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CCOCC’s professional staff are made up of a culturally and ethnically diverse group of Master’s and Doctoral level therapists who are committed to offering high-quality counseling services. While we each operate from a solid Christian perspective, we are also respectful and sensitive to clients’ varying beliefs and worldviews. All therapists have experience and expertise in working with a wide variety of clinical settings, client concerns and spiritual, cultural, ethnic and diversity issues.

Each therapist also has training and expertise in dealing with depression, anxiety, loneliness, singleness, life transitions, relationship concerns, and traditionally under served populations. As a whole, the therapists at the Center provide individual, couples and family therapy, consulting, seminars and assessments.

All interested parties are directed to our main phone number (312) 573-8860, and the intake coordinators match the appropriate therapist with the client’s needs and desires. The following list provides an idea of the therapist you may be working with.

Also Meet Our Support Team

 


Our Clinical Team

Rev. Dr. Peonita Harris, Psy.D., LMFT, CSAT

Executive Director / Marriage & Family Therapist

Primary Areas of Care: Couples, Sex Addiction & Spiritual Integration

Locations: Main Office & Vernon Hills

Dr. Harris is the Executive Director of Cornerstone Counseling Center of Chicago. Dr. Harris has practiced in the field for over 15 years and received her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Adler University. Dr. Harris has been an ordained minister for over 15 years. She has experience in leading women ministries and pastoral counseling ministry. She has also trained women for leadership in ministry and spearheaded training for lay-ministers in pastoral care.

Dr. Harris’ goal is to embrace the uniqueness of all individuals as she assists them to discover and live out their divine purpose. She is committed to the movement of de-stigmatizing mental illness and to the integration of faith and practice. She has many years of experience in working with conflicted couples, couples recovering from infidelity and betrayal, survivors of sexual trauma, and working with couples and partners recovering from the impact of sexual addiction.

Dr. Harris has a Bachelor’s degree from Moody Bible Institute. She has a Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy and is a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist. Dr. Harris is also a clinical fellow of AAMFT and a candidate to become an approved AAMFT supervisor.

Additionally, Dr. Harris is an alumna of the Chicago area Christian Training Consortium where she received specialized clinical training in the integration of faith-based practice and psychology.

 

Articles by Dr. Peonita

Deceived - Hope for Healing after an Affair

Letting Go To Grow

The Four "Cs" of Intimacy

What is your parenting style?


Dr. Samantha Lussier, Psy.D. - Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Director of Clinical Training

Primary Areas of Care: Families, Relational Conflict, Behavioral Challenges & Mood Dysregulation

Dr. Lussier specializes in family therapy including struggles with relational conflict, behavioral challenges, and mood dysregulation.

Dr. Lussier respects her clients by offering an effective treatment plan that honors their values and culture. She views each individual from a holistic perspective, which for many includes the integration of faith-based interventions. She works with individuals and families to identify their strengths to leverage the gifts and talents they have to combat the struggles they pervasively endure. Dr. Lussier believes everyone encounters challenges in this life. She is skilled in helping others overcome those barriers to ensure nothing stands in their way of living an abundant life.

Dr. Lussier earned her Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Northern Michigan University. She also earned her Master's and Doctoral dgree in Clinical Psychology from American School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University Southern California.

Dr. Lussier is a morning person who enjoys starting her day off with coffee and time with the Lord. She identifies as a foodie and values quality time with family and friends while enjoying meals at new and beloved restaurants.

Furthermore, Dr. Lussier has been a guest speaker on Moody Radio's Karl & June Morning Show providing insight on ADHD and parenting with regard to issues of bullying.

 

Articles by Dr. Sam

Knowing When to Seek Help

Dreams For Our Children


Martina Sancen, M.A., LCPC

Director of Academic Counseling Programs/Bilingual Therapist

Primary Areas of Care: Children, Adolescents, Families, ADHD, Anxiety & Depression

Locations: Main Office & Portage Park

Martina specializes in working with children, adolescents, and families whose functioning is being impacted by ADHD, anxiety, depression, and other emotional or behavioral challenges. She believes that children have a strong desire to learn and stresses that learning can be fun; her therapeutic approaches include teaching skills, practicing them in session, and encouraging implementation in other environments.  Martina also enjoys working with adolescents, giving them a space to express their voice and individuality.

Martina’s approach to therapy is to establish a safe and professional relationship with her client and creatively tailor interventions based on the client’s strengths and likes; incorporating evidence based treatment practices with music, poetry, and art. She has experience working with individuals suffering domestic violence and has strived to be an agent of change through her work by teaching and empowering adolescents both individually and in groups about healthy relationships and how to create change in their environment. Martina has completed a 40-hour Domestic Violence training program that enables her to address the complex experience of victims and survivors.

Martina believes God has been guiding her path and is passionate about assisting others in finding comfort in his mercy, grace, and rest during times of struggle and pain. She began preparation for her work with her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies from DePaul University. She then continued her education, going on to earn a Master’s degree in Clinical Professional Psychology from Roosevelt University.

In her free time Martina enjoys spending time with her friends, exploring new restaurants and revisiting all time favorites; she would indeed consider herself a "foodie." Her guilty pleasure and something her friends laugh about is her love for reality TV. She also loves serving at her church and building on her relationships.

 

Articles by Martina

Back-to-School Season


 

Dr. Grace Ahn-Im, Psy.D.

Post-Doctoral Fellow

Primary Areas of Care: Children, Adults, Couples, Life Transitions, Depression, Anxiety & Identity Concerns

Locations: Main Office & Andersonville

As a therapist, Dr. Grace strives to create a safe and supportive environment in which a collaborative and goal-oriented relationship can develop. Through this safe and supportive relationship Dr. Grace assists people in increasing awareness of themselves and begin the journey of healing, growth, and change.



Dr. Grace is passionate about working with children, adolescents, and adults experiencing life transitions (e.g. immigration, job loss, new parent, etc.), symptoms of depression, anxiety, and identity concerns. Dr. Grace enjoys working with individuals in various life stages and come from different backgrounds. Dr. Grace also enjoys working with couples preparing for marriage.



Dr. Grace utilizes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), motivational interviewing, and evidence based practices in her treatment of clients and considers each client's unique context and cultural (e.g., race, gender, SES, community, spirituality) background and integrates these constructs in her treatment.

Dr. Grace received her Master’s and Doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from Wheaton College. She is trained in Prepare and Enrich and has over four years of experience working in community mental health and hospital settings. Dr. Grace has led multiple groups for children, adolescents, and adults with topics including social skills, healthy living, stress management, behavior management, and mindfulness.


I. Ivory Badea

Therapist/Academic Coach

Primary Areas of Care: Spiritual Integration, Church Leadership, Sexual Trauma, & Issues Related to Sexual Addiction

Ivory has a heart to see people healed through the therapeutic relationship that provides an environment of respect, honor, and empathy to explore personal growth in all aspects of one’s life. She believes that God has called her to this work, and if this work matters to the Lord, then so does de-stigmatizing the therapy process, especially for church leadership.

In facing any of life’s challenges, it is important to address the body, soul, and spirit. For those wanting integration of faith in therapy, Ivory will incorporate scripture and rely on Holy Spirit to lead one to encounter personal breakthrough. Ivory uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy to aid in “the renewing of the mind” (Romans 12:2).

Ivory is a Clinical Intern currently completing her Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology at North Park University, graduating in August 2017.

Ivory currently serves on the leadership team at her home church. She loves public speaking and teaching the word of God, while also enjoying drawing and painting.

 

Articles by Ivory

Summertime Stress Got You Down?

 


 

Christine Collins, M.A., LPC, NCC, CADC

Therapist

Primary Areas of Care: Addiction, Mood Disorders & Life Transitions 

Chris specializes in anxiety and depression concerns, mood disorders and life transitions. Her experience ranges from working in outpatient hospital settings, community mental health centers and private practice. She has a depth of knowledge in addressing our current national crisis of opioid addiction.

Her approach is collaborative and focuses on a client’s strengths to find solutions to their problems. She addresses clients' emotional, behavioral and interpersonal issues using evidenced based cognitive-behavioral therapy. Chris integrates spirituality and Christian perspectives when requested.

Chris received her Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology with a concentration in Addictions. Her passion for helping others led to her vocation of becoming a clinical therapist. Her belief is that each of us has unique gifts and our life journey is to discover them, this leads to true happiness.


 

Monique Gardner, M.A., LPC

Therapist

Primary Areas of Care: Depression, Anxiety, Adjustment & Relational Issues 

Monique specializes in working with children, adolescents, and young adults affected by depression, anxiety, adjustment and relational issues. She has experience working with various populations, including adults with severe mental illnesses. Monique believes therapy is a collaborative relationship, in which effort is put forth by both parties to affect a more meaningful change.

Monique earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Behavioral Sciences with a specialization of Psychology at Western Michigan University, and went on to earn her Master of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology with a concentration in children and adolescent development.

Monique advocates for an integrated approach designed to maximize each individual’s personal growth. She has a passion for helping others initiate and continue a lifelong journey of healing. Monique places a great importance on the holistic well-being of each and every individual.

Monique enjoys spending time exploring and photographing the city, as well as spending time with loved ones.

 

Articles by Monique

Reading between the Lines: Why You Should Pay Attention to 13 Reasons Why

 


Shannon Krabill, M.S.W., LCSW

Therapist

Primary Areas of Care: Grief/Loss, Domestic Violence, Gender Issues, Depression & Anxiety

Shannon specializes in providing therapy individually with adults and emerging adults. She has over eight years of experience working with grief and loss, specifically, and is also trained in domestic violence and gender issues.

Shannon obtained a Master’s degree in Social Work from Dominican University.  As a therapist, she is dedicated to creating a safe and calming space for people to explore their needs on a journey to healing and wellness. She has a relational style of therapy that looks to client’s goals, experiences and strengths in order to meet the unique needs of each individual. She works collaboratively out of strengths-based, trauma informed, solutions-focused approach, utilizing evidence-based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Motivational Interviewing.

Clients can expect Shannon to meet them where they are with empathy and intuition. She has experience working with clients across gender, ethnic, generational or religious differences. Her practice is informed by her faith and she believes spirituality can be a vital piece of the therapeutic process when a client is open to the concept.

Shannon loves spending time outside, reading and exploring Chicago with her family.



Nicholas Piechotte, M.S.W., LCSW, CADC

Therapist

Primary Areas of Care: Trauma, Addiction, Depression, Anxiety & Challenging Familial Patterns

Nick is a skilled clinician who approaches therapy with positivity, mindfulness and goals. He is a certified substance abuse counselor and an EMDR trained clinician. He incorporates spirituality to holistically treat his clients mind, body and soul.  With his strong clinical skills rooted in CBT, DBT, Psychodynamic and Motivational Interviewing his added certification only enhances the overall therapeutic process.

Nick enjoys working with people from all walks of life. He feels strongly connected with emerging adults. This population is often misunderstood, goes through significant life changes and transitions. Nick believes it’s crucial for individuals to not wait for the “rock bottom.” He also knows that during these years of life it can be difficult and challenging. With continued support and therapy you can avoid the “rock bottom” and strive to your potential. 

Nick is a Licensed Clinical Social worker who has obtained a Master’s degree in Social Work from Loyola University of Chicago and his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan. Nick is a certified alcohol and drug counselor and is trained in EMDR.

Nick enjoys spending time watching movies, listening to music, exploring new restaurants and playing sports.



 

Dr. Jermaine Thomas, Psy.D.

Therapist

Primary Areas of Care: Early Relational Trauma, Depression, Parent-Child Relational Issues & Couples

Locations: Main Office & Fuller Park

Dr. Thomas specializes in working with individuals struggling with early relational trauma, depression, parent-child relational issues, and couple issues. His treatment approach is integrative, as he incorporates perspectives from psychodynamic theory, emotion-focused therapy, the Gottman method, Adlerian therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy.

Dr. Thomas believes that our early experiences, particularly our early relational experiences, lay the foundation for how we view others, the world, and ourselves. He strives to help individuals recover from the pain of their past and he has a passion for working with individuals who seek to learn more about themselves, and desire to grow emotionally, relationally, and spiritually. Dr. Thomas is especially passionate about helping clients form a better relationship with God and fully experience His grace. 

Dr. Thomas obtained his Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Georgetown University and his Doctoral degree in clinical psychology from Adler University.

His style of therapy is relational and clients can expect that he will explore their issues with them without judgment. It is his aim to create a safe space in which clients feel comfortable working through difficult private issues as he provides support along the road to healing.

A fun fact about Dr. Thomas is that he really enjoys playing basketball and participating in obstacle course runs.

 

Articles by Dr. Jermaine

Demystifying Your Child’s Misbehavior

Health & Wellness: Mind, Body, Spirit

Why Do I Need a Therapist if I’ve Got Jesus?


 

Stephanie Rose Torres, M.A.

Bilingual Therapist

Primary Areas of Care: Trauma, Women's Issues & Depression

As an inner-City Chicago native, Stephanie has had much experience with youth and women who have suffered loss and trauma. She has a deep value for connecting the hurting to healing, and sharing hope in moments when hope seems lost.

As such, Stephanie is passionate about working alongside under-resourced adults and adolescents who struggle with regulating emotion, including anger, sadness, uncertainty, anxiety, effects of trauma, women’s issues, and depression.  Stephanie also is passionate about addressing issues within relationships, as well as spiritual concerns. Stephanie views connectedness and spirituality as essential aspects of a human development and healing. Stephanie also has an interest for working with life and work transitions.

Clients can expect that Stephanie will meet them where they are emotionally and spiritually. They can expect that Stephanie will guide them to think critically and holistically about concerns to increase self- and other-awareness and implement strategies for a healthier well-being.

Stephanie earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from DePaul University and her Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Trinity Christian College.

Stephanie loves writing and performing poetry and was the recipient of the Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Award of 2012.

 

Articles by Stephanie

13 Reasons Why: Glorifying Suicide, Increasing the Risk

Going Fishing


Dr. Frances Tung, PhD, LPC, Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Part-Time Clinical Supervisor / Clinical Psychologist

Primary Areas of Care: ADHD, Anxiety & Depression

Dr. Tung specializes in working with individuals who are experiencing ADHD, anxiety, and depression. She seeks to create a safe environment for her clients and to help them make positive and meaningful choices. She enjoys working with clients of all ages on a variety of issues. She has a particular interest in providing psychological assessments to children and adults for issues including attention difficulties, learning disabilities, emotional and social concerns.

Dr. Tung also has expertise in working with child and adolescent development. She specializes in helping children overcome emotional and behavioral difficulties, and offers tools for parents to set their child up for success. She also conducts academic counseling groups that focus on social and emotional learning in elementary schools. Additionally, she is involved in researching and evaluating the effectiveness of academic counseling groups.

Dr. Tung earned her Doctorate degree from Suffolk University. In her free time she enjoys reading, traveling, and learning new things.

 

Articles by Dr. Frances

 


 

Dr. Kara White, Psy.D.

Therapist

Primary Areas of Care: Anxiety, Depression, Vulnerability & Shame/Guilt

Locations: Main Office & River Forest

Dr. White is passionate to work with issues related to grief, life changes, identity and self-esteem, spiritual crisis, self-awareness, assertiveness, relational conflict, communication, anxiety, depression, vulnerability, shame/guilt, and other everyday life difficulties.  She works with adults and teens, and provides pre-marital counseling that utilizes the Prepare/Enrich assessment. She has conducted educational seminars related to stress, social pressures to succeed, and developing healthy relationships.

Dr. White’s approach to counseling involves exploring and understanding one’s difficulty and, with that understanding, finding appropriate changes that will help improve one’s lived experience or situation. Kara strives to develop an empathic and encouraging partnership and embodies a patient, direct, and transparent stance in the relationship. She also utilizes creativity to assist with mental and emotional processing or as a tool for self-care.  She is trained to include one’s faith perspective uniquely to each person's preference. 

Dr. White earned her Doctorate and Master’s degrees in Clinical Psychology from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology and concentrated her graduate studies on integrating faith and psychology. Her dissertation displayed this interest by looking at healthy and unhealthy motives for spiritual fasting. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and minor in Pastoral Care from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, OK.  Dr. White is also an alumna of the Chicago area Christian Training Consortium where she received specialized clinical training in the integration of faith-based practice and training.

She loves to spend time with her family, practice creativity, read non-fiction, enjoy nature, and bond with animals.

 

Articles by Dr. Kara

Assertiveness: Be All of You in Your Relationship

Cyber-bullying: What it is, what to do, and how to prevent it

Overcoming Shame From Failure

Socially Obese? Keep social media use healthy.

The Power of the Creative Process

Will Success Bring Happiness?

Our Externs

Zach Seifert

Jillian Villegas

 

 

Cornerstone Counseling Center of Chicago