So, this year has been a little tough to take. Everyone is on a roller coaster of emotions with all that's happening. There have definitely been some days, even some weeks where I was deep in my feelings. I thought it would be helpful to find someone who could offer a great ear. Dr. Tiffany M Darby is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor and she offer some insight into what we may be experiencing right now and how to handle it.
I’ve been asked several times over the last week or so how I feel about the current racial climate. “How do you feel, or how are you doing with everything going on?”. The natural response is to say “OK” or “fine”, but over the last week, I genuinely have not been “OK” or “fine”. My response has been “I don’t know,” but I am not “OK”. I’ve been on a roller coaster of emotions, literally. I’ve felt angry, sad, mad, frustrated, helpless, hopeful, proud, etc. I’ve yelled. I’ve cried. I’ve laughed. I am Black, my husband is black, and we have two young sons who are Black. While the current events aren’t new to Black folk per se, it feels new to others. I am compelled to say or do something. For me, I’m unable to protest as the pandemic is still going on, and the susceptibility is too high for my family and me to risk being exposed to COVID-19.
I’m finding other ways to help in my corner of the world. Last week, the university where I am a professor, had a panel titled “Experiences and Hopes of Multicultural and Social Justice”. I sat on the panel, and I must say that it gave me some hope. I was able to speak to white (and those POC who may not understand the struggle), colleagues, and students. I explained that I am not OK. The effects of seeing and hearing about Black people being murdered on countless occasions causes trauma. Cultural trauma is real and has been defined as “A form of social disturbance that could have long-lasting effects on group identity, group safety, and social cohesion. Cultural trauma can lead to expressions of group terror and sometimes social chaos” (Alexander, 2012; Bauman, 1989; Erickson, 1995; Singer & Kimbles, 2004). As a mental health counselor, I am aware that if not processed, cultural trauma can have some adverse effects.
One way to help is participating in Counseling. Many Black people don’t engage in Counseling because we were taught that you pray about your problems or you don’t “tell people your business”. Don’t get me wrong, prayer works! God also created counselors, and there are many benefits of Counseling. I ask that you try to find a counselor that is right for you. Ask yourself the following:
Do I want to go to an office?
Do I want to do Counseling on the computer via video or the telephone?
Does race or gender or age of the therapist matter to me?
Find who you think may work for you. Ask for a consult to see if it will be a good fit. If it isn’t, you can always switch whenever you want. Part of not being “OK” is to find help so that you can sort out your thoughts and responses. We will never be “OK” with what has happened to Black people. We can change the narrative by seeking help and taking our action!
Dr. Tiffany M Darby is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor with Supervisor Designation, a Licensed School Counselor in the State of Ohio as well as a Licensed Clinical Counselor in the states of Pennsylvania and Kentucky. Dr. Darby earned a doctorate of philosophy in Counseling and Human Development Services from Kent State University. Throughout her over 19 years of community mental health work, Dr. Darby has worked in a variety of settings including, partial-hospitalization, residential, college counseling, outpatient, school, and community-based. She has worked mostly with diverse youth who display behavior concerns and their families. She is currently an Associate Professor and the Director of Ph.D. Field Experiences in the Department of Counseling at the University of the Cumberlands. She now works with individuals’ ages 12-60 years old in her online private practice, Darby Counseling & Consulting, LLC.
She is currently taking new clients. Please visit her website for more information and to reach out to her directly.