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What is Addiction?

Introducing Laura A. Lauko, Psy D!

I’ve always seen myself as someone who liked to listen and watch more than to talk and do. I prefer to immerse myself in an experience and to understand through a process that can take time because of the many colors and textures that make the picture complete. When I listen to another person talk, I take in the details and paint the picture in my mind with the words they say.

When I listen to another person talk, the world around me falls away and I tend to lose track of time and place. My world becomes the speaker’s world and I naturally follow very closely as if I were experiencing the situation the person is describing. My naturally strong sense of empathy allows this to happen easily. Every now and then I realize where I am and what is happening around me and I put that aside and refocus on the speaker in order to continue painting my picture of their story.

My approach to therapy and working with clients comes from the framework of the Client-Centered perspective and uses a non-judgmental, positive attitude, and genuine interaction style. This means that I attempt to put myself in the client’s frame of mind as much as possible to meet them where they are in order to best understand them and what it is like to be in the situation they are describing to me. I believe in a holistic approach to providing therapy to clients, looking at all the possible angles and to consider ideas outside the usual box that psychology tends to use for therapy. I understand the need for balance and that it can be difficult to achieve given all the demands of modern day life. I seek to help clients find that balance and to take away barriers which hinder it.

Although I work with clients of all ages and presentations, working with children and families is my specialty. I believe children need space to be genuine in order to express themselves in a way that is most authentic to who they are. I have worked with many children, in many settings, where behavior management has been the focus of therapy. By working together with parents, family members, teachers, physicians, and any other party involved with the child’s wellbeing, I feel confident that addressing concerns in a holistic manner with less emphasis on diagnosis is the best approach to changing difficult behaviors. I specialize in Child-Centered Play Therapy which uses the principles of the Client-Centered framework, along with providing tools and skills for parents to implement at home in order to address difficult childhood behaviors.

I’ve experienced working with clients in many settings throughout my training years. They include a nursing home working with older adults with long term psychiatric conditions, adults and children in the community facing an array of everyday concerns, children in the Chicago Public School system, people in early stages of recovery from addiction in a rehabilitation setting, children and adults in an in-patient psychiatric hospital, and children, adults, and families in a community mental health clinic. While using the Client-Centered perspective in all of these settings, I have received feedback from many clients describing the freedom and warmth they feel from me in a way that allowed them to feel empowered, not only to talk freely about their particular concerns, but also in a way that helped them to gain insight and understanding of themselves at their own pace without feeling pressured to tell me what I wanted to hear or to impress the expert with their progress. While I hope progress is made with every one of my clients, it is my first intention to provide an environment of non-judgement and warmth as well as to share my genuine experience in order to promote growth and change in those seeking therapy services from me.