Ashleigh Lester

I specialize in work with older elementary aged children, tweens, teens and individuals struggling with stress related to or adjustment surrounding medical diagnoses and/or disease processes. I also work with adolescents in a variety of settings and circumstances: typically developing adolescents, depression, anxiety, social and/or academic troubles, learning differences, parental/familial discord and teen moms. I have a vast amount of experience in the hospital setting working with children and families affected by illness, injury, developmental delay, medical trauma and death. 
One of my strengths is quickly developing a trusting relationship with teens in which they feel comfortable discussing their inner world with me, even for teens who did not come to therapy of their own accord. I believe this is key to a successful counseling experience for them.
Utilizing an eclectic approach in which the individual’s presenting symptoms, environmental and social stressors as well as individual personality and behavioral characteristics are assessed, I develop a unique treatment plan with the understanding that every person should be treated as an individual.  
As a young child in Missouri, I experienced divorce and remarriage of caregivers as well as becoming a member of a blended family. I lost my father, grandmother, and grandfather all between the ages of five and seven and lived in the home with my grandmother as she suffered from breast cancer. I believe that all of these experiences allow me an enhanced understanding of my clients who might be struggling with similar circumstances.  
Before entering the counseling profession I earned my Bachelor of Science degree in human development and family studies, with an emphasis in child development, from the University of Missouri-Columbia. In 2003 I moved to Dallas to begin work as a Child Life Specialist at Children’s Medical Center Dallas before pursuing my Master of Education degree in clinical mental health counseling from Vanderbilt University. While in graduate school I continued work as a Child Life Specialist at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. During my time as a Child Life Specialist I provided psychosocial, developmental and emotional care to children and families on the oncology unit as well as neurosurgery and pre-operative patients.    
I am a Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified Child Life Specialist. I am also a Certified Infant Massage Instructor and trained in implementation and interpretation of the DENVER II developmental screening.  
In my free time I enjoy spending time with my husband and two young children. I appreciate reading novels, music, and eating good food. To unwind and de-stress I love to do spin classes and run with good music blasting.
My rate is $130 for a 50-minute session.
A quote that resonates with me:

"Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be" - John Wooden
To read the article "Normative Childhood Sexual Development and Behavior", click here.

Tweens Splat