Tell us a little bit about your story, how you got into psychology and what you’re doing with it now.
In 2016 I gave birth to my daughter and began struggling with postpartum depression. I struggled to understand what it was because women in my family, did not discuss this. I knew it was a possibility but didn’t know enough about it. I thought because I was a therapist I was immune. I was so wrong.
I struggled to find a therapist of color and also find time to even attend therapy. My newborn would not let me out of her sight.
In 2017, I decided that I wanted to help other mothers like me that had similar problems. Limited opportunities to leave my child and focus on me and a slim number of therapists of color. I decided to open a virtual private therapy practice called “Holly Street Counseling.” I wanted to take away the hurdles of commuting in and out of office space for moms. Being able to provide them therapy from the comfort of their home made so much sense. Moms no longer had to find a babysitter or get the kids in the car or miss appointments because of childcare issues. They could focus on themselves and still be present in the home. Being able to be the black mom’s therapist helped them to feel comfortable as well. When they would jump on screen a sigh of relief would come over them and I could instantly see them becoming more at ease.
Today I continue to practice virtually with not just mothers but adults ages 18-45 and couples. I provide training to organizations surrounding self-care and trauma. I also have written a book entitled “Balance, finding self-care in your current state of affairs”, I have appeared on 2 hit TV crime shows and also do public speaking.
When you say women’s self care expert, what does that consist of? How do you serve women in this area?
I am a self-care expert because I was ignorant of what it truly is at one point in my life. I believe that in order to be an expert in something, you have to fail at it first. After failing, I learned and studied myself to understand my failure to not prevent it, but decrease the chances of such a dramatic failure happening again. Through my own self exploration, coursework and trainings, I began to understand the barriers to self care and how mental health impacts this.
I work with women to understand all 8 areas of self-care: 1. Spiritual 2. Physical 3. Space 4. Financial 5. Social 6.Physical 7. Emotional 8. Work.
We discuss any traumas they may have experienced that could be impacting their self-care, unpacking, and processing negative emotions and experiences. Together a treatment plan is formulated and goals for therapy are set. We also discuss practical ways to maintain self-care as well.
How does fitness and yoga play a role in your therapy work?
Fitness is one of the best ways to address mental health. Moving your body helps to release stress. Exercise releases those feel-good chemicals in the brain: dopamine and endorphins. Regular exercise helps with sleep for those clients that may have sleep troubles. yoga helps you to connect with your body in a spiritual and low-impact way. When you feel good you look good.
I discuss with my clients different resources they can use to assist with yoga and regular exercise and encourage them to start off slow if they are beginners and develop plans to maintain this.
What does overall wellness mean to you and how can we create plans that consistently keep it in the forefront?
When creating a plan to maintain an overall life of wellness, the plan needs to be SMART: Specific, Measurable. Attainable, Realistic and Timely. There should also be an accountability plan as well.
What are some of the qualities required within character and persona, to do the work you do?
1. Self Awareness
3. Ability to maintain boundaries
6. Willingness to learn
7. Being open-minded
How do you ease the minds of clients who are new to therapy and just discovering the truths behind the negative stigma around mental health?
When first working with a client that may be struggling with any fear based thought surrounding therapy I allow them to ask any question they can think of during the free 15 min telephone consultation provided before scheduling their first session. During the first session I provide them with a second opportunity. During both times we address the fear by examining the basis of this fear. We examine of there is truth to this and used evidence based information to educate the client and decrease the fear. I provide a safe and supportive environment for my clients and I to speak very matter of factly they can express themselves and feel they can be themselves 100%.
How important do you think it is that WOC work with Therapists that are also WOC?
I believe it is crucial for WOC to work with other WOC but if they cannot, this should not mean you don’t attend therapy at all.
When WOC work with a WOC therapist, it helps to ease the process of developing a strong therapeutic relationship. Being able to have a strong therapeutic relationship with a client is one of the best interventions that can be used in therapy.
Tell us about your New Book, BALANCE! What can readers expect and how can we purchase/support?
My book “Balance” has just been re released and I could not be more proud. Why the re release you may ask and I will tell you why. The book was originally released Feb 2021. I was excited, but also felt like it was lacking some information and I felt the book could be better. SO I decided to create this second version.
All books can be purchased on my site or on Amazon. All links are in my bio!
Was it easy for you to write your books? What are some things you can share about the author journey that you wish someone told you earlier on?
To be honest writing the book took me sometime. It was challenging because I wanted people to like it. I was afraid of possible criticism that would come from others and the fear of being rejected by my own therapist community.
The other challenging part was always thinking about it and always having a new thought. I am a creative so I always have thoughts running through my mind. I would be driving and have to grab my phone and record a voice note because I didn’t want to forget an idea that jumped into my brain.
Do you have anything coming up that we should look forward to? And how can we keep in contact with your updates, and/or book a session with you?
Currently I am working on creating and facilitating trauma trainings for mental health staff in my area and I just completed an interview with the National MS society that will becoming out soon. The interview will be a part of their efforts to increase the representation of WOC in the MS world.