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Chicago | Associate Professor, Counseling
Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Sandra Kakacek, Ed.D.



I have been fortunate to be an assistant of training prior to coming to Adler University as well as teaching practicum and internship for seven years. I embrace the knowledge and diligence of our site supervisors and welcome their expertise and commitment tour students. Working with all types of sites allows our students to have a rich experience to become our future social justice catalysts for change.

My philosophy of teaching is rooted in the early beginnings I had as a junior high school teacher, as well as experiences currently. I adhere to and apply principles of social constructionism in teaching. Additionally, I apply Piaget’s theory of cognitive development and I strive to continually assess what students needs are as well as measure skill set knowledge and application.

My goal is to provide an open, accepting environment whereby students feel free to dialogue and agree to disagree with one another as well as with me. I infuse multiculturalism and social justice tenets in all classes I teach. My goal is to empower others to become social change catalysts in our world. I discern how to match and aide students learning processes by providing a multisensory approach. The structure of the lessons therefore varies. This provides an open dialogue to for all students. I assume to not be an expert; rather, we are on a journey together.

My expertise is in equine-assisted psychotherapy, child, adolescent, and family counseling. I have counseled all types of mental disorders as well as transitional issues, for the past thirty-five years.  The majority of clients I counsel have post-traumatic stress, sexual abuse, and anxiety disorders. I utilize equines for semi structured activities involving no riding, when applicable to the client’s needs. I have been fortunate to counsel incarcerated juveniles weekly for eight years using equines. Secondly, I generate metaphor applications in all sessions conducted.

My goals for Adler University students are quite clear for me. I feel duty bound as a social catalyst of change to assist students to uncover and strengthen their abilities to reach out to their communities and provide services to enrich all lives they encounter. I feel very honored to have the privilege to coordinate trainings and teach others to become valuable leaders for social change.

Please email or call me 312.662.4365 if you have questions or would like more information about me.



  • Ed.D., Counselor Education and Supervision, Northern Illinois University
  • M.S.Ed., Counselor Education, Northern Illinois University
  • B.S., Elementary Education, Southern Illinois University
Professional Memberships

Professional Memberships

  • ICES past president 2015-2016
  • Illinois Counseling Association President Elect-Elect  2015-2016
  • Illinois Counseling Association Professional Development Chair 2013 and continuing
  • American Counseling Association
  • Association for Counselor Education & Supervision
  • Counselors for Social Justice
  • Illinois Counselor Educators and Supervisors, President 2013-2015
  • Illinois Association for Multicultural Counseling
  • Illinois Association for LGBTQ Issues in Counseling
  • Illinois Mental Health Counseling Association
Select Publications

Select Publications

  • Kakacek, S. L. (2014). Mini Horses in Action: A Path to Wellness, ICAContact, 75, 2014, 8
  • Kakacek, S. L. (2011). Equine-Assisted Therapy. Illinois Counselor,  2011
  • Kakacek, S. L. (2010). Success stories with challenging clients. Counseling Today, 53, 34.
  • Kakacek, S. L. (2009). An arena for change. VISTAS Online American Counseling Association.
  • Kakacek, S. L. & Ottens, A. J. (2008). An arena for success: Exploring equine-assisted psychotherapy. Michigan Journal of Counseling: Research, Theory and Practice, 35, 14-23.

In progress: A chapter waiting for editing instructions from Routledge: Strength-Based Clinical Practice with Equine-Assisted Therapy in  Handbook of Strengths-Based Clinical Practices: Finding Common Factors Edited by Jeffry K. Edwards, Andy Young, and Holly J. Nikels.

In progress: Two chapters, waiting editing comments: Divorce and Separation and  Conflict in Couples and Families. The SAGE Encyclopedia of Marriage, Family and Couples Counseling; Jon Carlson, Shannon B Dermer.

Select Presentations

Select Presentations

  • Trauma Bytes conference calls sponsored by the Traumatology Interest Network (TIN) of the American Counseling Association.  I have tentatively scheduled you for a Presentation on equine therapy with mini horses April 27, 2016.
  • Equine-Assisted Multiple Therapies, Abilities Expo, Schaumburg, IL. June 2013.
  • Equine-Assisted Strength Building for School Counselors, Social Workers, and Psychologists, Kane County Teachers Institute, Maple Park, IL. February 2013.
  • Metaphor Utilization for Working with Difficulties in Schools, Kane County Teachers Institute, Maple Park, IL. March 2012.
  • Walking Through Hell: Analyzing Metaphor in Single-Session Counseling, Toronto, Canada. March 2011.
  • Metaphor Utilization for Working with Difficulties in Schools, Kane County Teachers Institute, Maple Park, IL. February 2011.

Chicago Campus

Located in the heart of the city, the Chicago Campus was designed to provide and inspire the learning and living experience. To that end, we have created an environment that caters to your mental, emotional, and intellectual growth. Our classrooms are bright and spacious with windows to the outside world and the latest technology. In our Library, you will find every resource you need to research, form, and shape your journey. At Adler University, we have more than enough room to share your thoughts and flex your intellect.

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