Illinois Mental Health Counselors


Log in

Upcoming events

    • August 28, 2020
    • 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM (CDT)
    • DoubleTree Hilton-9599 Skokie Blvd, Skokie, IL 60077
    IMHCA Annual Conference

    Mention you are attending the Illinois Mental Health Counselors Annual Conference and receive a special room rate.

    Presenter Bio
    Workshop Description


    Learning Objectives


    On your own

    9:00 AM-4:00 PM

    Workshop will be 6.0 CEs/PDs for LPC/LCPC; LSW/LCSW; LMFT; Psychologists


    Mention you are attending the Illinois Mental Health Counselors Annual Conference and receive a special room rate of $109.00 (Standard King or Double Room). Special room rates are available. Call 800-222-8733 to make reservations.

    Cancellation Policy

    You may receive a full refund, if requested, and cancel at anytime prior to the training. Workshops may be cancelled or rescheduled due to  circumstances beyond our control. IMHCA is not responsible for any loss or damage as a result of substitution, alteration, or cancellation of an event. IMHCA shall assume no liability whatsoever in the event that a workshop is cancelled, rescheduled or postponed due to a fortuitous event, Act of God, unforeseen occurrences or any other event that renders performance of this conference impracticable, illegal or impossible. For purposes of this clause, a fortuitous event shall include, but not be limited to: war, fire, labor strike, extreme weather or other emergency. IMHCA will make every effort to offer a substitution event in the case IMHCA cancels because of a fortuitous event or Act of God.

    Proof of IMHCA Membership: To receive the member discount you need to be a current member of ICA and the IMHCA division. If you are unsure, please call and we can verify your membership status.

    • August 29, 2020
    • 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM (CDT)
    • DoubleTree Hilton Skokie, 9599 Skokie Blvd, Skokie, IL 60077
    IMHCA Annual Conference - Saturday
    Saturday - August 29, 2020
    9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
    6 CEs


    DoubleTree Skokie. Mention you are attending the Illinois Mental Health Counselors Annual Conference and receive a special room rate of $109.00 (Standard King or Double Room). Special room rates are available until March 5, 2020. Call 800-222-8733 to make reservations.

    3 Choices

    9:00 am - 12:00 pm

    Empowering the African American Client:  Demystifying Mental Health
    Angela D Jackson, Ph.D., LCPC, NCC

    Bio: Angela Jackson is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor experienced working with diverse youth, adults, couples, and families. A graduate of Virginia Tech, she has a Ph.D. in Counselor Education with a concentration in Race & Social Policy. She focuses on building rapport with clients from their cultural context and clarifying the basis for their presenting issues. As a Core Faculty member in the Townsend Institute Master’s Counseling Program, Dr. Jackson enjoy empowering students to recognize their strengths and utilize their God-given gifts purposefully. She has gained a unique cultural awareness of the family dynamics and cultural dispositions, particularly with the African American population.

    Workshop Description: Client Welfare, Informed Consent, and Avoiding Harm and Imposing Values are ethical standards to consider when empowering the African American client!!  Culturally responsive techniques such as cultural sensitivity, building rapport, and clarifying counseling expectations will be explored via visual media.  Tips for demystifying mental health will be highlighted.

    Examining How Clinicians Integrate  Mindfulness Practices with  High-Risk Adolescents
    Lili Burciaga, EdD, LCPC

    Bio: Dr. Lili Burciaga is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor with 14 years of experience in the field in hospitals, community mental health, corrections, and integrative care.  Dr. Burciaga is also assistant professor and core faculty in the child and adolescent track of the clinical mental health counseling graduate program at Lewis University. She teaches in the Undergraduate Psychology Program as well.  Her areas of expertise and interest include mindfulness, trauma, family dynamics, and clinical supervision.

    Workshop Description: This workshop looks at a study that explored the lived experiences of clinicians who have integrated mindfulness practices into their clinical work with high-risk adolescents.  The study aimed to explore specific mindfulness integration strategies that are beneficial to high-risk adolescents, based on the experiences of the individuals who participated in the study.  The participants of the study discussed their challenges, successes, and their perception of effective mindfulness techniques with this population.  Three superordinate and 11 subordinate themes and four categories were identified.  The essence of the participant’s experiences provided knowledge and considerations for other clinicians interested in using mindfulness in therapy with high-risk adolescents.

    Couple Counseling When Divorce is Imminent
    Gwendolyn Sterk, Attorney at Law

    Bio: Gwendolyn J. Sterk has been practicing family law since 1989 and successfully started her own law firm, Sterk Family Law Group, P.C., in 2015. Gwendolyn and her team believe in a holistic approach to the practice of family law and strive to not only service a client’s legal needs, but also help manage a client’s emotional and over-all well-being.  Ms. Sterk and the Family Law team work hard to establish connections with a vast network of counselors, support groups, and various other non-traditional service providers, who the team regularly partners with to assist clients on a case by case basis.  Sterk Family Law Group strives to provide clients with the tools they need to be empowered by their life changes, and be encouraged to move on with integrity and dignity.

    Workshop Description: This presentation will include the following:

    A.      Highlights of Illinois Divorce Law and recent changes in the Law
    B.      Tips for Couples from the Perspective of a Divorce Lawyer
    C.      Standards of Behavior to maintain good relations with your children
    D.      Special considerations for a “grey” divorce

    Unique issues for parents of a child with special needs


    12:00 PM - 1:00 PM - Lunch: is on your own.

    3 Choices

    1:00 PM - 4:00 PM 


    • August 30, 2020
    • 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM (CDT)
    • DoubleTree Hilton Skokie, 9599 Skokie Blvd, Skokie, IL 60077

    IMHCA Annual Conference - Sunday
    Sunday - August 30, 2020
    9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
    6 CEs


    DoubleTree Skokie. Mention you are attending the Illinois Mental Health Counselors Annual Conference and receive a special room rate of $109.00 (Standard King or Double Room). Special room rates are available. Call 800-222-8733 to make reservations.

    3 Choices

    Sunday, August 30, 2020
    9:00 am - 12:00 pm

    Medical Cannabis & Mental Health
    Anne Shragal, MA, LCPC, PEL-SC, ACS; none


    Workshop Description: 

    With Illinois legalizing marijuana January 2020, mental health counselors may have clients receiving counseling while also
    using cannabis legally. Many clients are finding therapeutic benefits with the use of medical-grade cannabis when monitored and used properly. Emerging research indicates patients are reporting a reduction in symptoms such as anxiety, depression, panic attacks, etc. This, in turn, allows the clinician to work on maladaptive behaviors and cognitive distortions.

    Medical Cannabis & Mental Health is an introductory presentation on the uses of medical cannabis and its implications in Clinical Counseling. Attendees will learn the details surrounding medical cannabis including endocannabinoid and phytocannabinoid systems, strains, and absorptions methods. In addition, participants will get an in-depth look at the implications of medical cannabis on mental health and the emerging research pertaining to this topic. The objective of this presentation is to provide and create dialogue and information surrounding the medicinal use of cannabis in the practice of clinical counseling.

    Sunday, August 30, 2020

    9:00 am - 12:00 pm

    Supporting those that Protect and Serve: A Clinician's Guide to Improving Officer Wellness

    Jaclyn Wallen, MA, LCPC; Deputy Vincent Acevez of the Cicero Police Dept and Meghan Meyer, EdD

    Bio:Jackie Wallen, LCPC, earned degrees from Cedarville University and Chicago State University.  As a resident of Cicero she is passionate about helping the community support youth and families.  During her tenure at Youth Crossroads she helped start and build the school based counseling program at the local high school district.

    Jackie is very involved in helping the local communities become more trauma informed, focusing on school systems and law enforcement.  She has trained all of the Cicero Police Department Personnel on Trauma Informed Policing.  She help start a Peer Support Program with the Department and is the Clinician for their Peer Support Program.  She has trained thousands of school personnel on best practices of trauma informed schools and has helped collect data and advocate for trauma informed practices within the school system and law enforcement community. 

    Jackie finds herself often in the role of bridge builder finding great meaning in helping marginalized individuals/groups and systems work together for the betterment of all. When she isn’t working, Jackie loves having adventures with her husband, Joel, and their children, Justus and Deacon.

    Deputy Vincent C. Acevez is a twenty plus year veteran of the Cicero, Illinois Police Department.  Up until his recent promotion to Deputy of the Cicero Police Department’s Patrol Division, Vince worked nearly his entire career in the service of the Gang Crimes Tactical Unit. Before becoming Commander of the Gang Crimes Tactical Unit, Deputy Acevez worked as a Sergeant in the unit, overseeing complex gang-related investigations as well as the development of officers assigned to the unit. Prior to his promotion to Sergeant, Acevez worked as a Gang Officer for twelve years, the highlight of which was receiving the Cicero Police Department Medal of Honor, which is the department’s highest award for bravery in the line of duty.

    Deputy Acevez additionally serves as Chairman of the Cicero P.D. Community Outreach Committee, the Cicero P.D. Wellness Committee, and also serves on the Board of the Town of Cicero Neighborhood Watch Program. Deputy Acevez frequently speaks at public events on behalf of the Cicero Police Department, and regularly gives presentations to other Law Enforcement personnel and civilian audiences on the topic of Street Gang Awareness.

    Deputy Acevez is married and has two beautiful daughters, serves on the board of a local not-for-profit, teaches Spin classes at a local gym. Deputy Acevez
    received his Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Lewis University.  

    Dr. Meghan Meyer is proud to be a school psychologist of Morton High School District 201 in Cicero, Illinois. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology at University of Illinois, educational specialist degree at National Louis University and doctorate degree in school psychology/mental health from Loyola University. Meghan has been practicing as a school psychologist for the past eleven years and is dedicated to supporting and advocating for youth and families.

    Through her work as a school psychologist, she has developed a passion for building trauma-informed schools and communities because she has directly witnessed the significant impact trauma has on the lives of her students. Meghan has extended this work into the community as she serves on board for Youth Crossroads as well as the health and safety committee of the Cicero Community Collaborative. Meghan is personally invigorated to see the spark and momentum build behind trauma and honored to be part of the driving force to create a trauma-informed community.

    Workshop Description:

    Clinicians will walk away from the workshop with a model for a collaborative approach to improving officer wellness through building a trauma informed police department.  Presenters including a Cicero Police Commander, School Psychologist, and Community Counselor will share their experience of partnering together to address officer mental health and wellness in this urban, immigrant community surrounded by Chicago. The team will walk participants through steps they took to get their foot in the door, lay the groundwork, build relationships, provide mental health trainings, obtain data and establish long term partnerships to improve the mental health of the community and the police officers. The workshop will demonstrate how this grassroots approach has ignited a spark both in the police department and in the community creating a desire and willingness to become more trauma informed and focus attention on improving mental health. Participants will leave feeling inspired and challenged to consider how they can use their sphere of influence to bring about positive change in their own departments and communities.

    12:00 PM - 1:00 PM - Lunch: is on your own.

    3 Choices
    1:00 PM - 4:00 PM

    Taking the R.E.I.N.S. Of A Sensitive Life: Supporting the Highly Sensitive Person
    Gelana McCloud, MS, LCPC, CCTP, MS in Mental Health Counseling     MS in Human Services; Denise Peters,  MA  Coach/Consultant

    Bio: Gelana is the founder of Lifeline Counseling, Coaching & Consulting in Pekin, IL and author of the R.E.I.N.S System.  She has been trained by, demonstrated competency and listed on Dr. Elaine Arona’s website ( as a trained psychotherapist knowledgeable of highly sensitive people.  Gelana provides psychotherapy and coaching to adults, children and families on a variety of topics including HSP/SPS. Additionally, Gelana provides consultation within educational systems to assist in creating HSP friendly classrooms and programs.

    Denise is a contributor to the R.E.I.N.S System as well as being trained and demonstrated competency by Dr Aron.  She is a Coach/Consultant at Lifeline Holistic  Center providing education and coaching support to adults, children & families. She also provides consultation to educational systems.

    Workshop Description:

    This workshop introduces the professional to the scientifically proven trait of the highly sensitive person (HSP) otherwise  officially named Sensory Processing Sensitivity. 20% of people in the world are born with the sensitivity processing trait and tend to struggle more with anxiety and depression making up at least 50% of therapeutic caseloads.  The R.E.I.N.S. Systems is introduced as an effective collection of psycho education, personal environment management, self-awareness, HSP specific coping mechanisms, and emotional regulation that helps the sensitive person thrive in an ordinarily overwhelming world.

    Sunday, August 30, 2020
    1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

    Couples Counseling: The Essential Frameworks
    Sara Schwarzbaum, Ed.D, LCPC, LMFT;

    Bio: Sara Schwarzbaum, EdD, LCPC,  LMFT is the founder of Couples Counseling Associates in Chicago where she works with couples who want to improve their relationship. She provides couples counseling consultation, supervision and training for counselors, private practices and agencies. Dr. Schwarzbaum is Professor  Emerita at NEIU, where she was a faculty member in the Counselor Education Department and the Coordinator of its Master’s in Family Counseling Program.

    Workshop Description:

    Couples counseling is a complex and challenging activity even for the most experienced counselors. Counselors who wish to enhance their skills for working with couples have a variety of models to choose from. This workshop will present an overview the most commonly used frameworks for couples counseling, including EFT, Gottman, Imago, Solutions Focused, and psychodynamic models. The advantages and limitations of the major frameworks will also be addressed, along with treatment sequencing and practical interventions derived from the models.

    Sunday, August 30, 2020
    1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

    Conceptualizing and Treating Harm OCD: What Counselors Need to Know
    Donna Mahoney, Ph.D.

    Bio: Donna Mahoney, PhD., is a current member of the supervising faculty at the Family Institute/Northwestern University’s online Counseling program. Her clinical work spans almost 30-years, focusing on anxiety disorders. Phobias, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. She taught for 16 years at the Illinois School of Professional Psychology, teaching courses entitled Treatment of Anxiety Disorders, Psychoanalytic Theories and Psychotherapy, Self Psychology, child and adult development, and psychopathology.  Additionally, she served as the Director of Clinical Training for the Clinical Mental Health program for 1½ years. She received her PhD in Clinical Social Work from the Institute for Clinical Social Work and advanced training at the Institute for Psychoanalysis.  Among presentations on topics related to anxiety and trauma, she co-presented at the Society for Psychotherapy Integration on an integrative model for PTSD and complex trauma. A version of her published article, Panic Disorder and Self States: Clinical and Research Illustrations was presented at the International Conference for the Psychology of the Self. She also has published book reviews and scholarly articles in The Journal of
    Counseling in Illinois and The Psychoanalytic Social Work Journal where she is on the editorial board.

    Workshop Description:

    This workshop will address harm obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), a form of OCD that is primarily exhibited by intrusive thoughts, urges, and feelings about behaving in a way that causes harm to oneself or others. Counselors may be alarmed by the content of the harm obsessions because the images and doubts may involve pushing an innocent bystander into traffic or images of loved ones in horrible accidents. But participants will learn that persons with harm OCD are perhaps less likely to commit acts of violence due to the enormous sense of guilt and shame that the thoughts engender. Obsessions about harming are among the most intolerable for sufferers to experience. The focus of the presentation will be on explaining why people have violent and harmful thoughts, why the thoughts are so persistent, and factors related to assessment and diagnosis. Differentiating harm obsessions from suicidal/homicidal ideation, impulse control problems, and personality disturbances will also be included, along with ethical concerns that counselors need to consider. Counseling interventions will revolve around identifying and modifying common cognitive distortions, utilizing Exposure and Response Prevention (ER/P) strategies, and creating and using acceptance and motivation scripts. Ways for counselors to gain comfort in utilizing these behavioral strategies will be explored. The counselor’s need to examine the role of shame associated with OCD in the therapy is also discussed. Finally, ways to prevent symptom relapse are explored.

Contact Us
+1 (815) 787-0515

P.O. Box 706
DeKalb, IL 60115

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software