Northbrook therapist offers more than talk
Health coach Margaret Plouff (left) and Carol Drengenberg, LCPC, RN, offer patients wellness along with talk therapy. Jackie Pilossoph~for Sun-Times Media
Connecting With Wellness
910 Skokie Blvd., Ste. 213
Updated: December 30, 2012 3:04PM
NORTHBROOK — Carol Drengenberg has been a therapist in private practice for 15 years, and although she believes talk therapy is extremely helpful to her patients, she decided a couple years ago that they need more than just talking.
“Most therapists are therapists,” said Drengenberg, a registered nurse and a licensed clinical professional counselor who also holds a Master’s degree in community and family counseling, “My practice is like an umbrella. In addition to therapy, we help our patients with things like diet, supplements, sleep, stress, exercise and weight loss. We help people figure out how to get balance in their lives.”
Connecting With Wellness helps men and women who have anxiety, depression, and other emotional problems caused by jobs, family conflicts and other stress-related factors. Drengenberg said so often, the problems are related to or made worse by lifestyle.
“A lot of therapists will do straight talking therapy,” she said, “Eventually, I’m going to ask you what you ate for breakfast, and not just talk about your anxiety, but look at some of the physical causes. I’m going to ask you about sleeping and eating and your diet.”
Margaret Plouff is a health coach and supplement specialist at North Shore University Integrative Medical Center, who also works for Drengenberg’s practice.
“I’m passionate about people regaining vibrancy, and sometimes that’s done just by a lifestyle suggestion or some nourishing supplementation,” said Plouff, who firmly believes the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to diet are not eating breakfast and eating carbs alone, in other words not combining them with protein.
Steve Brownstone was referred to Connecting With Wellness by a coworker. With the help of a nutritionist, Drengenberg put him on a regimen that has helped him lose 60 pounds in four and a half months.
“I feel great, I have more energy and I’m sleeping better,” said the 29-year-old, who works in IT operations in Glenview, “Carol brings motivation and a sense of empowerment.”
Brownstone said Drengenberg is available when he needs quick advice and recommendations on what to eat.
“If I’m going out for dinner I’ll shoot her a text and ask her what to order,” he said, “We talked about Thanksgiving and she said it was okay to go off the diet, but to exercise the day of and the day after, and to go right back on the diet after the holiday.”
“We do a lot of health coaching here. We take someone who says ‘I know I need to lose weight and I know I need to get more sleep’ and we help people through that process of change,” Drengenberg said.
Another set of patients Drengenberg sees are men and women who are ill or who are in the process of being treated for an illness.
“Getting diagnosed with MS or cancer or heart disease is like getting hit by a truck. It’s trauma, and the patient can improve their physical status by dealing with the emotional issues,” said Drengenberg.
Her 18-year career working in hospice as a nurse and bereavement counselor is what Drengenberg said helped her decide to focus the last phase of her professional career on prevention, in other words, wellness.
“I saw more than enough people die younger than they needed to because they had not addressed weight and lifestyle issues,” she said, “Enough of seeing the sadness of family members, especially the kids when the mom or dad died young.”
“Carol works with you,” said Brownstone, “She coaches you on how to stay on the diet. I’m just so much healthier, my blood pressure, my cholesterol and my blood sugar have all dropped significantly.”