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Category Archives: TFI in the News

Breaking the Stigma of Mental Illness

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One important way to help prevent larger mental health issues is to work against existing stigmas of mental illness and treatment. People are more likely to seek out the help they need if they aren’t ashamed of it — and breaking the stigma will allow that to happen.

Watch Family Institute staff clinician Reginald Richardson, PhD, LCSW, say more about how on CLTV:

reggie stigma video


The Importance of Self Love

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One important factor of mental health is the ability to accept and be kind to oneself. Watch Family Institute senior staff clinician Reginald Richardson, PhD, LCSW, discuss the significance of self love on CLTV to learn more.


Reggie Self Love Video

Alcohol Awareness Month: The Myths of Alcohol Abuse

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Myths or Facts ConceptThis month, TFI Talks is commemorating Alcohol Awareness Month.


Every year, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) sponsors Alcohol Awareness month in an effort to increase public understanding of alcohol, to reduce the stigma of alcoholism, and to draw attention to the impact that alcoholism can have on kids, families, couples and communities.

With a subject as complicated as alcohol and alcohol/substance abuse, there are bound to be myths and misunderstandings. Today we’re working to dispel some of the more common myths.

Myth: Alcoholism or substance misuse/addiction is a moral failing or lack of willpower on the part of the drinker or user.

Reality: Addiction is a disease—it’s chronic and treatable. Drug abuse changes the way the brain works, resulting in compulsive behavior focused on drug seeking and use, despite sometimes devastating consequences—the essence of addiction. From there, we are starting to look at addiction treatment the way we would look at treatment for other chronic diseases such as heart disease or cancer. When folks get diagnosed with these diseases, we do not shame them or withhold treatment until they “prove” they are ready the way we have done with individuals who seek treatment for substance use disorders.


Myth: Alcoholism or substance misuse/addiction is something that people engage in because they are weak, ignorant or selfish.

Reality: Substance misuse/abuse/dependence can be looked as a kind of coping mechanism; an unsustainable, maladaptive coping mechanism, but not something that people engage in because they are weak, ignorant or selfish. Many, if not most, clients who seek help in changing their relationship with substances who wasn’t trying to manage pain, shame or low self-esteem with their substance use.


Myth: Addicts need to hit “rock bottom” before they are receptive to any form of treatment.

Reality: When we decide someone isn’t ready for treatment because they have yet hit their rock bottom, we assume we know what their rock bottom looks like. This myth also puts us as concerned parties into a passive role in thinking that we just need to wait until that rock bottom event happens before we step in to help. I think there are ways to intervene much earlier in the progression of addiction where a better outcome is possible than if we watch and wait for the “rock bottom.”


The Family Institute offers affordable family, couples and individual counseling at our Evanston, downtown Chicago, Lagrange Park and Northbrook locations. Visit our website to learn more.

National Eating Disorder Awareness Week: How can parents help?

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NEDAwareness_2015_Shareable_ParentsThis week is National Eating Disorder Awareness week, a time to shine a light on the seriousness of these issues and raise awareness.

Last year, we received insights from Family Institute staff clinician Mallory Rose, LMFT, on the unique ways families and eating disorders interact, including one way in which parents can help in early intervention against disordered eating and/or body image issues:

Parents are also in a unique situation because they can demonstrate to their children healthy ways of coping with anxiety. Children are very perceptive and will notice even subtle signs of parents’ anxieties and insecurities. I encourage parents to really try to recognize and address their relationships with their bodies and food intake. Anxiety may be inevitable, but I encourage parents to work on healthy ways of coping for themselves and to also be healthy role models for their children.

Read Mallory’s full blog post here, and learn more about her services on our website.


To look for treatment for eating disorders or food-related issues, visit our Find-A-Therapist feature.

The Family Institute offers a wide variety of affordable counseling care that treats whole individuals and their loved ones. Find out more at our website.

The Winter Blues: How to cope with the intense winter weather with Hollie Sobel, PhD

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_tree_snowy_fieldToday we’re taking a break from our couples post to address another important topic impacting mental health across the country: the winter.

If you’re in the Chicagoland area like we are at The Family Institute, or in one of the many other places impacted by this brutal winter weather, you may be wondering if we’ll ever get a break.

Coping with weather — the snow, ice, up-and-down temperatures and overall dreariness — can have an emotional and psychological toll on those experiencing it.

As we face record low temperatures in Chicago, Family Institute staff clinician Hollie Sobel, PhD, provides tips on how you and your family can deal with the winter’s ups and downs.


It’s about control—or a lack of it.

While winter may be some people’s favorite season, for others it is an incredibly frustrating time of year. Regardless of your feelings about winter, the weather can keep us from doing the things we want or need to do, causing a change in routine that we can’t control. While one may think Snow day! Yay!, the disruption can cause stress and frustration, particularly for people who have a hard time coping with change.

Age matters.

The winter impacts people differently based on their ages and life stages.

Adults deal with issues of commuting to work, arranging childcare on snow days, and changes in routine.

Children may not understand why they can’t play outdoors and often complain about boredom.  Parents can have a difficult time managing their children’s level of hyperactivity while they are stuck inside. In addition, children may find the end of winter and subsequent temperature fluctuations (sunny at 50 degrees one day, snowstorm the next) confusing, or even bittersweet.  Whereas a parent is likely to view the start of the spring thaw as a positive thing, a child sees his/her snowman melting away in the front yard.

For aging populations, the winter can be an isolating time of year. They lose their independence by not being able to walk or drive outside the way they can in warmer months, and tasks like getting to the doctor become much more difficult.

It’s important to note the different needs of the people in your family during this season, particularly in long winters such as this one. What you may need and how you may cope is most likely different than those of your children, your aging parents, or other family members.

Take the opportunity to problem solve and get creative.

It’s not all bad! This trying season provides a lot of opportunities to practice problem solving techniques. Here are just a few ways in which you can get creative and proactive as you deal with what seems to be a never-ending winter:

  • Don’t go through it alone: Parents can work with other parents to arrange activities for their kids; aging populations or people who live alone can reach out to family members or neighbors for help or company; individuals and/or families with extra needs can reach out to local agencies for guidance or support. The winter can feel isolating for everyone — reach out to others to cope and ease the stress.
  • Find your calm: Winter can cause stress and anxiety — conflicts can arise from being stuck in close quarters, and the loss of control can take its toll. If you can’t make it in to the office, work in your pajamas, or practice mindfulness Anything you can do to accept the situation will work in your favor.
  • Make your own consistency: The abrupt weather changes of this time of year can make one’s head spin. If change is particularly hard — whether from the loss of routine that comes with winter storms, or from the back and forth between winter and spring — be sure to structure your days as best you can to keep yourself on track.
  • Be creative: Try some fun things to take your mind off the weather’s ups and downs. If it snows again, instead of dwelling on the disbelief that it happened again, do something fun with it. When the snow starts to melt again and your child’s snowman starts to disappear — make a new one out of cotton balls to keep the cheer alive.




Hollie Sobel, PhD, provides individual, family, and group psychotherapy.  Hollie Sobel, PhD, has specialization in using researched-based cognitive-behavioral techniques with children and adolescents to improve mood, decrease levels of anxiety, and enhance functioning across home, school and social settings. She includes children/adolescents and parents in the treatment planning process, as family involvement is often important in reaching treatment goals.

To read Hollie Sobel, PhD’s full bio or make an appoint, visit our webpage.

The Family Institute offers a wide variety of affordable counseling care that treats whole individuals and their loved ones throughout the Chicagoland area. Find out more at our website.

Psychology & The Selfie: TFI’s Mallory Rose, LMFT, on the impact of social media on self esteem

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Selfies are everywhere: It seems like every time you turn a corner there’s someone standing with his/her phone held out at arms length, snapping a candid shot. Selfies can be fun way to update your social media followers on where you are and what you’re up to — but are there larger psychological concerns?

Family Institute staff clinician Mallory Rose, LMFT, recently discussed these issues on ABC News. The story addresses a recent study linking selfies to plastic surgery, suggesting that the rise in seeing ourselves in pictures has placed a more intense and pressured emphasis on our physical appearance, possibly influencing the decision to have plastic surgery.

“If your sole reason for feeling happy and confident is based off the social media and the response that you’re getting towards the way that you are in the social media, that to me is worrisome,” said Mallory Rose.


Watch the full segment on ABC 7’s website, and learn more about Mallory Rose on our website.



The Family Institute offers affordable counseling to treat a variety of issues such as depression, anxiety, self-esteem issues, or issues between couples. Visit our website to learn more about the mental health services we provide throughout the Chicagoland area.

Meaningful Gestures: How to show your partner you care

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Valentine’s Day may be over, but we are continuing our exploration of relationships and love throughout the month. Today, watch Family Institute staff therapist Alexandra Solomon, PhD, discuss how couples can show one another that they care on the Oprah Network’s #OWNSHOW.

From her interview:

“I think that couples can get really constrained when they imagine that romance or expressions of love have to look a certain way — that they have to look the way that other people define romance or define love. And so it’s good for couples to play with what feels good for them — what feels meaningful to them — and to remember that the intention is for me to communicate to you that I’m grateful you’re in my life.”

Click through to watch the whole segment:




The Family Institute offers affordable counseling for individuals, couples and families in the Chicagoland area. Visit our website to learn more about our services.

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