The FCS clinical staff is made up of experienced individuals with licensure in Social Work, Professional Counseling, and Marriage and Family Therapy. Many have areas of specialty such as teens/adolescence, depression/mood disorders, anger management, and many others. All our staff is equipped to help clients learn to cope with the challenges that can make life difficult. An intake session will place you with a therapist and help you address your specific needs.
And, if you don’t “click” with your therapist, there is no need to start over with another counseling center. We can simply reassign you to another counselor in our practice.
Susan Johnson, LCSW
FCS Executive Director
I am an LCSW with over 25 years of social work experience. I have predominantly worked with survivors of domestic violence, people who are experiencing homelessness, and people who have mental health issues. The guiding principle of my therapeutic interactions is Carl Roger’s concept of “unconditional positive regard.” Rogers believed, as do I, that no therapeutic work can take place without it. I believe in the healing strength of the therapeutic relationship. My unique twist is that, before becoming a social worker, I was a computer programmer. I have an interest in research and data driven practice as well.
As the Executive Director of FCS, I believe in our agency’s efforts to provide services to a wide array of people, even people who might not have income or insurance to receive services elsewhere.
Elizabeth Johnston, LCSW
Elizabeth Johnston joined the Family Counseling Services team in June 2019. I received my bachelor’s degree from Northern Illinois University in Family and Individual Development and my master’s degree in Clinical Social Work from Aurora University. She has worked in social services for over five years, and currently works full time as a school social worker. Beth’s previous experience centers around working with children, adults, and families in a variety of settings with an array of needs. Her experience includes facilitating relational conflict resolution, emotional regulation, empowerment, skill development, psychoeducation, mental health, behavioral health, and other individual needs.
Beth’s philosophy for treatment is person-centered to help clients facilitate personal growth during the difficult periods of life while maintaining a safe, empathetic, and therapeutic environment. She take a holistic and strengths based approach with every client. Beth integrates system theory in her treatment, because all facets of life impact overall wellbeing. She believes all people have the capability to do well when provided with the appropriate support and tools.
Pamela “Pam” Langholf, MSW, LSW
Pam Langholf has 18 years’ experience working with children, teens, adults, families, and couples. She graduated from Rockford College with a degree in sociology with an emphasis on criminal justice and her Masters of Social Work degree is from the University of Illinois. Pam has certifications in Prepare-and-Enrich Couple’s Counseling, Partner Abuse Intervention Program, Prevention Relationship Enhancement Program, and Beyond Consequences and Control. She also has training in TheraPlay, Family-Centered Therapy, and Parenting the Attachment-Challenged Child.
Pam’s career has been centered around juvenile probation, foster care, adoption and guardianship preservation, and post-adoption services. Pam’s special interests, which stem from her extensive experience, are: grief and loss, traumatized children and adults, adoption, stress and coping skills, couple’s therapy, domestic violence, attachment and trauma, parent coaching, and parent-child relationships.
I work with clients to help discover the strengths and answers found within. I see myself as more of a guide in this way, as I employ the tools of my education, profession, and experience to help those I work with find healing. I graduated with a Masters of Social Work from the University of Chicago’s School of Social Services Administration in 2000. At the same time, in a dual degree program, I earned my Masters of Divinity degree from the Chicago Theological Seminary. As an ordained minister and pastor of a small rural church in Northern Illinois, the scope of my understanding and approach is broadened to encompass spirituality and questions about the meaning of life. These avenues are explored in accordance with client needs and interests. My approach is hopeful and client-centered, focusing both on the details of day-to-day living and the bigger picture.
Beth Lawson, MSW, LCSW
Beth Lawson is a licensed clinical social worker who enjoys working with individuals of all ages. Beth received a Bachelor’s of Science in Education from Illinois State University, a Master’s of Arts in Teaching from Rockford University, and a Master’s of Social Work from Aurora University. Beth began her relationship with Family Counseling Services when she worked as an intern in 2012-13. Many of the clients she works with are individuals coping with mood disorders such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar. Helping individuals to recover from traumatic experiences and to deal with issues around grief and shame are areas in which Beth is also skilled.
Paula MacKenzie, Psy.D, Doctor of Psychology
Dr. Paula MacKenzie earned her Bachelor’s of Science (B.S.) degree from Bradley University, where she majored in Psychology and Social Services. She earned a Master’s of Science Degree in Education (M.S.Ed.) from Northern Illinois University, where she majored in Counseling Psychology. In 2008, Dr. MacKenzie went on to complete her doctorate degree (Psy.D) in Clinical Psychology with a specialization in Forensic Psychology. Dr. Mackenzie’s areas of expertise include using behavioral science to conduct threat assessments and assessments of psycho-legal competencies such as competency to stand trial and sanity examinations. Dr. MacKenzie’s other areas of expertise include emergency services, analysis of extremist and cult group behavior, assessment of psychopathy as well as general psychological testing and assessment.
Genny Maltby, LSW
Genevieve, (Genny) Maltby, joined the Family Counseling Services in February 2019. She has experience working with children, adolescents, young adults, and families. She has worked with individuals age 6 to 18 in the areas of anxiety, depression, parent-child relations, substance abuse, and self-esteem. Genny has worked as a special education teacher for over ten years and has experience working with students with developmental, behavioral, and emotional disabilities. She also has extensive knowledge of individualized education plans (IEP).
Genny works during the day as a school social worker. She received her Master’s degree in School Social Work from Aurora University in Aurora, Illinois with a specialization on Clinical Social Work, focus area in children, youth, and families. She is currently working on her doctorate in social work.
Cathy Riplinger, LCSW
The goal of psychotherapy, I believe, is to enable a person to look within, with compassion and a better understanding of the problems that lead a person to seek help. The role of the therapist is to guide that person by taking into account the whole picture: both the troublesome issues and the strengths which can be a source of healing. When a person is caught up in conflict, it is difficult to hold on to the ‘whole picture.’
In working with adults and couples over many years,Ifind the therapeutic relationship requires a sense of trust and safety. For some, it’s the first time they have put certain feelings into words. I have worked with the severely mentally ill as well as those going through painful transitions. A few have had many social advantages,some have never identified the gifts they have. I am especially interested in the formative influences which shape the way we each see the world. These generally range along a spectrum, from cultural to family factors. Exploring these makes the practice of psychotherapy both meaningful and rewarding.