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Meet Ashley Reece of Family 1st Counseling Center in North Houston

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ashley Reece.

Ashley, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I am a proud graduate of Booker T. Washington High school! I was raised in Acres home by my grandparents who were a fine example of how to balance business and family. I graduated from Sam Houston State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology. Soon after I was hired as a Family Based Safety Service Worker with the Department of Family and Protective Services. While there, I struggled with the feeling that I was tearing more families apart then offering the help they needed. I admired that we were sending referrals for parenting classes and family therapy and knew that I wanted to be on the other end of the referral. With that goal in mind, I attended Praire View A&M and graduated with a Master’s in Counseling.

Initially, I worked in the clinic and hospital setting mainly with children and those in crisis situations. I found myself drawn to working with children in Residential Treatment Centers but wanted to have a healthy work life balance. As a mom of five, it is imperative that I am able to show up for the children when they need me. With the push of my husband, Family 1st Counseling Center was founded allowing us to enjoy our family and help other families at the same time.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The road has definitely had its ups and downs. We celebrate each up and pray ourselves through the downtimes. Initially, there was the financial fear, “How do I just walk away from job security.” Then it was, “how do I keep clients active during the summer break when everyone is traveling?” By faith, I put it all in God’s hands and gave my all as a therapist. I was able to build trust and rapport with clients and referring agencies. The credentialing process with insurance companies is a nightmare, a long tedious process. We simply played the waiting game and rejoiced as we were added as a provider for each insurance company.

Family 1st Counseling Center – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Family 1st Counseling Center Inc. was founded in November of 2017 by James E. Reece, MBA and Ashley Reece, M.A, LPC. In previous years, the couple both were employed by the Department of Protective Services in the State of Texas. James served as an Investigator for five years and Ashley served as a Family Based Safety Service Worker for two years. After their marriage in 2012, the couple continued to serve their community recognizing the strong need for African Americans to provide Mental Health Services to the minority community. James developed a business plan which included becoming paneled with insurance companies, partnering with schools, communities, and various agencies. Ashley provided mental health services and became trained in Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Parent-Child Interaction Therapy, and Trauma-Focused CBT. It is the goal of Family 1st Counseling Center Inc. to enhance individuals to master the game of life.

We specialize in working with children who are experiencing Anxiety, Depression, Trauma, and/or Behavioral Issues. Services are provided in the home and/or office setting. We work with parents and caregivers to build strong parenting skills, educate, and provide referrals as needed. I am most proud that we have contracted with the Department of Family Protective Services and can now provide mental health therapy to parents and children who have an open CPS case.

We are set apart by our ability to provide mental health therapy in the home, school and office settings. Our therapists specialize in treating trauma and are not afraid to be themselves in the sessions.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
My favorite memory from my childhood would be traveling to Congress with Damascus Marching Drill Team! We practiced long and hard for several months and went to a different state each year to compete.

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Image Credit:
Taskforce Service & Production

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