Welcoming a Family Therapy Colleague to Downtown Chicago

I would like to encourage you to visit the website of Meg Coyne, LCSW, and Coyne Counseling. Meg is an experienced and skilled couple and family therapist who trained at the program of the Chicago Center for Family Health, under renowned family therapist Froma Walsh, Ph.D. Coyne Counseling is located at 22 W. Washington, Floor 15, #78, Chicago, IL 60602. This is in the Block 37 building at State and Washington, and is convenient to most areas of the Loop. Meg accepts Blue Cross-Blue Shield insurance and has a sliding scale for those who do not have (or do not wish to use) insurance coverage. She has a training partnership with the Adler School of Professional Psychology, for which I am most appreciative.

Coyne Counseling’s website is www.coyne-counseling.com.

Meg has special interests in helping couples with issues of intimacy and sexual problems, child behavior and parenting, divorce, and co-parenting. She will be running a parenting education group in the near future, so please contact her if you are interested in learning more about the use of encouragement, and logical and natural consequences, in parenting both young children and teenagers.

A Contentious Issue in Counselor Training

Last summer, my sister (who directs a university counseling center) sent me a link to a story in the online journal, Inside Higher Education . The story was about a lawsuit brought by a student at Eastern Michigan University, Julea Ward, who was dismissed from the Master’s degree in counseling program after she refused to provide counseling to a gay client at her practicum site. Her stated reason for doing so was that providing counseling to this client would have violated her religious beliefs that homosexual behavior is immoral. The university maintained that American Counseling Association ethical standards and state counselor licensing regulations prohibit a counselor from attempting to impose his or her own values on clients, and from discriminating against clients on the basis of sexual orientation. Continue Reading A Contentious Issue in Counselor Training

Japanese-American Disaster Support Groups in Chicagoland

Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Japan as they struggle to recover from these terrible disasters.

Global links for assistance and support


Chicago-Area Psychological Support

Through the Japanese-American Service Commitee, a well-established social service agency in Chicago, a series of free support groups has been set up for those with family or friends in Japan, or those who have been impacted by the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear accidents in Japan.

A flyer (in Japanese) announcing these support groups is attached:


Much appreciation to all of the volunteer mental health clinicians, especially Mayumi Nakamura, Psy.D., who is my associate at Adler School of Professional Psychology, and Asako Hoichi, LCPC, a longtime colleague from Perspectives EAP, who are donating their time to this effort.

Is it Counseling or Psychotherapy?

Counseling and psychotherapy are often used interchangeably, which can be confusing to people seeking help. Most of us who work in the field tend to use the two terms a little differently. Counseling is usually used to refer to getting help for less severe problems or for situational issues. Psychotherapy is usually used to describe a process that relies more on the relationship between therapist and client to lead to deeper or more lasting changes.

One way to look at it is that psychotherapy is treatment for a disorder. In that situation, there are symptoms that are interfering with a person’s overall functioning, and therapy is designed to relieve the symptoms and improve functioning. Counseling, on the other hand, is intended to foster personal growth, help a person make a decision, assist with future planning (for example, about a career decision), or attain greater happiness. It may also help a person to figure out how to resolve a troublesome situation, such as a workplace problem or an unhappy relationship.Continue Reading Is it Counseling or Psychotherapy?

Spotlight on Service: DuPage Community Clinic

DuPage County, Illinois is often thought of as an affluent segment of the Chicago metropolitan area; and it might not be obvious that there are many county residents who need health care, yet do not have health insurance. Immigration, relocation of city residents, and the growth of the service economy that resulted from the real estate boom of the mid 2000’s, have all combined to result in a larger number of middle to lower income residents in the county, many of whom lack healthcare coverage.

The DuPage Community Clinic is a vital resource for these residents, and for the county. Leveraging the skills and efforts of many volunteers and trainees in healthcare fields, the clinic provides free healthcare to any resident without health insurance. This includes acute and primary medical care, dental services, and behavioral health services, serving 5,000 DuPage County residents last year.

Several of my students from Adler School of Professional Psychology (as well as students from a number of other counseling and psychology graduate training programs) have served as volunteer trainees and interns at the clinic,  providing psychological and counseling services. Linda Pfeifer, who now serves as the clinic’s volunteer coordinator, has been a colleague of mine in the Northern Illinois Chapter of the Employee Assistance Professionals Association, and we are both currently board members of that organization.

You can help the clinic by exploring volunteer opportunities and by considering a donation to this worthwhile organization. If you are a healthcare professional, your volunteer services are needed and would be appreciated. Volunteers with the ability to speak any of the numerous languages spoken in DuPage County are especially needed. Please see the clinic’s web page for current volunteer needs.

If you are in a position to make a donation to this organization – one that provides an important service to your neighbors and your community – a contribution in any amount to assist the DuPage Community Clinic would provide valuable help.

Counseling Isn’t a Scary Experience

Counseling Thoughts

Most of us have thought about whether counseling would be helpful at one time or another, but probably feel a bit intimidated by the idea of looking into actually finding a counselor to talk to. Sometimes the most important message that the counselor has to give clients isn’t said in so many words, but it’s simply that “You’re OK.”

Researchers who study the evidence for the effectiveness of psychotherapy have consistently found pretty much the same thing: It doesn’t matter so much what approach your therapist uses; what matters is the quality of the working relationship. Feeling heard and understood comes first, followed by having the opportunity to express your feelings and feel safe doing so. Lastly comes problem solving and the actual plans for change.

I try to impress this on my students as I help them to learn counseling skills. Helping the client feel heard and understood is the first task, and once that happens, insight and change become much easier. People generally know what needs to be done, with a little help from the therapist, once they feel able to pause and take stock of their feelings and thoughts.