Ashley HodgesTreatment Specialties and Clinical Interests: As a licensed clinical social worker, I work with children, adolescents, families, and adults. I have extensive experience working effectively with children and families in crisis, and young people who are undergoing anxiety, school refusal, Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD/ADD, behavioral challenges, anger management and lack of confidence. In my role as a school social worker, I have provided individual therapy, as well as conducted small group therapy in areas such as bullying education, building coping strategies, coping with social anxiety, and social/friendship skills development. I pride myself on being a strong advocate and ally for each child and family.

I genuinely enjoy working and interacting with children and have a special place in my heart for children with special needs, or any child who is struggling. Children in crisis often experience frustration, and it’s my goal to help them develop coping strategies that enable them to thrive in school, on the playground, and at home.

Clinical Approach: I believe a healthy and functional family is the key to a child’s social development and academic success. Understanding the family dynamic is a key component in the therapeutic setting and working with the family as a whole system. My role as a therapist is to give children the tools to express themselves constructively, and develop a sense of perspective and a deeper understanding of their behavior. I believe in meeting with the child and family and setting realistic and attainable goals. Once we target what needs to be achieved, we all work together collaboratively to develop a plan and a pathway to getting there.

Therapy for a child is different than that of an adult. A child may not have the verbal skills or developmental capacity to understand the dynamics of a situation, or how his behavior affects those around them. A child may act out because he does not know how else to express anger, sadness, or frustration other than through tantrums and aggressive behavior. Likewise, children often have difficulty understanding how others perceive their behavior and how their behavior affects others. Hands-on activities and role-playing are two key strategies I employ to help a child learn appropriate versus inappropriate behaviors.

With children, being a good listener is just as important as understanding what’s not being said and interpreting non-verbal cues. Establishing trust is also a critical component of successful therapy. As a child’s advocate and family ally, I provide a safe space for everyone involved to express themselves and to get to the root of what is going on. My goal is to see children develop the confidence that enables them to bring out the best in themselves and to reveal the strengths of each family’s potential.

Education: I earned a Master’s degree in Social Work with a concentration in school social work from the University of Illinois in Chicago. Since 2009, I have worked as a school social worker, primarily with children aged 3-14 years old and their families. Working within a school system has given me an in-depth understanding of Individualized Education Plans (IEP), 504 Plans, and implementing special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. I have served as an advocate for many families seeking the best and most appropriate education for their children.

Personal Interests: Relaxing and taking care of oneself is vital to mental health. I enjoy traveling, keeping fit, reading, the outdoors, and spending time with family and friends.

Groups: I lead two groups to help high school and junior high students transition back from the summer break. My groups will help them maintain and reinforce the skills they need to be successful in this new school year. Please click on the links below to learn more!

Group for students in High School

Group for students in Junior High

Support for Moms

Services Offered

Family and Child