Profile image of Elissa  Sarno

Elissa Sarno(She/Her/Hers)

Psychologist, PhD
Anxiety - Depression- LGBTQIA, gender, & sexuality topics- Relationship issues-Self-esteem- Work stress-

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AboutSpecialtiesLocationsInsurance & Fees

Professional statement

Dr. Elissa Sarno is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in private practice at Center Focused Therapy, located in downtown Chicago. She works with individuals across the lifespan who are seeking to create change in their lives through gaining a better understanding of themselves. Many of her clients experience symptoms of anxiety and depression, challenges in their relationships, or self-criticism that impact their ability to function and thrive in their daily lives. She supports clients by providing them with a warm, trusting environment to understand their current challenges through the lens of their past experiences so that they may change patterns built in the past that are no longer serving them in the present.

Therapy sessions with Dr. Sarno integrate insight-oriented, interpersonal, and skills-based approaches. She guides clients in exploring the origins of their symptoms to facilitate greater awareness of their emotional and relationship patterns. At the same time, she uses cognitive and behavioral strategies to alleviate symptoms in the short-term and help clients integrate new skills into their coping and self-care repertoires.

Dr. Sarno has worked in several university settings, providing individual and group therapy to undergraduate, graduate, and professional (law, medical, and business) students, as well as in community mental health settings. She has an interest in working with students, those who are new to therapy, and those who struggle with anxiety, particularly in the context of high-stress and competitive work or school environments.

Dr. Sarno is committed to maintaining a diverse, equitable, and inclusive practice that is LGBTQ+-affirming. In addition to her Chicago office, Dr. Sarno offers remote therapy sessions, and welcomes new clients both in-person and online.

Message to clients

The foundation of my approach to therapy is the relationship that I have with each client. I create a safe, comfortable environment by providing empathy, acceptance, genuineness, and a sense of humor. I provide a space in which clients can identify, express, and understand the origins of their emotions so that they may work toward better managing them. Therapy can also aid in understanding and changing patterns in relationships that may be contributing to distress. I value transparency, and welcome conversations with my clients about what might be going on in our relationship, because I believe that this can be very useful in shedding light on other relationships in clients’ lives. With a greater understanding of themselves, my goal is to empower clients to make positive changes in their lives and their relationships.

If you have any questions about my background or approach, or would like to schedule a phone consultation, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I look forward to getting to know you to see if we might be a good fit to work together.

Work and Education

Years of Experience: 6 years

Center Focused Therapy, Licensed Clinical Psychologist

University of Maryland, College Park, PhD, 2018
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, BA, 2010


Illinois: 071010624




Anxiety - Coping with excessive worry, nervousness, or stress; intense discomfort in social settings (social anxiety); sudden and intense feelings of panic (panic disorder)

Depression - Providing support and promoting healing of hopelessness, low motivation and energy, sadness, irritability, sleep disturbance, and loss of interest and pleasure in life

LGBTQIA, gender, & sexuality topics - Exploring topics of sexuality, gender, and identity; coping with discrimination and oppression; navigating relationship, family, and cultural challenges

Relationship issues - Understanding one’s wants and needs in relationships; exploring patterns of interaction, addressing concerns, and strengthening satisfaction in relationships and dating

Self-esteem - Cultivating self-compassion, assertiveness, and confidence; developing ways to reduce suffering, anxiety, social withdrawal, and self-neglect

Work stress - Managing overwhelming stress and expectations; increasing effective ways of restoring and maintaining emotional stability and health; addressing challenging relationships with coworkers and bosses


  • Adults (24+)
  • Young adults (18-24)

Locations & Hours

I have an Authority to Practice Interjurisdictional Telepsychology (APIT) from the PSYPACT Commission, which means that I offer telehealth sessions in states outside of Illinois.


  • Aetna
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois PPO
  • Loyola University Chicago Student Health Insurance (UnitedHealthcare)
  • Northwestern University Student Health Insurance (Aetna)
  • UMR
  • United Healthcare
  • United Healthcare Shared Services
  • University of Chicago Student Health Insurance (UnitedHealthcare)

Out-of-pocket fees

  • Individual sessions:$200 (55min)
  • Initial session:$225 (55min)

Additional session information

Session frequency

Frequency of sessions this provider offers to see clients once you are an established client.

  • Weekly
  • Every other week