Tovah Means

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“Tovah Means, MS, LMFT is a relational, systemic therapist who has a passion for helping clients experience vitality and joy in both their relationships and lives. Tovah received her Master’s of Marriage and Family Therapy from The Family Institute at Northwestern University and is uniquely trained to work with individuals, couples, and those recovering from trauma. Tovah uses her knowledge of attachment, family of origin relationships, mindfulness, trauma theory, and culture to help her clients navigate complex issues.”

Contact Information:

Email: tovah@watchhilltherapy.com | Website: www.watchhilltherapy.com | Phone: 312-725-6136 | Practice Location: 25 E. Washington, Chicago, Illinois, 60602

Practice Information

About Tovah Means, MS, LMFT

Tovah Means, MS, LMFT is a relational, systemic therapist who has a passion for helping clients experience vitality and joy in both their relationships and lives. Tovah received her Master’s of Marriage and Family Therapy from The Family Institute at Northwestern University and is uniquely trained to work with individuals, couples, and those recovering from trauma. Tovah uses her knowledge of attachment, family of origin relationships, mindfulness, trauma theory, and culture to help her clients navigate complex issues.

Experience

I have worked with survivors in both private practice and residential settings for the last 5 years. I am the owner of a private practice in downtown Chicago, Watch Hill Therapy, that specializes in the treatment of trauma. I am also a post-graduate fellow at Womencare Counseling Centers, a practice that specializes in the Relational Treatment of trauma.

My Interest in Working with Survivors of Sexual Violence

I have had a passion for working with individuals who experience such deep pain, but who also have the most amazing resiliency ability to repair what was harmed. I also have a particular interest in understanding trauma as it happens to people all over the world. I lived in Ghana while in college and have traveled to some very poor and traumatized regions in the United States and the world. I have found so much meaning in this work.

Treatment Modality

I am trained in Systems Theory and so look at things contextually and holistically. I have unique training in the Feminist Relational model for treating complex trauma. I use concepts from mindfulness, interpersonal neurobiology, plasticity, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and Internal Family Systems. I am also trained in EMDR.

I use these various modalities as tools to address the inevitable consequences of traumatic experience — affective dysregulation, distress intolerance, flooding, dissociation, hyper-arousal, etc. I also continue to learn about the most up to date research on trauma. In particular, implicit memory, plasticity, mindfulness, and non-narrative/somatic treatments. Trauma is a disorder of the mind, body, and emotions and so I try to utilize not only the therapeutic relationship and talk therapy, but interventions and modalities that can address the trauma on a body/affective level as well.

Modifications for Survivors

I stick with the Tri-phasic model, which was developed by Judith Herman and is described in her book Trauma & Recovery. The three stages that she lays out, Safety & Stabilization, Trauma Processing, and Reintegration, are my guide in treatment. I begin by slowly building an alliance and attending to issues of safety and stabilization, pacing with the client, and checking in with them about how they feel both in treatment and also within their minds/bodies. If we progress to the next phase, I continually go back to issues of safety and stabilization throughout the treatment. I also establish a therapeutic contract at the beginning of the treatment that we can refer back to as a guide in treatment.

Payment Options

I am able to offer sliding-scale treatments.

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Read The Breathe Network’s interview with Tovah about her work, “Creating Safe Spaces for Healing Sexual Violence” here. You can also listen to her teleseminar, “Core Elements of Traumatic Response” in which she discusses the various ways in which people are impacted by trauma and effective interventions for holistic healing. 

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