Local Business Spotlight: Expressions Therapy Center

Each month Tampa Bay Moms is spotlighting a local business. We understand these are rough times and want to encourage everyone to support our local businesses. If you know of a local business we should feature, please reach out to us at [email protected]

What is Expressions Therapy Center?

Expressions Therapy Center is a black-owned mental health counseling center that services children as young as 3 years old, teens, young adults, and adults. ETC offers therapy for individuals, families, and couples. Other services offered are Parenting Workshops and Social Skills Group(Art social skills, Lego therapy, and self-esteem).

ETC has experience in a wide range of difficulties including Anxiety, Depression, Marital Troubles, Anger, Stress Management, Anxiety, Fears, Domestic Violence, Abuse, Depression, Co-dependency, Grief/Loss, Relationship Issues, Divorce Prevention, Trauma, Coping, Anger, Bipolar, Self-Esteem, Eating Disorders, Self Injury, and Behavioral issues. ETC utilizes evidence-based interventions that include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and a systems approach to involve the family. Therapy interventions most often will include art therapy techniques and play therapy techniques that allow children and adults to use their creativity and imagination to communicate their needs.

What inspired you to open Expressions Therapy Center?

Opening my private practice stemmed from the need of our community to have a Black therapist and a children’s therapist that worked with children younger than 5 years old.

My son was 4 years old when he needed to see a psychologist. Finding a psychologist that served that age group as well as had openings for new clients, was a task. At one point I had an appointment that was set for six months out. When we were one month away from our appointment, the center canceled out appointment because the only psychologist that worked with 4-year-olds was leaving the practice.

Many children therapist offers services starting at 5 or 6, thereby leaving parents feeling helpless and frantic, searching the ends of the earth for a therapist that will help them. Believe it or not, we have toddlers this young experiencing trauma and having difficulties navigating their own world. I learned early on in my career, that I had a passion for healing and for expressive art. In my center, I am able to marry the two passions. I utilize art therapy techniques and play therapy techniques to offer young clients a pathway to communicate their hurts and pain as well as learn effective coping strategies.

Lack of Black Therapists

When I worked as an outpatient therapist in the community for over four years, I also noticed that we serviced a small percentage of Black families. Whenever I was randomly assigned to a Black client, I would be welcomed with relief and a typical comment of, ‘Oh great you’re a sista so he’ll be ok in therapy’. I would be able to build immediate rapport with Black Caribbean parents because they did not have to worry about whether or not I would understand their culture. My younger clients were able to openly speak on their self-esteem issues which typically centered around their Black features; kinky hair, wide-set nose, darker complexion, and so forth.

I discovered that only 5% of therapists in the therapeutic workforce are Black, so, therefore, finding a Black therapist was like finally encountering a magical unicorn. With this discovery, it became clear to me that my community absolutely needed a black therapist.

I began my journey at the start of the pandemic and the racial tension that erupted in March. Since opening up, I have received countless inquires from Black and Brown clients searching for a therapist that they can relate to. A therapist that they didn’t have to spend their therapeutic hour explaining cultural references. Most importantly they needed a therapist to help them navigate through the hurt and pain of being Black in America today.

How is your family involved in running the business?

My husband has been very supportive in helping me to run my business. During the pandemic, he was furloughed, and this was around the time my practice opened up. My husband was able to step in to help with our three boys. He did everything from cooking to cleaning to entertaining the boys. This allowed me to focus on my business.

What are your time management tips for busy parents running their own businesses?

Work-life balance was the top five of my motivators to open my own practice. I am now homeschooling three boys, running my own business and I do some contract work. Time is definitely precious when you have a family and a business. Time is also tricky and if you’re not careful you could soon find yourself drowning in responsibilities and unfinished tasks.

To keep us flowing with few hiccups, I found it best to work in block scheduling. I homeschool in the mornings on Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays. I work my contract position on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday nights, and Saturday mornings. Thursdays are my personal appointment days. I also may use that time for clients who need to reschedule if I have no personal appointments. Saturday starting at 2 pm until Sunday at 5 pm is family time. That’s my crazy yet workable schedule. My mother-in-law helps me with dinner, caring for the boys when I’m at the office, and laundry duties. Without her help in these areas, I would not be successful. As my business grows, I plan on hiring someone to complete my billing and administrative duties.

Tips for Time Management

-Keep a family calendar and sync both your family and business calendar
-Schedule in family time or days
-Have one weekday and one weekend off a week. This allows you to set doctor appointments and such on the weekdays. And have that one weekend off to spend with the family.
-If you work long hours, NEVER bring work home.
-If working from home, allocate three uninterrupted hours. This allows you to spend time with your family engaging in nighttime routine.
-Outsource, Outsource, Outsource. If you can budget it, outsource tedious and time-consuming responsibilities such as billing, cleaning, laundry, administrative work.

One thing you want Tampa Bay area families to know about your company.

The one thing I want families to know is that I have personal experience with Autism, behavioral issues, and dealing with trauma. I am not just a therapist with educational experience. I have lived some of these experiences as well.

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