Mental health has become a major topic of interest in recent years for those of us in the Black community. Inspired by her own experiences and fueled by a desire to address the disparities and stigma surrounding mental health, Michigan-native Alicia Curry embarked on a journey to become a licensed mental health therapist. Recognizing the importance of representation and culturally competent care, she strives to empower individuals to prioritize their self-care while bridging the gap in access to quality mental health services.
Alicia's journey took a transformative turn when she authored her first book, Exposed: Nevertheless She Persisted, an honest story of grief, loss, and resilience. Alicia shares her personal experiences to empower women facing similar struggles and to shed light on the power of healing and overcoming adversity.
We recently caught up with Alicia to address common misconceptions about trauma and healing, advice for mental health, and more. With her book touching the lives of many readers, Alicia's impact continues to expand as she opens the virtual doors of Alicia Curry LLC, offering mental health counseling services and launching Healing Circles for Single Mothers. Alicia Curry is a beacon of hope, advocating for self-care, personal growth, and the well-being of the Black community.
What inspired you to become a licensed mental health professional?
Alicia: My passion for helping and serving others inspired me to become a licensed mental health therapist. I witnessed firsthand the significant disparities and stigma surrounding mental health in the Black community as well as the lack of representation. I acknowledge the importance and urgency of having more mental health professionals who are trained to understand the unique challenges and specific needs of our community. I wanted to contribute to breaking barriers, provide culturally competent care, and empower individuals to prioritize their self-care. I aim to be a source of support, understanding, and advocacy, helping to bridge the gap in access to quality mental health services and promote healing within our community.
How did your journey as a mental health professional lead to your new book Exposed: Nevertheless She Persisted?
Alicia: My book, Exposed: Nevertheless She Persisted, was literally an assignment from God and inspired by my personal experience with mental health. It was that still small voice that whispered to me, after feeling defeated from court hearings- that I was going to write a book and share my side of the story. I was in a dark space, but I’m grateful for my obedience. Writing this book was therapeutic to some degree. After being forced to resign from my job, confronting grief, and losing part of my identity I had to embark on my own healing journey. It changed the trajectory of my life. As a mental health therapist, I wrote the book in a way to empower women facing similar struggles, to give a voice to the voiceless.
Can you tell us what readers can expect from the book?
Alicia: Readers can expect a raw and honest story of grief, loss, how to trust yourself, and fight even when it’s the hardest thing to do. Exposed: Nevertheless She Persisted, is an invitation to embrace our own power to overcome adversity and live free after being exposed.
Mental health has become a major focus within the Black community. Are there any common themes you’ve found we deal with as it relates to mental health?
Alicia: Yes, one prevalent theme is the tendency to prioritize survival over self-care and neglect our own well-being in the process. However, I am committed to fostering a mindset shift that focuses on the importance of healing on purpose every day. Through my private practice and workshops, I aim to support those transitioning from a survival mindset to one that gives priority to their mental health and embraces healing and thriving.
What are the biggest misconceptions people have about trauma and healing?
Alicia: There are several misconceptions that people have about trauma and healing.
- Healing from trauma means forgetting about the past. This is a common misconception, but in reality, healing means learning to cope with one’s past experiences in a healthy way rather than simply suppressing or ignoring them.
- Trauma is something you can just “get over.” Many people mistakenly believe it can be easily overcome by toughening up or pushing past it. In reality, trauma can have a deep impact that requires professional help to overcome.
- Healing from trauma is a linear process. The reality is that healing from trauma is an emotional rollercoaster. Some days may be better than others, and setbacks can occur.
- Healing from trauma means you’ll never be triggered again. Even though you make significant progress in your healing, it is possible to be triggered by certain events or situations. It’s important to continue practicing coping strategies and seeking support as needed to manage these triggers.
What advice do you have for people in our community when it comes to mental health and healing?
Alicia: I would suggest the following:
- Prioritize self-care- engage in activities that bring you joy and take time to reset.
- Be compassionate and show empathy.
- Identify and utilize your support system and/or tribe.
- Have open discussions to break the stigma.
- Start therapy.
With this being your first book, were there any unique challenges you faced in the writing/publishing process?
Alicia: Writing and self-publishing my first book, Exposed: Nevertheless She persisted, certainly came with its own set of unique challenges. One of the main learning curves was the process of how to write a book, especially one requiring a level of vulnerability that has been both frightening and liberating. It took a lot of research, constant editing, a course at UCLA, and leaning on my tribe. As we approach the one-year anniversary, I’ve realized God was involved in every process of writing this book. I have freedom and peace knowing that this book was a therapeutic journal for me and has blessed so many readers.
Additionally, navigating the publishing process was challenging because I entered this journey blind, no knowledge at all. I had to learn my publishing rights as an author without a mentor. Point…blank...period…self-taught!
What has been most fulfilling about your journey as a mental health professional and author?
Alicia: Both my journey as a mental health professional and author have been incredibly fulfilling in their own unique ways. As a mental health professional, witnessing the transformation and growth of individuals as they heal and find freedom is rewarding. Being able to make a positive impact on someone’s life and help them navigate their challenges is an honor.
As an author, the most fulfilling aspect has been the opportunity to connect with readers on a deeper level, to share a piece of me with the world. Hearing from individuals who have resonated with the stories and messages in my book and knowing that it has touched their lives in some way, is incredibly gratifying. The ability to inspire, empower, and spark meaningful conversations through my writing has been a source of immense joy and fulfillment. I’m thankful for God opening this door. I’m a first generational author!
For aspiring authors hoping to publish their own book, I would offer the following tips:
- Just start!
- Do your research!
- Establish a writing routine.
- Find a great editor.
- Be vulnerable.
- Trust in your ability to share your story in a way that resonates with readers.
- Seek feedback and revisions (writing groups, courses, and beta readers).
- Familiarize yourself with the publishing process and industry standards.
- Join my self-publishing course (check my website)
What’s next for you?
Alicia: In addition to my book, the virtual doors of Alicia Curry, LLC are now open for mental health counseling services. I help teenagers and women heal from toxic relationships, grief, loss, sexual harassment, trauma, abuse, anxiety, and depression so they can live free and have a more fulfilling life. To schedule an appointment, click here Psychology Today or Therapy for Black Girls.
We are launching a transformative Healing Circle for Single Mothers, a supportive space where you can navigate the challenges of motherhood with confidence, peace, and financial stability. The new cohort starts August 19, 2023! Join our waitlist to be the first to know when registration opens. Take this step towards self-care and personal growth- because you deserve it. Email me with the subject: “mom” to be added to the waitlist.
OBWS readers can purchase the book and apparel at www.aliciaccurry.com/shop. Juneteenth (my birthday) special for e-Book is $6.19!
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