Therapy Tailored to What You Need—And What You Want
Unbroken Therapy specializes in individual therapy for self-esteem, anxiety, body image issues, and more. Located in Chicago, IL, Unbroken Therapy offers in-person and online telehealth* video appointments. Services are in-network with BCBS PPO and Aetna PPO plans.
*Please note that telehealth clients must be physically located in the state of Illinois.
Serving Chicago, IL, convenient to the neighborhoods of Lincoln Square, North Center and Ravenswood
Services and Specializations
Self-esteem is your subjective evaluation of your goodness, likability, and overall competence.
When you have healthy self-esteem, you feel ready to handle life’s challenges. You recognize your strengths and don’t let your mistakes or shortcomings define you.
Measuring self-esteem is difficult, but some studies suggest that as many as 85% of Americans feel that they don’t measure up.
Anxiety is the most common mental disorder, affecting about 18% of the US population every year.
Anxiety disorders can take many forms, from generalized anxiety disorder to panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and more.
Body image refers to the way you perceive your physical appearance. Most commonly, this refers to your perception of your physical attractiveness. However, body image has other dimensions, including effectiveness, health, sexual characteristics, sexual behavior, and body integrity.
When body image is poor and causes significant psychological distress, you may meet the criteria for body dysmorphic disorder. However, other body image concerns can be addressed in therapy as well.
All Conditions and Concerns
Body Image Concerns
Trichotillomania (Hair Pulling)
Excoriation Disorder (Skin Picking)
Excessive Shame / Guilt
Self-Compassionate Weight Loss
Services through Unbroken Therapy are in network with Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO and Aetna PPO plans.
If you’re not using insurance, the out-of-pocket fee is $175 per 1-hour session. If requested, an out-of-network claim will be sent directly to your insurance provider on your behalf. Depending on your provider and plan, you may be eligible for partial reimbursement for your sessions. You can verify out-of-network benefits with your insurance provider.
Sliding scale services may be available for those who qualify, based on availability. Contact me for more information.
Late Cancellation / No Show Policy:
There is a $50 fee for appointments that are cancelled with less than 24 hours' notice, except in cases of illness or emergency.
For appointments that are no-shows or cancelled with less than one hours' notice, a $75 fee is incurred, except in emergency cases when advance notice cannot be given.
This is necessary because a time commitment is made to you and is held exclusively for you. If you are late for a session, you may lose some of that session time.
What is Self-Compassion?
As the name suggests, self-compassion is any act that demonstrates kindness, acceptance, or positivity toward the self. We live in a culture that values compassion, generosity, and altruism toward others, but somehow, this gets lost in its application to ourselves.
Most of us wouldn't dream of calling our loved ones names like "failure," "lazy," "incompetent," or "worthless," but we have no problem saying those things to ourselves.
If someone else, particularly someone close to us, were to say those things to us, we’d feel incredibly hurt. So it's no wonder that self-deprecating thoughts are linked to many mental illnesses and overall dissatisfaction with life.
How Can Self-Compassion Improve Mental Health?
A broad range of mental disorders involves some form of self-deprecation, personal mistreatment, or shame. Self-compassion is a powerful approach to all of these issues. Here are a few of many examples.
Those with anxiety disorders often doubt their own thoughts, feelings, or instincts. They mistakenly believe that others dislike or judge them, or that they’re doing something wrong. Anxiety can often present as perfectionism, involving rigid and unfair standards that nearly always result in feelings of inadequacy and failure.
Self-compassion can help combat the self-doubt that results from anxiety, as it can teach those with anxiety disorders to trust their judgment better. It can also help them relax their unfair, rigid standards of themselves and their fears that others also hold them to impossibly high standards.
Depression often involves hopelessness, low motivation, fatigue, and other symptoms. These symptoms can impact functioning in work or school, strain relationships, and make it more challenging to work toward personal goals.
Those with depression may have self-deprecating thoughts such as, "I can't do anything right," "Nothing will ever go my way," or "What's wrong with me?" Self-compassion can combat depressive symptoms by reframing the language that entrenches individuals in their sense of inadequacy and hopelessness. It shows them that they are worth every bit of the effort it takes to develop healthy thought patterns and coping skills.
Body Dysmorphia and other body image concerns
Body dysmorphic disorder involves an obsessive focus on a perceived flaw in one's physical appearance. Those with body dysmorphic disorder sometimes avoid social situations because they feel deeply ashamed of their appearance. Less severe body image concerns can lead a person to have difficulty accepting the way that they look and using unkind words to describe themselves, such as "ugly," "fat," or "disgusting."
Self-compassion can help those with body image concerns learn to use kinder words to describe themselves and feel more confident in themselves. To accept one's physical appearance, one must be able to accept themselves as a whole. Rather than feeding into an obsessive focus on physical appearance, self-compassion promotes a holistic approach to accepting oneself as is.
Self-harm includes any method to intentionally cause harm to oneself, including cutting, burning, or hitting oneself. Reasons for self-harm include coping with emotional distress, punishing oneself for real or perceived wrongdoing, or attempting to reverse emotional numbness. Often those who harm themselves feel a sense of helplessness or worthlessness.
Self-compassion can help those who self-harm by providing them with more healthy responses to emotional pain, such as self-validation and a belief in the worthiness of emotional support from others.
Trichotillomania (Hair Pulling) and Excoriation Disorder (Skin Picking)
Trichotillomania is a mental disorder that involves compulsive and sometimes unconscious hair pulling. Severe cases can result in bald spots, permanent hair damage, and even infections. Similarly, Excoriation Disorder is a mental disorder that involves compulsive skin picking.
Persistent and excessive skin picking can result in bleeding, skin discoloration, scarring, and even infections. It’s common for a person to live with both Trichotillomania and Excoriation Disorder.
Both hair pulling and skin picking can cause significant shame and isolation, as individuals with these disorders sometimes feel self-conscious about the way their disorder affects their physical appearance. As a result, they might avoid certain social situations. They also might view themselves as failures or completely lacking in self-control.
Self-compassion can help those with Trichotillomania and Excoriation Disorder to manage shame-based thoughts resulting from hair pulling and skin picking. It can also be an effective distress tolerance skill to help curb any urges to pull hair and pick at the skin as an unhealthy coping skill.
Religious trauma results from traumatic religious experiences from cults or abusive religious environments. Those who have experienced religious trauma often feel shame, as this is a common method of abuse in unhealthy religious settings. Symptoms can include anxiety, depression, self-doubt, a sense of directionlessness, isolation, and pervasive negative beliefs about self or others.
Self-compassion can provide tools to reverse abusive messages received from abusive religious practices. It can help those who have experienced religious trauma change their negative views about themselves due to their experience with religion. It can also provide the necessary empowerment to explore religious or spiritual beliefs without fear of persecution.
What Do Self-Compassionate People Do?
Those who regularly practice some form of self-compassion can recognize their worth and behave in ways that demonstrate this worthiness to others and reinforce their own sense of self-worth. Some examples include:
Setting realistic expectations
Identifying and utilizing strengths
Creating and enforcing relationship boundaries
Communicating with assertiveness
Asking for help
Practicing regular self-care
Bouncing back after making mistakes
Trusting your judgment
These are the things that all of us strive for, and many of us have difficulty doing. Self-compassion can help you work toward a life that includes all these things.
What Does Self-Compassionate Therapy Look Like?
One of the first steps in self-compassionate therapy is to create self-compassionate goals. Doing so involves being honest with oneself about what is attainable, how much motivation is available to work toward the goal, and what barriers stand in the way of achieving the goal.
Have you ever created an overly ambitious goal and then felt defeated and down on yourself when you didn't achieve it? This is a sure-fire way to set yourself up for failure, which leads to a risk of internalizing the experience and feeling like you are a failure.
Self-compassionate goals may seem utterly unambitious at first, but they involve the difficult step of letting go of unfair expectations and embracing sustainable and incremental progress. This step can be uncomfortable, which is why so many people avoid it.
Another key step in self-compassionate therapy is identifying strengths. Many people find this step uncomfortable and difficult, but highly beneficial. Remember, self-compassion involves positive regard toward the self, so this must include engaging in self-focused positive thoughts.
If you have difficulty identifying your strengths on your own, don't worry –you can learn helpful thought-based skills to challenge your reluctance to name your positive traits. Treatment can also help you explore and identify certain strengths you may not have thought of on your own.
Those who find it hard to be self-compassionate also often have feelings of shame. To alleviate feelings of shame, it’s important to distinguish shame from guilt. These terms are often used interchangeably but are not the same.
Guilt means, "I did a bad thing."
Shame means, "I’m a bad person."
Whereas guilt can sometimes be a healthy (albeit difficult) emotion, shame is never healthy. Managing shame involves being mindful of when guilt leads to shame and developing skills to reframe shame-based thoughts into more compassionate and fair ones.
Self-compassionate therapy involves these and many other important factors tailored to each individual person based on their unique needs and goals. This happens through a collaborative treatment process with a therapist.
If you're ready to learn self-compassionate skills to improve your emotional health and self-esteem, schedule an appointment now!