I was born in the East Village, in New York City and I was raised in Chicago. My father was an immigrant from Martinique and a painter. My mother is a first generation Turkish American and a pianist. My ethnic background is Black and Turkish. I completed my bachelors in Sociology at Roosevelt University in Chicago IL in 2011. I completed my Masters Degree in Social Work (MSW) at Touro College in NYC in 2015.
I became interested in Social Work after I began working as a volunteer for an organization in Chicago that provided educational resources to the child refugees and new Americans. I became incredibly attached to the family I was assigned to and their children in particular. It was through getting to know them, their experiences, and their lives that I realized the work I was acutely doing was closer to social work than anything else, and from there I was inspired to pursue a career in the field.
I began working at age 13 at a restaurant and worked many front and back of the house positions throughout my teenage years and into my mid-twenties. My first unofficial social work job was in Chicago for an agency that no longer exists. I was a volunteer but it turned into so much more. From there I continued working jobs as a waitress and hostess as I supported myself through college and graduate school at various restaurants and bars in Chicago and the East Village.
Professionally I worked briefly at Lower East Side Harm Reduction Clinic as a volunteer and intern, learning about harm reduction and passing out information on clean needle exchanges to folx in Thompkins Square Park. During graduate school I did my first year internship at the Flatbush Development Coalition providing individual counseling to clients who were struggling with a variety of housing issues. Occasionally I would accompany them to Brooklyn housing court for both emotional support and as an advocate. My roles also included community organizing, advocating, and enabling clients who faced housing discrimination.
I completed my second year internship as a social worker at Kingsboro Psychiatric Center providing individual and group counseling on an inpatient psychiatric ward. I was also responsible for group coverage, organizing family visitations and meetings with clients, discharges and setting up outpatient services for said discharged clients. I operated as part of an interdisciplinary team and was in charge of attending weekly meetings, proper documentation and treatment plan reviews.
After graduating with my MSW I was hired at Women In Need and worked as a case manager providing individual counseling and additional services. I was then hired as a social worker by Kingsboro Psychiatric Center. There I completed mental health evaluations of incoming patients, provided group counseling, planned client transfers and discharges. After my time at Kingsboro Psychiatric Center I was hired at Arab American Family Support Center. I spent my first year working at Khalil Gibran International Academy in downtown Brooklyn as an afterschool counselor. I worked closely with DYCD to create material, complete paperwork and facilitate groups to encourage social and emotional learning to high school aged clients. The majority of them recent arrivals from Yemen and Sudan. I was then promoted to General Preventative Supervisor at Arab American Family Support Center after one year and moved to their Queens office.
After giving birth to my daughter I began working closer to home and was hired at Black Women’s Blueprint as a counselor and was quickly promoted to the director of counseling services. I was responsible for providing group and individual counseling to Black women who were survivors of sexual assault. I was also responsible for creating and operating a five week intensive summer program for high school aged students focused around social and emotional learning. I was also responsible for hiring and training both MSW interns and high school level interns. In addition I assisted with planning and organizing the 2018 March for Black Women in both Washington D.C. and Brooklyn.
I began studying to become a postpartum doula in the spring of 2019 and completed my training that same year. I have worked with several individual private clients providing both educational, emotional and nutritional support and guidance to new parents in the first weeks postpartum. My responsibilities also included short screenings and intake as well as providing resources and referrals. I currently offer group counseling with NYC POC Healing Circle to Black parents and offer a bi weekly groups via zoom.
I care about working with people of color because we deserve support, love, appreciation, help, guidance, respect and hope just like everyone else. The stigmas that exist in many BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) communities often force us to hide, repress and deal with our struggles, difficulties and pain alone, and no one deserves to feel alone in this life. I have dealt with racism all my life, as a young person it was harder to process, but with age, therapy, spiritual healing, and many other coping skills I have learned to allow those experiences to shape me into who I am today while releasing anger, sadness and hopelessness from my story. Learning to release what no longer serves us, remains an ongoing process that I remain committed to for myself and my future clients.
Besides psychodynamic psychotherapy, I was trained in trauma informed care. I prefer to work from a strength based perspective, narrative therapy and occasional moral development.
I have always given my all with my clients not only to be present, hold space and treat them with the kindness and respect they deserve. I think my clients experience me as authentic, honest, safe, warm, easy to talk to, encouraging and at times funny.
My husband and I produce and create a podcast where we discuss parenting, relationships and psychedelic therapy. It is my greatest hope that one day, (soon) therapists and trained professional will be able to offer psychedelic therapy and healing to those who would benefit from it most. It is a passion of mine to learn as much as I can about how psychedelic plants, medicines and molecules can be used to heal traumas both first hand and intergenerational. I frequently attend trainings, conferences and talks on the topic. I hope to one day be included in the list of therapists, who opened doors for clients and helped bring in the psychedelic resonance with grace, dignity and professionalism. I also love to cook and hope to complete a cookbook in the next few years.