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Psychotherapist Precious Avorkliyah trying to heal the Black community

Precious Avorkliyah (Photo provided)

Precious Avorkliyah is an Atlanta-based licensed clinical psychotherapist who is passionate and dedicated to helping people in their journey to emotional wellness.

She received her master’s degree from Rutgers University in New Jersey and now she owns Modern Therapy Now, her own practice. Avorkliyah specializes in helping individuals, couples, and families both young and mature, reach a resolution about their past so that they can live in their fullest potential.

She furthers her work through the art of mindfulness by tying therapy, spirituality, and wellness together. Avorkliyah is also the author of Just Breathe — a guide to affirmations and meditations that empower you through self-love.

We spoke with Precious Avorkliyah about minority mental health month and how her services are aiding our community.

What does it mean to be a psychotherapist?

I’m a little bit of a rebel in the field because I’m making my intention to push back against all of the stereotypes that we know about therapy. I always tell people, “You don’t walk into a sterile room with a stoic person, peering at you from behind with a notepad or a laptop.”

That is not what therapy looks like, especially for Black and Brown people.

What I learned in my work, as I’ve been in the field for 12 plus years now, is that we don’t connect and we don’t trust that way. So the field was continuing to do what it’s always done traditionally. We’re taught to be blank slates right don’t take up too much space. Don’t give too much of yourself. Don’t share too much. Don’t be too much. That doesn’t work for Black and brown folks. So I decided years ago when I opened my practice that I’m going to be loud and proud, authentically who I am.

And I started to serve my community better when I started to show up as me. I do what I call personality forward in therapy. Therapy is essentially the process of having someone alongside you to develop new skill sets, new understanding, new perspectives that may serve you better. I want to help clients have a better human experience.

There is a big stigma around Black men and mental health. What advice do you have for men about seeking therapy?

I have never had someone cry harder than a Black man in my office. They walk in like “finally,” because yall aren’t even allowed to have feelings. I think it’s important that individuals start by growing in their comfort with their own emotions. If you have a certain comfortability and confidence about how you operate, people have no choice but to meet you where you are. So I would advise Black men to do is form a relationship with their emotions. Black men are the number one suppressors. I always say that what you suppress will eventually oppress you. So we end up having all of these erratic behaviors or difficulties that are keeping us from being our best versions of ourselves.