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Black History Month 2021 Therapist Spotlight: Dr. Felicia Berry-Mitchell

What inspired you to be a therapist?

I felt drawn to the field in various forms. I guess you could say it is my calling. As the youngest of 8 children born to my mother, I had ample opportunity for vicarious learning. I wanted to help others overcome some of the challenges I and my family members experienced. It is a privilege to walk alongside others as they choose health and healing and see them reclaim their lives. I LOVE what I do and am honored to be able to call this my "job."

What is the process for finding a therapist? (So many people say they don't even know where to start.)

I've heard many patients comment during the initial consultation or therapy appointment that they were anxious. It can be for various reasons, fear of the unknown, concerned about being scrutinized, judged, pitied, losing control, expressing emotions, having someone hold a mirror up to your stuff, etc. First off, therapy is meant to be a judgment-free zone. It is a healing process that is to be embraced when you're ready to allow yourself to be vulnerable, challenged, and grow as a result. It is important to find a therapist who you believe is a good fit for you, personality-wise, ethnicity, gender or non-binary, faith-based, wholistic, etc., whatever resonates with you as a good fit. You also want to search for a therapist experienced in what you're seeking therapy for. Would you see your primary care provider for a heart condition? Hopefully, not. Likewise, vet the person who you'll share your most intimate thoughts, feelings, and experiences with to make sure they are prepared to help you achieve your desired treatment goals. If the first therapist or two aren't a good fit. Don't give up. Learn what's important to you from those experiences to help you hone in on the right fit the next time. The more informed you are, the better consumer you will be. Take that first step. Your health and healing are waiting. here are plenty of sites to locate a therapist. I’d recommend searching Therapy for Black Girls, Therapy for Black Men, and Psychology Today. It’s also advisable to check your insurance directory for providers who accept your insurance, as a start. Once on the sites enter what you'd like help with in the search bar; depression, anxiety, trauma, etc. in your zip code or by state as many therapists are offering telehealth (video call) services due to COVID. You can also conduct a Google search to locate a therapist. Read their profiles. How do you feel when you read them? What are your thoughts? Don't go by looks alone. Take the time to do your research. You're worth it; remember, an informed consumer is the best consumer/client/patient.

What are some easy and healthy coping mechanisms we can do since we are still in a pandemic?

Self-care is important to our overall health and functioning. The best coping mechanisms are the ones you do consistently and frequently. Breathing retraining, meditation, mindfulness, aromatherapy, saying affirmations, journaling, limiting social media time, taking a long bath or shower, eating well-balanced meals, drinking plenty of water, getting adequate sleep, connecting to faith and spirituality sources, etc., are a few ways to implement healthy coping techniques. Try one or two coping techniques and create a habit for 30 days before bombarding yourself with all of them at one time. This will give you a chance to determine which ones you like or find most helpful. Enjoy!

10 years from now, what do you hope you biggest accomplishment will be in this field of work?

10 years from now, I hope my biggest accomplishment in Psychology will be a significant reduction in mental health stigma, trauma and PTSD. I plan to accomplish this through my books, speaking engagements, transparency, and educational efforts. This will allow those who previously avoided therapy to seek treatment as they are no longer bound by shame or stigma. That would be a wonderful accomplishment for humankind!

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