The Art of Living Counseling Center

The Art of Living Counseling Center is a group of clinicians focused on creating therapeutic environments where clients are invited deeper into their personal story for purposes of healing and empowerment.​​​

We believe life is best understood as an Art Form rather than a series of accomplishments. Consequently, we focus on the craft of becoming a better human. We call this craft; The Art of Living. We use the dynamic metaphor of Story to help guide and organize the therapeutic process for individuals, couples and families.

Using this narrative approach, clients come to understand that they were given powerful stories that shaped and guided their development as a person. And that ultimately they get to choose what narratives to keep and which ones they want to edit or discard. The better you know your story, the more you can step into the fullness of who you are becoming.

Cyndi Mesmer, LCPC
Cyndi received her Masters in Counseling Psychology from Trinity International University in Deerfield, Il. in 1995.  She is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor for the state of Illinois since 1997.  Cyndi completed her advanced certification in Trauma and Abuse from the Allender Center in Seattle, WA. and teaches, coaches and facilitates for the Allender Center.  She has extensive experience helping individuals dealing with childhood trauma and abuse. 
Cyndi has 24 years experience working in inpatient, partial hospital, and outpatient settings.  She has been in private practice since 1995 and co-founded The Art of Living Counseling Center in 2004 with her husband Steve.  She has extensive training and experience working with issues related to complex trauma, sexual abuse, eating disorders, self injury, mood disorders, anxiety disorders,  and relational breakdown.   Cyndi works with adolescents and adults in individual, marital, family and group counseling.  Cyndi also provides supervision for therapists and interns at Art of Living. 
Cyndi is passionate about helping others navigate pain and finds it a precious gift to be able to hold others stories with grace and kindness. Cyndi is married to Steve and has 5 amazing children.  She enjoys reading, teaching, dining, and hanging out with her husband and children.
Co- Owner
Clinical Director
"Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves...Live the questions now.  Perhaps you will gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer."                                --Rainer Maria Rilke
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Steve Mesmer, LCPC
Steve received his Masters in Counseling Psychology from Trinity International University in Deerfield, IL in 1995.  He is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and has 22 years of experience in outpatient settings working with adolescents and adults.  In 2004, Steve, with is wife Cyndi, founded The Art of Living Counseling Center.  Steve completed his advanced certification in Trauma and Abuse from the Allender Center in Seattle, WA. and has extensive experience helping individuals dealing with childhood trauma and abuse.
One of Steve's areas of expertise and passion is using counseling and teaching to help couples transform their fragile and conflictual relationship into one that is rugged and alive; a relationship that can handle the stress of careers, children, the unexpected, the daily grind, and the difference between sexes.  Just like any worthwhile endeavor, marriage can be fantastic or burdensome.  Together, though coaching and therapy we can stack the odds in favor of fantastic results. 
Steve also has extensive experience and training in men's issues, anxiety disorders, OCD, divorce recovery, and spiritual formation.  Besides running and operating The Art of Living Counseling Center, Steve, along with his wife Cyndi, also have the privilege and challenge of parenting 5 wonderful children.
"Therapy only works when we have a genuine desire to know ourselves as we are, not as we would like to be."                                                                                                   Hannibal Lecter
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Sandra Woznicki, LCPC
Sandy Woznicki is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and is Nationally Board Certified. She received her Master’s Degree from National Louis University in Human Services/ Counseling in 2001. She has been in private practice since 2005. Sandy loves working at The Art of Living, where she experiences a loving community of professional colleagues.​​​​​

Sandy believes in the resilience of the human heart and our capacity as people to overcome the obstacles that life brings. She sees her work as partnering with her clients and their natural resilience to help expand those abilities and help them love themselves and others more generously. She knows first hand that life is, at times, difficult and painful but that these experiences also leave room for restoration and personal growth. She loves working with her clients in these moments to help them experience new levels of freedom and insight about themselves and their relationships. Sandy’s approach is deeply kind, accepting and honest. This approach creates the right therapeutic environment to allow her clients grow in awareness and experience more of their authentic self.

Sandy values integrating various therapeutic approaches based on current research to addresses the total well-being of the individual (emotional, physical, psychological, and spiritual). Her specialized training includes Trauma-based therapy, Attachment Issues, and Narrative work. She works with individuals, couples, and groups.

Sandy is also a certified EMDR trained therapist. This therapeutic technique helps the brain better process experiences of trauma. Sandy uses this approach to address both past and recent, single incidents; such as accidents, medical issues, and sudden loss. EMDR also has been effective in addressing mood issues such as anxiety and depression.
For more information on EMDR, you can go to

When not in the office, Sandy enjoys deep play with family and friends. She also loves to read, garden, and travel.   
"Your heart needs to be broken - and broken open - at least once to discover what your heart means and to have a heart for others."
                         Richard Rohr                 
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Susie Allison, LPC
Susie Allison is a Licensed Professional Counselor and received her Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology from Benedictine University in 2011. For years, She has used her skills and training in private practice, a mentoring program and working with relationally distressed couples in a psycho-educational group setting. Additionally, Susie has post graduate specialized training in trauma-focused narrative therapy and has an advanced counseling certificate in Abuse and Trauma from the Allender Center in Seattle, Washington.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Susie is a compassionate therapist who helps clients express their inner most feelings and give language to the desires of the heart. She knows we are all works in progress and loves coming alongside clients as they reach for their highest potential in relationships and personal growth.

Using her natural discernment and encouraging attitude Susie works with clients to address a range of issues including: anxiety, depression, relational conflict, grief and loss, life-transitions, trauma and sexual abuse. Susie works with adolescents, adults and couples. She also co-leads Story groups and recovery groups at The Art of Living Counseling Center.

In her down time Susie enjoys spending time in the Northwoods of Wisconsin with her husband and family. She loves the outdoors, boating, mystery novels and is a master escape room artist.
"When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves"
Viktor Frankl
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Melissa Karner, LPC
Melissa is a Licensed Professional Counselor and is Nationally Board Certified. Melissa received her Master's degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from National Louis University in 2015. She is a member of the NBCC. 

Melissa has worked in various settings in her career including churches, nonprofits and private practice.  Melissa has gained extensive experience working with families of children and adolescents over the past 10 years.  Before she was in private practice, Melissa also worked as a Case Manager for At-risk single moms and their children. Since joining Art of Living Counseling Center, she has gained additional training in group counseling, family therapy, narrative therapy, trauma and addictions.

Through her warm, empathic and interactive approach to counseling, Melissa helps clients who are struggling with anxiety, depression, past trauma, and complex family issues.  Melissa knows that family life means complications and Melissa welcomes the opportunity to help individuals and families navigate the inevitable challenges that all families face. She believes her role as a therapist is to help her clients address the obstacles that get in the way of living a life that is more genuine, fulfilling and intentional. Melissa enjoys working with individuals, couples and families and also leads several adolescent workshops at the Art of Living.

When not in the office, Melissa enjoys spending time with her husband Craig, and their two beautiful and spirited girls that keep them full of joy and on their toes. The girls are daily reminders of how rewarding and challenging parenting can be!
“Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we’ll ever do” -Brene Brown
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Lisa Bohn, LCSW
Lisa Bohn is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker since 1997, and has experience in a variety of settings working with couples, families, and individuals. She understands how people get into relational difficulties, feel stuck, and need to experience change; whether that's in a romantic relationship, family relationship or parenting issues.

Lisa loves to come alongside others in her compassionate style, assess the issues and develop a plan to bring change. Ultimately she wants to help others gain greater self awareness and then use that knowledge to create movement toward freedom from old relating patterns and greater connection within relationships.

She relies on her 20 plus years of experience in the field, her clinical training, and up-to-date strategies to help her clients get unstuck and moving toward their relationship goals.

Contact Lisa today and let her compassion and experience help guide you through your own personal growth and change.   

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Kristin Moorhouse

Kristin is a graduate of Capella University, where she earned a Master of Science degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She completed her fieldwork experience at The Art of Living Counseling Center.  Kristin works with individuals, couples and groups. She was also received training in narrative therapy and trauma work.​​​​​​​​

Prior to becoming a mental health counselor, Kristin earned two other Masters degrees. One in Communication Disorders and the other in Transformational Leadership. She has extensive experience as a speech-language pathologist, working with infants, toddlers and their families. Through this work Kristin has honed her skills of problem solving, empathy and treatment planning. Kristin also spent time as a staff pastor working in leadership training and group dynamics.

Kristin has experience working with clients in various settings: individual, couples counseling, family, and group therapy. She works with clients ranging in age from preadolescence to adulthood. Areas of expertise include anxiety, depression, marital and relationship counseling, parenting, family systems, bullying, transitioning through adolescence, and emotional intelligence. Kristin is passionate about working with people from all walks of life. She enjoys developing a strong therapeutic bond with clients through warm and compassionate care. As the therapeutic relationship progresses, Kristin continually guides clients toward greater understanding and insight into their personal and relational struggles. She loves working and walking alongside clients as they move into experiences of increasing personal power and hope.

In her spare time, Kristin enjoys spending time with family and friends as well as reading, going to the movies, and whenever possible, finding a sandy ocean beach to relax on.


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Lisa Schultz
​Graduate Intern

Lisa comes to The Art of Living Counseling Center from Concordia University Chicago, where she is completing her master’s degree of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.  She holds an undergraduate B.S. in family and individual development from Northern Illinois University and an A.A. from William Harper Rainy College in Palatine Illinois.
Lisa is a problem solver.  She was previously in the banking and accounting field where she was trained in data analysis and developed a keen eye for pattern recognition and meta-analysis. Skills she now employs in the field of counseling psychology, her hearts true passion. She now uses these skills to understand the complex data of a persons life and relationships and looks for  themes and patterns that help create increase choices and freedom in people. She has worked with at risk youth, adolescents and their families. She has also been in advocate, educational and mentoring roles through various volunteering opportunities.  

Lisa utilizes multiple modalities when working with her clients, including attachment theory, developmental psychology, narrative and play therapy. She enjoys working with individuals, couples, families and children. Lisa’s professional desire is to hold other’s stories well; with compassion, kindness and insight, while leading clients toward increased freedom and personal  healing.   

Outside the office and classroom, Lisa loves going on outdoor adventures with her family. They enjoy kayaking, hiking, biking and skiing together. Lisa also enjoys learning and growing through reading, piano lessons, and practicing martial arts.
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We Offer Counseling For:
  • Eating Disorders
  • Self Injury
  • PTSD
  • Abuse Recovery
  • Men's Issues 
  • Substance Abuse
  • Pre-marital
  • Marital
  • Grief & Loss
  • Divorce Recovery
  • Spiritual Formation
  • Christian counseling
  • Personality Disorders
  • Life Transition
  • Spiritual/Church Abuse
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Trauma
  • Sexual Abuse
  • OCD
We are available to teach on the following topics for schools,
community groups, churches, or businesses:
Workshops and Groups  Offered:

  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Understanding your story
  • Trauma-focused Narrative Therapy Training
  • Developing Shame Resiliency
  • Understanding Your Style of Relating
  • Effective Parenting
  • Developing Effective Marriages
  • Self-Deception
  • Raising Confident and Humble Children
  • Shame Resiliency: Women's Workshop 
  • Shame Resiliency : Men's Workshop
  • Co-Ed Story Group Workshop
  • Story Groups for Women
  • Story Group for Young Adults
  • Story Group for Men
  • Wounded Heart: Survivors of Sexual Abuse
  • Adolescent Girls Group Therapy
  • Couples Marital Group Therapy​
Contact us for more information.