Nicole Rea, MA, LSW

Beginning a journey toward greater self-discovery can be daunting. The paths we walk towards authenticity are complex and non-linear. To be successful in this endeavor, it is crucial to feel understood and valued along the way—to have someone walk with us who supports the whole of who we are as we encounter parts of ourselves that we have hidden or marginalized.

To this end, I provide a person-centered therapeutic relationship characterized by radical validation and unconditional positive regard, so that you can feel safe, seen, and supported on your voyage. I approach the therapeutic relationship in a collaborative way, focusing on your strengths, helping you to deepen agency, accountability, and self-awareness, and emphasizing compassion and empathy throughout treatment. I also pay particular attention to clients' concrete needs, as well as the impact of various forms of oppression, including sexism, racism, classism, and homophobia, and specialize in helping clients of diverse identities get to know themselves better so that they can encounter new and challenging experiences in a way that feels congruent and meaningful.

Using integrated principles from trauma-informed CBT, mindfulness practice, feminist relational theory, motivational interviewing, harm reduction, and other modalities as appropriate, we will work together in session so that your emotions, relationships, body, and lived experiences can help illuminate the way forward. While you might struggle to cope with, comprehend, and/or integrate the full message of these experiences on your own, I am here to help guide you in your exploration and discovery toward becoming your most authentic self.

I hold a Master's degree in Social Work and a Master's degree in the Humanities with a focus on Gender and Sexuality Studies/Transgender Identity, both from the University of Chicago. I have been trained and certified in Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS), Trauma Focused CBT (TF-CBT), and am 40-hr Sexual Assault Training certified by the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault (ICASA) and Resilience (formerly Rape Victim Advocates). I have experience working with substance abuse, trauma, relationships (both monogamous and non-monogamous), and issues faced specifically by LGBTQ+ individuals and couples, spanning Northwestern University's Student Health Center, Rape Victim Advocates, and Howard Brown Health Center, as well as extensive crisis counseling experience in a variety of Emergency Rooms across the Chicago area. I’m also the mother of a 7 year old son, and in my free time, we enjoy going to the beach, visiting museums, having spontaneous dance parties, and watching movies.

Specialties and Clinical Interests Include:

· Adolescents, Young Adults, and Families

· Anxiety & Depression

· Codependency

· Gay/Lesbian/Queer Couples

· Grief and Loss

· Individual Adults and Couples

· Kink

· LGBTQ+ Affirmative Practice

· Life Transitions

· Mindfulness Skills

· Parenting & Work/Life Balance Issues

· Polyamory/Non-Monogamy

· Relationship Issues

· Self Esteem

· Sexuality

· Stress Management

· Substance Abuse (alcohol and other drugs)

· Transgender Identity

· Trauma & PTSD

· Women’s Issues

“It is impossible for you to go on as you were before, so you must go on as you never have.” Cheryl Strayed