Our Therapists

 

Kathy Blackmer MS, LPC, CADC

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Kathy Blackmer (Poplar Grove office and telehealth) is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor with over 30 years experience working in specialized substance abuse treatment programs. Kathy is also a DBT therapist and has been intensively trained in DBT by one of the original DBT trainers. Kathy has worked in Community  Mental Health for over 35 years and has broad experience working with adults and teenagers with mental health concerns, at-risk youth, those with addictions, and those who experienced trauma. Kathy has years of experience in crisis intervention, both at the community level and at the national level. She has worked as a crisis volunteer at Ground Zero, Hurricane Katrina, and college campuses. Kathy is Intensively Trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) by Behavioral Tech, the highest standard for DBT training. DBT is effective for working with persons who struggle with BPD and disorders of emotional regulation, self-harm or chronic suicidal thoughts. Kathy also has specialty training and experience in working with children and adults with attachment challenges, including working with children in foster care or adoptive homes, and working with teens and adults with LGBT concerns. In addition to being a DBT therapist, Kathy also coordinates our addictions recovery programs. She is a professional member of the American Counseling Association and the Illinois Counseling Association.

Ashley Dehn, MS, LCPC

 

Ashley Dehn (Woodstock office and telehealth) is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, a DBT therapist, and a child and adolescent therapist. She teaches adult and the adolescent / parent DBT skills classes in Woodstock. Ashley has talent and skill in working with those who are seeking a balance of directness and warmth. She is able to connect with children, "tweens" and teens and work with their resistance, anxiety, or oppositionality. She has expertise with adults who are struggling with PTSD or unstable emotions, or are seeking to improve relationships, gain stability in their lives, or cope with life challenges or difficult decisions.

 

Ashley also specializes in group therapy and the use of art to facilitate healing and growth. She has a passion for working with children and adolescents, as well as adults and couples going through difficult life transitions and challenges. She blends her artistic talents into a powerful therapy style. She easily adapts her style to work with a variety of concerns. She is a member of the American Counseling Association. 

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Cindy Forster, PsyD

 
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Dr. Cindy Forster (Woodstock office and telehealth) is a licensed Clinical Psychologist. She has over 30 years experience providing outpatient therapy and providing integrated psychological services in a large area hospital system. She specializes in Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine. With an emphasis on behavioral health using supportive, cognitive-behavioral therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy, she sees patients with anxiety, stress, depression, chronic pain and fibromyalgia, eating disorders, weight loss, smoking cessation, headaches, marital discord, family discord, issues of aging, grief and loss, the psychological aspects of cancer treatment,  coping with medical disorders, and diabetic compliance to name a few. With an empathetic, nonjudgmental style, she focuses on empowerment. Dr. Forster is also a DBT therapist in our Linehan, Board of Certification, Certified DBT Programs. Dr. Forster is trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) by Behavioral Tech, the highest standard for DBT training. Forster is a professional member of the American Psychological Association and the Illinois Psychological Association. 

 

Kai Johnson, LCPC, CCJP

Kai Johnson (Poplar Grove office) is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, and a Certified Criminal Justice Addictions Professional. Kai has over 15 years experience in community mental health counseling working with adults, adolescents, and children with a variety of mental health needs. She also has several areas of specialized expertise that include treatment of trauma, anxiety, struggles with substance use, survivors of domestic violence, working with adults and children in the criminal justice system, and working with law enforcement officers and first responders.

Kai has advanced training and experience in Mindfulness and uses this throughout her work. Kai has certifications in treatment of those with substance use disorders. Kai is certified as a BasOfficer and has experience as a School Resource Officer for all grade levels.

In addition to the above areas, Kai has over 30 years of law enforcement experience and understands the difficulties law enforcement officers and first responders face on a daily basis. She is certified for Critical Incident response of crises and tragic life-threatening events and knows first-hand the vicarious trauma experienced by those who work daily with these events. Kai is on the roster for Operation Shattered Stars which is an on-call peer support team of first responders who make themselves available for other first responders who are in crisis or struggling with life issues. 

 Kai also has a special fondness and compassion for working with those who are facing cancer and life-threatening illnesses. She has a personal understanding of coping with the many emotions and severe difficulties that breast cancer patients face.

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Cari Koss, MS, LCPC

Cari Koss (Woodstock office and telehealth) is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor. She is a DBT therapist, an adolescent therapist, and also works with veterans in our veterans and first responders program. She teaches adult DBT classes in our Woodstock office. Cari is trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) by Behavioral Tech, the highest standard for DBT training. She has a wide range of experience working with people struggling with depression, anxiety, anger issues, interpersonal challenges, low self-esteem, trauma, parenting struggles, and grief and loss.  We all have the ability to heal, grow, and improve, and that belief drives her work in empowering her clients to do just that. 

 

She has an easy-going, empathetic, and non-judgmental style that facilitates creating the trust and connection with her clients that is vital to the healing process.  Cari is devoted to helping her clients acknowledge and develop their inherent potential, and passionate about guiding them in making the changes they want to see in their lives.

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Shelli Pollard, MSW, LCSW

Shelli Pollard (Woodstock office, Poplar Grove office, telehealth) is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with more than 15 years experience working in community mental health prior to joining our team. Shelli is trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) by Behavioral Tech, the highest standard for DBT training. She is a DBT therapist and trainer. She is also a child and adolescent therapist. She teaches the Advanced DBT class for those who have completed the first year program and seek continued peer and professional support. She enjoys working with patients who have difficulty regulating emotions or a tendency to impulsively act on strong emotions. She has a range of experience working with young to mature adults with a variety of behavioral health needs such as anxiety, depression, emotional dysregulation, addiction, trauma, crisis issues, and difficulty managing anger effectively.  She has a unique way of gaining rapport with her clients that shows compassion while empowering and motivating a person towards change.  Shelli also enjoys guiding young adults through the often overwhelming and confusing transition from adolescence to adulthood and aiding seniors to process grief issues, or transitioning to a life of retirement. 

 

Shelli is one of our liaisons to the McHenry County Mental Health Court and has over a decade of experience working with those of all ages who have mental health concerns and are involved in the criminal justice system. She is certified in CPI non-violent crisis intervention, trained to facilitate Moral Reconation Therapy and is also a member of the National Association of Social Workers.

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Joseph Ronda, MSW, LCSW

 
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Joseph Ronda (Woodstock office, Saturdays) is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW).  Joe provides individual therapy for children, adolescents and their families as well as individual therapy for young adults.  He uses a person-centered/strength based approach that focuses on children and adolescents with emotional, developmental, and behavioral difficulties.

 

Joe works with clients with various challenges such as anxiety, depression, attention and hyperactivity issues, oppositional/defiant behaviors as well as other behavioral challenges. His comprehensive approach to each therapeutic relationship considers the bio-psycho-social aspects of each individual client’s well-being.

 

His treatment strategies primarily include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Collaborate Problem Solving (CPS), and building skills for coping in each child's individual environment.

Kelly Vinehout, PsyD, RN, DBT-LBC

 

Dr. Kelly Vinehout is the Program Coordinator for our offices. She is a licensed Clinical Psychologist and a Registered Nurse. She adds a biological and psychoeducational component to treatment and program development and provides consultation to other therapists when integrating treatment for those who have medical conditions. She has over 20 years of experience in the development and management of treatment programs in diverse settings of inpatient, outpatient, and community mental health facilities.

 

Dr. Vinehout has expertise in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), in which she has been Advanced Intensively Trained by Behavioral Tech and Marsha Linehan and she is a DBT-Linehan Board of Certification Certified Clinician. Dr. Vinehout coordinates care for those in our DBT program and leads our DBT Consultation Team. She supervises development of treatment programs that meet individual needs. She specializes in treating medical professionals, those with chronic medical conditions, adults who had parents with alcohol use (ACOA) or chronic illness, and those who have experienced domestic violence. Dr. Vinehout is a professional member of the American Psychological Association, the Illinois Psychological Association, and the Society for Clinical Neuropsychology.

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