“I enjoy seeing people, hearing them, advocating for them, sitting in an intimate space (even if it’s virtual), airing out the "dirty laundry”, settling into real truths, and challenging and reframing negative beliefs about self, others, and the world.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
I am a Black woman and a proud New Yorker. I attended New York City public schools: Lenox Academy, Phillipa Schuyler, and Clara Barton High School to study practical nursing. During a psychiatric clinical rotation, I had the opportunity to sit with and observe individuals coping with the impact of trauma and persistent mental health concerns. That was the point that I recognized the importance of mental wellness and became motivated to study treatment modalities for urban youth facing unique challenges to their normal development as well as trauma-focused treatment for people of color. I received both my BA and MSED from Hunter College (I did say proud New Yorker, right?). I think my first experience with therapy was another big turning point; I was 21, just out of college, starting my first job, and suffering in so many ways that most people couldn't see. My therapist saw me and she taught me the value of being seen and seeing other people. I enjoy seeing people, hearing them, advocating for them, sitting in an intimate space (even if it’s virtual), airing out the "dirty laundry”, settling into real truths, and challenging and reframing negative beliefs about self, others, and the world. I genuinely believe this work was made for me! I've worked in a variety of settings - schools, colleges, hospitals, community clinics, and at a NYC agency as a consultant and coordinator. My proudest work is all that I do in servitude to others through my private practice: Sunshine Advocacy. Here, I provide individual, family, and group therapy centered around the needs and experiences of people of color.
What should someone know about working with you?
I have experience working with people of all ages and of diverse backgrounds, cultures, ethnicities, and identities. My clients arrive to therapy seeking to cope with past and present experiences of trauma (PTSD), family dysfunction, oppression, microaggressions, and systems that diminish mental health and wellness. My goal is to provide therapy that is catered to YOU. Therapy is most effective as a collaborative effort in which both of us enter with our own expertise, mine as a compassionate therapist and yours as the expert on YOU and YOUR NEEDS.
What do you do to continue learning and building competencies as a provider?
In fall 2020, I started a PhD program in counseling and counselor education. In addition to being super compassionate about counseling work, I am driven by personal and professional experiences to advocate for aspiring counselors (more specifically, BIPOC counselors). I often attend training opportunities on topics that are new and/or challenging for me.
How do your own core values shape your approach to therapy?
Some of my core values center around identity, including exploration, development, establishment, and awareness. I believe who and how we are serve as direct reflections of our experiences and act as perpetual factors in the ways we perceive and interact with the world. My approach to therapy is eclectic in that I am versed in many theoretical approaches and interventions. I focus on cultural humility and individual development as a means for utilizing specific interventions with clients and I have a high tolerance for their responses to difficult truths.
Have you done any research-based work that you found particularly exciting? How does it inform your practice today?
In my pursuit of a meaningful doctoral experience, I met some amazing folx who inspired my application to Syracuse University, which is unique in its structure and commitment to developing well-rounded counselor educators. Department faculty specializes in research that is directly in line with my interests in social justice and the multicultural issues impacting both clients and counselors. I am particularly interested in participating and contributing to research to assist my development as an evidence-based clinician, supervisor, and educator. It is my desire to explore counselor wellness and efficacy, including the concept of the “wounded healer” or counselors with a history of coping with trauma and mental health concerns that lead to a reciprocal impact in their work. I am equally interested in contributing to research regarding the unique developmental crises of subjugated youth, such as the development of guilt in parental relationships with limited security versus the development of a secure identity and subsequent success in adulthood. Additionally, I am interested in effective engagement practices for clients of various cultural and marginalized backgrounds. I have entered my first year as an African American studies fellow and will contribute to research centered on the factors that impact access to and experiences with counseling for Black people in New York City.
“Therapy is most effective as a collaborative effort in which both of us enter with our own expertise, mine as a compassionate therapist and yours as the expert on YOU and YOUR NEEDS.”