Thursday marks the last day of our DIVERSIFY marketplace before Friday's luncheon. The final day of the marketplace focuses on services and nonprofits in our area.
In Focus Counseling is a counseling practice offering a diverse perspective on psychotherapy services. In Focus Counseling has been only been in Chattanooga for one year, but its owners and therapists are working hard to make a change in the lives of the LGBTQ community.
Trend: Describe your business.
Troy Johnson: In Focus Counseling (IFC) provides mental health counseling and guidance for those looking to make meaningful change in their lives. IFC is home to two Licensed Clinical Social Workers: myself, Troy Johnson, owner and therapist; and Dr. Morgan Cooley, therapist. IFC provides counseling services for children, youth and adults. Clients use our office to overcome personal limitations, to receive objective support, embrace new ways of thinking and affirm their authentic identity. We are a generalist practice open to everyone who needs support.
Trend: You put a lot of energy towards the LGBTQ community. Could you talk a bit about that?
Johnson: Even though Chattanooga is home to an estimated 7,000 to 10,000 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, there are few independent mental health providers with first-hand experience in addressing their unique concerns. As a member of the LGBT community and owner of In Focus Counseling, much of my professional social work experience has been dedicated to understanding and addressing the needs of the LGBT community. Research shows us that members of southern LGBT communities (especially children and adolescents) often find themselves living, working and going to school in spaces with strict expectations for how they should present their identities and ideas, how they should interact with their community and who it is okay to love.
Trend: How does your background in social work influence your approach to business?
Johnson: This is a great question. As social workers, Morgan and I are trained to see clients as more than a diagnosis. Often, a diagnosis is secondary to understanding who my clients are, what their lives are like, and how they interact with their community and social environments. We have a saying in social work that sums up this approach: “We can’t separate our clients from their environments; we have to address both.” We do this by providing one-on-one counseling for our clients and serving as a consultant to schools, health care providers and community organizations to help raise awareness of the needs of the LGBT community.
Trend: What goals or visions are you working towards with In Focus?
Johnson: IFC’s goal is to provide the most current and innovative counseling methods for all our clients. But, as social workers, we see IFC also serving as a resource to the entire Chattanooga community on topics related to mental health, relationships and the needs of the LGBT community.
Trend: What inspires you about your work?
Johnson: I am inspired by my clients, and I believe Morgan agrees. It's no exaggeration that we get to spend time every day with some of the most resilient and interesting people we know. Their stories, experiences, and perspectives have a profound impact on how we grow as therapists and people. From young children who are struggling to love themselves to seniors who are seeking validation for the lives they lived, our clients embody true grit, perseverance and a determination to live their very best lives. Being in their presence is inspirational.
Trend: How did you find out about DIVERSIFY? What are you most excited about?
Johnson: This is our first year in Chattanooga, and we are looking for ways to celebrate this city’s unique and diverse communities as well as let people know we are here and what we do. Diversify sounds like the ideal place to do both.
To learn more about In Focus Counseling, visit their Facebook page.