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Meet Jennifer Panning of Mindful Psychology Associates in Evanston and Streeterville

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jennifer Panning.

Jennifer, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I was always the kid who was fascinated by human behavior and also a ‘do-gooder,’ so pursuing a career as a psychologist was a natural fit. I graduated with my doctoral degree in 2003 and became a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in 2004 — the same year, I established my psychotherapy private practice in downtown Evanston. For years, I enjoyed the independence, flexibility, and entrepreneurship of building a practice, mainly working with Northwestern University students. In 2014, I realized a few things — I was heading towards burnout from seeing too many clients plus I was at a point where I was getting too many referrals, and often sent these out to trusted colleagues. It made sense then to expand my practice and in 2015, I hired my first associate. Now, there are 8 therapists and we have expanded into providing psychological assessment and testing services, and in October 2017 opened an additional office location in the Streeterville neighborhood in downtown Chicago.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
My training as a Doctor of Clinical Psychology (PsyD) was excellent clinical training, but did not prepare me to address the business aspect of managing a practice! My biggest struggle has been how to address the challenges of starting and expanding a business without any formal business training. Thankfully, I’ve had mentors along the way who have helped me ‘learn the ropes’, and continue to utilize support which has been invaluable as I learn more about the challenges of managing an expanding business. I hired a billing specialist who does all of the insurance verification and client invoicing, a marketing specialist, accountant, and admin support. I also have several groups of small practice owners whose support has been invaluable as we inevitably face similar challenges and can share in supporting one another and also share our mistakes or learning. I am a ‘big picture’ thinker and visionary but can struggle with the day-to-day tasks of the running the business. I am committed to maintaining a warm, collegial atmosphere for my clinicians and often question how much I’d like to continue to expand as it has been a busy past three years! I also struggle with the inevitable ‘life/work balance’ issue and often grapple with how to juggle multiple roles such as being a practice owner, psychologist to my own clients, and parent to elementary school-aged children. I’m human and have made mistakes along the way of this journey but hope I’ve learned from most of them!

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Mindful Psychology Associates is a small group practice of eight therapists serving the Evanston, North Shore, and downtown communities. We provide psychotherapy and psychological assessment/testing services from ages 3 – older adults. Each therapist has their own specialty areas and we pride ourselves on our ability to address the most common concerns that individuals seek psychological treatment for (depression, anxiety, relationship issues, trauma, eating disorders, LGBTQ+). We are in-network with several insurance companies and will also help our clients coordinate insurance benefits as out of network providers. I am personally most proud of our wonderful team… being in private practice can be isolating and it has been a game-changer to have built an amazing clinical team. We support each other and also fill in for one another when the need arises, such as one of our clinicians recently came back from a maternity leave and several of us saw her clients during her leave. I think that each of us is hard working, ethical, solid clinicians, but I also genuinely like everyone and feel that we have a great energy as a group. I am grateful for how well we work together! I am also proud of our office space, which we moved into about a year ago. Working in a beautiful, relaxing space is healing for us as well as our clients who enjoy the space. And I’m immensely proud of being able to expand our services to reach more individuals wanting our help. Evanston is very ‘therapy friendly’, but for many, the stigma still exists, so I hope to continue marketing psychotherapy as accessible and a healthy part of maintaining our whole body/mind.

What do you like best about our city? What do you like least about our city?
I love the lakefront and feel very lucky that our main office is a short walk from Evanston’s walking path and lake. There is nothing better after a long day at work than taking a relaxing walk and sitting on the rocks to help clear my mind! I also love the many restaurants and cultural opportunities both on the North Shore as well as the city! I think what I like least about the city is the lack of open air and space. I am a fan of visiting Wisconsin or Michigan when I feel the need to feel more spaciousness and greenery, and especially to view a full nighttime sky of stars. I am a huge fan of warm weather so the climate here is a bit challenging in the winter months!


  • Initial Assessment $185
  • Individual Psychotherapy $165

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Jill Norton Photography

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