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Our Philosophy

Affective Counseling is committed to understanding the specific needs of its clients and providing individually tailored treatment for each of them. Our philosophy is based on the belief that individuals know themselves better than anyone else, and possess the wisdom, insights and strength to navigate through life’s challenges. Our role as therapists is to assist our clients in connecting to those frequently unrealized or forgotten strengths and insights by joining them on an exploration of their beliefs, values and perception of self. Using an array of research-based techniques, our therapists can attain a deep understanding of the singular experiences and emotional needs of each client and offer alternative perspectives and effective tools to achieve a client’s personal goals.

Our Team

About Katie

Life is a long journey during which we experience moments of joy, sadness, excitement, fear, hopefulness and despair. At times, we can become stuck in the more painful moments, preventing us from moving forward and regaining a feeling of balance and control. If left unexplored or unchallenged, these powerful negative experiences can become overwhelming and influence one’s sense of self-worth, autonomy, and motivation to persevere.

Katie’s empathetic and inquisitive approach allows her to connect with her clients during vulnerable times. Recognizing that every person experiences life through his or her own unique lens, Katie works compassionately and diligently to understand each client’s perception of self, others, and interpretation of life events. Joining a client during these challenging life moments creates an environment of understanding and acceptance. In the security of this relationship, a client is able to gain introspection, challenge self-defeating and critical thoughts, and identify and build on personal strengths.

Katie is the owner and clinical director of Affective Counseling and has been providing counseling to individuals, groups and couples for over 12 years. Her background includes intensive work with individuals struggling with mental illness, anxiety, eating disorders, life transitions, relationships, trauma, self-esteem, depression and anger. Having the opportunity to work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, non-profits, outpatient community mental health centers and private practice, Katie has acquired approaches and techniques that have enabled her clients to meet personal goals and overcome life obstacles.

Katie utilizes cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and emotion-focused counseling to assist clients in exploring emotional hurdles, reframing negative views of self, challenging and diminishing unproductive behaviors, and developing tangible coping skills. Understanding that every client is unique, Katie customizes her treatment approach to match each client’s individual needs and strengths. Clients are the experts on themselves, and therefore take the lead in the counseling process by focusing on what they find most troubling or most important. This collaborative process allows clients to retake control of their thoughts, emotions and behaviors and redirect their life’s direction.


Catherine "Katie" Ness, MA, LCPC

About Sonya

Anxiety, sadness, frustration, confusion, and self-doubt are commonly experienced emotions, but if these emotions persist, they can interfere with your ability to achieve your fullest potential in relationships, career, school and overall life satisfaction. Sonya believes that happiness is found when there is only a small distance between where you are and where you want to be in life. The purpose of counseling is to bridge this gap by helping you access your authentic positive self and to live the meaningful and fulfilling life you deserve.

Developing a collaborative and nurturing relationship with her clients, Sonya helps them identify barriers, set short and long-term goals, gain insight and mastery over limitations, and maximize innate strengths. Through open dialogue, honesty, compassion, and a healthy dose of humor, Sonya empowers clients to build rewarding connections with themselves and others. Adhering to the adage, “it is only help if it is helpful,” Sonya tailors her counseling to the dynamic needs of each person and consistently monitors the effectiveness of treatment.

Over the last eight years as a psychotherapist in homeless shelters, community mental health centers, and private practice, Sonya has provided individual, family, couples and group therapy to children, adolescents, and adults. Trained in multiple theories, Sonya supplements traditional talk therapy with experiential role-play, art therapy, therapeutic games, meditation, and writing to creatively engage clients.

Sonya specializes in anxiety and mood disorders, trauma and stress-related disorders, infertility support, social difficulties, career and life transitions, LGBTQ issues, health and stress management, women's issues, codependency, and challenges relating to parenting, communication, and family harmony. She believes that knowing and accepting oneself, unconditionally, is the key to resolution of psychic pain.

Sonya’s passionate, warm and humorous approach to therapy creates an atmosphere where clients feel understood, appreciated and accepted. As a result, they experience increased courage, self-esteem, and optimism. Additionally, Sonya is fluent in Russian and has extensive experience working with diverse populations. If you wish to embark on a journey toward your full potential, you will find Sonya to be an excellent traveling companion.

Sonya Kontorovich

Sonya Kontorovich, MA, LCPC

About Donna

Most of us have an internal picture of what we would like our future to be, including expectations about career and academic achievements, friendships, and family. Frequently, however, life’s uncertainties result in a failure to meet these expectations. This failure can create feelings of anxiety, frustration, or even despair that engender a belief that one has little control over present or future events. Learning how to develop a flexible internal picture allows us to better cope with life’s unexpected challenges.

Donna specializes in assisting those who struggle with anxiety, OCD, and trauma. Her unique and integrative therapeutic approach effectively combines cognitive-behavioral techniques aimed at symptom-reduction in combination with psychodynamic strategies that explore underlying issues. Her non-assuming demeanor puts clients at ease, while she simultaneously provides effective coping skills that are targeted at reducing anxieties and fears.

Donna has been helping children, adolescents and adults overcome barriers and reach personal goals for the last 30 years. Her clinical experience includes work in community mental health facilities, therapeutic day schools, and private practice. Her tenure in the clinical field has allowed her to gain experience working with diagnoses ranging from mood disorders to school/work difficulties to relationship building. In addition, Donna has worked as a professor for 15 years at the graduate level, teaching various therapeutic techniques and providing supervision for students working towards becoming licensed therapists.

Described by her clients as empathic, warm, and kind, Donna’s ability to respond with sensitivity and compassion creates a place where emotions and thoughts can be safely explored. Donna guides her clients in their journey of self-discovery, focusing on developing strategies for managing the here-and-now in conjunction with uncovering insights about how the past has influenced perception of self and others. In this nonjudgmental and affirming environment, clients learn and develop self-awareness, self-esteem, and self-reliance.

Donna M. Mahoney, Ph.D.

Donna M. Mahoney, Ph.D.



  • Anger management
  • Couples counseling
  • Grief and loss
  • Life transitions
  • Parenting issues
  • Personality disorders
  • Psychosis
  • Relationships
  • Schizophrenia
  • Stress management
  • Substance abuse
  • Trauma

Is Counseling Right For Me?

Those who choose to attend counseling often identify a particular concern or have a general feeling of unhappiness or dissatisfaction that affects one or more areas of their lives. Frequently, people try to make changes in their lives but have not been able to achieve the desired progress on their own. The primary focus of counseling is to gain a deeper understanding of individual obstacles and to develop alternative approaches to navigating personal barriers. Although choosing to begin the counseling process can initially feel overwhelming or intimidating, as time progresses a person comes to understand that counseling is simply having a conversation with a trustworthy professional who is committed to understanding your concerns and helping you reach your goals.


What should I expect at my first session?

Therapists at Affective Counseling understand that meeting for the first session of counseling can be anxiety-provoking. Therapists work to create a comfortable, safe and welcoming environment. The first session involves the client and therapist getting to know one another, discussing both the reason for the visit and personal goals. During this session, the client will also fill out all needed paperwork will be encouraged to ask questions about the process of therapy.

What is the cost of therapy?

The initial assessment session is $200 and all subsequent sessions are $175. Sliding scale rates are available based on income.

Does Affective Counseling take my insurance?

Therapists at Affective Counseling are in network with BCBS PPO and Blue Choice. You may also have out-of-network benefits. Please contact the office manager at 224-655-2655 to verify in-network or out-of- network benefits.

How long are sessions?

Sessions are 55 minutes long.

How frequent are visits?

Sessions typically occur once a week but can be increased or decreased based on need. Session frequency tends to decrease to every other week or once a month as the client comes closer to meeting his or her goals.

How long will I need counseling?

There is no set time-frame for the counseling process, since the presenting concerns, symptoms and personal goals can all influence the length of treatment.

What if I need medication?

Therapists at Affective Counseling cannot prescribe medication. If during the course of treatment it becomes evident that medication may be beneficial, clients will be referred to a collaborative psychiatrist.

Our Office


Therapists at Affective Counseling are in network with BCBS PPO and Blue Choice.


contact information

  • Address: 111 Lions Dr. Suite 201 Barrington, IL 60010

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