Mental Health Counseling and Resources

Transformative Growth Counseling banner

Transformative Growth Counseling is a 501c3 non-profit organization serving people across Illinois, including students here at IVCC.

Located within IVCC's Counseling Center, CTC-202.

Have you seen Merek or our flyers around campus and wondered, who is Transformative Growth Counseling?

 Transformative Growth Counseling is a 501c3 non-profit organization serving people across Illinois, including students here at IVCC. 

Transformative Growth offers

  • Counseling services
  • Diagnostic testing
  • In person and online therapy

The TGC staff here at IVCC can see a variety of clients and address a wide scope of needs. Our staff is here to help students with a variety of needs that range from depression to stress to crisis. Transformative Growth focuses on Attachment and Emotionally Focused Therapy, but a wide variety of other therapy types and various types of expertise are available to help you. We can help people with services that can help with things like:

  • Addictions counseling
  • Anxiety
  • Panic & OCD
  • Attachment Theory
  • Depression & Mood
  • COVID-19 Counseling
  • Clinical Testing
  • Gender + Identity
  • Individual Counseling
  • sexual health
  • LGBTQIA+
  • Opioid Counseling
  • Personality Disorders
  • PTSD
  • Trauma & Stress

You can access our full site, along with our staff and educational information here. 

Transformative Growth Counseling

IVCC gives students four free sessions with our IVCC-based counselors Merek, Megan or LaShay. 

If you decide to continue care after four sessions,  we offer sliding scale appts and are in network with most major insurance types. 

Often times, students report experiencing anxiety, depression, or trauma. If you want more information, please look at these pages provided for you to learn more.

Meet Our IVCC- based Counselors: 

Merek Poto, LSW. Therapist, Site Director.  

Picture of Merek Poto

Merek Poto is a warm and empathetic trans man who enjoys works with college students and staff across a wide spectrum of challenges and changes. He has experience with advocating for his clients, from transgender individuals, to survivors of sexual assault, and just about everything in between. He is an understanding therapist who strives to uphold a judgment free environment. 

When working with his clients, he aims to provide compassionate counseling. He does so by listening to his clients and understanding their needs as individuals. His goal is to ensure clients feel comfortable, safe, and are able to express themselves. He approaches clients empathetically, meeting them on their level and addressing their personal needs. He utilizes emotionally focused therapy to help his clients get in touch with themselves. He strives to grow relationships with his clients by creating a trusting environment where they can achieve a judgment-free and healing experience. He emphasizes that clients can address personal topics when they’re ready to, he’s here to listen.

Megan Schalk, MA, Intern.

Picture of Megan Schalk

While using eclectic therapy and feminist theory, Megan Schalk strives to create a safe space for clients to express their true selves and explore a wide range of their lives.  Megan is sex-positive and strives to destigmatize kink and other sexual relationships while encouraging and empowering positive sexual experiences. She is knowledgeable in sexual trauma, personality disorders, LGBTQ+ issues, and kink/polyam relationships.

Megan understands that starting therapy can be a struggle for some people. Therefore, she aims to foster a comfortable and relaxed therapeutic experience for her clients. She is empathetic, warm and enjoys working with clients from all cultural backgrounds. Megan connects with her clients due to her unique experiences with her populations of interest. She empowers her clients to live their truths and to advocate for themselves.

Megan understands that starting therapy can be a struggle for some people. Therefore, she aims to foster a comfortable and relaxed therapeutic experience for her clients. She is empathetic, warm and enjoys working with clients from all cultural backgrounds.

Megan connects with her clients due to her unique experiences with her populations of interest. She empowers her clients to live their truths and to advocate for themselves.

Megan will be available online Monday and Friday from 9 am- 5 pm.

Link to Megan’s page: https://transformativegrowth.org/megan-schalk/

LaShay Roberts, MA, Intern. 

Profile picture of LaShay Roberts

Hello! My name is LaShay Roberts (She, Her, They/Them). I am a clinical intern who has experience with childcare, education, and Human Development/Family Practice. I have a passion for assisting individuals and ensuring their most fulfilling quality of life, I am not a stranger to difficult issues and I enjoy seeing the growth and confidence of the individuals I assist sprout.

Helping individuals grow and understand themselves is what a strive as a therapist. I want my individuals to be able to resolve tough decisions without any instance of doubt and feel as free as they possibly can

Education

I received my Bachelors of Arts in Human Development and Family Sciences in the year 2017 from Illinois State University. Throughout my time in undergrad, I volunteered in after school services, reading programs for children and teens, a teacher’s assistant as well as, a nanny for two Autistic boys.

After graduation I continued my love for children by finding employment in a daycare for neurotypical children from 2019-2021 and from the fall of 2021 to present I have been employed as a Registered Behavioral Therapist to a therapy program that caters to atypical children and teens. I continue my work in working with children and families as they are on of the biggest groups of individuals who nee the most advocating.

Specialties 

·       Mental Health

·       Family Wellness

·       Grief counseling for mothers (miscarriage and other birth issues)

·       LGBTQ

·       Child Counseling

LaShay will be available online at the following times:

  • Monday 8 am- 11 am
  • Tuesday 4 pm- 8 pm
  • Thursday 8 am- 11 am
  • Saturday 8 am- 12 pm

Link to LaShay's page: https://transformativegrowth.org/lashay-roberts/

Ready talk? IVCC offers four free sessions to all students! We offer online or in-person calls. 

In person appointments: 

Come see Merek in the Counseling Center in room CTC-202L, the first four sessions are free for short term care. If you’d like to have long term care with Merek, you’ll sign up with our Jane App. If you’d like to reach out to Merek personally to schedule an appointment, email him at Merek@transformativegrowth.org.

Availability:

In person Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays… 9 am- 4pm
My door is always open!

Online Tuesdays… 12 pm- 7 pm
Online Fridays… 7 am- 2 pm

Ready to meet online? Pop in for a visit using this zoom link: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/3276129430

  • If you attempt to enter the zoom room and you aren't immediately able to to get in, it is likely because a Mental Health Provider is in another session. Please wait!

Call or text: 630-423-6010. 

Front desk email to book with Megan or LaShay: contact@transformativegrowth.org 

LaShay: TBD, Starting Sept 1. 

TGC butterfly

Important Resources and Immediate Help.

Sometimes, you aren’t ready to take the plunge for therapy or you need further resources outside of our talks together. I have gathered some important resources here for you.

  • St. Margaret’s Hospital
    • Health provider with patient-centered care, walk-in availability for minor emergencies, and emergency care.
    • Website:  https://aboutsmh.org/
    • Locations:
      • 925 West St, Peru, IL 61354
        • Phone: (815) 223-3300
      • 600 E 1st St, Spring Valley, IL 61362
        • Phone: (815) 664-5311
  • The Trevor Project
    • 24 hour hotline: (866) 488-7386 
    • The Trevor Project offers support to the LGBTQ young adult community. It is a 24/7 suicide hotline.
    • Website: https://www.thetrevorproject.org/
  • YWCA
    • 24 hour hotlines: (815) 626-7577 or (815) 288-1011
    • Website: https://www.ywsauk.org/
    • The YWCA is an organization dedicated to empowering women, eliminating racism, standing up for social justice, and strengthening communities. They provide crisis intervention by going into hospitals to advocate for survivors of sexual assault and staying there with them. Call their 24 hour hotline if you want to talk to them about someone you know who was sexually assaulted and you don’t know what to do, or if you yourself are a survivor of sexual assault.
    • Locations:
      • 412 1st Ave, Sterling, IL 61081
        • Phone: (815) 624-0333
      • 98 South Galena Avenue, Dixon, IL. 61021
        • Phone: (815) 288-1232