At Polaris, we pride ourselves on having some of the best trained, compassionate and personable counselors in the area. In addition to having experience in all our core counseling areas, each counselor has their own area of clinical expertise, ensuring workable solutions based on real world situations and needs. Furthermore, each of our counselors is equally as passionate as the next about helping you!
Feel free to learn more about our counselors and click on our bio’s below! You will get a snapshot of each counselor’s professional experience and personal interests, a list of their favorite book recommendations and testimonials from their clients.
Need more information? Don’t worry. At Polaris, we understand that starting counseling can be a scary experience. Before your first session, your counselor will call to introduce him/herself to you, confirm the time that you will be meeting and will answer any questions. Don’t be shy, we expect you to have questions. Ask away!
AmyLynn Weiten MSW, LCSW received her Masters degree from Aurora University. She has over ten years experience in working with individuals, groups and families in a variety of settings. AmyLynn has worked with children, adolescents, and families in her time with a community health care center. She has worked with adults in crisis during her time with the homeless health care center, and was a mental health first responder to the tragic shooting that occurred at NIU in 2008.
Stacy Schmidt is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with about about a decade of experience working with children, adolescents, couples and families. With a passion for Children and Adolescents, Stacy has spent most of her career working with Children, Adolescents and their families. More recently, she has enjoyed working with couples struggling with a variety of different interpersonal and relationship issues. Stacy received her Master’s Degree at Illinois State University, with a concentration in School Social Work. Most of Stacy’s career has been spent working in the community, schools, hospitals, and private practice settings.
Lovey Kaur is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with approximately ten years of experience working with children, adolescents, and adults with mental health issues. Lovey realizes that seeking therapy can be a tough decision for a family but ultimately it shows a vast amount of courage, love, and dedication to that family unit. Lovey’s passion lies in working with families to develop effective communication patterns, working alongside adolescents in developing interpersonal skills to illicit positive change, and in assisting young adults to develop a sense of autonomy.
Zachary Simms is a Master’s level clinician and a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor with experience working with a variety of clinical issues, including but not limited to, ADHD, Bipolar Disorder, Depression, Anxiety, PTSD and trauma, abuse and neglect, and Borderline Personality Disorder. Zachary's experience includes, working with children, teens, adults, couples and families, to help improve coping skills, learn stress management techniques and take control of the issues that brought them into treatment. Zachary's insight-oriented, practical approach to working with clients has helped motivate even the most ambivalent and treatment-resistant clients to achieve better clinical outcomes and an improved quality of life! He believes that understanding the needs of his clients are key in creating a thoughtful, personalized approach to help them transition from where they are, to where they want to be.
Jaclyn is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has a passion for working with children, adolescents, young adults and their families. In addition to working at Polaris, Jaclyn currently works as a school social worker in an elementary school setting. She also has previous experience working in a residential treatment environment with women and adolescent girls struggling with substance abuse, eating disorders, trauma, and co-occurring disorders.
Amy is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with extensive work with children, teenagers, individuals and families. Amy feels that seeking therapy shows tremendous inner strength and character. She feels it is an honor to walk with people in part of their journey of life where they may need some extra support or a fresh perspective on various situations. Life is not always a smooth road, and at times are slowed down by a speedbump or come to a crossroad, unsure of what direction to take. Therapy can be a place to seek support, work through difficult emotions in a safe space, and learn new ways to conquer the ‘bumpier’ parts of life. Amy uses a variety of approaches unique to each person. Through the use of empathetic listening, strengths-based, behavioral and solution-focused therapy, Amy will help people realize their own power to make the changes they seek to find their authentic selves and inner peace. Whether a person is seeking someone to listen without feeling judged, uncover strength to overcome fears, to improve relationships or help being able to look in the mirror and take pride in themselves, Amy can offer support.
Dr. Monica Roberts
Dr. Roberts is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and educational psychologist. Monica received her Master’s Degree in Counseling from St. Xavier University in Chicago and her Doctorate degree in Educational Psychology at National Louis University.
Dr. Roberts uses an eclectic approach to therapy that encompasses a multitude of techniques that are tailored to each of her client's specific needs. Dr. Roberts’ theoretical orientations include Adlerian therapy, DBT, ACT, CBT, and trauma focused approaches. Dr. Roberts wants to help her clients understand their own unique perspectives, create their own goals for their life and empower them to work on realistic steps towards those goals. She has a wide range of experience working with children, adolescents, adults, families and groups.
Laima Zavistauskas is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) in the Chicago-Land area. With over 15 years of experience, Laima has expertise in working with individuals who struggle with depression, anxiety, marital and relationship issues, life transitions, and emotional trauma. She also provides individual and group psychotherapy to people with self-esteem and identity challenges.
Alison Clark is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with several years of experience working with adolescents, adults, couples and families. Alison has developed a special niche in the way that she counsels and empowers people going through a transitional period in their lives, whether it be anxiety, depression, an addiction or a family member coping with someone who struggles with addiction. Alison is a highly integrative social worker with experience in a wide range of issues in adults as well as young adults, especially divorce, grief and loss.
Steven Kahn is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with degrees in in Psychology (BA), Industrial/Organizational Psychology (MIOP) and Social Work (MSW). He works with clients of all ages, genders, ethnicities, lifestyles, and interests, as he empathetically listens to each individual’s journey. He enjoys working with adolescents, adults, families, couples, and businesses.
Tamara Gasior is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, who has experience working with children, adolescents, young adults, adults experiencing mental health challenges, couples, families and geriatrics. She has a background in ADHD, Autism, Anxiety, Depression, OCD, Trauma issues, Self-Esteem issues, ODD, Adjustments Disorders and Executive Functioning challenges.
Jason Cole a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) and Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC) with over 26 years of experience in the mental health field. He has worked with adolescents, adults, couples and families in a variety of settings, including community mental health centers, private practice counseling, residential, crisis services, and inpatient. In addition to working in private practice, Jason is also a clinical therapist working on the adult unit at Linden Oaks hospital. Jason received his Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and received his Master’s degree in Community Mental Health from Roosevelt University.
Shannon Aldridge is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with extensive experience in working with individuals, couples, children and families. Through the use of psychoanalysis, cognitive behavioral and family systems theories she works with clients to fully explore their struggles, re-establish balance and empower them to maintain healthy relationships. Shannon also possesses a passion for and an understanding of Christian counseling needs.
Marilyn Andrew is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has extensive experience working with children, adolescents, couples, families and adults struggling with Depression, Anxiety, Attention Deficit, Oppositional Defiant, trauma histories, and Adjustment Disorders.
She has worked in agency and community based settings and uses a variety of cognitive behavioral, play therapy, relational therapy, and solution focused treatment starting where the client is. Additionally, Marilyn has worked with foster children to help stabilize their placements, has supervised Master's level interns, and has worked with adults and families in a non-profit mental health agency.
Lisa Banner is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor. For over fifteen years, Lisa has worked with groups, individuals, adults, children, adolescents, and families. She is here to support her clients, introduce new life tools, offer new perspectives, and help her clients heal, grow, and overcome challenging situations. Lisa has an extensive background working with depression, anxiety, self-injury, bipolar, ADD/ADHD, grief, addictions, executive functioning, divorce, blended families, parenting issues, women's issues, and transitional life changes. To effectively identify, support growth, and create positive change, Lisa uses a collective approach utilizing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Acceptance Commitment Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, and introduces her clients to Mindfulness. “We all have struggles. Sometimes asking for help is the hardest thing we do.”
Elizabeth Dubiel is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and a licensed educator/counselor with professional experience working with individuals, groups, couples, and families. Elizabeth believes that positive change occurs through the process of combining the existing strengths of her clients with new strategies and supports. Her goal is to ensure that each session is preventative, proactive, and empowering, and wants her clients to walk away from each session with tools they can use immediately to help make things more manageable. Helping families and improving individual lives is her passion.
Debbie is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from St. Thomas University in Miami, Florida. She has provided counseling services to individuals, couples, adolescents and families since 1991, and is a Clinical Member of the American Association of Marriage and Family therapy since 2000.
She provides therapy for adult children of alcoholic families, blended families, codependency, communication problems, couples/marriage, depression/anxiety, family counseling, infidelity, parenting issues, self-esteem, and stress management. She is an active, directive, cognitive-behavioral, solution-focused therapist who has worked successfully with diverse cultures, ethnicities, sexual orientations and religions.
Dr. Antonio Salvat
Antonio Salvat, Psy.D., LMFT has a doctorate in clinical psychology and is a Licensed Marital and Family Therapist. He specializes in individual, couples, and family therapy with adolescents and adults of various backgrounds and sexual orientations. Dr. Salvat has worked with people struggling with depression, anxiety, Asperger’s Syndrome (autism spectrum), Borderline Personality Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, thought disorders, emotional disorders, sexuality and gender, co-dependency, boundary issues, and general life problems.
James Smithers is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and is the Founder and President of Polaris Counseling. For over a decade, his passion for helping others has led him to become a counselor, consultant and advocate. As a father of a blended family of five children, and an experienced clinician, James knows how physical, emotional and socioeconomic factors can impact even the strongest of individuals, couples and families. James founded Polaris Counseling to give special attention to the unique needs of his clients in a warm, friendly and supportive environment.