Dr. L.A. Barlow shares insight on mental health and holistic practices

Dr. LaSonia A. Barlow
Dr. L.A. Barlow (Photo credit: Alexis Cole)

Dr. L.A. Barlow is a certified forensic psychologist, psychotherapist and grief counselor who specializes in incorporating biblical Scriptures and medical treatment to help restore a patient’s mind, body and spirit.

A Detroit native, she has a master’s in counseling from Ashland Theological Seminary in Southfield, Michigan, and a doctorate degree in clinical psychology, specializing in neuropsychology, from the Michigan School of Professional Psychology in Farmington Hills. She also has a post-doctoral degree in clinical psychopharmacology from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, New Jersey.

She frequently is invited by the American Psychological Association to speak on the topics of diversity and adolescent behavior. She works closely with troubled youth and encourages people to counteract the stereotypical beliefs that adolescents encounter regarding their race, clothing or environmental circumstances by seeking to understand them.

Barlow’s medical efforts go beyond the office. She previously wrote an article titled “The Injustice of Trayvon Martin” that was published in the Journal for Social Action in Counseling and Psychology in which she dissects the Florida teenager’s senseless murder from two perspectives: as a mother of two sons and a psychologist working with inner-city youth.

Her clinical knowledge and expertise have opened doors for her to work with the entertainment industry. She recently signed on as the psychological consultant for 25th Frame Films and worked on its one-hour TV movie called The Inner Circle, which was filmed in Detroit and focuses on mental health and addiction.

Barlow is the founder of Healing Waters Grief Therapy, a private psychological and forensic consultant practice in Farmington Hills, Michigan, where she treats patients struggling with addiction, grief, family issues and other conditions.

Rolling out asked Barlow to discuss healthy living, mental health and her valued holistic methods.

What are some things you have done to increase a healthy approach to life?  

To increase my healthy approach to life, I have changed my mindset for being healthy by incorporating a healthy lifestyle within my daily routine. My schedule is rewarding, but also demanding. My average day begins at 5 a.m. and ends around 10 p.m. I start every day with prayer and end each day with prayer. I decided years ago to make a conscious decision to have a “healthy lifestyle.” My healthy lifestyle is not a precise script that I follow; it is my individualized approach that fits within my busy life. A healthy lifestyle for me is making a daily decision to have a healthy diet, to incorporate physical activity throughout the day even if it is to park farther away or takes the stairs, and making sure I am mindful of my emotional well-being. In terms of my emotional well-being, I practice mindfulness and deep breathing techniques throughout my day.

How do you mentally shift a negative situation into a positive solution?

Negative situations are a part of everyone’s life. In every negative situation, I accept it as a challenge to discover or develop it into a positive situation. From a spiritual perspective, I believe that God has an ultimate plan for my life even in negative situations. Negative situations I view as an opportunity for growth.

How do you set mental health and physical health goals?

I set daily goals of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. I prefer to set daily goals to make healthy choices. I set these daily goals because my healthy lifestyle allows me to function at an optimum level and maintain my busy lifestyle.

What are some of your daily goals?

Simply to maintain my healthy lifestyle — diet and fitness — daily.

What are two things you do to maintain mental stability and remain energized?

To keep mentally balanced and remain energized I listen to my body and the cues it gives me. It is my opinion that if you are attuned to your body it will give you cues when it needs balance and to be energized. When my body sends those cues, I focus on my self-care. Typically, I start by meditating on the Word to maintain my spiritual connection, followed by communing with nature. I typically find the most balance being [near] the water.

What holistic approach to health (juicing, essential oils, herbs, etc.) do you practice?

I practice multiple holistic approaches. I have been a strict vegetarian for over 10 years. I juice daily [using] kale and fruit. I drink water throughout the day to remain hydrated. I incorporate essential oils into my daily routine. I start my day with eucalyptus oil in my morning shower and burn lavender oil in my office throughout the day. I typically unwind in the evening with a lavender candle to decompress at that end of the day.

What are two valuable insights you’ve learned from therapy and counseling experiences? Why?

To instill the holistic [and] spiritual approaches, the psychological aspect must be addressed, especially to address any resistance to incorporating holistic approaches. Often, we can be our own worst enemy by not addressing our resistance to making healthy choices.

Additionally, I have learned that therapy is beneficial for everyone to handle the daily stressors of life and to help maintain balance. Often individuals are engaged in stressful situations that they may not be able to identify because they have grown accustomed or emotionally numb to it. However, the stress causes multiple issues within their life. Those situations can be identified and a resolution can be developed.

Connect with Dr. Barlow at Doc B on Facebook.

Nailah Heard
Nailah Heard

"If you have no critics you'll likely have no success." -Malcolm X ~ Instagram:@Photobynailah Twitter:@heardnailah

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