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