Therapist Larry Westenberg Photo

Larry Westenberg, LCSW

Stress, Anxiety Trauma, Abuse Self esteem, Motivation Depression Coping with life changes
Video Phone Messaging

About me

I have been a professional counselor for over 40 years. I started out on a 'back ward' of a state mental hospital, counseling extremely mentally ill people, and helping them to access their resources, use their strengths and improve the quality of their lives. It was a tremendous challenge. At that time, I had my Bachelor's Degree in Psychology, and no other training. The State system allowed people to do counseling who had no training in counseling whatsoever. In fact, many of them had never been to college. I discovered the 'uneducated counselors' were usually MUCH more effective at helping their clients. They were not 'full of themselves' and their degrees. Instead, they used what they knew about helping people, did what they could, and learned to help people by figuring out what worked as they went along. They also expected the same from the people they were counseling - that they would use the resources they had, do their best, and get better at improving their lives. Meanwhile, the majority of the 'professional therapists' were lost in their long explanations and mythologies that tried to explain the patient's behavior, and they often developed bizarre theories and treatment methods they imagined would make the patients get better.

When you make a connection to another person in counseling, you offer them a safe space to "step out of themselves," and discuss their own behavior from a different perspective of detached observation. Recognizing your own skills and the tools you have can help you make meaningful changes strategically, that utilize your own abilities.

I specialize in trauma, anxiety and panic, ADD, and finding meaning in life. I have extensive training in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) - which is bashed as unscientific non-sense on the internet. This criticism is thrown from an allegedly "Scientific field" that is founded on the idea of repressed urges of the id and wanting to kill your father to take possession of your mother. Not the best reference for validating your experiences of life.

I am a published author in the field of Belief Change, Ericksonian Hypnosis and NLP. I enjoy helping others uncover treasure within themselves. I don't work with lab rats. I work with people. I would appreciate the opportunity to work with you. I have worked with inpatient, outpatient, partial hospitalization and crisis intervention treatment. I have worked with LGBTQ+ individuals since long before we had an acronym. I have supported individuals in compartmentalizing alternative lifestyles so that they don't embarrass themselves at work or in social situations. I help some people accept the fact their family may be a toxic gaggle of illnesses and it really is okay to not be in contact. I help others discover how they create anxiety in themselves, and teach a variety of skills for managing emotional states.

My passion is helping people find insights into HOW they do the behaviors they do, so they can more easily shift the behaviors to get the same results - or different results. I also like helping people discover how past negative events can "echo" into present interactions and circumstances. Rather than label this a disease, I show people how to notice these connections and respond less to the resonance in the present.

I laugh frequently and I may even tease about symptoms in an attempt to help you shift your perspective on your issues. I do not make fun of problems. I take my work seriously, but I will never take LIFE seriously - because it has this surprise ending feature. I would be delighted to meet with you and find out if I can support you in making the shifts and changes you desire.

Professional experience

40yrs in practice
Stress, Anxiety Trauma, Abuse Self esteem, Motivation Depression Coping with life changes

Additional areas of focus: Addictions, LGBT, Relationship issues, Grief, Intimacy-related issues, Anger management, Career difficulties, Bipolar disorder, Coaching, ADHD, Autism and Asperger Syndrome, BDSM, Kink, Alternative Sex Culture, Caregiver Issues and Stress, Communication Problems, Control Issues, Divorce and Separation, Emptiness, Family of Origin Issues, First Responder Issues, Forgiveness, Guilt and Shame, Hospice and End of Life Counseling, Isolation / Loneliness, Jealousy, Life Purpose, Men's Issues, Midlife Crisis, Multicultural Concerns, Obsessions, Compulsions, and OCD, Panic Disorder and Panic Attacks, Polyamory / Nonmonogamous Relationships, Post-traumatic Stress, Prejudice and Discrimination, Process addiction (porn, exercise, gambling), Self-Harm, Self-Love, Sex Addiction, Sexual Assault and Abuse, Sexuality, Smoking/Vaping Cessation, Social Anxiety and Phobia

Clinical approaches: Client-Centered Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Existential Therapy, Hypnotherapy, Mindfulness Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Solution-Focused Therapy, Trauma-Focused Therapy

Services offered


License information

IL LCSW 149008012


These quotes represent just a few of the many positive reviews that we have received for Larry Westenberg. We don't pay anyone to provide their review and they are all made voluntarily. Some people's experience receiving therapy with BetterHelp might be different.

He really makes me feel comfortable. Really easy to just open up. Tells me like like it is and doesn't make me feel bad but teaches me.

Written on Feb 02, 2024 after therapy with Larry for 3 months on issues concerning depression, stress, anxiety, lgbt, relationship issues, and self esteem

Amazing man helps me with my problems and listens

Written on Jan 08, 2024 after therapy with Larry for 1 year and 9 months on issues concerning depression, stress, anxiety, trauma and abuse, grief, intimacy-related issues, sleeping disorders, and coaching

Larry is an incredibly intelligent therapist that was able to give me a lot more insight into beginning to heal than other therapists have.

Written on Jan 05, 2024 after therapy with Larry for 2 months on issues concerning depression, lgbt, trauma and abuse, and adhd

He’s funny, and works with my wry sense of humor, very good and adept at interpreting what I’m actually trying to say, despite my sometimes roundabout way of speaking

Written on Nov 30, 2023 after therapy with Larry for 4 weeks on issues concerning depression, stress, anxiety, relationship issues, family conflicts, sleeping disorders, self esteem, career difficulties, coping with life changes, and adhd

I enjoy and value my time with Larry. Even my husband notices a difference in me since I started, and in circumstances where I have to reschedule. It helps me to decompress with someone that understands, or listens even when they don’t.

Written on Oct 22, 2023 after therapy with Larry for 1 year and 6 months on issues concerning depression, stress, anxiety, relationship issues, family conflicts, trauma and abuse, intimacy-related issues, eating disorders, parenting issues, self esteem, anger management, and coping with life changes

Larry has been very knowledgeable and understands my needs. He responds very quickly and shares experiences which put my problems into perspective so I can better resolve them. He is very kind, understanding and is able to bring my mood up after each session. Thank you Larry!

Written on Oct 06, 2023 after therapy with Larry for 4 months on issues concerning stress, anxiety, family conflicts, career difficulties, coaching, compassion fatigue, and adhd