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

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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.

UB Therapist Spotlight: Britt Young, AMFT

Britt Young is an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist with extensive experience britt youngtreating children, adolescents, and adults who are in crisis or struggling with life transitions, anxiety, and/or depression. She also works with couples and families who are experiencing relational problems and helps them reconnect and redefine their relationships. In the past, she has worked with children and families who have faced sexual abuse, neglect, and separation. Britt works from Urban Balance’s Libertyville counseling office.

View Britt Young’s Full Bio

What made you become a therapist?

I started to notice that my office at my previous career had become a make-shift therapy room. When fellow employees started coming in to talk about their problems and needed someone to listen to, I realized I should become a therapist.

What are your specialties?

My favorite part of my work is helping others strengthen their personal relationships.

Did you have a career before becoming a therapist?

Before I became a therapist, I was a television reporter and meteorologist. I worked in Mississippi, Idaho, and Hawaii. I loved my job, but realized I couldn’t balance my life and work in that career after I had children.

Why do you believe that counseling can help?

I believe we all take care of our bodies and keep them healthy. So why don’t we do the same for our brains? Sometimes we need someone to talk to in order to keep our emotional health in check. A good therapist can help us create the behavioral changes necessary to maintain emotional health.

Why is it important to seek counseling?

Before little problems become big problems, it is important to address the issue, explore solutions, and work together to improve functioning. Human beings weren’t designed to cope with problems by ourselves. We have always needed others to help us when things get rocky.

Favorite Self Care Activities:

I’m part of a hula halau, which means hula school. We are a performing company, and, whenever I start dancing, I remember my time in Hawaii.


UB Welcomes Bob Ryan, LCPC, to Its Northbrook Counseling Office

Bob Ryan is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and Registered Art Therapist experienced in working with adults of all ages, families, children and adolescents. A graduate of the Adler School of Professional Psychology, Bob believes that individuals need to belong and contribute to feel complete. Bob utilizes an Adlerian model of encouragement and honesty in assisting individuals to live up to their full potential:

What made you become a therapist?

Some 20 years ago I became involved with a men’s organization that to this day strives to help men fulfill themselves by being able to draw upon their emotional side and not to simply rely upon their rational, problem-solving skills to cope with life’s events. As I progressed in my business career I saw how so many of the men I came in contact with suffered from the same lack of ability to access their emotions.  From that vantage point I came to realize that my true calling was not in the business world but in a helping field. I soon discovered the field of Art Therapy, and the rest as they say is history.

What are your specialties?

  •         Caregiver burnout
  •         Aging and the elderly
  •         Autism spectrum disorder and special needs
  •         Child and adult survivors of abuse and neglect
  •         Art Therapy
  •         Stress from depression or anxiety
  •         Business pressures
  •         Career and life transitions
  •         PTSD
  •        Grief and loss

Did you have a career before becoming a therapist?

I come to the profession of counseling therapy from many years as an advertising executive. In that field I honed my listening skills and ability to ascertain the needs and wants of clients. This process helped in the creation of unique and sometimes novel solutions to their business problems. While earning my degree in Counseling Psychology also I worked with individuals with severe disabilities in a school setting.

Why/how do you believe counseling can help?

My background in therapy is based on an Adlerian model developed by Alfred Adler. His model is founded on the idea that the more one desires to be part of society the healthier their attitude towards life will be. The fabric of our culture today is crying out for us to take part in and to give a fair share to each other. Counseling can help free an individual to have something to give to his or her neighbors and colleagues.

Why is it important to seek counseling?

For too many of us, we know that when we sprain an ankle we need to see a doctor. That is what we’ve learned from our mothers. However, most of us did not learn when it is time to seek a therapist. In a culture built on individualism one can wait too long to seek assistance for emotional disturbances. Like a sprained ankle, if emotional distress is addressed early the suffering can be lessened.

Favorite Self Care Activities:

As I state in my professional bio, “I employ a broad range of mind and body focused therapies to help individuals be more creative, comfortable, and productive in their lives and careers…” To be more creative and productive in my own life I am both competitive and contemplative. For the last 15 years I have been a member of an outdoor speed skating team, traveling to competitions throughout the Midwest. On the contemplative side I have an active yoga practice and play American fingerstyle acoustic guitar.

psychotherapy, therapist in chicago

Make Better Decisions: From Psych Central Quoting UB’s Alison Thayer

We make countless minute and monumental decisions on a daily basis.

What time will I wake up? What will I eat for breakfast? What tasks will I tackle at work? Should I say yes or no to this commitment? Do I want the promotion? Do I want this person for my partner? What doctor should I see? Where should my kids go to school?

Psychotherapist Alison Thayer, LCPC, helps her clients navigate all sorts of decisions — “from how to handle a difficult situation at work or a disagreement with a loved one, to life-changing [decisions], such as quitting a job, ending a relationship or even doing both and relocating to another state.”


Alison Thayer, LCPC, is the Director of Operations at UB and also provides clinical supervision to interns and staff therapists.



counseling chicago

Chilling Out Hot Stress

By UB Clinical Intern Ellen Cerasale

When I’m feeling really anxious about something or when my nerves get the best of me, a common piece of advice I receive from friends and family is to just “chill out.” I even find myself sometimes saying this same phrase to those seeking my help during a stressful time. We all know that “chilling out” is usually easier said than done though.

Entering an immediate state of ‘chill’ on command is nearly impossible. However, there are some relaxation techniques that can help relieve stress and anxiety when you’re really feeling the pressure. The following techniques have not only worked for me, but for my clients and friends as well:

1. Walk Away. Sometimes it’s best to physically remove yourself from source of your stress. Maybe it’s a deadline for work, a specific homework assignment, or a household chore that is dragging on. No matter what is bringing you down, walk away from it for a bit. Get up from your desk or leave the room and give yourself a little break from the task. Get back to it once you’ve had a change of scenery and cleared your mind. You’ll be surprised what a short break can do to your stress level.

2. Breathe. It’s another one of those phrases like ‘chill out’ that people always tell you to do when you need to relax. This is one that really, truly works though. When some of my clients have struggled with managing their anxiety, especially while trying to fall asleep, I have told them to try mindfully breathing. They usually roll their eyes at the suggestion, but when they come back the next week and report on how the breathing went, they are amazed at how well it worked.

3. Treat Yourself. When you’re weighed down by stress, sometimes the quickest remedy is a pick-me-up. Go get a massage or a manicure. Treat yourself to that Starbucks drink you try to only buy on special occasions. And what the heck, get a cookie too. You deserve it.

4. Write It Down. Sometimes everything that’s going on can just become too overwhelming. Take a minute to organize your thoughts. Put it all on paper. Make a list or two. Being able to visually comprehend your to dos can ease your mind and decrease that uncomfortable feeling of being overwhelmed.

5. Whip Something Up. When all else fails, make some food. At the end of a long stressful day, find an old favorite recipe and focus all of your attention on preparing it. The catharsis of chopping an onion or kneading bread dough can be very calming. And the satisfaction of eating a delicious meal you made can be a great, well-deserved ending to a not so great day.

counseling in libertyville and north suburbs

UB Therapist Spotlight: Helena Lee, LCPC, RN

Helena Lee is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor who is also trained in EMDR. Helena has a special interest in women’s issues related to life transitions, trauma, grief, relationship difficulties, depression, and anxiety. She also enjoys working with adolescents, couples, families, and new parents from diverse cultural backgrounds.

View Helena’s Full Bio

What made you become a therapist?

Because learned so much about myself from my own therapist. Growing as a human being I realized is important to me, deepening my awareness helps me to find greater satisfaction and peace in life, and I wanted to shared this with others.

What are your specialties?

I provide equine-assisted psychotherapy, and EMDR, which are both are great for working with clients that are trauma survivors. I also work with clients experiencing issues with anxiety and depression.

Did you have a career before becoming a therapist?

Yes, I was a registered nurse. I worked with patients with spinal cord injuries and also in the adult medical intensive care unit.

Why do you believe that counseling can help?

I’ve experienced my own healing through seasons of counseling.

Why is it important to seek counseling?

Counseling can be a critical catalyst to creating a better life through self-care strategies, support mechanisms, and a deepening awareness of self, which allows us to make better life choices.

Favorite Self Care Activities:

I love to ride my horses, and regularly do meditation. Also I try to find time to read.