Why Go to Therapy?

IMG_0516It was my third year of graduate school and my occasional anxiety was becoming more pervasive. At the start of grad school I committed myself to finishing in 5 years; the pressure to meet this goal came to a head as I tried to balance my classes, clinical training, research and teaching assistance-ships, and work on my own research. My thoughts were racing, my stomach was frequently upset, and I was exhausted so I decided to go to therapy to get help. I have to admit that it was easier for me to take this step than it is for many people; I had access to low-cost therapy at my university’s counseling center, I was surrounded by clinical psychologists who affirmed the utility of going to therapy, and both of my parents are clinical psychologists (I know!). I am writing this post and doing this blog in part because I have experienced the power of therapy – as a client and a clinician – and I know that for many black women therapy does not seem like an option or something that could help.  Continue reading

Black Women and Stress

IMG_0372Being at the intersection of blackness and womanhood comes with unique stressors and pressures. One important step towards positive mental health is acknowledging the things that make life more difficult for us and then engaging in coping strategies to address this stress. This post will share an overview of unique challenges that black women contend with; many of these topics will be explored in depth in future blog posts. I grouped these stressors into a few common categories and include suggested coping mechanisms. Continue reading

About Black Women + Mental Health

Women on Beach PaintingThis is a blog aimed at helping to promote mental health among black women. I welcome everyone who identifies as a black woman (cis, trans, straight, lesbian, bisexual, queer, and questioning) to read this blog. I hope this blog will expand your understanding about mental health issues and steps to take in promoting positive mental health in your life. I will draw on my life experiences (successes and struggles) as an African-American woman, my training as a clinical psychologist, and what I have seen help my clients during my 7+ years of doing therapy with individuals (children, adolescents and adults), couples, families, and groups. My aim is to help those who read this blog to live healthy, joy-filled lives. While my key audience is Black women, I think much of what I write may be helpful for people of many different backgrounds. If you read something that resonates with you that you think a friend or family member might appreciate I hope that you share what you read.

This blog will be focused on individual, psychological and spiritual growth. I fully acknowledge the urgent need for changes in our systems, institutions, and communities that would help black women to have more freedom to live healthy, joy-filled lives. I believe individual change is important even though it is not sufficient and I hope that this blog will guide you to make personal changes that will help you to live the life you want and will also empower you to more effectively work for systemic change wherever you are.

Please note that reading this blog is not a substitute for therapy. If you have topics that you would like me to write about please feel free to submit them in the contact portion of the website.