Therapy For Adults

  Our philosophy around the counseling process is two-fold.

image of a small bird with an orange throat sitting on a fenceFIRST, change happens when you develop insight into the self.  Insight-oriented treatment usually includes exploring:

  • The Past. Are there losses or traumas that are still impacting you today? Have you suffered from an abusive situation or relationship?
  • The Present. Do you have behaviors that you are concerned about? Or unresolved conflicts in your relationships? What about issues such as depression or anxiety?
  • The Future. What are your goals? What is your vision you have for yourself? We want to help you get there.

SECONDLY, we believe that insight cannot be effective unless we look at ways to increase your coping skills—right now—so that you may begin to let go of any old ways of doing things that don’t seem to be working anymore.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques can provide immediate relief.  We offer other specialized therapies as well.

Our concrete tools will help you change unhealthy patterns around:

  • Thoughts. Do you have negative self-talk? Can you be open and trusting in your relationships? Have you lost hope?

      Perhaps you have an expectation that things will not work out in the end.

  • Feelings. Are you depressed or anxious? Do you have a general sense that you don’t have an adequate support network? Maybe you have other issues, such as feeling disconnected, low self-esteem, or body image issues.

      Perhaps you have had an occasional sense of being all-powerful that has gotten you into trouble in the past.

  • Behavior. Are you worried about your choices? Maybe you are engaging in excessive or compulsive behaviors. How are your communication skills? Do you find yourself avoiding conflict, or maybe you blow up at people out of nowhere?

      Perhaps you find yourself isolating from others, or not reaching your “full potential.”

  • Experiences. Are you still stuck around grieving a loss like a break-up or the death of a loved one? Do you always seem to find yourself in conflicts with family, friends, or at work? Are you struggling with issues related to coming out? Has a traumatic experience prevented you from living your life fully?

      Perhaps you have a parenting issue or painful alienation from your family.

Our therapy clients in Chicago experience sustained relief and lasting change.

Our counseling goal together will be to create an internal sense of empowerment so that you feel in control of your past and present. With the help of a great therapist, you are on a path towards the future you would like to build for yourself.

A change process is hard work. You deserve an active partner to help you heal.

Specialized Therapy Is Available

Our psychotherapy services, available on the north side of Chicago provide an individualized approach, tailored to your specific needs. Our experienced team offers a wealth of tools to bring into your counseling sessions.

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Treatment for Anxiety in Chicago

Anxiety can take many forms.

Some of our clients in Chicago struggle with more general anxiety and depression issues.

Perhaps you are suffering from panic attacks.

Other clients we treat have PTSD, or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.

The compulsive behavior you develop around anxiety may take on a life of its’ own, and feel like an addiction. You may have begun to binge drink.

Or perhaps you are self-medicating with cannabis, other drugs, or behavioral compulsions.

In some cases, perfectionism and anxiety result in hoarding behaviors.

Body-image issues and low self-esteem are common.

Heath-related anxieties are also common, including fears may that have developed since the Coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy, insight-oriented counseling, and other specialized techniques such as EMDR can help.

EMDR and Trauma Therapy

Recovery from trauma is painful and difficult.

Traumatic experiences are unfortunately very common. Yet your individual story is unique.

Trauma can result when you experience or witness childhood abuse, domestic violence, betrayal in a relationship, or living with someone else’s drinking problem or addiction.

Perhaps you have survived a violent attack, fire, or accident.

Living with a chronic illness—your own or someone else’s—can lead to a trauma response.

You may have suffered from chronic bullying growing up.

My practice in Chicago can offer specialized treatment for recovery from traumatic experiences.

EMDR is one example of this.

Our other approaches include traditional insight-oriented therapy, with many specialized tools to help. Perhaps you would like to give art therapy a try.

Drinking Problem, Addiction Issue, Binge Drinking, or Other Compulsive Behaviors

Substance Abuse and other addictive behaviors often start out as a way to cope with difficult life experiences.

Over time, you may realize you have a drinking problem or an issue with binge drinking.

Cannabis, vaping, and weed use has exploded, as dispensaries have spread across Chicago and Illinois. Maybe you have begun to wonder if this habit is interfering with other areas of your life.

Drug abuse and addiction can be a form of self-medicating mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression.

Addictive behaviors can be behavioral in nature, too. People with OCD may find themselves engaging in unhealthy compulsions that are difficult to stop.

Shopping, the internet, and food addictions are common in my practice on the north side of Chicago.

Body image issues often intersect with compulsive behaviors such as excessive weighing in, binging and purging, exercise addiction, and extreme perfectionism.

No matter what kind of addiction you find yourself struggling with, our team is here to help.

Chicago’s LGBTQ Community

We recognize that the needs of the LGBTQ community are unique. Although many mental health professionals have a deep commitment to social justice principles in general, we have an ongoing commitment to meeting the specific needs of the community.

Difficult coming out experiences. Chronic bullying. Threats. Discrimination. Strained relationships with family. Pressures around gender expression. Dating issues. Religious abuse. Homophobia. Chosen family structures that don’t get respected in society. Labels. Difficulty accessing competent medical or legal care. Unfair heterosexist norms. Invisibility. Hatred. Binary identities that don’t fit. Common rights eroded.

We want to meet your needs with the level of cultural awareness that you deserve.

Contact me today.

Vanessa E. Ford, LCSW, CADC

Vanessa E. Ford, LCSW, CADCVanessa E. Ford, LCSW, CADC has been a therapist in Chicago since 2000. She brings over two decades of experience to the counseling process. Her mental health practice focuses on helping clients heal from trauma, grief, and other losses. Her commitment to serving the LGBTQ community first began with her work providing psychotherapy to children and families impacted by the HIV virus. Her work with children and at-risk teens has benefitted her ability to see and recognize the lasting impact of childhood abuse experiences in her adult clients.

Ms. Ford later worked as a staff psychotherapist at the Midwest’s largest LGBT center, where she developed several programs addressing addiction. Her work included developing an intensive outpatient IOP program, and a program targeting crystal meth addiction in men who have sex with men, from the ground up.

Ms. Ford started her own full-time private practice on the north side of Chicago in 2007. Vanessa can help you address and correct distorted thinking patterns that lead to negative self-talk. Her expertise in addictions counseling provides concrete tools for profound behavioral change. Working with a trusted counselor helps you improve your communication, strengthens your relationships and improves your life.

Reach out to her today to discuss setting up an initial appointment with one of her team.

Learn More About Vanessa

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