I chose the counseling profession for honestly the same reasons that most people choose to be doctors…because I wanted to make 6 Figures…NOT!!! The truth is, I didn’t choose the counseling profession…it chose me! I always found myself in a position where someone was asking for my advice, my suggestions, or even what I thought about different situations, and for me, the answers just came naturally. Not only was it natural for me to come up with solutions, but it felt much more gratifying when through our conversation they came up with their OWN solutions. I actually found something that I was interested in, enjoyed doing and fits perfectly with what I felt my overall purpose was. I felt like, “this is being in a position to help people, helping them help themselves, which is something that I’m very passionate about”.
Through my work with several nonprofit and for-profit counseling agencies across the greater New Orleans area, as well as charter school- I became passionate about assisting children discover their voice and learning how to express themselves in a way where they can be heard. Unlike adults, children process the world and communicate through play, a child’s natural language. Play therapy is a way for children to express themselves and identify their problems. Again, there is a sense of gratification when during a session I can see “the light bulb” come on. An example is hearing a young client say “Ms. Deatrice, my mommy fights with my daddy all the time, but I feel like I can’t tell nobody because then my mommy will be more sad and it’ll be all my fault. You know, that’s how I feel sometimes too [sad]”. This “light bulb” went off during ‘play’.
As a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor and a Registered Play Therapist Supervisor working in private practice, I have expanded my focus from just children to children within the larger family unit. I love the phrase ‘family unit’ because to me, it gives you the ability to include grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and sometimes neighbors which is what a family can look like in New Orleans.
I love working with families of color because it gives me the opportunity to work with the population I feel most connected to. I want to be able to provide a place where families can work through anything that threatens the stability of the family unit. Whether it be relationships or through individual work, I want to help equip people with the coping skills needed to mend the pieces that are broken, and aid them in maintaining newfound stability.
Aside from my clinical experience, I myself am a product of a non-traditional family unit as a single mother raising my daughter. As a woman of color, I believe that is one of the most important credentials — knowing that a client and I can relate on some experiences. This allows me to be a little more comfortable with the idea of talking and sharing personal experiences which can sometimes be uncomfortable.
This is the place where I believe my passions come together, with the drive of my practice, drawing from both my personal and professional experiences to help women who may share some in common as single mothers; helping those children who don’t feel as if they have a voice as I did during childhood in a single parent home, or being the bridge that helps connect a parent/guardian and a child. These are the things that wake me up in the morning, and motivate me to help my clients.