“I also know that help-seeking in my community needs to be encouraged and I strongly believe that having more clinicians of color could help reduce some of the mistrust that discourages people of color from seeking help.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
For most of my working life, I have been a high school and middle school educator. The longer I stayed in the field of education, the more I realized that my passion was figuring out human behavior and motivation and I used this curiosity and drive to fulfill my desire to become a psychologist. I grew up in a family and community where issues related to feelings were never discussed nor expressed and mental health-related concerns were regarded as a weakness of will and a lack of faith in God. I see firsthand how this practice resulted in interpersonal and intrapersonal conflicts as well as poor psychological adjustment overall. I also know that help-seeking in my community needs to be encouraged and I strongly believe that having more clinicians of color could help reduce some of the mistrust that discourages people of color from seeking help. I am an empathetic counselor, a great listener, and very resourceful. I have worked in hospital outpatient, child and family guidance, and college settings with supervisors who were both psychodynamic and CBT-oriented. However, I believe in an integrated approach to counseling that is decided by the needs of my client.
What should someone know about working with you?
Naturally, my intake process is longer than a regular session and focuses on presenting issues, which I know only scratches the surface. Progress occurs when my client is able to use interventions discussed in session outside the session as well as use their initiative to discover strategies that work for them on their own. Progress also occurs when the client is able to direct the session as well as demonstrate consistent behavior change. I will give homework at times, when necessary and depending on the client. I like working with adults and couples but I am open to working with high-functioning adolescents. I especially look forward to working with Black men to address the trauma of their experiences of being a Black man in America and helping them focus on their psychological development.
What do you do to continue learning and building competencies as a provider?
I am an avid reader and I use reliable sources of information, such as peer review journals, to learn more about evidence-based practices as well as new research to keep up with trends in the field. In addition, as an active member of NYSPA, I am privy to a variety of workshops and webinars that the organization offers on a variety of topics. I am an adjunct assistant professor as well and I continue learning as a part of the preparation I do for the courses that I teach. I also welcome the CE requirements and I’m looking forward to learning more through those requirements.
Have you done any research-based work that you found particularly exciting? How does it inform your practice today?
My research focused mainly on the experiences of Black males. My research and publication on the experience of high-achieving Black males in middle school was very interesting as it reinforced the impact of negative media messages on the psyche of Black males. This research also highlighted the importance of non-academic activities in keeping kids connected to school and building their self-efficacy in all areas of their lives. These research outcomes have heightened my interest in the lives and psychological wellbeing of Black males.
“I especially look forward to working with Black men to address the trauma of their experiences of being a Black man in America and helping them focus on their psychological development.”