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Meet Joyce Marter of Urban Balance

Today we’d like to introduce you to Joyce Marter.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
As a therapist in private practice, I recognized the need for an insurance-friendly counseling practice in Chicago that would make therapy accessible and affordable. In 2004, Urban Balance was founded with the mission of providing in-network counseling services to individuals, couples and families dealing with issues related to stress, mental health, addiction, career and relationships. Urban Balance aims to de-stigmatize mental health issues as a normal aspect of the human condition and promote therapy as a routine part of health and wellness. We hire therapists who are well-trained, talented and experienced, but also kind, compassionate and relatable.

Today, Urban Balance has 7 locations in Chicago and one in St. Louis. We will be opening a new location in Hinsdale this August. We now have over 100 therapists on staff, who specialize in various areas of expertise. We conduct nearly 5,000 sessions per month and continue to grow and expand our services. We love to collaborate with other health and wellness providers and advocate for mental health awareness.

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?
Urban Balance definitely had struggles along the way. As we grew, we ran into cash flow problems. The larger we got, the more money we had outstanding from insurance companies. This pain-point led to seeking business and financial consultation that helped us secure better banking and improve our systems and processes. This was a wonderful lesson in humility and in the great importance of seeking counsel from a diverse group of advisors. The success of Urban Balance is attributed to countless people including our leadership staff, advisors, vendors and clinical staff. As the business grows and develops, new challenges present themselves and are opportunities for collaboration, problem-solving and resiliency.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Urban Balance story. Tell us more about the business.
Urban Balance specializes in outpatient mental health counseling individuals, couples and families dealing with a variety of issues related to mental health, addiction, career and relationships. We are one of the largest private practices in the Chicago area and in the country. We have been honored to have been featured in such publications as Crain’s Chicago Business (CEO Joyce Marter was named in the “40 Under 40” List of 2010), the Wallstreet Journal and U.S. News and World Report.

We are known to be insurance-friendly. Many therapists in the Chicago area charge $150+ per session out-of-pocket or are only in-network with Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Illinois, because they are one of the higher reimburses. Urban Balance is in-network with most insurance plans, which makes therapy accessible and affordable for most. Copays typically range from $15-$40 per session. We also offer sliding-fee services as low as $75 per session with a seasoned therapist or as low as $25 per session with a supervised clinical intern from a premier training program. We are proud of our excellent customer care and billing services.

We are most proud of our clinical staff. They contribute to the greater good of our community by de-stigmatizing mental health issues and helping thousands of clients per year achieve happiness personally and professionally. As a company, we promote healthy work/life balance for staff and clients.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
One might say we have had good luck with timing of opening and developing an online presence when the market was ripe for an insurance-friendly counseling practice. We have also had good fortune meeting the right people (therapists, consultants, vendors) at the right time, but I view this more as synchronicity than luck. All things that have happened, both good and bad, have led us to exactly where we needed to be at this point in time. For example, I am grateful to a former boss who wouldn’t promote me. This appeared to be bad news at the time, but if this had not happened I may have never started Urban Balance…


  • We honor the in-network insurance rates, which range from $60-$150 per session (co-pays are typically $15-$40 per session)
  • Urban Balance offers sliding fee services as low as $75 per session with an experienced clinician
  • We offer sliding fee services as low as $25 per session with a supervised, clinical intern from a premier training program,

Contact Info:

  • Address: Urban Balance
    180 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 410
    Chicago, Illinois 60601
  • Website:
  • Phone: 888-726-7170
  • Email:

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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