Explore, Understand & Persevere

Your journey towards parenthood

Infertility is full of unknowns and an emotional roller coaster of hope and pain. You likely didn't anticipate having to deal with reproductive challenges and it can affect your normal functioning, your relationship with yourself and with others.

While not often openly talked about, 33% of Americans have turned to fertility treatments or know someone who has. Moreover, a large number report discontinuing infertility treatment not due to financial reasons but because of emotional, physical and psychological exhaustion. You don't have to grapple with decision-making, self-doubt, grief, lack of control over your body, stress of finances, and dealing with family or impacts to your relationship on your own.

We'll meet you where you are at in your process and help instill real coping for reproductive issues, take time to understand your unique experience as well as foster growth from a place of understanding.

Ilene Kastel, M.A., LCPCNext Step Founder
Palpable Genuine Support

Respecting and Affirming You

We are affirming, inclusive and supportive of all families at NSC including single mothers by choice, LGBTQ+ folxs, monogamous and non-monogamous relationships. 

If you're an individual or a couple struggling with the loss of fertility, pregnancies, multiple miscarriages, postpartum depression or postpartum anxiety, or overall reproductive health our specialists can support you.

Our specialists commonly help with:


Holistic Coping

Strengthen and nurture your emotional and psychological well-being and self-care. Keep you engaged in all parts of your life while increasing a sense of control.

Relationship Connection

Smooth out the ups and downs of infertility which brings you closer at times and further apart at others as well as improve sex and intimacy.

Balance Optimism and Realism

Increase insight into personal desires and realistic needs separate from the influence of others.

Clarifying What You Need

Build a strong support network for yourself and improved boundaries, communication or assertivenss with your partner, family and friends around what you need.

Decision Making

Gain clarity on the many decisions needed including treatments, financial stress, when and how to share news of pregnancy or even the news of a loss.

Managing External Input

Better manage and cope with pressure from societal, social, or family network during this time.

Contact Us. 

Pay Us a Visit

70 E Lake St #222
Chicago, IL 60601

Serving Chicago, Streeterville, Gold Coast, West Town, West Loop, River North, Old Town, Lincoln Park, Lakeview, Lincoln Square, Bucktown, Ravenswood and surrounding areas.

Common Questions

Do you accept insurance?

We are in network with the following insurance carriers:

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield Blue Choice Advantage
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield Blue Choice Preferred
  • United Behavioral Health, aka United Health Care
  • Optum Veterans Affairs Community Care Network

However, if you have a carrier that we don’t accept we can still work together! Using your out of network benefits, many insurance companies will provide you with 20% to 80% reimbursement for sessions. We provide you with an invoice, you send it into your insurance company and they mail you a check. If you’d like to know what your out of network benefits are call the number on the back of your card and ask, “What are my out of network benefits for mental health counseling?” Please contact us to provide you with additional information about this.

Is there parking available at your office?

All el lines are within 1-2 blocks, and, there are two parking garages nearby at 60 E. Lake St. and 20 E. Randolph.

I tried therapy and didn't like it. How's this different?

Therapy varies depending on the personalities of the counselor and client, as well as the particular concerns brought forward. Sometimes the chemistry between the counselor and client or the counselor’s style or approach just isn’t a good fit. The relationship between the client and the therapist is of utmost importance. Therefore, we work to create a safe environment where open and honest communication is encouraged so that concerns or questions about treatment or the relationship can be addressed in session. This often benefits the therapeutic process and deepens the therapeutic relationship.

What can I expect from the first few sessions?

During the first and second session, we will gather information about what has brought you into therapy including your concerns, what you’d like to work on and information about your current and past emotional health and life history. This information helps us gain a deeper understanding about your situation, you as a person and how to best help you. As noted earlier, since it is important that clients feel comfortable with their counseling, we encourage clients to also use the first session as an opportunity to assess if this is a good fit for you as well.

What can I expect during a typical therapy session?

During therapy you will begin to discuss and share your feelings, thoughts, and reactions in order for you to begin to gain insight, develop new thinking patters, coping skills and overall improved quality of life. It is natural to feel uncomfortable about opening up at first but this process because much easier after a few sessions. Since self-growth is possible through commitment and work I will encourage you to practice the things you discuss and learn outside of session.

How long will I need to be in therapy?

The number of sessions needed is different for everyone depending on a number of factors including but not limited to your goals, severity or intensity of your concerns or symptoms, how long you’ve been dealing with your concerns, current levels of stress, and the progress you make towards reaching your short or long-term goals.

Is what I say in therapy confidential?

In general, all communications between a client and counselor are confidential and can only be released with the client’s written permission. However, there are some exceptions required by law to this rule. Exceptions include:

  • When there is a reasonable suspicion of child/dependent abuse or of an elder adult.
  • When the client communicates a threat of bodily injury to others.
  • When the client is suicidal.
  • When disclosure is required pursuant to a legal proceeding.
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