Merrisa Dawn Santos, Professional Counselor (Pre-Licensed) in Illinois

Merrisa Dawn Santos, MA, LPC, NCC

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Professional Counselor (Pre-Licensed)
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I sincerely believe that each of us is born into this world deserving of happiness, safety, and love. For some of us, the road to emotional wellness can be impacted by forces and experiences beyond our control. At times, we can lose sight of the beauty life has to offer us due to potential trauma, family history, or hardships we’ve experienced. My goal is to help you uncover, rediscover, and reclaim the joy and purpose in your life through compassionate, welcoming, and conversational counseling services.

I am a Board Certified and Licensed Professional Counselor who has been working in the field for over several years. With a passion for helping others, my patient-first approach to healing centers on simple, effective therapies. I am an empathetic, flexible, authentic, and reflective practitioner committed to providing counseling services to individuals from all walks of life.

Adept at working with patients from various cultural backgrounds and sexual orientations. I have a holistic approach that focuses on the mind, body, and spirit to promote mental health and well-being. As a bi-lingual practitioner, I believe in working within a multicultural lens and am committed to providing compassionate, collaborative counseling services and therapeutic approaches across the entire human landscape. I am also a critical thinker and experienced mental health professional, who utilizes mind-mapping techniques to help patients achieve a healthier and more balanced lifestyle.

Specializing in solution-based, strength-based, person-centered, and narrative methodologies derived through a neurocounseling and trauma-sensitive multiculturally competent viewpoint. I am a conscientious and dedicated practitioner in the field of behavioral/mental healthcare and the study of neuroscience. Throughout my career, I have helped numerous individuals, couples, and families treat various forms of ADHD, anxiety, depression, bereavement, family conflict, self-regulation, trauma, PTSD, and more. Both highly empathetic and flexible, I strive to provide a supportive and non-judgmental environment for patients and to enjoy exploring new approaches to counseling that can better meet their needs.

Among my qualifications, I am an expert in Psychoanalytic Techniques, MBCT (Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy), REBT (Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy), CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), and DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy), incorporating various Art Therapy techniques as well as crisis and trauma intervention services.

Specialties & Clinical Interests

  • ADHD
  • Alzheimer's & Dementia
  • Bipolar & Other Mood Disorders
  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Career
  • Chronic Illness
  • Chronic Pain
  • Depression
  • Developmental & Intellectual Disorders
  • Divorce & Separation
  • Domestic Abuse/Violence
  • Family Conflict
  • Fertility, Pregnancy & Postpartum
  • Gender Identity
  • Grief & Loss
  • Law Enforcement/First Responders
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Life Coaching
  • Men's Issues
  • Mental Health Professionals
  • Neuropsychological Issues
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Personality Disorders
  • Phobias & Fears
  • Pre-Marital & Marital Issues
  • Relationships
  • Self-Esteem
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Sexual Identity
  • Sleep Disorders
  • Spirituality
  • Sports Performance
  • Stress/Stress Management
  • Substance Use Disorders
  • Suicide Loss
  • Trauma & Ptsd
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Violence
  • Women's Issues

Therapy Types

  • Acceptance And Commitment Therapy (ACT)
  • Art Therapy
  • Client-Centered Therapy
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
  • Internal Family Systems (IFS)
  • Mindfulness
  • Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT)
  • Somatic Therapy
  • Trauma-Informed Therapy

Community Specialties

  • Black
  • Cancer Survivors
  • Hispanic Or Latino
  • Hiv / Aids
  • Immigrants
  • Immunodisorders
  • Military Families
  • People With Disabilities
  • Single Parents
  • Trauma Survivors
  • Veterans

Faith Based Specialties

  • Buddhism
  • Christianity
  • Hinduism
  • Islam
  • Judaism

Fees & Insurance

Sliding Scale
Insurance Plans Accepted
Blue Cross/Blue Shield

Licenses & Certifications

Years in Practice
License #
Professional Counselor (Pre-Licensed)
Professional Certification(s)
Nationally Certified Counselor
National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC)
Professional Association(s)
Membership Type
American Counseling Association
Chi Sigma Iota: Beta Phi Chapter - Counseling Academic & Professional Honor SSociety
American Psychological Association
Graduate School(s)
Year Graduated
Bradley University
Masters in Mental Health Counseling Speciality: Neuropsychology