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.
AmyLynn has always been interested in how people interact, and majored in Sociology at Northern Illinois University. In addition to her time in the community health care, she worked at a community mental health center with children, adolescents, groups and families. Rounding out her experience with people of all ages, AmyLynn has worked at a hospital with adults and geriatric clients who experience a change in health that impacts their quality of life and causes significant strain in their family relationships.
AmyLynn believes that conversation in a relaxed setting, where trust and rapport can be developed and fostered into growth, is the most effective way to work with her clients. It takes a tremendous amount of courage and inner strength for individuals and couples to start counseling. AmyLynn recognizes and appreciates this, and provides a safe environment for her clients' strengths to be promoted and applied throughout the course of treatment. AmyLynn's client-centered and integrated approach pulls from Cognitive Behavioral, Dialectical Behavioral therapy, as well as grief and loss theories and Biofeedback. She understands that complicated and unrecognized grief can be present when individuals are experiencing depression, anger, and anxiety. Her holistic focus, including Mindfulness, Breathing, Guided Imagery and Music, uses body "clues" to unpack difficult to verbalize feelings.
AmyLynn is an animal lover and enjoys reading. She appreciates the beauty in nature, and enjoys fishing and baseball!
What people are saying about AmyLynn:
"I connected right away with AmyLynn. She made me feel comfortable and safe in discussing my relationship with my husband. She is so excellent at what she does. I don't want to work with anyone else."
AmyLynn's Recommended Readings:
Codependent No More - Melody Beattie
The 36-Hour Day - Nancy Mace and Peter Rabins
99 Keys to a Creative Life - Melissa Harris
The Gift of Fear - Gavin de Becker
Living with Death and Dying - Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
How to Relax - Thich Nhat Hanh
The 5 Love Languages - Gary Chapman
Stacy Schmidt is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with about about a decade of experience working with children, adolescents, and their families. With a passion for Children and Adolescents, Stacy has spent most of her career working with Children, Adolescents and their families. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.