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“Lake Shore Counseling Keeps Focus on the Positive”

Success: Profiles of North Shore Businesses, page 44 | July 22, 1999

Diane Ofarim and Monica Garcia are two licensed psychotherapists who own and operate Lake Shore Counseling Center. Their offices at 1007 Church St., Suite 415, in downtown Evanston provide a comfortable environment for their clients.

Both women have an extensive background in post-graduate training and complement each other with their similar style and approach to working with their clients. They are quick to assess the needs of their clients and those of their family support system as well.

“I came to the North Shore after doing probation work on the West Side of Chicago,” said Ofarim. “I very specifically wanted to reach people of all backgrounds regardless of their ability to pay.”

As counselors, they are able to quickly isolate and identify what issues went on in the past, what is going on now and how this will affect the future. Often, people shy away from therapy because of negative feelings. Their approach is a positive one, which enables a person to help himself, not to repeat cycles. This makes for a high success rate. When working with families, Garcia says, “it’s hard to give to your children what you didn’t get yourself. We try to use the pain of the past to give them hope and love for the future.”

Another area of expertise for these therapists is helping interracial and inter-religious relationships. They can help people understand what dynamics are going on and how to bring families together. They also work with premarital counseling, step-family issues, eating disorders, compulsive behaviors and depression.

Garcia went on to explain how important it is to express your feelings outwardly and make the connection between what is going on in our mind and how it affects our body. “If we all get counseling, we become more physically fit,” she said.

Each year, Ofarim and Garcia make a point of donating a piece of equipment to a child care facility. They also offer their time, working with organizations that deal with helping families get their lives back together.This is often done as a pro bono service or on a sliding scale fee. Speaking to groups or organizations on various issues is another way they give back to the community.

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