7 Reasons Why It’s Time to See A Therapist

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Since this is a mental health blog, it is essential to address the reasons why we should see a therapist. We know that life is filled with everyday stressors which affects us all. We are all equipped with coping mechanisms to help deal with these stressors. Most of us have built relationships, social skills, emotional coping mechanisms, and various defenses to deal with these stressors. But sometimes, these systems that are in place can become overwhelmed, sometimes these systems suffer from lack of care and attention, sometimes a trauma occurs and there are no systems in place to deal with this new development, and sometimes you may just feel isolated and alone.

Statistics from National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) reported that approximately 1 in 6 adults in the US experiences mental illness in a year. If you reflect on this statistic, it means that you know at least 1 – 3 individuals – if this doesn’t also include you – that is dealing with some form of mental illness. Most people will not seek any form of mental health care and will convince themselves that what they are going through is normal and that no assistance is needed. There are more than enough stigmas floating around in our society, especially within marginalized groups, such as people of color, women, and LGBTTQQIAAP communities that prohibit us from seeking assistance.

There is an abundance of reasons why therapy is beneficial. The main reason that therapy is beneficial is that it provides a safe, non-judgmental space to work through all of life’s issues. This statement may sound clichéd or over-used, but it is the simplest and truest way to describe therapy. When you meet a therapist that you connect with, the experience is deepened in an indescribable way. For the black community, it is like finding the perfect barber or hairdresser that you just click with. ...

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Our Gifts from God

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“But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.”

I Corinthians 12:7 KJV

As I have been fasting, God has been focusing me on learning about the gifts that He has given to me. He has tasked me with being accountable to Him about how I steward my gifts. Honestly, prior to starting my spiritual journey, I had never thought of what God wanted me to do. I developed a love of therapy at a young age and decided that I would become a therapist. Throughout the last few weeks, I have been praying about goals that I have set for myself and focusing on the steps to achieve the goals.

But I have found that I keep coming back to stewarding spiritual gifts. If we desire to be aligned with God and His purposes for us, we must first determine what He wants. To do this, we must spend time talking to Him and listening for His responses. His responses may not always be immediate, nor may they come as a direct answer; sometimes, they the responses can be from a friend, and when this happens to me, I find that confirmations of the responses are not far behind.

If we desire to be aligned with God and His purposes for us, we must first determine what He wants. Click To Tweet

In getting to know God as you would any friend, you must take the time to understand how He will speak to you. For me, this has become one of the most awesome things about God. He demonstrates to us how much He knows us by communicating with us in the ways that we each need. I also believe that He does this often so that you begin to recognize His responses. ...

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What Is Black on Black Prejudice?

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What is black on black prejudice? In keeping with my belief about ‘Authenticity and bravery in sync,” it is impossible to not address an issue that I believe is pervasive in the black community. Prejudice towards other blacks is extremely pervasive in the black community but it is very rarely talked about. Even in working on this post, and researching recent articles, the results were very limited. Most people would not use the term ‘racism’ to address the prejudice that exists within the black community, because it’s not black and white or across racial groups.

What is black on black prejudice? Click To Tweet

Our race has, for centuries, been told that white is perfection and black was of no value. We tend to underestimate the lasting effects of slavery. Slavery had more deeply-rooted issues that we tend to understand or admit to. We know that the church was crucial to helping slaves maintain their identifies, cultural practices, and keeping hope alive for a better future. But on a relational level, we really do not know much about how they dealt with their pain. Hence, our race is filled with so much complex trauma. There are deeply rooted issues that are not talked about and are just left to fester below the surface. Some of these issues include loss of identities, loss, forgiveness, acculturation, depression, assimilation, shame, mortality, embarrassment, and ignorance. There is a wide gamut of feelings and thoughts that come with recognizing that you are black, you are a descendant of a slave, and you may not even know which slave. With the entrenched and conditioned beliefs that our race has been exposed to, it is no wonder that we have internalized a lot of those beliefs. ...

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Mental Health in the Caribbean: Changes in the Afro Caribbean

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The Caribbean is seen as this place of paradise for visitors to come and frolic for a period of time and then return to their lives. The truth is that many people that live on these islands have never experienced the tourist attractions for the islands they live on. Underneath all the sunny days and rolling seas lies everyday people with thriving cultures built on independence from colonialism. The underlying social impact is slowly rising to the surface with the rise of mental health problems in the Caribbean.

When I was growing up, mental health in Jamaica was a foreign term. Psychologists existed but it was not a very socially accepted field. When I shared with my family, my desire to become a therapist, most of my family members laughed and joked that I would “deal with the crazy people.” In Jamaica, the people that walked the street – oftentimes barely dressed and carrying a heavy scent – were called “mad woman” or “mad man.” I guess maybe these would be considered the extreme cases as they had not received the help they needed before and had basically become societal outcasts. You were either normal or like these people in society’s eyes. I was young and did not fully understand that these people probably had various mental illnesses that were left untreated since our island did not believe in the concept of mental health. Even now, if the term “mad woman or man” in Jamaica is typed into Google, there are YouTube videos showcasing these people’s lives for the world to see. In graduate school, I began to realize that many of these people probably had diagnosable mental illnesses such as major depressive disorder and schizophrenia. ...

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Black Panther: A Mental Health Perspective

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The Ryan Coogler film, Black Panther, has been breaking records and making waves in the media. A Marvel Entertainment big budget superhero movie that is set squarely in the Marvel cinematic universe (Black Panther is an Avenger) but has become a movement all its own. As a movie buff and a big superhero fan, the excitement and anticipation for that movie was so inspiring to watch, and just plain fun to be a part of.

The movie sports an almost all black cast, with strong individual characters, and clearly depicts the African continent in all its glory. The movie covers so many different themes from self-identity, power, family, betrayal, forgiveness, tradition, modernism, futurism, politics, and so much more. I saw the movie a few times during opening weekend in different locations and it was interesting to observe the various audience reactions to the movies. In the urban and mixed areas, the reactions to the movies were relaxed, engaging, and responsive throughout the movie. In the suburban area, the audience was reserved and quiet, barely laughing at the jokes.

As a therapist, there were more than enough of themes in this movie that affect the mental health of the black community. So, I realized that I had to write a post on this moment in pop and black culture.

Spoiler Alert – Please note that the post below contains spoilers from the movie!!

Mental Health Perspective

Black Men – Can we talk about the power of seeing black men in positions of power and authority? In the movie, T’Challa is a black prince who becomes a king. The black men in the movie are seen with grace, humor (M’Baku), authority, power, and self-control. They are not shown as the media tends to portray black men – as criminals or social outcasts. ...

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When Did You Begin Accepting Your Black Self?

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“When did you accept your black self? When did you add your blackness into your self-identity?

When did you first acknowledge it? When did you begin to like being a black woman/man?”

I did not always like the fact that I was black. For many of us, accepting our blackness comes with a lot of history and responsibilities? Though, you may not be aware of it, at some point, you had to go through a self-acceptance process to make sense of who you are. I wonder how many people are walking around in their lives and have not experienced this process?

My Black Experience

For me, the day had to come where I could look in the mirror and I accept the reflection that looked back at me. In my home country of Jamaica, I became quickly aware of the fact that I was supposed to hate my dark-skinned complexion. I became quickly aware that although I was being raised in a country that was black, the people that had the money and influence were not always my race, and soon on the heels of that, I began to learn that people who were lighter-skinned were viewed as prettier and more appealing. I often got reminded that my skin was too dark, that I should never marry anyone that was my complexion or darker because my babies would be too dark, that my lips were too big, and all the other issues associated with having a dark-skinned tone.

At a young age, I discovered that I was not happy with who I was, and that I should not be happy with who I was. When I moved to the US, I moved to New England where I was suddenly often the only black person in the room, or a handful of blacks in the room. I developed a new practice of immediately counting how many of us were in the room, a practice I still do today, something that I have come to recognize as a norm within the black community in America. I suddenly felt a weight that I never experienced before. Because I was often the only or one of a few present, I now had a responsibility to my race to behave, to speak well, to become a positive representation as I met people who had never met or did not have many interactions with black people. Although, as an adult now, the situation may not be the same as in New England, I still find myself being one of a few in the room often and still feel that responsibility. As a therapist, that responsibility seems to have become magnified as I recognize the low levels of representation within the mental health field. ...

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