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Our Featured Therapist

Merry Baronas, M.S.W., LSW

Request Appointment with Merry

What would you consider your main specialty?
I specialize in trauma-informed therapy. This means that I pay attention to a client’s history of distressing events and experiences and how they have impacted one’s view of themselves and their surroundings. Trauma-focused care integrates processing the past as well as creating change in the present. Trauma work includes (but is not limited to) treating single traumatic events, experiences of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, or certain circumstances of grief and loss. I work with adolescents, young adults, and adults with a diverse range of presenting concerns. I believe that anyone can benefit from the principles of trauma-informed care, regardless of whether a client is presenting with an identified traumatic experience or not. 



Why did you chose that specialty?

From my work as a counselor I see how prevalent traumatic experiences are, and how lasting the consequences can be when they are buried and left untreated. I also have the honor of collaborating with clients who are bravely rewriting unhelpful narratives about themselves and world, identifying and learning to cope with triggers, and ultimately experiencing deeper freedom in their lives. 



What are some signs/symptoms that would indicate a person should see a counselor?

Do you find yourself stuck in unhelpful patterns within your relationships? Do you notice frequent tension in your head, jaw, or shoulders? Have you lost desire or motivation to do things that bring you rest and peace?  Have you recently experienced a significant life event or loss? These are a few cues that can indicate that it might be a good time to see a counselor. If you are unsure, Cornerstone offers a free 30-minute consultation to discuss with a counselor in person whether our center can be a good fit for your needs. Cornerstone offers individual, family, and couples counseling. 

I am not a Christian, so why should I see a Christian counselor?

All counselors are bound to ethical guidelines that uphold the dignity and worth of every human person, regardless of one's religious affiliation or lack thereof. At Cornerstone, we as counselors facilitate honest conversation about your wishes to either integrate your spiritual beliefs and/or religion into your work with us or to only focus on psychological treatment. There is no prerequisite for religious affiliation to participate in meaningful work at Cornerstone. As therapists, we engage in person-centered care and respect the right of a client's self-determination. Just as with any dimension of difference between a counselor and client, it is imperative for the counselor to focus their treatment to the client's lived experience and their goals. 




What do you like to do in your off time?
I enjoy spending time with family and friends, cooking, and writing about the intersection of spirituality and mental health. 


Cornerstone Counseling Center of Chicago