April 26, 2017


While social media can serve to augment peer relationships in adolescence, it can also provide a forum for negative exchanges that can be quite hurtful. Those being bullied may experience academic problems, depression, and even suicidal thoughts.

Cyberbullying is more pervasive than traditional bullying, with little escape. Images and videos are often more invasive than face-to-face taunting. There is more opportunity for others to join in – either to help or hurt – than in the traditional bullying that occurred at parties or the school cafeteria. Although, the wide pool of onlookers the internet provides makes people less likely to step in, as they often assume someone else will defend the victim. Fear, frustration, hopelessness, and powerlessness are often increased when the cyberbully is anonymous. In this situation, it could be anyone – even someone the person being bullied considers to be a friend.
Many teens think their parents or teachers will make the situation worse by bringing more attention to it. As such, parents may need to monitor their children’s online activities. Emotional support from parents is very helpful in these situations.




Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that impacts social communication and behavior. Children with ASD may have difficulty talking with family and peers. For instance, they may be overly focused on a topic that is not of interest to others, and their conversation may lack a back-and-forth quality. Nonverbal language, including eye contact and gestures, may also be problematic. Children with ASD may have difficulty picking up on social cues. Additionally, their play may lack imagination. Repetitive behaviors, such as flailing of arms, may be exhibited. Children with ASD tend to enjoy routines, and may have difficulty adjusting to changes in their schedule. An additional feature often seen in children with ASD is oversensitivity to sounds (e.g., fire drills at school), touch (e.g., elastic bands in clothing), and smell (e.g., difficulty eating in the cafeteria due to the odors).

Assessment for Autism Spectrum Disorder will include tests specifically designed to measure areas of social communication and restrictive interests/behaviors. Both the child and parents are involved in the evaluation process. Cognitive functioning (e.g., intelligence and academic testing) is often included, as well as a language assessment. There is a wide range of functioning among individuals with ASD. Test results will highlight strengths as well as weaknesses.

Interventions for Autism Spectrum Disorder can be provided within the home, school, or private offices. The treatment team may include a psychologist, speech/language therapist, and occupational therapist to target the relevant areas of functioning. Early intervention can be very helpful. Even when a diagnosis is made later, most children with ASD will improve with the right combination of treatments.

Dr. Hollie Sobel is excited to launch Psychological Assessment, Consultation & Treatment (PACT), with offices in Chicago and Northbrook.

Psychological Assessment, Consultation & Treatment

Dr. Hollie Sobel conducts assessment, therapy, and consultation services with clients across all developmental levels, with specialization in working with children/adolescents. Her postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Chicago focused on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. She also has expertise in the areas of anxiety, depression, autism, behavioral difficulties, and learning disorders. While integrative in her approach, Dr. Hollie Sobel has specialization in using researched-based cognitive-behavioral techniques.

3166 N. Lincoln Ave., #210, Chicago, IL 60657
899 Skokie Blvd., #204, Northbrook, IL 60062
(872) 588-5585


As Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month comes to a close, we wanted to bring an awareness and understanding to what developmental disabilities are, and how they are diagnosed. Hollie Sobel, PhD, shares some information during this important month.

What are Developmental Disabilities? Developmental Disabilities are a group of conditions that affect physical, cognitive, language and/or adaptive functioning. A set of norms have been established as to when a child should reach certain milestones. These milestones include crawling, walking, and talking. Watch your child to see she/he progresses.

Get assessed. If you notice that your child is not meeting the expected milestones for his or her age, consult with a pediatrician or psychologist.  These specialists can assist with the assessment process.

Assessments may include the following areas:

  • Cognitive Functioning to determine level of intelligence and academics
  • Communications Skills, which can be tested even before a child begins to speak
  • Motor Skills include gross motor (e.g., walking) and fine-motor (e.g., manipulating blocks, writing)

Early intervention is key. Early intervention promotes age-appropriate growth and development. Diagnosing early means a child can receive the resources and supports he or she needs.

Once diagnosed with a developmental disability, a child is eligible to receive extra services at school or at home to build on the weak areas. This could result in:

  • Closing the gap without the need for continued intervention.
  • Continuing to receive additional services within a general education classroom.
  • Placement in a special education classroom.

Never feel you are alone in your child’s developmental path. Help is always available.

Hollie Sobel, PhD, provides individual, family, and group psychotherapy. Hollie Sobel, PhD, has specialization in using researched-based cognitive-behavioral techniques with children and adolescents to improve mood, decrease levels of anxiety, and enhance functioning across home, school and social settings. She includes children/adolescents and parents in the treatment planning process, as family involvement is often important in reaching treatment goals.

To read Hollie Sobel, PhD’s full bio or make an appointment, visit our webpage.

The Family Institute offers affordable therapy and assessment services at our Chicagoland locations. Visit our website to learn more.

Dr. Hollie Sobel is a clinical instructor at The Family Institute at Northwestern University. The institute is dedicated to providing mental health support to families through education, research, and clinical services. Dr. Hollie Sobel contributes to this mission by conducting school consultation services, psychotherapy, various psychological tests and evaluations, and engaging in research, supervision, and teaching.

In late 2012, the Family Institute at Northwestern University was recognized in the “Psychologist & Psychotherapist” category of the LaGrange Park Awards for the fourth time. The institute is one of the only entities in the surrounding community to receive four consecutive LaGrange Park Awards. In fact, fewer than 0.05% of businesses in the entire nation have achieved this distinction. This is a testament to the Family Institute’s exceptional dedication to and support of the community.

The LaGrange Park Award program was initiated to honor companies in the area around LaGrange Park, Illinois. Companies that employ best practices and that demonstrate an edge over their competitors and long-term value are considered for the award. The award program celebrates the role played by small businesses in the national economy.

A specialist in behavior management and behavioral therapy in children and adolescents, Dr. Hollie Sobel currently works as a clinical instructor at The Family Institute at Northwestern University. A member of the Illinois Psychological Association, Dr. Hollie Sobel has extensive experience in disorders like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

While it is typical for children to exhibit a degree of hyperactivity and inattention at times, children with ADHD have more severe forms of these behaviors. It can be more difficult to observe ADHD with predominantly inattentive symptoms since children with this subset of ADHD are more likely to seem to be paying attention when they’re not. On the other hand, adults can sometimes dismiss predominantly hyperactive/impulsive ADHD symptoms as disciplinary or emotional problems.

While ADHD has no known cause, scientists suggest that genetics and environmental factors, like alcohol or cigarette use, could play an important role. Other factors such as brain injuries and nutrition may also contribute to the development of ADHD.

Hollie Sobel PhD on FOX 32 from Hollie Sobel on Vimeo.

Outrageous Marriage Proposals from Hollie Sobel on Vimeo.

With research showing an increase in the incidence of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), mental health professionals such as clinical psychologist Dr. Hollie Sobel have campaigned to increase public awareness of this condition. As part of her practice at The Family Institute of Northwestern University, Dr. Hollie Sobel strives to provide information about ASD to the public and to offer insight on ASD symptoms and causes to her patients and their families.

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism Spectrum Disorder, or ASD, refers to a developmental neurological disorder. Because patients’ symptoms and level of affectedness can vary significantly, the term “spectrum” is frequently used by health care professionals. Due to ASD’s effect on brain development, patients may exhibit varying signs of communication difficulties such as a diminished ability to conduct conversations, along with symptoms of social impairment.

What causes ASD?

While extensive research efforts to discover the causes of ASD are currently under way, there exists no consensus on a definitive cause. However, many scientists and researchers believe that both biological and environmental factors may contribute to the development of ASD.

Psychologists such as Dr. Hollie Sobel recommend that parents and caregivers visit their doctor if their child shows signs of ASD or significant changes in developmental behaviors.