Celebrating the History of My Heritage and My Walk As Mental Health Professional
By Jill Smith
As I wrapped up my last session of the day, I remembered to pace myself and take my time exploring with my clients. Lucky to have the flexibility to engage in-depth with clients, the way that’s needed. As I sit down and reflect on my sessions today, I am reminded of the peace I feel. Peace, that wouldn’t be if not for others before me making a way, for me to succeed in a Caucasian-dominated career field of mental health.
We are in February, proudly known as Black History Month. As an African American female, I love embracing my heritage and showing my culture to the world. As a therapist, I pride myself on breaking barriers on a daily basis. I’ve had clients tell me they are proud to work with me and appreciate my skill set. Each day I come to the office, I am a walking celebration of pride and love for my Black Culture and psychotherapy.
As I grab my laptop to complete notes, I remember stories from my great-grandmother of her struggles to gain an education due to segregation. I was blessed to be given opportunities the others in my family weren’t given. I represent more than just myself when I enter a room; I represent being the first generation college student in my family to obtain degrees and establish a career.
I love being young and goal-oriented. I love being knowledgeable in my career and learning new techniques. Most importantly I love being African American and embracing all my culture has to offer. As we dive into February, challenge yourself to learn about African American Culture and how we have celebrate diversity to make us stronger as a community.
Remind yourself that history can be enriching, and past negative actions don’t have to be repeated. Lastly, applaud yourself for celebrating with others during Black History Month.
– Erin Tolbert