Therapist tackles issues for teens, married couples
Paulette Janushas worked as a therapist in a group practice that specialized in children and teens, at Mt. Sinai Hospital's outpatient child and adolescent behavioral health program and Catholic Charities as an adoption preservation therapist. | Jackie Pi
Paulette Janus, LCSW
1159 Wilmette Ave.
Updated: February 21, 2013 10:38AM
WILMETTE — Paulette Janus said she’s usually smiling on her way home from work.
The reason? The 35-year-old therapist and mediator said she doesn’t focus on the sometimes difficult things she hears from her patients, but rather on how great a session might have been, where a patient opened up.
“Every session is a step toward healing,’ said Janus, a licensed clinical social worker who holds a B.A. in psychology from Northwestern University and a master’s degree in social work from the University of Chicago. “Getting someone in the door is an achievement. Getting them to talk is an achievement. Getting them to come back is an achievement, and even when it gets emotional and difficult in the tough sessions, the fact that the person is getting it out is a step toward success.”
Janus said she was in fifth grade when she realized the mind body connection, and how our outlook on life impacts our happiness, our relationships and our physical health.
“My friend’s mom had cancer and she always had this positive outlook, always had her wig on and her makeup on, and she lived much longer than she was expected to,” said Janus, “I took that with me and when I went to college and started studying psychology. That story always made me think about the way we process things and how our emotional state drives everything else in our lives.”
Janus has worked as a therapist in many capacities, including a group practice that specialized in children and teens, at Mt. Sinai Hospital in the outpatient child and adolescent behavioral health program and at Catholic Charities as an adoption preservation therapist. A year ago, she decided to start her own private practice, with offices in Chicago and Wilmette.
Her patients are teens and children who have anxiety due to a difficulty transitioning into junior high school or high school, social issues, or feelings of being bullied and or excluded, all conditions that can lead to depression.
“A lot of parents will tell me they’re not sure if their child will agree to therapy, and if the child does, they won’t engage. I tell parents, ‘If you can get them here, once they are here it’s my job to get them talking,’” Janus said, “I typically find one of two things. They either spill everything and they are relieved to be getting help, or it takes awhile to get them engaged and ease their fear of therapy, which I think I’m skilled at.”
In addition to treating adolescents and children, Janus also sees patients for marital therapy, mediation and collaborative divorce, areas she finds very rewarding.
“The biggest issues I see with married couples are communication issues and parenting expectations,” she said, “People think that the goal of communication is to change the other person, and I try to help them realize that communication is about expressing ourselves and feeling like we are being heard.”
Janus said patients can truly benefit from couples therapy because talking to a neutral person is a safe space and allows freedom of expression for the underlying issues going on.