Sponsored by PARC - fly to freedom

Follow us on Twitter

Improv for Anxiety Success Story Improv for Anxiety Success Story Improv for Anxiety Testimonial

panic anxiety new announcements

Panic/Anxiety/Recovery Center
680 N. Lake Shore Drive
Suite 1101
Chicago, IL 60611

Local Parking Information


Improv for Anxiety at Second City Training Center

What is the Panic/Anxiety Recovery Center?

Panic/Anxiety Recovery Center (PARC) is a specialized outpatient treatment center in Chicago that provides state-of-the-art, comprehensive treatment for anxiety and related disorders. We customize our services for adults, adolescents and children. While our main office is in Chicago, we also provide distance-learning options via Skype for those living outside our immediate area.

We have helped thousands of people conquer anxiety disorders and move on with their lives

Founded more than 20 years ago, PARC grew from a need to offer short-term, effective treatment for people in the Chicago area whose lives were disrupted by an anxiety disorder. We provide both individual and small group therapy.

Specialized small group treatment programs include:

Recognizing the relationship between anxiety and other psychological conditions, our multidisciplinary specialists and consultants also treat depression, relationship difficulties, loss and bereavement, marriage and family problems, life after divorce, and much more.

"I feel so much better now not having avoidance control my life."

- Hayley

Community education

The PARC staff also works to educate the community, helping reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues. We host community seminars designed to inform the public about anxiety disorders, participate in local television and radio shows, and write articles in local and national publications. We also offer periodic free community anxiety screenings, as well as professional presentations.

About Mark Pfeffer, LMFT – Director of the Panic/Anxiety Recovery CenterMark Pfeffer, PARC Director

Mark Pfeffer is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) in Illinois and California. He is Director of the Panic/Anxiety Recovery Center in Chicago. PARC is a specialized outpatient program that provides comprehensive treatment for anxiety and related disorders. Mark received his Masters degree in Psychology from Boston University with additional post-graduate work at UCLA. He also served as the Commissioner of Social Services for the City of Santa Monica and is an active clinical member of the Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA) and International OCD Foundation (IOCDF).

Mark has appeared on multiple episodes of the A&E's Emmy® nominated show, Hoarders, the Discovery Channel, and the National Geographic Channel. He has been featured and quoted regarding mental health issues in various media outlets including: ABC7 Chicago; CBS2 Chicago; NBC; CLTV Chicago; Chicago Tribune; Pioneer Press, WGCI-FM and Home & Garden magazine. He has also authored numerous publications, and was a recipient of the 2002 “Golden Bell” award from the Mental Health Association of Illinois for an article he co-authored on Panic Disorder.

A&E's Hoarders (2009, 2010, 2011) - Watch Episodes

Chicago Tribune (August 10, 2010)

Huffington Post (June, 2011)

About Becca Barish, LCSW – Program Coordinator at Panic/Anxiety Recovery CenterBecca Barish, PARC Program Coordinator

Becca Barish is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Illinois. She has a passion for teaching improvisation, both as an art form and as an effective therapeutic intervention. As Program Coordinator with the Panic/Anxiety Recovery Center, Becca co-facilitates “Improv for Anxiety” treatment groups, as well as works with clients who struggle with panic and anxiety on an individual basis. Becca received her Masters in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Maryland with a BA in English and focus in Leadership Studies.

Becca is part of the Second City faculty, as an instructor for the A-E improv program. She also works as a facilitator for Second City Works. She is a graduate of the iO Training Center, as well as Second City Conservatory, and has studied improv at The Annoyance theater in Chicago, as well as The People’s Improv Theater in NYC. You can see her performing in Chicago as part of “Whirled News Tonight”, “The Armando Diaz Experience,” and “Casual Encounters” at iO theater, as well as “Yes Diggity” at The Playground. In addition to performing on stages throughout Chicago, she has appeared on SpikeTV, Starz, and VH-1.

In 2010, Becca began presenting workshops focusing on improvisation techniques and exercises to improve communication among students, educators, and business professionals. She was selected to present at The American College Personnel Association’s 2011 Convention in Baltimore, Maryland. She also uses improv techniques to train mental health professionals in developing innovative ways to work with clients.

About Nina Riccardi, LCSW – Group Therapist at Panic/Anxiety Recovery Center Nina Riccardi - PARC Program Coordinator

Nina Riccardi is the Director of Professional Development as well as a Therapist at Cathedral Counseling Center. She obtained her BA from Muhlenberg College; an MS from Boston University; and an MSW from Simmons College of Social Work.
Nina started her professional life as a publicist, and, upon completion of her MSW in 1993 began working as a medical social worker at area hospitals in Boston and Chicago. She currently works with individuals and couples, and is a member of Cathedral’s Dialectical Behavioral Therapy team.

Nina’s areas of expertise include the treatment of anxiety disorders, grief issues, women’s transitions, as well as adjustments to health crises.  Through her work at the Panic and Anxiety Recovery Center, she is developing an interest in the use of  improv in treating social anxiety.  Nina also facilitates a Cancer Support Group for friends and family of cancer patients at Gilda’s Club in Chicago.

About Jake Frelick, AM – Group Facilitator at Panic/Anxiety Recovery Center Jake Frelick, PARC Group Facilitator

Jake Frelick is the Arts, Leadership, and Health Manager at Alternatives Inc., a youth and family services agency in the Uptown community of Chicago. Since February 2014, Jake has worked as a Group Facilitator for the “Improv for Anxiety” treatment groups, where he combines his passion for improvisation with his therapeutic background.

Jake formerly worked as the Manager of Marketing and Community Outreach for the Panic/Anxiety Recovery Center, where he worked to promote the “Improv for Anxiety” program. He obtained his Masters in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago, and he graduated from the University of Maryland with a BA in English and a Minor in Classical Mythology. In September 2014, Jake founded a group for Therapeutic Improv Professionals, and the group continues to meet monthly to discuss the field. Jake also serves on an Advisory Panel for the Chicago Arts Educator Forum (CAEF). He has facilitated numerous professional development workshops using improvisation in Maryland and Illinois.

Jake has improvised since 2005, and since moving to Chicago in 2012, he has graduated from the iO Training Center, studied at the Annoyance Theatre, and he currently plays on a team at the Playground Theater.

About Sarah Logsdon – Group Facilitator at Panic/Anxiety Recovery Center Sarah Longsdon - PARC Group Facilitator

Sarah Logsdon is a Master's of Social Work student at Loyola University Chicago with an expected graduation date of May 2015. She is also pursuing the Certified Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor (CADC) certification, which is expected to be complete at the same time. She has a BFA in Theater Arts from the University of Mississippi. Sarah has began studying improv in Chicago in 2005 and has performed at iO Chicago since 2006. Favorite groups include Close Quarters, The Scene, and Revolver. Sarah has coached improv for several years at iO Chicago and she taught at the Chicago Improv Den in 2014. Sarah is also a registered yoga teacher (RYT-200). She completed the 200-hour Hatha Yoga Teacher Training at Bloom Yoga Studio in 2013.

About Tom Herman, MSW – Group Facilitator at Panic/Anxiety Recovery Center Tom Herman - PARC Group Facilitator

Tom Herman is an improviser and a staff therapist at Lifeworks Psychotherapy Center, where he works with individuals, couples, and groups. He also leads addiction recovery groups for adults in the Healing Connections Program at Peer Services. He has enjoyed working as a Group Facilitator in the "Improv for Anxiety" program treatment groups since October, 2014.

Tom is very interested in experiential learning, especially in the unique growth and learning offered by improvisation. He has worked with many corporate and non-profit clients on improvisation and creativity workshops, and is currently co-facilitating a Mindfulness through Improvisation group at Chicago Mindful Psychotherapy. He is collaborating with Skylight Counseling Center on developing an improvised live therapy training program for professionals, and has worked with the Chicago Center for Conflict Resolution on improvisation as a means for developing mediation skills. He teaches acting and improvisation at the Piven Theatre, where he is also a member of the Piven Improvisation Ensemble. He got his undergraduate degree at Brown University, and his M.S.W. at Loyola University Chicago.

About Stephen Byer, MA – Program Associate at Panic/Anxiety Recovery Center Stephen Byer, PARC Program Associate

Stephen Byer has worked as an educational consultant in the Chicagoland area for over a decade. He is the founder of Byer Tutoring, a company that specializes in preparing students for standardized tests such as the ACT, SAT, and GRE. He provides coaching for students who struggle with test-taking anxiety, as well as those with learning differences such as ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and Dyslexia.

Stephen received a Bachelors in Psychology from DePaul University, and Masters in Psychology from National-Louis University. He is a graduate of Second City's Improv A-E program, and has an interest in applying improv techniques to help students manage their test-taking anxiety.