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For the owners of Magnolia Wellness, LLC, mental health is more than just a brain problem.
On the contrary, say Gizelle Tircuit and her daughter Janelle Posey-Green, emotional well-being goes far beyond what’s in someone’s head, encompassing their body, community, culture and more. again.
That’s why the two women opened their mental health office in New London in 2016 with a focus on a holistic whole-body approach and beyond.
Magnolia Wellness works with everyone but specializes in clinical services and interventions for people they say are under-represented or misunderstood in mental health: people of color and the LGBTQ population.
The treatments they use are a little different, but the goal is the same: to change the mental health landscape for these populations, the mother and daughter said.
“Mom and I have different goals because our degrees are all so different,” said Posey-Green, a licensed clinical social worker who specializes in working with women and young women who have experienced trauma.
“The difference in setting means that I see my clients not only as individuals, but also as a person in the environment,” she said. “Having said that, it wouldn’t sound like simple clinical therapy, but how can we help you, and do you need other things that can help you function in your environment before you can tackle the clinical aspect of your? Mental Health ? “
Posey-Green combines African and Native American healing practices, such as sound therapy – using rain sticks and healing bowls – with other psychotherapy techniques used to treat anxiety, PTSD and trauma, such as meditation, frequencies and EMDR, or desensitization and reprocessing of eye movements.
“I really like using many types of therapy so when clients are done working with me they have a toolkit to go home and practice, even in two or three years they can use the tools. that they learned, ”said Posey-Vert.
Tircuit’s work is similar but relies more on the educational aspects of therapy; Tircuit is a teacher, said her daughter, who teaches people through a humanistic and goal-oriented approach.
“Just as Janelle talked about this level of looking at a person in their environment, my approach is… to look at a person in their environment and explore how they function in society and how society interfaces with them to create the person she is, ”said Tircuit, who specializes in working with people with a dual diagnosis, battling both addiction and mental health.
Tircuit’s approach is based on the teaching of Alfred Adler, an Austrian psychiatrist who emphasized the need to understand individuals in their own social context.
She explains: Adler moved away from Sigmund Freud’s method of psychoanalysis – which explored a patient’s past dreams and childhood – and turned to a more socially beneficial direction: to a future oriented towards an objective.
“It uses a lot more research and cognitive-behavioral approaches to substance abuse, be it substances, pornography or any other addiction, as well as supporting families facing addiction issues,” said declared Tircuit.
She also uses Dialectical Behavior Therapy – or DBT – a method that was originally developed to treat personality disorders, but is now used to treat other mental health issues, Tircuit said. “This has been found to be useful for people who have problems with their emotions, people who go from zero to 100 on the ’emometer’ whose emotions easily turn into behaviors based on episodes in their life that have occurred. previously. “
The couple also work frequently in the community, offering several virtual workshops and group meetings, including a monthly White Allies focus group, open to anyone interested in participating or learning more about Mindset Development. or anti-bias and anti-racism programs.
“For me, that’s another way of trying to create a more solution-oriented space than complaining all the time about racist or biased people,” said Posey-Green, who added that clinicians, teachers, lawyers and others participated in the group. “We work by learning and progressing to become more culturally competent… it’s not just about race, it’s about all cultures and subcultures, because even within a culture it there are prejudices. “
Posey-Green also leads an eight-week therapy group, “Woman Within,” created for women of color to address race-based stress and “colorism”. During one session, she said, the participants – a group that meets both online and in person – hosted a tea party, sampling different types of tea to assess how they made their bodies feel. “We taught them that different teas can relax or energize them,” Posey-Green said. “What better way to go to therapy than to have tea?” “
The holistic approach, said Posey-Green, “lets you color outside the lines and that’s always okay. Too often we are told that “health looks like this” and “wellness looks like this.” With a holistic approach, it allows you to be exposed to many different ways of balancing yourself and taking with you what works and leaving what does not.
Outside of their practice and in response to the pandemic and nationwide protests over the murder of black man, George Floyd, by a white Minneapolis policeman in 2020, the couple have created a series of forums. online called Connecticut BIPOC Mental Health and Wellness Initiative.
Through this initiative, dozens of clinicians across the state have offered free online group forums for people to discuss their emotional trauma and feelings of anxiety, anger and resentment during the pandemic and the violent demonstrations.
They have also developed a comprehensive roster of color therapists who accept patients so those seeking help can quickly and easily find clinicians “who are like them”, understand their culture, and provide more targeted therapy, they said. declared.
“While 56% of therapists identify as white, only 5% identify as black or African American,” Tircuit said.
The lack of representation, said Posey-Green, “creates this deficit so that people have access to someone who is of the same culture as them to get support. … The best way to do this is to create opportunities so that they have access to the same care as everyone else.
The deficit Posey-Green refers to was glaring when she moved with her family as a young girl from New Orleans, where about 60% of the population is black, to New London, where about 60% is white.
“I came here as a pre-teen, so a lot of my worldview was already defined,” Posey-Green said of her upbringing in Louisiana. “I went from being teachers who looked like me, classmates and neighbors who looked like me, to being in the same socio-economic status here, but no one looked like me. It was a very big culture shock. “
People she met who were like her, she said, “haven’t had the same opportunities to see that there are places where we thrive. Where I’m from there are the HBCUs – historically black colleges and universities, there are festivals just for our culture. It was very different here.
Both aim to change that, at least in the world of therapy.
“In the past, if you’re from a black or Hispanic community, you didn’t go to a therapist,” Tircuit said. “That old saying, ‘What happens in my house stays in my house,’ is true, especially for black men.”
But, the couple said, they are seeing more and more people of color seeking therapy and hope their work will help attract new providers to the field while providing opportunities for healing minds, bodies and communities.
“I love being able to work with my mom,” Posey-Green said. “We live in a community that we love, but we realize that things are missing here. So instead of complaining, we created what we thought were the missing pieces. So I’m proud to work with Mom and help create more opportunities to make the New London community better and more diverse.
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