My name is Bryan Bugay, and I am a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor. I enjoy helping individuals and families improve their quality of life. My office is a safe place for clients to work out their issues. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family as well as reading, running, and being outdoors.

Education

  • Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC).
  • National Louis University, Post graduate classes in counseling.
  • Loyola University of Chicago, Masters of Education, Specialist Degree - School Psychologist.
  • Clark University, Massachusetts, B.A. Psychology.

Experience

  • Have counseled children, teens, adults, and families since 1995.
  • Have worked with hundreds of children and their families regarding emotional and behavioral issues.
  • Previously worked as a School Psychologist in the public schools. Assessed intelligence, achievement, and social/emotional development of four hundred children and teens. Counseled fifty children a week individually and in groups.
  • Worked with over two hundred individuals and facilitated seventeen groups for people with social anxiety, fear of public speaking, and selective mutism.
  • Facilitate parent support groups for Selective Mutism.

Public Speaking/Consultation

  • Consultation with schools and other health providers.
  • Train staff at schools and mental health agencies.
  • Guest speaker at parent mental health groups.

Publications

I have published five articles in The Special Educator and Today's School Psychologist magazine on the topics of counseling students, stress and anxiety, and surviving difficult IEP meetings.

Therapy Dog

Read the Winnetka current article about Bryan and his assistant Chewy here

Chewy passed away January, 2019 at 12 years old and now his nephew, Noodle, is working with Bryan. 

Selective Mutism Testimonials and Updates

I Follow up by email with many parents of selective mutism children who I have worked with in the past.  I have done this for many years to solicit feedback and see the effectiveness of my therapy long term.  Here are the
emails received since 2016 (the emails have not been altered from their original email, except all names and confidential information has been deleted):

Fall, 2019
Bryan, I wanted to let you know that ____ moved in to her dorm yesterday at ____.  She is very excited and considerably more prepared than we ever thought she could be.  ____ and I talked about college on Tuesday over dinner and we both agreed the only reason she is able to attend college is because of you and the work you did with her.  We are very grateful and want you to know how much we appreciate your work with her.  If you ever need a recommendation please feel free to give my name and contact information.  Thank you very much.

Spring 2019
Hi Bryan, _____ is doing amazing. She is a great student, has lots of friends, has a sense of humor and genuinely kind. This next year she will be a lead at camp and was chosen to be a Peer Leader.   No one would ever know she had selective mutism. We were just talking the other day about how she was doing a presentation and had no issues with it.   I can't image how hard it would have been if she didn't kept help at the age she did. Selective Mutism is becoming much more known in the schools. I have a friend that is a preschool teacher and she has passed on your information to a few parents.    Have a great summer!

Bryan, Thanks for the note. _____ is doing well. She’s finishing 5th grade and about to hit middle school. She is doing well in school a academically and socially. She’s having a good year. We appreciate checking in and hope all is well with you and your family.     When asked in a follow up email if his daughter is showing any signs of selective mutism, the father responded “I don’t think so. She is doing great”. 

Bryan, ______ is doing great.  Thriving in sports, friends, school etc.  Thank you so much for your early intervention help.  I don't know how we found you but it was like a miraculous intervention just with a tiny shift in our direction early on.

Thanks for reaching out. She is really doing well this year and has had a very successful academic and social year.

 _______ is continuing to excel in ___ grade. She maintains her straight A performance as well as participation in track and National Honor Society. She will begin high school in the fall with honors classes.  She is very selective with the friends she chooses.

Adult with selective mutism:  I am doing well.  I got engaged and will be getting married soon.

Thank you so much for asking, _______ doing great.  He's reading on his own and even out loud in the classroom, answering his teachers' questions, and interacting and playing with the other kids in his class every day.  He's even been completing the class writing assignments for the past few months, which he had originally refused to do.  All in all, he's very comfortable in the classroom, and it's really enabled him to open up and grow academically and socially.  We've already been speaking about how to best transition him into first grade, since it will be different and he probably won't feel as comfortable in the beginning- but he won't be able to just refuse to complete assignments in first grade like he did this year.  We are hoping to be able to get him and some others who could benefit, exposure to their first grade teacher(s) already this year.  So we'll see how that goes! 

Hi Bryan, ______ was co-captain of her _____ team.  And she's done a bunch of ______ classes. We are very happy and nervous that she will be attending college in the Fall.

Spring 2018
Hi Bryan, Hope you and family are doing well!  I have given a few people your name that have kids with SM.   She is a happy middle schooler. She is in band, art club etc. Has lots of friends and getting great grades. Never would know she went all of kindergarten not speaking.  If you ever have parents that want to talk. I’m happy to let them know it will get better. 

Hi Bryan, Great to hear from you and thanks for checking in. ___ is overall doing well- she’s now a kindergartener. She enjoys school and making friends and participating in class- especially in math- and is in a variety of fun extracurriculars.

Hi Bryan, _____ has had a truly incredible year.  She got up in front of the entire school at an assembly to promote a book that the whole school was reading.  Then this spring she auditioned for, and got, a small singing solo in the musical performance.  She did a great job and she's really happy and putting herself out there.  I hope that you and your family are doing well!

Hi Bryan,  It’s been a long road, but we’re finally seeing some exciting progress with _____. He is now fully verbal in situations we’d never seen before, and the school team is actively challenging him through the rest of this school terms.  He just had 22 classmates/friends over to our house for his birthday party, and he was able to just be himself with no sign of anxiety.  Our goal is to continue these gains through summer camp, and the start of ___ grade. thanks so much for checking in! 

Hi Bryan, we are doing well and ____ is doing extremely well :) She is in 2nd grade now and doing much better each year! Thanks for checking in

Good to see your practice continues to be successful with the SM group.  _____ is doing well.  She maintains straight A’s, is running track and cross country, cheerleader, and student council.  Wow..right?  Thanks Bryan.!

Hi Bryan, Your newsletter looks good!! _____ is doing much better. And I thank you for that. We will keep in touch as things evolve. But at the moment she is talking at school and happy.

Hi Bryan, Sorry I haven't been able to get back to you yet. ___ is doing very well in regards to SM. She can now raise her hand in school, let others teachers know if she has needs such as alerting the nursing, going to the potty, etc. She still has problems outside of school such as family events or seeing schoolmates unexpectedly outside of school but as far as day to day, she is doing well. She speaks to both classmates and teachers. Thanks so much for asking!

Hi Bryan,  Thanks for reaching out. She’s not really showing signs at this point — she talks to everyone and is willing to join activities where she doesn’t know anyone (camp, etc). As far as her behavior, she still struggles with transitions — she drags her feet and can be a bit explosive when prompted. We’re still working on that.  Hope you are doing well. Thanks again for reaching out AND all your help.

Hi Bryan,  She is doing really well, thanks. ____ grade has been good. She has a good teacher and has been really active socially.  So thanks for checking in. We hope you and your family are doing well!

Good to hear from you Bryan.  ______ is doing well.   He has started to finally overcome his selective mutism.  He is talking pretty openly with most adults.  He still has some challenges with talking to peers but he is definitely improving in that regard as well.   Last year he expressed an interest in going to overnight camp. So he went to camp for two weeks.  He was still very quiet at that point but he did well and enjoyed himself.  The whole experience built up his confidence quite a bit.  He is going to camp this summer.

2017
Bryan,  _____ is doing very well. _____  now speaks to all people (familiar and unfamiliar) in all situations without any warm up period.  She has also made great strides in engaging with her peers.  She engages in pretend play and interactive play one on one and with a group.  Her teachers report that she is a leader and that she is great at including all children in group play.   _____ is not the loudest or most outgoing child.  She will often greet her friends with a smile and a quiet hello.  However, she eventually warms up and enjoys more boisterous, noisy, running around play when she is acclimated to a situation.  So, I feel her more subdued approach may just be due to her personality and not necessarily social anxiety.  I’m continuing to monitor this to make sure she doesn’t backslide, and will especially keep an eye on her transition to kindergarten in the fall.   

Hello! ____ is doing fantastic and you would be so proud of her! She's a regular Chatty Cathy and has made so many strides with her communication skills. She's such a hard worker and so brave, it makes me cry every time I talk about her progress. She remembers you all the time and I promised her we would come visit you soon.  We will be in touch!

Hi Bryan,  He's doing great!  No residual effects of the SM, and he excels in school!  Thanks!

Hi Bryan,  ____ is doing well. He's in ___ grade now, and he continues to be comfortable talking in school. Last summer he and ____ were in a ____ camp for a couple of weeks. ____ said he learned to be loud in that camp! I think that people still ask him to repeat himself because of volume, but he is getting better.   ____ is involved in sports every season and is a huge Chicago fan. He's typically considered a quiet teammate, but he talks to his coaches and friends - he has come a long way. He just started basketball again and is playing aggressively!

Hi Bryan,    ____  is doing great! This is the first year I did not communicate to ____ teacher about her selective mutism. We just had conferences and I told her teacher. She said she would have never guessed because ____ is very social and always participates in class. I have observed ____ in some uncomfortable situations and there is no sign of her freezing up.    I think she will do well going into middle school next year and so glad we diagnosed it when she was young.    Thanks for checking in

Bryan, Thanks for sharing your newsletter.  I applaud your efforts to educate society regarding SM.  Recalling the blank stare school staff would return when the topic was discussed was disconcerting.  _____   is doing great.  She continues to be a straight A student and even received the Presidential Award last year for perfect grades.  Socially it is even better.  Her world is filled with friends and she is involved in school and gymnastics.  She is excellent with class presentations…I Know Right!??  Stay in touch.  Keep up the excellent work!

Hi Bryan, Thanks for checking- she's doing well.  Raising her hand at school answering questions... has to be prompted to ask for help.  Academically in the 98-99% Ile.  She's a rule follower at school.

2016
Hi Bryan,   Thanks for checking in!! ____ is doing great, her teacher this year would not even know she had any issues if she had not been told. ____ talks in a normal voice all the time and has no problem presenting in front of the class and sharing during circle time.  Every so often she slips into soft spoken mode but that is only in huge crowds so I think that is normal. She talks to everyone.  Her school has done an amazing job. They had ____ meet all the ___ grade teachers and talk with them at the end of last year so that ____ would know them all. The social worker also made sure ____'s teacher knew her history and her teacher spent extra time at the beginning of the year making sure ____ was doing well and checking in with me.    There is another little girl like ____ and the social worker meets with them every few weeks but it is so ____ can help the other girl. I sincerely thank you for all your help, I think you can list ____ as one of your success stories!

Yes, _____is doing well and is very social and verbally capable.  Thanks for your help through a tough time.  For your casual research, our youngest seemed to have had some similar tendencies but has turned the corner.

Hi Bryan,  Thanks a lot for reaching out.  _____ is doing great.  He is now in first grade.   When we decided to move him to a different preschool a couple of years ago, his selective mutism ended immediately, and since then he hasn't had any further episodes.  Since the first day at his new preschool, he started talking and interacting normally with friends and teachers.   We still believe that there was something in the old preschool environment that was triggering his anxiety.  

Hi Bryan. Doing well. Seems to have overcome the mutism especially in the classroom. Has straight A report card. So far so good. Thanks for checking in. Hope you and the family are well.

Hi Bryan ~   We're doing well.  ____ is thriving at school.  He's in the top 1% of the district for math, and his reading is very good, too.  He speaks in class and no one would ever imagine that he was "mute" for 2 years.  (He has even gotten in trouble for talking too much or too loudly!)    I still notice that he doesn't make eye contact when he's uncomfortable, but we're working on that.  Also, I'm wondering if tests give him anxiety - he doesn't say.  At home, he sometimes gets angry when frustrated.  Otherwise, he's doing great in school and socially - he's comfortable with his main group of friends and also other kids he doesn't know too well.   Thanks for checking in.  Hope you're doing well, too.

Hi Bryan,  Thank you for reaching out.  She is doing great! She acclimated very well to kindergarten.  Made a couple new friends.  Her teacher said she is quiet but she communicates everything that she is asked to.  And most importantly she is very happy!  So we got her over her little hump and she continues to build confidence. Thank you again for reaching out!

Bryan, good to hear from you as been awhile.  ____ doing really good as had transitioned into 1st grade well as we did a lot of the steps you recommended prior to her going into the school to make the transition easier.   She still has her struggles, but has made considerable progress all things considered.

Thanks so much for your note!  ____ is doing well.  When last we talked, ____ was verbal in most situations with most people, and that continues to be the case.  In fact, we’ve seen some improvements in terms of her warmup period decreasing.  We no longer need to use non-verbals (head nodding, thumbs up, etc) to warm her up.  And she no longer experiences being “frozen” and unable to speak upon entering a new place or meeting new people, even in unexpected run ins.  Our focus continues to be on getting  more comfortable with groups of peers.  One on one she does beautifully, but in a group she tends to become more reserved.  She initiates conversation with her peers to get her needs met (“can I please have a turn?” or “can you pass me that crayon?”) but we’re still working on engaging in cooperative play, and just being comfortable and confident in a group.  When I observe her in the classroom, I see that she is much more likely than the other children to be right next to a teacher, holding their hand or sitting on their lap.  We had her screened last week at our district’s early childhood center but based on the fact that she performed beautifully in the screening she doesn’t qualify for district services - so that’s good news.  This has been a long road.  Honestly, I do not think that she would be diagnosed as SM today.  So that’s where we’re at!  I hope that you and your family are doing well, and enjoyed a wonderful holiday season.   Thanks for checking in…

Hi Bryan, Thanks for checking on ____!    She has an IEP with social work and special ed minutes.  She has been answering teachers only if they ask her a question. 




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