Garrett Pluhar-Schaeffer, LCSW

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Erikson Institute


Park Ridge

Garrett is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) who received his Masters in Social Work from Erikson Institute, where he specialized in working with children and their families. He has received advanced training in treating trauma in children, adolescents and adults. Currently, he is receiving advanced training in child and adolescent psychotherapy at the Chicago Psychoanalytic Institute. In his clinical practice, Garrett uses psychoanalytic and attachment theories, along with trauma-informed therapy. He believes that growth and development occurs through the context of relationships.

As a social worker, Garrett has worked in community-based mental health providing therapy and case management to individuals that had severe and persistent mental health issues. He also worked in child welfare as a child therapist for children that experienced sexual abuse. One area that he specialized in was providing therapy for children with sexually problematic behaviors stemming from abuse.

Garrett enjoys working with children and adolescents who struggle with anxiety, self-regulation, school problems, gender and sexual identity, and family issues; and those who have experienced trauma. He utilizes play therapy when working with children in order for the child to best express their lived experience. Garrett is also passionate about advocating for and providing therapy to children and adolescents that are exploring their sexual or gender identities.

With adults, Garrett has experience working with mental health, relationship, behavioral issues, and family issues. He has worked with psychotic disorders, PTSD, anxiety, mood disorders, and personality disorders. Garrett believes that therapy should create a non-judgmental space to explore feelings and emotions.

“Therapy is a microcosm of life, where we can explore issues that cause distress, work to lessen that pain, and work with our strengths to build a better understanding of ourselves.”