The belief that children should be nurtured and protected doesn’t always extend to all children. A report published by the Georgetown Law Center on Poverty and Inequality showed that adults were more likely to assume that black girls were older, more independent, more responsible for their offenses, and more knowledgeable about sex — basically, more adult-like — than white girls of the same age. From a young age many black girls are told not to wear certain clothes, not to be in front of men and are often oversexualzed and called “fast” or other derogatory terms. Black girls who are sexually abused are often led to believe it’s their fault because they’re “too grown”. This is an attitude which is unfortunately believed by many people not only in the Black community but in the larger society.
As early as age 5, many adults perceive Black girls as knowing more about sex and not needing as much nurturing as White girls of the same age. Black women of all ages are generally oversexualized and in the past it was believed that Black women couldn’t be raped. This extends to black girls being told they’re somehow at fault if they are molested. It’s very important to nurture and love Black girls so they don’t grow up thinking they’re not worthy of being loved and cherished. Black girls are just as entitled and deserving of equal treatment and protection as white children. They deserve to just be children.
I have been asked many times what made me decide to start my practice and in particular why my practice is centered around providing psychotherapy to women and adolescents of color in particular Black women and girls. This post will tell you a little about me and what led me down this path.
I’ve been a therapist for 24 years and I’ve worked in various capacities and several agencies as well as at an inpatient psychiatric hospital. During this time I’ve worked with many different populations and have also been a speaker at different organizations and written articles about therapy with Afro Caribbean families and women.
Working at agencies is very stressful and although I loved my clients I knew I couldn’t be there forever. I had always wanted a private practice but due to several circumstances I didn’t begin the process until 2016. After my last position as a clinical supervisor at an outpatient substance abuse clinic in New York City, I decided that it was time to start my practice. I’ve always been passionate about helping women of color especially Black women who often feel ashamed to seek mental health treatment. I started Transforming Lives Counseling Service in July 2016, first it was only online and then as I grew I decided to open an office in addition to seeing people online via video. My practice has grown so much since this time and I’ve expanded and have a wonderful therapist, Jennifer Dorsey, MHC-LP working with me.
People have also asked if it’s discriminatory that my practice focuses on the mental health needs of women and girls of color in particular Black women and girls. Psychotherapy is often viewed as a luxury for wealthy white people and I wanted to bring culturally competent care to Black women and girls who often don’t get to see people who look like them as therapists. All my clients are not women and girls of color. I will work with anyone who feels they need to begin therapy to learn how to live a fulfilling life however my primary goal and focus will always be helping Black women and girls. If you want to learn more, take a look at my website, Transforming Lives Online.org .