Guidance Counseling

Marist students are assigned a guidance counselor in their freshman year and they remain with that counselor for four years. With that counselor, students will receive academic, college/career and social/emotional support. Students may receive individual and/or group counseling throughout their four years. All Marist counselors are Masters level therapists, most with clinical licenses. Parents are welcome to contact their child’s counselor.

Guidance Counselors

Mr. Erik Christensen ’97, MSW, LCSW
Department Director
Mr. Christensen is a proud graduate of the class of 1997 and is in his 15th year at Marist High School. He received his Masters of Social Work Degree from Dominican University in 2003, and is currently serving as the Director of the Guidance Department. He has been a licensed clinical social worker since 2007. He adheres to a cognitive behavioral approach and also realizes the benefits of psycho-dynamic and system theories to help promote and encourage change in the school community. In private practice since 2007, some of his areas of clinical focus include: adolescents, men's issues, mood disorders, family issues, and educational/school issues. 

Ms. Holly Cox, MA, LCPC, CDC
Ms. Cox graduated from the University of Illinois with a dual degree for Elementary Education and Special Education, and taught a variety of year levels for 13 years before earning her Master's Degree in Counseling from Governor's State University. She has been a member of the Marist Guidance Department for the past 25 years. She is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, a Certified Dream Coach®, and a Certified Dream Coach Group Leader®. In additional to her work in the Marist Guidance Department, Ms. Cox has worked in private practice as a therapist since 1998. She recently created and trade-marked the Live Like You Are Priceless™ program designed to empower individuals to recognize their own priceless value and begin to "market" it to the world. She and her team deliver full-day Live Like You Are Priceless™ workshops at various locations on Saturdays throughout the year.

Mr. Patrick Hennessy, MA, NBCC, LPC
Mr. Hennessy is in his 43rd year at Marist High School.  He holds a BS degree from Quincy College in Psychology and an MA degree from Chicago State University in Secondary Guidance and Counseling. Mr. Hennessy is also a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in the state of Illinois and is Nationally Board Certified. He holds a Certificate in Grief Recovery and over the years has sponsored numerous support groups for students who have suffered a significant loss in their lives. Mr. Hennessy also coaches boys and girls soccer and loves his time spent with the Kairos Retreat program.

Ms. Maggie Reif, MSW, LCSW
Ms. Reif graduated in 2004 with her Masters in Social Work from Dominican University. Her Post Masters studies were done at Loyola University where she earned her Illinois Educator's License with a School Social Work Endorsement. She joined the counseling department at Marist High School in 2007. Ms. Reif is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and has a specific certification to counsel military family members and their families. Ms. Reif is a member of the National Association of Social Workers in good standing. Her clinical interests include military families and children, and adolescents with a history of trauma. Currently, Ms. Reif is training to become a Gottman Therapist through The Gottman Institute.

Mr. Patrick Ryan ’01, MA, MS
Mr. Ryan, a 2001 graduate, is in his tenth year at Marist High School. He earned a Master's Degree in Higher Education Administration from Illinois State University in 2007 and began working as a college counselor at Marist in 2008. During this time he earned another Master's Degree in School Counseling from St. Xavier University and became an Illinois licensed school counselor. As of July 2014 he shifted roles from college counselor to guidance counselor. Mr. Ryan also manages the summer work study program here at Marist. 

School Social Worker

Mrs. Cathaleen Novak, LCSW
Mrs. Novak is in her third year at Marist High School as a School Social Worker. She graduated from Chicago State University in 2005 with her Master of Social Work degree. Mrs. Novak began her social work career in the non-profit sector working as an advocacy counselor for adults and children with epilepsy. Her interest was piqued in school social work and she returned to Aurora University in 2006 to complete her Illinois Educator’s License with an endorsement in School Social Work. Mrs. Novak began working in a public elementary district in 2007 and remained there for eight years. Mrs. Novak has extensive experience working with students and families with a wide-range of social-emotional and environmental challenges. She is also very familiar and versed in special education law and programs. Mrs. Novak enjoys taking a proactive approach with students by implementing programs and groups that encourage and empower healthy adolescent development.  

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