I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), Certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT), Employee Assistance Specialist - Clinical (EAS-C), and former trauma chaplain trained to work with individuals, partners, couples and families who struggle in a variety of situations. I have completed Level 3 Training in Gottman Method Couples Therapy, am currently on the certification track to become a Gottman Certified Therapist and use Gottman Method Couples Therapy in my work. While my practice is general in nature, I specialize in infidelity and addictions - in particular sex, porn and love addiction. As a former trauma chaplain and first responder I also work with pastors, clergy, church leaders as well as police officers, firefighters, dispatchers and hospital personnel.
My training includes the International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals, being directly trained by Dr. Patrick Carnes, The Gottman Institute, being directly trained by Drs. John & Julie Gottman, the Clinical Pastoral Education programs of Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Advocate Lutheran General and Advocate Children's Hospital. I also managed the development of the Spiritual Care/Chaplaincy Office to support the Level-One trauma designation for Advocate Condell Medical Center. My 27-year corporate career includes leading global financial aid and disaster relief programs for employees and retirees of Abbott Laboratories with The Clara Abbott Foundation.
Each therapist has a unique style. My style is practical, reality-oriented and collaborative. I do not sit back and say nothing. I have no problem giving specific advice and opinions when asked, and sessions tend to be focused on solutions, not problems. While at times it is important and useful to delve into the past, the focus tends to be more on the present and future. Pain, stress, and difficult times provide some of the best opportunities to create meaning and hope.
My goal as a therapist is to help people get through the lousy times, not by removing the garbage, but by walking with them through it so that they can see that it is survivable. Sometimes people just need to get through the tough times; they do not need to change. Often just having someone there to talk through things and reflect on their situation reminds them that they are not alone. A therapist is a coach, a shoulder, a teacher, a parent, and a mentor. My focus is communication, support/encouragement, skill-building where needed, and discipline.
Most of my counseling clients have some sort of faith background, although I do accept counseling clients who have no particular interest in faith. I have found that clients who are willing to incorporate their faith into their treatment get better faster, but I also respect and enjoy working with clients who do not wish to discuss spiritual issues as part of counseling. I tailor my psychotherapeutic interventions to each client's individual needs.
As with any relationship, therapy works best when there is trust, mutual respect, and a sense of connection. If you think we may be a good fit to work with one another, call me at 224-639-2607 or email me at Patrick@PatrickAmesCounseling.com to set up a 15-minute complimentary phone consultation. This phone call is used to assess the goodness of fit of a therapeutic match, not for treatment or diagnosis. If we find that we are not a good fit at the end of this phone call, I will give you referrals of therapists that might be a better match for you.