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
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: email@example.com
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: email@example.com
“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