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
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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
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.
Merry Baronas, M.S.W., LSW
Primary Areas of Care: Emerging Adults, Anxiety, Life Transitions, Trauma & Disordered Eating
Merry specializes in providing trauma-informed therapy with adolescents, adults, and couples. Her clinical experience includes helping clients navigate family-of-origin issues, disordered eating, and grief and loss. Merry intentionally integrates relational therapy with humanistic principles and third-wave cognitive approaches such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Merry views the client as the expert of their own experiences and she facilitates a collaborative approach in therapy to meet the unique needs of the client.
Merry obtained a Master’s degree in Social Work from The Catholic University of America, and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Franciscan University. She views clients from a bio-psycho-social-spiritual perspective and can aid clients who are seeking to integrate their faith and spirituality into therapy. Merry believes that if wounds can occur in the context of a relationship, then change and healing can also occur within the therapeutic relationship that is empathetic, connected, and genuine.
Merry enjoys writing, spending time with her family, and being outside looking out at Lake Michigan.
Articles by Merry
Kendall Brickman, M.A., LPC
Primary Areas of Care: Children, Adolsecents & Emerging Adults
Kendall specializes in working with children and adolescents who struggle with social, emotional and behavioral challenges throughout daily life. Some areas she focuses on are issues related to trauma, mood disorders, ADHD, school stressors, anger management, and family and peer relationships. Kendall has experience working with children in different settings including school and group settings. In addition to working with children and adolescents, Kendall has experience working with adults who are challenged by daily life stressors such as relationship issues, work/life balance, and various moods disorders such as anxiety and depression.
Kendall obtained a Master’s degree from the University of Toledo in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Through her schooling and experience Kendall has established techniques to help provide a warm and inviting atmosphere for individuals to feel comfortable and safe. She believes developing a positive therapeutic relationship is key to the success of counseling for individuals. Kendall utilizes a number of evidence-based treatments such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Narrative Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Play Therapy, and Art Therapy to help individuals accomplish their goals.
Kendall has a passion for traveling and enjoys painting and drawing, taking long walks with her dog, and spending time with friends and family.
Karen Bryant, M.A., LPC, NCC
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 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.
Monica Caldwell, M.A.
Primary Areas of Care: Adolescents, Couples, Anxiety, Depression, Trauma & Life Transitions
Monica is guided by a strong desire to help people work through things that are getting in the way to live a more balanced, fulfilled, and authentic life. She assists those individuals who feel stuck, trapped, broken, or lost by their own thoughts, feelings, or behaviors. She is passionate about working with people who are curious about themselves, those who want to explore and understand what’s behind their depression, anxiety, body image issues, low self-worth/esteem, relationship issues, hopelessness, trauma, or shame.
From the initial session to all subsequent visits, clients can anticipate that Monica’s central goal will be to assist them towards living and sustaining intentional, meaningful, vibrant and wholesome lives with hope, education, healing, direction and growth. Monica empathically engages her clients while supporting them in their endeavors as they define and refine their true selves. She considers therapy a gift; the opportunity to journey alongside clients as they disclose their innermost anguish and pain; being able to bear witness to those things and then helping to guide them towards hope, healing and transformation is truly an honor. Aside from helping clients accomplish their goals, she also assists each client in uncovering their unique cargo; this cargo encompasses a client’s unique strengths, talents and abilities, which they each uniquely contribute to the world. For those comfortable integrating Christian themes and perspectives, she is pleased and privileged to help drive therapy forward where clients can discover the grace, belongingness, compassion, and freedom that God unequivocally extends to all people.
Monica graduated from Western Illinois University with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology along with a specialization in Neuroscience and graduated from Concordia University Chicago with a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She is a National Certified Counselor (NCC) and an active member of the American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA).
In her free time, she enjoys reading, attending live music events and spoken word, baking, and catching up with family and friends.
Dr. LaToya Flowers-Roe, Ph.D., 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, C-DBT
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
Stephanie Harris, M.A., LCPC
Primary Areas of Care: Adults, Couples, Addiction, Anxiety & Depression
Stephanie is a licensed clinical professional counselor from Vermont, but currently living in Chicago. She takes a very Person-Centered approach to counseling. Stephanie believes you know yourself better than anyone else and ultimately know what is best for you. It would be her job as your therapist to help you discover what that is.
Stephanie works with individual adults and couples struggling with anxiety, depression, abuse, addiction, self-esteem issues, family conflict, life transitions, and more. She has specialized training in helping people recover from trauma. In addition to using talk therapy, Stephanie is also an Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapist, which can help people form new, more healing interpretations about their traumatic memories.
Stephanie has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Vermont and a Master’s degree in Counseling from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University. She is currently finishing my PsyD degree at Roosevelt University. Stephanie has experience working in private practice, crisis centers, in-patient hospitals, employee assistance programs, community mental health centers, and primary care clinics. She also have a lovely 4-year-old pug named Bernie.
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., LMFT
Marriage & Family Therapist
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 clients with genuine warmth, establishing a safe and supportive environment on their journey toward growth and healing. For those who embrace a Christian perspective, Britni aids clients in exploring and experiencing the compassion and freedom God brings into our lives.
Working with both the somatic and cognitive experience of emotions, Britni is able to help clients gain a deeper self-awareness. More specifically, she utilizes the evidence-based models of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and Internal Family Systems (IFS) in her work. With couples, Britni focuses on improving communication within the relationship and utilizes a blend of Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) and the Gottman method.
Britni was born and raised as an expat in Taipei, Taiwan. She completed her undergraduate degree in British Columbia, Canada and her graduate degree at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. Britni has been working in mental health since 2011 and moved to Chicago in the spring of 2018.
Karina Peters, M.A.
Bilingual Doctoral Intern
Primary Areas of Care: Children, Adolescents, Emerging Adults, Families & Life Transitions
Karina strives to create a safe, supportive space for clients to work through their deepest pain and be with them in their most vulnerable moments. She believes that providing emotional attunement in the “here and now” with her clients is essential for growth and change. Her style of therapy is relational, focusing on a trauma-informed attachment and psychodynamic theory, using behavioral techniques when needed. She addresses mental health issues from a holistic perspective which includes a bio-psycho-social-spiritual paradigm.
Karina is passionate about working with children, adolescents, young adults and their families, as well as those experiencing life transitions. She has specialized her training in children, adolescents and family work. She believes that the developing mind is eager to understand their inner world and the world around them and considers it a privilege to come alongside each of her client’s journey’s towards growth.
Karina received her Bachelor’s in Psychology from Biola University. She obtained her master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and is currently finishing up her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, from George Fox University. She has clinical experience in a variety of settings, including outpatient mental health clinics, medical clinics, hospitals, assessment evaluation centers, and schools.
In her free time, Karina enjoys long distance running, reading, spending time with her dog and finding the best new ice-cream flavors.
“Wonderful things happen when people feel felt, when they sense that their minds are held within another’s mind.”
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. Andrene Spencer, Psy.D.
Post Doctoral Fellow
Primary Areas of Care: Adults, Emerging Adults, Spiritual Integration, Identity Concerns, Depression & Anxiety
Locations: Main Office & Andersonville
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 Post 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 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.
Articles by Dr. Andrene
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. Kara White, Psy.D.
Primary Areas of Care: Life Transitions, Grief, Depression & Anxiety
Locations: Main Office & River Forest
Kara 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.
Her 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.
She is passionate to work with issues related to grief, life changes, identity and self-esteem, spiritual development, 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.
She loves to spend time with her family, practice creativity, read non-fiction, enjoy nature, and bond with animals.
Articles by Dr. Kara