This past month, I am so honored to have Voyage Miami do an interview with me. Their community highlight is a testament to the hard work that Gabby Cares of South Florida is doing throughout its community.
The heart of VoyageMIA mission is to find the amazing souls that breathe life into our city. In recent weeks, they've had the privilege to connect with some of Miami’s finest artists, creatives, entrepreneurs, and rabble rousers and we can’t begin to express how impressed we are with our city’s incredibly deep talent pool. Check out my piece that is featured in the Inspiring stories from North Miami below.
Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
My interest in the field of therapy grew while working as a case manager shortly after graduating from the University of Florida. The families and young adults I worked with all experienced some form of trauma or difficulty, many of whom did not have a positive outlet or, due to the stigma associated with mental health, did not think of therapy as an option. As a fresh college graduate, this was a pivotal time for me. I was very much still trying to figure out my “next steps,” and the relationships I forged and networks I gained entered molded and motivated me to pursue my master’s in Human Services with a specialization in Child Protection in the Juvenile Justice system. I eventually enrolled in the Ph.D. Marriage and Family Therapy program at Nova Southeastern University and began various ventures, including starting a non-profit to support underserved teen girls and mentoring and volunteering pro bono mental health services with Healing Arts Institute.
I have provided therapeutic services within schools, homes, and clinical settings addressing topics ranging from family dynamics to handling individual stressors and care. Perhaps the most influential role I’ve had (in terms of why I love the practice of therapy) was serving as the Clinical Director at a women’s and children’s homeless shelter. I worked hand-in-hand with families experiencing extreme lows and saw firsthand the importance of collaborating across providers of various resources to meet the needs of clients served. I understood and saw the importance of effective human communication and its impact on emotions and feelings. I eventually realized the need for and wanted to further my marriage and family therapy education to increase my skill set and ability to provide therapy services.
Currently, I am at the end of the race to complete a Ph.D. in Marriage and Family therapy (MFT). My research has involved intimate partner violence and exploring the hook-up culture among adolescents (which I have presented internationally). Currently, my dissertation research explores the cultural implications first, and second-generation Caribbean families have on first-generation Caribbean-American parenting styles and how they assimilate within the Western culture. As an Afro-Caribbean American woman and the oldest child, I have noticed the differences in parenting styles, even amongst siblings, and decided to explore this further.
The overall implication of the research is to explore the lived experience of young adults in the South Florida area and identify parenting trends, relationship dynamics, and family dynamics. I’m really looking forward to learning more about how culture, values, morals, and more are accepted, infused, and passed down generationally.
My journey thus far has led me to look at situations holistically and realize that human behavior results from our experiences, beliefs, and biological predispositions. I want to use my education and experiences to help others make better decisions for themselves (whatever that may be) and access resources and information that empowers them to live the best versions of themselves.
I think about my own upbringing and mentors such as Mrs. Roundtree, Mr. Sank, Dr. Townsel, Mr. Axtell, Coach Jackson, Dr. Ayjai, Dr. Miller, Dr. Tennie, Delphine Gervais, and many other influential people who I’ve crossed paths with that contributed to my own career path and personal passions. Being a therapist allows me to give back and help others along their journey.
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