1 – Beginning of the Journey – What was the situation? Was there a need?
My mother was my role model. At a young age she told me that with hard work, I can be anything I set my mind on. My mother passed away of breast cancer two weeks before I started high school and our family was devastated. However, her passing, ignited a desire in me to touch as many lives as I could. Even though I was only thirteen years old, I remember many people approached me and expressed how influential my mother was. How she would make it her mission to uplift others and she would literally “take the shirt off her back” to help others. I knew that whatever career that I pursued that it would be my mission to be a representation of my mother, my “Strong Black Woman”.
2 – The reason for courage while in the journey – How does courage play a role?
I decided to pursue a career in psychology and during my educational journey I personally faced racism and sexism. Prior to the completion of my doctorate, I applied for an internship at the local mental health hospital and I was initially denied. I then was contacted by the clinical director of one of the departments of the hospital and I was advised that two additional positions were opened and that my application was reconsidered. I interviewed and I was excited that I was chosen for the position. When I informed one of my classmates, a Caucasian women, that I would be an intern at the same hospital, I later found out that she was informing my other classmates that I only received the position because I was black and I did not “go through the proper channels” to get the position so I did not deserve to be there”. This is one of several examples where during my educational journey, many tried to dismiss me and dismiss my presence. I had fellow colleagues inform me that I don’t “look like a doctor”. While I would work twice as hard to “prove” that I belonged, I also knew that my faith in God would never allow me to quit. I knew that if God impressed it upon your heart, He will equip you with everything that you need to succeed. So, I had to press on.
3 – Was there change/growth in yourself? What were the fruits of your courage on others? – Describe the impact.
With prayer, God’s grace and hard work I am proud to be a Registered Psychologist with the College of Psychologists of Ontario. My career has spanned over 15 years and I have achieved several accomplishments. I am the Clinical Director of Allied Psychological Services, which is my private practice. My approach is anti-oppressive and I provide several services such as assessment, individual and group psychotherapy, corporate consultation, research, supervision and training services to clients from diverse ethno-racial backgrounds, gender and socio-economic backgrounds.I am also an accomplished professional speaker and a member of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers. This has allowed me to travel around the world to places such as Hawaii, Peru, Japan, South Africa, Trinidad, Suriname, Haiti, Jamaica and India where I have been invited to speak on several topics including culturally adapting cognitive behavioral therapy for the English-Speaking Caribbean Community, Motivational Interviewing in a Caribbean Context, Mental Health in the Black Community, Black Women and Mental Health, Mental Health and the Church and Cultural Implications in Psychological practice. My hope and prayer are that my life is a testimony to others in that with faith, hard work, and determination anything is possible.It is possible to be successful and live the life that God designed you to live. There are no limits to what we can achieve and what we can accomplish.