couples counseling downtown chicago

UB Therapist Spotlight: Sarah Farris, LPC

UB’s Sarah Farris works from the Chicago downtown counseling office. Sarah is a Licensed Professional Counselor with experience working in inpatient and outpatient settings. Sarah spent six years in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio conducting research focusing on impulsive behaviors and severe mental illness with Adolescent psychiatric inpatients and their families. Sarah has worked with teens, families, University students, young adults and geriatric patients.

View Sarah’s Full Bio

What made you become a therapist?

As a teen and young adult, I first recognized my interest in understanding human behavior and how people develop patterns of being, interacting and communicating. Through college, graduate school and post-graduate employment, I focused on psychiatric research. While conducting a longitudinal study with high risk teen populations, I became more compelled to get involved in clinical work and be part of treatment.

What are your specialties?

Relationship issues, effective communication strategies, self-identity, and work/life balance.

Did you have a career before becoming a therapist?

I’ve always worked in mental health, but before becoming a therapist, I worked in psychiatric research.

Why do you believe that counseling can help?

I believe counseling can help because it provides an unbiased, non-judgmental environment in which clients can explore, discover and set personal goals. It can provide balance, insight and support to clients in making appropriate changes in their lives.

Why is it important to seek counseling?

It is important to seek counseling when mental, emotional and interpersonal concerns are affecting regular functioning. Professional support not only provides a safe place to be heard, but also provides effective coping techniques, and helpful strategies to implement in seeking solutions. Counseling gives clients a partner to work through their concerns and help empower them to make change.

Favorite Self Care Activities:

Regular exercise in the gym and outdoors with frequent variety, spending time with people who are important to me. I try to make time for relaxing alone time to unwind, and consistent sleep!




NEW: UB Wellness Directory

Urban Balance recognizes the need in Chicagoland for wellness professionals and clients alike to share resources that provide support, education, and services. The UB Wellness Directory is built and maintained to promote growth, development, and healing. The directory includes over 600 currently verified resources and is growing. We welcome any suggestions, please contact us.


Full resource category list:

Please note – The resources are listed here as a courtesy to site visitors and should be utilized along with professional assistance in dealing with issues related to mental health or addiction. If you are interested in counseling, please visit our contact page.

Directory suggestions, corrections, or comments, please please contact us.

UB Healthy Summer Reader

20140615_143241 UB Summer Reader

We’d love your feedback and comments on any of the articles below; please comment directly within Huffington Post or Psych Central.

Follow UB’s owner Joyce Marter on Huffington Post, and Psych Central.

romance Increase the Resiliency of Your Relationship: 6 Strategies

Look at the good parts. All relationships have problems. All people have faults. We are human beings in human relationships. Nobody is perfect, and there is no perfect relationship.

man_glasses  25 Affirmations to Align Yourself With the Greater Good

I understand that at any time my spirit/soul is absolutely free and invited to dance and to sing and to play at a whim — and the more I do so, the more I will surrender and feel blissful.

   I Can’t Believe They Did That! Taming Judgmental Tendencies

“Recognize your judgmental ways. You might not even realize that you’re judgmental. Marter didn’t…”

  Therapists Spill: 10 Tips for Making the Most of Therapy

Choose carefully. “You may be in a hurry to find answers for your problems, but it’s a good idea to take the time to carefully choose your therapist…”

  50 Loving Sentiments We Should All Say More Often

“We forget the enormous power of our words, as we carelessly lash out when under stress. We stick our noses in our laptops and smartphones, assuming our loved ones know what we are failing to verbalize, sometimes until the relationships are disconnected or damaged beyond repair…”

Therapists Spill: 9 Myths About Therapy that Sabotage the Process

Myth: Therapy is for people with serious illnesses. Fact: Therapy is absolutely beneficial for people with mental illness; however, it’s helpful for all sorts of issues.

mom_teen  What Death Taught Me About Life: 5 Inspirational Lessons

Loss can bring unexpected and enormous blessings. Hardships are opportunities for growth. Unimaginable losses are openings for the soul to receive healing love from new sources. In my practice and in my own journey, I have been awed and inspired by the resiliency of the human spirit.

 Weaken the Fiction in Your Head: 3 Strategies

While some of the fiction we write in our heads can serve useful purposes such as artistic creation, problem solving, invention, pleasurable fantasy, and exploring hopes, dreams and desires. However, when taken too far it can move from healthy escapism to reality avoidance and prevent us from living your life consciously in the here-and-now.

couples and pre baby counseling in chicago

Expecting? UB Pre-Baby Workshop Now Registering

Join Urban Balance therapists, Bridget Levy, LCPC and Cori Robin, LCSW for a Pre-Baby urban balance pre baby counselingWorkshop and learn how to:

  • Prepare and strengthen your alliance with your partner to navigate your new family.
  • Identify 10 most common challenges/pitfalls couples may face when children arrive
  • Discover and pinpoint potential areas for growth in your current relationship
  • Set realistic and shared expectations for your relationship within your new family

Contact Bridget Levy to Learn More

UB Therapist Jennifer Hope Quoted in “5 Things That Make A Good Partner”

From Psych Central, By 

“It’s  a myth that “one partner should have what the other does not,” said Jenifer Hope, LCPC, a psychotherapist with over 10 years’ experience working with couples and families.

“We have all seen romantic movies where a character professes how they cannot possibly live without the other because they complete them.”

But this isn’t what makes a good partner. What makes a good partner is a complete partner. As Hope said, a half plus a half doesn’t equal two. “Two complete, whole people equal one happy couple.”

A good partner also is honest, respectful, loyal, forgiving and humble, she said. And they have “the capability to provide unconditional love….”

Read Full Article

Read Jennifer Hope’s Full Bio

Meet the therapists at UB’s Northbrook counseling office

Headed up by UB’s Owner Joyce Marter, the Northbrook office has grown to 6 therapists in just under 8 months. Therapist specialties include counseling for adolescents and families, as well as extensive clinical experience with couples and marriage counseling. Easy access from the north suburbs off the Edens Expressway. UB’s insurance services available at this location; therapists are in-network with most major insurance providers.

Full UB Northbrook therapist bios and credentialing info.

joyce marter  hedy carrera  shannon barlow

LisaSrour  lindsay wolff  brittany billingslea

counseling practice insurance chicago

UB’s Insurance Services Can Help Maximize Your Mental Health Care Benefit

Since its founding 10 years ago Urban Balance has been an insurance friendly counseling practice. Each Chicago area therapy office has therapists in-network with the major health insurance  plans. Our insurance benefits team works with each client to ensure their benefits are being maximized. By taking care of it internally we usually save our clients both time and money. UB’s focus has always been on providing affordable, accessible counseling. With 6 offices in Chicago and north suburbs, over 70 therapists on staff, and now 5 members on our insurance team, UB is built to provide affordable, accessible counseling for the next 10 years.

Partial List of Insurance providers UB therapists are in-network with:

If you don’t see your plan here, contact us, Urban Balance has therapists in-network with almost all plans. No insurance? UB offers sliding scale for uninsured clients.

  • Aetna PPO & POS
  • The Allen Group
  • American Behavioral
  • Anthem
  • APS
  • Blue Cross & Blue Shield of IL PPO (contact about HMO)
  • Chickering Group
  • Cigna Behavioral Health
  • Claremont EAP
  • ComPsych
  • Deer Oaks EAP
  • EAP Consultants
  • Employee & Family Resources
  • Employee Resource Systems
  • FedMed
  • Great West
  • HFN
  • Horizon EAP
  • Humana
  • Magellan Behavioral Health (not EAP)
  • Managed Health Network (MHN)
  • Medicare of Illinois
  • MHNet
  • Mines & Associates
  • Multiplan
  • One Health Plan
  • Private Healthcare Systems (PHCS)
  • UniCare
  • United Behavioral Health (UBH)
  • Workplace Solutions
  • Value Options

Start of Summer Reader: UB News May 2014

“25 Simple Ways to Improve Every Relationship” 

In The Huffington Post


“Men Who Work on Themselves Are Sexy” 

in Psych Central


“Find Bliss by Going Inward” 

in The Huffington Post


“8 Life Lessons From My 8-Year-Old”

in The Huffington Post


“Three Facts about Feelings”

in Psych Central


“7 Self-Compassionate Strategies to Experience Sadness”

in Beliefnet


“Therapists Spill: The Books I Turn to on a Difficult Day”

in Psych Central