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FAQs

How do I prepare for my first session?

You don’t need to do any special preparations for the first session. You will send your insurance information and fill out your paperwork when you schedule online, and then you will automatically receive an email telling you how to get into the building.

What is the first session like for individual therapy?

Most of the first session is one of our therapists asking you about your goals, history, experience, and what changes you want. Just like a doctor wouldn’t prescribe you medication without taking your blood pressure and listening to your heartbeat, we need to understand you before making any recommendations. Then we’ll talk about what it might look like to get you to your destination, and answer any questions you have.

Usually it’s from the second session onward that we’re digging in with skills and strategies to get you moving.

What is the first session like for couples therapy?

Most of the first session is one of our therapists asking about your relationship, history, experience, and what changes you want. Just like a doctor wouldn’t prescribe you medication without taking your blood pressure and listening to your heartbeat, we need to understand your relationship before making any recommendations. Then we’ll talk about what it might look like to get you to your destination, and answer any questions you have.

Do I need individual or couples work? Can I do both at the same time?

If most of your distress is coming from interactions with your partner, generally that means couples work. Often couples work is more productive if one or both partners are in individual counseling as well. You can absolutely do both.

The same therapist doesn’t do couples and individual therapy for the same client; that compromises my objectivity. We’re happy to give you recommendations if you’re looking for another counselor, and if you want to sign a release of information, that will authorize me to coordinate care with them.

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What’s the difference between psychiatry and psychology or counseling?

Psychiatrists are doctors or MDs who specialize in treating mental conditions, often through medication and recommendations about nutrition, exercise, sleep, and more. Many psychiatrists recommend “talk therapy” in addition to medication; most do not do counseling or talk therapy themselves.

You can get counseling or “talk therapy” from a licensed counselor, social worker, psychologist, or marriage and family therapist. None of these professions prescribe medication. For instance, Nikki Lancaster is an LCPC, or Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, meaning she has a Masters degree in counseling psychology, and she’s licensed to practice independently in the state of Illinois.

What insurance do you accept?

Please click here to learn more.

Sick/Cancellation Policy

We charge a no-show fee of $60 for missed sessions and cancellations with less than 24 hours’ notice.

If you are sick and possibly contagious, please either reschedule (if it’s more than 24 hours in advance) or contact us to set up a HIPAA-Compliant video session.

  • When you’re sick, you need to rest or see a doctor.
  • Trauma, anxiety, and relationship stress weaken the immune system. The next clients coming in to see us are sitting in the same waiting room and therapy room. Please don’t put them at risk for getting sick.
  • If we get sick, especially if we lose our voices, then clients for the next several days miss out on the therapy they need.

What are your specialties and approach?

You can find that answer here.

How do I know if you’re the right therapist for me?

Chemistry is an important part of therapy, because therapy is a collaborative relationship. If my bio and specialties look promising, that’s a good indicator. Generally people know within a few sessions if we’re a fit. We are open to feedback, and if you don’t like an exercise or a recommendation, we can talk about it. You get a vote in how we work together.

However, if you don’t feel that we are “clicking,” you can tell your therapist so and it won’t hurt their feelings or upset them. Your needs are far more important than our egos, and it’s not personal! In fact, we do know many great therapists in the Chicago area, and we would be more than happy to give you a few options based on your feedback. Every relationship, including therapists, teaches you something about what you need.

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Email Policy

Email is never guaranteed to be 100% confidential. Of course we would never breach confidentiality or share your information with unauthorized persons. You can feel free to email us with questions, or if there is something you want to make sure we process in session. However please know that there is always a chance with any email to anyone that someone at the web hosting company, your email server company (Google, Yahoo, etc) the NSA, etc could see it.

If you are in crisis, please call, don’t email or text.

Can I take notes?

Absolutely. Some clients like to make notes during the week to remind themselves what to discuss in therapy. Some like to take notes during session to review during the week. Both are great.

Do you do phone or virtual therapy?

We use the HIPAA-compliant program VSee for e-therapy when needed. We generally recommend e-therapy only when someone is sick or if there is a blizzard, especially for couples work. It’s not something we offer on a consistent basis, but if that’s the mode you need, we are more than happy to provide you with a recommendation for professionals we trust.

Phone sessions are case-by-case.

What are transit and parking options?

Our office is a few blocks from the Jefferson Park Transit Center, so the Metra, Blue Line, and several bus routes are steps from us.

Abundant metered parking is available on Lawrence about half a block west of my office, with some unmetered parking on side streets like Gale. As in many Chicago neighborhoods, traffic can be a headache during rush hour, but it’s generally easy after 6:30 PM.

about us and therapy for artists

How do I get into the building?

We have a buzzer. You’ll get a welcome email with all the details.

How long are sessions?

50 minutes.

How do I pay for sessions?

When you schedule online, you’ll enter your payment information, and we will process the payment when you arrive for therapy. When we have the information in advance, we’ll go over the co-pay etc. with you before you arrive.