What is Individual Psychotherapy?

Individual psychotherapy is the one-on-one work between a therapist and a client. There are many different styles of therapy, but all of them center around helping the client reach his or her goals. This is a unique relationship, in that it is strictly confidential and provides you an opportunity to be completely honest with yourself and another person. It is almost inevitable for a new client to fear judgment or rejection, particularly when you are being so open, but it’s not the role of the therapist to criticize or lecture you. Therapists are there to support you and help you reach your goals. Individual therapy has been shown to improve mood and self-esteem. In fact, studies show that talk therapy, the process of developing a relationship with a licensed mental health professional to work through emotions, thoughts, disappointments, and experiences can be even more effective than medication in treating depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem.

It is crucial that you feel comfort and a connection with your individual therapist. In fact, a good alliance with your therapist is the greatest determining factor in whether therapy will be helpful. If you have questions or concerns during your appointments, you are strongly encouraged to share them openly. If you find that you don’t feel comfortable with a particular therapist after sharing your concerns, you should feel empowered to stop your sessions and seek someone who may be a better fit.

If you are interested in learning more, you are welcome to contact us at Psychotherapy Associates of Chicago. Individual therapy is our primary focus and we are happy to get you started.

When you are ready, call 773-414-4577 or click here to book an appointment online.

What is psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy is the process of working with a trained, licensed mental health professional to help you assess, enrich, and improve your life. The therapist and client explore life’s stressors, problems, and challenges. There are many styles of therapy (or counseling), but all of them work to create an open, trusting relationship to help the patient meet his/her personal goals.  In addition to simply talking about feelings and what is happening in a patient’s life, psychotherapy can also be task-centered and involve doing “exercises” outside of the session that enable the client to practice introducing new, healthier behaviors into established patterns and existing relationships. Designed to build on one’s strengths and enhance self-esteem, therapy provides proven benefits, including:

  • Overcoming depression and anxiety;
  • Working through loss and mourning, including breakups and job loss;
  • Building solid, healthy, and meaningful relationships;
  • Gaining confidence; and
  • Getting out of a life “rut.”

The best way to find out about therapy, of course, is to simply make an appointment. If you’re interested in learning more, you are welcome to contact us at Psychotherapy Associates of Chicago. We’re happy to help arrange your first session.

When you are ready, call 773-414-4577 or click here to book an appointment online.

Tools to Stop Worrying So Much

Tools to Stop Worrying So Much

Do you worry a lot about things that other people don’t?  Do you spend tons of time analyzing small details in your day for things you did wrong?  You’re not alone!  We work with many people who worry a lot. If you feel any of these things, talking with a therapist at Psychotherapy Associates of Chicago (PAC) can help:

You can’t control your worry

You feel irritable, restless, can’t focus, exhausted, or have trouble sleeping

Your worry is getting in the way of your social life or job

Sometimes this kind of worry may benefit from medication, which a psychiatrist can help you figure out; but there are many tools to help manage your anxiety that therapists at PAC can help you learn.  We can help you learn to accept yourself despite how often you worry.  Other tools that can help include:

Relaxation and mindfulness (Mindfulness is a fancy word for paying attention to our thoughts without judging ourselves)

Stay connected with friends and family  A support system and a healthy social life are important.

Healthy distractions like going for a walk, reading a book, taking the kids to the park

Keep a journal   Writing about your worries helps identify what you are truly concerned about

Take care of yourself    Stay rested, exercise, and improve your diet

Forgive yourself or others   We can help you do this – so much of what we worry about is in the past!

 About Psychotherapy Associates of Chicago

We’ve been helping clients feel better for over 10 years. We’re conveniently located near public transportation and metered street parking, serving North Center, Lakeview and Irving Park neighborhoods. To set up an appointment online, click here  or call us at 773-414-4577. We’re here to help.

Holiday Stress & Weight Gain

Every year our therapists meet people who are concerned about their eating habits and changes in weight. Physical health is a huge part of our overall well-being, so we understand fully why our clients spend so much time worrying about this. Over the holiday season this is especially common – the stress, schedule changes, traveling, and abundance of unhealthy foods create the perfect storm for bad moods and pigging out. It’s not uncommon to put on at least 5 pounds late in the year, especially because eating is socially encouraged over the holidays. It’s a completely acceptable part of celebrating that most families embrace. The problem is that it can leave you feeling sad, out of control, and regretful. Not only do you eat more, but you stay inside more often, exercising and seeing friends less often because it’s so cold.

In the past I have worked with clients on managing their stress over the holidays to avoid terrible moods and irritability, family conflict, and the overeating that inevitably leads to sadness, low self-esteem and the never ending “lose weight” new year’s resolution. I do this by working with clients to increase the time they take for themselves to exercise, replacing unhealthy habits (like overeating) with healthy ones, planning, reducing family stress, or working on creating realistic expectations.

Another part of feeling better might be working on accepting a little weight gain this time of year instead of fighting it, to relieve some of the guilt and pressure you feel. We don’t encourage starting a new diet or exercise plan over the holidays – don’t set yourself up for failure!

About Psychotherapy Associates of Chicago
We’ve been helping clients feel better for over 10 years. Our therapists have a lot of experience helping clients manage overeating and all the feelings that come along with it. We’re conveniently located near public transportation and metered street parking, serving North Center, Lincoln Square and Ravenswood neighborhoods. If you think you could benefit from talking with us, don’t hesitate to call 773-414-4577 to set up an appointment!

Small Ways to Reduce Stress

Anxiety and stress are topics we talk about every day in therapy.  Anxiety can come in many forms – panic attacks, constant worry, feeling scared to be around big groups of people, or other things.  These feelings can be so troubling or difficult to manage that all we want to do is get rid of them as quickly as possible.  People seem to think that the best way to handle anxiety or stress is by pushing it away.  Out of sight, out of mind, right?  Unfortunately, we can’t trick ourselves that easily and repression can take its toll in other ways.

Rather than avoiding problems, therapy helps people to identify their problem areas and find the small ways to reduce daily stress.  Here’s an article by Sara Boboltz who writes about some helpful ways to reduce stress in our daily life.

If you live in the Chicago are and want help reducing your stress levels, don’t hesitate to call us at 773-414-4577 or visit psychotherapychicago.com to schedule an appointment to talk with someone.

Facebook and Well-Being

We work with many people in therapy who talk about Facebook and how it has been impacting their feelings about themselves and others. As engaging as it can be, Facebook – and other social media – can strongly impact our mood and how we see ourselves. Although Facebook can help us feel a sense of connection with others, it can also have the opposite result. While we may enjoy hearing about our friends’ accomplishments and vacations, it can often lead to a subtle sense of envy, feeling “left out,” and a general dissatisfaction with our lives.

Consistent with what we see with our own therapy clients here in Chicago, the article “The Impact of Facebook from the New Yorker,” Maria Konnikova points out numerous studies on how the use of social media, particularly Facebook, ultimately impacts our emotional well-being. You can read the article here.

How Emotionally Intelligent Are You?

Huffingtonpost.com offers a brief quiz that might help you determine your emotional intelligence level. Many people are extremely hard workers with high IQ levels, but one article we find pretty relevant acknowledges the importance of emotional intelligence (EQ). We agree that in many ways, emotional intelligence can be equated to “street smarts” as opposed to “book smarts” because it is paramount in helping us self-regulate, successfully interact socially, and connect with other people through empathy. This article offers 14 indicators that you are an emotionally intelligent person, and could also be used as a tool to work on some areas where you feel you need improvement. A couple of high EQ indicators are how well you get along with other people, to what degree you trust your gut instincts, and whether you know when to “say no.”