I had the pleasure to attend the Inaugural Black Girl Clinician Collective Retreat, hosted by Dr. Joy Harden Bradford founder of Therapy for Black Girls in Charleston, SC. Before attending this clinical Black Girl Magic event with so much damn “swag” (Literally, lol)I recall debating with myself whether or not this event was “For Me”. By that I mean, I experienced what us clinical professionals refer to as “Imposter Syndrome” thoughts like “Girl you just graduated 8 months ago, this ain’t for you”, “You should wait until you’re fully licensed to attend (which is like a 1.5 yrs away), and lastly “You are not “there yet, what could you possibly bring or add to the conversation”. I debated with myself and those thoughts for months before talking with my mom, close friends, and my own therapist, and even my clinical supervisor about attending. As a special graduation gift I received “The Coins $” with the attached message “GO FOR IT” to register for the retreat! I’m so happy and thankful for my tribe encouraging me to attend the retreat and helping me move past FEAR. So with all of that being said, (lol) here are the 4 Things I Learned After Attending The Black Girl Clinician Collective Retreat:
  • Don’t Second Guess Yourself: So again as you recall I questioned whether or not I was on the right “level” within the field to attend this event. Please let me be the first person to tell you that that was the farthest thing from the truth. There were women in the field with years on top of years with experience from provisionally licensed to fully licensed, clinical supervisors, PhD/PsyD, solo business owners, group practice owners(you name it, it was there). One thing I lost sight of during my “Imposter Syndrome” moments was that “WE ALL START FROM SOMEWHERE” and once upon a time all of these women were a recent grad and new to private practice…Just Like Me. Don’t let those negative thoughts stop you from being great….like Rafiki told Simba in Lion King “Remember Who You Are” and GO FOR IT!
  • The Importance of Having Your Own Tribe: The magic and energy I witnessed during this retreat took the word “Tribe” to a whole different level. It was sooo amazing to see how connected we all were either through social media, living in the same cities, or sharing similar niches. I witnessed connections happening so naturally, and support/encouragement/motivation towards professional and personal goals. I overheard sayings like these all weekend: “Sis, you wanna do “XYZ” so let’s talk about how you’re going to get this done and who I can get you connected with” “Oh you published a book, I want a copy do you take cash or card?” “Your hair is everything what products do you use” and etc. Over a course of four days 30 women came together (majority of us not knowing one another) and created friendships, accountability partners, and our own unique and exclusive Tribe. Having your tribe is important in your career field because they know first hand what you’re experiencing and they can be there to support you during the tough times and cheer for you during the high lights.
  • A Closed Mouth Don’t Get Fed: I’ll be vulnerable right now and say that my shyness (yes my extrovert self can be shy sometimes) in the past has prevented me from being able to introduce myself and ask questions to the right people with the answers. During this retreat I was poured into and received so many gems that my cup is overflowing. I had genuine conversations with majority of the women attending and asked ALL of the questions I wanted the answers to. It’s one thing to be a presence within a room but it’s a whole different type of ball game when you “work” the room and build intentional professional relationships with individuals you consider #Goals, or leaders field. Connect with others, exchange business cards/contact information and follow up with your colleagues you meet at different events/functions in order to build rapport and connections.
  • Be YOU: As a therapist we always encourage our clients to be their “true authentic self, and live in their truth”, but how many of us are actually doing that? I’ll be the first to admit to feeling pressured to not do “too much”, especially in spaces that are not diverse. During the retreat that thought didn’t even cross my mind. I felt free to be my professional self and still comfortable enough to “Take it over for the 99 and the 2000” (Juvenile voice). I say all of this to say that no matter who’s in the room or the size of the room…Be YOU and show up.

I received so many gems from this experience that I am excited to see how each gem helps me level up in my career. I share this blog post with you all  to encourage you to go to that seminar, training, workshop, conference, or retreat. Surround yourself with those that inspire you and motivate you in your field. GRAB YOUR CHAIR AND HAVE A SEAT AT THE TABLE…(okaaaayyy). You are worthy and your insight and experience is valued.

P.S. Be sure to catch me at the next BGCC Retreat in 2020….!!!