Hi, I'm Marilyn Barnes


Marilyn Barnes, MSW

Staff Therapist

I began my journey with JPA August 2020 as an intern school-based therapist. I loved the work I was doing with JPA and couldn’t imagine leaving so soon. I graduated with my MSW from Erikson Institute June 2021 with a concentration in Youth, Families, and Communities. I hold a BA from Knox College with a focus in Anthropology and Sociology and minors in Social Work and Spanish. As an undergraduate I completed my senior research project on the impact social capital, in the form of mentoring and access to adults in a variety of professions, had on middle school students labeled “at-risk.” My research supported the idea that positive relationships with and access to adults decrease the “at-riskiness” of students placed within the label.


I have over 10 years of experience working with children, youth, and families in a variety of settings including as a preschool teacher, AmeriCorps Volunteer with City Year Chicago, providing afterschool programming, serving as a mentor to first-generation college students, and now as a school based therapist. My value for supportive and trusting relationships from childhood through adulthood guides my passion for working with youth, families, and the communities they live in. I received various services as a child, adolescent, young adult, and in the present providing me the opportunity to understand the client’s experience from a similar perspective.


My current role with JPA is as a school-based therapist at Webster Elementary School in the North Lawndale community. I provide individual, small group, and classroom therapeutic support. My specialty is in trauma-informed, psychodynamic, client-led, relationship-based therapy. I believe the client knows what is best for them, while I serve as a tool within their journey.  My goal in this work is to create and sustain positive and trusting relationships with my child clients, their caregivers and families, and the community around them to provide a well-rounded support in my clients’ lives.