Counseling Interns

Counseling INterns: Improving access

Connections Family Counseling, LLC believes that counseling has the power to transform individual lives, families, our community, and the world. This belief drives a passion to increase access to high quality counseling services. The best way to increase access is to increase the number of counselors working in our community. Therefore, Connections Family Counseling, LLC has partnered with Online and Local Universities to provide Internships for Counselors-in-Training.

Counseling Interns: Required Training

A counseling internship requires a minimum of 600 hours of experience working directly and indirectly with clients. Most internships must be completed over a minimum of 10 months and often take up to 1.5 years. During an internship a counselor-in-Training is required to meet with their supervisor every week. They also meet weekly with a faculty member from their university. All of this supervision is designed to help the student learn and to ensure the highest quality of care for clients. After completing their internship the student will graduate with their Master’s degree in counseling.

Counseling Interns: The road to Licensure

After graduating with their Master’s Degree the road to clinical licensure has just begun. All Counselors must continue to receive weekly supervision for an additional 3,360 hours of experience. In addition to hours of experience counselors must also pass two national examinations before licensure. The counselor must pass the National Counselor Examination (NCE) and the National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Examination (NCMHCE). Counselors are regulated by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation and are required to obtain continuing education through out their career.

Counseling INterns: Connections Family Counseling, LLC

All counseling interns and pre-licensed counselors at Connections Family Counseling, LLC are supervised by practice owner Mark Vander Ley, Ph.D., LCPC. Mark obtained his Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision in 2018. He has been providing supervision and training to counselors since 2014. In addition to owning Connections Family Counseling, LLC, Mark is a full-time faculty member at Adams State University.

The internship program at Connections Family Counseling, LLC includes individual and group supervision. Interns are challenged to develop their own style of counseling while gaining exposure to several evidence based counseling approaches. Interns learn about Emotion Focused Couples Therapy (EFT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Trauma Focused-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), Structured Psychotherapy for Adolescents Responding to Chronic Stress (SPARCS) and Play Therapy. Beyond the weekly supervision all counseling interns are able to collaborate and learn from the fully licensed therapists/counselors working in the practice. These highly trained and experienced counselors have between 10 and 35 years of experience in the counseling profession.

Counseling Interns: Meet The interns
Latonya Brock, BA
Latonya Brock Counseling Intern

Latonya Brock is a native of Indianapolis, IN but relocated to Quincy, IL in February 2016. Latonya’s journey to becoming a therapist has been non-traditional. She has worked most of her career holding various leadership and community positions. 

Latonya’s passion has always been to serve and empower people to live their best life as the best version of themselves. This passion led her to enroll in Quincy University’s graduate program for a Master of Education in Counseling. Latonya is nearing the completion of her required hours as an intern for the program. She joined the team at Connections Family in January 2022. 

Latonya is finding a passion in working with couples and individuals that may be struggling with depression, anxiety, and trauma. She possesses compassion, empathy, and values relationship-building, you will find this to be evident in her approach to counseling. 

Latonya uses interventions primarily from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Solution Focused, and Person-Centered. You will find her style to be interactive, insightful, calming, and authentic, and her humor shows up too.  Latonya considers it a privilege to come alongside you in your journey to becoming or continuing to be your best self in marriage, individually, on your job, and in the classroom while navigating your mental health.

Jessica Dierker, MsEd
Jessica Dierker counselor

Jessica works with Children 5 and up including teenagers experiencing depression, anxiety, ADHD, trauma and attachment difficulties. She enjoys working with women dealing with divorce, loneliness, depression, anxiety, and grief. Jessica has a masters in school counseling and she is working toward earning her clinical license (LPC). She graduated from Quincy University’s counseling program in 2014 and worked as a school counselor in a local school from 2014-2021. From 2021-2023 Jessica served as the discipleship director at a local non-denominational church and she recently returned to school counseling in a local therapuetic alternative school. Jessica works from a Solution Focused and Cognitive Behavioral Approach.  She has training in TF-CBT, and other trauma informed practices. 

Tony Metz, Mdiv

Tony spent the first 15 years of his professional career as a pastor, and began his counseling education at Quincy University in 2019. While somewhat new to the counseling profession, Tony has a great deal of experience in walking with folks who are struggling with a wide range of life issues including grief, marriage/relationship problems, troublesome family dynamics, depression, and challenging life-transitions among others. He is interested and passionate about working with people from a wide variety of backgrounds and life experiences, and is affirming of the LGBTQ+ community. Tony works from a humanistic perspective, which highly values the relationship that is established between counselor and client. He comes from an attachment and emotionally-focused theoretical perspective, which means that he pays close attention to the ways that our need for, and experience of, connection with others shapes our emotional lives and responses to stress. 

If you would like to begin counseling with one of our counseling interns please call 217-231-1413 and speak with our office coordinator