What you need to know about: Grief

by Meaghan Diaz
The stages one goes through after experiencing the death of a loved one include: denial & isolation, anger, bargaining, and acceptance. Every person is different and subsequently each person experiences grief differently. Some may go through the stages in a different order or others may experience one stage longer than another stage. Some may cope with the loss by outwardly expressing their emotions, while others may bottle it up. Regardless of how a person expresses grief, everyone goes through stages of grief in his or her own way.
Stage 1 is denial and isolation. This stage is the first reaction to the news that serves as a buffer from the pain. A person may deny the facts of the situation and may withdraw from others in response to learning of their loved one’s passing or terminal illness.
Stage 2 is anger. When the protective effects of denial and isolation begin to wear and the pain resurfaces, one may experience angry outbursts due to their lack of control of the situation. The anger can be directed at inanimate objects or people, including strangers, family, friends, doctors or even the deceased or ill loved one.
Stage 3 is bargaining. This stage is an attempt to regain control by reflecting on how one could have prevented the situation in the first place. For example, thoughts such as “If only he or she were diagnosed sooner…” or “If only I spent more time with him or her before this happened…” are common in the third stage of grief.
Stage 4 is depression. This stage is when the person allows themselves to feel the pain of the situation fully, which results in experiencing symptoms of depression, such as sadness and regret.
Stage 5 is acceptance. Some may not reach this stage, however it characterized by accepting the reality of the situation and feeling calm about it. It does not necessarily mean that the person is happy about it, but they have accepted that it has happened and have allowed the grief process to take its course.
As mentioned, these stages may occur in a different order, intensity, and may overlap depending on the individual and their type of loss. Also, a mix of emotions such as anger, confusion, fear, guilt, and hopelessness may occur throughout the grieving process.
It is important to remember that:
  • you will survive the loss despite the pain,
  • that allowing yourself to go through the process at the natural pace (without trying to speed through it) will allow for proper healing, 
  • it is important express your emotions and seek support when needed.
“Should I seek counseling for grief?”
Some find it comforting to speak to a therapist during the grieving process.
If you would like to seek counseling with a UB therapist who specializes in grief & loss counseling, contact us.

What you need to know about: Addiction

by Meaghan Diaz


A common form of an addiction is alcohol/substance abuse. It is common for people to have a beer to unwind after a long day of work occasionally. However, a person with a substance abuse disorder is dependent on alcohol or drugs and continues to use them despite the negative impact it may have on his or her day-to-day life, such as worsening physical and mental health as well as damaging social relationships. The severity of the addiction disorder may vary, but common symptoms include the individual consuming more than originally planned, experiencing anxiety due to unsuccessful control of consumption, and spending a lot of time to use, obtain, or recover from the substance. Those who abuse alcohol/substances experience cravings and withdrawals, making it difficult to control the addiction. They may also develop a tolerance over time, thereby requiring larger doses of consumption in order to feel the effects.

“Should I seek treatment for addiction?” If an addiction is interfering with your normal daily functioning or if you are experiencing distress due to an addiction disorder, contact a therapist for a clinical evaluation to determine a recovery plan.

“What are common addiction treatment options?” Treatment involves a clinical assessment/evaluation to determine a recovery plan, detoxification, active treatment (medication, programs, support groups, residential treatment, etc.), and relapse prevention plan. The type of treatment is unique to the individual’s situation.

Discover more addiction resources in UB’s Wellness Directory.

If you would like to seek counseling with a UB therapist who specializes in addiction counseling, contact us. Browse Urban Balance therapists who specialize in addiction treatment here.

What you need to know about: Eating Disorders

by Meaghan Diaz
Eating Disorders
Millions of people are affected by eating disorders, with 90% of them being adolescent and young females. Adolescent and young women are more susceptible to developing an eating disorder because it is during that time in their lives that they try dieting. They may feel the pressure to stay slim due to sport involvement or a modelling career choice. The three types most common types of eating disorders are anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder.
Anorexia (also known as anorexia nervosa) is characterized by the person starving themselves because they believe they are overweight. If the person is 15% below the normal body weight and is losing weight by starvation, he or she may be anorexic.
Bulimia (also known as bulimia nervosa) is when a person overeats and then rids his or her body of the food by vomiting, excessive exercise, or taking laxatives. Ridding the body of food in this manner is called “purging”. This common eating disorder may go not be noticeable to others because most of the time, the person does not appear to be gaining or losing a significant amount of weight.
Binge eating disorder is like bulimia in that the people with the disorder eat excessively, however they do not attempt to rid their body of the food. They eat more than the normal, healthy serving and they feel out of the control of their eating in that they cannot control their frequent urges or the amount they consume in a sitting. A binge eating episode includes 3 or more of the following symptoms: eating more rapidly than normal, eating beyond feeling full, consuming large amounts of food despite not feeling hungry, eating alone due to embarrassment about the excessive food consumption, and feeling guilty after a binge eating episode.
“Should I seek treatment for an eating disorder?” If you (or a loved one) are experiencing symptoms of an eating disorder, it is important to seek treatment to prevent medical complications in the future as a result of an eating disorder.
“What are common treatment options for eating disorders?”
Common treatment options include:
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Medications
  • Psychotherapy
If you would like to seek counseling with a UB therapist who specializes in eating disorder counseling, contact us. Browse Urban Balance therapists who specialize in eating disorder treatment here.

What you need to know about: Depression

by Meaghan Diaz


Depression is characterized by symptoms such as feeling pessimistic, hopeless, worthless, anxious or guilty. People with with depression may lose interest in activities that they once found pleasurable, such as spending time with friends or family. They may experience unintentional changes in appetite, weight, and sleep patterns (such as insomnia or oversleeping). They may feel easily fatigued or experience a decline in overall energy level despite receiving a full night’s sleep. Other symptoms that are common include irritability, restlessness, and suicidal thoughts. Physical symptoms include headaches, chronic pain, and digestive issues. A person with depression may also have difficulty getting motivated, focusing on tasks and making decisions. It is normal for one to experience these symptoms occasionally, however if these symptoms occur more often than not, for a period of 2 weeks or longer, it may be a form of clinical depression. Types of depression have varying and overlapping symptoms. Depression is a complex disorder and is may be caused by a multitude of unique life factors.

“Should I seek counseling for depression?” If you have been experiencing any of the above symptoms, seek help by speaking with a therapist.

“What are common depression treatment options?” Common depression treatment options include:

  • Psychotherapy (types of psychotherapy include cognitive-behavioral, interpersonal, behavioral, and rational-emotive)
  • Antidepressant medication

Discover more depression resources in UB’s Wellness Directory.

If you would like to seek counseling with a UB therapist who specializes in depression counseling, contact us. Browse Urban Balance therapists who specialize in depression treatment here.
couples counseling and marriage counselor chicago

You’re Invited to UB’s Love & Relationship Event 10/09/14

Please join Urban Balance at our Love & Relationship Event! Featuring a panel of experts offering insight and advice about a variety of relationship issues.
ub love & relationship event
The Love & Relationship Event
Open to the public • $40.00 per ticket UB clients & friends • Early Bird Discount: $20.00 w/promo code – Love
RSVP to blevy@urbanbalance.com

Thursday, October 9, 2014 at
Urban Balance Chicago
180 N. Michigan Avenue
Suite 805

Official Event Flyer

Press Inquiries

UB First Friday, Chicago Mental Health Professional Networking

UB First Fridays: Mental Health Professional Networking Event, October 3rd

Urban Balance First Fridays Speaker Series and Networking

A free monthly professional networking event designed to bring together mental health and wellness professionals in the Chicago area for learning and networking purposes.

October’s Featured Speaker & Sponsor: Gwendolyn J. Sterk and the Family Law Group

“The Divorce Process: The Basics and How it Affects Your Clients”

Gwendolyn J. Sterk is an attorney and Team Leader of the Family Law Group at Goldstine, Skrodzkl, Russian, Nemec and Hoff Ltd. She handles all types of family
law cases through negotiations, discovery, settlements, trials and appeals with the ultimate goal of assisting clients to move forward with integrity and dignity.

UB First Friday (every first Friday of the month)
From 5:00-6:00 pm at Urban Balance office in River West
935 W. Chestnut St. Suite 204
RSVP to Bridget Levy at blevy@urbanbalance.com

Official Event Page

Press Inquiry

therapy and counseling services in Northbrook, north suburban chicago

Meet the Therapists at UB’s Northbrook Counseling Office

UB’s Northrbook office is located at: 
155 Revere Drive, Suite 4, Northbrook 60062
8 therapists at this office provide comprehensive counseling services, and offer complimentary therapy specialties for individuals (adults, adolescents and children), couples, families and groups.

View Bios of UB’s Northbrook Therapists

Hours of Service
  • Monday through Thursday: 7AM – 9PM
  • Friday: 7AM – 5PM
  • Saturday and Sunday: 9AM – 5PM

To Schedule an appointment contact Urban Balance’s intake coordinator @ (888)726-7170




counseling for anxiety chicago

What You Need To Know About: Anxiety

by Meaghan Diaz


It is common for one to experience nervousness from time to time, such as before an important interview or meeting. However, if symptoms of anxiety, such as profuse sweating, pounding heart, trembling, dizziness, and excessive worry, are easily and often triggered, it may be an anxiety disorder. For some, the source of experiencing an unreasonable amount of anxiety may be due to finances, work, or family. For others, the source of constant anxiety may be due to a multitude of reasons or just life in general.

It is not uncommon that those with anxiety disorders realize that their worry or nervousness is excessive and is not a normal response, but they feel that they cannot control or subdue it despite their best efforts. This usually results in feeling in a state of constant unease, which makes it difficult to sleep at night or relax during the day. This may contribute to tiredness and lack of focus. Physical symptoms of anxiety disorders include: numbness, tingling, elevated heart rate, headache, irritability, chest pain, hot flashes, chills, sweating, trembling hands, feeling lightheaded, feeling on edge and experiencing persistent nervousness or worry. Anxiety disorders most commonly develop in childhood or adolescence, but it can develop in adulthood as well.

“Should I seek counseling for anxiety?”

If your anxiety is interfering with normal daily activities and/or is causing distress, it is important that you seek treatment.

“What are common anxiety therapy options?”

After receiving a complete medical examination, treatment options include:

Medication: This short-term treatment option for acute anxiety will help alleviate the physical symptoms.

Individual Therapy (recommended): A therapist will help identify specific life stressors, provide feedback, and teach relaxation techniques and exercises to combat anxiety.

Discover more anxiety resources in UB’s Wellness Directory

If you would like to seek counseling with a UB therapist who specializes in anxiety counseling, contact us. Browse Urban Balance therapists who specialize in anxiety treatment here.

Webinar This Wednesday for Counseling Professionals: Take Your Practice to The Next Level


Advanced private practice: Take your practice to the next level
Presenters Norman C. Dasenbrook and Joyce Marter

Advanced Private Practice: Take Your Practice to the Next Level!
Considering expanding your practice but not sure how? Not sure who to ask?

Register now for this complimentary live webinar hosted by TherapySites featuring national experts on private practice development. Norm Dasenbrook and Joyce Marter will be discussing how to expand your practice and your bank account by:

Bullet Shifting gears from mental health to business
Bullet Diversifying income streams
Bullet Optimizing social media
Bullet Marketing more effectively
Bullet Developing your brand
Bullet Hiring additional clinicians

During this one-hour presentation, Dasenbrook and Marter offer insights on how they have traversed the private practice landscape to establish successful businesses. Participants will be able to submit questions for the last 15-minute Q & A portion of the webinar. We hope you can join us for this interactive experience!

Reserve Your Seat and Register Now! Wednesday, September 10th at 1pm CT

Norman C. Dasenbrook Norman C. Dasenbrook, MS, LCPC is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor who has over 30 years experience in the fields of mental health, consulting, teaching, business and alternative dispute resolution processes. He is Past President of the Illinois Mental Health Counselors Association, served on the Governing Council for the Illinois Counseling Association and winner of the Distinguished Service Award. He has also served as a consultant to the American Counseling Association on Private Practice Issues 2005 – 2011. He and Robert Walsh launched ACA’s Private Practice Initiative.
Additionally, Norman is co-author of a number of books including Harnessing the Power of Conflict: Optimum Performance Through the Self-Mediation Method. Along with running his private practice in Rockford, Norman is also a mediator and collaborative law professional concentrating on family, corporate and work group mediation.
Joyce Marter, LCPChas been a licensed psychotherapist since 1998 and is CEO of Urban Balance, a counseling private practice she founded in 2004 that has grown to a team of nearly 70 therapists working from six locations in the Greater Chicago Area. Joyce was selected by Crain’s Chicago Business for the “40 Under 40″ List of 2010. She currently serves as the President of the Board of the Illinois Mental Health Counselors Association. Marter is a blogger for PsychCentral and The Huffington Post and currently has a book in development. Joyce is routinely consulted as a psychological expert on television, radio and has been featured in such publications such as The Wall Street Journal and U.S. News. Joyce Marter
Free Webinar Register Now

Therapist spotlight: Anna Kultys, MA, LCPC

Anna Kultys is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor with experience in providing adults with individual and group therapy in a variety of settings. Her key areas of clinical expertise consist of depression, anxiety, coping with trauma, concerns related to stress, work, and relationships, as well as confidence and identity issues. She is also fluent in the Polish language and culture. Anna works from UB’s Evanston Counseling office.

View Anna’s Full Bio

What made you become a therapist?

I’ve always been curious about what people do and how they feel. As I grew up, I often watched people and tried to imagine what they did in their lives, how they felt, and what their dreams were. I found myself seeking an understanding of people on an emotional level and learned that this was how I could truly feel connected to my community. My desire to connect with and support others led me to become a therapist.

What are your specialties?

My key areas of clinical expertise consist of depression, anxiety, coping with trauma, concerns related to stress, work, and relationships, as well as confidence and identity issues. I am also fluent in the Polish language and culture.

Did you have a career before becoming a therapist?

During my undergraduate career, I worked with adolescents in an effort to help them succeed through some tough times in their lives. During my graduate career, I worked with adults with chronic mental illnesses in a transitional living program. After that, I worked in the field of forensic psychology for six years, where I completed psychological testing, in-depth record analyses, and other investigative work to complete objective and thorough psychological assessments in the context of civil and criminal litigation.

Why do you believe that counseling can help?

One of the most precious gifts we can give to ourselves and others is to take the time to reflect upon ourselves. It grants us awareness, which is the key to focusing efforts of bettering one’s self. Awareness, thus, leads to agency- the capacity to act of one’s own free will to make change. The ability to value one’s self in such a profound way has a ripple effect in terms of impacting the quality of one’s life.

Why is it important to seek counseling?

Because we are important. I believe that every individual deserves the respect that counseling conveys by virtue of providing the time and space to express and explore yourself: how you feel, your struggles, your goals, and who you are. Taking this time allows for reduction in feelings of anxiety, stress, and sadness, among others, while creating a space to define and act on a new future for yourself.

Favorite Self Care Activities:

I sing loudly when I’m alone in my car. I also enjoy spending time with my friends and family, who nourish different parts of who I am. I value being on my own, and that usually involves deep breathing or exercising, especially by the lake. It’s important to me to check in with myself regularly about where I’m at now, what I would like to achieve in the future, and how to bridge the gap. I also seek therapy to facilitate my personal and professional growth.