Live Oak, Inc.

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“Live Oak is a group of psychotherapists and consultants who provide counseling and educational services that enhance the emotional and psychological well being of individuals, families, organizations and communities. We bring to our work decades of experience in clinical practice. Our longevity and success derive from the inspirational courage of our clients, our deep commitment to learning, and a strength-based philosophy that fosters growth, strengthens identity, and promotes real and lasting change”

Organization Contact Information:

Website: www.liveoakchicago.com | Phone: 773-880-1310 | Practice Locations: 1300 W. Belmont Avenue, Suite 400, Chicago, IL 60657 & 30 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 508, Chicago, IL 60602

Organization Practice Information

About Live Oak, Inc.

Live Oak was founded eight years ago because of a connection made between our co-founders (Jeff Levy, LCSW and Bruce Koff, LCSW—each with over 30 years of experience) who were sharing a client who was a survivor of sexual violence. Over the years, Live Oak has offered over 25 groups for male and female survivors of sexual violence and/or childhood sexual trauma. Our staff have extensive experience in trauma-informed practice and one of our co-founders, Jeff Levy, has taught an advanced course on violence and trauma at The University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration for the past twelve years. In addition to his teaching, Jeff has provided hundreds of workshops to local, state, and national organizations around issues related to trauma and sexual violence in particular. He has also published articles in this area.

One of our particular areas of expertise is working with LGBTQ survivors of sexual violence and we have provided training for other community professionals specifically on the issues unique to this population. We were one of the participating organizations in creating a post-graduate certificate program in affirmative practice with LGBTQ individuals and their families. We continue to provide on-going training to graduate interns in social work and counseling and offer a post-graduate fellowship to clinicians interested in further honing their practice.

Consistent through the diverse backgrounds and experience levels of Live Oak staff, is strength-based philosophy that fosters growth, strengthens identity, and promotes real and lasting change. The work of all Live Oak clinicians is based on the following principles:

  • We recognize the uniqueness of each individual.
  • We are goal-oriented.
  • We employ a strength-based approach that begins by respecting the courage it takes to attempt change.
  • We recognize that real and lasting change requires action.
  • We are systems-oriented.
  • We establish a partnership based on mutual accountability and trust.
  • We recognize the harm that comes from discrimination and stigma, and therefore practice psychotherapy, consultation, and training that affirms the value of difference.

Treatment Modalities

Live Oak offers individual, couples, family and group psychotherapy. Our staff includes credentialed alternative therapists (art, yoga, recreation, music) as well as creative minded individuals who integrate this skill set into their work. All of us work from a trauma-informed approach, integrating the most current research in neuroscience and emphasizing the connection between body, mind, and brain. One of our skills based groups, Becoming Safely Embodied, focuses on identifying the impact of trauma on the body and teaches skills to notice bodily responses and engage in practices that invite mindfulness and presence for participants.

Our clinical and educational practice is not limited to a “one-size-fits-all” approach. Rather, we incorporate various perspectives including systems theory, mind/body therapies, group therapy, cognitive-behavioral treatment, and expressive, developmental, psychodynamic and psycho-educational therapies.

In addition, we believe that everyone carries with them survival strategies that have served in the past, but may not be productive in the present. Part of our work involves identifying and understanding past survival strategies-how and why they came to exist. In valuing them, we can then support change; letting go of old strategies that no longer serve us while simultaneously strengthening or developing those strategies that bring more of what we seek into our lives.

We also recognize that each person may need to balance many complex, intersecting and overlapping identities at any one time (e.g. man, daughter, employee, Latino, Catholic), a feat that may at times be quite challenging. Our approach is to understand how these identities provide strength as well as vulnerability-for individuals, couples, and families.

We attend to not just what is happening within each individual, but what is happening between the individual and the other arenas or systems in life, such as family, community, friends, and workplace. No person, couple, or family can be fully understood without acknowledging how these forces influence our daily life.

Modifications for Survivors

Trust and safety form the foundation of our work. We understand that confronting the trauma of sexual abuse is frightening, so we strive to ensure that an individualized sense of both physical and emotional safety is established. Modification of certain aspects of treatment can occur to facilitate this goal.

We have modified “traditional” psychotherapeutic work to include extended sessions, abbreviated sessions, sessions in alternative locations (for example on the lake, in a client’s home, or while walking in the neighborhood). Our primary goal in doing work with survivors of sexual violence is to first establish safety. We are committed to achieving this in a manner that is consistent with a client’s stated needs.

Additional Expertise

We came into existence because of roots in two significant communities: child welfare/youth services and the LGBT community. We have extensive experience working with young people who have been in substitute placements because of experiences of abuse, neglect, and sexual violence. Our work within the LGBTQ community is based on the belief that the very nature of holding a marginalized identity constitutes in itself, a form of insidious trauma. When sexual violence is layered on to other marginalized identities, its impact is compounded.

Over the years, we have expanded our focus to work with young people experiencing life transitions, and individuals impacted by HIV/AIDS.

Payment Options

Live Oak staff members have a diverse range of experience allowing us to offer sliding scale services that start at $25. Many of our staff also accept Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO and are Out of Network Providers for other insurance companies.

Learn more about Live Oak and their care for survivors of sexual violence in this interview with Jeff Levy, one of Live Oak’s co-founders: Trauma Informed Care for LGBTQ Survivors of Sexual Violence.

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