The need for cultural competency in therapy is so critical when working with African American clients. Having a therapist of color who understand your culture, oppression, issues that relate to your struggles is key to helping you gain the necessary life skills for success! Best thing is most therapists of color are the therapist they needed when they needed a therapist so they know exactly where you’re coming from!
I had the pleasure of being on Annie Schuessler's podcast, Rebel Therapist!
Being a Rebel Therapist and working with Annie has been life changing.
Take a listen as we kick the breeze on "writing your book."
How do you feel about women owning guns?
Are you a woman and own a gun?
Are guns just for men?
Melanin and Mental Health are two dope therapists and hosts of the Between Sessions Podcast. It is a live streaming discussion to social media to increase awareness about mental health. As their special guest, I had the opportunity to discuss microaggressions in the workplace.
The podcast entitled How to Have a Voice discusses Life First Therapy and the work Dr. Holly does around micro-aggressions towards professional black women.
By Michelle Peterson
Recovering from an addiction is incredibly difficult. And, with so many recovery programs out there, how do you choose the right one for you? Art and music therapy are two types of programs that can help recovering addicts relieve stress and promote self-confidence. You can incorporate these supplemental activities into your recovery practice and walk away feeling like a new person.
Here are a few different types of art and music therapies that can help you get through your addiction.
Learning an instrument
Learning how to play a musical instrument is incredibly difficult. It takes persistence, commitment and patience. When someone is recovering from an addiction, learning how to play guitar, drums or another instrument can help them stay focused and discover a whole new side of themselves. Sticking through lessons can teach them how to commit to recovery and to not relapse. They will also leave therapy with a sense of accomplishment and a new skill they can use to entertain family members and loved ones.
Painting is a type of art therapy that can come in many forms. Whether it’s watercolor, acrylic, or oils, painting is a wonderful way for those suffering with addiction to cope. Not only is painting a quiet, soothing activity, it allows an artist to bring out whatever emotions they’re dealing with onto the paper or canvas and leave it there. Because drugs and alcohol can dull a person’s emotions, painting can bring you back to yourself, little by little.
Another type of art therapy, sculpting allows addicts to reshape their lives while they make something out of nothing. Sculpting can bring stress relief and improve overall well-being. It’s a type of meditation, as sculpting can take hours on end. With sculpting, there are no right or wrong ways to make a piece of art, which is helpful to addicts as they can access their inner creativity and surprise themselves. Sculpting is something that anyone can try out and it appeals to a lot of different individuals. Who doesn’t want to take home with them a sculpture that they created?
Dancing is a type of music therapy and form of self-expression that can help individuals recovering from addiction. The primary goal of this type of movement is to promote physical, emotional and mental health. By being able to express yourself openly and freely in a supportive environment, you can take steps to healing and confronting the demons of addiction. When it’s hard to express yourself with words, dancing is a great way to get rid of any feelings of self-doubt and other painful issues.
It can be hard to express your feelings out loud when you’re going through addiction recovery. That’s why writing down your thoughts and emotions on paper is a great way to relieve stress, especially if written thoughts are transformed in poetry. This type of art therapy allows addicts to discover their creativity and tell their own story in a beautiful way. Poems are easy to keep, and if an addict is every experiencing self-doubt or weakness, they can re-read their poems and gain back their strength.
If you need more than group therapy and a traditional rehabilitation program, add in art or music therapy to your recovery to help you get more in touch with your emotions and express yourself. Art and music therapy is also typically performed solo, so the individual doesn’t feel embarrassed speaking about their emotions in front of other addicts like in a therapy session. Art and music therapy provide addicts with a different opportunity to find solace and see what they’re made of.
Michelle Peterson is in recovery and believes the journey to sobriety should not be one of shame but of pride. Ms. Peterson’s mission is aligned with that of RecoveryPride, which is to celebrate sobriety and those who achieve it.
Depression can be defined as feeling sad for weeks or months and not just a day or two. Depression can be accompanied by a huge hole of emptiness inside, lack of energy and no pleasure in things once enjoyed. To be clear, clinical depression is different from normal sadness. Clinical depression interferes with one’s work or school, relationships with others and ability to enjoy life. However, clinical depression is treatable with modern antidepressant medications and goal-orientated psychotherapy.
No two people experience depression the same. Some people may not seem sad while others can be unmotivated to do anything like eat or get dressed. These tasks can become large obstacles in their daily life. When friends and family notice these changes, it is alright to say something.
Show your loved one how you are on their side. Avoid saying asking them, “Why can’t you just get dressed/eat/get out of bed?”
Instead say, “You seem to have trouble getting dressed/getting out of bed/eating. What can I do to help you in this area?”
Never ask what their problem is or invalidate their feelings by telling them they are upset about nothing. Instead express your support by stating, “You seem to be finding this issue a big deal at the moment. How can we solve it together?”
Since many people suffering from depression have lost their ability to recognize their positive attributes, giving plenty of reassurance can also be very helpful.
People with depression can spend a lot of time reflecting on their situation. Give understanding and sympathy by sometimes doing nothing but merely listening. Offer a hug or to hold them for a moment. This also conveys how you are there for them.
Try not to be offended if your loved one asks you to leave them alone. Sometimes, that is the most helpful thing you can do at that moment. It is also important to accept the person where they are and not let it totally consume your life. You too have to take care of yourself. Set healthy boundaries. Know your limits as to how you can commit to helping them while balancing your own needs so you can recharge and look after them the best way possible.
Other things you can ask of your depressed loved one are:
Offer to fix your loved one lunch, tidy up their place, take them out for coffee or a movie. No one thinks twice about doing or offering these things for someone who is going through chemo. Why not go there for a person battling a serious mood disorder?
The term drug is used to describe all mood-altering substances including alcohol and other sedative-hypnotics, opioids, stimulants and psychedelic drugs.
Thinking and talking about cravings for alcohol and other drugs can make some people crave them more. However, thinking and dreaming about alcohol and other drugs is a natural part of recovery. Learning how to stop these thoughts and turning them into cravings can help prevent a person from resuming use.
Education about substance use is important. Learning how resume of use occurs, how to prevent it and identify signs that lead up to it, people can prevent returning back to using. People, places and things are connected to the use of alcohol or other drugs. Triggers are feelings and experiences tied to people, places and things that are associated with drinking or drug use.
To help identify your triggers, do the following:
To help identify internal, external and sensory triggers, do the following:
To help deal with triggers, do the following:
Developing skills and tools in recovery is vital as sobriety is an ongoing process. Therapy and self-help meetings can help you develop a new set of important skills that will help with stopping triggers from leading to relapse.
I am a determined, loving, loyal and perceptive therapist that helps professional women of color build their self-confidence to build a career and live a life worth living. I listen quietly and attentively remembering details to tell truths that need to be spoken.