Meet the Experts

Over 50 counselors, therapists and experts in their field, many with licenses and certifications in their areas of specialization, provide a variety of services in a number of clinical specialties for women, children, adolescents, couples, and families. Such comprehensive services mean convenience for the client and cost-effective care for government, corporate, and managed care buyers.

Kathleen Baxa

  • Education:
    • BA – National-Louis University, Evanston, IL
    • MS – National-Louis University, Evanston, IL
  • License and Certification: LPC
  • Years of Experience: 15 years
  • What you enjoy most about working at the Ben Gordon Center: Helping the clients benefit from my areas of expertise.
  • Areas of specialty:
    • Individual and Group Sessions
    • Anger Management Programs
    • Motivational Interviewing
    • Case Management
  • Therapeutic approaches: I have the proven ability to provide individual,
  • couples, and family therapy for all age groups.

Maria Cisneros


  • Bachelors of General Studies (BGS)-2003 Roosevelt University, Schaumburg, IL
  • Masters of Arts in Clinical Psychology with Counseling Specialization (MA)-2005 The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Chicago, IL APA Accredited
  • Doctoral Candidate (Psy.D)-2012 The Illinois School of Professional Psychology at Argosy, Schaumburg, IL APA Accredited

License and Certification:

  • Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)
  • American Psychological Association Member

Years of Experience: 8 years

What you enjoy most about working at the Ben Gordon Center: I feel honored to be a part of many individuals’ journey through the healing process. I also enjoy the collaborative and multidisciplinary approach to treatment.

Areas of specialty: I am fully bilingual and bicultural. I have extensive experience working with multi-crisis families, children and adolescents, conducting psychological assessments, domestic violence, sexually maladaptive issues, and severely mentally ill populations. I recently completed my pre-doctoral internship at the Youth Opportunity Center (APA Accredited) in Indiana and gained court experience as an expert testimony for psychological assessments.

Therapeutic approaches: I develop strong working relationships with the individuals and families that I work with. I implement empirically based treatments and collaborate with clients in order to develop a comprehensive approach to treatment. I most often conceptualize from a systems perspective while incorporating a Social Justice model. I integrate evidenced based models such as Structural Family Therapy, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Emotion Focused Therapy, and Interpersonal Therapy to promote healing. I am a strong advocate for my clients but encourage them to take ownership of their recovery process.

Dianna Huttunen

  • License and Certification: Medical Office Specialist Program Certification
  • Years of Experience: 8 years
  • What you enjoy most about working at the Ben Gordon Center: ECASP is the starting point for all new and returning clients to Ben Gordon Center. I enjoy working with the dedicated ECASP Team to help make sure that the client has a positive experience at the first call.
  • Areas of specialty: Intake Coordinator/ECASP Team-scheduling and insurance verification

Brett Koenig

  • Education: BA MHP – Northern Illinois University
  • What you enjoy most about working at the Ben Gordon Center: Interacting with all the different clients and seeing the improvements they make.
  • Areas of specialty: Counseling, Case Management, Groups
  • Therapeutic approaches: Everyone is different. I base my approach on the individual needs of each client.

Jason Magill

  • Education:
    • BA – Columbia College Chicago, IL
    • MA – The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Chicago, IL
  • What you enjoy most about working at the Ben Gordon Center: I enjoy problem solving with a team of experts that have the client’s best interest at heart.
  • Areas of specialty: Child and adolescents, anger management, behavior problems, difficulties in school.
  • Therapeutic approaches: I utilize Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Solution-Focused counseling to address my clients’ needs.

Samar Mahmood MD

  • Education: Allama Iqbal Medical College – MBBS
  • License and Certification: ECFMG, ABPN
  • Years of Experience: 4 years
  • What you enjoy most about working at the Ben Gordon Center: The work environment and support.
  • Areas of specialty: Adult Psychiatry
  • Therapeutic approaches: Establishing alliance with the patients, providing detailed medication education, giving them a sense of control over their treatment and an ability to make a choice.

Katie Pawlicki

  • Education: BA MHP – Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL
  • Years of Experience: 2
  • What you enjoy most about working at the Ben Gordon Center: I enjoy helping my clients reach their potential in life and learning from my dedicated co-workers.
  • Therapeutic approaches: DBT, CBT

Natasha Schmitt

  • Education:
    • BA – Northern Central College Naperville, IL
    • MSW – Loyola University Chicago, Illinois
  • License and Certification: LSW
  • Years of Experience: 11 years
  • What you enjoy most about working at the Ben Gordon Center: The intelligent colleagues to consult and share strategy with. The variety of clients in terms of needs and strengths I work with.
  • Areas of specialty: Individual therapy for adults with mental illness
  • Therapeutic approaches:
    • Brief problem focused therapy
    • Cognitive behavioral therapy

Stephanie Sinnett

  • Education:
    • BA in Psychology from Northern Illinois University
    • MA in Clinical Professional Psychology from Roosevelt University
  • License and Certification:
    • LPC – Licensed Professional Counselor
    • CDVP – Certified Domestic Violence Professional
  • What you enjoy most about working at the Ben Gordon Center: Working with my clients
  • Areas of specialty: Child sexual abuse, domestic violence, anxiety and depression, oppositional behaviors in teens, high risk populations
  • Therapeutic approaches: My therapeutic approach greatly depends on the varying needs of each client. CBT and trauma focused CBT are my primary therapeutic modalities. For younger populations, I engage children in play and art therapies specific to their presenting issues.

Shannon Underwood

  • Education:
    • Illinois State University – BS in Psychology
    • Northern Illinois University – M.S. Ed. in Counseling
  • License and Certification: LCPC, NCC
  • Years of Experience: 9 years
  • How long have you been at the Ben Gordon Center? Since July, 2000
  • What you enjoy most about working at the Ben Gordon Center: Working with such a talented and dedicated group of clinicians is a privilege and an honor. I have been with the Center for 9 years and have experienced such an amazing team approach on both teams. I have grown as a clinician and a person.
  • Areas of specialty: Child and Adolescent mental health, ODD, behavior disorders, parent training, Family therapy, Anxiety Disorders, Depression, Anger Management, Bipolar Disorder, ADHD, Substance Abuse, working with challenging youth and their families.

Therapeutic approaches:
Eclectic to best meet the needs of my clients: Primarily CBT, Solution Focused, Motivational Enhancement, Behavior therapy, and Best Practice Group therapy for families of out of control teenagers.