The Urban Balance Story: 100 Therapists & Growing

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By UB Founder & CEO Joyce Marter, LCPC

In 2002, I became a mom and my priorities were forever reorganized.  As a woman with passion for her career, I realized motherhood was my highest role.  How would I succeed at both? Could I?

I often preach that we can all benefit from therapy at different points in our lives, so I took my own advice and scheduled an appointment with career counselor, Arlene Hirsch.  After a short presentation of my inner conflict between wanting to be a present and supportive mother while also having a meaningful and rewarding career, Arlene responded with, “You must plan your career in the context of your life, not the other way around.”

Arlene’s sage advice helped me realize I needed my career to promote work/life balance.  I wanted a flexible, 30-hour per week schedule that would allow me to be the kind of mother I needed to be — present, a good provider and a positive role model for my daughter.

Through my experiences working for a national Employee Assistance Program (1998-2002) and as a sole-proprietor in private practice (1998-2004), I saw the need for an insurance-friendly group practice. I thought if I could provide office space, billing, and referrals to therapists, I could make an income when I was home with my kids.

As somebody who believes in the power of self-fulfilling prophecy, I started creating the vision of Urban Balance. In 2004, with the support of family, friends, my mentor and others, Urban Balance was founded.

Urban Balance was founded with the following 5 core objectives:

  1. To make therapy accessible and affordable by accepting most insurance plans.
  2. To normalize counseling as a positive, proactive aspect of routine healthcare that addresses emotional/relational issues that we all experience from time to time as part of the human condition.
  3.  To educate the public about where they can go for therapy & that insurance will pay for it.
  4. To provide jobs for therapists who are burned out on agency/hospital work but are not interested in the administrative burden and financial risk of private practice.
  5. To promote work/life balance for staff and clients.

Today, Urban Balance has reached a milestone of having 100 therapists working from seven locations in Chicagoland and one in St. Louis.  This blows me away!  Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined Urban Balance would become such a large and thriving organization.

I consider Urban Balance to be my second baby, and have watched it develop from a dream into an organization which now has a life of its own — ever changing and growing, and touching the lives of many.  When I think of the positive ripple-effect of Urban Balance, I am moved beyond measure.

The credit for this success is shared among countless people: the UB therapists, the leadership team, our consultants, our vendors, our colleagues and our clients. May Urban Balance continue to flourish and carry out it’s mission of providing affordable and accessible therapy to all who would benefit from our care.  I am eternally grateful.

To learn more about Joyce and her services, visit her website