Our Team

Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, working together is success. – Henry Ford

The Therapy Tree, LLC Founders

The Therapy Tree, LLC Founders

Pictured Left to Right: Zaida Medina, Rebecca Cain, Laura Houston, Carol Bettendorf

We are leaders in teaching total mind-body awareness and connection, while providing specialized pediatric and adult therapeutic services and general wellness coaching in our warm and friendly atmosphere. Our historic and authentic Wellness Center exudes a calm, relaxing, and refreshing environment to spread total mind-body connection and wellness to our communities, through offering Yoga classes, Martial Arts classes, Group Programs, Massage Therapy, Skincare Services, and more for adults and children alike.

We are pleased to introduce you to our founders and staff.

Zaida Medina, Ed.D, LCPC, CPE

Zaida Medina, Ed.D, LCPC, CPE


  • Ed.D., M.A., LCPC
  • 10 years experience in Pediatrics
  • Also counsels adolescents and adults
  • C.P.E. Certified Parent Educator
  • Formally trained in specialized therapy techniques including: – Cognitive Behavior Therapy – Clinical Hypnosis – Trauma Assessment and Treatment – Play/Clay/Art Therapy – Mediation – Sand Play – Interactive Metronome – Rapid Trauma Resolution
I believe that we are all capable of living the life we all want. Often times when there is a life stressor or a history of trauma it is not unusual to need someone to talk to in order to get your life ‘back on track.’ I became interested in Psychology and the helping profession of Counseling early on. My interest in working with families with children with special needs happened when my own sister was born with Down Syndrome.

Professional Counseling became an interest educationally when I realized that others were helped and inspired to live better lives, to grow as humans and to help others. I began my counseling career as an intern at a child welfare agency. I worked with severely neglected and abused children who found the strength within themselves, and with a little direction and help from me, to persevere. I was inspired by how strong such little children could be and how profound their lives could end up even through such turbulent times.

“I believe that we are all capable of living the life we all want.”

My work with Early Intervention and The Therapy Tree, LLC (formerly Birth To Three & Beyond Pediatric Therapies, LLC) began shortly after my time at the child welfare agency. I love working with families, adults and children who are struggling to identify their way on their own. My work is so rewarding to see that people’s lives are changed and motivated for the better and that optimal mental health can be so dramatically life altering!

I appreciate the transdisciplinary work and the collaboration that comes from working with a variety of different disciplines and therapists at The Therapy Tree!

Rebecca S. Cain, B.S. OTR/L

Rebecca S. Cain, B.S., OTR/L


  • B.S., OTR/L
  • 15 years experience in pediatrics
  • 5 years experience in hippotherapy
  • Formally trained in specialized therapy techniques including: – Sensory Processing Therapy – Therapeutic Listening – Neuro-Developmental Treatment (NDT) – Myofascial Release – Kinisiotaping – Oral-Motor/Feeding Therapy – Craniosacral Therapy – Vestibular Activation – Reflex Integration – Interactive Metronome – Vibrational Healing / Aroma Therapy – Child’Space – Special Needs Yoga
In 2003, I had the good fortune to team up with a group of very talented women to create Birth to Three and Beyond Pediatric Therapies. We met while providing home health services though the Lake County Early Intervention Program. Our business grew quickly, and we expanded twice into the offices next to our original space. But even with our expansions, we felt that our plans and dreams for the services that we wanted to offer were much bigger than our space could accommodate. So, in 2010 we bought a beautiful old building next to Cedar Lake in downtown Lake Villa, which is our current home. We created a wellness center on the upper level, opened a therapy clinic on the lower level, and rebranded ourselves as The Therapy Tree.

Working at The Therapy Tree is not just a job for me; I consider it an ongoing journey of discovery, with endless possibilities. Each day brings new challenges and triumphs that I am privileged to share with the families that come to me in search of guidance, support, and healing. I look at each client as a unique individual, not a diagnosis or label that fits them into a box with a pre-determined destiny. I am a life-long student, and am always searching for the best approach to help my clients and their families reach their highest potential.

The field of Occupational Therapy is a perfect fit for me, as it allows me to treat clients with a truly holistic approach. OTs consider all aspects of a person’s successes and struggles, across all of the environments and activities that are meaningful to them. This means considering the complete person from a physical, emotional, and psychological standpoint. It also means considering the influence of all of the people who are an important part of that person’s life. When I formulate a care plan, I emphasize the whole person, and the interdependence of all of the parts that contribute to the health, happiness, success, and well-being of each individual.

I am always searching for innovative ways to expand my knowledge and skills, which has fueled my drive to search for the most effective and efficient methods of helping my clients and their families. This has led me to seek solutions and expand my skills beyond the traditional training of my profession, and to add approaches that are just now being validated and recognized by western medicine through research methods only made possible by the incredible advances in technology that have occurred over the last decade.

Methods such as mindfulness training, meditation, yoga, manual bodywork techniques, dietary changes, and aromatherapy were once considered to be on the fringe of health care in this country. There is a rapidly growing and reputable body of research providing scientific evidence of the efficacy of complimentary treatment techniques, where previously this evidence was purely anecdotal.

I proudly consider myself a science nerd, and am continuously re-energized by the changing philosophy in our health care system, from separating the human organism into a collection of separate parts, to considering the interdependence and inter-relatedness of all aspects of our physical and emotional selves into a complete, ever-evolving entity.

The Therapy Tree is committed to be a part of this change, and we welcome you to join us on our journey to health and wellness.

Speech & Language Pathologist Laura Houston

Laura Houston, M.A., CCC-SLP/L, CPMT, CIMI


  • 22+ years specialized in pediatrics
  • Certified NOMAS® newborn & infant feeding evaluations
  • Certified Infant Massage Instructor
  • Certified Pediatric Massage Therapist
  • 18+ years as credentialed IL Early Intervention specialist
  • Formally trained in specialized therapy techniques including: – Feeding / Swallowing Therapy (including SOS® Techniques – Dyspraxia / Apraxia of speech – Dysarthria & other motor speech disorders – Dyslexia – Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) – Greenspan Floortime® – Myofascial Release – Craniosacral Therapy – Neurodevelopmental Treatment (NDT) – Massage Therapy for children with special needs – Signed Exact English / ASL – Auditory Processing Disorder – Phonological and Articulation Disorders – Language Disorders – Executive Function Disorders – Lindamood-Bell® Visualizing and Verbalizing®, Seeing Stars® – Word Finding Disorders – Interactive Metronome® – Sensory Processing Therapy – Stuttering & Voice Therapy – Therapeutic use of Essential Oils – Vibrational Healing techniques
I have a great many life experiences that all contributed to the person and therapist I am today. I come from a large family with two brothers and five sisters. As the second oldest, I was frequently acting as “mommy” to the younger siblings during my elementary and high school years. I was always taking care of someone’s baby or my own sisters it seemed, and I loved it.

“I feel very blessed and fortunate to have the opportunity to nurture so many young lives in my chosen profession.”

I have 22+ years of experience specializing in the birth to three population, preschool, school-age and adolescent children. I have spent numerous hours gaining additional continuing education with concentration in the areas of oral and/or verbal apraxia or dyspraxia, feeding and swallowing disorders, auditory processing and comprehension disorders, and aural rehabilitation. I have worked with children having a variety of delays, disorders and diagnoses including feeding and swallowing problems, receptive and expressive language delay or disorder, verbal apraxia, dysfluency or stuttering, central auditory processing disorder, word retrieval difficulties, Down Syndrome, Joubert Syndrome, Cleft lip and palate, Turner Syndrome, DiGeorge Syndrome, Asperger Syndrome, Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders, ADD/ADHD, Traumatic Brain Injury, cochlear implant and hearing impaired, and others. I am certified to administer newborn feeding evaluations using the NOMAS® feeding scale. I have helped children successfully transition from tube feedings to oral feedings. I currently am working for certification as a Board Recognized Specialist in Swallowing disorders awarded by the American Speech Language and Hearing Association.

I also am very passionate about the mind body connection, and use of vibrational healing or energy healing techniques in conjunction with traditional therapy methods. Using my certifications as a Certified Pediatric Massage Therapist (CPMT) and Certified Infant Massage Instructor (CIMI), I have been incorporating massage, aromatherapy and use of therapeutic grade essential oils in my therapy with children and families for over 10 years. I am currently working to add color therapy, light spectrum and sound frequency vibrational healing methods in my work with children and families.

My career and education path led me initially into the United States Army, where I spent six years on active duty playing flute, piccolo, tenor saxophone, and baritone saxophone and singing in various Army Bands. I was fortunate to travel and experience different cultures from my own in Fort Sill, OK; Korea; Germany, Holland, and Denmark. My last assignment was at Fort Sheridan, IL. I earned my bachelor degree in psychology while attending school in the evenings. In 1989, I left my active duty assignment to work full time as a legal technician for the U.S. Army Recruiting Command. I eventually went back to school full time at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL to obtain my master’s degree in Speech Language Pathology. I also continued serving in U.S. Army Reserve Bands until my retirement in March 2004.

My interest in children and the desire to nurture in some capacity led me into the Speech Language Pathology field. Courses in linguistics and communication sciences furthered my search for a therapy field that would allow me to foster growth early in a child’s development. Upon graduation in 1994, I began working with the Special Education District of Lake County’s Parent Infant program, which later became the birth to three program. I was blessed to work in a setting that encouraged collaboration and mentor ship with all therapy disciplines including physical therapists, occupational therapists, vision specialists, audiologists, school psychologists, social workers, counselors and special educators.

I began a private practice as well in 1996, which afforded me the opportunity to continue working with children after they aged out of the birth to three program. I joined with a group of therapists to establish Birth To Three Therapies in Grayslake, IL. Our business grew until we needed more space and more therapists. We moved to Lake Villa in 2004. In 2008 we changed our name to “The Therapy Tree, Pediatric and Adult Wellness” to express our expanded focus on the mind-body connection and wellness for the entire family and/or caregiver unit.

We continue to expand our facility and services offered. We also are committed to providing a setting for new therapists to gain skills specializing in pediatric evaluation and therapy. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to share my expertise and foster the growth of Speech Language Pathologists focusing on the pediatric population.

Carol Bettendorf Physical Therapist

Carol Bettendorf, M.S. PT, PCS


  • M.S. PT, PCS
  • 25+ years experience in Pediatrics
  • 20 years experience in Birth To Three
  • Board certified Pediatric Physical Therapist
  • Certified in NDT, Sensory Integration, and Praxis Test and Theraplay®, Feldenkrais® Practitioner
  • Formally trained in specialized therapy techniques including: – Myofascial Release – Craniosacral Therapy – Threshold Electrical Stimulation – Zero Balancing
There are some concepts that I have about Pediatric Physical Therapy that I believe and follow. Each child is special and deserves our love and respect, as well as the fun and enjoyment we can have in treatment. I want to provide the services that will enable the child to reach his/her optimal motor potential. During the course of my career, many new treatment techniques have been developed. My therapy is firmly grounded in the traditional pediatric physical therapy techniques, however, if I thought that a new technique would help a child’s progress, I brought the child to a consult with a therapist who knew the technique, then I learned the technique myself. I have wound up with strong traditional therapy skills and many additional skills.

“Each child is special and deserves our love and respect, as well as the fun and enjoyment we can have in treatment.”

I think that some pediatric cases are complex and it is useful to have different therapists consult on treatment. Another therapist might suggest something that could be useful for the child. I do consults with other physical therapists and with other disciplines who are seeing the child, for example counselors, speech or occupational therapists.

I practiced Pediatric Physical Therapy with the Special Education District of Lake County (SEDOL), first with severely handicapped children and then in their Early Intervention program. When the SEDOL Early Intervention program closed, I invited other therapists to join me in a private practice so that we could continue to be able to work closely with each other. We have similar philosophies about treatment in our clinic and really enjoy working together. Also, along the way, I taught Pediatric Physical Therapy at the Chicago Medical School, stopping teaching when we opened our clinic and I no longer had time available.

I feel so privileged to work with special children and enjoy the families and therapists in my life.

We are truly blessed to have incredible additional therapists and support members on our team who make The Therapy Tree, LLC all that is it today and will help us soar and reach even more of the needs of our children, adults, and families in Northeastern Illinois and Southeastern Wisconsin.

Please meet the rest of our team!

Administrative Support

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Not yet pictured: Chelsea Gahgan

KiMuDo Martial Arts

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Massage Therapy

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Occupational Therapy

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Oral-Motor Feeding Therapy

Oral-Motor Feeding Therapy is provided as a collaborative effort by both our Occupational Therapists and Speech Language Pathologists. Click on a picture for available biographical information.

Physical Therapy

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Skincare Services

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