Counselor Spotlight: Rhonda Moore

By Rebecca Smith

As a child of a single mother, Rhonda Moore, LPC, understands a lot of the struggles her adolescent clients see, she said.

“I think that makes me able to connect with my kiddos,” she said. “I understand that’s it’s hard, I understand having to work for what you want.”

Rhonda has been a counselor with Next Step’s program since August of 2019. The program puts licensed professional counselors on school campuses and juvenile probation offices. Rhonda sees clients at Bullard Middle School, Brownsboro High School, and Quitman Juvenile Probation.

“I like the fact that I am on campus all day,” she said. “The students know if they need me, they can see me. The kids miss enough school having to go to other appointments. I think it works all around.”

Experts estimate that about one in five students in public school need behavioral health services. At juvenile probation offices, that number jumps to 60 percent. Still Rhonda said there can still be a stigma to seeing a counselor, even though the stigma is lifting lately.

“I think our society is trying to right the stigma,” she said. “When my mom’s mom was growing up, and even when my mom was growing up, you didn’t talk to people about your issues. You put that stuff in the closet and tried to deal with it the best you could. I like that our society is opening up more but it’s still limited. There’s still stigma. I’m happy with the way things are going, I’m happy there are services out there. We’ve just hit the tip of the iceberg though.”

Rhonda enjoys working with adolescents, she said.

“I like that they’re really raw,” she said. “They can tell if you’re not real. They can tell if they like you or not right away. They have an innocence about them but also a maturity about them that is really spot-on.”

Rhonda has seen students come in with issues ranging from depression, anxiety, being bullied, family issues, low self-esteem, self-harm, and suicidal ideation.

She uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, the work of Dr. William Glasser, and a combination of techniques because “What works for one child may not work for others,” she said.

Even during the time that schools have been shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic, Rhonda has still been able to see about 23 of her clients, “Even if it’s just to touch base and say ‘Are you OK?’” she said.

Rhonda is very happy to be a part of Next Step, she said.

“I love the mission of Next Step, and I love that they’re growing,” she said. “I feel like I got in at just the right time.”