Gregory's Experience

Gregory has devoted his life to assisting others with the power of therapy.  Through this transformative process, Gregory has enhanced the lives of many clients during his time as a counselor.  His unique combination of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and client-centered therapy have provided his clients with a unique setting to explore ways to improve themselves.  He has worked in many different settings, including inpatient units, domestic violence shelters, community mental health centers, and private practices.  Gregory is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Illinois and received his M.Ed. in Community Counseling from DePaul University in Chicago, IL.  By the end of the year, Gregory hopes to obtain his Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) accreditation to better serve his clients. 

About Client-Centered Therapy

Created by Carl Rogers, client-centered therapy is a treatment modality that is utilized by many clinicians in the mental health field.  There are oftentimes many misunderstandings regarding the technique, including claims that it is nothing more than having a therapist agree with a client no matter what is said and having a therapist nod in agreement and say "Mmm hmm" after every response from a client.  Therapists who practice client-centered therapy are very active with their clients, utilizing three key characteristics:

1. Genuineness - Therapists should be as honest and open as possible, which in turn allows the client to feel safe and do the same.

2. Unconditional Positive Regard - Therapists should be completely accepting and understanding of a client during sessions.  This encourages clients to explore any topic without fear of judgement, thus promoting therapeutic movement.

3. Empathic Understanding - Therapists should try and understand completely what a client is going through in the moment.  By being this reflective mirror, clients are able to understand their innermost thoughts and feelings, giving them a clearer picture of who they are and how they think. 

By utilizing these three key components, clients can better process themselves and the world around them, thus changing problematic thoughts and behaviors.  

More information about client-centered therapy can be found at the following links:

Client-Centered Therapy - www.psychology.about.com

In-Depth Look at Person Centered Therapy - www.simplypsychology.org

For those in the Chicagoland area, Chicago Counseling Associates provides excellent client-centered therapy to those looking for it!

About Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Developed by Aaron T. Beck, CBT has been used and researched extensively in the field of mental health.  This technique is one of the most common, utilized by many healthcare facilities.  It evolved out of behaviorism and added a focus on cognitions in an attempt to assist clients with improving their lives.  In order to promote change, CBT tries to discover the "internal dialogue" that a client has.  These thoughts influence how clients see the world and can potentially cause distress.  Beck coined the term "automatic thoughts" to describe clients' tendencies to feel positive or negative because of the thoughts that accompany them.  These thoughts can occur suddenly and without the client knowing, hence the label of automatic.

CBT treatments are typically shorter in nature and aim to cultivate a problem solving dynamic between clients and therapists.  Through structured sessions, clients will be assessed and educated throughout the first four sessions.  Treatment will follow and can vary in length depending on the concerns that are presented.  Most treatments will consist of finding ways to reduce or eliminate problematic thoughts and behaviors.  By the end of treatment, clients will have a variety of coping mechanisms that they can utilize.  

More information about CBT can be found at the following links:

What Is CBT? - www.beckinstitute.org

In-Depth CBT Analysis - www.psychcentral.com

CBT Structure - www.cognitivebehavioralconsultants.com

When it comes to which treatment modality is for you, there is no right or wrong answer.  It depends on who you are and what works best for your situation.  Client-centered therapy tends to have less formal structure, allowing for clients to explore any particular topic that they feel like.  The genuine, accepting atmosphere may lend itself well to what you would like to work on.  Conversely, CBT has more structure, keeping clients focused on particular concerns that both clients and therapists would like to work on.  The more analytical and formal nature may appeal to you since the therapist will tend to direct you towards specific goals.  During sessions with Gregory, he blends these two modalities in an effort to give clients the best of both worlds.  Through this unique approach, clients have an opportunity to explore and guide their sessions in whatever directions they wish via client-centered therapy while also receiving the more directive and problem solving focus via CBT.  

Ultimately though, there are two things that matter more than what treatment modality you pick.  

1. You should have a good relationship with your therapist.  Without a good relationship, it may be difficult for you to open up and work towards your goals.  

2. You should have a desire to accomplish whatever it is you want to accomplish.  Clients who lack motivation may find it hard to accomplish goals, process thoughts, and work through feelings.  

While specific treatment modalities may assist you more than others, these two things are key to starting your journey towards healing!

MENTAL HEALTH CONCERNS ARE NOTHING TO BE ASHAMED ABOUT!

Oftentimes, there is a stigma associated with mental health symptoms.  It is unfortunate that many people suffer in silence without the support they deserve.  In the event that you are looking for some extra help, here are some resources for you.

American Counseling Association: www.counseling.org

Counselor Finder: www.therapists.psychologytoday.com

Hotlines: www.allaboutcounseling.com/crisis_hotlines.htm