About North Shore Family Services

Who We Are:

North Shore Family Services, LLC was founded by Dori J. Mages, MSW, LCSW, a licensed clinical social worker, who has been working with children, teens, and families since 1994.  At North Shore Family Services, our therapists are engaging and approachable, so kids and teens feel comfortable and want to continue with therapy after their initial visit.

Our Work With Kids and Teens:

Our child therapists and teen therapists have a gentle, yet goal-oriented approach. While we are experts in our field, we  believe that parents are our greatest asset in the treatment process.  Parents know their children and teens best, so we rely on you to update your therapist with your concerns and struggles as you begin the therapy process. We also love to hear about your children and teens’ successes that have been achieved while working with our expert staff.

Because our therapists have many years of experience working in the public schools in the Chicagoland area, we understand what children and teens experience in their daily world, out of their parents’ sight.  We know the social, emotional, academic, and behavioral challenges that can wreak havoc in the home and school settings.  Through frequent collaboration with parents, school staff, pediatricians, and other specialists and therapists who may also work with the children and teens we see, we can all work together to achieve the ultimate goal. We want children and teens to learn the skills they need to be successful in school, with peers, and within the family, long after therapy has ended.

Our Work with Adults and Couples:

Many of our adult clients have never had the opportunity to work with a therapist. You may have seen movies or television shows where a therapist sits “high and mighty” with a head nod or an “I see”, while providing no guidance or strategies. That is NOT effective therapy. We believe that once you have the strength to realize you need some tools to help you communicate better with your spouse, your kids, your boss, your coworkers, or even your own family, you want to find ways to learn and use those tools right away- from the very first session. We work with adults who struggle with everyday matters like managing their own frustration with their kids and teens, finding better relationships when stuck with the same kind of person each time you date, arguing with others, job dissatisfaction, and finding what makes you happy. We coach you to find the right strategies that work for your particular situation, so you no longer need our help.

What We Do:

North Shore Family Services helps parents, children, and teens in:  managing undesirable behaviors, creating and enforcing meaningful consequences, following directions, listening, and learning and utilizing positive organizational, executive functioning, decision-making, and social skills.  We work with you and your child to reduce anxiety, sadness, distractibility, sibling rivalry, hyperactivity,  and frustration.  We help you and your child utilize positive problem-solving skills,  and answer parenting questions.  Family changes such as divorce, grief and loss, and big transitions can create unanticipated changes in children’s emotional and behavioral states.  We make therapy a productive, engaging, and relaxing place for kids, teens, parents, and families, so everyone works hard and makes the improvements they want.

We at North Shore Family Services know that it is a big step to come to therapy.  Insurance issues can make the process more complicated. We don’t want to burden our families with extra paperwork, so we submit all claims to insurance on a weekly basis.  We are an in-network provider for Blue Cross Blue Shield.  We also submit claims for reimbursement to our clients who have out-of-network providers, providing you with reimbursement in a timely manner.

What We Don’t Do

We, unfortunately, do not have magic wands that will transform children and teens into well-behaved, relaxed, organized, focused, well-liked, and confident people.  Wouldn’t that be cool, though?  We don’t help kids, teens, and families without everyone doing the work together.  The “magic” happens outside of our offices when our clients practice the skills they have learned with us in their real-world settings of their homes, friends’ homes, schools, jobs, and in the community.  We provide the structured, caring, nurturing, and goal-oriented environment where they can learn these life-long skills, but the real work happens as soon as you leave our office doors.

How We Do It

When a child or teen struggles, parents want to do everything in their power to help.  We believe helping children is a collaborative effort, so we work closely with parents and any other professionals involved in the child’s life, so the best results can occur, in a timely manner.  Our goal at North Shore Family Services is for children and teens to learn the skills needed to be successful in school, with peers, and within the family long after therapy has ended.

Because all children and teens are different, we believe that it doesn’t make sense for therapists to only use one approach, cross their fingers, and hope it works.  At North Shore Family Services, we tailor our therapy techniques and strategies to the specific ages, developmental levels, needs, struggles, and goals of our clients.  Our therapists utilize a variety of techniques to help kids (and their parents) be successful.  Some of the many strategies we use are:  cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), organizational resources, role play techniques, social thinking curriculum and stories, problem-solving strategies, play therapy, exposure and response prevention (ERP), parenting tips/strategies, and even games.  Did you know there are board games, online games, and apps that actually promote these skills?  Therapy is work, but it can also be fun!  See our feature article in the business section of the Deerfield Review on our articles page. We also post many helpful articles on parenting, children, and teens on our Facebook page.