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!
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 been privileged to provide counseling services to individuals, couples, adolescents and families since 1989, and is a clinical member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy since 2000.
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.