Therapist Larry Westenberg Photo

Larry Westenberg, LCSW

Stress, Anxiety Trauma and abuse Self esteem 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

Additional areas of focus: Addictions, LGBT, Relationship issues, Grief, Intimacy-related issues, Anger management, Career difficulties, Bipolar disorder, Coaching, ADHD, 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

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.

Larry came to our first session and knew everything about me without even knowing me prior. He has a great attitude, he has a lot of life experiences, he is kind and caring, and his laugh could make anyone feel better on any given day. Larry has changed my view on therapy and I have only had 2 sessions with him.

Written on May 12, 2023 after therapy with Larry for 2 weeks on issues concerning depression, stress, anxiety, addictions, self esteem, and compassion fatigue

Larry was my first exposure to therapy and he's been an incredibly welcome, understanding, and easy to talk to person. He's a great fit for me and I know he is for many others who are hesitant about therapy. I'd highly recommend Larry to anyone who's coming into therapy for the first time or dealing with anything.

Written on Mar 23, 2023 after therapy with Larry for 1 month on issues concerning stress, anxiety, addictions, career difficulties, and adhd

Larry has been a huge help for me, he’s helping me work through a bad relationship and family matters. He always manages to make me laugh at least once. He’s the best in my opinion. I’ve been seeing a little over a year

Written on Mar 20, 2023 after therapy with Larry for 1 year and 1 month on issues concerning depression, stress, anxiety, addictions, relationship issues, and self esteem

Larry is a great therapist. He really helped me get to the root of my anxiety and helped me with some great methods to cope with things as they happen. Highly recommend...

Written on Mar 15, 2023 after therapy with Larry for 1 month on issues concerning stress, anxiety, relationship issues, family conflicts, grief, intimacy-related issues, self esteem, and anger management

He is a very direct and thoughtful man who can help you. If that is your goal I would highly recommend Larry.

Written on Mar 08, 2023 after therapy with Larry for 8 months on issues concerning stress, anxiety, relationship issues, family conflicts, intimacy-related issues, and anger management

Larry is the best! From the first session, I felt like I could really click with him and trust him to want to help me, rather than just wanting paid for helping me. He’s helped me to realize and accept my AD/HD, and coping mechanisms I can use to help schedule my work around my focus. He’s also started me on the lengthy path to loving myself and, while I still have a long way to go, I’m very grateful for being able to take that first step.

Written on Feb 05, 2023 after therapy with Larry for 9 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