What I Learned From Therapy! Stephanie Davis, M.Ed, LPC
To some, it may seem paradoxical to have a therapist seek therapy, but the truth is, it was the best investment that I made in myself. I highly recommend it! It definitely made me a better therapist and helped me gather myself after the sudden deaths of two of my big brothers.
For years in the African American community, there has been a stigma associated with therapy. We were taught to keep our business in our homes and deal with it at home. Even today, studies showed that minorities and those of lower socioeconomic status are less likely to seek help or attend therapy because of cultural beliefs, fear of judgement, and lack of representation or relatability. This has created a serious problem within our communities because us not dealing with our personal mental health is affecting our families as well. Stress is a common killer. Let’s flashback to certain issues that were supposed to be dealt with in our childhood, did we ever “deal with it” though? Not likely, some of us just moved on. On the contrary, we suppress our feelings.
When I wrote my 1st book, Unmasked: The Journey and Its Lessons, it was a release for me because I finally dealt with my own issues. God & Therapy can be a good combination. There is so much power in unmasking and sharing your experiences to help others heal as well. For most of my childhood I grew up in South Park and Third Ward. These are considered the “hood” areas of Houston. I had 3 older brothers and I was the baby girl. There wasn't a lot of crying and expressing emotions. My mom worked at Ben Taub as a Buyer, later a Pharmacy Tech, played piano for churches, and taught music; therefore I didn't share much because she was tired. My dad was a truck driver. He was a great listener, but he always made me figure things out when I really needed advice. I really didn't get any best friends until 7th grade (and we are still friends to this day), so writing was my release. Therapy was never mentioned in my home or neighborhood, unless someone got checked into a mental facility or rehab. This was one of the reasons why I became a youth and young adult therapist. I wanted to be what I didn’t see.
Mental Health Education is so important, especially with spikes in teen suicide, depression and anxiety. The stigma of receiving mental healthcare in the African American community is slowly changing and there are resources. More clinicians of color like myself are at the forefront. While there are still some reservations, I’m glad to be changing the face of therapy and provide support for families and teens.
From a personal perspective, here is what I learned when I decided to go to therapy for myself:
The hardest thing to do is love someone else when you don't know who you are. Take time to figure you out.
If you don't take time to learn who you are, someone will teach you to be who they want you to be.
There is no "normal.” It is all subjective.
Heartbreak is its own kind of mourning. Never give the same person the same opportunity to mistreat you. Ghosting is for cowards.
Vulnerability is for the brave.
Some things you never get over, you just find a way through.
Talk to yourself. Rationalize and Process. Answer back.
Storms don't last forever. I promise.
Time is one of your best resources. Use it to your benefit.
You don't need to know everything. It will come in due time. God will provide. The Universe will align.
Stephanie Davis, M.Ed, LPC, Teen/Youth Mental Health Specialist
Heartwork Trending Counseling & Consulting, PLLC.