Self-Love & Respect

Creating a healthy relationship with yourself is a proactive lifelong journey. At Next Step, we believe you should feel good about yourself and we have the compassion and expertise to get you there! Self-worth is pivotal to your happiness as it impacts how you treat yourself, how you interact with people, how you participate in your life, and how you interact with the world around you.

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Research shows healthy self-esteem and the practice of self-love is associated with improved life satisfaction, self-compassion, happiness and resilience."

Ilene Kastel, M.A., LCPCCEO + Founder, Next Steps Counseling

Self-Esteem Counseling in Chicago, IL: Discover Its Advantages …

Anxiety & Depression

One’s self-relationship and their overall mental and emotional wellbeing are highly correlated. Having a poor relationship with yourself can result in mild short-lived episodes of social anxiety, general anxiety or depression. Learn what life experiences contributed to your thoughts, feelings, and self-beliefs + how these play a role in your anxiety or sadness.

Codependency & Love Addiction

Codependency is an unhealthy way of operating in relationships. It affects one’s ability to have mutually satisfying relationship(s). Codependents form dysfunctional one-sided relationships w/o reciprocity: where one person overly relies on the other to meet their emotional and self-esteem needs.


Perfectionism has many struggles including unreasonably high expectation for oneself and others, need for approval, and feelings of not being good enough. Often times, a poor self-worth underlies perfectionism. We’ll help you better understand and cope with your perfectionism without detriment to your performance.

Childhood Emotional Neglect

Emotional neglect is a parent’s failure to sufficiently respond to a child’s emotional needs. Emotional neglect is often overlooked because unlike abuse or trauma, it’s defined by the absence of something, i.e. parental validation. Neglect can lead to guilt, shame, feeling different or flawed, and more.

Start with Yourself

Self-relationship counseling will help you:


Put yourself first

Focus on your needs wants, goals and values and reduce people-pleasing tendencies.

Increase self-reliance and resiliency

Improve confidence, self-trust, and decision-making. Overcome self-doubt, criticism, and need for external validation.

Hone your communication skills

Improve communication, boundary setting, and relationships with yourself and others.

Strengthen your self-faith.

Increase self-compassion, resiliency, and courage.

Self-analyze constructively

Acknowledge your strengths and compassionately embrace your human flaws.

Mindfully examine your past.

Increase self-awareness and insight into life experiences or triggers that impact(ed) your self-relationship.
We’re Here to Listen, Guide & Support

You Shouldn’t Have to “Go At It Alone”

“One of the greatest barriers to human connection is the cultural importance we place on "going at it alone." Somehow we've come to equate success with not needing anyone. Many of us are willing to extend a helping hand, but we're very reluctant to reach out for help when we need it ourselves. It's as if we've divided the world into 'those who offer help' and 'those who need help.' The truth is that we are both.”

Brené BrownDistinguished Researcher + Author

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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