I fell in love with therapy when I was 9 years old
I fell in love with therapy when I was 9 years old, when a very kind and caring woman in my home country of Jamaica, helped me through a difficult time. That created in me a desire to give back to others the way she gave to me. I decided to pursue psychology but in high school, I began to learn that many people did not find psychology to be useful field. At age 18, with the help of my family, I moved to the United States to pursue higher education. I am now a Nationally Certified Counselor and a Licensed Associate Counselor in NJ. I have been married for 10+ years and we are raising two beautiful girls. Currently, I am working on completing my post-graduate clinical hours.
Chasing Your Passion
Practicing therapy has been a life-long dream and passion of mine.
I have made the choice to serve others through the medium of therapy. I know that many people feel that therapy is only for people who have severe troubles or serious mental illness but that is not true. Talk therapy can help everyone. It can help us all in different ways. Therapy can help us understand how our thoughts work, uncover unconscious motives and past hurts that drive us, reconnect with our inner child, and take control over our lives and our futures. Serving others through the form of therapy has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life.
The Gray Matthews Project
As a therapist, I am aware of the lack of minority therapists within the field. I am very aware of the significance of my being a black female therapist. When I work with clients from diverse background, I find that they connect in a different way with me because I represent three areas of diversity. I am Black, I am a woman, and I am Jamaican. Clients have expressed the difference they feel working with a therapist of color.
Through my work with clients of color, I have discovered a need within my community. I find that just as there was a stigma in my island about mental health, I began to realize that there is still a major disconnect between the black community and mental health. I began to understand that black people experienced real emotional blocks when it came to therapy. In addition, many people view therapy as a betrayal of spiritual beliefs and faith. There is just so much misunderstanding about therapy and mental health within the black community that it is stifling our growth and strengthening our pain; there is a real fear of seeking help, a lack of information, and a lack of understanding about how racial, social, cultural, and relational traumas experienced by our community affects us.
There is just so much misunderstanding about therapy and mental health within the black community that it is stifling our growth and strengthening our pain;
I wanted to do something about this. I wanted to spread awareness about the importance of practicing proper self-care. It is imperative that we begin taking care of ourselves, emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually. Our approach to self-care needs to be holistic. We cannot be ashamed or afraid to advocate for ourselves and seek help when we need it. We cannot continue to suffer in silence because of pride or fear.
Out of this passion, I created the Gray Matthews Project (GMP). The name is an ode to my family for helping me pursue the passion that I chose. GMP is a platform that I intend to grow to spread awareness about the importance of mental health within the black community. I have been on both sides of the chair in therapy and I am a true believer in this process. I want our community to understand the value of seeking help without being ashamed. Through GMP, I will provide knowledge about mental health, host events that will encourage others to share their experiences, help to reduce the stigma about mental health, and empower others to take ownership of their lives.