Well, look who it is! You have taken the first and in some cases the most difficult part of the counseling process, acknowledging that you have been going through it, and that life takes its toll on us. Let’s face it there are times where we don’t got it going on, and here’s the kicker…it’s normal to not have it together and it’s okay to not be okay.
Who you’ll get:
So I’m gonna be frank, I’m a unicorn of a counselor. No really, I am a literal unicorn. When it comes to representation in counseling it’s hard enough to find a Black counselor and let alone a black trans-feminine counselor who uses Child Centered Play Therapy and Expressive Arts Therapy. I work from an intersectional perspective as a clinician, I know you’re probably thinking “what does that even mean?” It means I acknowledge all the nuanced parts of who we are. Our race, gender identity, sexual orientation, relationships, interests, spiritual journeys, upbringing, culture and the boundless other experiences, burdens and identities we carry, are all vital parts of what make us who we are. I am the counselor who will see who you are and where you have come from. Therapy was intended in its first creation for straight middle class white people and the theories surrounding it are as such. Thus, I have worked to changed that narrative to make therapy for US, those of us living on the fringes of society but who have always existed. Not only this but when we work together I will not hold back when it comes to not telling what you want to hear but telling you what you need to hear. Queerness is an ever-evolving identity as we acknowledge the multitude of experiences and identities that have existed for eons. You are not invisible, I am not invisible, we in the queer community are not invisible.
Equity has always been important to me. Many of us are living life without the proper mental health resources and representation in the field. Our culture and experiences are not seen and validated in most mental health spaces and I wanted to provide an authentic space for people and color and those of us in the queer community. representation is important, it is an intrinsic part of who we are and it helps us to know that our stories are valid. Our world has forced all of us to experience a great deal of trauma on a systemic level. We live in a world exploits us and it is disingenuous for any professional in any setting to not acknowledge how our identities affect us.
Working with Kids and Teens:
Most, it not all of us, have all heard phrases like these growing up, “know a child’s place” and “Get out! You don’t know what you’re talking about”. We can remember how our feelings and experiences were invalidated. Now that we are adults, we see these cycles continuing right before our eyes. Kids understand the world around them more so than adults give them credit for. While they may not have the vocabulary to vocalize what they
experience at times, they do understand that their experiences affect them in profound ways. When working with kids and adolescents, I provide a space where they can be their true selves unencumbered by gender norms and not being policed by others regarding how they express themselves. I do this using Child Centered Play Therapy and Expressive Arts therapy. Combining these practices allows for kids and teens to express themselves in the ways that are innate and comfortable for them. I know how it feels to be told to silence yourself and no child or adolescents should have to reduce themselves for other people’s comfort. We don’t tolerate it when it happens to us…why should we let it happen to our youth.
Play Therapy and Expressive Arts Therapy come together like a gumbo made with all your favorite ingredients, a little of this and a little of that. You can make it the way you want to without having to please someone else’s palette. which is why these two styles of therapy go so well together. There is no pressure to be perfect or to accommodate the comforts of others in how you express yourself through play and the arts. Creation and play are the first languages that we learn. For kids and teens this language is innate but as we grow older we sometimes lost touch with the things that gave use joy when we were younger. Yes! play therapy can be used with adults, and you will have fun like you did as a kid. As adults our ideas of fun become narrowed to drinking and dancing at the club, and don’t get me wrong I love to shake to the City Girls at the club from time to time myself also, BUT! It is also okay to still enjoy those creature comforts of expression we had as children. Using these modalities allows kids a safe space to be authentic and for adults to remember who they are.