We cannot talk about health without talking about justice. Mental Health is no different.
We recognize that racism is inherent within the medical and mental health field. Without commitment to and engagement of antiracist practices/policies/procedures, individuals and communities with racialized, minoritized and intersecting identities will experience predictable and disproportionate harm.Sankofa Counseling
first opened their doors on June 1, 2017 as a love letter to the community and an act of resistance.
offer mental health support for individuals who have been traditionally marginalized or excluded from accessing safe and effective support services. Devoted to individual and communal healing, the elevation and celebration of Black, Brown, and traditionally underserved individuals, 87.5% of all their clients hold marginalized identities.
When ‘difference’ in culture is misunderstood or unidentified, it has the potential to be labeled as ‘disordered’, furthering stereotypes and causing significant harm along the way.
Their approach to mental health differs from traditional emphasis on diagnoses and symptoms; instead, they explore the intersections of self, society and environment to deepen understanding and empathy towards self. They support in exploring and/or reclaiming identity while also learning tools for coping both with individualized symptoms (anxiety, depression, etc), and responding to ongoing exposure to marginalization and oppression. They work to collaborate holistically and honor each of these aspects while working towards increased authenticity and congruence of self.
About Vanessa in her own words:"I’ve struggled significantly with what it means to be a biracial Black woman and therapist in our current & historical social/racial climate. My personal and professional experiences, regardless of roles performed continued to lead to one persisting truth: a truly antiracist, equitable, and trauma informed workplace is one that would require a complete overhaul of existing policies/practices/power structures, or would need to be started from the ground up with care, intention and precision. The idea of a culturally specific and trauma informed counseling and community education practice had been twirling in my head since roughly 2014. This vision was nurtured into existence and made reality in 2017.
I’m a licensed professional counselor and licensed clinical supervisor with over 10 years’ experience providing therapeutic and consultation services to individuals, families and local businesses. I hold a Masters degree in Clinical Counseling, a Bachelor degree in Psychology and Spanish, and multiple post-degree certificates focused on providing assessment, support and treatment to culturally specific populations. I have led, directed, and managed clinical teams, as well as offered consultation and coaching to executive management regarding clinic policy, staff retention and preventing burnout. Additionally, I have both developed and instructed numerous university courses focused on human development, racial identity, and the prevalence of trauma.
Health and wellness do not occur in a vacuum. It involves several systems & communities. Sankofa Counseling was established to provide support to individuals; Village Resiliency was founded to support transformation of providers and systems."