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!
Carmen Adams is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 20 years of experience working with individuals, children, adolescents, families and couples. Carmen has always been interested in human development over the life span. Diagnosable disorders, mental illness, life transitions, stress, trauma, difficult situations or experiences can interrupt life in a negative way. The therapeutic relationship can foster hope and healing toward a more meaningful and healthier life experience.
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.
Barbara Giordan MSW, LCSW received her Masters degree from the University of Connecticut. She is licensed in two states and has over twenty years of experience in the mental health field. Barb has worked in an inpatient hospital, a day school program and several private practice settings, including a Christian counseling center. She has also lectured extensively in teaching hospitals as well as local community agencies on a variety of topics which have included, the signs and symptoms of sexual abuse, depression, traumatic brain injuries, and childhood development.
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.
Dr. Roberts has worked in a variety of settings from non- profit organizations, therapeutic day schools, group private practice, and a residential treatment facility at which she held a supervisory position. Dr. Roberts currently works as a Clinical Therapist at Linden Oaks adolescent outpatient program and as an adjunct professor at College of DuPage. Dr. Roberts is trauma informed in her approach and wants to provide a safe environment for clients to explore trauma, learn skills to enhance their functioning and live healthier, more fulfilled lives.
What people are saying about Monica:
“Monica is truly a gifted and compassionate therapist. I was able to open up and trust her with my trauma history in a short amount of time. Her insight and approach challenged my thought process and behaviors. Monica is invested in helping her clients live full and purposeful lives”
Christian Perspectives by Barbara
"Several of my clients have asked me how to properly pray to God. The Lord’s Prayer, found in Mathew 6: 9-13, lays a solid foundation for instruction. It is intended to be a blueprint to follow; not an empty incantation mindlessly repeated or a nursery rhyme to teach to our children to lull themselves to sleep."
Monica's Recommended Readings:
The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma - Bessel van der Kolk
The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook: Practical DBT Exercises for Learning Mindfulness, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Emotion Regulation and Distress Tolerance - Matthew McKay, Jeffrey Wood, Jeffrey Brantley
A Practical Guide to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy - Stephen Hayes, Kirk D. Strosahl, Kelly G. Wilson
The Individual Psychology of Alfred Adler - Alfred Adler
The Power of Vulnerability - Brene Brown
Don't Sweat the Small Stuff... And It's All Small Stuff - Richard Carlson
Cognitive Behavioral Interventions for Trauma in Schools - L. H. Jaycox
A Child Called It - Dave Pelzer
Carmen Adams (en español)
Carmen Adams es una Trabajadora Social Clínica licenciada con más de 20 años de experiencia trabajando con adultos, niños, adolescentes, familias y parejas. Carmen siempre ha estado interesada en el desarrollo humano a través de la vida, así como, los trastornos diagnosticables, las enfermedades mentales, las transiciones en la vida, el estrés, el trauma, las situaciones difíciles o las experiencias puedan afectar la vida de una manera negativa. La relación terapéutica puede fomentar la esperanza y la sanación ayudando a tener experiencias de vida más significativas y más saludables.
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.
Kiersten Amport is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with experience working with individuals, children, adolescents, and families. Kiersten focuses on building a strong client relationship while employing a variety of therapeutic approaches to best support each individual client. She practices a client-centered and strengths-based approach while utilizing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectal Behavioral Therapy and Solution Focused Therapy. Kiersten implements a holistic approach to empower clients and help them gain the tools needed to endure the ups and downs of life while maintaining balance and peace.
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.
Lisa Banner is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor. For the last ten plus years, Lisa has worked with groups, individuals, adults, children, adolescents, and families. She is here to support, introduce new life tools, and help her clients heal from and overcome difficult situations. She has an extensive background working with depression, anxiety, self-injury, bipolar, ADD/ADHD, grief, addictions, and cognitive deficits. To identify obstacles and support change she uses cognitive behavioral theories. “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.
Kelly Ford is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor with extensive experience working with children, teens, individuals, groups and families. Kelly believes that every individual seeking counseling services is unique and therefore her approach to therapy is unique to each client as well. Through the use of cognitive behavioral, solution focused, dialectical behavioral, trauma focused techniques and empathic listening, Kelly helps clients make positive changes in their lives and empowers them to recognize their inner strength. Kelly strives to build a strong therapeutic relationship with her clients in order to assist them on their personal journey. Kelly also uses play therapy techniques to work with children as young as four years old.
Lauren Sax-Hanninen is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor who brings more than a decade of experience to her work with children, adolescents, parents and families. Her approach to treatment helps clients consider their current thoughts and behaviors in order to assess whether these choices positively or negatively affect their quality of life. She also utilizes coping skills training, problem-solving and relaxation strategies in her sessions to help clients bring themselves to a more peaceful center. Her goal is to make therapy a place where clients can learn skills that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.
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.
Dr. Rosa Salas
Rosa Salas, LMFT, PhD is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with experience in working with individuals and couples. Rosa works with individuals who are dealing with stressful and difficult situations with compassion and empathizes with her clients, giving her full attention to understand their circumstances, values, and goals. Her treatment orientation includes Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, Christian Counseling, and Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR), while utilizing a holistic approach according to the individual needs of the client.
Dra. Rosa Salas (en español)
Rosa E. Salas, Lmft, PhD es una terapeuta matrimonial y familiar licenciada con experiencia de trabajo con individuos y parejas. Rosa trabaja con personas que están enfrentando situaciones estresantes y difíciles con compasión y empatía hacia sus clientes, brindándoles toda su atención para entender sus circunstancias, valores y objetivos. Su orientación de tratamiento incluye terapia cognitivo-conductual, terapia centrada en soluciones, consejería cristiana y reprocesamiento de desensbilización del movimiento ocular (EMDR), mientras al mismo tiempo utiliza un enfoque holístico de acuerdo con las necesidades individuales del cliente.
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.
Erin Staley is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has dedicated her career to empowering children, adolescents, adults, and families to see the strength that already exists within them through validation, support, and guidance. She utilizes a reality based approach focusing on the here and now, helping to prepare her clients for a healthier future through acceptance and self-determination.