Switch to Accessible Site
Helping you fulfill yourPotential
Hands Holding Plant


Today you are one step closer to  feeling empowered and moving forward on a path to positive growth.

Our therapists help you develop your potential and lead a life worth celebrating. While we can't change difficult situations from the past, we can partner with you to understand and resolve challenges in your life.  Together we will guide you to change negative perceptions and behavior patterns that could be holding you back from living a more meaningful and fulfilling life.

If you're looking for extra support and guidance through a challenging situation or you're just ready to move in a new direction in your life, we will help you to achieve your goals.



Hope Counseling's mental health therapists are Masters-level trained, with many years of experience.

We specialize in treatment of issues such as:

  • Anxiety, Depression and adjustment to life changes
  • Couples Counseling, marriage counseling and sex therapy
  • Family Counseling -- including extended family issues and blended families
  • Parenting Support -- pre-schoolers to young adults
  • Children's Play Therapy 
  • Children's Art Therapy
  • Teenage developmental issues
  • Work and career problems
  • Management of an ongoing mental health condition
  • Post traumatic stress (past trauma)
  • Grief and Loss
  • Stress management 
  • Christian counseling upon request
Our therapists can...
  • help you with emotional and behavioral problems and concerns.
  • meet with you in a confidential, safe, and supportive atmosphere
  • offer daytime and evening appointments to fit your schedule
  • return your calls in a timely manner
  • support you in making the relationship changes you desire most
  • support you on your path to personal and spiritual growth
How can therapy help me?
A number of benefits are available from participating in therapy. Therapists provide emotional support, problem-solving skills, and teach coping strategies for issues like depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, parenting struggles, grief, stress management, body image issues and addictions. Many people also find that therapists can be a tremendous help with one's personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life. Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. Your success with therapy depends on how you use the process and put into practice what you learn.
Some of the benefits available from therapy include:
  • Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals and values
  • Developing skills for improving your relationships
  • Resolving the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
  • Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
  • Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional concerns
  • Improving communications and listening skills
  • Changing behavior patterns that aren't working well and developing new patterns
  • Discovering healthy ways to solve problems in your family or marriage
  • Improving your self-esteem, and boosting self-confidence
  • Learning to live with inner peace and calm, despite difficult conditions in life

Do I really need therapy?  I can usually handle my problems.  
Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you may have made it through other difficulties you've faced, there's nothing wrong with seeking out extra support when you need it. In fact, therapy is for people who realize they need a helping hand, and that is something to be admired. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you're at in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking therapy. 

Why do people go to therapy and how do I know if it is right for me?

People have different motivations for coming to therapy. Some may be going through a major life transition such as unemployment, divorce, new job, moving, new baby, or a death in the family.   Other people need assistance with building self-esteem, managing depression, anxiety, addictions, or relationship problems.  Some are dealing with spiritual conflicts or creative blocks.  Therapists are non-judgmental and can provide encouragement and practical help with skills to get through these challenging time periods.  Some people come to therapy needing a partner to guide them as they learn more about themselves and how to be more effective moving toward their life goals.   
What is therapy like?
Because each person has different issues and goals for therapy, therapy will be different depending on the individual.  In general, you can expect to discuss the current events happening in your life, your personal history relevant to your issue, and report progress or new insights from the previous therapy session.  Depending on your specific needs, therapy can be short-term to deal with a specific problem, or longer-term to deal with more difficult patterns or your desire for personal changes.  you and your therapist will discuss the frequency of sessions, and often attending weekly or every-other-week sessions achieves the desired results.
It is important to understand that you will get more results from therapy if you actively participate in the process.  The ultimate purpose of therapy is to help you bring what you learn in session back into your life.  Therefore, beyond the work you do in therapy sessions, your therapist may suggest some things you can do outside of therapy to support your process - such as reading a pertinent book, journaling on specific topics, noting particular behaviors or taking action on your goals.
What about medication vs. psychotherapy?  
It is well established that the long-term solution to mental and emotional problems and the pain they cause cannot be solved solely by medication. Instead of just treating the symptom, therapy addresses the cause of our distress and the behavior patterns that curb our progress. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness.  Working with your medical doctor you can determine what's best for you, and in some cases a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action. 
To determine if you have mental health coverage through your insurance carrier, the first thing you should do is call the customer service number on your insurance card.  Check your coverage carefully and make sure you understand their answers.   If you do not understand your benefits, a representative from Hope Counseling Inc. can offer assistance with calling your provider and explaining your benefits to you so that you understand your insurance coverage for services.
Does what we talk about in therapy remain confidential?
Confidentiality is one of the most important components between a client and psychotherapist. Successful therapy requires a high degree of trust with highly sensitive subject matter that is usually not discussed anywhere but the therapist's office.   The therapist provides a written copy of their confidential disclosure agreement, and you can expect that what you discuss in session will not be shared with anyone.  This is called “Informed Consent”.  If you want your therapist to share information or give an update to someone on your healthcare team (e.g. your Physician, Attorney), you can sign a release to permit communications.  By law, your therapist cannot release this information without obtaining your written permission.
However, state law and professional ethics require therapists to maintain confidentiality except for the following situations:
  • If there is suspected past or present abuse or neglect of children, adults, or elderly persons, a report must be made to the appropriate authorities (child protection and/or law  enforcement) based on information provided by the client or collateral sources.
  • If the therapist has reason to suspect the client is seriously in danger of harming him/herself or has threatened to harm another person, the therapist has a duty to warn and to protect.

Meet Our Therapists


Gail Mills LCSW

Gail Mills, LCSW began her Social Work career in 1993 providing counseling and case management to adults, children and families in public not-for-profit mental health agencies.  She has experience in corporate Employee Assistance Programs and also as UIUC Field Instructor and Clinical Consultant for employees in the state child welfare system.  In 2003, Gail Mills founded Hope Counseling Inc., a counseling group practice that is now in its 17th year of service to the Central Illinois-Indiana area.

A graduate of University of Illinois, Gail earned two Masters Degrees, an M.S. in Human Development and Family Studies and an M.S.W. in Social Work.  She is a Clinical Member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and is currently training to become a Certified Gottman Method Therapist for Couples Therapy.  Gail Mills has also studied and practices RRT, Rapid Resolution Therapy, a treatment for trauma survivors and those with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

“My strength is being able to connect with people of all ages, and the fact that I care deeply that each person finds joy, purpose and meaning in life.   I start by meeting with each person to learn where they are in life and what seems missing or blocking their progress.  We explore ideas about how to move toward their goals.   Sometimes this involves breaking out of old behavior patterns and examining or redefining your beliefs. Personal growth often involves learning to manage fears, to be vulnerable, cope with change, and to trust yourself.  

Although working in the field of mental health can be stressful, this is where I am meant to be. I feel fortunate to be a therapist.  Each day as I see evidence of growth in my clients, I just can’t help but feel inside me a sense of deep gratitude that I can be a small part of that process.”


Angela Peregud-Aksimentyeva LCPC

Angela Peregud-Aksimentyeva, LCPC, CADC is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) and a Certified Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Counselor (CADC) with 14+ years of counseling experience with adults, children, couples and families.  She received her Master’s Degree in Social Clinical Psychology in 2002 from the University of Social Psychology in Warsaw, Poland.  Angela Peregud, LCPC continued her post-graduate education at the Chicago Center for Family Health and American Public University.

Angela Peregud, LCPC offers individual, couples, and family therapy at the Hope Counseling office, and she offers this statement of her philosophy of clinical practice:

“People are my passion.  I strongly believe that human lives are built through experiences and that every difficult situation is part of the learning process toward our well-being.  Critical situations do have solutions. To reach that solution, we need to recognize and accept our own power to make changes. I can help you accept yourself as you are, and become passionate about your life.  My role as therapist is to help you to discover your strengths, and to improve and expand your current view of yourself.  I am an authentic, honest, and creative therapist, willing to meet with you and help you to grow.”

Angela Peregud, LCPC has specialty skills for working with clients who have addictions, codependence, past sexual abuse or domestic violence, trauma, grief and loss issues, depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety disorders.  She is a skilled therapist with family and relationship issues, career issues, anger management, stress management, parenting difficulties, adoption issues, and family conflict.  Angela has therapy experience with clients who have a dual-diagnosis or personality disorder, and also has experience with children’s play therapy methods. 

Terry Ditchfield LCSW

Terry Ditchfield, LCSW has worked in the mental health field for thirty years in a variety of community agency settings in the Midwest and Southeastern US.

She has helped clients with a range of mental health concerns including ordinary life stressors and more complex issues such as post-traumatic stress. Individuals, families, and soldiers returning from military deployment have benefitted from her counseling and care.  Working for many years in the addictions field, she has helped many adults and adolescents to succeed in outpatient and inpatient treatment.  Terry particularly enjoys working with adolescents who struggle with day-to-day pressures and teen developmental issues.  She has great respect for those who wish to make changes and transform their lives, becoming their best self.  

If you are ready for a change for the better, I invite you to take a step forward on a healthy path to personal well-being and life balance.  I would love to assist you. 

Years in Practice: 30 
Masters of Social Work, University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana 1991 
Licensed in the State of Illinois 

Expertise and skill in the following areas                               

* ADHD (children and adults) 
* Addictions 
* Anger Management 
* Bipolar Disorder 
* Career Counseling 
* Child or Adolescent 
* Chronic Impulsivity 
* Chronic Pain 
* Coping Skills 
* Depression and Anxiety 
* Divorce 
* Domestic Abuse & Violence 
* Dual Diagnosis 
* Eating Disorders 
* Emotional Disturbance 
* Family Conflict 
* Grief 
* Life Coaching 
* Obsessive-Compulsive (OCD) 
* Post Traumatic Stress Disorder 
* Parenting 
* Self Esteem 


Melanie Easton LCPC

Melanie Easton, LCPC has dedicated the last 15 years to the study and practice of professional counseling. She has counseled individuals during the most difficult circumstances of life. Teens and children experiencing behavior challenges, learning disabilities, trauma, and sexual abuse have found great comfort as Melanie has journeyed together with them in the counseling relationship.

Melanie has counseled women and men who struggle with acute and lifelong anxiety and depression and helped them to manage their symptoms more effectively on a day to day basis. Melanie also has experience working with individuals who are coping with mental health concerns such as psychosis, auditory hallucinations, and paranoia, assisting them with their daily functioning. 

Melanie obtained her Master’s in Professional Counseling from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia in 2012 with a concentration in relationships and sexuality. She has continued her training since that time to focus on trauma and sexuality for individuals and within the marital relationship. As a result of continued training, she is an Associate Member of the American Board of Christian Sex Therapists.

“We all experience difficulties in our lives. Some may struggle with chronic mental illness such as depression, anxiety, or schizophrenia; others may struggle when life throws them a curve ball. It can be helpful during those times to have an outsider to walk the journey with you. Counseling can provide a safe, secure environment to take that journey, to talk about the difficulties you are facing, and begin to articulate what it is you most desire for your future.”


Rhonda Johnson - Administrative Assistant






Janet Greene - Billing Specialist


Insurance can be complex, so we'll try to keep it simple.  If you have health insurance coverage, insurance will often pay most of each session fee.  You may have a co-payment on the date of service,  usually in the range of $15.00 to 40.00 /per session. However, if your insurance benefits include a yearly deductible amount that has not been met for the year, you owe the full fee on the date of service.  We will give you a quote of that full fee by phone prior to your first appointment.  Your options for payment are cash, check, FSA account card, credit card or personal debit card.

If you have no health insurance or your insurance plan has a high deductible amount, you may be eligible for our Fair Chance Program.  Please call (217)-431-8825 ext 4, and ask about eligibility for the program.  To qualify you must provide Federal tax forms from the previous filing year as proof of income.  Fees offered by the Fair Chance Program fees are a significantly reduced rate and payment can be made by cash, debit card, or money order. 


We accept: Blue Cross Blue Shield, Health Alliance, Cigna, Aetna, United Health Care, Medicare and many other insurance plans.  We also work with many corporate Employee Assistance Programs offering confidential employer-paid short-term counseling services, generally limited to 3 to 8 sessions.

When you call us at Hope Counseling, we gather basic insurance information and with your consent we will check the terms of your insurance coverage.  Within a day we provide you a quote by phone for the approximate cost of services so you can make an informed decision about starting counseling services. 

Cancellation Policy
If you do not attend your scheduled therapy appointment, and if you have not called to cancel at least 24 hours in advance, our policy is to require a partial payment.  Please understand that this is necessary to meet our operating expenses. When a cancellation is necessary, you may leave a message 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week at our main number,  Ph. 217-431-8825. 

Questions? Please contact Hope Counseling Inc. for further information. We'll be happy to answer your questions.

We have included several ways to contact us.
Please give us a call at 217-431-8825 Ext 4.