Thank you for taking time out of your day or evening to read this.
I definitely notice some moves being made among us in the mental health field, so if you’ve ever wondered what my motivation is behind obtaining my PhD...this is why...👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼
Many who know me are well aware that I’m not about the personal gain of money, having a title just to say I have one, or do something without purpose.
This PhD in counselor education: teaching and supervision, is my doorway into the inner workings of a broken system and not just the mental health system.
In order for me to even begin making change within the system, at this level, I started by spending time and working with those who are affected by the system...AKA the people who are oppressed and marginalized BY THE SYSTEM: -racial/cultural minorities -people living in poverty -military combat veterans -senior citizens -LGBTQ+ -homeless -felons -people with cognitive impairments/below average intelligence -sex trafficking victims/survivors -children in foster care -people with behavioral/substance use addictions -people with serious or persistent mental health conditions
From 2009-present day I’ve worked in downtown Nashville (without pay) doing mental health outreach in homeless camps, shelters, inner city homes (the projects/government funded housing/section 8), juvenile detention centers, and inner city schools.
I’ve worked in an inpatient hospital and community mental health clinic with every single marginalized population that I listed above.
I’ve had the experience of seeing the inner workings of a private practice who’s drive and passion was to serve those who served. Specifically, combat soldiers, veterans, and first responders including their families.
I’ve traveled to people’s homes, who so graciously welcomed me in even though I was a person they didn’t know, who was there to help but is also attached to the same system they rightfully so DO NOT TRUST, that continues to oppress them. Ranging from the rural areas of TN to the inner city projects.
I’ve had the honor of doing outreach and connecting with sex trafficking survivors.
Last year, I travelled into the heart of Nashville a couple of days after the March 2020 tornado hit. I was led by the Holy Spirit to do this with no understanding of what I was supposed to do. I drove around for over an hour waiting for the Holy Spirit to tell me what in the world I was supposed to be doing there. I witnessed destruction, pain, loss, and hope all in one place at one time. I prayed, listened, and then moved when I heard the Word (this entire story will be for another time).
OUT OF ALL OF THIS EXPERIENCE, more than half of it was without pay.
I share this NOT TO BOAST but to ENCOURAGE YOU so that you too can graciously make a stand and know anything is possible.
In John 18:36, Jesus says His kingdom is not of this world. His followers don’t need violence to overthrow oppressors.
Do not think you need to follow these exact steps that I took. These were the steps God laid out for me and I followed (NOT WITH EASE, OR A CLEAR PATH but WITH A LOT OF VALLEYS full of doubt, questions, tears, pain, despair, anguish, anger and so on).
These parts of my journey (OF OVER A DECADE) are what lead me to where I am right now.
In every single moment and in every single encounter I’ve had on this journey, the Holy Spirit showed me those who are oppressed. People Jesus loves and died for. Just like He did for you and I, who are privileged.
The hurt, despair, pain, and anger I’ve felt as a witness and as someone sitting with another person in mental/physical anguish, who the system dehumanizes, is what drives me.
People who are homeless, recently released from prison (after a very long sentence), having little to no support system or money, and no vehicle, who RUN to their therapy appointment, end up being 5 minutes late, and with worry on their face they ask for forgiveness because they tried to be on time.
😳...that along with countless other stories is a big part of what drives me to get this PhD and be an ‘agent of change’ with some of the 'right' tools, just to get me deeper into the inner workings of our broken system to do something about it.
Even if it’s just a tiny seed planted in the system at large. That matters. Faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains.