Faces of the Rock


Clinical Counseling and Therapy Providers

Staci McNicholl LCSW The Rock Counseling Group

Passion Carthen, LSW, Life Coach

Passion is a licensed professional counselor. She works with teens, adults, and couples on issues including anxiety, depression, adjustment/life changes, grief, and behavioral issues/concerns. Passion has a special interest in Intimate Partner Violence issues, in particular the dynamics of abuse in intimate relationships as well as narcissistic abuse. Passion also enjoys working with relationship conflicts, problems in the workplace, alcohol/drug addictions, childhood traumas, and helping individuals heal and find themselves. Passion's approach includes a non-judgmental zone. Her approach is working collaboratively with you to help you discover your happy place in life or at least your place of peace.

Message from Passion:

"Sometimes we go through obstacles in life and feel there’s no one to turn to. Maybe you confided in someone who broke your trust or maybe you shared a life situation with someone, and they just didn’t understand you. The result of that is now maybe you shut down and suffer in silence. At some point or another, we have all been there and that is why I have such a strong passion to help others and be the therapist whom you can share your innermost thoughts with. I am here for you, and I hear you."


Mary O'Connor, LPC, Certified Executive Coach

Mary is a licensed professional counselor and certified personal and executive coach.  She works with people of all ages on issues including anxiety, depression, adjustment/life changes, and behavioral issues/concerns.  Mary has a special interest in women's issues, such as Infertility, IVF and other infertility treatments, Adoption (Including relationships within Open Adoption situations), Miscarriage/Loss/Grief, Loss of Relationships (family, romantic or otherwise), Work/Life/Family Balance, Parenting, Changing Career Paths/Reentering the work force, and Designing and Maintaining a Small Business, to name a few. Mary's approach includes working not only with the person directly affected by these areas but also those around them whom they define as family who tend to also feel the effects of these issues.  Mary has a vast, broad range of experience that she will bring with her into the client experience.

Message from Mary:

"Are you feeling “stuck” in life or wanting to make a change and don’t quite know how? So many of us have been there and it can sometimes leave us feeling as if we don’t have the motivation to keep moving forward.  My role as a counselor and Advanced Certified Personal and Executive Coach is to walk beside you as you work to find that motivation.  I hope that we can collaborate to identify ways that assist you in safely navigating your journey in turn leading to more peace, confidence, healing, and fulfillment. For the past 20+ years, I have assisted those of all ages with life's challenges and twists and turns as they have found their path to peace and fulfillment.  I would consider it an honor to walk beside you as you navigate your own personal journey."


Jake Holthoff, LPC

Jake is a graduate of the school counseling program at Eastern Illinois University and is currently seeking dual licensure by obtaining his PEL and LPC. He has experience working with children, adolescents, and adults across a variety of different settings. Jake's experiences include working in traditional K-12 school settings, working in substance abuse treatment with adults, and working with client's suffering from a wide range of behavioral and emotional disorders in a treatment and special education settings. Jake has experience treating clients with a broad array of issues, including depression, anxiety, ADHD, trauma, autism, bipolar disorder, and substance abuse disorder just to name a few. Jake typically utilizes an individualized, person-centered approach with cognitive behavioral techniques, with an emphasis on remaining highly flexible and open to new approaches and techniques, to meet the utterly unique needs of each individual client.

Message from Jake:

"It is no secret that mental distress can be a devastating roadblock in life. It is my hope that together, we can create a completely safe and understanding environment, in which we can work together toward achieving balance, implementing healthy coping strategies, and navigating life’s many obstacles toward growth. Therapy can be quite a daunting step to take for many, but I have no doubt in my mind that together, we can lay the foundation for personal growth."

Jillanna Mercer

Jillanna Mercer, LPC

Jillanna is a Licensed Professional Counselor with a vast amount of experience in working with substance abuse/additions. She brings her own personal recovery experience into treatment for her clients to ensure their optimal success with recovery and addressing their own addictions.

In addition, Jillanna is well-versed in providing diverse treatment options for those with anxiety, depression, and trauma. She is particularly interested in serving individuals within systematic marginalized groups (LGBTQA+ and POC) as well as those from other disadvantaged environments. She is also an advocate for empowering women and helping them face difficult issues including body image, self-harm, oppression, abuse, or other internal/interpersonal relationship conflicts.

Message from Jillanna:

"I strive to make genuine connections with my clients to help them achieve their highest self. I would welcome the opportunity to partner with you to process and treat current and past concerns, issues, traumas, and systemic issues that are impacting your day-to-day life and functioning. Together, we can utilize a variety of interactive, person-centered approaches to assist you in creating a better life and functioning. This, coupled with my extensive work with substance abuse and addictions, creates a space where I can create lasting change for you where you ultimately are in control of you and your life."

Amber Dowers LCPC The Rock Counseling Group

Amber Dowers, LCPC

Whichever way life's twists and turns take you, I am here to provide stability, safety, and a comforting platform from which to work through these sometimes life-changing, overwhelming events. I am a therapist that has been in practice in this community for over ten years. I especially enjoy working with children, teens, and their families to promote better communication, support from past traumas, self-esteem, or functioning within the family. My focus with couples is also on communication, from evaluating and understanding communication styles to utilizing communication to improve functioning for the entire family.

Message from Amber:

"Providing a strong voice for children as an advocate for special needs, medical issues, and chronic stress is also a part of my passion. Additionally, helping teens navigate through this stage of their stage of life is also a committed passion of mine. I enjoy focusing on their levels of independence and ability to navigate through it in a healthy way. Incorporating and focusing on total overall wellness is very important-nutrition, physical activity, overall health-and essential when it comes to the competent, compassionate mental health care that I strive to provide." 

Amber Dowers LCPC The Rock Counseling Group

Lynn Griffith, LCSW

Lynn's many years working in the mental health field have allowed her to work with a wide variety of mental health concerns. Lynn works with individuals, couples, and families facing struggles related to depression, anxiety, addiction, eating disorders and behavioral issues, chronic health and pain issues, relationship conflict, life adjustment, and severe and persistent mental illness. Lynn's experiences assisting individuals and families adjusting to new life circumstances make her a strong advocate and support for her clients. She enjoys the opportunity to collaborate with her clients to identify realistic strategies to find passion and purpose in their lives. Lynn's interests include women's issues, couples, families, anxiety, and depression. She has significant experience working with addiction-related issues and behavioral issues in teens and young adults, focusing on reducing the risk of negative consequences and reducing self-harm. Lynn welcomes the opportunity to walk her clients on this journey. Her office provides a confidential, quiet, professional atmosphere and flexible hours.

Message from Lynn:

"I have a strong belief in each person's ability to heal and help themselves with the assistance and empowerment of supportive and skilled counseling. I provide a safe, professional, and understanding environment to explore your situation and make the necessary changes to improve your quality of life. I have an eclectic style with most of my training in cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, person-centered, and systems approaches to therapy. This style allows me the flexibility of approaching each person in the way that fits them best. I understand that the therapy and counseling relationship is unique, unlike any other relationship we may have in our lives. It is my hope that your experience in our office is one of hope, purpose, and passion for whatever season of life you are in."

Amber Dowers LCPC The Rock Counseling Group

Deanna Morelli, LCPC

Deanna is a licensed clinical professional counselor with advanced experience in marriage and family counseling. For nearly a decade, she has had the opportunity to work with individuals and families in a variety of settings and circumstances. Deanna enjoys working with clients of all ages, whether that is working with individuals, families, or couples. Her focus is to work with her clients to identify their individual needs and establish goals that not only assist in meeting those needs but that celebrate the strengths and gifts that already exist in them. 

Deanna has a passion for working with the LGBTQIA+ community and providing support to those coping with the specific needs faced by the community. She also enjoys providing therapy to those coping with anxiety, depression, trauma history, autism, body image/eating disorders, substance use, and relationship conflict. Also, when engaging in play therapy with children, she enjoys using musical expression, which can be implemented into sessions.

Message from Deanna:

"I believe that, despite the barriers and obstacles we face in our realities, you deserve to feel your happiest and healthiest. Through our work in an open and safe space, I hope to walk alongside you on your journey toward your goals."

Amber Dowers LCPC The Rock Counseling Group

John Kleber, LCPC

John is a licensed clinical professional counselor who holds his masters degree in professional counseling and has worked with a variety of client populations and needs. John is trained and experienced in cognitive behavioral therapy and has experienced high-level crisis situations in residential treatment centers and as a member of a counseling team working with families in their homes, schools, and communities. In these settings, he provided crisis stabilization services, individual and family sessions, and conducted collaborative meetings with academic and community entities. John is experienced in working with youth and adults with disruptive behavioral disorders, ADHD, depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, adjustment disorders and trauma, bipolar disorders, and intense grief. Furthermore, John has experience working with couples, individuals suffering from personality disorders and athletes at various levels. John's work in a wide array of environments has allowed him the ability to consistently build connections and trust with families, causing them to feel comfortable allowing him to see the vunerable aspects and moments in their lives. 

Message from John:

"Life is hard, and at times can cause us to feel like giving up. Suffering can and does occur because of life circumstances, others' decisions, and our own, and I greatly desire to come alongside those suffering to support, encourage, and identify patterns that keep them stuck. I am convinced that there is always hope, no matter the difficulty, and a way to move forward. I hope to help others find the strength and faith to persevere and find their identity in the midst of a difficult world."

Erin Galen

Erin Galen, LSW

Erin is an LSW who is experienced in working with populations who have experienced traumatic events or adverse childhood events, depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorders, and minority stress. Her experience in working with the LGBTQIA+ community has contributed to her passion for working with populations that have experienced unique stressors related to their identity. Erin is trained in CBT, play therapy, DBT, and EMDR. Erin believes in incorporating an eclectic approach to meet the needs of her clients, firmly believing in “meeting them where they are at.”  Erin is passionate about helping individuals navigate through life transitions and making sense of their current level of functioning. Her focus is to work with her clients in recognizing the “past in the present” to assist them in developing more adaptive belief systems to improve their presenting problems. 

Message from Erin:

“I believe that it’s easy to overlook our needs in today’s fast-paced world, setting us up to experience feelings of disconnect. It’s my mission to provide you with a safe, supportive space to cope with current life stressors, explore barriers, examine the meaning of events, and increase feelings of self-reliance so that you can feel empowered. I hope that in providing an objective perspective, I can assist you in cultivating a deeper understanding of self so that you feel confident navigating what life throws at you. It is my firm belief that the brain has a beautiful ability to heal itself.

Amber Dowers LCPC The Rock Counseling Group

Will Weckhorst, LPC

Will is experienced and nuanced in collaborating with and providing care to adults and adolescents from various backgrounds, often in transitional stages of life or crisis. He has worked with clients experiencing many issues, including grief, relationship issues, career transitions, crises, transition to adulthood, anxiety, depression, and many others. Will has an existential bent toward counseling that sees the roots of many obstacles in the longing for one's sense of purpose, meaning, and significance. Will is a compassionate counselor who enters into the world of his clients and helps them find the strength and tools to navigate their challenges and lead ultimately satisfying lives.


Message from Will:

"Often, we find ourselves operating out of patterns, beliefs, or wounds we've accumulated throughout life. The better we understand ourselves, the more mastery we can have over our lives and accomplish our goals. Life is good and beautiful but can also be hard, painful, and overwhelming. I want to team up with you to see you discover your world in new perspectives, help you discover strategies to overcome your obstacles, and lead a fulfilling life."

"That which we need the most will be found where we least want to look."

-Carl Jung

Amber Dowers LCPC The Rock Counseling Group

Lauren Duggins, LSW

Lauren is a Licensed Social Worker who has a deep passion for working with children, teens, and young adults as they navigate through all of life's changes and new beginnings. She believes that therapy acts as a vessel to bring the client closer to the most fulfilled and authentic version of themselves. Lauren's passion lies in walking hand-in-hand with each client through the challenges and obstacles in their life while utilizing a client-centered and strengths-based approach. Every person needs a space in which they can be fully open and transparent about the honest things happening in their lives-- a space where each client can be real, open, and themselves—this ultimately leads to transformation, awareness, and improved functioning. 

Lauren's hope is that she can partner with you to create the very best version of you and your life.

Message from Lauren:

Life is messy. My hope, in working with you, is that you can recognize that you do not have to handle that messiness all on your own. I strive to create a warm, welcoming environment in which you feel seen and heard during each session. The pain, joy, sadness, anger, fear, etc. - it all deserves to be recognized and addressed throughout your life's journey. I will partner with you to brainstorm coping skills, develop a deeper understanding of your present self, and will foster open communication so that you feel comfortable sharing your thoughts each and every time we meet.

"Life is brutal. But it's also beautiful. Brutiful, I call it. Life's brutal and beautiful are woven together so tightly that they can't be separated. Reject the brutal, reject the beauty. So now I embrace both, and I live well and hard and real." - Glennon Doyle"


Grace Lockett, Post MSW Resident

Grace believes in creating a safe space for individuals to discover and explore their story. She also enjoys using tools that encourage autonomy. Grace brings with her a broad range of experiences, including working with both children and adults in a mental health agency setting in order to provide mental health screenings, case management, and therapy/counseling services. Additionally, Grace has worked with seniors as an Adult Protective Case Worker in order to ensure their safety and well-being. Grace has a special interest in working with youth and adolescents, helping them through bullying, trauma, low self-worth, and depression and anxiety. Grace utilizes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and a number of other tools to help her clients discover and love who they are. In her spare time, Grace loves to be outdoors, read a variety of fiction books, and run long distances.

Message from Grace:

"Are you wanting to reach certain goals in your life, but your mental health has other plans? Through working together, we can explore any barriers to reaching those goals, encourage self-compassion over shame, and practice engaging your full will to see the change you long for."


Devon Kruse-Wu, Clinical Intern Univerisity of Illinois

Devon is currently pursuing a Master of Social Work degree at the University of Illinois with a concentration in Clinical Mental Health. Devon has valuable experience working with children and adolescents. Previously, Devon served as a Special Education Teaching Assistant at Urbana Middle School, where he provided invaluable support to students with diverse needs. Here, he fostered positive connections with students and helped craft coping mechanisms to empower them in reaching their academic, behavioral, and emotional goals. Devon has an interest working with children and adolescents, to support them through anxiety, depression, loneliness, low-self-esteem, and strained relationships. Devon uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy to support clients in exploring their emotions and creating positive self-worth. In his free time, he enjoys working out, playing videogames, and spending time with his family.

Message from Devon:

"Life can throw many difficulties our way whether that be anxiety, loss, depression, or heartbreak. And sometimes this can have use feeling hopeless and alone. It is my belief that through connection and understanding hope can grow. My goal is to create an environment where pain isn’t something to be left in the dark and that mental health issues aren’t something to be hidden. But where we can bring these issues into the light, where we can navigate through them together. Through this journey, by looking at these issues through different perspectives and creating coping mechanisms which work for you, we can create a path to a life where you feel empowered and at peace."

Rj website picture

R.J. McNicholl, CEO, LCSW

R.J. is a licensed clinical social worker with over 20 years of experience specializing in individual counseling, couples counseling, family counseling, executive coaching, and mediation. R.J. has expertise in addressing a variety of issues, including anxiety, depression, trauma, ADHD, behavioral concerns, life transitions, and family conflict, to name a few.  R.J. has extensive experience in addictions counseling, specifically in working with substance and process addictions, and he has a special interest in treating pornography and other sexual behaviors concerns. R.J. works very closely with local business professionals, first responders, military veterans, firefighters, and law enforcement, providing counseling, coaching, and therapy services to these important populations and their families.

R.J., along with his wife Staci, is certified by the Family Dynamics Institute as Dynamic Marriage Facilitators, focusing on the identification and fulfillment of important emotional needs in marriages and relationships. R.J. works within a cognitive-behavioral, motivational interviewing, and interpersonal framework with his clients. His ability to incorporate both concrete recommendations as well as insight-oriented approaches provide a unique experience for his clients. R.J. focuses with his clients to gain insight into both conscious and unconscious roadblocks that create difficulty in daily life.  R.J. is sought out by many local community organizations to provide training and education on a variety of behavioral health and wellness topics.

Message from R.J.:

"Are you having trouble in your relationships, engaging in self-sabotaging behavior, feeling paralyzed in your life? You can create change. You don't have to remain anxious, depressed, confused, or paralyzed in relationships or in life. Together we can create a safe space for you to feel both understood and empowered. We will work in partnership to explore the hurdles that prevent growth and the patterns of behavior that are no longer helpful but difficult to let go of. Together we will lay the foundation for lasting change. My specialties include relationship difficulties, anxiety, depression, identity issues, men's issues, pornography and sexual behaviors, PTSD, risk assessment, self-sabotaging behavior, and life transitions."

Staci McNicholl LCSW The Rock Counseling Group

Staci McNicholl, Vice President, LCSW

Staci is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with almost 25 years of experience.  Over the course of her career, Staci has focused on treating concerns such as anxiety, trauma, and depression as well as eating disorders, body image, and family/marriage concerns. Staci has a passion for family court, custody, and mediation issues.   
Staci has obtained several certifications and specialized trainings within her practice. Staci is a Certified Mediator through the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) for Champaign County (Sixth Judicial District). Additionally, Staci has completed training as a Parent Coordinator through the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC), of which she is also a member. Staci provides solution-focused mediation services, with the goal of minimizing time and expenses in court as well as empowering parents to focus on healthy communication and decision-making post separation or divorce. Staci’s focus is child-focused and child-centered.  
Staci is also a Certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant through the American Fitness Professionals and Associates (AFPA).  This specialized certification means that in her work with disordered eating and eating disordered clients, Staci is able to provide the most comprehensive, up-to-date treatment possible by including the vital components of nutrition and wellness into a client's treatment. 
Staci, along with her husband RJ, is certified by the Family Dynamics Institute as a Dynamic Marriage Facilitator, focusing on the identification and fulfillment of important needs within a marriage or relationship.
Staci works within a cognitive-behavioral, strengths-based, relational model with her clients. Her ability to incorporate proven therapy techniques and strategies via assignments, in-session metaphors, examples, and real-life practice, as well as her inclusion of therapy techniques utilizing Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, as well as Cognitive Remediation Therapy, provide the ability for her to work with clients with unique or complex issues.

Message from Staci:

"Healthy relationships, children, parenting, and families are my passion.  In addition to having a set of 20-year-old twins and 16-year-old, my husband and I also have a toddler. This, together with my almost 25 years in practice and specialized certifications, allows me to work alongside you on life stressors such as family court, custody, and family/divorce mediation/parent coordination concerns as well as the issues of anxiety, trauma, depression, eating disorders, body image, and family/marriage issues. I have a passion for family court, custody, and mediation issues, with the goal of healthy communication, parenting, and decision-making post separation or divorce. My emphasis is child-focused and child-centered. Together we will implement strategies that focus on setting boundaries, developing interpersonal skills, and clarifying communication patterns in order to create a healthy path forward.” 









Client Accounts Support Team 


Layne Barbee, Client Accounts Manager         

Vicki Hartwell, Client Accounts Assistant


Client Experience and Services Engagement Team

Andrea Cole, Assistant Manager, Practice Coordinator

Alexa Soller, Administrative Assistant

Heather Seitzinger, Administrative Assistant

Maddy Garbacz, Administrative Assistant

Megan Otto, Executive Assistant to CEO

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Zeke Kern, Asst. to Executive Assistant