Doctor of Education in Counselling Psychology (CP), Class of 2013
Current place of work:
Allied Psychological Services in Toronto.
What is your current role?
I switched professions from being a mental health therapist for the past 20 years to becoming a psychologist. I am in the process of registering at the Ontario College of Psychologists, expecting to be an autonomous psychologist.
I currently hold a Supervised Associate position at Allied Psychological Services providing culturally appropriate assessments and treatment to individuals from diverse ethno-racial communities, gender and social-economic backgrounds.
What led you to this program? (is there personal reasoning behind choosing this career path?)
When I applied to OISE, I was employed as a mental health therapist at Women's Health in Women's Hands, Community Health Centre, in Toronto. WHIWH is a community health centre that provides primary healthcare to racialized women from the African, Black, Caribbean, Latin American and South Asian communities in Toronto and surrounding municipalities. At that time, I intended to equip myself academically to inform my mental health practices. OISE fulfilled my professional development by providing me with the necessary skills to play a prominent role in developing the mental health program at WHIWH. The program has contributed to the mental well being of Black women and women of colour.
What was your biggest take-away/learning from the program?
Throughout my graduate studies at OISE, I was most fortunate to have been mentored by Dr. Roy Moodley, my doctoral supervisor. He was the ultimate professional. He guided me with humility, kindness, firmness, openness, and a pleasant countenance recognizing the social determinant I faced being a Black female student. Dr. Moodley saw all of me: a Black woman, living in a systemic racist, sexist society, a mother raising two children, negotiating full-time employment, and being a graduate student. He inspired and motivated me to maximize my full potential.
What did you like/love about the program?
What I loved about the program was the professors' compassion and caring: their openness to new and explorative ideas.
I would describe my learning at OISE as circular and interactive in which sharing was flexible and respectable. I believe this form of training decolonizes the field of psychology, allowing me to ask questions that otherwise, I would have kept to myself. The professors at OISE created an open dialogue that encouraged social reform to become a better mental health clinician.
How has this program/ your profession impacted you?
My academic training has prepared me to be an effective mental health practitioner and researcher. My dissertation title best describes my scholarly work and mental health practice, "I Heal, We Heal" A Qualitative Study of Black Canadian Women's Experiences of Depression and Coping." My work is informed by antiracist, intersectionality, and postcolonial theories that take a social justice approach to psychology and advocate for reducing the social inequities rooted in mental health inequities. The support and guidance of my committee members at the University of Toronto provided me with the educational tools to create mental health and social policies that foster mental health care equity for all society members regardless of their cultural and or social standing.
What would you say to a current student?
Seek mentorship. Find a mentor to provide support through the process of obtaining a doctorate. Pursuing higher education can be a lonely process. One may not know how to navigate or not know what questions to ask or how to find your footing. Having a mentor can provide much-needed support.