Paul J. Fitzgerald, M.A., Psy.D., L.C.P.C., C.E.A.P.Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor
Dr. Fitzgerald is a psychotherapist with over 20 years experience working with adults, adolescents, children, and families. He has worked in the Employee Assistance field as a counselor, clinical director, and in managed behavioral healthcare. Prior to his EAP work, he also worked in inpatient psychiatric services and community mental health.
Dr.Fitzgerald makes use of cognitive-behavioral and Adlerian principles to help clients understand and change the self-defeating patterns of thinking, behavior, and communication that may be contributing to their distress. He earned a certificate in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy from Adler School of Professional Psychology under the supervision of Arthur Freeman, Ed.D., ABPP, who served at the Beck Institute in Philadelphia. Both Adlerian and Cognitive-behavioral therapy emphasize encouragement and support, while helping people to be more aware of (and, when desired, to change) their beliefs and perceptions about themselves, other people, the world, and the challenges presented by life circumstances.
In addition to his psychotherapy and counseling practice, Dr. Fitzgerald serves as an Assistant Professor and Director of Training for Master’s Counseling, at the Adler School of Professional Psychology in Chicago. He is a board member of the Northern Illinois Chapter of the Employee Assistance Professionals Association, and recently served as a Behavioral Health consultant at the Old Irving Park Community Clinic in Chicago, helping develop an assessment and short-term counseling model for a medical clinic serving people without health insurance. Dr. Fitzgerald has taught graduate courses in Adlerian psychology, counseIng theories, and research methods. He advises students in the Master of Arts in Counseling programs at the Adler School.
Dr. Fitzgerald is a Certified Employee Assistance Professional and National Certified Counselor. He is a member of the American Psychological Association, American Counseling Association, and the Employee Assistance Professionals Association. He has been a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor in Illinois since 1995.
Colleen O’Brien, M.A., L.P.C.
Colleen earned a Master’s degree in Counseling and Organizational Psychology from the Adler School of Professional Psychology in 2009 and recently became a licensed counselor in the state of Illinois.
Colleen operates from the standpoint that every individual is equipped with the power of choice to create their lives exactly the way they want it to be. Her work includes assisting people with issues in career, personal life and relationships, and in how to lose weight and live a healthy lifestyle.
Colleen regularly works with people who are struggling in the workplace or in their personal lives. Using a direct approach, Colleen assists clients in obtaining clarity around what is happening in specific situations, why it is happening, and how to achieve the desired outcome. In addition, Colleen assists clients in figuring out what they really want in career and life and how they can get it. Conceptualizing from a holistic perspective, Colleen utilizes cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques to challenge irrational thoughts and assist clients in altering their thinking, leading to productivity and contentedness.
Colleen enjoys working with clients in exploring the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle and its connection to each individual’s personal psychology. Colleen believes in mind-body connection and the relationship between the food we choose to put into our bodies and the effect it has on our mood, mind, and behavior. Colleen believes the body possesses an internal pharmacy and when treated with respect, will provide the foundation we need to live a happy life. Colleen was recently trained by Judith Beck, Ph.D, daughter of the famous Aaron Beck, MD, (founder of CBT), on how to utilize CBT techniques to assist clients in losing and maintaining weight loss.
Colleen speaks Spanish and English. She sees clients at the downtown Chicago location and has evening appointment times available.
Our Treatment Philosophy
People can gather and mobilize their own inner resources, when they have the opportunity to talk to an understanding professional who can provide them with support, acceptance, and a listening ear. An effective approach to counseling and therapy always includes this empathy and understanding, whatever theoretical approach the therapist uses. The helping relationship is the basic foundation of counseling and therapy.
How We Approach Counseling and Psychotherapy
We view psychotherapy and counseling as collaborative efforts designed to help people feel better, function more effectively, and enhance their relationships. There is no magic technique that works for all people. The helping process begins with building a comfortable working relationship and helping people to feel heard and understood, while they have the opportunity to talk things out. This may take several sessions or may happen more quickly, depending on the person’s situation and emotional state.
Once that foundation of comfort and trust has been established, the process of guiding the client toward useful insights can provide the groundwork for self-correction and goal-setting. Sometimes it is enough for a client to realize what they have been doing wrong and why, which often involves understanding how coping strategies that worked in the past are no longer effective.
Finally, change efforts may involve setting goals and plans, and working to change behaviors, interactions, and thoughts; in ways that result in improvements in feelings and relationships (as well as work or school effectiveness).
Adlerian Life Style Inventory
One tool that we have used with many individual clients (as well as couples) is the Adlerian Life Style assessment, originated by Alfred Adler himself and formalized by Bernard Shulman and Harold Mosak at the Alfred Adler Institute in Chicago.This can be a quick, enjoyable, method for understanding your own self-defeating beliefs. When used in couples counseling, it can point to inconsistencies in family background that may have led to inconsistencies in a couple’s beliefs about family and relationships. The process usually takes from 3-4 sessions, and can be used to help arrive at goals and work on changing attitudes or behavior.
A combination of the Adlerian Life Style process and cognitive-behavioral techniques can be helpful in learning to change the “basic mistakes,” or self-defeating perceptions that we all have.
Dr.Fitzgerald has been trained in Eye Movement Desensitization an Reprocessing (EMDR), a technique developed by Francine Shapiro, Ph.D. a number of years ago, to treat post-traumatic stress symptoms. It can be helpful when past events seem to be “stuck” in a person’s mind and they don’t seem to be able to get past them.
Solution-Focused Therapy and Short-term Problem Resolution
Many problems in living, including relationship problems, work burnout, and life transition issues, can be helped with a combination of problem-solving and skill development. Some common skills that people work on are communication style, listening, assertiveness, time management, relaxation/meditation, values and goals work, and acceptance and mindfulness techniques.
Solution-focused therapy looks at “what’s already going right” and helps people to use more of what is already working. It encourages people to examine their assumptions about the way that things ”should” be, and about how they should try to make them better. This approach also makes use of people’s ability to imagine how things would be if the problem were suddenly solved. Solution-focused therapy may be used as one form of short-term problem resolution, but it is not the only problem-solving approach that a counselor can use to help people deal with difficult situations.
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