mental health diagnoses. Mallory has experience with the geriatric, adolescent and adult populations, particularly focusing on adjustment, relationships, end of life issues and complex medical histories. Mallory embraces an eclectic, multi-faceted approach to therapy in which client-centered and strengths-based modalities are utilized, and believes in healing and growth through therapy. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, psychodynamic therapy and acceptance and commitment therapy are also of interest and Mallory finds these modalities beneficial in the therapeutic relationship. Mallory has extensive experience in yoga and mindfulness as a certified yoga teacher and believes mindfulness-based stress reduction adds an important element to her approach. Additional areas of interest include emotional regulation, grief and loss, and harm reduction.

Morgan Diamond
Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Morgan is licensed clinical social worker trained to help identify and support clients’ strengths so that they can tackle life’s challenges and heal from trauma. Her approach is collaborative and she uses therapeutic sessions to help clients prioritize problems, develop practical action plans, and discuss the emotions and obstacles that arise as they continue the healing and change process.

While working toward her Master of Social Work degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Morgan supported women experiencing life transitions and continued with this population post-graduation. She has received additional training in motivational interviewing and has experience with PTSD, domestic violence, anxiety, and ADHD. Through her years working in small agency and workforce development settings, Morgan has developed particular strength in helping adults cope with employment and academic stressors and believes in helping individuals not only adapt to their environment, but also seek out environments that suit their needs.

Ashlyn Zinck
Licensed Professional Counselor

Ashlyn is a licensed professional counselor who completed her graduate work at Harding University. She earned a Master’s of Science and an Education Specialist degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She has experience working with people of all ages who deal with depression, anxiety, ADHD, relational issues, academic stressors, and PTSD. Ashlyn’s goal is to utilize a collaborative and relational approach to promote growth and to walk with individuals as they process their struggles with trauma, relationships, and their mental health. Ashlyn works from an integrative approach using her background in cognitive behavioral therapy and acceptance and commitment therapy. She is strengths focused and action oriented. She seeks to use the therapeutic relationship to give clients the tools to be able to grow through their struggles and enhance their life.