Counseling Services’ mission is to provide high quality, holistic mental health services to the Columbia College Chicago student body. Through collaborative and confidential relationships, we work with students to develop the coping strategies necessary for success in their academic, professional, and personal lives. We aim to assist students in developing resiliency, self-esteem, and confidence using evidence-based practices to guide our work.
Our vision is to promote human diversity, end the stigma of mental illness, and eliminate the barriers to quality and effective mental health services. We strive to create an affirming, inclusive environment that fosters self-discovery, and empowers students to find their own voice and utilize their strengths. We envision a therapeutic space that allows all students to feel seen and heard!
Counseling Services is committed to providing services that acknowledge and promote the diversity of our students. We engage in culturally humble practices that honor the variety of the human experience. We respect each student’s individuality, creativity, and unique expression through the therapeutic process.
Gricel Serrano, LCPC
“I think life is better with music, food, and laughter. Life can be difficult, but without humor--it becomes unbearable."
Matthew P. Partridge, LCPC
“I enjoy traveling and live music. I enjoy creating new experiences with people as a way to grow and develop relationships.”
Anna Looker, LCPC
“I’m an outgoing person who loves to meet new people and connect with others! In my free time, I’m often reading a fantasy or sci-fi novel, playing volleyball, taking a long walk with a large coffee, checking out an antique shop, or relaxing with my Siamese cat, Beatrice."
Johanna Fierke, LCSW
“I love to explore, whether it be my own neighborhood or a new place. I can usually be found making something, listening to music, playing cozy video games, or biking around Chicago with my husband and friends."
Lillian Gecker, LCSW
“I love engaging in activities that build community, allows me to live my values, and play. In my free time I can be found engaging in community-based work, relaxing in a coffee shop, playing board games, seeing live theater or music, and gathering with friends and family over a good meal.”
Richard Chin, LCSW
Coordinator of Counseling Services
"I enjoy going for walks with my wife, playing with my kid and dogs, and fumbling through licks on the guitar. I try to find joy and humor in life and in frustration.”
“I love spending time with my Family and having Family Dinners. I enjoy long car rides (we turn them into karaoke time!); definitely enjoy music especially oldies music. I love Mediterranean food and pizza! I enjoy good jokes and laughs. My favorite show is The Big Bang Theory and The History Channel. I like going to art galleries and admire different kinds of art.”
- Gricel Serrano, LCPC
Gricel, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, obtained her Master’s Degree in Forensic Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Since 2011, Gricel has worked in a variety of settings including Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), Psycho-social Rehabilitation (PSR), Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP), inpatient psychiatry, private practice, and various community mental health agencies. Gricel is bilingual in Spanish and has worked with both English and Spanish speaking clients. Her theoretical style draws from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Mindfulness, and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). She works alongside her clients to improve mental health and living an authentic life. Gricel’s clinical preferences include depression, anxiety, and identity formation issues.
- Matthew P. Partridge, LCPC
Matthew believes in building a strong therapeutic relationship in which clients come to appreciate the complexity and nuance in their lives as well as their own innate ability to heal from pain and dysfunction. Matthew views the role of the therapist as one that continues to evolve; he emphasizes the importance of establishing trust and clear communication with each client.
Matthew has experience working in a variety of clinical roles, including a community mental health setting and an outpatient counseling center. He also has experience helping individuals struggling with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, other mood disorders, substance use and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He enjoys working with people from all walks of life and is particularly attuned to the needs of the LGBTQ community.
He places importance on listening deeply, offering guidance and skill-building to support recovery and change. Matthew utilizes evidence-based practices such as expressive arts therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, and exposure therapy in his clinical work.
Matthew earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Dayton and obtained his Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Roosevelt University.
- Anna Looker, LCPC
Anna Looker, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, holds a Master of Arts degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Concordia University Chicago. For many years, Anna worked in a variety of settings, including community mental health centers, shelter/transitional housing programs, residential services, and outpatient clinics- providing individual and group treatment for severe mental illness as well as substance abuse. When she began working in university settings, she discovered a passion for working with students.
Anna strives to create a safe, supportive, and collaborative relationship with clients. She enjoys partnering with clients to discover and develop their inner strengths, abilities, and resilience. Her theoretical style draws from dialectal behavioral therapy, solution focused therapy, cognitive behavioral approaches, and brief narrative therapy.
Anna’s clinical interests include working with depression and other mood disorders, anxiety, substance use issues, emotional regulation, social skills-building, and adjustment challenges. She also has a keen interest in suicide prevention and crisis intervention.
- Johanna Fierke, LCSW
Johanna Fierke (she/her) is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and holds a Master of Social Work degree from Loyola University Chicago. She has experience in individual, group, and family therapy and has worked with many populations and ages. She has worked in school-based and outpatient settings and has a particular passion for working with adolescents and young adults.
Johanna practices therapy through a trauma-informed, neurodiversity and LGBTQIA+ affirming lens. She uses an integrative therapy style that focuses on relational or person-centered work, incorporating self-determination and self-advocacy in addition to coping skills. Johanna’s clinical interests include mood disorders, cultural concerns, identity formation, and disability advocacy.
- Lillian Gecker, LCSW
Lili Gecker (she/her/hers) is a licensed clinical social worker and obtained her MA at the University of Chicago. She has experience working in a high school setting, as well as a nonprofit social service agency where for several years she provided individual, family, and group counseling to young people ages 12-25 and their families. She also has worked in youth leadership development and community engagement programs. She particularly loves working with young people as they are navigating life transitions, developing their identities and sense of self, and building new relationships and communities.
Lili brings experience working with depression, anxiety, and traumatic stress. She primarily practices from a person-centered and relational approach. She also has training and experience in LGBTQ+-affirming care, feminist-relational treatment of trauma, and CBT. Lili always strives to be anti-oppressive in her approach, and integrates an understanding of systems, advocacy, intersectionality, and the sociopolitical factors that shape our well-being.
- Richard Chin, LCSW
Chin, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, holds a Master of Social Work from UIC’s Jane Addams College of Social Work and a BSEd in Human Development and Psychological Services from Northwestern’s School of Education and Social Policy. He has worked with diverse populations in both community and institutional settings providing treatment for both substance use disorders and mental illnesses.
He utilizes an “Eclectic” therapeutic approach drawing on a variety of theoretical frameworks to individualize treatment for his clients and is largely informed by Rogerian, or Person-centered, principles. His clinical interests are in mood and anxious disorders, especially as they relate to life changes.
- Connie Valle
Connie joined Counseling Services in January 2019 and brings excellent customer service skills and enthusiasm to the office. Connie earned her Certificate of Nurse Assistant from Harold Washington College and is continuing her education. Connie has over eight years of experience working with diverse populations and within residential-outpatient services serving individuals with chronic illnesses. She strives to make her interactions with students comfortable and enjoyable.