Hello friendly faces! It’s that time of the week! We’re back with a new CNSM Meet a Mom spotlight brought to you in part by Mary Gifford of Gifford Law. This week’s Meet a Mom interview is a reintroduction to a with Northbrook lifer, mom of two teens, and founder of Inspire Counseling Center, Lauren Schifferdecker.
We first heard from Lauren in January of 2020 just months before the pandemic shutdown. At the time, Inspire Counseling Center had one location in Northbrook with 20 employees. Lauren herself is inspiring…. Three years later she’s opened up two additional locations in Kenilworth and Lake Forest, doubled her staff, started a podcast, added psychiatry (medication) services, founded a small nonprofit dedicated to helping serving individuals without mental health insurance, added insurance providers to better serve the community and is looking to open up a fourth location in Evanston. Phew! Needless to say she’s been one busy bee and yes, she does have a few bad days. Read on to learn more about Inspire Counseling Center’s journey, services provided and a few tips from Lauren that she personally uses to keep herself grounded. Welcome back, Lauren!
Photo credit: Jeva Photography
Hi Lauren! Please reintroduce yourself. Where are you from originally? What city do you live in now? What brought you here?
Hi, I’m Lauren Schifferdecker! I grew up in Northbrook. I went to private schools until High School and then made a (tough at first, but later amazing) transition to Glenbrook North High School. Long story there, for another time! I’m now raising my family and business in Northbrook. We’re so happy here. My husband and I lived in the city for a number of years, but moved back for the amazing community, schools and easy parking!! 🙂
Tell us about your sweet big kids!
I have two kids at Northbrook Junior High. I still can’t believe they’re in Junior High or how fast time goes. Just like you, I’m incredibly proud of my kids. My son in 7th grade, plays tackle football, but is mostly obsessed with baseball. He plays just about year-round. He’s a gifted athlete with big dreams for his future. My daughter, in 6th grade, is on a competitive dance team and brings me so much joy when I see her shining on stage. She dances about 7-8 hours a week and works really hard. What I’m most proud of though, is for their character and how they both have overcome challenges. In this life, talents and dreams come and go, but what lasts is your character, and how you navigate the “tough stuff,” while remaining kind and true to
What are one or two fun facts to know about you?
I was on TLC’s Take Home Chef as a guest with Curtis Stone when I lived in the city. It was really fun and slightly embarrassing, but we made some of the best food I’ve ever had in my life.
I love to golf! Although I’m not great yet, I find it to be one of the most relaxing escapes in life. There is something magical out there on the beautiful, quiet course. I always thought it sounded so boring, but the ‘dad’s” are on to something!
What are your favorite North Shore local places to spend with the family?
The Shack Indoor Golf Club in Glenview is a really fun place with indoor golf simulators. Our kids have a lot of fun and it’s a great activity to get out of the house in these cold months. Landmark Bar & Grill – is not fancy, but one of our favorites for weekend lunches or early dinners with the family. It has a really family-friendly environment and great food! I’m obsessed with their chicken caesar wrap. We alo love Old Orchard Mall – no matter what the weather – this has turned into one of my favorite places to do a Mommy-Daughter date. We hit up Sephora, Lulu Lemon, Nordstroms and Auntie Anne’s. It’s a great activity to get out of the house and talk with my daughter.
Advice from a therapist: What gets you through a tough day?
We all have tough days. I’m no exception to that, even as a therapist! There are two types of “tough days” for me. One is when I feel overwhelmed with things to do. The other is just a bad mood type of day with a lot of feelings. I have different hacks that help me for each of those days. As moms today, it’s easy for any of us to feel overwhelmed with a million things to do. Between managing our kids’ activities, homework and appointments, work, volunteering, the house, personal appointments, exercise – any given day can feel like too much. When I feel overwhelmed – the first thing I do is make a list of what needs to get done with check boxes next to each thing. When you can get everything out of your head and onto paper (or notes in your phone, or an app), it helps to organize and prioritize the most important things that need to get done right away and what can wait till later. Plus, when you check the boxes as things get completed, your brain actually releases dopamine, which causes positive feelings like happiness,
pleasure and motivation.
One of my silly tricks is to start the list with something you’ve already done. Even if it’s a shower, getting the kids to school, or making coffee. When you start the list with a box checked, it instantly makes me feel some momentum and encouragement!
When I’m having a “bad mood” day, maybe feeling discouraged, anxious, sad, scared, mad – those are the worst days. Sometimes it makes no sense at all! Other times, things just get to me. On those days, there are a couple of things I use for myself (and clients) that help. The first is journaling. I know it’s sort of cliche, but when we write, we engage our brain in a different kind of way and it can help process emotions. When I journal, I break it into three parts: reflect on where my life is at the present moment (what time of year it is, the kids’ age, what’s going on in my life, etc) then I let myself vent and process what’s going on. Finally, I list a few things that are going well and things I’m grateful for. After journaling, if I’m still having a lot of feelings, I look to connect with someone safe that I trust. Whether it’s talking to my husband, a friend, my therapist or someone in my family–I connect with someone who will listen openly, without judgment and just help be along the ride with me. It’s amazing what a kind, listening ear can do.
Thank you for those tips! Please reintroduce Inspire Counseling Center. It’s been a while since we last highlighted you and we’d love to know how your business has changed since October of 2020.
We have been lucky to be so busy serving the community in the last couple of years! We opened more locations and added more services, including medication, EMDR, Spanish-speaking counseling, LGBTQIA+ services. We now have offices in Kenilworth, Lake Forest, and Northbrook and added a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (who is also a North Shore mom herself!) for psychiatric evaluations and medication. Today we have about 45-50 employees (and 1 therapy bunny, Trixie!) and are continuing to grow.
What hasn’t changed?
Our commitment to providing world-class service in beautiful offices at an affordable cost. In that effort, we have added more insurances to our network, including BlueCross BlueShield, UnitedHealthCare, Optum, Humana, Aetna and are working to accept Medicare too. What’s more, we started a small 501C3 non-profit group, “Inspire Change for Mental Health,” to help make services accessible for those who don’t have insurance. We will do all we can to serve the amazing kids, adolescents, adults, moms, parents and families in this community!
You’re starting a podcast – congratulations! Tell us more about what we can expect.
Yes! It’s called “She’s Not Crazy.” It’s on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Google Podcast and just about anything else. This is a fun, new adventure for me – building off my TEDx talk and my love of sharing information to help people (including myself)! I was lucky enough to meet an
incredible, seasoned producer who is directing this new podcast. All of them are in video format and audio. We’re just getting started so there’s only a handful of episodes now, with more on the way!
The passion behind this podcast is to tackle the pressure and anxiety we face today for being perfect. It’s exhausting. We’re all trying to be our best in parenting, relationships, marriage, friendships, family, volunteering, career, and – oh, and don’t forget- looking physically perfect. It’s enough to make anyone feel like you’re going crazy. My goal is to let you know you’re not crazy, I’m not crazy and “she’s not crazy.”
This podcast is a mix of quick pick-me-up tips. It also has longer (20 min) interview-style episodes. It’s a fresh approach for mental-health hacks, humor, and heartfelt stories and techniques that will inspire, educate and hopefully entertain you along the way! My first two interview episodes are with my husband John. In our home, we share some vulnerable, personal and emotional moments we learned in our own journey in couples therapy.
Each and every episode –short or long– is designed to help make sense of your mind, mood, anxiety and feelings with helpful, practical and new tips to help in your everyday life. We all deserve to tap into the power of feeling balanced and living life on YOUR own terms. When you
feel balanced and in control, everything in your life works better.
I will be looking for guests to interview!! If you have a story to share about how you have faced anxiety in today’s world, or how you have overcome challenges as a fellow “she” – please let me know!
What’s on the horizon for Inspire Counseling Center?
I hope to continue expanding to serve more communities on the North Shore. Our next location will hopefully be in Evanston, IL. We have others in mind too, so be on the lookout for an Inspire near you. I’d love to offer Psychological Evaluations, along with more Psychiatry services, so we
can be a full service team working together to best support each and every guest at Inspire. I’m passionate about finding more ways and avenues to serve and support.
At the end of the day, I’ve learned that I really have no idea what’s next. But, if I keep working hard and with love, whatever I’m supposed to do next will show me the way. And, for anyone who has trusted Inspire to support you or your family, thank you from the bottom of my heart. It is an honor and privilege to serve this community!
About Our Meet a Mom Sponsor
A very heartfelt thank you to CNSMoms’ Meet a Mom sponsor, Lake Forest mom of three and owner of Gifford Law, a solo Estate Planning Firm (wills and trusts). Mary, we appreciate your support of local moms in our North Shore communities! Learn more about Mary by visiting her Meet a Mom spotlight here! Contact Mary directly here: [email protected].