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Clinical Team

  • Dr. Kristy McKiness Ed.D, LCPC, ACS
    Dr. Kristy McKiness Ed.D, LCPC, ACS
    Clinical Director

    Dr. Kristy McKiness Ed.D, LCPC, ACS is the founder of KM Institute, and has been in the helping profession since 2001. She completed her doctorate degree in Counseling and Higher Education at Northern Illinois University. Dr. McKiness has rendered services in settings including jail, emergency room, outpatient, residential, and schools. She highly enjoys working with adolescents and their families as well as adults and couples. 

    She is dedicated to serving first responders, and completed her doctoral dissertation on police officers perspectives of Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training. She also serves as a member of the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police on the Police Psychological Services Committee to advocate for a variety of supportive services to law enforcement officers. Dr. McKiness has worked with first responders since 2001 through collaboration with CACI and forensic interviewing, providing professional trainings, rendering mental health and substance abuse services to responders and their families, and training other clinicians to work with first responders. She  holds certifications the areas of sexual assault and domestic violence, a 120 hour specialization certification in counseling firefighters, is a certified domestic mediator and forensic interviewer, and has a certification as an Approved Clinical Supervisor. 

    With regard to her clinical style, Dr. McKiness enjoys working with her clients to reach their personal goals while enhancing their emotional wellness. She recognizes change to be a positive part of growth, progress, and opportunities. She believes in empowering her clients to help them identify their strengths as one avenue of creating long last change. Kristy highly enjoys working with adolescents, adults, couples, and families. Kristy is also passionate about teaching counselors-in-training, and is an adjunct faculty member in the Northen Illinois University graduate counseling program. She also enjoys providing professional presentations, and has presented at state level conferences on a variety of topics including adolescent risk and threat assessment, female doctoral student adjustment, and Crisis Intervention Teams (CIT).

    * Specialties: Anxiety, Depression, Self-Injury, Trauma, Anger management, Grief and loss, Chronic mental illness, Divorce, Relationship issues, Work related issues, Life transition, Domestic violence, Sexual Assault,  Adolescent life adjustment, College adjustment for traditional/non-traditional students

  • Katie Johnson
    Katie Johnson
    Clinician

    Katie Johnson, LCPC provides individual, couples, and family therapy to adolescents and adults from diverse backgrounds. Katie has had extensive training and experience in working with survivors of trauma and abuse, particularly survivors of sexual trauma and first responder trauma. She treats a variety of issues including post traumatic stress disorder, relationship conflict, family issues, mood disorders, anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, and borderline personality disorder. She is passionate about providing support to first responders (firefighters, paramedics, police, etc.) and their loved ones, in which she addresses issues of trauma, stress, and how the individual and the family are affected by the job.

    Katie has been practicing in the northwest suburbs for over ten years. Her treatment approach facilitates insight and promotes problem solving and healing from challenging life experiences. She gently encourages the changing of negative thought processes in order to develop thinking patterns that are more positive about self, life, and future. She believes healing occurs through the nurturing of a positive relationship between client and therapist.

  • Mark Benson
    Mark Benson
    Clinician

    Mark Benson has been working in the field of mental health since 1991. He earned a Master of Science in Education with a focus on Community Mental Health from Illinois State University in 1997. Having graduated from a Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) accredited master’s programs, he is also a Nationally Certified Counselor and a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor. Mark is trained in the Mitchell Model of Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM). Mark has worked in a variety of mental health settings. His primary focus has been on crisis intervention.

    Mark worked in several capacities with two different mobile crisis teams in Central Illinois for more than 10 years. He also provided mental health services in the McLean County Detention Facility over an 18-year span; the last five years through his own private business. In his role as a program manager with a crisis team, Mark worked side-by-side with first responders, emergency departments and in-patient mental health units. He collaborated with these systems to create integrated services to assist individuals, to increase the likelihood of connection/reconnection to appropriate community services and to advance the goal of decreasing the likelihood of another crisis or psychiatric hospitalization.

    Mark has been a Certified Mental Health Trainer with the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board (ILETSB) since 2002. He has been involved with Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training since 2010 and has been serving as the Regional Coordinator for Central and Southern Illinois CIT since 2013. Throughout his career, Mark has been fortunate to work side-by-side with first responders. Through the years, he has seen some first responders struggle, believing they could not get help. It has been an honor to assist first responders through de-briefing critical incidents, providing resources for self-care, referring individuals to professionals who will assist with healing, and working with first responders individually in his private practice. Mark is humbled by the opportunities he has been afforded.

    Mark takes a cognitive behavioral therapy approach, believing individuals can make changes in their lives once they realize how they perceive and react to certain situations. His model employs assumptions of Solution Focused Therapy in that the client is believed to be the expert and has the skills to make positive changes. With connections to Motivational Interviewing, Mark creates an environment of support, reassurance, education and encouragement.

  • Illinois Firefighter Peer Support Team Provider List
    Illinois Firefighter Peer Support Team Provider List

    This list includes providers from Illinois and other states that have been endorsed by firefighters. The contact information and specializations below contain the information that was given by each provider.

    Provider List