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.

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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.”

READ FULL ARTICLE

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

READ FULL BIO

 

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.

Downtown chicago therapist

UB Therapist Spotlight: Rebecca Wolf, LCSW, PCGC

Rebecca Wolf is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, and also has a Problem and Compulsive Gambling Certification; she works from UB’s downtown Chicago counseling office. Rebecca has comprehensive clinical experience working with adults, couples, and families, her practice focuses on gambling addiction, anxiety, depression, self-esteem issues, adjustment issues, and relationship issues.

View Rebecca’s Full Bio

What made you become a therapist?

It seems that people in my life have always sought out advice and counsel from me because I am very rational and level-headed.  Early on, I realized how much I enjoyed giving feedback and helping people resolve their struggles.  Becoming a therapist just seemed like the natural career path for me.

What are your specialties?

I have extensive training working with problem gambling and other addictions.  My true passion is helping clients resolve communication and relationship issues since these are areas which I believe people can see positive results rather quickly.  I also really enjoy working with military populations because I think this is a group that inherently has many stressors and challenges, yet tends to be under served.

Did you have a career before becoming a therapist?

I worked as a social worker in a residential psychiatric facility and then at an Employee Assistance Program before landing my dream job as a therapist in private practice.

Why do you believe that counseling can help?

Having a third, non bias, non judgmental person as a sounding board can be truly amazing. Counseling can help anyone, whether it is simply having someone listen to you to help validate your life, or to have someone help you make progress and healthy changes.

Why is it important to seek counseling?

Just about anyone open to making positive changes in their life can benefit from therapy. Not everybody needs counseling all the time, but I certainly think that most of us can benefit from therapy intermittently throughout our lives to help normalize our stressors and allow us to feel supported when life gets a bit bumpy.   We can all benefit from some unbiased feedback once in a while. The demands and stresses of daily life can wear on us and sometimes we just need some support. It can also be very beneficial to get an outsider’s perspective on occasion.

Favorite Self Care Activities:

I love to take long walks with my family to unwind and be active.  I also love to cook and bake because I think it is so rewarding to create something from scratch.  I strongly feel an important part of my self-care regimen includes always having something on my calendar to look forward to – an upcoming trip, trying a new restaurant, or a night out with friends.  I think it is very important to have things to look forward to in order to keep you trending forward and not feel stuck.

counseling north shore therapist

UB Therapist Spotlight: Jennifer Hope, LCPC

Jenifer Hope works from UB’s Evanston North Shore counseling office. She has over 10 years of experience working with children, adolescents, adults, and families. She received her Masters degree from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology in Forensic Psychology with a clinical track.

View Jennifer’s Full Bio

What made you become a therapist?

Growing up, I was always very interested in crime and what causes people to commit crime, and that brought me to study psychology in college and grad school. There I worked with kids and families who were involved in the criminal world. This work really affected me. Everyone’s journey is important and deserves to be heard. Everyone can benefit from having a guide to help tackle the bumpy parts of their own journey.

What are your specialties?

Depression, anxiety/Phobias, life transitions, teens, adults, couples, and pre and post baby counseling.

Did you have a career before becoming a therapist?

Before I was a licensed therapist, I always worked with youth and families as a case manager, or counselor in a hospital or community health setting.

Why do you believe that counseling can help?

Having a third, non bias, non judgmental person as a sounding board can be truly amazing. Counseling can help anyone, whether it is simply having someone listen to you to help validate your life, or to have someone help you make progress and healthy changes.

Why is it important to seek counseling?

Seeking counseling can be life changing. It is important to get everything out of your head and out into the world so you can evaluate what is working for you and what is not, and find out how you can change for the better.

Favorite Self Care Activities:

Riding my bike, reading, swimming, talking with friends.

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!

 

 

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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.