Cira Center for Behavioral Health (CCBH) is a small group practice that has a team of licensed and unlicensed doctoral level therapists. We have locations in Chicago’s Loop and Oak Park. Therapy is based on research and science, both of which are incredibly important, but at CCBH, we believe that nothing is more important than feeling heard and understood without any judgment. When a strong, supportive relationship is combined with direct feedback and skill building, people change and lives improve. We primarily work with adults who are struggling with major life changes (divorce, starting a family, etc), stress, relationship difficulties, anxiety, depression, anger, self-esteem and trauma.
Cira Center also focuses on women’s health (perinatal and postpartum depression/anxiety, relationship difficulties, eating disorders and/or disordered eating, body image struggles, etc) and trauma. Trauma includes things that you would typically think of as trauma (war veterans, car accidents, rape, physical assault, etc) as well as difficult childhoods that may have included: physical, sexual, verbal and/or emotional abuse; divorce/separation; a caretaker who struggled with their own physical/mental illness; a caretaker who suffered from addiction, etc.
What makes us unique?
We are Relational
“You’re imperfect and you’re wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.” – Brené Brown
Sometimes going to a therapist can feel like talking to someone who’s got it all together. At first, it can feel good to be in someone’s presence who is like that, but eventually the other’s perceived perfection just winds up making us feel bad about ourselves. Well, I’m going to let you in on a secret… you ready? The therapists here at CCBH…? We’re imperfect humans too who are also wired for struggle. This is obvious but bears being really explicit about it because walking into a doctor’s office doesn’t always generate a feeling of humanness. Many of us are trauma survivors ourselves. We choose CCBH because it’s a place where we can be our messy, human selves without worrying too much about appearing perfect or “professional” all the time. We are profoundly affected by you– not completely objective blank slate. We come to know you and deeply care about you– not forget about you the moment you walk out the door. We think about our therapy with you as a real relationship that we put our souls into– not just a service we provide. And because we are aware of our own struggles AND our worthiness, we think and feel the same for you.
We are Strength-Based
“Only by learning to live in harmony with your contradictions can you keep it all afloat.” – Audre Lorde
One of our problems with the field of psychology is how negative it can skew – all stigma, symptoms and problems. And those things – depression, anxiety, trauma, shame, relational struggles, self-hatred, substance abuse, etc. – these are often the reasons people seek out treatment in the first place, and they are very real. AND… we believe everyone acts, thinks and feels for a REASON. At some point in your life, this problem that you’re seeking treatment for has served you. It helped you. I’m sure it’s crazy to think about that way and it’s also true. Things that feel like contradictions and multiple truths are really hard for our brains and bodies to sit with, but it doesn’t make them any less true. At CCBH, we want to help you see your strengths and that they exist even where it seems like there are only flaws.
We are Intersectional Feminists
“Patriarchy is an escape room and it doesn’t matter who your character is, we’re all just trying to get out.” – Alok
We recognize that people may have a lot of negative connotations to this word, so let us just be very clear about what we mean: Intersectional feminism is about noticing, naming and breaking free of the cages that patriarchy and misogyny housed us in. Intersectional feminism is the fight for ALL to be fully human. We recognize that traditional white feminism has played a significant role in keeping women of color and LGBTQIA+ folks marginalized, and we we work to fight for ALL women and to be inclusive in our efforts to dismantle patriarchy/white supremacy. When you boil it down, intersectional feminism is simply unconditional love. No labels to separate us. Pushing against the cultural constraints that are intended to get in the way of our support of one another. Knowing that our individual liberation is connected to our *collective* liberation. None of us are free until ALL of us are free. We believe women are incredible and can make a profound difference in this world when the limitations we’ve struggled with are mitigated or removed. It’s that simple… and complicated. Let us at CCBH help carry and understand your burden so someday you don’t have to and can move on to your real purpose.
We are striving to become Antiracist
“When liberal whites fail to understand how they can and/or do embody white supremacist values and beliefs even though they may not embrace racism as prejudice or domination (specifically domination that involves coercive control), they cannot recognize the ways their actions support and affirm the very structure of racist domination and oppression that they wish to see eradicated.”- bell hooks
The quote above by bell hooks? That was CCBH a while ago. A white, liberal team being loud on social media about the evils of racism, but not actually doing anything to dismantle white supremacy. Not because we didn’t want to, but because we failed to understand WE are part of the problem. Unfortunately, it took the murder of George Floyd to wake us up to this unpleasant, but not less true reality. You can read the details of our Antiracist agenda in our “Dismantling Systems of Oppression” tab, but for now, know this: at CCBH, we understand that anyone who has grown up in America (and many other countries as well) has been surrounded by racism and white supremacy. We at CCBH realize that white supremacy is simply baked into who we all are because of the world we live in, especially those of us who are white. Every single member of this Team has taken a pledge to educate themselves about racism and white supremacy, help each other on our antiracist journeys, and identify, excavate and dismantle white privilege and white supremacy within ourselves, this Team, and in our communities. We know that simply saying these words doesn’t make us antiracism and that this statement is fairly meaningless unless our daily, long-term behavior aligns with our words. So our promise to YOU, our clients, this Team and the world in general is that we strive Every Single Day, for the rest of our lives, to live up to these words and be the people, therapists, and organization that we strive to be.
We are Culturally Humble
“If our goal is to be tolerant of people who are different than we are, then we are aiming quite low. Traffic jams are to be tolerated. People are to be celebrated.” – Glennon Doyle
We are not blind to the effect that someone’s race, cultural background, sexual orientation, religion, etc., can have on them. In fact, we know these things can profoundly impact the experiences that one has, how one perceives the world, how the world perceives and TREATS someone, and, therefore, what one thinks about themselves. When we sit with our clients, we recognize that no one lives in a bubble, that everyone is affected by the systems they are surrounded by and MANY of our clients face racism and/or marginalization and or/oppression of some kind. At CCBH we understand that we need to educate ourselves, not rely on our clients, to learn about different cultures and cutural variables. To do this, we engage in a multitude of trainings, readings, and presentations both in-house and with external presenters/consultants, all while knowing fully well that every individual is unique and there are often more WITHIN goup differences than not. The clients we serve vary tremendously by every demographic, and we are committed to providing treatment that is not only effective but incredibly sensitive to all the cultural variables that make you, YOU.
The Therapeutic Path:
Heal: Deal with the past/current limitations/barriers to who you want to be – the pain that is keeping you from the life that you want to lead. The only way to get over it is to go through it.
Strengthen: “The world breaks everyone and afterward, some are stronger at the broken place” – Ernest Hemingway. The process of healing makes us stronger. Instead of banishing parts of ourselves or our life story, we can learn to use these aspects of ourselves to get stronger and wiser…closer to who we want to be.
Empower: Having healed from our wounds and made stronger as a result, we can go into the world more confident about who we are. We can more fully be our authentic selves because we genuinely love who we are so it becomes easier to accept the path that led us there.
These concepts are not linear and most of the time they do not proceed in an orderly fashion. But they are the essential components of therapy that we will work our way through.