PT&TC, LLC Statement on the Murder of George Floyd
PerceptA Therapeutic & Training Center, LLC condemns the murder of George Floyd, and the many other Black men and women who have been subjected to the brutality of police violence. We reject Systemic Racism, Anti-Black Racism in any form, and stand shoulder to shoulder with the Protesters, Black Lives Movement, and any Organization that is dedicated to eradicating Anti-Black Systemic Oppression.
We also recognize that Anti-Black Racism is a public health crisis; that causes physical health complications, mental health trauma, and other mental health issues in Black communities. The cornerstone of PerceptA Therapeutics’ work has been to be a force for change by addressing Anti-Black Racism, Social Justice Advocacy & Racial Microaggressions in the lives of clients, their families, and communities.
We will continue our culturally competent counseling practices for all diverse and marginalized clients, and in our trainings with potential counselors and therapists. PerceptA Therapeutic honors and supports all the Social Justice Activists working to end Anti-Black Racism.
Dr. Chioma Anah
Founder/CEO PerceptA Therapeutic & Training Center, LLC
As we wind down Mental Health Awareness Month this May, I would be remiss if I did not post about the importance of people of color, particularly African Americans, seeking culturally responsive therapists when in need of mental health care, and ending the stigma associated with mental illness.
Efforts to understand the mental health of African Americans and many people of color requires complex, yet nuanced perspectives. On one hand, significant attention has been directed to examining the stigma associated with mental illness around the African American communities and communities of color; that is, the idea that there is shame around mental illness, leading to a culture of silence and/or praying the illness away. On the other hand, many researchers (Sue, 2015; Smith, Hung, & Franklin, 2011; Sue, 2010; Smith, Allen, & Danley, 2007) have found that there is a direct correlation between racial trauma, both historical and present daily microaggressions, that cause significant anxiety and stress that can manifest into mental illness. African Americans, especially, encounter a myriad of economic, academic, social, and racial barriers, which can expose them to traumatic experiences. In addition, young African Americans who are exposed to traumatic events are more likely to exhibit maladaptive behaviors, and may not have the necessary coping skills and tools to overcome traumatic events, without professional assistance. All these perspectives are important and have to be examined, and the mental health needs of those with mental illness has to be of primary concern in the African American community.
A 2016 Huffpost article by Senior Wellness Editor, Lindsay Holmes, highlighted the staggering statistics of the disparities surrounding mental health care among people of color: 20% of African Americans are more likely to experience mental health issues, however, only 2.3% of those people in desperate need of assistance seek therapy; 40% of Native Americans between the ages of 15-24 die by suicide; 10.3% of every 100,000 Hispanic men died by suicide, a number which has been consistent since 1999; and the list goes on.
We, as a nation, have to do better; we must acknowledge the importance of mental health care, and compassionately address the needs of those who seek assistance.In an effort to encourage mental health care, and provide some information and resources; PerceptA Therapeutic has compiled a 2018 List of 10 Mental Health Providers in Maryland whose work includes a focus on African American issues, racial identity issues, and cultural issues in therapy. Provider specialties, insurance information and payment options, location and contact information have also been included.
Your mental health matters, embrace getting the assistance you need.
Mental Health Providers in Maryland:
1. Dr. Linda D. Washington, PhD, LCPC, NCC Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor Specialties: Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, Depression, Divorce, Spirituality, Trauma & PTSD Types of Services Provided: Individuals, couples therapy Insurance: Accepts Most Insurance Method of Payment: Cash/Check Location: Pikesville, MD 21208
2. Dr. La Toya Bianca Smith, MS, EdS, PhD Licensed Psychologist Specialties: Racial Identity, Relationship Issues, Career Counseling, gay/lesbian issues, Veterans Types of Services Provided: Individual therapy, family therapy, group therapy Insurance: BlueCross & BlueShield, CareFirst, Johns Hopkins (EHP and USFHP), Magellan Behavior Health Method of Payment: Cash/Check/Credit Card/PayPal/Health Savings Account Location: Towson, MD 21204
3. Dr. Chioma Anah, ATR, LCPC-S, NCC, ACS Registered Art Therapist, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, Board Approved LCPC Supervisor Specialties: Anger Management, Anxiety, Relationship Issues, Resiliency /Racial Identity & Oppression Types of Services Provided: Individuals, family, couples, Supervision Insurance: Out of Network, Private Pay-Sliding Scale payment options Method of Payment: Cash/Check Location: Towson, MD 21204 Email: email@example.com
4. Dr. Rosemary Cook, PhD, LCSW-C Licensed Clinical Social Worker Specialties: Depression, Trauma & PTSD, Anxiety Types of Services Provided: Individuals, family therapy, couples therapy Insurance: BlueCross & Blue Shield, Johns Hopkins Health, Magellan Behavioral Health, Medicaid Method of Payment: Cash/Check/Credit Card/PayPal Location: Towson, MD 21204
5. Lisa S. Hanks, LCPC, LCADC Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, Licensed Clinical Alcohol & Drug Counselor Specialties: Anxiety, Depression, Anger Management, Addictions, Substance Abuse Types of Services Provided: Individual therapy, couples therapy, group. Insurance: Medicaid, Out of Network Method of Payment: Cash/Check/Credit Card/Savings Account Location: Towson, MD 21204
6. Dr. LaShaunna Lipscomb, PhD, LCPC Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor Specialties: Depression, Trauma & PTSD, Family Conflict Types of Services Provided: Individuals, family, couples therapy Insurance: AMERIGROUP, Beech Street, BlueCross & BlueShield, Medicaid, TRICARE Method of Payment: Cash/Credit Card/ACH Bank transfer/PayPal Location: Baltimore, MD 21218 Email: JourneytoWellness.Baltimore@gmail.com
7. Jocelyn Malone, LCSW-C Licensed Clinical Social Worker Specialties: Depression, Anxiety, Relationship Issues, Racial Identity Issues Types Of Services Provided: Individual therapy, family & couples therapy for teens and adults Insurance: Medical Assistance (MA); and Blue Cross/Blue Shield Location: Pikesville, MD Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
8. Joyce L. Ashford, LCPC Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor Specialties: Spirituality, Dual Diagnosis, Trauma & PTSD Types Of Services Provided: Individual therapy, group therapy Insurance: Private Pay –Sliding Scale payment options available Method of Payment: Cash/Check/Credit Card/Health Savings Account Location: Baltimore, MD 21217
9. Lakeshia Gilbert, LCPC Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor Specialties: Divorce, Anxiety, Relationship Issues, Women’s Issues Types of Services Provided: Individual s, family therapy, couples therapy Insurance: Out of Network Method of Payment: Cash/Check/Credit Card
Location: Perry Hall, MD 21128
10. Shonda Conyers, MSW, LCSW-C Licensed Clinical Social Worker Specialties: Anxiety, Depression, Coping Skills Types of Services Provided: Individuals, family therapy, couples therapy. Insurance: Most Insurance Method of Payment: Cash/Check/Credit Card/Health Savings Account/PayPal Location: Pikesville, MD 21208
Smith, W. A., Allen, W. A., & Danley, L. (2007). Assume the position…you fit the description: Psychosocial experiences and racial battle fatigue among African American male college students. American Behavioral Scientists, 51, 551-578.
Smith, C., & Carlson, B. (1997). Stress, coping and resilience in children and youth. Social Service Review, 71(2) 231-256.
Smith, W. A., Hung, M., & Franklin, J. D. (2011). Racial battle fatigue and the miseducation of Black men: Racial microaggressions, societal problems, and environmental stress. The Journal of Negro Education, 80(1), 63-82.
Sue, D. W. (2015). Race talk and the conspiracy of silence: Understanding and facilitating difficult dialogues on race. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Sue, D. W. (2010). Microaggressions in everyday life: race, gender and sexual orientation. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
April is Counseling Awareness Month, and a time to celebrate and shine a spotlight on professional counselors, the critical work they do, and the many ways they serve their clients, schools, communities, and other private and public institutions. In the spirit of Counseling Awareness Month 2018, we are recognizing seven women professional counselors of color working in the Maryland area. Thank you for being such great advocates for marginalized clients, diverse students, disenfranchised communities, and other Professional Counselors of Color!
Donna Shannon, Ph.D., LCPC
Dr. Donna Shannon has provided mental health services to adults and adolescents in the greater Baltimore, Maryland area since 2006. She holds a doctorate degree in Pastoral Counseling from Loyola University Maryland. Her research, which has been published in the American Psychological Association Journal of Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, explored the moderating effects of spirituality on exposure to violence in urban adolescents. She is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and an Approved Licensed Clinical Professional Supervisor. Currently, Dr. Shannon is the Wellness Facilitator for the new Adullum Community Healthcare Center in Baltimore. Additionally, she is an online instructor for the Graduate School of Religion and Religious Studies, Fordham University, New York.
Dr. Shannon enjoys speaking to community groups and organizations on topics such as “bouncing back” from traumatic events, building personal resilience, and mindfulness based cognition. She has traveled to Malawi and Ghana to provide consultation and wellness training to mental health practitioners. Dr. Shannon believes each of us can create a sense of inner peace by learning to “be” in the present moment, experience gratitude, and view all life events as opportunities for growth.
Chioma Anah, Ed.D., ATR, LCPC-S, NCC, ACS
Dr. Chioma Anah holds a Doctorate of Education in Counseling Psychology, is a Registered Art Therapist (ATR), a National Certified Counselor (NCC), a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC- Maryland), an Approved Clinical Supervisor (ACS), a Board Approved Supervisor in the state of Maryland, and the Founder & CEO of PerceptA Therapeutic & Training Center, LLC located in Towson, Maryland. She has over 15-years experience in the clinical field working with at-risk adolescents, adults, and families of all races and cultural background. As a registered art therapist, she uses art with clients as part of a healing approach and intervention to treat cultural & racial oppression. Dr. Anah is an Adjunct Faculty at Argosy University, Northern Virginia, and works closely with doctoral students in the dissertation phase of their studies. Her research interests are in multicultural issues in counseling, social justice advocacy, racial microaggressions, psychology of racism, art & creativity as tools for healing, and resiliency and coping interventions for race-related stress and trauma. She has presented in many national and regional conferences, including workshops at the American Art Therapy Association (AATA) Conference. Dr. Anah also trains and supervises counselors on working to identify and utilize more effective interventions to address issues in multicultural/diverse counseling. Dr. Anah is an avid reader, writer, and loves to create art. She is also a proud alumna of the Johns Hopkins University School of Education. Email: email@example.com
Danielle LaSure-Bryant, Ed.D., LCPC, NCC, ACS
Dr. Danielle LaSure-Bryant is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) and an Approved Clinical Supervisor (ACS) by the Maryland Licensing board. She received her Masters’ degree in Agency and Community Counseling from Xavier University (OH) and her doctorate in Counselor Education and Supervision from the University of Cincinnati. Prior to relocating to Maryland, she was fully licensed as a Clinical Counselor in the state of Ohio where she also maintained a private practice. Currently, Dr. LaSure-Bryant works as a Clinical Manager for Maryland Health Alliance, Inc. Her clinical duties at MHA include (but not limited to) supervising provisionally licensed counselors, overseeing administrative tasks, and managing a small caseload. Before moving to MHA, Dr. LaSure-Bryant was the Director of Clinical Education for the Pastoral Counseling department at Loyola University in Maryland for 14 years. Outside of her clinical activities, Dr. LaSure-Bryant takes time for community involvement by serving as the Executive Secretary for the Board of Directors for Family Services, Inc. In addition, she was appointed to serve on the Clifton T. Perkins Center Advisory Board where she currently functions as the board Chairperson. Personally speaking, Dr. LaSure-Bryant has been married for 29 years, has 2 adult children and is an avid runner. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Deidra A. Sorrell, Ed.D., LPC, NCC, ACS
Dr. Deidra A. Sorrell is a licensed professional counselor, licensed clinical supervisor, and certified school psychologist. She is the founder of Synergy Wellness Therapeutic Services where she provides individual counseling to children, adolescents and adults in the Charles County, Maryland area. As a veteran school psychologist, Dr. Sorrell served 18 years as a school psychologist with DC Public Schools before committing to full time private practice.
Given her research interests in workplace bullying, Dr. Sorrell provides interactive workshops on the Ethical Implications of Workplace Bullying to mental health professionals through the CE-YOU professional development corporation. Dr. Sorrell’s research interests on racism and diversity led her to write children’s books on diversity including “The Germ: How to Talk to Children about Racism and Diversity”, which is for sale on Amazon.com. Dr. Sorrell is also the host of “On Purpose Radio” through Elifemedia.net, which is a monthly internet radio show highlighting various issues that impact the mental health of African Americans. As a wife and mother of two, Dr. Sorrell is committed to the mental health and wellness of children and families starting in her home and beyond. Email: Deidra.Sorrell@gmail.com
Kizzy Pittrell, Ed.D., LCPC, ACS, AADS
Dr. Kizzy Pittrell is a counseling psychologist in the state of Maryland. She is owner and operator of Ross Counseling LLC and treats adolescents and adults with various emotional disorders. Dr. Pittrell also is an adjunct professor at the Community College of Baltimore County. She has been a clinician for 15 years working in various programs including residential treatment programs, head start, corrections, and outpatient mental health programs. In the last 7 years, Dr. Pittrell has worked with the Department of Juvenile Services supervising addiction counselors and providing forensic assessments for adjudicated youth. Dr. Pittrell holds a Doctorate of Counseling degree from Argosy University and a Masters of Arts in Counseling Psychology from Towson University. She also holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree from Bowie State University. In addition to practicing as a counselor, Dr. Pittrell is an Approved Clinical Supervisor, and Approved Alcohol and Drug Supervisor and a Master level Addiction Counselor. Dr. Pittrell has presented at numerous conferences including the Maryland Counseling Association, the National Association for Black Social Workers and the Qualitative Researchers Conference to name a few. Dr. Pittrell’s passion is to educate families about mental illness, stigma and barriers to treatment. This has been a passion for her since her sister was diagnosed with a mental health condition in 2008. In addition, she writes blogs for the online therapy site called “Therapy Today.” Email: email@example.com
LaShaunna Lipscomb, Ph.D., LCPC
Dr. LaShaunna Lipscomb received her Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Morgan State University in 2004. She went on to earn her Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology from Towson University in 2007. In 2013, she graduated from Morgan State again with a Doctorate degree in Urban Social Work Research after defending an original research study: African American Female Adjudicated Delinquents and the Predictive Influences of Spirituality and Quality of Family Relationships. Dr. Lipscomb’s area of expertise include juvenile delinquency, spirituality, trauma focused therapy, and issues in child welfare. Over the past 10 years, she has worked in many capacities within the Juvenile Justice and child Welfare systems in Maryland and Washington DC. Dr. Lipscomb is the owner and clinical director at Journey to Wellness, LLC, which sits in the heart of Charles Village in Baltimore City. Journey to Wellness offers a range of clinical services to individuals and families in the Baltimore area. Dr. Lipscomb spends most of her free time enjoying being a mom, cooking, or participating in local charity races. Email: JourneytoWellness.Baltimore@gmail.com
Eunice Humphrey, Ed.D., LCPC, NCC
Dr. Eunice Humphrey is on a mission to help people grow personally and professionally. Trained in counseling and educational leadership, she has a unique 15-year background working in non-profit, education, counseling, and leadership. She has presented at both state and national conferences on the importance of understanding marginalized youth and best practices to serve them. Dr. Humphrey was a school counselor for seven years, where she served as the president of the Maryland School Counselor Association, conference chair, and treasurer. She is now an Assistant Principal at High Point High School. She knows the importance of education and continues to advocate for those who do not always have a voice. She is a licensed clinical professional counselor in the state of Maryland, where she works with families and children using the approaches of mindfulness, person-centered, and solution-focus. Dr. Humphrey hopes to inspire, educate, and lead others to reach their best self.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela
The Relevance of Social Justice Advocacy for Counselors Today
by Chioma Anah, Ed.D., NCC, LCPC-S, ACS
“In these days of difficulty, we Americans everywhere must and shall choose the path of social justice…, the path of faith, the path of hope, and the path of love toward our fellow man.”- Franklin D. Roosevelt
Social Justice Advocacy is extremely relevant today, due to: The extraordinarily difficult political and social circumstances we live in today; the continued disenfranchisement of large segments of society based on class, race, sexual orientation, gender, nationality, immigration status, religion, mental health status, and socio-economic status; and the mental health issues caused by social marginalization. This article works to highlight the relevance of social justice advocacy today in counseling, and calls attention to additional ways counselors could become better advocates in their work with diverse, marginalized and oppressed clients, through a call to action.
Sadly, we are being subjected to a current administration, whose agenda, it seems, has been focused on unleashing a series of unjust legislations and policies that threaten the rights of women, older adults, LGBTQ members of society, immigrants, and many less powerful members of society. We cannot also forget that we continue to live in a society in which not all its members have equal rights, equal access and opportunities to freely achieve everything that they are capable of doing, and to be able to fulfill their dreams no matter their background. Furthermore, we have large segments of the population who are challenged with mental health issues and traumas, due to being subjected to many social conditions such as discrimination, poverty, powerlessness, oppression and disenfranchisement. The realities we live in today’s society makes social justice advocacy even more relevant for us as members of a human family, as well as part of the counseling profession.
Social justice advocacy issues has always been part of the counseling profession from the beginning of its inception, and building Multicultural Counseling Competency (MCC) and a social justice advocacy orientation among counseling trainees are fundamental goals across counseling programs (Pieterse, Evans, Risner-Butner, Collins, & Mason, 2009). For professional counselors today, the American Counseling Association’s (2014) ACA Code of Ethics and the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs’ (CACREP) 2016 Standards clearly highlight the critical need for counselors to enhance cultural sensitivity and responsiveness when working with clients from diverse backgrounds. Specific ethical guidelines for counselors include to, “advocate at individual, group, institutional, and societal levels to address potential barriers and obstacles that inhibit access and/or the growth and development of clients” (ACA, 2014, p. 5). Similarly, CACREP (2016) inform counseling practitioners in providing services to diverse, marginalized and oppressed populations in multicultural and social justice competent ways. CACREP (2016) also complements the ACA Code of Ethics, by featuring curriculum standards for counseling trainees within the areas of knowledge, skills, and clinical practice when working with culturally diverse populations. Furthermore, the Multicultural and Social Justice Counseling Competencies (MSJCC) provides a more detailed theoretical culturally contextual framework, and recommend interventions from both individual and systemic levels (Ratts, Singh, Nassar-McMillian, Butler, & McCullough, 2016). From all these guidelines, it is clear that competent counselors are expected to approach their clients as cultural beings who exist within contexts and systems, as well as incorporate social justice advocacy into their counseling practice. All counselors want the best for their clients, and should understand the important forces of oppression, inequality, and marginalization at play in their lives.
The relevance of social justice advocacy cannot be denied in today’s society. It is clear that, the current ethos of the world has significantly spiked the anxiety levels of many clients, and counselors. It is also important to be aware that, the most vulnerable members of society, and those that are disenfranchised and subjected to social traumas, are often afflicted with mental health issues; there is clearly a relationship between people subjected to social trauma and psychological distress and human dysfunction. Counselors are needed, to respond to this important work of social justice advocacy. Albert Einstein said it best when he stated, “Striving for social justice is the most valuable thing to do in life.” With this in mind, here is A Call to Action to all counselors:
1. To better meet the needs of our clients and create a healthier society, it is important for counselors to actively contemplate social issues, become better informed with not just domestic or local issues, but be better global citizens. Counselors should expand their knowledge base, in order to challenge injustice, and ultimately empower and provide resources for their clients to challenge the inequality and injustices in their lives.
2. Issues of social justice are important in counseling because our clients inherently exist within social and cultural systems and contexts. As counselors, to be “neutral” or “value-free” about one’s political views, is inherently an endorsement for the status quo; a stance for being apolitical within your counseling process, is not necessary a view that is helpful to clients, particularly when that client is a member of a historically marginalized group. Counselors are in positions of power and privilege to be the voice for those historically marginalized, and have to strive to work from a social justice advocacy and empowerment perspective in order to work with their clients in these times of uncertainty and high anxiety. As counselors, we must address the client’s experiences of oppression, powerlessness, and marginalization, as well as ways they can cope and strive towards healing.
3. Within the counseling relationship, working towards a successful therapeutic outcome for your marginalized and oppressed client through empowerment and active social justice advocacy is not “divisive” nor partisan, and counselors have to establish and maintain successful counseling relationships with clients from diverse backgrounds and cultural context, by being aware of the social justice needs of their clients, which are critical to their dignity and their therapeutic change.
4. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is a very important document for everyone, especially counselors, to read.
5. Lastly, counselors should be more active, vocal, and join organizations that focus on human rights and social justice advocacy causes. The Maryland Counseling Association is currently working on an initiative to start a Social Justice Division; Maryland Counselors for Social Justice (MCSJ). All those interesting in joining for membership can contact: Dr. Anah @ Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
“To be just, it is not enough to refrain from injustice. One must go further and refuse to play its game, substituting love for self-interest as the driving force of society.”- Pedro Arrupe, S. J.
American Counseling Association. (2014). ACA code of ethics. Alexandria, VA: Author.
Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. (2016). Accreditation manual. Alexandria, V
Pieterse, A. L., Evans, S. A., Risner-Butner, A., Collins, N. M., & Mason, L. B. (2009). Multicultural competence
and social justice training in counseling psychology and counselor education: A review and analysis of a sample of multicultural course syllabi. The Counseling Psychologist, 37, 93-115. Doi:10.1177/0011000008319986
Ratts, M.J., Singh, A.A., Butler, S.K., Nassar-McMillian, S., & McCullough, J, R. (2016) Multicultural and social
justice counseling competencies: Practice applications in counseling. Counseling Today retrieved https://ct.counseling.org/2016/01/multicultural-and-social-justice-counseling-competencies-practical-applications-in-counseling/
**This article was originally posted in the Fall 2017 issue of the Maryland Counseling Association (MCA) Quarterly Newsletter, Compass Points. MCA Quarterly Newsletter, Fall 2017
Dr. Chioma Anah, ATR, LCPC-S, NCC, ACS, Founder & CEO of PerceptA Therapeutic & Training Center, LLC, was honored to facilitate and lead the Education Session- Real Talk: Courageous Dialogue with Women of Color in the Professional Counseling Field– at the 2017 Annual Maryland Counseling Association (MCA) Conference in Baltimore, Maryland on Saturday, November 4, 2017.
This presentation was inspired by a panel discussion facilitated by Dr. Michelle Mitcham at the 2015 Annual American Counseling Association conference, where the focus was on Counselor Educators and Administrators in Higher Education.
The MCA 2017 Conference Education Session, facilitated by Dr. Chioma Anah, focused (as illustrated in the MCA 2017 Conference program brochure) primarily on:
Women of Color who have earned doctoral degrees in counseling, shared their lived experiences in their varying positions as professionals in the field of counseling. Presenters discussed their intersectional identities; illuminated their struggles and challenges with social barriers, racism and sexism; as well as their unique and transformative ways of coping, surviving, and thriving. Presenters also shared their strategies for empowerment, success, and professional growth.
Panel of Presenters: Dr. Chioma Anah, Dr. Donna Shannon, Dr. Danielle LaSure-Bryant, Dr. Deidra Sorrell, Dr. Kizzy Pittrell, Dr. LaShaunna Lipscomb, & Dr. Eunice Humphrey.
Top 10 Reasons to Seek Therapy with PerceptA Therapeutic Counseling Services-PerceptA Therapeutic Blog
January 31, 2017
There are many barriers associated with people resisting the need to seek counseling that includes; stigma associated with seeking therapy, the perception of weakness and failure associated with needing assistance to manage one’s life, and resistance to self-disclose due to emotional vulnerability.
It takes courage to seek counseling, and you are not alone. Here are 10 of the most common reasons people seek counseling:
For self-regulation, and emotional homeostasis
To create balance in your life, and journey toward a purpose driven life
To improve interpersonal relationships. Specifically to unlock your potential for meaningful and fulfilling relationships
To improve communication skills, and develop healthier ways of communicating with others
To explore and process life transitions (death, divorce, job loss, college, empty-nest…)
To improve self-esteem, self-worth and confidence through self-exploration
To improve coping skills and strategies to better deal with stress, anxiety, and depression
To better manage and control emotions of anger
To process unresolved psychological distress and experiences after exposure to major trauma
To process race/ethnic-related issues and stressors, and work to explore resiliency as it pertains to race/ethnic-related issues
Whatever your circumstances, we here at PerceptA Therapeutic will work closely with you to develop an appropriate plan that meets your needs and accomplishes your goals.
Break free of the barriers, begin a better life today, and call PerceptA Therapeutic Counseling Services~
The PerceptA Therapeutic Team
PerceptA Therapeutic & Training Center, LLC is located in Towson, Maryland. We offer counseling services to adults, adolescents, and children. We can be contacted via email: email@example.com website: www.perceptatherapeutic.com
The Bleak Side of Christmas: 8 Tips to Help Cope with Stress and Depression during the Holiday Season -PerceptA Therapeutic Blog
“In the bleak mid-winter Frosty wind made moan, Earth stood hard as iron, Water like a stone; Snow had fallen, snow on snow, Snow on snow, In the bleak mid-winter Long ago.”
–Christina Rossetti- In the Bleak Midwinter (1872) -First stanza of poem (poem renamed A Christmas Carol in 1906)
Christmas is the happiest and most “wonderful” time of the year, so we are told. We are even bombarded with reminders of just how joyful this season is, with countless commercials filled with gift giving, happy faces, and the “perfect” family holiday scene. If you don’t feel the joy of the season, you are not alone. Some people experience stress and depression throughout the year, but Christmas is a time of year that is especially difficult for many. Some of the triggers reported have included; financial stress, inability to fulfill the unrealistic ideals and expectations of Christmas, social isolation, and grieving for a loved one. In fact, the sparseness of the language and imagery of the first stanza from the above poem by Christina Rossetti (1872), sums up the bleakness and depression many feel during Christmas.
With Christmas only a few days away, stop for a minute and take a deep breath. You can get through the Christmas season. Here are 8 tips to help minimize stress and depression.
1. Exercise. I’m sure you’ve heard this many times, exercising is a great way to relieve stress and control depressive symptoms. Exercising doesn’t only have to occur in a gym, you can incorporate physical activity when ever you can; going for a walk, parking your car further away from the shopping center, and riding your stationary bike at home. There are also other forms of exercise like, Yoga and swimming that are also beneficial. The benefits of exercise are enormous, as it lifts your mood and reduces your stress, while burning off calories.
2. Adopt healthy habits. Pay attention to your eating habits, alcohol intake, sleeping patterns, and hygiene. Often times, poor eating, irregular sleeping patterns and poor hygiene are symptoms of depression. Christmas season lends itself to overindulgences and excesses in eating and drinking, which can add to depression and stress later. Adopting healthy habits during Christmas time can help maintain emotional homeostasis.
3. Help others. There is no better way to stave off the holiday blues than to volunteer and help some one else. You can go as big as volunteering at a homeless shelter or as small as helping your neighbor with small chores around the house. Trust me, it will comfort you and make you feel so much better. Better still, it will make you appreciate and be grateful for what you have, rather than what do you don’t.
4. Connect with others. If you are lonely and socially isolated, reach out and connect with family, friends, and people you trust. The internet has made it easy for us to connect with others. Reach out for support and send out a Christmas wish to everyone.
5. Be creative. Never underestimate the healing power of the creative arts. Creativity has been known to relieve stress and reduce depressive symptoms. You don’t have to be an artist or have artistic skills to do something creative, these days there are so many tools to use, such as adult coloring books, and some cool art apps. Flex your creative muscle, and relieve some stress!
6. Speak to a therapist. Depression is higher during the holiday season and should be taken very seriously. So many people are reluctant to seek counseling and tend to neglect their mental health, due, in part, by some of the stigma associated with mental illness. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health, and must not be taken lightly. Remember, seeking counseling and help is a sign of courage, not weakness. A therapist can help you process your feelings of sadness, particularly if you have recently lost a loved one or you are missing someone who was prominent in your life during the holiday season.
*Please seek the assistance of a mental health expert, if you are feeling sad and need someone to talk to. If you are depressed and have suicidal thoughts during this holiday season, call 911 immediately, go to the hospital emergency room or contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255
7. Always have a spending budget and stick to it. Don’t go over your budget nor give in to the pressures of excessive gift giving. Lack of money is a great source of stress, so be creative and personalize your gifts. Your recipients will be very happy because it comes from you, from love. Again, doing something creative will help reduce your stress.
8. There is nothing wrong with saying no. Always be realistic, organized, and plan ahead. Here are a few things to consider in order to limit being overwhelmed this Christmas:
Delegate tasks if you need to and ask for help from family members.
You don’t have to go to all the parties you are invited to, you are allowed to plan your time and be selective, in order to conserve some of your already limited energy supply.
During this hectic season, carve out some time just for yourself to relax.
Do not get caught up in unrealistic expectations of living up to a “perfect” Christmas.
Do what you can, and remember that self-care is important for your well-being and peace of mind, especially during the holidays.
About the Author: Dr. Chioma Anah is a licensed counselor and owner of PerceptA Therapeutic & Training Center, LLC in Towson, Maryland. She sees clients with anger, anxiety, stress and depression. You can contact Dr. Anah at firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @PerceptATandT
6 Tips: Surviving Post-Election Thanksgiving Dinner -PerceptA Therapeutic Blog
By Dr. Chioma Anah, LCPC
Thanksgiving can be an awesome holiday filled with family, food and fun! However, it can also be a difficult time for many, due to the stress and anxiety it sometimes evokes. We have just come through a very polarizing election campaign, and for most, this Thanksgiving dinner may probably be the first family get together since the election results. Many dread the inevitable Thanksgiving dinner political/post-election banter, as they know they are probably going to encounter angry and/or gloating relatives, which may trigger powerful emotions leading to irrational, uncomfortable and acrimonious discourse. These emotionally charged political discussions could inevitably ruin Thanksgiving with the family. So, what do we do, and how do we survive? Here are a few tips to help you navigate the uncharted waters of this unique post-election Thanksgiving dinner, and ways to make the conversations and experience more comfortable and less unpleasant for all involved.
Don’t go to Thanksgiving dinner. Emotions of sadness, anger and fear are still raw for many this post-election time. If you know in your heart that the wounds of the election are still present, and you cannot emotionally regulate yourself in a room full of passionate Trump or Hillary supporters, depending on your political affiliations, then you may need to stay home. It would be a shame to miss an opportunity to celebrate with the family, but, if you are a Hillary supporter, for example, and you find that one wrong statement from a relative who is a Trump supporter might just set you off and trigger an explosive situation in an already tense family environment, then, just stay home. So, be honest with yourself about what you can handle emotionally, and if you think Thanksgiving dinner might be too much for you, make an excuse to the host, and avoid saying something you might later regret; your mental health is important. If you are the host of the Thanksgiving celebration, this first tip will probably not be an option.
**The Holiday Season can be a difficult time for many. If you are alone during this Thanksgiving, not by choice, please reach out to family, friends, and people you trust. If you are in a fragile mental state, please contact your therapist or seek the assistance of one immediately. Call 911 for an emergency.
Respectfully avoid any political conversation. Post-election conversations can be potentially threatening because of the heightened emotions attached to the rhetoric. If you decide to attend Thanksgiving dinner with the family, you can avoid the conversation all together, and respectfully decline to engage, stating that because you know how incredibly divisive the rhetoric can be, you’re respectfully deciding not to engage. As a guest, you can decline to engage in political banter, and say, “These things can get acrimonious and intense fast, so I’m just going to respectfully decline to participate.” If people insist on discussing politics around you, and you are uncomfortable, you can politely leave the room. As the host, you can set the tone for not engaging in the topic, and let your guest know, “I love you all, and we all love our country. I really just want us all to have a peaceful and joyful time, without any talk of politics. Anyone want more wine?” Ending further debate about the topic.
Steer/Guide the conversation into positive topics. Engage in different topics like complimenting the host on the food, decorations and table settings. Discuss family successes, new jobs, and new family additions. Discuss interesting things you are working on and discuss in detail so that the family can engage with you constructively. There are so many things to be Thankful for, discuss the blessings in your life. Again, if you are the host, you can guide the topic of conversation in your home, and deflect any political rhetoric.
Use humor. The Thanksgiving table is probably not a good place to unload your political thoughts, frustrations and anger. Nor is it a place to gloat, if you are a Trump supporter. It’s fair to say that we are all still trying to figure this stuff out, and the Thanksgiving dinner table is not the best place to explore these feelings. However, if you do decide to engage in political discussions, always use humor to lighten the mood. There have been many humorous moments during the campaign and post-election that can bring two opposing sides to common ground. Some funny moments include, many Saturday Night Live (SNL) skits with Alec Baldwin and Kate McKinnon, and Zach Galifianakis’ interview with Hillary Clinton on his comedy show ‘Between Two Ferns’. Funny stuff!
Listen, don’t bully or threaten each other. The beautiful thing about America is that it is a place where we are all free to express our thoughts no matter how different they are from each other’s. With that said, we all have to remember that not everyone is going to share our political ideology, no matter how much we think we are right. We have just lived through the worst election campaign in decades, where both sides of the campaign did not listen to each other, reacted, some bullied and threatened each other.
If engaged in political discourse with people whom do not share your worldview during Thanksgiving:
Listen to others who do not share your opinion, respectfully, validate feelings, and ask important questions to try to see the other person’s perspective, and maybe even find some common ground.
Yelling accusations of racism, sexism, fascism, or socialism has no place at the Thanksgiving dinner table, and only triggers uncomfortable misinterpreted emotions.
Avoid anger, blame and defensiveness during conversations. It only feeds the negative discourse.
However, expressing your feelings about what the election results mean to you, listening and exchanging ideas, creates safe spaces and conditions conducive to successful outcomes- it’s a great way to understand each other.
You can also disagree with others respectfully without threats. There’s been enough bullying and threats during the campaign season, let’s do less of this at the dinner table. Speak for yourself and don’t bully anyone into seeing things your own way. This conversation could be a great opportunity to learn from each other through insightful conversation, as we all have so much to learn from one another.
Remember the meaning of Thanksgiving, and choose peace. Keeping the peace does not necessarily mean that you concede or agree with the other persons opinion. It just means you choose love and peace above being right. Chances are high that you are not going to change the mind or worldview of the other person in one conversation, nor should you try during the Thanksgiving dinner. Again, if you are the host, you set the tone for a loving and peaceful Thanksgiving. As a guest and/or a family member, always end the conversation with a family member with opposing views, with love and respect. Make sure you have heard everything the other person has said, and if you disagree with them, take the high road, “I still love you, and let’s just say we disagree on this topic.” Or, “It’s awesome that we live in a country where we can freely express opposing opinions, and we did it here together today, respectfully, with love.” Always end with a hand shake or a hug. After all, they are still your family. Remember the spirit behind family togetherness and the celebration of Thanksgiving. Not every day is promised to us, so, enjoy your family!
Dr. Chioma Anah is the owner of PerceptA Therapeutic and Training Center, LLC in Towson, Maryland. She sees clients with issues dealing with anger, anxiety, stress and depression. You can contact Dr. Anah via email at email@example.com Website: www.perceptatherapeutic.com
In keeping with our Counseling Awareness Month theme, particularly, our ongoing effort to educate the public about several areas of professional counseling, and the contributions of professional counselors nationwide; today, it is with the greatest honor and privilege that I introduce to you, Michelle E. Wade, Ed.D., LCPC, LPC, NCC, ACS. Please join me in welcoming her, as she guest posts for us today.
If you are a member of the American Counseling Association (ACA), then Dr. Wade is no stranger to you. Dr. Wade is an active member of the ACA, and has contributed immensely, in many ways, to the field of professional counseling and counselor education.
Dr. Wade has a Doctorate of Education in Counselor Education and Supervision (Ed.D); is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC-Maryland); a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC-VA); a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC); and an Approved Clinical Supervisor (ACS).
Today, Dr. Wade shares her expertise about The Future of Counseling, particularly the role of technology in counseling:
Counseling 2.0 – The Future of Counseling
By Michelle E. Wade, Ed.D., L.C.P.C., L.P.C., N.C.C., A.C.S.
The American Counseling Association (ACA) (Kaplan, Tarvydas, & Gladding, 2013) defines counseling as “a professional relationship that empowers diverse individuals, families, and groups to accomplish mental health, wellness, education, and career goals” (p. 2). In the 21st century, the way that professional relationship is established is no longer necessarily depicted as a client in the opposite chair from the counselor. Rather, counseling can now be conducted over vast distances and the counselor-client relationship can be developed and maintained outside of the therapy room.
Counselors are taught from the very beginning of training that the therapeutic relationship between counselor and client is paramount and as such the relationship needs to be developed and nurtured (Wampold, Duncan, & Miller, 2009). Lambert and Barley (2001) report that thirty percent (30%) of beneficial counseling outcomes can be attributed to the professional relationship. Fluckiger, Del Re, Wampold, Symonds, and Horvath (2011) explicate the alliance-outcome relationship has a greater correlational link greater than any other treatment variable studied. Therefore, if the relationship is paramount, one has to ask whether counseling should venture into this brave new frontier with clients.
***Dr. Michelle E. Wade is an ethics specialist with ACA Ethics Department, and serves as co-editor of the ethics inquiries column for the ACA publication, Counseling Today. For ACA members with questions about ethics, please submit questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line “Ethics Column.” Dr. Wade can also be reached via Email- UltreyaTherapy2005@gmail.com
If you are interested in writing a guest post, please send submissions to Dr. Chioma Anah – Email- email@example.com
American Harvard Psychiatrist, Chester Middlebrook Pierce first coined the term racial microaggression in the 1970s to refer to automatic and often subtle “put downs” directed toward African Americans (Dr. Pierce is currently Emeritus Professor of Education and Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School). In 2007, Columbia professor Derald Wing Sue, who is recognized as one of the most influential scholars focusing on the study of racial microaggressions, expanded on the work of Pierce and colleagues, and proposed a conceptual framework of how racial microaggressions manifest in the everyday lives of people of color. Dr. Sue defined racial microaggressions as, “Brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, and environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults to the target person or group.”
Key points about Racial Microaggressions:
a) It is not the “old fashioned” Jim Crow type of racism that is most hurtful to Black Americans, but the new contemporary and subtle forms of racism known as racial microaggressions. Despite the election and re-election of an African American male president, we are not living in a “post-racial” era.
In 2010, it was estimated that, 68% of African Americans were dissatisfied and reported inequalities and racism in their daily lives- while 71% of Whites reported satisfaction with the way racial relations was.
These percentages might be different today in 2015, given all the racial unrest following the Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and Eric Garner tragedies. It is hard to forget the images of protests and riots in Ferguson, Missouri, and subsequently, in many other cities around the United States.
b) They are subtle, insensitive, automatic and sometimes unconscious verbal, non-verbal, and/or visual insults and indignities directed towards Black American people or people of color.
c) They are quick, everyday interactions that send hurtful, denigrating messages to Black Americans and other people of color that implies that: * they do not matter;*they are not valued or respected; *they are lazy; they are unintelligent; *they are invisible; *they are always aggressive and angry; *they are criminals and should be feared at all times; *they are dangerous and a threat to society; *they are sub-human and demon-like; *they are all the same; and that *they are second-class citizens.
e) Racial microaggression can be invisible, often overlooked, and sometimes unconscious. However, they can be very damaging, and could create lethal consequences for the recipient. The most lethal and extreme example of the consequences of racial microaggressions, came in the case of Officer Darren Wilson and his reaction when he saw Michael Brown:
29-year old White Officer, Darren Wilson, shot and killed 18-year old Michael Brown on August 9, 2014. This is what Officer Wilson saw, the day he shot Michael Brown- in his words: “I felt like a five-year old holding onto Hulk Hogan…Hulk Hogan, that’s just how big he felt and how small i felt just from grasping his arm…The only way I can describe it, it looks like a demon, that’s how angry he looked. He comes back towards me again with his hands up…At this point it looked like he was almost bulking up to run through the shots, like it was making him mad that I’m shooting at him. And then when it [the bullet] went into him, the demeanor on his face went blank, the aggression was gone, it was gone, I mean I knew he stopped, the threat was stopped.
f) Perpetrators of racial microaggression are often well-intentioned Whites in American society who are unaware of the highly charged racial situations. They are often the product of America’s complicated history with race and still harbor racial biases and display discriminatory behaviors towards Black Americans in all areas of society, including education and employment.
g) Racial microaggressions could be challenging for all involved because of the clash of racial realities; the racial reality of Black Americans is different from that of White Americans. In some cases, when the victim confronts the perpetrator about the racial microaggressions that they have just experienced, the perpetrator’s responses run the gamut from, pointing out that he or she only meant the slights as a compliment, to claiming that the comment was merely a joke. Further, the perpetrator sometimes accuses the recipient of being too sensitive when they are offended by the comment or action.
h) Many of the perpetrators of racial microaggressions blame the victim…”If only Black people worked harder, they would be successful,” or, “Not everything is about race.”
i) Racial microaggressions create psychological harm for Black Americans manifested in symptoms that include, depression, paranoia, anxiety and PTSD.
j) Racial microaggressions create physiological harm for Black Americans. According to Adewale Troutman, MD, Director, Louisville, KY Department of Public Health & Wellness, and S. Leonard Syme, Professor of Epidemiology, UC Berkeley, there are significant effects of racism on the health outcomes of people of color. Through research, Dr. Troutman suggests that, “If you are African American, no matter your social status; your health outcomes are going to be worse than that of your White counterpart.” He goes on to state that African American’s die earlier than Whites and have higher rates of medical diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, high blood pressure, and coronary artery disease. Dr. Syme adds that, “Hyper vigilance and the burden of constantly being on guard (as a Black American) over time, changes biological markers that make people vulnerable to getting sick.”
k) Racial microaggression is often downplayed, ignored and/or dismissed as a legitimate issue, and many White Americans question the existence of racial prejudice and discrimination, particularly when the country elected a Black President twice in a row.
16 examples of Racial Microaggressions (These are examples of actual experiences of many Black Americans):
1) “You should be proud of yourself. You are not like the rest of them; you are a credit to your race.”
2) “You sounded so different on the phone; you were not what I expected.”
3) “Sorry, I thought you were the nurse, not the doctor.”
4) “You guys must be really happy now that Obama is president, there should be no more excuses or complaints from you people.”
5) “I’m surprised you haven’t seen, ’12 Years A Slave’ yet, I though you would be one of the first people to go watch it.”
6) “You are so exotic looking. What are you?”
7) “That was really a great class, Dr. Smith, but next week, you may want to think about doing a role-play to demonstrate your examples because I learn better that way as a student…I’m just saying.”
8) “Hey, I’ve been stopped by cops before, just driving and I didn’t make a capital case about it. Not everything is about race.”
9) “Why does every Black person pull the race card whenever they are backed into a wall? Many of the seemly racially motivated bad experiences they have experienced, I’ve experienced some of them as well, and besides, if it quacks like a duck and walks like a duck, well, it’s a duck!”
10) “People are people. I really don’t see race or color in this situation.”
11) “Do you think your stress is from something else instead of your everyday racial experiences?”
12) “The President of the United States is Black. I really don’t see where all this racial angst is coming from. Why are you people still so angry?”
13) “How do Black people feel about…?” (Fill the blank with every issue relating to Black society- as if they are the spokesperson for all issues concerning Blacks in society).
How do Black people feel about Obama, now that he’s not so popular?
How do Black people feel about Tiger Woods…?
And the list goes on…
14) “Wow, you listen to Radiohead, and you actually know who Beck is? I though Kanya West and Jay-z would be more your speed.”
15) “You have a nice home, you drive a nice car, and you are living the ‘American Dream’ what else do you have to complain about? You are doing better than most Whites…but you always complain about your poor treatment because of your race. Look at everything that you have…what is the problem?”
16) “I have lots of Black friends, I am not racist!”
President Obama’s experiences of Racial Microaggressions:
Following the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin case, President Obama gave a speech to the public. Although he did not mention it by name, many of the experiences President Obama describes here are racial microaggressions:
“Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago…I think it’s important to recognize that the African American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that doesn’t go away…There are very few African American men who have not had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in the department store. That includes me. And there are very few African American men who haven’t had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. It happens to me, at least before I was a senator. There are very few African Americans who haven’t had the experience of getting on the elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off. That happens often” (Obama, 7/19/ 2013).
“Artists are the gatekeepers of truth. We are civilization’s radical voice.” – Paul Robeson
What can be done about Racial Microaggressions?
a) Recognizing and acknowledging our difficult history with race in the United States, and acknowledging and confronting our own cultural biases, assumptions and worldview.
b) Understanding that race matters in the United States, and that racism and injustice hurts ALL of us.
Increasing our awareness about issues of race and diversity in the United States.
Using our understanding of diversity and race in a way that connects all of us with the common goal of creating a more socially just environment.
c) Improving our education and training surrounding cultural sensitivity in an effort to combat acts of microaggression.
d) Engaging in Appropriate Planning & Action about racial microaggression, which includes facilitating and encouraging open and honest discussion on the subject of race, culture and microaggressions with different races. Again, the goal here is to create awareness, understanding, healing, and appropriate action, leading to a more socially just and culturally sensitive nation.
***Have you experienced Racial Microaggressions? Do you recognize yourself in this post as the perpetrator or the victim of racial microaggressions?
What are the best ways to respond to racial microaggressions when they occur?
How can an awareness of racial microaggression inform society around the issue of diversity?
What do you think can be done about combating racial microaggressions in society?
We would like to hear from you.
Chioma Anah, EdD, ATR, NCC, LCPC, ACS
Brief Bio: Dr. Chioma Anah has a doctorate in Counseling Psychology, is a Registered Art Therapist (ATR), National Certified Counselor (NCC), Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC- Maryland), Approved Clinical Supervisor (ACS), and Founder, CEO, & Director of PerceptA Therapeutic and Training Center, LLC. She has over 15 years experience in the clinical field working with at-risk adolescents, adults and families of all races and cultural background. Dr. Anah’s research interest includes multicultural issues in counseling; specializing in racial microaggressions in everyday life and implications for clinical practice. Dr. Anah is committed to highlighting the impact of racial microaggressions, multicultural issues, and social justice issues, as it relates to diverse clients in therapy.
Contact Dr. Anah regarding this post: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org