You want to feel calm, confident, and powerful in your own, unique skin, even in a world that doesn’t always celebrate your various, intersecting identities. You want to do more than just survive and you need ideas and tools to help you get there. You want to feel free and happy without feeling like you have to hide parts of yourself. 

You want to feel like you have some space to breathe.

 

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I’m Rena McDaniel, MEd, LCPC (she/her/hers)

 

As a pleasure-positive sex therapist and educator, I work with folks like you feeling anxious and lost about a transition you’re experiencing in sex, gender, sexual identity, or relationships. I'm a queer-identified, trauma-informed therapist who works to help you uncover more of who you are so you feel confident in your own skin. I provide you with the support you need to go from feeling broken and alone to whole and part of a community.

My specializations include sex therapy, gender transition, the LGBTQ population, trauma and recovery, PTSD, and am kink and poly affirming and aware. My clinical work is informed by Brene Brown’s Shame Resilience Theory, shedding light on the ways shame, vulnerability, and authenticity interact in my client’s lives. My clinical style is warm and collaborative, helping clients locate and build upon the strengths and supports they already have in their lives in order to create meaningful change while challenging behaviors and thoughts that are no longer working for folks.

My Path

I received my Masters in Counseling from DePaul University and completed my clinical internship with Heartland Alliance International-FACES, working primarily with Iraqi, Burmese, and Nepali refugees and torture survivors.

Fresh out of grad school, I joined IntraSpectrum Counseling, a group counseling practice focused on the LGBTQ population. Over my six years with the practice, I was able to help grow the business from five therapists to twenty-two therapists and establish ourselves as one of the leaders in LGBTQ mental health care in Chicago. I am proud to say that we were able to serve 300-400 clients a year that came to us specifically because they wanted a place to feel safe and affirmed when talking about mental health concerns. 

My interest in professionally studying sex and sexuality happened very organically. Through my work with the LGBTQ population, as well as my personal experiences, I knew both how deeply painful concerns about sex and sexuality can be, as well as how powerful and affirming healthy sexuality and pleasure in our own bodies can feel. I was hungry for more information and training, so I completed the University of Michigan’s Sexual Health Certificate Program with specializations in Sex Therapy and Sexuality Education and learned that I could happily read boring research studies about sex and sexuality for hours. I went on to become a Certified Sexologist through the American College of Sexologists and kept hungrily devouring more and more information to build my knowledge and expertise about LGBTQ population, sex and sexuality, and trauma.