My Approach to Helping
The thought of talking with a counselor can be very intimidating, and I pride myself on my clients describing me as being very easy going and down to earth. Clients are most often pleasantly surprised at how much they enjoy the counseling relationship once they begin, and it's not unusual for my office to be filled with laughter. I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the state of Illinois. Additionally, I have been credentialed through the National Association of Social Workers as a Clinical Social Worker in Gerontology. I have received training in a variety of counseling theories, but the ones that I tend to lean towards are Narrative Theory and Humanistic Theory. We can liken our journey in life to a great story; one with failures and successes, villains and heroes, love and loss. As the authors of our own stories, we can choose how we respond to these life transitions and determine what it means for us. Ultimately, I believe that the goal of therapy is for individuals to reach a point of self-actualization; to discover who they were meant to be and what life they are to live. Together, we can work to ensure that your initial mental and emotional needs are met so that you can come to this place of deeper personal fulfillment. Much of my work experience and interests lie in working with the senior population as well as caregivers for those who are aging.
However, while this may be my specialty, I enjoy working with any adults to work through life transitions and difficulties such as past and present abusive situations, trauma, spirituality concerns, grief/losses, family relationships, and issues related to death. While some problems in life have concrete solutions, most often it is a matter of figuring out how to get through the painful situations in life; not to solve the problem but learn to find peace in it and discover what this experience means for the next chapter of life. While my style preference leans more towards long-term therapy, I am also happy to help with more specific issues that you would like to address in a short period of time, using a different approach.
More Info About My Practice
I accept the following insurance plans: Blue Cross Blue Shield, Health Alliance, Humana, Cigna, Aetna, Magellan, MHNet, and Medicare. For individuals without insurance coverage, I am happy to work with you to negotiate a rate that is manageable for you.
Specific Issue(s) I'm Skilled at Helping With
Much of my work experience and training has revolved around the aging population, working in a nursing home, as a hospice volunteer, and as a mental health counselor for seniors. While I have not yet experienced living as a senior myself yet, I have been humbled over and over again by my client's stories and experiences. My years of experience in counseling this specific population have made me sensitive to and aware of aging concerns, family relationships at this stage of life, related medical issues, and end of life issues including religious and spiritual concerns.
My View on the Purpose of Psychotherapy
Ultimately, this will vary for each client depending on their past situations and current concerns. Generally speaking though, I believe that the purpose of psychotherapy is to allow clients a safe, confidential environment to work through past and/or current problems and discover how they may be affecting your emotions and behaviors. Often clients find new perspectives on how to view their circumstances or relationships, and with support, feel empowered to make changes to work towards becoming the most authentic and real versions of themselves possible.
On the Fence About Going to Therapy?
Unfortunately, therapy carries a bit of a stigma. Even with efforts towards public education, advocacy, and normalization, we still carry the mentality that we should be able to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and should be able to handle things on our own. Often times though, people find it extremely helpful to have an outside, confidential person who they can talk with and gain additional perspective from. The great majority of the time that I have met with a new client who was on the fence about it, they were pleasantly surprised at how much they enjoyed the counseling relationship and how NOT scary or embarrassing it was. As with many situations in life, trying something out will not hurt anything. Even if you decide that counseling (or a specific counselor) is not for you, you can at least make an informed decision about continuing or not after you have experienced what it is like. If we meet and you don't feel that I am the right fit for you, I will be happy to offer you other referrals for another therapist who you may prefer to work with.
How My Own Struggles Made Me a Better Therapist
Absolutely! I served as a caregiver for a close terminally ill family member so I can very much relate to the stress, emotions (sometimes unexpected ones!), and grief of individuals in that situation. Illness, death, and related losses are good examples of problems that are not necessarily solved, but that you can learn to cope with, survive, better understand yourself, and find peace with. As a therapist, this continuing experience helps me to see that peace, a vision of the future, and even joy, can still be found, even in the most tragic of circumstances, and I hope that successfully convey this to my clients.