The Institute for Clinical Social Work


Alumni Profiles

The alumni of The Institute for Clinical Social Work reflect the values, ambitions, and accomplishments that define the Institute as a whole. As active contributors to their fields, our graduates are impacting the literature, practice, and individual lives that our profession touches. They are doing this as educators and practitioners, as lecturers and administrators, from coast to coast, and oftentimes overseas. ICSW’s alumni are shaping the future of clinical social work, counseling, and psychotherapy.


Paula Lorig Ammerman, L.C.S.W., Ph.D.

​​Paula Ammerman maintains a private psychotherapy practice in Hyde Park, where she works with individuals and couples. Additionally, she has taught social work at Loyola University of Chicago and The University of Chicago, and she is currently a faculty member at ICSW. She is also an active member of the Children’s Psychotherapy Project: A Home Within, which provides long-term pro bono services to children in the foster care system. Dr. Ammerman’s research topic at ICSW focused on the functions of countertransference in working with clients who have character disorders. Her work in this area is ongoing, and she speaks regularly about this subject, including a presentation titled “Hate as an Enactment in the Relational Paradigm.”

Judith Aronson, L.C.S.W., Ph.D.

Judith Aronson, LSCW, received a BA Magna Cum Laude, from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, a MA from the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration, and her Ph.D. from The Institute for Clinical Social Work. She is a board member of the American Association for Psychoanalysis in Clinical Social Work; Chicago-area co-chair, and a member of the Committee on Social Justice and Social Responsibility. Dr. Aronson is a member of the International Association for Psychoanalytic Self Psychology and a frequent speaker and presenter at workshops, professional presentations and continuing education seminars. Areas of expertise include theory and practice, and changing attitudes about psychodynamic psychotherapy.

Steven L. Batten, Ph.D.

​Steven Batten has a private psychotherapy and consultation practice. He provides a psychodynamically oriented clinical practice for adults utilizing individual, couples, and group psychotherapy. His specialties include psychotherapy in the GLBTQ community, marriage/couples therapy, and working with those who have experienced various forms of trauma. Dr. Batten is a member of the Institutional Review Board for The Institute for Clinical Social Work. He teaches sexuality across the life span at the University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration. In 2005, Dr. Batten began teaching group counseling, psychopathology, counseling skills, and supervision at DePaul University, Human Services and Counseling Department.

Barbara Berger, Ph.D.

​Barbara Berger maintains a full-time practice in addition to being active in the ICSW and social work communities. At ICSW, she has been on dissertation committees and currently serves as vice chair of advancement on the Board of Trustees. In the social work community, she is active on the Consortium Board and in the AAPSCW, where she is on the executive committee and the National Board, and she serves as a liaison to the ACPE Board. Dr. Berger’s areas of clinical expertise are adults and couples, and she is interested in doing more publishing and presenting.

Michael R. Bizzarro, Ph.D.

​Michael Bizzarro is currently the executive director of New Insights Centers for Counseling, LLC, a counseling entity he formed in 1992 that provides individual, family, and group counseling and specializes in addictive disorders and issues related to law enforcement. Dr. Bizzarro also works as a consultant in the EAP department of a major pharmaceutical company and is a member of a critical incident response team for law enforcement and their families. In September 2009, he was appointed Field Advisor for the Columbia University School of Social Work, and he is currently working on a book and several articles.

Noel L. Blackburn, Ph.D.

Noel L. Blackburn is currently working in private practice in Evanston with adults, children, and adolescents, primarily on an individual basis. She has a special interest in helping new mothers as well. Dr. Blackburn is a member of NASW, serves on the Board of Directors for The Family Room in Evanston, and is on the alumni committee at ICSW. She also volunteers at Evanston’s Northshore University Hospital in the child and adolescent clinic, where she provides psychotherapeutic services free-of-charge to low-income clinic patients.​

Alexander Brown, Ph.D.

​Alexander Brown is currently serving as Clinical Director at Metropolitan Family Services, a 500-person, multi-service agency in Cook and DuPage counties. He is responsible for managing all aspects of clinical program planning, development, and standards, as well as facilitating strategic planning, conducting oversight of the grievance process and response, and representing the agency to outside organizations. Dr. Brown also teaches at the DePaul University School of Public Service, maintains a private psychotherapy practice in Evanston, and reviews documents for the Council on Accreditation.