June 26, 2020

FSC’s Children’s Department has a new counseling program for children and teens who are struggling with sexual identity and who may be suffering trauma, abuse, or bullying. LGBTQ Children’s Therapist Ashley Dudley, MS, ALC, talks about the new program.

Most people may think that the LQBTQ program is different from what the children’s department does, but it is not. As child therapists, we all go into schools and provide therapy to clients. As the LGBTQ therapist, I visit schools and provide counseling to young adults who identify as LGBTQ.
Honestly, I am accustomed to face-to-face sessions, which is more comfortable, but with pandemic-related social distancing, we had to come up with different ways to counsel. When I say different, I mean we have moved to telephone counseling. To connect even more with my clients, I am now using a confidential video chat platform, which allows me to see my clients for better engagement. It is very important for counseling to remain consistent to ensure a client’s safety, both mentally and emotionally.
During the session, we discuss being quarantined in the home with their families, completing their schoolwork, and using coping skills when needed.
LGBTQ people, especially young people, need a trusted individual to encourage them during the hard times we are having now. I hope my clients look to me as someone who supports them in their sexuality, who will discuss their feelings about issues arising from the pandemic, and someone, besides their family, just to talk to. I’m dedicated to giving my clients the space to express themselves no matter if it is through phone, video or in the office. I’m just happy that I can be that trusted individual to my clients.