“Stop crying you not sad” “why you not smiling” “why are you mad all the time, go to sleep” “you must be crazy or something” “therapy is for white people” These are some of the statements I have heard spoken to Africans Americans of all ages in regards to therapy. The stigma for years has been that seeking professional help is a sign of weakness, or insanity so we should “sleep it off” to avoid the attention. Not only is therapy not race specific, it is in no way an admittance of insanity. A Therapist can be sought after to deal with trauma that you might not know you experienced (i.e. death in the family, verbally abusive relationship). Often times we do not know how a situation has affected us and inadvertently create a mask. Individuals who want to talk to someone do not because the Therapist does not look like them. In the city of Milwaukee Black Therapist are not as scarce as one might think, and one Black Clinician made it her business to showcase them.
Kia Wilkinson- Holloway had an idea and she shared it with fellow clinicians Lakeia Jones-Spell, Arnitta Holliman, Hope Jackson and Thomasina Jenkins. The aforementioned women, who all own private practices as well supported Holloway in her desire to have a Black Therapist Photo shoot. The shoot took place on Sunday May 6thwith photos done by Timothy Rickets. “I wanted to show the city that we are Black Therapist, and we are here and ready to help.” This was a statement from Holloway who also owns Imani Counseling Services LLC.The scene was beautiful one as I watched Clinicians of all ages both men and women, converse with each other as they awaited there turn to take pictures in the required black dress attire. I even heard jokes like “how she get a standup picture I want to look sassy too” and “let me grab a prop I want to stand.” This was a statement from Marrika Rodgers, a clinicianwho has been aggressively active in the community. The group showed professionalism perhaps just as important, their human side, they are people who have gone through life, therefore can relate to the struggles of our community.
Witnessing it inspired me to continue my education and become a Clinician… I hope it inspires someone who needs help to seek out a Therapist.