Alexandra Backis, LCSW
Race-Based Traumatic Stress Counselor
Couples Counselor and Relationship Therapist
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Hi, I’m Alexandra. I help people regain control.
As far back as I can remember, I have always known I would be a counselor. Growing up, it came naturally to me to be compassionate, empathetic, and to listen with a non-judgmental ear. As I got older, I was thrilled to find a career that afforded me the opportunity to put these traits to good use.
I am passionate about creating supportive and accepting relationships with clients that allow them to be brave, take risks, and learn from mistakes. Since completing graduate school in 2012, I have worked in multiple substance abuse outpatient treatment facilities, and each has reinforced the value in meeting an individual where they are in their journey of change.
I am here to guide you in the path of healing the root cause of addictive behaviors. With positive and loving connection, we will honor your path towards fulfillment. My extensive experience in substance abuse treatment settings has shown me that recovery is more than discontinuing the use of substances , it's about finding what life looks like without substances.
Recovery is about self-discovery - rediscovering the parts of yourself you might feel disconnected from or feel you have lost. I believe that it is about so much more than sobriety. Authentic recovery allows you to achieve peace and satisfaction. This starts with positive connection.
I believe the key to change is being as open to the process of change as the outcome. My past experience in working with adolescents helps me appreciate how humor, transparency, and truly listening to another's experience helps create safety and connection between client and therapist.
I am here to help you utilize and build upon your strengths and acknowledge and learn from your challenges.
On Being a Counselor
Sometimes it feels like we try to do all the “right things” in life and yet it doesn’t make us happy. On top of that, aspects of our lives, such as romantic relationships, get neglected as a result of focusing on our personal success. It can feel scary that despite doing what we are supposed to, things aren’t going right and we feel stuck, frustrated, and out of control.
It’s normal to feel frustrated. The path to career or educational success doesn’t help us figure out the rest of our lives. Therefore it’s hard to figure out what the next steps are outside of work. If you feel stuck and this frustration is beginning to affect your life, it may be time to start counseling.
It’s possible to figure out an answer and get back on track with your life. I help people find their path to this solution. My process is to non-judgmentally listen to your needs, review what you’ve tried before, and identify alternative or additional strategies that may better fit where you are in your life now. We will then see how these strategies work in your daily life, discuss feedback, and revise our plan.
I believe people are much more capable of doing hard things than they believe. Therapy is not just about identifying strategies for making change, but for reminding people of their own power in making those changes happen.
My clients can expect an environment that is created to allow you to be your authentic self. I want the counseling space to be one in which you never feel shamed or judged for being who you are.
I decided to become a counselor when, as a mental health case manager, I witnessed the ways in which mental health impacted people's ability to access the services and supports they needed. I saw how shame could make it impossible to take your medication every day and how trauma could make it hard to get to a job interview. I also realized how few relationships some people had in which they felt they could talk about their experiences without being judged- about their substance use, or their gender identity, or their HIV status.
A counselor, I help people get emotional relief to increase their ability to change other areas of their life. I utilize a harm reduction approach that acknowledges many of the behaviors people come in identifying as problematic are also functional. My job is not to judge the behavior, but to work with you to determine whether there is a way for the behavior to cause less harm and to identify alternate behaviors that may better serve you.
As a counselor, I am inspired by people's courage in admitting we all need help sometimes and reaching out. Inviting a stranger into your most private thoughts and feelings is truly an act of bravery.
I offer counseling to help people move through the moments when they feel stuck. This space can feel so lonely and so much of my job is just reminding people that they have someone there with them.
Let’s get you to a place you want to be. Reach out to schedule your first appointment. When you call our scheduling line, our Intake Coordinator can answer any questions you might have. To schedule your first appointment, (312) 715-8234,or email [email protected] to schedule your first appointment. I'm here for you.
More About Alexandra
Key Philosophical Beliefs
- Our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, even those that are distressing or problematic, are information we can use to find a path towards healing
- Therapy is a collaborative process in which feedback flows from both therapist and client
- It is important to be as engaged with and focused on the process of change as the outcome
- Change does not come from never failing, but from the willingness and courage to keep trying
- Master’s in Social Work (MSW) from Washington University in St. Louis
- Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Training
- Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) Training
- Trauma-Focused CBT (TFCBT) Training
- Relational Therapy
- Mindfulness Training
Specializations and Experience
- LGBT+ counseling
- Anxiety management and recovery
- Mood disorder management
- Gender expression and identity
- Racial justice
- Couples and relationships
Alexandra as a Person
I was born and raised in Chicago. After going to school in Palo Alto and St. Louis, I spent 5 years in Brooklyn before moving back to Chicago. I love running on the lakefront trail, going to the beach, and eating Lou Malnati's spinach pizza.
In my free time, I spend time outside (hiking, camping, biking, running), watching way too much tv, spending time with friends, making lists and crossing things off of lists, traveling wherever and whenever I can.