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.
Our Clinical Team
Rev. Dr. Peonita Harris, Psy.D., LMFT, CSAT, CDWF
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 18 years. Dr. Harris has been an ordained minister for over 20 years and has served in leadership throughout her professional career. 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 distressed 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. She received her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Adler University. Dr. Harris is also a clinical fellow of AAMFT and a Certified Daring Way™ Facilitator.
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
Christine Collins, M.A., LCPC, NCC, CADC
Clinical Director / 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.
Articles by Christine
Martina Sancen, M.A., LCPC
Director of Academic Counseling Programs / Bilingual Therapist
Primary Areas of Care: Children, Adolescents, Families, ADHD, Anxiety & Depression
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
Dr. Grace Ahn-Im, Psy.D.
Primary Areas of Care: Children, Adults, Couples, Life Transitions, Depression, Anxiety & Identity Concerns
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.
Rev. Dr. Trina A. Armstrong, PhD., LMFT
Primary Areas of Care: Spiritual Integration, Grief, Loss, Trauma, Couples, Families, Parenting, Anxiety, Depression, Identity & Life Transitions
Dr. Trina believes everyone has the capacity to be our best selves, yet she also recognizes that challenges can unexpectedly arise because of a traumatic experience or stressful life event across any stage of life. Her passion is to bring hope, healing and guidance to survivors of sexual trauma and relational trauma; couples who are experiencing stress in their relationships; and individuals with feelings of depression or anxiety from life shifts and changes.
With compassion and empathy, Dr. Trina enjoys helping diverse adults, couples, parents and families, adolescents and children, in improving their self-esteem and self-worth and in strengthening their relationships. She believes that no single approach to therapy is right for every individual, family or couple. As such, her relational, engaging, and collaborative style integrates faith and spirituality with a variety of therapeutic, family systems, and couples counseling approaches. Clients will experience a welcoming and safe space where each person can be uniquely and holistically human, beyond the stigma of mental illness and wherever they are on their wellness journey.
In her free time, she enjoys theatre, dancing, listening to live music, arts festivals, nature, watching sports and traveling.
LaToya Flowers-Roe, M.A., LPC
Primary Areas of Care: Couples, Parenting, Child and Adolescent Behavior & Life Transitions
Couple and family relationships can be hard work – the source of great joy and great pain. LaToya specializes in couple and family counseling. She, primarily, works with clients regarding issues such as communication, infidelity, parenting, child and adolescent behavior, depression, anxiety and daily life stressors. She sees individuals, couples and families.
LaToya concentrates on strengthening couple and familial bonds, repairing relationship wounds, and breaking destructive generational patterns of interaction. She does so by using a positive, brief therapeutic approach to provide long lasting change in as short a time as possible. She strives to create a safe, nurturing environment for her clients by expressing genuine warmth, care and concern. She wholeheartedly believes her clients can and will accomplish their therapeutic goals.
LaToya received her B. S. in Psychology from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. She received a M.A. in Counseling with a specialization in marriage and families from Governors State University in University Park, IL. And she is currently working on her doctoral degree in Counselor Education and Supervision from Governors State University. She also teaches graduate level courses in counseling; is in the process of co-authoring several chapters in a book on EFT with couples; and frequently presents at professional mental health conferences. In her free time, she likes redecorating her home and watching movies with her husband and two sons.
"Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most."
Nicholas Guerrero, M.S.W., LCSW, CADC
Primary Areas of Care: Addiction, Emerging Adults, Anxiety & Depression
Nicholas is a Master level clinician. Attending catholic schools his entire life, he finished his educational career at Loyola University of Chicago where he obtained his Master’s in Social Work. Nicholas’ approach is Person Centered Solution Focused, utilizing Empathic Understanding, Cognitive Behavioral techniques and spiritual understanding. Importantly, Nicholas utilizes a unique combination of these treatment modalities that revolve around “meeting you where you are at”.
Nicholas has strived to have these values and practices shine through while treating the community over the past years. A key tenant of Nicholas’ practice is to “utilize empathy through grace and humility in order to build on a client’s own potential”.
In his free time, Nicholas enjoys teaching himself how to play the ukulele and the harmonica. He also enjoys taking classes in marital arts and self-defense.
Articles by Nicholas
Shannon Krabill, M.S.W., LCSW
Primary Areas of Care: Grief/Loss, Couples, 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.
Britni Ludwig, M.A.
Primary Areas of Care: Family Systems, Trauma, Anxiety, Depression, Adults
Being trained in a systemic approach to therapy, Britni incorporates this perspective into her work with individuals, couples, and families. She approaches therapy from an attachment perspective, believing that our primary relationships shape the way we experience ourselves and others. Britni helps clients reframe faulty thoughts and beliefs so they can live more fulfilling lives and improve their relationships. For those who embrace a Christian perspective, she aids clients in exploring and experiencing the grace, compassion, and freedom God brings into the deep places of shame and pain that exist in so many of us.
Having received training in the treatment of trauma, Britni is able to utilize specific skills and psycho-education about how trauma affects the brain to help clients manage their symptoms and process their experiences in a healthier way.
Working with the somatic experience of emotions, Britni is able to help clients gain a deeper self-awareness of their cognitive and emotional experience. With this, clients feel more equipped to make constructive and proactive choices in their lives and relationships. More specifically, Britni utilizes a combination of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Internal Family Systems (IFS) in her work.
Britni was born and raised as an expat in Taipei, Taiwan. She completed her undergraduate degree at Trinity Western University located in British Columbia, Canada, and completed her graduate degree in Marriage and Family Therapy at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. She has been working in mental health since 2010 and moved to Chicago in the spring of 2018.
Zach Seifert, M.A., LPC
Community Partnership Coordinator / Therapist
Primary Areas of Care: Anxiety, Depression, Children, Family Systems & Sexual Addiction
Zach enjoys working with a diverse population and tailors the therapeutic environment to meet each client where they are to address their specific and unique needs. Clients can expect a holistic model of therapy that aims to acknowledge the relationship between mind, body and spirit; while also being challenged to discover their full potential individually, relationally and spiritually.
Zach specializes in working with adults whose day-to-day functioning is being impacted by anxiety, depression and/or sexual addiction; as well as children who are experiencing emotional or behavioral inconsistencies, like symptoms of ADHD. He utilizes evidenced based interventions to support the client’s welfare and drive improvement and relief from symptoms.
Zach has always felt led to assist others in discovering their purpose/meaning, which ultimately guided him into the field of Psychology. Zach earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Kansas and a Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Chicago State University.
Zach enjoys spending meaningful time with his family, listening to music, watching great television, exploring the world and playing sports/competitions.
Dr. Grace Schuler Spencer, Psy.D., LPC, NCC
Primary Areas of Care: Adolescents, Emerging Adults, Women, Couples, Mood Concerns, Grief/Loss & Trauma Concerns
Grace enjoys supporting clients on their journeys through both pain and joy in the pursuit of the fulfilled and enriched life. Her primary therapeutic orientation is Acceptance and commitment Therapy and she draws from other theories such as Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and is primarily anchored in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). She invites clients into developing value-guided behaviors that promote hope and meaning in the face of life’s challenges. For those interested, she also utilizes the integration of religion/spirituality and therapy by incorporating spiritually informed interventions. As a therapist, she sees her role as fostering a warm and creative shared working alliance that mindfully engages the here and now.
Grace approaches the work of therapy from a holistic perspective as she appreciate the multiple components of life, including those that are biological, psychological, social, and spiritual. Her clinical interests include women’s issues, trauma, mood concerns, anxiety concerns, identity development, multicultural and cross-cultural issues, relationship concerns, and developmental concerns. Formative past training experiences include working in settings such as community mental health, college and university counseling, therapeutic day school, and acute inpatient hospital programs. Grace received her Master’s in Counseling from Regent University and doctoral degree from Wheaton College in the clinical psychology program.
When not working, Grace enjoys spending time with her husband, eating her favorite Black Raspberry Chip ice cream and volunteering with local anti-sex trafficking organizations. Grace is delighted to join the Cornerstone Counseling Center of Chicago as a member of the Chicago Area Christian Training Consortium (CACTC) internship cohort under the supervision of Dr. Jermaine Thomas for the 2018-2019 training year.
Articles by Grace
Dr. Andrene Spencer, Psy.D.
Primary Areas of Care: Adults, Emerging Adults, Spiritual Integration, Identity Concerns, Depression & Anxiety
Andrene has worked with clients from diverse backgrounds with various presenting problems. She enjoys working with emerging adults most of all because she likes being a part of their journey as they transition from adolescence to adulthood and continue to figure out who they are. In addition, Andrene is passionate about addressing matters pertaining to faith, religion and/or spirituality and often integrates faith and psychology in her work with clients if they so desire. She has also led an anger management group for teens and co-led a parenting group and process group and values the interpersonal dynamics at play in group psychotherapy settings. Andrene believes that group therapy works well for a lot of individuals and can be a source of support and normalization for clients. Andrene usually operates from a cognitive behavioral approach and she takes into consideration the relational dynamic between the therapist and client in the room as well as the clients’ relationships in and outside of therapy.
Andrene currently has a master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling and has been working in the mental health field for almost eight years. She is Cornerstone’s Doctoral Fellow and has completed a Master of Arts in Theology and Ministry and a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) in Clinical Psychology at Fuller Theological Seminary in June 2019. In her spare time, Andrene enjoys spending time with people and attending various social events. She also loves to watch one of her many preferred television shows or listen to music when she wants some alone time.
Dr. Jermaine Thomas, Psy.D.
Licensed Clinical Psychologist / Clinical Supervisor
Primary Areas of Care: Early Relational Trauma, Depression & Couples
Locations: Main Office & Fuller Park
Dr. Thomas specializes in working with individuals struggling with early relational trauma, depression, 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
Stephanie Rose Torres, M.A., LPC
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
Dr. Frances Tung, PhD, LPC
Licensed Clinical Psychologist / Part-Time Clinical Supervisor
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.
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 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
Primary Areas of Care: Couples, Emerging Adults & Life Transitions
Karen enjoys working with couples at all phases of their relationship from courtship to marriage. She helps couples identify their strengths, patterns of relating, vulnerabilities and helps them to develop tools that foster and protect their relationship. Having experienced many life transitions, Karen understands each phase of life has challenges and supports individuals as they develop and maintain their self identity and who they wish to be as their lives and relationships changes.
By considering your unique challenges, Karen customizes her therapeutic approach to address your concerns. All approaches incorporate your strengths, promote engagement, and focus on your desired future. Karen operates from a solution-focused orientation, including Gottman, Structural and CBT interventions, integrating spirituality and Christian perspectives when requested.
Karen earned a B.S in Accounting from Illinois Institute of Technology, a B.A in Psychology from Governors State University, and is currently working to complete a M.A in Counseling specializing in marriage, couples and family therapy from Governors State University. Karen serves as advisor to the practicum laboratory supervisor; is an officer in counseling honor society and serves as a teaching assistant at Governors State University.
In her spare time, Karen enjoys participating in activities that promote laughter.
Primary Areas of Care: Adolescents, Couples, Anxiety, Depression, Trauma & Life Transitions
Monica enjoys working with individuals, adolescents, and couples on a variety of issues such as trauma, depression, anxiety, stress, grief, anger and resentment. She also helps those struggling to cope with life transitions or difficult adjustments, identity and self-esteem, academic related problems, and relational conflicts and/or concerns. Monica believes the process of transformation and development must be deeply embedded within a compassionate, safe and nonjudgmental atmosphere. In collaborating with a client to find their own strength, she recommends interventions with the intention of stimulating progress and advancement toward the client’s goals. Monica incorporates interventions that encourage and support social, emotional, and cultural awareness, mindfulness, self-reflection and acceptance such as, a combination of CBT and Existential/Humanistic interventions due to strong evidence of their effectiveness in the management and treatment of many adversities and hardships.
Monica empathically engages clients while supporting them in their endeavors as they define and refine their true selves. For those comfortable integrating Christian themes and perspectives, Monica is pleased and privileged to help propel clients on a path forward where they too can discover and experience the grace, belongingness, compassion, and freedom that God unequivocally invites us to partake in while entrusting our deepest fears, shame and brokenness. Monica helps clients work toward recognizing beliefs connected to events and using suitable techniques in alliance with spiritual principles to identify, understand and execute goals in therapy.
Monica received a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and a minor in Neuroscience at Western Illinois University, and is currently pursuing an advanced degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Concordia University Chicago. Monica serves as a member of the AmericanMental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA).
In her spare time, she enjoys attending concerts, live music festival events, and traveling with her family and friends. She delights in getting crafty and creative with her daughter on Pinterest, spending time with her adorable Beagle, Faith; and makes room in her life for yoga, tacos, and tea.
Primary Areas of Care: Life Transitions, Identity Concerns & Spiritual Integration
Curissa Sutherland-Smith is a graduate student at Illinois Institute of Technology where she is obtaining a masters in Clinical Mental Health and Rehabilitation. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Hope College. The foundation of her counselor identity is the desire to assist individuals in becoming good stewards of their mind, body, and spirit. She is committed to increasing the utilization and access to mental health resources to underserved populations. Curissa aspiration is to empowering, promoting and creating a social change in research, counseling practices, and education curriculum. She has an integrated theoretical counseling approach to meet the needs of clients. Curissa’s address issues with life adjustments, identity, life skills, self-esteem using evidence based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Mindfulness, and Person Centered. She integrates Christian perspective when requested.
Curissa career ambition is to establish an environment that rehabilitates more than the person's mental health but the ability to empower one's identity within their family, community, and culture. After graduation, she plans to work with organizations that serve low income and at-risk populations. Curissa long-term goal is to obtain her Ph.D. to educate the next generation of Psychologist and mental health professionals on the importance of embracing social justice, international, and multicultural issues.