Wellington Counseling Group

Wellington Counseling Group

Marriage is hard. Even the happiest and healthiest couples experience relationship challenges from time to time. If your marriage is having problems, you may be wondering whether you can tackle them alone or if you need professional help. Many people waver on whether or not they should see a couples therapist. Here are eight signs you should seek marriage counseling in Chicago.

COVID-19 caused major disruptions to daily life for children. While some may be looking forward to returning to school, many others are feeling anxious or frightened at the prospect. Helping students navigate the complicated emotions they may be feeling about returning to normalcy is uncharted territory for many teachers and school administrators. Here at Wellington Counseling Group, we asked five of our licensed counselors to talk about ways to best support the socioemotional needs of kids returning to school after COVID-19. Here’s what they had to say.

1. Create a safe space for children to discuss and process their pandemic experience

Although the reason for being out of school for so long has been universal, the pandemic experiences and losses of each child returning to the classroom will be different. Apart from the prolonged disruptions to our routines, many other things like familial deaths from COVID-19, parental unemployment, food insecurity, racial injustice, and mental health concerns to name a few, may have impacted the real-life experiences of students in profound ways.

As students and teachers adapt to being together in person again, creating a safe space for children to discuss and process their experiences will be crucial for short and long-term socioemotional adjustment. The intentional act of teachers facilitating the emotional space to hold these kinds of ongoing conversations will go far to support the fragility and difficulties of returning to in-person classes.

2. Keep in mind that it might be more challenging to keep kids engaged

Engagement and attention during the school day might look different as students return to the classroom. They may have developed personal strategies to enhance their remote learning experience throughout the past year.

For example, some children may have found comfort in laying in their bed or using fidget objects while on a screen all day. Others may have turned to video games or snacking at intervals that don’t align with the typical structure of an in-person school day.

It will, of course, be an adjustment as children reorient themselves to falling back into old – yet familiar – classroom routines and expectations that may not be as casual as home-based learning. Teacher and student collaboration about strategies to assist with the adjustment will go far to enhance student focus, motivation, and engagement in classroom instruction.

3. Create coping strategies for students who are anxious about returning to school or contracting COVID-19

Returning to in-person learning will be a big change for many students. It’s likely that some children will be feeling increased anxiety related to separation from parents/caregivers as well as new levels of social anxiety and trouble with peers. This may occur with children who have not previously exhibited such struggles but feel that their social skills are rusty, and teachers can help by creating coping strategies for anxious students.

Other students may be fearful about getting and spreading COVID-19 or one of the more aggressive variant strains. Encouraging students to write and talk about their feelings can help them better cope with those fears. Acknowledging that their fears are valid is also an important part of helping students feel heard and seen.

4. Prioritize playtime

Prioritizing “playtime" (e.g., recess, in-class free time, fun activities, etc.) will be vital and perhaps more important than ever before as your students transition back into the classroom. It’s been a difficult year for everyone and taking time to relax is important for managing mental health. Introducing practices such as mindfulness and yoga can also be extremely beneficial for students who are prone to stress.

5. Reintroduce yourself and your students

Allow the chance for introductions of teachers and students if you go back to the classroom this school year or in the middle of next school year. Many students don't know all of their classmates and/or teachers due to being solely online (especially since some students have had their cameras off for every class period). Help make your students feel more comfortable by giving them a chance to get to know one another on an in-person level.

Learn more helpful tips for kids returning to school

So, there you have it! Some tips + tricks for teachers and school administrators to ease the transition of kids returning to school after COVID-19. If you’re interested in learning more about how to best support the socioemotional needs of your students, reach out to us today at Wellington Counseling Group.

Here’s to a great year ahead!

Friday, 12 February 2021 13:39

Your Guide to Chicago ADD Therapy for Adults

Approximately 4.4% of adults in the United States have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (or ADHD for short). And studies suggest that many more adults with ADHD are still undiagnosed. In today’s fast-paced society, we’re exposed to an incredible load of stimuli every second of every day. If you struggle with an attention deficit disorder, then you already know how it can impact your ability to work, form and maintain relationships, and even manage daily tasks. The good news is there are treatment options available that can effectively help manage your symptoms. Today, we’re discussing everything you need to know about Chicago ADD therapy for adults.

Anxiety disorders are the most prevalent mental health disorder in the United States, affecting as many as 40 million Americans every year. Though they can undeniably be difficult to deal with, anxiety disorders are actually highly treatable. If you are struggling to manage your mental health, it’s important to seek treatment. Between talk therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes including focusing on mindfulness, finding lasting relief is possible. Here’s a helpful guide to help you find effective anxiety treatment in Chicago.

Every family experiences challenges and conflicts from time to time. However, if your family is fighting more often than not, that’s a sign you should seek professional help. If you’re even considering family counseling, that in and of itself means it’s probably something you and your family members can benefit from. And although seeking counseling can sometimes initially feel like a sign of failure or defeat, it’s actually the first step towards helping your family improve communication and work through conflict to establish healthy and stable relationships. If you’re still on the fence, here’s how to determine if family counseling in Chicago is right for you. 

If you think your child is gifted, you may or may not have already looked into assessment options. But before moving forward with a gifted child assessment, there are a number of things you’ll want to consider. Doing so will help avoid common pitfalls and ensure you’re educated about the testing process and how it can best benefit you and your child. In today’s article, we’re covering everything you need to know about getting a gifted child assessment in Chicago. 

What is a gifted child assessment?

Typically, there are two types of tests for gifted children: 1) an IQ test or 2) an achievement test. Each type of test has its own advantages and disadvantages. Speak with your child’s school officials so you can get a better sense of which type of test is more suitable for your child. In some cases, a combination of both types of tests are required for admission into a gifted program. 

What are the signs your child may be gifted? 

Because there is no formula for identifying gifted children, it can sometimes be difficult to identify the signs of giftedness. Here are some of the most common signs to keep an eye out for:

  • Early ability to read (gifted children can often read 2+ years above their current grade level)
  • Use of advanced vocabulary at an early age 
  • A need to explore subjects in surprising depth 
  • Insatiable curiosity (as demonstrated by what feels like endless questions)
  • Periods of intense concentration
  • Ability to process complex information 
  • Strong critical thinking skills 
  • Ability to think abstractly 
  • A wide range of interests and involvement in self-initiated projects

Why should you test your gifted child?

Many parents think their child is gifted, but studies suggest only 2-5% of children actually are. Testing allows you to determine whether or not your child actually is gifted. And if an assessment reveals that they are, it can help you better understand their unique learning needs. Often, gifted students excel in one area but can struggle in other areas. And in some cases, testing can help lead to the identification of learning disabilities that could require special accommodations. 

Without an assessment, these weaknesses can be overlooked in a child who excels in another area. This can help you become a better advocate for your child.

Testing can also be key to helping your child get placed into a gifted program, which can help them further develop their strengths and learn to manage their weaknesses. Gifted programs are often competitive and acceptance into the program can be difficult to achieve. So testing can be key to ensuring their placement in the program. 

When to test your child for giftedness

You may recognize signs of giftedness in your child at a very early age. However, the National Association for Gifted Children recommends waiting until your child is at least 6 years old for any assessments. 

Why? IQ testing isn’t usually accurate for children who are under 6 years old.

Where you can get a gifted child assessment in Chicago 

If you’re interested in getting a gifted child assessment in Chicago, reach out to us at Wellington Counseling Group. Getting your child into gifted programs or schools in the Chicago-land area isn’t easy. However, our standardized IQ tests are widely accepted in a majority of local schools. 

Contact us today to learn more.

Every romantic relationship experiences some level of conflict. For some, fights revolve around money. For others, a lack of communication can lead to never-ending arguments. Whether you’ve been with your partner for a month or a decade, all couples at some point can benefit from counseling. Therapy can provide a safe space to talk about scary things, pressing concerns, and other issues your relationship may be suffering from. Here are five reasons to seek couples counseling in Chicago. 

Depression is one of the most common mental health disorders in the United States, affecting nearly 17.3 Americans according to data from the National Survey on Drug Use & Health. That's approximately 7.1% of adults in the country at any given time. It's also estimated that as many as 15% of individuals will experience depression at some point in their life. All that's to say, if you're struggling to manage your depression, know that you are not alone and that effective treatment is available. Here's what you need to know about your options for depression treatment in Chicago. 

Forensic psychology is a specialized field within the psychology profession and psychologists trained in forensics play a key role in the betterment of society at large. This discipline leverages psychological theory to any situation where mental health interacts with the functioning of our legal system. Most forensic psychologists will work with perpetrators and victims throughout their experience in the legal system to provide value to all parties involved. At Wellington Counseling Group, we provide forensic psychology services, applying them in a wide variety of applications, including immigration, civil rights, employment, and criminal law. There’s a lot of value to be gained through forensic psychology assessments in Chicago, so let’s dive into some of the key benefits to be reaped.

Wednesday, 23 December 2020 12:10

Maintaining Mental Health in a Pandemic


At the beginning of pandemic lockdown, baking flour and jigsaw puzzles flew off the shelves. Folks dusted off their bikes and rollerblades. They signed up for virtual dance classes and online foreign language lessons. Clamoring for fun hobbies wasn’t just a way to fill the time, in many ways it was self-preservation kicking in.

In times of stress, hobbies can provide an important outlet for us to take care of ourselves. Hobbies provide a mental escape from troubles along with much-needed stimulation to the unstimulated. And, when so many of our usual options for entertainment hobbies and engagement are shrinking -- live music, the arts, dining out, having friends over -- it is important to continue adding delight, structure, and purpose to our days.

In addition, engaging in a hobby naturally helps us to set time schedules, and it shifts our attention to something that feels meaningful and fun. When done over time, hobbies truly enrich our sense of personal identity.

For some of us, these new hobbies were all well and good for the first 15, 30, or 45 days of our new normal. But as the pandemic wore on, our enthusiasm for our newfound hobbies has waned. Maybe we started sleeping a little later. Stepped away from Zooming with family and friends. Left puzzles half done and instead binged hours of TV with bags full of Flaming Hot Cheetos instead.

It’s understandable that some of our initial “can-do” enthusiasm diminished over time and it’s ok to take breaks. We need them. It’s important to cut ourselves some slack, to be gentle with ourselves, and recognize that we are in the middle of a global pandemic. Some things just aren’t going to be, or feel, “normal.”

As guardians of our own mental health during the pandemic, we also have to pay attention to when we see ourselves losing interest, feeling lethargic over long periods of time and dramatically reducing our ‘feel good’ activities. Now -- as 2020 draws to a close, yet this pandemic rages on -- is a great time to recalibrate. Perhaps commit to a new hobby: perfecting a smokey eye and a dramatic lighting set-up for Zoom calls; crafting our own greeting cards; virtual fencing; setting the alarm to watch the sunrise.

A great question asked by one of our clients was, “Are there hobbies we should avoid?”

Yes. For starters, we’d say, anything that feels rigid -- too much like a “should” than a “want to.” It’s important to stay active and engaged, but if we start to feel bad or guilty if we aren’t that excited about knitting anymore or gratitude journaling - don’t do it.

A word about screens. By all means, yes, enjoy those occasional Netflix and video game binges, but remember that screen time is best in moderation. Mindlessly scrolling on social media or in front of even great TV isn’t ideal for our mental health.

Nutrition and fitness, in particular, can be slippery slopes. Of course, we want to eat healthy food and move our bodies so we don’t become too sedentary. But, we also don’t want ‘health’ hobbies to become yet another stressor. If we don’t run 30 miles a week, or drink our 80 oz. of water each day, it’s ok. In fact, as therapists, some of whom work with individuals who struggle with disordered eating, we were troubled by the narrative out there that quarantine was the ideal time to get fit, lose weight, become their “best selves,” etc.

We want you to find pastimes that make you feel mentally and physically good, but not put undue pressure on yourselves, particularly during a really stressful time when we may also be feeling isolated and worried.

Here are some of the hobbies WE picked up during quarantine!

Susan Silver

A lot of hiking, tennis, and reading! I find I’m exercising more to compensate for my decreased movement going from place to place for errands and appointments. It’s important to focus on activities that make me feel good. With all the sacrifices required of us in this pandemic, hobbies should feel energizing or engrossing, not something to cross off a list.

Sophia Burke

I picked up drawing and watercolors again. I don’t particularly have talent, but I do love the process! I find it to be so meditative and time just flies when I’m engaged. Also, right before lockdown, I bought myself a little drone. I have really enjoyed flying it around and making short films. And, flying it was a great distraction because I had to be SO focused on not crashing it into a tree!

Allison Lobel

My daughters shared their love of craft with me--inspired me to try cross-stitching, great for that particular type of relaxation that comes from repetition. Fitness has always been important to me, so I quickly sought out ways to do that from home; In my case, virtual group-workout classes. I found I was connecting to others even if only through a screen. We have to remember that movement is great not just for our physical health, but our mental health and cognition, too. Which is not to say you have to ride your bike for 50 miles. Even just a walk around the block or jumping rope for a few minutes can release those endorphins.

With a COVID-19 vaccine released, and hopefully good news in the near future, we may not have to rely as heavily on our hobbies as we have the past several months. But, maintaining a bank of pastimes is a nice way to remember to slow down and mix things up from time to time -- to keep ourselves learning, relaxing, and experiencing new things.

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