Meet our Newest Graduate Clinical Intern

Meet our Newest Graduate Clinical Intern!

Cynthia Avers


Cynthia is completing the final year of her Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Roosevelt University where she is a member of the honor society for counseling graduate students. She brings years of experience working in diverse clinical mental health settings and is currently in training for Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).

Cynthia enjoys working with children, teens, adults and couples. Of particular interest to her is working with those who struggle with life transitions, stress and anxiety; depression, divorce and blended family dynamics. As a mother of two, she has a heart to work with and support parents who struggle with parenting and family issues.

Cynthia has a life-long interest of exploring and understanding the human condition. In order to support growth and healing, she believes in providing a warm and safe atmosphere where her clients can be themselves. She states, “I believe my role is to walk with my clients and support them in finding creative solutions to lead a valued life.”

Cynthia also has special expertise in the following areas:

  • Adjustment Disorders
  • Adolescents
  • Anxiety
  • Blended Families Adjustment
  • Depression
  • Divorce
  • Emotional Abuse
  • Grief/Loss Issues
  • Life Adjustments
  • Mood Disorders
  • Parenting Skills
  • Stress Management
  • Trauma
  • Women’s Issues

Cynthia can be reached by phone at 630.718.0717, ext. 232 or email

Tips on Parenting: Dealing with Back Talk

back talk

Summer is fast approaching which means schools close their doors and you get to spend a lot more time with your children! Of course this is a wonderful thing but it can certainly present some  challenges as you spend more time then usual together.

Is back talk a challenge in your home?  Do you deal with eye rolls or rude comments?  In early childhood kids start testing the limits trying to determine what they can and cannot get away with.  Children certainly need to learn skills to be assertive but you can help teach them do this in a more respectful manner.

Here are some creative suggestions to curb the back talk:

Preschool Age- at this age you may experience more non-verbal modes of back talk.  Or you may be dealing with a whole lot of whining and a mastery of the word “No!”

  • Play a game with it- tell your child their feet are glued to the floor and they cannot move until they repeat what they just said in a more polite manner.  This method avoids punishment and reinforces good behavior.
  • Are they pushing for independence? This is another development for this age so be mindful if they are trying to grow in this way.  Give them limited choices for example if snacks are a struggle give them two options to chose from that way they feel like they have more of a say.

School Age- as your child approach kindergarten and first grade they are trying to figure out who they are and start mimic those around them (parents, friends, tv characters).

  • Journal exercise- Let your child calm down if they are worked up.  Then ask them to write out what they can do differently next time.
  • Talk about it- kids can start to engage in dialogue better with you now.  When they are calm talk about their choice with them.  Ask them to explain what happened and strategize better ways for coping together.
  • Consequences- take this route last, if all other options have failed!

Tweens– at this age they certainly know how to push your buttons so look out, back talk can get a little nastier.

  • Time out- come up with a time out ‘signal’ that you both know about.  Use this when things get heated.  It gives you both permission to walk away before things get out of hand.  Remember, you always want to come back together when everyone has cooled off to talk about what happened.
  • Teach respect-Simply teach them how to say things in a nicer way, even if it is something about you they don’t like.  Trust me, it will happen!
  • Approach consequences together- together create a list of consequences that progressively get harsher.  It is important to have your child participate in this.  You then administer the consequences they came up with when back talk occurs.

This is an introduction to the many parenting tips that are available to you.  Do not hesitate to contact us and meet with one of our therapists to learn more about parenting!

*Adapted from “How to Put a Stop to Back Talk” by Shaun Dreisbach.

Coaching: The Power to Change!

“If you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always gotten”

-Tony Robbins

Is your life in transition? Are you ready to close the gap between where you are now and where you want to be? If the answer is yes, then coaching services at Fox Valley Institute are for you!

We all have the power within us to make our life what we want it to be. Coaching is seen as a collaborative process between you and your coach. Why should seek out coaching? Think about successful athletes, celebrities and even business professionals; all have had at least one coach in their lives. With the right partnership you can reach your goals and turn your dreams into reality. As Tony Robbins says, if you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always gotten. So why not make a change and starting experiencing new results?

Coaching is appropriate for those who are:

  • Going through a life transition or change (for example, job change, relocation, new relationship, divorce, empty nester)
  • Looking to learn how to problem-solve and navigate difficult life situations
  • Developing leadership skills
  • Needing to achieve improved focus
  • Wanting to improve self-esteem
  • Struggling to balance the demands of home and work
  • Looking to carve out new areas of fulfillment in life but do not know where to start
  • Looking for a creative breakthrough professionally
  • Entrepreneurs, trying to make an idea become reality
  • Developing healthy relationships
  • Looking for purpose and direction in life
  • Striving to reduce stress and worry
  • Improving overall happiness and well-being
  • Seeking out success of any type whether it be personally, professionally or relational
  • What does the process of Coaching look like?
  • Determine what is most important in your life
  • Design a plan to reach those goals
  • Remove any barriers or obstacles that stand in your path
  • Utilize the partnership with your coach to build empowerment and success
  • Enjoy the benefits of your achievements!

What will you gain?
“People who fail focus on what they have to go through; people who succeed focus on what it will be like in the end”
-Tony Robbins

  • Healthy decision making skills
  • Improved motivation towards change
  • Increase in self-esteem
  • Clarity
  • New ways of thinking

Coaching has proven to be a very powerful and direct means to guiding and supporting people to solve difficult problems and achieve complex goals. Coaching is an opportunity for people to learn a great deal from their own experience as well as how to use those experiences to enrich and develop healthier ways of living.

To see Coaching in action, take some time to view this clip from Tony Robbins himself explaining why you need a mentor!

Finding Your Inner Beauty

Inner Beauty

Fox Valley Institute had the pleasure of participating in the Power Event recently hosted at Crone Middle School.  This was an amazing event designed to empower young girls!  Fox Valley Institute had the opportunity to help young girls, along side their moms, understand how to define and cultivate their inner beauty.

Power Event 1

Inner Beauty is a person’s character versus their outer appearance.  Inner beauty can be cultivated in three different ways:

  • Through your relationship with yourself
    • Practice positive self talk! Try to catch yourself when you start to become negative or critical.  Replace the negative thoughts with positive ones.
    • “I am a good person” “I am a helpful friend” “I have a kind heart”
    • It is also important to surround yourself with people who support positive self talk.
  • Through your relationship with others
    • A compliment can go a long way.  Do not miss an opportunity to point out the strengths of others.  Not only will they feel good but you will feel good as well.
    • Be willing to lend a helping hand.
    • Express compassion towards others.
  • And through your relationship to the world
    • Set goals and go after them!
    • Do not be afraid to try new things!
    • Determine your strengths and let them shine
    • *The above information was a joint contribution from Dr. Chris McGrath and Melissa Pasquinelli, both therapists at Fox Valley Institute.
The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure she carries, or the way she combs her hair.  The beauty of a woman is seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides.  True beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul.  It’s the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows and the beauty of a woman only grows with passing years.
-Audrey Hepburn
Power Event 2