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Meet Angela Ceisel, Psy.D. of Brighter Pathways in Northbrook

Today we’d like to introduce you to Angela Ceisel, Psy.D.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My adventure with Brighter Pathways, LLC started in 2015. At first, I was on my own as a clinical psychologist, but over the last few years we have grown to a team of six therapists plus a canine co-therapist, Dr. Brinkley. I wanted to create something special.

A place where patients felt at ease and comfort to confide in their therapist, a place where patients can find sanctuary and peace. I’ve experienced so many different practice settings where this isn’t the case. They feel like a medical office, or chaotic, or tense. We strive to make the patient experience a priority.

I wanted to create a place where people felt at home and a part of a familial atmosphere. For so many, seeking treatment is an awkward and nerve-wrecking experience. You are asked to talk to a stranger about the most intimate details of your life and struggles.

When you walk into our practice, I want you to feel comfortable and at ease. From our décor, to Dr. Brinkley, to waiting room seating, to office arrangements, to how our therapists run a session, we keep the patient experience in mind. Their comfort is a priority. I can’t tell you how many times we hear from patients and their family members how relaxed and at home they feel when entering our practice. That means the world to me.

To be honest, I never thought I would end up in private practice, let alone running a group practice. I wanted to work in the community and help as many people as possible.

I also wanted to teach and coach other clinicians trying to hone their talents. With Brighter Pathways, I am fortunate in that I get to do both. I work directly with patients from a variety of backgrounds and supervise several inspiring clinicians.

Has it been a smooth road?
Is it ever a smooth road for anyone? We’ve had our fair share of obstacles, just like anyone else. Most challenges I have truly enjoyed encountering, overcoming, and learning from. As my business has grown, I have grown tremendous as a person.

An obstacle that I have not enjoyed is the implicit and explicit sexism I commonly face.

Whether it’s a derogatory remark veiled as a compliment, a condescending conversation where it is assumed I am not capable of handling business, being talked over because my input is not valuable, or someone asking me if I want to check with my husband first before making decisions about my business, I encounter it all the time. It’s annoying and disappointing. You’d think this wouldn’t still be an issue with so many successful women in business, but it is and it’s pervasive.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Brighter Pathways – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Brighter Pathways is a private group practice providing individual, family, and group therapy. We’re located in Northbrook and serve several surrounding communities.

As a company we are most proud of our team of clinicians. It’s our team that fosters the familial atmosphere which sets us apart from other practices.

Our business continues to grow and having compassionate, dedicated clinicians is what keeps us going. Our team is a made up of therapists that really know how to balance kindness and understanding with an ability challenge and coach patients to make the changes they desire in their lives. Their dedication to their patients doesn’t begin and end within each session; it goes way beyond that meeting. We believe that no one exists in a vacuum and your treatment shouldn’t just consist of individual, hour-long sessions.

Our clinicians take the time to reach out to your team (your physicians, psychiatrists, nutritionists, family members, teachers, case workers, etc.) and collaborate, educate, and at times, advocate for your needs. We take the time to create treatment plans that are truly individualized to you, treatment plans that are created and evaluated with you. This way you always know what you are working toward and your treatment plan isn’t mysterious or unknown, it makes sense to you. We encourage feedback and collaboration from every patient.

Our team is comprised of clinicians who all have their own unique talents. While they all value evidenced-based treatment techniques, each clinician has something else special to contribute.

Katelyn Hahn uses incredible creativity and play techniques to connect to children as young as four years old to address their struggles in a unique way. Megha Patel encourages her patients to challenge their own perspectives and coaches them to achieve their goals, no matter how difficult they may be to achieve. Jonathan Senderak takes an authentic approach and pushes his patients to think outside the box and problem-solve. Kathy Solk motivates her patients to stretch and expand their comfort zones to explore opportunities they previously thought to be impossible. Consiglia Intile offers an incredible amount of support and encouragement, offering reduced-fee services to those who can demonstrate financial need. And finally, our canine co-therapist, Dr. Brinkley, teaches people to be mindful and present focused. He encourages his patients to smile and practice scratching a dog’s neck just right (an important life skill, to be sure). Each member of the team contributes to and is truly a vital part of our success as a practice.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
What’s not to love about Chicago and Chicagoland? I love the diversity, the people, the architecture, the entertainment. There’s always something to do. I went to school for undergrad (DePaul University) and graduate school (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology). Going to school in this great city has afforded me so many opportunities in my career and life.

The only thing I can think of that is not so great is the blizzards. But truthfully, I’d never give up any of the seasons, not even winter. I love that things are always changing.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Wow! That’s a complicated question! Personally, my family and I have faced our fair share of bad luck and struggles: chronic illness, mental and emotional struggles, cancer, dementia, multiple sclerosis, financial upsets, unexpected losses… too much to wrap my head around sometimes.

However, I have truly learned from it all. All these seemingly awful experiences have informed my understanding of my patients’ lives, challenges and traumas. It has taught me unconditional empathy for others, unwavering patience, and how to focus on what’s good.

As for good luck… you should meet Dr. Brinkley. I was introduced to animal-assisted therapy during grad school. I waited and waited for a time I can explore this on my own.

I had planned to start with getting my dog, Tonka, certified. Unfortunately, Tonka passed away at only eight years old because of an aggressive cancer. So I waited some more. My family was distraught by the loss of Tonka and were stuck on a waiting list for another dog. The wait was proving to be too difficult so my mother started to look for a dog who was already available, no wait. She came across a couple of pups who had not been spoken for yet. She decided she should wait for their original pup, but jokingly told me I should get one of the two pups available. My heart jumped at the possibility and my husband and I decided to go for it. There was something about it that just seemed right, that it was time. When we applied, there was only one pup left and he was ours. I remember first walking in and meeting Brinks. My mother-in-law came with me for the road trip to pick him up. Brinks looked at my mother-in-law and smiled, wagged his tailed. But when he saw me, and I saw him, it was love at first sight. He looked at me as if to say “You!! You’re my mom! You’re my partner!” We were perfectly matched. He loves people and loves comforting them. He was born to be a therapy dog and proves it every day! Patients constantly fawn over him and express how amazing they think he is, how he makes them so happy, relaxed, and even joyful. We are so blessed to have him in our lives.

Contact Info:

  • Address: 350 Pfingsten Road, Suite 101
    Northbrook, Illinois 60062
  • Website: www.brighterpathwaysllc.com
  • Phone: (224)723-5772
  • Email: reception@brighterpathwaysllc.com

Getting in touch: VoyageChicago is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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