899 Skokie Boulevard, Suite 220
Northbrook, IL 60062-4022
Oak Brook Office:
1919 Midwest Road
Oak Brook, IL 60523
I have been specializing in counseling police officers and their families since 1983. Most notably, I am the the co-founder and executive director of The Police Assistance Center (TPAC) and St. Michael’s House and before that I was a supervisor with the Chicago Police Department’s employee assistance program.
I believe that my understanding of the unique characteristics of law enforcement officer along with my common sense and straightforward approach to counseling has earned me the respect and trust of the police community.
The police are a special population, unlike any other group. The stress that they experience on a day-to-day basis is profound. These “modern-day knights” are not immune from the emotional impact of the conditions of our cities, the constant exposure to human suffering, and the increasing levels of crime. The continuous interface with the sad, fearful, and frustrating side of life can have a cumulative and corrosive effect on a police officer’s values and outlook.
Unfortunately, the qualities and skills that police officers need to be effective n the streets are often contrary to the development of satisfying personal and family relationships. The ability to take control of a situation and be aggressive, for example, can insure a police officer’s survival at work but create problems in his marriage. In addition, aspects of the job itself, such as rotating watches, and working holidays, are detrimental to family life.
Over the past 35 years, I have helped hundreds of police officers address these issues. I am proud to report that I have been able to serve law enforcement officers from Chicago, the suburbs, the county, the state, and the federal government.
A Note to Police Wives
Police wives are an integral part of the law enforcement community with their own unique stresses. They are often placed in the precarious position of needing to strike a balance between the demands of their husbands’ jobs and personalities while looking out for their own personal needs and the needs of their children. I approach counseling in a manner that is particularly sensitive to the difficulties these women face and all of my services are available to the wives and girlfriends of police officers regardless of whether or not their partners participate in the counseling.
Police departments can purchase these services as a “package” or employee assistance program. An EAP can stand alone for the community’s police department or it can be expanded into a larger program for all employees of the municipality. These programs serve as an excellent job benefit for the employee and also as a resource for police chiefs and other administrators looking for creative ways to address personnel issues.
I’ve been in practice since 1979 when I graduated from the University of Chicago-School of Social Service Administration (SSA). I’m honored to state that SSA recently recognized me as one of their outstanding graduates. The first four years of my postgraduate experience were at Metropolitan Family Services where I received extensive training in family therapy. Then in 1983, at the same time that I began my private practice I started counseling police officers for the Chicago Police Department.
The experience that I had with the CPD led my late partner, Jerry Bolger and I to conclude that the police needed specialized services that needed to be close to, but external to, a police department. With that in mind, in 1987 we founded The Police Assistance Center which later became known as St. Michael’s House where I remained for twenty years until Jerry passed away and I decided to devote myself to my private practice on a full time basis.
On the personal side, I have been happily married to my wife Lynette since 1983. We met in graduate school, but in 2002 she left the field to follow her true passion. She now owns and operates her own business-Three Bags Full: Knitting Studio in Northbrook. We have two wonderful sons. Our older son, Aidan, works for Commonwealth Edison where he provides energy audits for corporations and institutions as well as responding to customers’ questions as the ComEd Energy Doctor. Our younger son, Corey, has moved home after spending five years teaching in South Korea. He is an aspiring author and is working on a novel. I am an avid golfer and would like to run for mayor of Sportsman’s Country Club if the office ever comes into existence.
For over thirty years I have been helping people who are hurting emotionally. They may be feeling lonely and depressed or overly anxious. They may be having trouble meeting a potential partner, struggling with their marriage, or going through a divorce or break up. In short, I work with normal, everyday people who are at a low point in their lives.
With regard to relationships, many of the women that I see lament that they are tired of giving more than they are getting, while many of the men complain that they are tired of being labeled controlling and told that “they just don’t get it.” The truth is that, even though sometimes it’s hard to see, each person is contributing to the problem regardless of who is the “good guy” and who is the “bad guy.” I help both members of the couple figure out what they are doing that is perpetuating the problem and help them develop a healthier and more effective approach.
Whether I see you individually or as a couple, my job is to help you find satisfaction within yourself and within your relationships. You have a right to happiness. You have a right to be in a relationship in which your wants and needs are being respected while you are respectful to the wants and needs of your partner. Finding fulfillment and true happiness is not a fantasy for the movies. It is reasonable that you can be truly satisfied. I can’t promise you a miracle, but I am confident that I can help you achieve the happiness that you deserve.
I try to anticipate questions you might have about our counseling and provide the answers here. If you need additional information click here to email me through my contact form.
The goal for everyone that I see is to develop a better sense of self and a greater sense of satisfaction in their lives. They feel better about themselves and see improvement in the quality of their relationships. My clients develop skills to be able to interact with others in such a way that they are more respectful to their own needs while being respectful to the needs of others.
Although miracles do not always occur, I have helped innumerable couples save their relationships when one or both of them were initially certain that their love could not be restored.
In other cases, I have helped many individuals who have a history of being victimized in their relationships develop the skills to become self-protective and the self-esteem necessary to find happiness and satisfaction in their lives.
I believe that everyone has a right to happiness and satisfaction. A sense of fulfillment is obtained when an individual is fully accepting of his/her self and respectful of the needs of others. Ideally each individual is raised to believe that he/she is special just by virtue of being themselves. In less than ideal situations, the person’s experiences lead them to negative self-perceptions and a sense of shame about who they are. I help people overcome these negative self-images and gain a sense of acceptance of their true selves.
I take a commonsense, practical approach to counseling. I pay particularly close attention to relationships and family dynamics. My major focus is on what is going on in the individual’s life in the present. Sometimes it can be useful to look at one’s childhood, however, because as children we develop patterns of interaction and roles that served us well with our circumstances growing up, but can lead to dysfunction as adults.
Perhaps my greatest strength is my ability to work effectively with both individuals who are taken advantage of in relationships and their partners who are taking advantage of them. I was the founder and executive director of a not for profit agency that provided individual and marriage counseling to police officers and their families. By working for twenty-five years with the police, I became particularly effective with working with men who are resistant to counseling and their spouses. I believe my ability to make a positive connection with authoritarian men as well as their wives and girlfriends sets me apart from most therapists.
I also believe that the fact that I genuinely like my clients gives me a leg up. To a greater of lesser degree I can relate to every person who I have ever seen in counseling. The natural empathy that arises from this makes me feel a true investment in whether or not my clients’ problems are resolved.
The advances that have been made over the past twenty years in the field of psychotropic medication has been a great benefit to many and has even saved many lives. However, I believe that the medical field has developed an over reliance on their use. Too many people are turning to pills for a quick fix when they need to take a look at their lives and make changes in the ways they cope with problems and relate to others. I consider myself to be an “old fashioned” counselor who fully supports the use of anti-depressant medication when it is truly indicated and when it is used as an adjunct to psychotherapy.
Most health insurance policies will cover all or a portion of psychotherapy for problems that fit the criteria for a diagnosis such as depression or an anxiety disorder. Other problems such as couples communication issues and general life dissatisfaction are not covered by insurance. When we meet a determination is made about whether it is in your best interests to pursue insurance reimbursement. I am on the panel for Blue Cross Blue Shield and Medicare. Depending on each individual’s policy, other companies–Aetna, Cigna, and United Healthcare, for example–have out of network benefits. I am happy to submit claims to the insurance company on the client’s behalf and I only expect to receive the co-payment from the client. Some people make a payment after each session and others prefer to be billed on a monthly basis.
My full fee after the initial meeting is $165 per session. If one does not have insurance that will pay a portion of this or if one’s financial situation is tight, then we can talk about a reduction in the fee. Since everyone’s situation is different, the decision is determined on a case by case basis.
I am in Northbrook on Monday and Wednesday in the evening and in Oak Brook on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.
It is easiest to call or text me at (847) 707-0657. The office numbers are (847) 272-7089 (Northbrook office) or (630) 571-8722 (Oak Brook office). If you prefer to e-mail, my address is firstname.lastname@example.org. I make every effort to schedule people as quickly as possible, usually within three days.