Therapy for Black Girls
Happy Mental Health Awareness Month readers! Being booked and busy can be a JOB honey, especially if you are a working mom or just on the go like me, BUT you must always make time for mental health! A sound body is a sound mind, and we must always put ourselves first. As a nurse, I am always focused on caring for others and that's great, but caring for self is twice as important! It can be easy to get so caught up in this thing called life and other people, that you forget about you and your needs. Are you the one to always go to that "strong friend" because they always seem to have it together? Well, believe it or not, that strong friend also needs a strong friend right? Who are they going to lean on? Sometimes you have to ask yourself this, and make sure that the same listening ear that you are asking for, you are giving in return. We must all support each other! Speaking of support, if you know me, you know I LOVE Spotify. It is filled with such amazing gems and great playlists/podcasts for everyone, but especially my Nubian queens. I was talking to a group of friends about therapy, and how there are not enough podcasts/websites for women of color to visit who are interested in seeking a therapist that is right for them, or listening to a great podcast that they can relate to, and share! I was really inspired by this conversation, and through social media and friends, ran across this amazing podcast called, "Therapy for Black Girls". Therapy for Black Girls was created by Dr. Joy Harden Bradford and "is an online space dedicated to encouraging the mental wellness of Black women and girls. So often the stigma surrounding mental health issues and therapy prevent Black women from taking the step of seeing a therapist. I developed the space to present mental health topics in a way that feels more accessible and relevant." Therapy for Black Girls touches on topics such as: relationships, anxiety, self-care, depression, therapy, therapists and more! Featured below is a great article from therapyforblackgirls.com that I found written by founder, Dr. Joy Harden Bradford on things to know for your first therapy appointment. I hope you find this helpful! Enjoy!
Joy's Need to Knows For First Therapy Appointment:
So you’ve made the choice to seek therapy. After doing your research, (you’ve heard about our directory right?), you’ve zeroed in on a therapist that seems like they might be a good fit for you. Now what? The pending New Year has us all ready to start anew. Maybe you’re seeking therapy as a way of getting your mind and spirit aligned for a new year filled with new obstacles and new life changes. Or, maybe you’re looking to leave some habits back in 2018 and you’re looking toward therapy to help you out with that. Whatever your reason, here are a few things you should know before you first therapy appointment.
1. There will be a lot of questions: You will probably do most of the talking during your first appointment and it may feel like more of an interview. Your first session is what we call an intake and it’s designed to get as much background information as possible to help us figure out what’s been going on with you and how we might be able to help.
2. You might feel really nervous: It’s totally normal to be really nervous about your first session. It’s not everyday that we talk to a complete stranger about some pretty personal stuff in our lives. If you feel comfortable, share with your therapist what you’re nervous about. It could lead you to a great conversation and might provide some valuable information to your therapist about the kinds of things that might be helpful to you in the therapeutic process.
3. You probably won't leave with a diagnosis: Since we’re likely doing a bunch of fact-finding in the first session and there still may be some pieces of the puzzle that don’t quite fit, you probably won’t leave your first session with a diagnosis. We may have a good idea of what we think may be going on, but will likely want to see you a few more times and have you share more about your story to be able to make a diagnosis if there is one to be made. You don’t need a diagnosed mental health condition to see a therapist.
4. You might be hesitant to come back for your next appointment: It may initially feel better to finally have a place to share what you’re struggling with but afterwards you may have what we call a ‘vulnerability hangover,’ where later that day or the next morning you think “what in the world did I just do?” it feels like you’ve just been naked in front of a lot of people. This is not uncommon and it may make you feel a little embarrassed about going back to the therapist. Try to fight through that feeling. See if you can and go back to the next session and share how difficult it felt to come back and the feelings you’ve been experiencing.
5. You might not feel "better" right away: Depending on what’s going on and how long you’ve been dealing with whatever brings you in, it may actually feel worse before it gets better. You know that one closet many of us have in our homes where we shove boxes, out of season clothes, wrapping paper, and various other odds and ends? What has to happen when you finally decide you want to clean that closet. You probably have to take everything out, decide if you’re going to keep it or not, and then make a plan before there’s any sense of organization right? That’s a lot like what it’s like to start therapy.
Dr. Joy Harden Bradford <3
Dr. Joy is a licensed Psychologist in the state of Georgia. Her specialties include working with Black women in both individual and couples counseling. Her primary areas of interest include break up and divorce recovery, depression, work-life balance, relationship skills, and self esteem improvement. She also has a wealth of knowledge in working with undergraduate and graduate students in areas including procrastination, stress management, dissertation/thesis support, and career development. S
She completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology at Xavier University of Louisiana, a Master’s Degree in Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling at Arkansas State University, and a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology at The University of Georgia. She hasworked for the State of Wisconsin Department of Vocational Rehabilitation as well as in the counseling centers of Virginia Commonwealth University, Georgia Southern University, The University of Georgia, Emory University Oxford College, and Clark Atlanta University.Can you say BLACK GIRL MAGIC? For more of her amazing work, follow her on her website: www.therapyforblackgirls.com and on Instagram: @therapyforblackgirls @hellodrjoy
QTNA: If you have started therapy, what was your first appointment like? How did you feel?