Life Changes Counseling & Care Planning

Finding what's next, together.

Melissa Tucker, LPC  (she/her)

The psychoanalyst Carl Jung wrote, “The greatest potential for growth and self-realization exists in the second half of life.” His ideas about the developmental tasks in the second half of life are part of what inspired me to become a therapist. When we enter our later adult years, we leave behind the pressure to become wholly what society expects of us, and we gain the chance to bravely become the people we are truly meant to be. The psychology of aging offers a sense of wonder and discovery, a celebration of our growing wisdom, and the opportunity to live into the truth that our past and present don’t have to be our future. The journeys of aging and family caregiving also include accepting and processing some challenging realities: grief, loss, and confronting our own mortality. I find working with clients on these issues to be profoundly moving and inspiring.

I am passionate about partnering with my clients to create lives with hope, dignity, and agency. I enjoy working with older adults, caregivers and people living with chronic and terminal illnesses. I have particular expertise to offer people living with cognitive change due to mild cognitive impairment, dementias and young onset dementia. I am committed to helping my clients explore values and gain a sense of control over their choices, develop coping skills, and effectively process grief and loss, including the ambiguous losses that come with dementia. I deeply understand the importance of talking about precisely the issues and experiences that we sometimes feel we can’t talk about. This is where the healing happens.

Psychotherapy approaches

My style

Training and experience

I began my career in a long-term care setting working with families and patients coping with chronic and terminal illness, including dementia. Over 11 years with the Alzheimer’s Association, I provided individual and family care consultation at all stages of dementia- from the point of diagnosis through the end of life. My experience has given me an in-depth understanding of life as a caregiver; from the numerous daily challenges to coping with significant crises.  I also have a profound interest in grief work and recently completed my grief counseling certification. My work with caregivers and diagnosed people has shown me how unresolved griefs in the past can impact coping with new griefs, and I find that an exploration of this can be powerful and healing. I also recognize and honor the sometimes “hidden” griefs that come with illness, disability, or other life changes.

A commitment to older adults

As a mid-life career changer, I left the project management profession with the specific intention of working with older adults. I have been mentored and cherished by so many elders in my family, profession, and spiritual community. I find a collegial aspect working in the field of aging, and what I would describe as the experience of “walking with” those I’m serving. The lifetime of wisdom, insight, humor, and resilience my clients share with me is a constant source of inspiration.

A bit about me

I have always loved music and played a number of instruments as a child. As a young adult the lively music scene was one of the things that attracted me to Chicago. During the COVID shut-down, my longing for live music inspired me to start making my own, and I began taking online banjo lessons from the Old Town School of Folk Music. I also discovered I could sing! Playing and performing have become an enormous source of energy, joy, community, and self-care. I feel that my musical journey has brought me back full circle to some of my happiest childhood memories.