Breean Flax, LMSW
My mother is Black and our family has roots in the Carolinas. My father is half Jamaican and half Trinidadian. I attended undergraduate school at Gettysburg College, graduated with class of 2014. I attended graduate school at Silberman School of Social Work, and graduated with class of 2019. I am not currently in school but may explore more options down the road. I went into this field because I noticed the lack of representation within the Mental health community as it pertains to the Black community. I feel our community could benefit from culturally competent counseling that centers their individual experience and identities.
I currently work with as a child and adolescent therapist for an agency in Harlem. I interned during graduate school with Therapists for Black Girls with Amira Crawford, LCSW-R. I have also developed professionally in my role as a School Social Worker at a high school in Brooklyn.
Generational trauma and systemic racism have severely impacted the lived Black experience. Studies show that the elevated stress levels that are associated with being Black in America, can be linked to health disparities. Lack of representation, mistreatment, lack of knowledge, and misinformation of mental health within the Black community is enough to want to contribute to the change.
I have dealt with covert and overt racism at my boarding school in Connecticut. It was taxing on my mental health and I handled it by withdrawing and isolating myself. Again, I lacked the knowledge of mental illness so I was unaware that the racism I was experiencing as a 14-18 year old was manifesting as Severe Major Depressive Disorder. I wish there was more support for Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) students and more training and education on race, gender, sexuality, intersectionality, and respect for non-black students and faculty members. After all, that was our “home”.
I utilize Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) often. I have some training in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TFCBT) and Motivational Interviewing. Many of my clients are young adults or teens, they often say I am approachable and relatable.
I am currently in the process of starting a business with my friend. I believe we need to have more black-owned and Black center endeavors in order to create safe spaces for ourselves.