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I was born in St. Louis, Missouri to a teenage mother and a host of family matriarchs who looked after me. I am the oldest of 3, and while my mother and I often discuss how we essentially grew up together, her and my stepfather worked hard to provide my siblings and I with a good life, and allowed us the freedom to explore the world.
I attended the University of Missouri-Columbia for both undergraduate and graduate school. In 2008, I received my bachelor’s degrees in English and Black Studies and in 2013, I completed a Masters of Education in Counseling Psychology. Currently, I am enrolled in a certification program for Mental Health Counseling.
I went into the counseling profession, because it was the most authentic field to my person. I have always been very intuitive and empathetic to others, as well as a good reader of the energy around me. I am the person that many of my family and friends go to for nonjudgmental advice and wisdom. I have always been good at holding space for others and I am dedicated to the healing of the individual, which then leads to the healing of the whole.
I believe that a part of who we are is a combination of all our experiences, with that I have worked in different cities and for a variety of organizations, gaining experience and knowledge from all over. I served as a youth specialist at a maximum security juvenile facility in St. Louis to a teacher with the Freedom Schools Summer Reading Enrichment program. I worked briefly with the New Visions Teaching Fellows as a co-teacher in 11th grade English at a charter school in Harlem. I also worked as guidance counselor in Kansas City Missouri, a college and career counselor at a high school in Chicago; as well as a counselor with the Upward Bound program in St. Louis. For the past three years, I have been working in high schools in Brooklyn to implement restorative practices, and more recently, I am working with an organization to provide restorative alternatives to incarceration in Manhattan.
As a Black American woman who has traveled and lived in so many different places including Ghana West Africa and Mexico, working within my community is important, because I understand the need for our collective healing due to a shared history of trauma rooted in global oppression and White supremacy. In addition, as Africana people, I believe that we have a very strong spiritual essence that is unique to our many cultures and that our synchronicities intricately link us to one another on a global scale. I believe that as a people we share a common spirit that transcends space and time and tethers us one to the other. I do not call myself a healer, but I have a gift that allows me to help others find their own healing, and for every person that finds a sense of healing and peace, we begin to heal and bring peace to the collective.
As someone who has spent most of their education in predominately White schools, I have dealt with my fair share of racism, both overt and on the micro level. I learned to create community immersed in the beauty of my own Blackness. To seek out those who understood my experiences and together we created sanctuaries amongst ourselves. I learned about Black culture outside and within the narrow narrative of slavery. That we are more than a paragraph on the middle passage in our textbooks. I learned to see the love and beauty of our people, in the way that we love, create –be it dance, music, art, food. I learned to see our light and our spirit and not the darkness that others show to stifle that spirit.
My approach to counseling is a mixture of clinical theories. While psychodynamic therapy is the main go to, I also practice mindfulness based cognitive therapy and motivational interviewing. The people that I have worked with before, often say that I am easy to talk to, they do not feel judged or rushed, but feel heard and validated. They also say that I am straight shooter and honest, but that it is done in way that makes them empowered. I have been told that I have the power to uproot, in order to help others see their path more clearly. I believe that I understand the range of human emotions and feelings, I am comfortable in both silence and noise because I am comfortable within myself. This was not an easy journey, but it is because I did the hard emotional and spiritual labor to get here that I am able to help others along their journey.
A unique thing about myself is that I am poet and avid lover of nature. I started writing poetry as a child. I used to freestyle rap, but as I got older, I begin to write more. I found that poetry helped me give voice to all the hurt and pain that I felt in the world and within myself. When I couldn’t find the words to speak, the words buried in my soul and heart came alive on paper. Being in nature, often feels like all the love that I give to others come back to me tenfold.