Eric OrnsteinTreatment Specialties and Clinical Interests: I believe people can change when they participate in a relationship with an active, engaged, and responsive therapist. Clients experiencing conflict or distress often find that my approach, built on consistent, empathic listening and compassionate support, helps them identify options and prioritize goals on the path to relief from their pain.  

My methods have been informed and honed through years of clinical experience, as well as time spent providing classroom instruction, clinical supervision, and continuing education to fellow social workers. I have also been privileged to serve as President of the Illinois Society for Clinical Social Work, where my years of leadership have uniquely enabled me to keep tabs on the cutting edge of developments in treatment and practice.

While those recent projects have been in the areas of education and professional development, these commitments have only reinforced my passion for the most important keystone at the core of our profession: working directly to help people, face to face. 

I have years of experience as a clinical social worker in inpatient, outpatient, and family service settings. I enjoy working with a wide variety of clients, including individuals, couples, families, and groups. 

People I work with often struggle with issues that include depression, anxiety, trauma, relationship challenges, and life transitions. By providing my clients a safer space where we can together explore difficulties, we are best equipped to identify unconscious patterns and develop action plans for improvement.=

I look forward to offering a healing connection that meets your needs and works for you. 

Clinical Approach: Over a long career, I have come to appreciate the role therapy can play in gaining control of our lives and building healthier relationships. This process is marked by a number of key steps, which include: identifying your strengths, finding new coping mechanisms, and bolstering your resilience. Central to each of these steps is developing self awareness: the transformation of automatic behaviors into conscious, deliberate choices. A solid foundation for that self awareness is created by the supportive relationships I strive to build with my clients. 

My methods also place special emphasis on psychodynamic relational concepts, a framework my published articles were at the forefront of first integrating into the field of social work. I passionately believe in this approach, which encourages therapists to connect more authentically with our clients in order to forge a stronger therapeutic relationship—empowering you to make significant and lasting changes in your life.

Education: I earned my master’s degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Chicago, as well as a bachelor’s degree (with distinction) in Social Work from Cornell University. 

I served on the faculty of the Jane Addams College of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Chicago as a Clinical Associate Professor for nineteen years, prior to retiring from this role in 2011. In recent years, I have since taught social work practice, psychopathology and group therapy courses at the University of Chicago, The Institute for Clinical Social Work, and St. Augustine College.

Personal Interests: Beyond my involvement in the world of social work, I enjoy a wide variety of music: from folk to classic rock to Broadway, although my lifelong status as a proud Grateful “Deadhead” tops the list. I enjoy long walks with my wife—a fellow clinical social worker—and catching up with my son who teaches me all I need to know about computers, technology, and Apple products.

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