Hinsdale psychologist DR. COLLEEN NAPLETON is passionate about helping others not only survive but thrive in their lives. She started her psychology private practice group more than 10 years ago with the mission to help people with all the complex things life throws at them. Colleen has always been “the helper,” even from an early age, from her days at Hinsdale Middle School often coaching others through difficulty, to her education journey into psychology, culminating with a doctorate in Psychology. Colleen, who moved back to Hinsdale in 2016 where she lives with Doug Chavez and her son, Jack (6), loves working with parents, LGBTQ+ kids and adults, and children of narcissists. Colleen truly embodies both town and country as her psychology practices has office locations in Hinsdale and in Chicago’s Gold Coast—growing her team to 10 therapists. During the pandemic, Colleen turned her professional focus to helping parents of young children. She asked herself, “who is taking care of the moms? Moms are always taking care of everything for everyone else!” Colleen’s newest venture, The Center for Balanced Parenthood, was born out of Colleen’s continuing mission of helping others—this time with a focus on helping moms find their village. She wanted other moms to know that they are not alone. The Center’s focus is on “Mommy and Me” play groups and invites parents to ask questions, share their collective knowledge, and connect with others in a similar phase of parenting. Those who know Colleen will tell you she’s both a baby whisperer and a toddler guru—and for good reason! She uses her extensive knowledge of children ages 0-5 and personal and professional experience to help other moms navigate this stressful period of development. “Those first five years are challenging, exhausting and full of transitions. It is too much to try to go through alone. You need access to others in the trenches with you.” Anyone who visits The Center will quickly know that they are not in this alone. Here are a few of the accomplished psychologist and supermom’s favorites around country and town:
Mantra? Always be authentic. The more we keep it real, the more we help one another. This is what humanizes you and impacts others. People like to be around those who make them feel seen, heard, and understood. Best grooming tip? You can train your hair into only needing one wash per week. That’s the ultimate mom hack for me. Guilty pleasure? A dirty martini. Favorite foods? Buttered toast with a pinch of salt. Music you love? I can never resist Motown. Best advice ever given to you? Make a lot of mistakes. Best advice you’ve given? Wishes don’t make things come true so you have to make things happen. Earliest memory? When I was 2 and a half, I walked four blocks to the beach in Indiana with my younger cousin. This did not go over well with our parents. Even back then, I was driven to do what I wanted to do. When you wake up, you? Wish I was still sleeping! Before bed, you? Decompress by scrolling Instagram and posting some parenting tips. What’s on your bookshelf? All the parenting books! Mostly Daniel Siegel and Janet Lansbury. You can’t live without? A therapeutic lightbox. The short days of winter can be brutal. Love to escape to? Napa. Advice you would give to your younger self? Try not to take things personally. Everyone is going through something.
WHEN IN THE COUNTRY
Your style is? Relaxed, yet polished. I need to look professional while working with patients, but I also need to be comfortable while chasing around my very busy first grader. My go-to look is a blazer, denim, and sneakers. Can’t leave the house without? A crossbody bag so I can be hands free. Transportation? Currently loving my Jeep Grand Cherokee. Driving music? Running around town, I prefer a little silence to reenergize. Place to eat? We love dining in Elmhurst! Our favorites are Mata Ne, Gia Mia, and Roberto’s. Shop? Sweet William for me and Learning Express for Jack. Best thing about country? The people—everyone is so warm, thoughtful, and happy. Worst thing about country? There is not much to do after 9 p.m. The perfect day is? Playing with Jack at Burns Field, a walk over to my parents’ home, lunch outside on First Street, and having friends and their children over in the backyard with Doug grilling. We can’t wait for spring!
WHEN IN TOWN
Your style is? I like to mix it up. I still am a jeans and blazer girl but will throw in a dress for something special. Can’t leave the house without? My phone. I need to stay connected. Transportation? Uber makes things easier. Driving music? Pretty much anything I know the lyrics to. Don’t mind me while I belt out any Top 40s from the 1960s to 2010s. Place to eat? Gibson’s Italia is our current go-to. Shop? My favorite shopping areas are Oak Street, Armitage Avenue, and the Southport Corridor. Best thing about town? Love the lakefront, the energy, the excitement. Worst thing about town? The crime. The perfect day is? A trip to Lincoln Park Zoo, lunch at RJ Grunts (where I worked in college), and walking along the streets of Lincoln Park with our city friends.