Meet Our Team

Merek Poto

MSW, Gender and Identity Therapist


  • Anxiety
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Depression
  • Gender and Identity
  • LGBTQIA+ Issues
  • Transgender Issues
  • Trauma




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Merek Poto is a warm and empathetic trans man who has over three years of experience as a clinical therapist and is highly skilled in trauma, attachment, LGBTQIA, and gender & identity. He has experience with advocating for transgender individuals; as well as survivors of sexual assault in a hospital setting. He is a sex positive and understanding therapist who strives to uphold a judgement free environment.

When working with his clients, he aims to provide compassionate counseling. He does so by listening to his clients and understanding their needs as individuals. His goal is to ensure clients feel comfortable, safe, and are able to express themselves. He approaches clients empathetically, meeting them on their level and addressing their personal needs. He utilizes emotionally focused therapy to help his clients get in touch with themselves. He strives to grow relationships with his clients by creating a trusting environment where they can achieve a judgment-free and healing experience. He emphasizes that clients can address personal topics when they’re ready to, he’s here to listen.

Clinical Site Director at Illinois Valley Community College (2022)

Aurora University Master’s Degree in Social Work (2021) Internship YWCA 

Psychology Bachelor’s Degree (BA) 


In the past, he returned to his former high school, Neuqua Valley, to advocate for the transgender community. There, he educated students on gender, sex, sexuality, and his personal experience as a Ftm (female to male) transgender individual. 


In the past, he has worked with members of the LGBTQIA+ community by: Educating high schoolers on the various gender identities, sexes, and sexualities Understanding the experiences of LGBTQIA+ members by being in the community himself Taking an active role in talking with members of the LGBTQIA+ community Helping young people feel more comfortable with themselves Spreading awareness and creating allies for the LGBTQIA+ community.


He also has experience working with 

• Survivors of sexual assault: Arriving in hospital settings to support survivors

• Advocating for survivors to ensure their rights are met

• Providing a judgement-free, safe space for survivors


He found immense success at his former high school in educating the students. He received letters of thanks for the education, stories of comfort with coming out, and stories pertaining to allies speaking out against transphobia. Merek came out as Ftm when he was a sophomore in high school. Before then, he was unsure of who he was and often found himself questioning if he was truly a woman. With the support of his peers, teachers, and parents, he was able to come out comfortably and begin transitioning.


He found acceptance from his high school, where him, his father, his teachers, and a member of administration had a meeting to discuss how to make his experience as a trans person as comfortable as possible. He was given a private locker room to change into, which is what he wanted for himself, as well as access to teachers’ restrooms. The school affirmed that if he wanted to, he’d be able to use both men’s locker rooms and bathrooms, but he opted for privacy. He had a very positive coming out experience, but he recognizes that not all transgender individuals share this. As a trans person who can relate to other members of the LGBTQIA+ community, he wants to provide therapy so they can talk about their personal experiences.


Merek has experience of being a Clinical Site Director at Illinois Valley Community College. There, he is the social worker in charge of overseeing student mental health and building a peer-to-peer program to help better the community as a whole, as well as working with the school staff and faculty to spread awareness and education about mental health. He has taken on a leadership position, which has helped him further his experience as a therapist. Merek can help students with on-the-spot crisis intervention and address a variety of needs, such as coping with anxiety, depression, trauma, and more!